Product Road Test

Upon the roof … top tents

With summer upon us we thought we’d look again 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 the high side to camping.


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 programs.
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.

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 experiencedexplorer-evolution-01 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 molded 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.
James Baroud, website


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 arb-tentswindows 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.
More information, here



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 autohome-tentsrectangle lines has stood the test of time. They provide a range of thirty-two models all made in a naturally ventilating Draylon 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 launched 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.
 Autohome; website



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.

02 aircamping-istruzioni

More information, here


Howling Moon

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 howling moonmossie 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 flyscreen can be removed and you can sleep under the stars.
Howling Moon @ Trek Overland, more information


Q- Yeild

Q-Yield 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 quest eliteeither 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; click here


Promotional video;



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *