Isabella Sun Canopy: Not A Rain Canopy

We finally pulled the trigger on the Isabella Sun Canopy, and used it for the first time on a camping trip this week in the mountains.  I must say up front that while it is called a “Sun Canopy”, I had assumed it would shed rain.  It does not.  The first night of our trip it rained, and was raining the next morning when we got up.  Going outside, I was met with drips of water coming through the canopy all over the place, with leaks at the seams and every place where the six support bars touched the fabric.

It’s a well-designed, well-built canopy, and we got several compliments from fellow campers, but if you are considering this canopy to protect you from rain, it does not.
2020 [email protected] 400 BDL w/ solar
2016 F-150 4x4 Crew, 3.5L Ecoboost
Middle Tennessee
YNWA LFC

Comments

  • TabneroTabnero Member Posts: 158
    spray it with some water proofing chemical for fabric
  • VernaVerna Administrator Posts: 6,475
    edited October 2020
    Well, I guess I’ll be purchasing an appropriate water repellant. Thank you, @TNOutback
    Verna, Columbus, IN
    2021 [email protected] 320S  Boondock
    Towed by a white 2019 Ford F-150 4x4 Supercab, 3.5L V6 Ecoboost
    [email protected] Administrator
  • TNOutbackTNOutback Member Posts: 506
    Yes to seam sealing and fabric treatment @Tabnero and @Verna ! That’s now on my to-do list before our next outing.  I was very impressed with the design of the awning; as others have stated before, it is sturdy, the fabric taut, and well supported by the cross bars - all six of them.  The first set up was a bit trial and error; the Danish pictograph instructions are not the most helpful, but the set up is intuitive after the first try.
    2020 [email protected] 400 BDL w/ solar
    2016 F-150 4x4 Crew, 3.5L Ecoboost
    Middle Tennessee
    YNWA LFC
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Moderator Posts: 6,872
    The AllPro Adventure awning is made with waterproof material and lots cheaper.  
    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
  • OlenaOlena Member Posts: 90
    That's unfortunate because the Isabella looks so stylish, and I have been thinking about replacing my older Pahaque visor - not because it is failing, but because it is not looking so good anymore. That said, after four years of intense use (all season) the Pahaque visor is still waterproof. I have never treated it and have even washed it in the washing machine. It just keeps on doing its job.

    I hope that the waterproofing treatment works for your Isabella.
    2017 [email protected] Q with 210W Zamp solar | 2013 Ford Escape | Total nights in the [email protected]: 158
  • TNOutbackTNOutback Member Posts: 506
    I have since noticed in the Isabella Accessories catalog that came with the awning, that Isabella has their own branded waterproofing and cleaning line called “Aquatex”.  It does not appear that Elwell carries it, but I’ve decided to order some 303 Fabric Guard and treat the canvas.
    2020 [email protected] 400 BDL w/ solar
    2016 F-150 4x4 Crew, 3.5L Ecoboost
    Middle Tennessee
    YNWA LFC
  • AirBossAirBoss Member Posts: 633
    Looking good, TNOutback. Beautiful spot. 
    2020 [email protected] 400 "OTTO" (build date 08/19)
    Factory Victron Solar; Norcold 3-way fridge
    '04 Chevy Tahoe Z71 5.3L Dino-killer
    San Diego, CA
    www.vividimagex.com
    www.airbossone.com

  • PNWtabberPNWtabber Member Posts: 168
    The AllPro Adventure awning is made with waterproof material and lots cheaper.  
    I have looked on the AllPro website and can't find something called an "Adventure" awning.  Help, @Sharon_is_SAM???
    2018 [email protected] 320 S Boondock  |  2015.5 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD  |  Seattle, WA, USA
    "Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures.”― Lovelle Drachman

  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Moderator Posts: 6,872
    @PNWtabber - the company name is All Pro Adventures.  The canopies that are made of waterproof material are called the 320 and 400 Allpro Awnings.
    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
  • PNWtabberPNWtabber Member Posts: 168
    Thanks for the clarification, @Sharon_is_SAM.  I am definitely considering that awning.  
    2018 [email protected] 320 S Boondock  |  2015.5 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD  |  Seattle, WA, USA
    "Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures.”― Lovelle Drachman

  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Moderator Posts: 6,872
    edited December 2020
    It looks really nice and way easier to set up than the Walker or Isabella.
    Correction - easier to set up than the Walker and Isabella tents.
    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
  • PNWtabberPNWtabber Member Posts: 168
    It looks really nice and way easier to set up than the Walker or Isabella.
    I expect to be solo much of the time, so ease of setup is important!  
    2018 [email protected] 320 S Boondock  |  2015.5 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD  |  Seattle, WA, USA
    "Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures.”― Lovelle Drachman

  • ontheroadontheroad Member Posts: 455
    Pahaque also makes an awning with a  front screen and floor that can be attached separately, and only 15 lbs. We're also looking, but for now our 2 ez ups will travel with us...our 10 x 10 has a screen room attachment and sidewalls.
    Former 2017 [email protected] Max XL
    2021 [email protected] Boondock CS-S
    2018 Nissan Pathfinder
    Ontario, Canada
  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Member Posts: 1,019
    PNWtabber said:
    It looks really nice and way easier to set up than the Walker or Isabella.
    I expect to be solo much of the time, so ease of setup is important!  
    That’s actually why I’m eyeing the Walker inflatable. No poles to thread through or break. Threading the pole into my visor is a bit of a pain.
    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r (NOT recommended)
    2020 Subaru Outback XT
    Pacific NW
  • TNOutbackTNOutback Member Posts: 506
    edited December 2020
    After having set up our Isabella several times now, I can set it up myself in about 10 minutes. I don’t know how the All Pro attaches the aluminum frame to the fabric or secures the cross braces to the camper, but the Isabella has 6 cross braces whereas the All Pro has 3.  The cross braces sit in a non-marring block that clips in below the Keder rail.  The awning zippers around the aluminum frame.  The Isabella’s design is such that the fabric is taut front to back and all the way across the awning. There are no sags or loose fabric anywhere once the awning is set.  It is essentially “rigid” once it is set up.

    I would not expect the Isabella to be any harder to set up than the All Pro, except for double the number of cross braces to set up.  For me, I appreciate the extra braces.

    I will also add that Elton at All Pro was great to work with.  Our original Isabella came with an abrasion in the fabric, and Elton worked with Elwell to get a replacement awning sent to me very quickly.
    2020 [email protected] 400 BDL w/ solar
    2016 F-150 4x4 Crew, 3.5L Ecoboost
    Middle Tennessee
    YNWA LFC
  • TNOutbackTNOutback Member Posts: 506
    edited December 2020
    VictoriaP said:

    That’s actually why I’m eyeing the Walker inflatable. No poles to thread through or break. Threading the pole into my visor is a bit of a pain.
    @VictoriaP the Isabella’s frame does not thread through a sewn opening; It has a full-length zipper that the frame sits inside.  No threading!

    Also, the inflatable has quite a number of guy lines that must be set.  Unless there is serious wind blowing, I have not seen a need to set any guy lines for our Isabella.
    2020 [email protected] 400 BDL w/ solar
    2016 F-150 4x4 Crew, 3.5L Ecoboost
    Middle Tennessee
    YNWA LFC
  • rfuss928rfuss928 Member Posts: 668
    edited December 2020
    Our Isabella clone is on its 10th season and still in very good condition.  It pitches straight and tight every time.  It is a thick, heavily coated fabric and very waterproof.  The seams sometimes drip a bit in heavy rain but I have never done anything to waterproof it.  I'm sure a little seam sealer would solve that.  I stake down the two outside corners and have never needed any guy lines to keep it stable and secure.  
    BTW - It still takes me about 15 minutes to set up even after years of practice but I'm old, slow methodical and in no hurry.


  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Member Posts: 1,019
    TNOutback said:
    VictoriaP said:

    That’s actually why I’m eyeing the Walker inflatable. No poles to thread through or break. Threading the pole into my visor is a bit of a pain.
    @VictoriaP the Isabella’s frame does not thread through a sewn opening; It has a full-length zipper that the frame sits inside.  No threading!

    Also, the inflatable has quite a number of guy lines that must be set.  Unless there is serious wind blowing, I have not seen a need to set any guy lines for our Isabella.
    Yes, aware of both points; the All Pro awning that PNWtabber is looking at doesn’t appear to have the zipper, which was one reason for me to dismiss that one. The Isabella was my actually my first choice, both for looks and the incredible quality. Given the choice between those two? The Isabella is better designed, higher quality, and sturdier. Yes, it needs rain proofing, though, probably every year.

    I realized after a lot of querying of Isabella owners that I’m unlikely to be able to manage even holding that pole and managing that zipper solo due to disability, plus installing the multiple tensioning crossbars on a  Boondock was going to be a challenge for me. So far in my research, it looks like the inflatable has the fewest challenges for my particular physical issues. I dislike the guy lines, yes, but they’re doable enough despite my limitations as long as I use drill powered, screw-in stakes. Talking with other owners of that one, most don’t seem to be using as many guy lines and stakedowns as the video shows, even in windy conditions

    Between being solo and disabled, the normal setup and teardown of the Tab already pushes me to my physical limits, I spend a ridiculous amount of time plotting out how to keep things I want to add from affecting me further. It’s frustrating, but necessary, and better than being stuck at home.
    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r (NOT recommended)
    2020 Subaru Outback XT
    Pacific NW
  • PNWtabberPNWtabber Member Posts: 168
    I'm very confused.  Today I received information from Elwell (the Isabella importer in the USA) that suggests the current Isabella awning is a water"proof" fabric.  I don't fully understand the "zippers" people are mentioning.  After dealing with failing zippers in various situations, I'd rather thread the poles than zipper them.   :s  
    2018 [email protected] 320 S Boondock  |  2015.5 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD  |  Seattle, WA, USA
    "Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures.”― Lovelle Drachman

  • B0atguyB0atguy Member Posts: 150
    edited December 2020
    PNWtabber said:
    I'm very confused.  Today I received information from Elwell (the Isabella importer in the USA) that suggests the current Isabella awning is a water"proof" fabric.  I don't fully understand the "zippers" people are mentioning.  After dealing with failing zippers in various situations, I'd rather thread the poles than zipper them.   :s  
    There is only 1 zipper . It is opposite of the Keder rail attachment point and holds the aluminum support pole in place onto the canvas . The aluminum support pole (in sections that are spring clipped together) is the exact profile of the [email protected] . I have used shock corded fiberglass poles in the past with PahaQue , and the Isabella zipper and aluminum support system (with adjustable tension poles) is far superior , easier to install, and way more robust than anything with those shock corded "tent" poles, lol . Even the zipper is a very sturdy design. There are numerous accounts of these shock corded "tent" poles breaking on the PahaQue . I have never heard of any problems like that with an Isabella . I have had a PahaQue , and now an Isabella , so I have experience with both , and the Pahaque pales in comparison to the Isabella. I have not seen the AllPro "Tab 320 All Pro Awning" , but looks like a cheaper "copy" of an Isabella to me . 
    The canvas Isabella uses, is very heavy duty while still keeping it lightweight and easily foldable . Being from the boating industry, this canvas is closer to a true marine canvas , than cheap tent material . I will also say, that our Isabella has remained dry though rain storms . Perhaps "Weather Proof" would be a better term for the Isabella canvas than "Waterproof'. 
    Good luck with your decision ! 
    2019 320s Grey / Black Trim. Pitched Axle, Front rack, 150w Solar, Sofitel sink, Isabella Awning, etc.
    2007 Chevy Avalanche Z71 1500 5.3
    2011 Keystone Outback 260FL 32' - 2 Slides . 
    2001 Chevy Suburban LT 2500 8.1 - 496ci  

  • B0atguyB0atguy Member Posts: 150
    edited December 2020

    Also, the inflatable has quite a number of guy lines that must be set.  Unless there is serious wind blowing, I have not seen a need to set any guy lines for our Isabella.
    This is one other consideration to think about. The Isabella doesn't require "guy lines" Like the PahaQue, Inflatable Walker or "All Pro awning" do . I hate those things, and am always tripping over them ! SO very happy that the Isabella doesnt require these. (perhaps only in VERY strong winds) .  Just one more thing to confuse your decision , lol  ;)
    2019 320s Grey / Black Trim. Pitched Axle, Front rack, 150w Solar, Sofitel sink, Isabella Awning, etc.
    2007 Chevy Avalanche Z71 1500 5.3
    2011 Keystone Outback 260FL 32' - 2 Slides . 
    2001 Chevy Suburban LT 2500 8.1 - 496ci  

  • TNOutbackTNOutback Member Posts: 506

    The canvas Isabella uses, is very heavy duty while still keeping it lightweight and easily foldable . Being from the boating industry, this canvas is closer to a true marine canvas , than cheap tent material . I will also say, that our Isabella has remained dry though rain storms . Perhaps "Weather Proof" would be a better term for the Isabella canvas than "Waterproof'. 

    Very interesting, @B0atguy, maybe we got a manufacturing defect on our first Isabella because it leaked badly during a day-long rain pretty much all over the canvas where the poles contacted the fabric.  When I originally unpacked it, the canvas had a 3-inch long scrape in the fabric that was almost all the way through, so I sent it back to All-Pro for a replacement. All-Pro was very responsive and arranged for a replacement awning to be sent to me.  I have not yet had the replacement awning in the rain to see how it performs.  I did go ahead and treat the replacement with a spray-on waterproofing treatment just in case.

    @PNWtabber nowhere in the printed Isabella materials that came with the awning does it describe the Sun Shade as being waterproof.  That being said, we absolutely love the awning’s design, robustness, and ease of use.  If it is indeed waterproof, that’s just an added bonus to us.
    2020 [email protected] 400 BDL w/ solar
    2016 F-150 4x4 Crew, 3.5L Ecoboost
    Middle Tennessee
    YNWA LFC
  • rfuss928rfuss928 Member Posts: 668
    edited December 2020
    FWIW - The awnings made in the USA for the DM [email protected] were clearly a copy of the Isabella canopies available at the time.  They were either gray or the "flower power" pattern of ours.  There are a couple different tensioner rod designs I've seen.  All of these DM supplied "awnings" were a heavily coated material and design most similar to marine tops and covers with a thick smooth glossy outside coating and a material much more substantial than tent nylon.   Absolutely waterproof even 10+ years and counting.  Isabella offered very similar material choices at that time. 
    I recently found a nearly new condition DM awning for sale less than half the cost of a new Isabella.  I think they would fit a PV 320 [email protected] 

    A copy of the Isabella info from 2009 and a brochure from 2015 is attached.  Both describe coated fabric.
    Also , instructions from the DM [email protected] that may help with some of the assembly questions.




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