About 6 months ago, I spent a huge amount of time looking for an awning to install on our Isuzu Dmax. I looked at every option out there, and whilst I loved the look of some of the high end 270 degree ones, they were simply too heavy, going to be too high up and were more money than I was prepared to spend. Instead, I made a compromise and bought a Darche 180 degree awning, which I mounted on the rear of our Isuzu Dmax.
In this post, I want to share my honest review of the awning, how its performed and whether I’d recommend getting one. Before we do though, I want to share the original Darche awning post, so you can have a read and see why we got it, and I don’t have to repeat myself here!
What’s good about the Darche Awning?
Being only 1.6 metres wide, these Darche Awnings can be mounted to a whole heap of different vehicles, or you can mount them on the rear of a 4WD, like we have done.
You’ll struggle to find another 180 degree awning on the market for less than $600, which is what the Darche one cost. Yes, a poor man often buys twice, but the quality so far has been perfectly acceptable.
EDIT – I see they are now somewhere between $900 and $1000 for this awning, which is a big price rise.
It’s easy to set up
On our 80 Series Land Cruiser, we had a traditional side mount awning that you unroll, and then put the legs in place. Whilst you can do this with one person, if its windy good luck. Because of this, we didn’t use it that much, and it became one of the least used accessories on our 4WD.
The Darche 180 degree awning is really easy to set up and pack away, and can comfortably be done with only one person, except in winds that you probably shouldn’t have it up anyway.
It just works
I’m really happy with the Darche awning. It sets up and packs away easily and nicely, is simple, and it just works. I’ll mention a few negatives below, but overall it works really well.
What’s not good about the Darche awning?
The usable space is not great
In terms of square metres, the Darche 180 degree awning gives you about the same as your average side mount awning, but because its in a topozoid shape the usable shape isn’t that great. If you have a few people wanting shade, you usually end up with someone with their legs sticking out, and that’s not great.
If you buy the walls and peg them out sideways you’d have a heap of extra shade which would make a massive difference, but we didn’t want them. I knew the shade wasn’t going to be amazing (and it doesn’t compare to a 270 degree awning that is 2 metres long), but it works for our small family of 4.
I’m going to say that a normal, rectangular car awning is probably more usable in terms of the actual space that you get, unless you put the walls on, and then it would be great (and a lot heavier, and more expensive).
It is fairly lightly built
Some of the high end 270 degree awnings can be hung off by a lightly built adult. I reckon if you hung a third of an adult off this awning it would snap; they are lightly built, and that shows in their weight of around 16kg.
We’ve had no issues in this regard, so can’t really complain, but they are not built for crazy weather. That said, I can’t think of any time that we’d have the awning out in crazy winds, so its only the freak gusts that could be an issue.
Manufacturing strands left in the awning
I was disappointed to see left over strands inside the new awning when I first rolled it out. I initially thought it had the sewing coming undone already (upon the first inspection), but it was just off cuts that have been left in the awning and put in its bag.
How does it go in wind?
I’ll be honest here; we hardly ever peg the awning down, despite the labels telling you to do so. We’ve also only used the two extra legs once, and never do it any more. We are able to run the straps over our gull wing doors though, which provides some vertical support as well as horizontal tightness.
I’ve had it in some pretty nasty wind, but with the car in front, and asides from it picking the legs up every now and again it does really well. If the wind is shocking we’ll either put it away, or I’ll tie it down, but generally I can’t be bothered.
Are we happy with the Darche Awning?
Yep, it goes alright. We use it often when we need some shade by can’t be bothered setting up our heavy, time consuming awning on the Reconn R2, and it gets used on the beach whenever we can get the 4WD onto it.
I’d get one again, and I suppose my research and agreeance to the shortfalls has paid off, as it pretty much behaves exactly as I thought it would. Its light, gives us much needed shade and is easy to use, and I can’t really ask for more than that.
Have you got a Darche Awning? How has it gone so far? Would you get another?