Suzuki Jimny Mods, DIY Builds & Camping Videos
Suzuki Jimny Mods, DIY Builds & Camping Videos

Adding a DARCHE 180º Rear Awning to the Suzuki Jimny

Geordie Jimny > Gear > Adding a DARCHE 180º Rear Awning to the Suzuki Jimny

I hummed and hawed over whether to buy a 2m side awning or the 180º rear awning. Here’s my reasoning if it’s of interest, if not skip to my initial impressions.

Decision making

Firstly, why change from the 1.4m awning?

There’s a lot to like about fitting a 1.4m awning to the side of a Jimny. The low weight of only 7kg is excellent as is its overall profile being short with no overhang. With the arrangement of our roof tent opening over the tailgate and after making the DIY awning extension we had enough coverage for 2 people (on the rare occasion my wife joins me).

The only problem is when gaining access through the passenger door. I can’t fully open it without hitting the side wall. To line up the tent and awning, allowing for the DIY triangle extension to slot into the side of the tent rails there’s no wiggle room for moving the awning any further forward than you can see in this photo.

Side awning wall

It’s not a massive problem, let’s face it but I’d like a bit more room to manoeuvre. This set up worked very well in fairness and I’d likely still have the 1.4m awning unless I found a 1.5m or 1.6m alternative, that don’t seem to exist from the bigger named brands. However, there is another camp set up configuration that I wanted to aim for that helped drive the decision to change it.

Winter set up

I much prefer camping in the Spring, Autumn and especially the Winter. The summer just isn’t as comfortable, even in the UK’s rubbish weather. Too warm and too many Midge. One of the reasons I frequent Blaydon Burn Farm campsite is the fact I can legally light fires to cook and stay warm in the colder months. However, if not for covid my plan was to venture further afield to experience other locations across the UK. The chances of being able to light fires is slim so I want to set up the Darche Awning Wall set and modify it to include a stove jack for a small wood stove. Allowing for cooking and some warmth.

Imagine that tent on the side but smaller. Still enough space for one or two people. Especially when setting it up with the main entrance open and leaving the right hand side back wall off, allowing passage to the rear of the car under the tent. Yes that will negate the warmth aspect but that’s ok. I can batten down the hatches in really bad weather and sacrifice some space.

It may take some DIY fun modifying the wall set to get the set up how I want it. I think this set up will make Winter camping a blast.

£500 for the wall set and a further £300-400 for a wood stove (I’d have to go titanium as I’m obsessed with keeping the payload of the vehicle low) isn’t exactly cheap but I think it’ll take me a step further to my dream camper set up.

Initial impressions

In all transparency my personality tends to lean more toward optimism and appreciation so with that in mind, let’s go.

The build, fit and finish I like a lot. It feels quality and is very sturdy. I love the colour of the material, not too dark not too light. The black cover is perfect for the style I’m running with and while I don’t mind the orange logo I would prefer it white or black for a more stealthy looks. Not a fan of massive logos on products.

I’ve had 2 messages on social media from people saying they didn’t rate the quality of their Darche kit but I’ve had zero issues with the 1.4m awning and walls. No stitching coming away, no rusting of any metalwork on the brackets and it just works. Yeah, it’s a basic bit of kit but the material is of a high quality in my humble opinion. The new awning is better again.

The 180º rear awning packed down is 1.5m long so it sits lovely on the Jimny. It protrudes out only 130mm which isn’t bad considering the size of the framing. It’s 180mm high, so if you run a roof tent it’ll sit along side nicely. The biggest downside for me is the increase of 6kg to roof load. That really narks me but now we’ve managed to get a stressful house move out of the way I can start working on my ideas to reduce the root tent weight to sub 30kg! Ever the optimist ????.

The mounting brackets are something to behold. Absolute beasts and with me still being 12 years old in my head, it’s a nice comedic shape too.

It comes complete with all the ropes and pegs you need as well two supporting poles for the corners. The instructions say to use these every time but I’ll throw caution to the wind (shite pun) and only do so when attaching the tent walls or in bad weather. I avoid pitching anywhere exposed to high winds anyway. I’d rather sit/sleep in the Jimny in such situations than mess around with awnings and tents, then move on. Obviously I’m not a long term overlander so this isn’t an attitude everyone can adopt. If you’re a casual camper like me you can pick your days avoiding high winds. Snow, ice, rain.. all wonderful but gusty wind sucks. Anyway, I digress.

Set up is super easy. Side awnings aren’t exactly hard to deploy but I have been known to make a meal of it a few times, disappearing under a blanket of rip stop material for a few minutes. More user error than it being a product design issue. The swing arms are very sturdy and once I figured out how to keep the material folded nicely into a triangle they close quickly and flush to the backing panel. The waterproof bag is oversized just enough to make packing it away seamless and there’s room to tuck in the two straps for either end if you don’t wish to keep them in the car with the pegs and ropes. I guess you could keep them in there too but you’re adding to roof load. I’m sure you know my feelings on that subject by now.

Here’s some photos from different angles top help you decide if this awning might be the one for you too.

Here’s some time stamp jumps to set up and tear down in my latest video.

Set up

Tear Down

I’ll do my best to get the awning wall kit and modified later this year and will update this article with all the details. Hope this blog helps if it does let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you.


Paul @GeordieJimny
About the author

I created Geordie Jimny out of my passion for the Suzuki Jimny, camping and creating things. I share it all here, on my YouTube channel and Instagram.
8 Responses
  1. Avatar photo

    Hey Paul,

    Thanks for all the info – big fan of your blog! I (finally!!!) got my new Jimny last week, and I’m planning my build. I’m looking at starting with the Front Runner Load Bars and an awning. I’m going with the Front Runner Load Bars as I want to leave open the option of adding their rooftop tent to my set up. I’ll need to see how much camping I can squeeze in this year before deciding if it’s worth the investment.

    In terms of awning; I’ve been tossing up between a few options. Either the Darche 180 Rear Awning or the Darche 1.4m Side Awning seem like strong options, however I’m unsure if the 1.4m side awning is still in production? I can’t find it in stock anywhere here in Australia. However after reading this blog, I think the 180 Rear Awning might be the way to go anyway.

    How did you find installing the 180 Rear Awning to the Front Runner Load Bars? Did you need to purchase any additional brackets or drill any holes to the load bars or the awning?


  2. Avatar photo

    Hey Paul,
    I have a jimny for 2 years and it’s time to put up a tent. I follow your blog a lot, very cool! thank you.
    I bought the Front runner load bars and the tent of the same brand. Now I’d like to get an awning on the top. I would like to ask you, where can I find a cool awning and also some brackets to attach to the front runner load bars. I’ve seen yours and they are very cool and serious. I Love it.

    I come from Italy, and Darche doesn’t ship to Italy.
    Thank you


    1. Paul @GeordieJimny
      Geordie Jimny

      Hi Luca, glad you find the blog useful!

      Awning wise I’ve only ever bought darche however I’ve seen a few other brands in person and they’re all quite similar. Particularly if you’re going for a normal side awning and not the 180° or 270° styles. I think the 180/270 awnings with pivot points might vary in structural quality between brands and might be worth a bigger investment of money to get something reliable.

      For a jimny I think the side awnings are great for lower weight. The new 180° one I have is 14kg including the brackets so that’s quite a lot for a jimny if you’re adding a tent on load bars with it. Can be done but I’m sure you’ll have noticed my own experiences have driven me to keep seeking lower weight setups. It’s not that they don’t work it’s just better when lighter.

      I’m no expert on awnings but from what I’ve seen they’re very similar brand to brand. Any with decent reviews would service you well.

      Also they’ll likely come complete with L brackets that will slot straight into the t-slot channels on your load bars.

      Hope this helps.


      PS. My friends at sell front runner awnings and they may ship to Italy.

  3. Avatar photo

    Hey Paul AKA Geordie Jimny!

    Recently got a new jimny and hoping to kit it out. Can you help me or know someone that can spec my baby up.
    For camping / research trips. Im based in the UK for now (London).
    Thanks & all the best 🙂

  4. Avatar photo

    Hi Geordie,
    I just got my new Jimny 4 weeks ago, and am planning to take it camping with my young son. I know the roof load limit is 30kg (not 100% am I right?). I am concerned for car insurance purposes if I were to have an accident (big or small, and the insurance company say, ahhh you were over your roof load limit, so we won’t pay out your insurance policy, or worse, my insurance is rendered void. Not sure how this works. I insured with Shannons (Australia). Keeping that in mind, I need to make sure I don’t put any load on my roof over 30kg and keep to that or under. Unfortunately this rules out a roof top tent for me. By the time I put on the 17.1kg ARB roof modular base rack (1545 x 1285) then add the Darche Kozi 2m x 2.5m side awning at 8.6kg (and keep three awning side walls packed in the boot), that takes me up to a total of 25.7kg on the roof top, then leaving me 4.3kg spare to play with, say to throw a light swag up there. Do you think there is an alternative way I could set up my Jimny to keep it under 30kg (if it is 30kg, I have heard it could be 32 or 34kg roof load limit). Let me know your thoughts please and if you know someone I can trust to help me kit out my Jimny. The second stage of kitting it out will be bullbat and winch, rock slider with steps, bash plates, Brazilian Suzuki snorkel, 2 inch lift with 235 /15/17 mud terrain tyres, light bar and a few other bits.
    There is a roof top tent (RTT) made in the USA by a company called GFC. The RTT is called the SuperLite 50 RTT which weighs only 36.28kg (80 pounds). The company don’t have any in stock right now due to supply and demand with Covid. But wish we could get that awesome RTT here in Australia. Still, it will probably void my insurance if it goes over the 30kg limit I guess.

Leave a Reply

New Comments

Paul @GeordieJimny
Geordie Jimny
Best comment on the blog! Would you like to write an even more detailed guest...
Avatar photo
Hi There! First, thank you for this blog. We have followed this for awhile and...
Paul @GeordieJimny
Geordie Jimny
Hi, I hear there’s something coming soon to help do that. Keep an eye on...
Avatar photo
hello Geordie, did you know how is it possible to lock the tailgate in open...
Avatar photo
Just got my jimny roof bars from front runner and yes they come with rubber...
Paul @GeordieJimny
Geordie Jimny
Glad you enjoyed it! Cheers Paul
Avatar photo
Love reading this, thanks for helping me with my new Jimny! ????