For Christmas in 2019, my wife purchased a Yakima Slim Shady awning for me. It was a gift I had asked for, and she told me that while she thought it was silly and wasn’t quite sure how I would use it, she knew I wanted it, so she bought it anyway. Fast-forward three months, and we have been using the Slim Shady awning nearly every weekend and she’s admitted to me that she loves it and the utility it provides our vehicle during our day trips. An added bonus: during the COVID-19 lockdown and with restaurants only being open for pick-up, we have used the awning at the side of a lake close to her office where we take our to-go orders along with a camp table and two chairs. It’s provided some of the nicest and relaxing lunches we’ve had in a long time.
What I like
Right out of the box, I was able to mount this to my 2020 4Runner TRD Pro without problems. However, when I changed from the OEM roof basket to a Sherpa Equipment Company Crestone full-length rack, I had to purchase an adapter/mount from Sherpa. Fortunately, it works great, and mounts the awning very close and firm to the rack.
The material of the Slim Shady awning is very light and durable. It provides good shade and is waterproof. The legs are easy to pull out and lock into place, and the side supports are equally easy to use.
When the Slim Shady awning is tucked up in it’s protective case, it lives up to its name: Slim. It doesn’t produce any additional wind noise (which was a fear of my wife’s since it’s mounted on the passenger side), and it doesn’t rattle, shake, or produce any additional sound, for that matter. The case is waterproof, and has been doing a great job of protecting the awning inside.
The area it covers is good. We were able to fit five of us under it for a meal on Mother’s Day parked in the Bucky’s parking lot (to social distance).
What I Don’t Like
It was hard to find something I don’t like about this awning, because so far, it’s been a solid performer and has allowed us to have shade in some very sunny weather and has provided us protection while having some of the most enjoyable moments this year. The thing I don’t like is very minor, and probably something every awning suffers from: setup can be tricky for one person, especially in the wind. It’s not impossible, and it’s not insurmountable. It’s just tricky. I have found that leaving the table out while I put it away makes folding the legs and guide lines in much easier.
Why the Yakima Slim Shady
It’s not because I’m an Eminem fan (I like the guy, and he’s very smart, but I’m more of an alt-rock guy, truth be told). The reasons I chose the Yakima Slim Shady are:
- Solid reviews. I do a lot of research before I buy anything, and the Yakima awnings receive some solid feedback.
- Durability. Based on reviews and the personal experiences of people I know with awnings, the Yakima awnings hold up well. In my experience over the past two months of solid use, it’s been doing great. I’ll update in the future with any issues, if they pop up.
- Slim and unobtrusive when rolled up. This was a big deal for me. I didn’t want anything that had to be mounted up too high on the rack, or that stuck out too far from the side. The 4Runner is a medium-sized SUV, and I have seen some awnings that stick out much farther.
- Price/value. The Yakima Slim Shady awning is very affordable. I felt that it was one of the best deals in awnings for the 4Runner.
- Functional. I fly RC planes, and often at the flying field, the tables under the shade are all taken up by other pilots who got to the field before me. Now, I can setup my own awning, table, and chair, and have shade to protect me and my planes.
- Not proprietary. The Yakima Slim Shady awning will work with just about any roof rack system out there. I went from OEM to Sherpa Equipment Company without any issues at all.
Of all the mods and add-ons I’ve put on my 4Runner, this is probably tied for the one I use and enjoy the most. My wife would argue it’s the best item on my 4Runner, but I’d remind her that it works exceptionally well with the Sherpa Equipment Company Crestone roof rack. It’s almost as if they were meant to be together.
If you want a solidly made, dependable, useful, and easy to use awning for your 4WD or Overlanding vehicle, you can’t go wrong with the Yakima Slim Shady. I highly recommend it.