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REVIEW – Sometimes you come across a product that just makes you want to go out and use it. Moon Fabrications’ MoonShade is one of those products. All packed up it’s just over 2 feet long, 6″ in diameter and 8 pounds, it’s small enough to just leave in your car in case you get the urge to head out into the wild (or a killer tailgate party). drive. Check out the details below.
What is it?
MoonShade is a lightweight, portable awning designed to be attached to vehicles or really any sturdy structure. It’s small enough to carry around easily, and the setup is quick enough that you’ll find every excuse to do so.
What’s in the box?
- moon shadow
- (2) tie rods
- (2) Support Poles
- (1) Strut bar
- (2) Suction Cup Anchor – Large
- (2) Suction Cup Anchor – Small
- (4 sets) pegs, guy lines/tensioners, high tie cords
- (1) Carry bag for small items
- (1) Tote bag with shoulder strap
- (2) Magnet Anchors (sold separately $45)
shading materials: UPPER: 420D ripstop polyester with UV protection treatment | BOTTOM: Reflective coating; durable polyester webbing trim
rods: 13 mm aluminum tie rods | 19 mm aluminum support rods (telescopic) | 19mm aluminum strut bar
Dimensions: 7×9′ inserted | 28×6″ stowed in carry bag | 8 pounds.
design and functions
The MoonFab MoonShade is made of extra robust ripstop polyester with a UV coating. The bottom has a reflective coating that helps direct the light from a hanging lamp downwards. I’m going to SHOUT ABOUT HERE. The best feature I didn’t know I needed!
The canopy itself is a spacious 7′ x 9′ and offers plenty of protection from the sun or inclement weather.
This shot shows the reflective material as well as the carabiner sewn into each of the 4 corners. They work perfectly to interlock the two support poles or to simplify the process of making a floating canopy between 4 anchor points if you wish.
The tie rods across the top create a dome for more headroom, and the strut bar (shown here under the canopy parallel to the car roof) allows for a very straight connection that can keep rain and wind out or allow for easy setup on cars and other supports that are narrower than the canopy are.
MoonShade makes setup fun and easy. How it works…
First you need to determine where you will anchor the canopy. If the van, wall, or other surface is as wide as the shadow, you can proceed directly to using the anchors. When anchoring to a tree or to the back of a vehicle, you must use the brace bar shown below. Each pole in the kit is internally connected to an elastic cord (like most tent poles these days) making it so easy to line up the segments and connect them end to end.
Insert each end of the strut rod into the grommet at each end of one of the short sides of the canopy and you are ready to set up the anchors.
There are a pair of small suction cup anchors and a pair of large suction cup anchors in the box. I use the small ones in this setup. They also sent a pair of their magnetic mounts which are definitely very easy to use. In any case, make sure the surface is free of dirt (this applies to suction cups or magnets), press the suction cup firmly into place, and then push the lever down while continuing to apply pressure. Sturdy velcro straps are included, but I was able to attach them directly to the bar with the included carabiners. More on that in a minute.
With both sides anchored you can see that the strut bar provides a very stable structure.
Next install the two tie rods across the top. Here is one.
And two. Each end of the tension rod slides into a reinforced pocket and then 3 clips attached to the webbing distribute the tension across the canopy.
Now you can mount the two support rods.
It’s very cool how these work. The tip of the bar goes through the grommet as you would expect, but there are small stainless steel wire bails just below that clip in the integrated carabiners. The result is a connection that wants to stay together. When there’s no wind, the sturdy rubber feet mean you don’t even have to worry about the pegs and guy lines. These work like any tent or fly setup.
That’s it. You are now set up.
It’s been a weird month so big plans to really test the MoonShade didn’t materialize, but that hasn’t stopped us from installing it in different ways and really trying to understand if there are any limitations. We were able to easily mount it on the garage door windows, a single tree in the backyard, and two different vehicles, all with no issues.
Just to reiterate in case it wasn’t clear, it’s really fun to set up. The small details are well thought out and it pays off. Things like all sticks have their own velcro to make them a neat bundle in your pocket.
Another reason is that the support bars are height adjustable. There are 6 positions spaced approximately 4″ apart, allowing you to adjust the front of the cap from 6ft up to ~7ft 6″, all with the quick thumb plunger pin.
Moon Fab even included some extra ropes for raising the vehicle side of the canopy up to anchors you can’t reach from the ground. So if you are lucky enough to have an adventure van, MoonShade is ready to join your adventures.
While it can work just as well in rain or shine, there’s something about the MoonShade name that makes nighttime use seem appropriate and lets you gaze up at the sky.
It’s been VERY dry here in SoCal, so I didn’t get a chance to see how that works in rainy weather, and the wind always seemed to hide 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 luxury EZ-up tent that didn’t weigh too much or try to cut off your finger (I may have trauma there, I realize).
What I like
- Great design with quality materials that are easy to set up and take down
- Super versatile and fits pretty much any vehicle and many other scenarios
- The reflective bottom coating really helps spread the lamplight!!!
What I would change
- Nothing I can think of
As I mentioned earlier, we haven’t really been able to test the limits of the MoonShade, so I’ll update this review with some additional information at the earliest opportunity. What I do know is that my son and I are both looking forward to the next time we use it. Not only does it simply work, but it also has a ton of details that you will discover as you go, which is my favorite type of gadget.
Where to buy: Moon Fab and Amazon
Other anchors: MoonAnchors
source: The sample of this product was provided by Moon Fab