How To Mount a Lightweight Awning To The Soft Top 6th Gen Bronco – Installation Guide & Review
Is mounting an awning on a soft-top Bronco even possible? Let’s find out!
The MoonShade 2.0 is a lightweight and versatile awning designed for use with many vehicle applications however it works well for the 6th Gen Ford Bronco – with a few exceptions.
The awning comes packed in a compact portable bag, is easy to set up, and provides shade/protection from the sun and other elements, making it perfect for lake days, river days, and general camping trips. Over the years, MoonShade has refined its design, and the current version is very solid. It’s made from 420D ripstop polyester with UV protective treatment and includes features such as foldable support poles, stout structural supports, guy lines, multiple suction cup mounting options, and a compact bag that fits just about anywhere you can stuff it.
Because it features such a lightweight construction and compact size, I think it’s a great fit for the 6th Gen Bronco. I was a little hesitant at first knowing that the soft-top Bronco doesn’t have a suction cup mounting point on the back, however, the MoonShade features built-in carabiners and Velcro straps at each corner so I knew I could make it work given the Bronco has retractable arms under the soft top material.
Let’s jump in and see what it takes to mount an awning on the soft-top Bronco.
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Features & Specs:
- Size deployed 9ft × 7ft
- Size Stowed 28in × 6in (diameter)
- Weight 8 pounds
- Shade Top Materials 420D ripstop polyester with UV protective treatment
- Shade Bottom Materials Reflective coating; heavy-duty polyester webbing trim
- 13mm aluminum tension poles (2)
- 19mm telescoping aluminum support poles (2), adjust from 78in-96in
- 19mm strut pole (1), 7ft for narrow-base mounting
- Large suction cup anchors (2)
- Small suction cup anchors (2)
- Hardware Included
- Stakes (4)
- Guy lines/tensioners (4)
- Carrying bag with shoulder strap
- Tall Connect cords for attaching to out-of-reach anchor points (4)
Step 1. Loop Velcro Strap Under Soft Top
The first and most obvious question is how you mount an awning to the soft top portion of the Bronco.
If you fold back the velcro on the Bronco’s soft top, you can access the retractable top’s bars on the inside. Once you have located the bars on the inside, grab one of the velcro straps provided in the MoonShade kit and wrap it around that bar. Then attach the Velcro on the outside so it doesn’t fall into the Bronco’s cargo area.
Step 2. Connect Front Strut Pole
Before you attach the MoonShade to the Bronco, you need to attach the strut pole to the outside of the awning.
Step 3. Connect Velcro Strap to Carabiner
Now that the strut pole has been connected at both ends of the awning, you can connect the carabiner to the Velcro strap. I looped the plastic eyelet through the carabiner and then attached the velcro together. I pulled on the MoonShade a few times to make sure it wasn’t going anywhere. You could make this work with or without the soft top retracted. With the soft top retracted it would probably be easier but both options yield the same strength to hold the awning in place, even in extremely windy conditions.
Step 4. Suction Cup on Front Window
Here is where you have a couple of options.
- Attach it to the window as pictured. The only problem is you can’t open your front door without the awning moving.
- Attach a velcro strap (longer than the ones provided) over the window around the inside roof line bars (similar to the rear)
- Attach a velcro strap (longer than the ones provided) over the soft top and onto the windshield or A-Pillar to a MoonShade suction cup.
- Buy a set of magnet mounts from MoonShade and place one mount roof crossbars and one on the A-pillar. Reference this video here. The potential challenge with magnets is that they (when attached directly to your paint) can scratch the paint.
Option one worked well for me as I didn’t need to open the passenger door for accessing gear, however, it would be nice to grab a longer velcro strap or small bungee to start playing around with other mounting options or buy the magnet mounts and copy that video link installation guide above. Regardless of how you choose to mount this awning to your Bronco, you have options. This option, for what it’s worth did work very well for us. After we had all our stuff out of the passenger seat, we were all set for kicking back, relaxing, and enjoying the sun, or lack thereof given our newfound shade solution.
Step 5. Connect First Long Support Pole
Now you can follow the rest of the installation instructions provided. Start by inserting the long support poles into one end of the MoonShade.
Step 6. Connect Support Pole To Hooks
Attach all of the plastic clips provided on the outside of the shade to the long support poles.
Step 7. Finish Connecting Both Support Poles
Finish connecting both support poles and attachment points.
Step 8. Connect Tension Pole + Carabiner
Once the shade is supported, you can connect the tension poles and latch the carabiner around the built-in metal attachment point.
Step 9. Adjust Awning for Back Door
Go back to the front window (depending on your installation) and adjust the suction cup up as high as possible on the window in order to allow your rear door to be opened.
Step 10. Connect Guy Lines
In the kit, MoonShade provides four guy lines and anchors. If you feel the need, you can hammer down each stake for added strength during windy conditions.
Breaking down this awning is incredibly simple and packs up in less than a few minutes. Fold up your awning material, break down your poles, and throw it all back in the provided bag.
It got the job done for us. I love how light this awning is. When you’re off exploring, weight can add up fast so having another lightweight-focused product for me is a huge win. In addition, this awning is also super compact. You can stuff it into tight openings in the Bronco’s small rear cargo area. There aren’t too many awnings specifically designed for the soft-top Bronco and I think this is a great start in the right direction.