Project: Roll out awning

This one was a few years ago now. I couldn’t find the original write up I used to make this one, but the idea is pretty simple.

Roll Out Awning

Roll Out Awning [+]

I wanted an awning a bit bigger than the commercial ones typically available (usually 2.5m long). So I decided to make my own 2.5m x 4m long awning.

To build the awning, I used 100mm PVC pipe and bought a couple end caps. I cut a slot along the length of the pipe for the opening. The internal rod (10mm pipe from memory) spans the length of the tube and pokes out both ends through the caps (this allows it to spin freely).

I got a cheap tarp off eBay for starters just to try it all out. The tarp is cable tied and duct taped to the internal rod then slid inside the unit. I had to add a few features like a locking bolt & velcro straps to stop it spinning and unravelling while driving.

To roll it up – I have a hex bolt head welded to the end of the rod, so all I have to do is put a socket wrench on there and wind it in.

It works really well and we definitely couldn’t do without it while camping now. If I had to do it again, I would try to get much a stronger PVC pipe (maybe even aluminium pipe) to help prevent flexing, this may not be a problem though depending where your mount points are.


Project: Cargo carrier

Tow Hitch Cargo Carrier

I had an idea one day to utilise our existing tow hitch to carry a small load (without towing a full trailer). Our tow bar is the receiver type which means it’s easy to slot things in and out. I had a look online and there were actually quite a few ‘cargo carriers’ out there already (in lots of different styles).

Turns out it’s legal too! Here in Victoria (and other states), you can have a protruding load that is up to 60% of your total wheelbase extending out from the center of the rear axle (look here for calculations). Just watch that your license plate & tail lights are still clearly visible. If you’re interested in getting one I would recommend HitchMate.

I knocked this one up in a few days which is all welded steel and can take my weight (90kg), even on the corners. The panels all slot in and can be stowed away flat against the shed wall. I added the lid a few months later which makes a great platform to stand on to access the roof bag.

Cargo Cage

Cargo Cage [+]

Cargo Cage with Lid

Cargo Cage with Lid + Awning Poles [+]