iKamper ExoShell 270
(Photo/Nick Schoeps)

iKamper ExoShell 270 Review: Big, Burly, Bountiful Awning

We got an early review sample of the iKamper ExoShell 270 awning and took it out for some weekend camping in Washington to test it out. Here are our first impressions.

Because you can never have too much coverage, the engineers at iKamper have been hard at work blocking out the sun. The result is a massive awning that deploys in seconds and has coverage for more humans than you can fit in a Humvee. You might want a Humvee to carry it, though!

iKamper ExoShell 270
(Photo/iKamper)

iKamper’s new products are all about convenience. There are only two latches to pop and 270 degrees of awning unfolds. Hook a strap on each end and affix it to your roof rack to tension properly. Now crack a beer.

iKamper ExoShell 270
(Photo/Nick Schoeps)

The iKamper ExoShell 270 awning is entirely self-supporting so you can spend less time setting up camp and more time relaxing after the day’s adventures. It’s trivial to deploy — even solo — in a couple of minutes.

iKamper ExoShell 270
(Photo/Nick Schoeps)

Our test site in the Columbia River Gorge treated us to perfect fall conditions, and with a high of over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the sunshade was much appreciated.

Should the weather turn, the ExoShell 270 fabric is 45-denier waterproof-treated ripstop nylon. There are also dropdown poles and guy wires included if you find yourself in high wind conditions.

iKamper ExoShell 270
(Photo/iKamper)

iKamper ExoShell 270 Pricing

I’ve owned both Fiamma and ARB awning systems — and both I can recommend without hesitation — but they rarely come out of their respective cases. The extra effort of deploying poles and stakes, while seemingly trivial, keeps me from putting them to good use.

Ever since seeing self-deploying awnings on a Zenvanz build at Overland Expo West, I’ve been envious but unwilling to stomach the made-in-Germany price. While the iKamper ExoShell 270 doesn’t quite deploy itself, it comes close. It also comes in at $1,750, which, while not inexpensive, seems very fair for what you’re getting.

iKamper ExoShell 270
(Photo/iKamper)

Burly Construction

The ExoShell 270 features a solid extruded aluminum exterior in a matte-black powder coat. At 7 inches square by 8 feet 7 inches long, it’s a formidable roof adornment.

iKamper lists the awning at 66 pounds. We weighed it for ourselves and found that it weighs in at 75.6 pounds with bracket and hardware and 65.6 without. Everything about this kit is burly; the bracketing system is a three-piece aluminum and steel conglomerate pulled together with M12 bolts.

Stout as it is, this is not a product you should install on factory or basic crossbars. As a degreed mechanical engineer, I was downright scared about how much weight I had cantilevered on my Yakima Jetstream bars. While they’re rated for the weight overall, the T-nut attachment points are a serious weak point. An ideal mounting setup for this awning would be a platform rack with built-in T-slots.

iKamper ExoShell 270
(Photo/Nick Schoeps)

To stay on the safe side, I chose not to drive with the awning installed until I get a different rack system on my Land Rover LR3. In other words, I don’t recommend attaching this awning to traditional crossbars.

ExoShell 270 Install

iKamper ExoShell 270
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

Install is not trivial either. While 75 pounds doesn’t sound like much, it’s very unwieldy, with the weight spread over 8 feet. Bring a friend and spend some time reading the instructions carefully — budget at least an hour.

Before you break out your credit card and hit the “buy now” button, make sure you have a plan for how to attach the ExoShell’s L brackets to your vehicle, as fasteners for that are not included.

iKamper ExoShell 270
(Photo/iKamper)

Lastly, remember to mount the awning above head height. I can speak from experience that it is not fun to run into.

Stowing the Awning

iKamper ExoShell 270
(Photo/iKamper)

Takedown is almost as easy as deployment if you can figure out how to best accordion-fold the awning fabric. As with any tent or awning, once you go through the motions a few times, it becomes second nature.

There’s enough space in the shell to house the stakes and guy lines. Rubber end-caps are the last piece to pop in, sealing the enclosure. “Seal” seems optimistic, and we wonder whether water ingress could be a problem over time, or in hard downpours while cruising down the highway.

More than likely, any moisture would drain out of the shell — stay tuned for a long-term test update.

iKamper ExoShell 270 Review

iKamper ExoShell 270
(Photo/Nick Schoeps)

If you value coverage and convenience — and have the right rack — the iKamper ExoShell 270 has a lot to offer at this price. Keep in mind the mounting and weight requirements and know that you’ll see a small hit in fuel economy. If that equation works for you, this is a great way to spend more time outdoors in comfort.

 

It’s so fast and easy to use that I can see myself popping it open for an afternoon mountain bike ride or even the kids’ soccer practice. Also, this awning is perfect for roadside lunches with your whole trail run group comfortably out of the weather.

The iKamper ExoShell 270 awning is now available and shipping. You can buy yours now.

Check Price at iKamper

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Nick Schoeps
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Nick is a fan of anything that propels him faster in the world with a bigger smile on his face. He cut his teeth in electric motorsports, winning consecutive Isle of Man TT trophies and building the fastest electric motorcycles on the planet. When not out riding, driving, surfing, skiing, or shredding he’s Chief Technical Officer for Photon Marine. Nick lives and breathes electric vehicles and is stoked to share his insight into the rapidly developing transportation landscape.