Yes, we were also disappointed to find out that the Rhino-Rack Batwing Awning has absolutely nothing to do with the Dark Knight. However, we were kind of delighted to discover what it actually is: an awning that installs completely on your roof rack, so you can quickly set up a shaded area anywhere you park.
A complete awning set, it bundles the tarp, the poles, the pegs, and the ropes in a single bag on your roof rack, giving you a functional shelter from the sun and rain that you can unfold in an instant. Whether you’re car camping in the backcountry, hanging outside the stadium for a tailgate party, or just looking to have a nice picnic in the woodlands, this thing offers the most convenient way to set up a shade for your group.
When collapsed, the Rhino-Rack Batwing Awning comes in a single, long zippered bag that straps down to any roof rack models from Rhino-Rack and Thule, as well as any other brand that’s compatible with either one. Unzip the bag to reveal the collapsed awning, which is secured into position using straps and a set of magnets. To use, simply undo the straps (they’re secured by Velcro, so just peel off) and start pulling first pole. The tarp and poles, by the way, are already set up as a unit, so you just have to unfold everything to set up the awning. Once the three legs have been set on the ground, you complete the rig by staking them down using the pegs and finishing things off by tying the shade down with the guy ropes. With that, your awning is ready.
Once properly set up, the awning provides 270-degrees of shade right in the back of your vehicle, covering an area that measures 118 square feet. Sure, it won’t fit a dozen revelers at the beach, but for a small group looking for shelter from the sun while they drink, eat, or look at their phones while chilling in recliners, this thing should work out just right.
The Rhino-Rack Batwing Awning packs away just as easily as it sets up – just remove the guy lines, pull out the pegs, and start folding everything back into the bag. The shade, by the way, is made from 210D polyester oxford fabric, a lightweight ripstop material that’s water-resistant, mold-resistant, and carries a UV50+ SPF rating, while the poles and frames are made from rust-resistant powder-coated metal. Oddly enough, all hinges (all those folding parts need a hinge) are made from plastic, which, the outfit claims, will actually lead to longevity (since they won’t rust).
Aside from the tarp and the poles, the mounted bag in the roof also holds 10 pegs with hooks, eight brightly-colored guy ropes, four hooks, two multi-fit brackets, and two spare hinge knuckles. If you’re a previous Batwing owner (the old models required two separate bags for the gear), any accessories you bought for the awning will still work with this model.
Want one? The Rhino-Rack Batwing Awning is available now, priced at $699.