TENTS AND SWAGS

FOXWING AWNING and RHINO RACK

An awning to extend your living space

As the name suggests this awning opens up to look like the wing of a fruit bat, with fabric stretched between supporting ribs. The Foxwing is another OzTent product, but is marketed in conjunction with Rhino Rack. It seems to be a great symbiosis, because OzTent knows all there is to know about camping ‘housing’ and Rhino is the expert racking company. Together, they can fit a Foxwing to any vehicle.

The Foxwing’s nylon, water-proof awning folds into a narrow, zippered bag that attaches to an aluminium frame. The frame feet bolt to different Rhino rack cross bars, with a variety of adaptors. Because it’s narrow the Foxwing doesn’t take up much roof rack space.

To open the awning you unzip the bag and the rubber strap that secures the awning ribs in place. The ribs pivot around a rear hinge and are set one above the other, so they fold completely flat. You swing the forward ends of all the ribs out of the bag, until the forward one stretches the first length of fabric tight. At this point, you insert one of the supporting poles into the end of the rib and secure the pole with a ground peg and rope. You then open the awning until the second rib has stretched out its piece of fabric and secure that rib with a pole and rope. The third and fourth are opened and secured in the same way and the finishing touch is to tie the fourth rib off to the roof rack with two lengths of Velcro tape.

With two people doing the job the Foxwing is providing secure shade in about five minutes. We tested the Foxwing in 20 knots of wind and found it completely secure. In theory, you can swing the Foxwing open and not bother with the support poles, but that assumes a no-wind situation. If wind gets under the unsecured ribs it will lift the awning like a sail and certainly damage the hinges.

What we liked most about the Foxwing was the way it covered both left-side doors and the tailgate of our wagon, providing a shaded, rain-proof shelter around half the car. Most awnings cover only the side doors.

But there’s more…

Using a pair of OzTent adaptor kits, we zipped two OzTent RV5s to the opposite sides of the Foxwing, making a great family camping home, with two tents and our Land Rover in the centre. The adaptor kit consists of a fill-in strip of nylon that is shaped as a rain gutter, complete with nylon drain ‘pipe’. One side zips to the zipper track on the Foxwing and the other to the OzTent awning zipper track.

To align the tents correctly and tension the awnings and the adaptor pieces we erected both tents, zipped them to the Foxwing, then gently walked the tents backwards until all was tight.

We also checked out the optional side awning and found it made an excellent privacy screen and windbreak.  


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