REVIEW – Sometimes you come across a product that just instills the desire to get out and use it. MoonShade from Moon Fabrications is one of those products. All packed up it’s just over 2ft long, 6″ in diameter and 8lbs, it’s small enough to just leave in your car should the urge to drive to the wilderness (or a killer tailgate party) strike you. Check out the details below.
What is it?
MoonShade is a lightweight, portable awning designed for attaching to vehicles or really any sturdy structure. It’s small enough to easily carry around and the setup is quick enough that you’ll find any excuse to do just that.
What’s in the box?
- (2) Tension poles
- (2) Support poles
- (1) Strut pole
- (2) Suction cup anchors – Large
- (2) Suction cup anchors – Small
- (4 sets) Stakes, guy lines/tensioners, tall connect cords
- (1) Small stuff carry bag
- (1) Carry bag with shoulder strap
- (2) Magnet anchors (Sold separately $45)
Shade Materials: TOPSIDE: 420D ripstop polyester with UV protective treatment | UNDERSIDE: Reflective coating; heavy-duty polyester webbing trim
Poles: 13mm aluminum tension poles | 19mm aluminum support poles (telescoping) | 19mm aluminum strut pole
Dimensions: 7×9′ deployed | 28×6″ stowed in carry bag | 8 lbs.
Design and features
Moon Fab’s MoonShade is made out of extra tough ripstop polyester with a UV coating. The underside has a reflective coating helping to aid in directing any hang lamplight downward. I’m going to YELL ABOUT THIS HERE. The best feature I didn’t know I needed!
The canopy itself is a spacious 7′ x 9′ size allowing for plenty of coverage from sun or inclement weather.
This shot shows the reflective material as well as the carabiner that’s sewn into each of the 4 corners. They work flawlessly to lock in the two support poles, or to simplify the process of making a floating canopy between 4 anchor points if you wanted to.
The tension poles across the top create a dome for increased headroom, and the strut pole (shown here under the canopy parallel to the car roof allows for a very straight connection that can block rain and wind, or allow for easy setups on cars and other supports that are narrower than the canopy.
MoonShade makes the setup fun and easy. Here’s how it works…
The first thing is determining where you’re going to anchor the canopy. If the van, wall, or other surface is as wide as the shade, you can skip right to using the anchors. If you’re anchoring to a tree or off the back of a vehicle, you need to use the strut pole shown below. Each pole in the kit is internally connected with an elastic cord (like most tent poles these days), so it’s as simple as getting the segments inline and connecting them end to end.
Insert each end of the strut pole into the grommet on each end of one of the short sides of the canopy and you’re ready to set up the anchors.
There are a pair of small and a pair of large suction cup anchors in the box. I’m using the small ones in this setup. They also sent along a pair of their magnetic mounts which are definitely very easy to use. Anyway, make sure the surface is free of debris (that goes for suction or magnets), press the suction cup firmly into place, and then push down the lever while continuing to apply pressure. There are burly velcro strips included, but I was able to clip directly to the bar with the included carabiners. More on those in a minute.
With both sides anchored you can see that the strut pole provides a very sturdy structure.
Next, you’ll install the two tension poles across the top. Here’s one.
And two. Each end of the tension pole slides into a reinforced pocket and then 3 clips attached to the webbing, spread the tension across the canopy.
Now you can install the two support poles.
It’s very cool how these work. The top of the pole goes through the grommet as you would expect, but there are small stainless steel wire hoops just below that clip into the integrated carabiners. The result is a connection that wants to stay together. If there’s no wind, the heavy-duty rubber feet may result in not even needing to bother with the stakes and guy lines. Those work like they do on any tent or fly setup.
That’s it. You’re now set up.
It’s been a weird month, so grand plans to get out and really test the MoonShade didn’t pan out, but that didn’t keep us from installing it in a number of different ways and really trying to understand if there were any limitations. We were able to set it up easily off the windows on the garage door, off a single tree in the back yard, and on two different vehicles all without issue.
Just to reiterate in case it wasn’t clear, it really is fun to set up. The small details are thought through and it pays off. Things like all the poles having their own velcro wrap to make them one clean bundle inside the bag.
Another is that the support poles are height adjustable. There are 6 positions roughly 4″ apart letting you set the front of the canopy height at 6′ up to ~ 7’6″, all with the quick thumb plunger pin.
Moon Fab has even included some additional cords for hoisting the vehicle side of the canopy up to anchors you can’t reach from the ground, so if you’re lucky enough to have an adventure van, MoonShade is ready to join your adventures.
While it may work just as well for rain or sun, there’s something about being called MoonShade that just makes night use feel appropriate and has you looking up at the sky.
It’s been VERY dry here in SoCal, so haven’t had a chance to see how this works in rainy weather, and the wind always seemed to be hiding when we set up the MoonShade so we never had to use any of the guy lines to anchor it either. As a result, it felt like a luxurious EZ-up tent that didn’t weigh too much or try to scissor off your finger (I May have some trauma there I realize).
What I like
- Great design, with quality materials that’s easy to set up and break down
- Super versatile and will fit on pretty much every vehicle and lots of other scenarios
- Reflective underside coating really helps distribute lamplight!!!
What I’d change
- Nothing that I can think of
As I mentioned before, we didn’t get to really test the limits of the MoonShade, so I’ll be sure to update this review with some additional info the first chance we get. What I do know is that my son and I both look forward to when we’re going to use it next. Not only does it just work, but it’s got a bunch of details you’ll discover as you go which is my favorite kind of gadget.