Review: Kelty Sideroads Car Awning

Kelty Sideroads Car Awning on Honda CR-V

Camping in a SUV can be a bit cramped for space, so adding a canopy to my setup has given me a lot more room. It provides a place for cooking and for staying dry in the rain, as well as some privacy when I’m not inside my vehicle.

When researching options, I initially considered an awning that attaches to the roof of a vehicle and pulls out to the side, using vertical poles for support. However, that option needs to be attached permanently, and doesn’t provide much protection from wind or sideways rain. It’s also expensive.

The Kelty Sideroads Car Awning is a better option for what I wanted. It looks (and sets up) a lot like a tent rainfly, and this model can be attached to the back or the side of a vehicle. I like placing it on the side where I get in and out of my vehicle when camping.

View at REI

setting up the poles for the Kelty Sideroads Car Awning

Setting up the canopy

Similar to setting up a tent, the canopy uses three poles that clip onto the canopy fabric. Two long poles are laid out in an “x” shape, then get inserted into pole sleeves on each corner of the canopy. A shorter pole goes over the top to bring out the sides of the canopy. Once the poles are in place, simply raise the canopy and position where you want it on the vehicle.

setting up the Kelty Sideroads Car Awning

Attaching the canopy to the vehicle

Two long webbing straps in the corners of the canopy can be pulled out and attached to the vehicle wherever you need them. I pull the straps over the top of my CR-V to attach to the wheels on the opposite side. A flap across the top edge of the canopy closes any gaps at the top to keep rain from running off the roof of the car and into the enclosed space.

attaching car awning to a vehicle

Weather resistance

The canopy can also be staked, and there are additional tie-outs attached if needed. I always use the stakes but haven’t needed the tie-outs so far. The poles are heavy duty, so I think this will be solid in the wind. The seams on the fabric are all seam sealed to make it waterproof. The first time I used the canopy, it rained quite a bit overnight but it stayed dry under the canopy.

Kelty Sideroads Car Awning

Lighting inside the canopy

A handy loop is located inside the top of the canopy for attaching a light source. I use a lantern that hangs upside down so I can see better when I’m cooking at night. The rechargeable UCO lantern shown (no longer available, but this model is similar) has a magnetic attachment  with a loop for hanging, and it also has a blue light that is nice to leave on at night.

lighting for a car awning

review: Kelty Sideroads Car Awning

Overall, I like how the canopy gives me a lot more room when I’m camping in my car, especially in the rainy Pacific Northwest.

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