With summer upon us we thought we’d look at what Roof Tents the market has to offer because making the decision to buy one is only half way there, now you need to decide which type and style will suit you. Here is our previous article on roof tents.
So why use a roof top tent?
A rooftop tent creates extra space inside your vehicle. Think about how much room is taken up with traditional tents and bedding… and think what you could do with that extra space? It could mean being able to take an extra person on your next trip.
While your friends are dealing with the ropes, pegs and poles of traditional tents, your rooftop tent is open and ready to use in less than 10 seconds. It just doesn’t get any easier. Sleeping elevated, away from rough ground, on a comfortable foam mattress, screened from biting insects and unwanted pests, your cosy sleeping space is thoroughly waterproof, wind tested up to 120 KM/hour and well ventilated.
Fantastic for a weekend away fishing, surfing safari or an extended touring holiday, their versatility also make them the preferred option for cross country travel required as part of work or research programmes.
It’s also good to know that many ranges of hard shell rooftop tents are equally suitable for saloons, station wagons, vans and utility vehicles alike.
Beware of cheap imitations. A closer look at the specifications of low cost units will soon show that quality standards and manufacture of these tents varies massively, check ISO ratings for the fabric, fittings, mattress etc., and the guarantee on fabric, shell and mechanisms, some manufacturers will give up to 5 years on these components.
Roof tents offer a new and exciting alternative to traditional camping accommodation, incorporating the latest material technologies and innovative ideas giving you a new level of freedom to go wherever you vehicle can go.
James Baroud is a European company dedicated to adventure and 4WD travel. Twenty years of research, design development and testing stand behind their rooftop tents, and it shows.
Their staff from the CEO to the design team are all experienced adventure FWD drivers. The company even employs a former Paris – Dakar rally driver just to conduct proving tests for each model developed.
They are built to exacting ISO world standards and underline everything you’d expect from a quality ‘European build’.
The manufacturer offers up to 5 year warranty on most of their products. Some of their hard shell tents have moulded sections to carry extra gear or even spare wheels on the upper section of the unit, showing the strength and power of the engineered build.
ARB Simpson lll
Designed to withstand excursions in the Aussie outback this tent gives 140cm of width, 240cm length and 130cm of height. It comes with a ladder, incorporated flysheet, insect screened windows and door and can be fitted to unfold to the rear or sides of the truck. The Poly/Cotton fabric opens within minutes allowing bedding to remain in situ on the high density bonded chip mattress. It’s instantly ready for use creating a sheltered area below where an annex can be added for further space.
German company have been engineering roof tents for nearly Sixty years, pretty much as long as cars have had roofs then. Their distinct hard roof Airtop and Maggiolina with clean rectangle lines has stood the test of time. They provide a range of thirty-two models all made in a naturally ventilating Dralon fabric. The shell roofs are made from GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic) and are duel lined with ventilation for comfort. To celebrate Fifty years production Autohome launced an ultra light Carbon Fiber Series.
The Columbus is the Autohome’s original trade mark “cheese wedge” hard roof top tent and comes in a modest range of fourteen models. Fitted with automatic gas springs, Air-Tex fabric and dual ventilated roof system have made this a popular choice.
Air-Camping … The original fabric roof tent patented back in 1959. Made in a heavy duty single skin cotton and acrylic fabric this tent is waterproof, breathable and rot-proof. Fitted with mossie nets and windproof windows this mother of invention was used and quality tested for thirty years by Nino Cirani on his expeditions. Five options from small 130cm x 220 cm to large 180cm x 220cm and once the cover is off it takes just three seconds to unfold.
Howling Moon are a South African company producing tents for over forty years. They have engineered a Polyester/Cotton pigmented fabric that they then coat to ensure resistance to Rips, UV, fungi and water. Room to store your bedding whilst folded and comes with flysheet for reduced condensation and mossie nets. They have a range of three styles the Deluxe, the Tourer and the Stargazer each available in four sizes from 120cm to 240cm. The Stargazer has a unique system of additional zipped windows in the roof so the exterior fly-screen can be removed and you can sleep under the stars.
A Chinese outdoor gear company has just launched their answer to the expedition roof tent with The Quest Elite Pathfinder. It snugly fits the length of a roof and opens into either a clam or rectangular by a push of a button on a remote control. ‘Tah dah’ bed ready in seconds, it comes with the usual fly sheet and screens.
Available from Amazon UK, click here for more information.
Check out the Video;
There are many variations of tent configurations to suit all needs with add on awnings, wrap around sides and flyscreens etc, etc. So our advice would be to shop around, think of your requirements, do your research, then all should be well and you will have many years of enjoyment from your purchase that will serve you well.