Namiot Dachowy

No more Roof-top tent

Why we sold it after two years of use

During the pandemic the roof-top tent became very popular as a form of accommodation. We pack the necessary things in the car, look for a camping spot in the wild, set up the tent in a few minutes and enjoy the freedom. Sounds great, right? In this post, we will share with you our thoughts on roof-top tents.

How was it with us? It’s hard to say when we caught the bug. It was definitely before the pandemic when we started modifying Suzuki and we were slowly getting to know the world of off-road tourism. Mainly, the foreign ones – the United States, Australia, South Africa and many Central European countries. It was 60 years ago in Italy that the first mass-produced roof tents were built under the names “Maggiolina” and “Air-Camping”. We must admit that the creators in social media, mostly from outside Poland, had the greatest influence on our decision. How is it then? Is it worth buying a roof tent or not? The classic answer is “it depends.” It is quite an extensive topic, depending on our expectations, experiences, possibilities and budget.

Our adventure began when we established cooperation with Front Runner Outfitters. We already had a roof rack*, and since we like to modify the car consistently, the choice was obvious – Front Runner Feather-Lite*. The model we chose is tempting in many respects. Affordable price, very lightweight and lowest tent height with soft cover on the market. You can read more about our tent in the dedicated entry, here.

In the first season, it was still new to us. Each trip was a challenge and learning how to use a roof tent. What do we mean? Where, in what direction to put the tent up, how to quickly set up and fold it up and how to deal with various weather conditions.

A travel report

In 2021, we had the pleasure of making over 5,000 kilometres during our trip to Albania. We visited, among others, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania. All our nights were in a roof tent on our Grand Vitara.

More about our Balkans trip in a dedicated blog post, here.

 

Roof-top tent vs. Wind

It is the weather that is the roof-top tent’s worst enemy. During the two years of using our roof-top tent, we had various situations related to weather conditions. For example, last year we spent the night at a campsite in Croatia located right on the Adriatic coast. The perfect location. There was no wind in the evening. As we were relaxing in the sun, a Polish couple who passed by warned us that it could blow a lot at night. We didn’t take it seriously, after all, we slept in the wind and it wasn’t too bad. Besides, the campsite was situated in such a place that none of the places offered much protection against the wind. And so after a few hours, we woke up in the middle of the night to the noise of flying material. It was unbearable so we decided to sleep in the front seats of the car. Shortly after we left the tent in the middle of the night, the structure was assembled by a strong gust of wind. It was a terrifying experience.

Analyzing the whole situation, we decided that it could have been prevented. So what can you do? The first thing is to analyze the weather on an ongoing basis, tracking the weather conditions on a given day in the applications on the phone. Another tip is to pay attention to where you stay overnight. Remember that in a spontaneous journey, when you spot camping or a place to sleep in the wild, it is worth getting out of the car and checking the strength of the wind, the number of trees, and whether we are in a place that will help us spend the night more calmly or cause additional worries. In addition to another place to stay, the solution would be a roof-top tent with a hard shell on one side, which is positioned at an angle. It is a very common solution in the so-called hard shell roof-top tents. Unfortunately, such roof-top tents often cost more than twice as much as those in a soft shell.

Front Runner Feather-lite roof-top tent

Sun

The sun must also be taken into account. We felt it quite strongly during this year’s trip to the Balkans. After a few hours of driving at temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius and the late setting sun, the roof-top tent warmed up very quickly. Getting to the place of accommodation, it was not possible to set it up right away .. Okay, we did it, but the temperature was so high that we felt like in a sauna! It is not a pleasant feeling.

In addition, when we stood in a given place for a long time, the roof-top tent would heat up and we did not use it all day. Of course, it is possible to put the car under a tree, but we didn’t have a pleasant experience with that either. The tree-bathing juices destroyed the outer layer of the tent.

In this regard, we see the advantage of a classic tent on the ground. The tent, which is transported inside the car, does not heat up, and when placed in the shade of the car or under the awning, it can be used all day long. Such a tent also has its drawbacks, such as dependence on the appropriate ground, but we will tell about it another time.

Structure

We do not hide that the price was the main reason why we decided to buy a soft shell roof-top tent. The tent consists of two floor plates that can be folded into a sandwich, a light metal structure, a mattress, an inner layer with windows, an outer waterproof layer, a ladder and a sheet. There is nothing extraordinary about it. And that’s the point.

The quality of the roof-top tent materials and the way of opening it define the price. This results in a huge price difference. The cheapest roof-top tents can be bought for less than a thousand euros and the more expensive ones for a multiple of the price.

Roof-top tent on Albanian beaches

So what next?

Summarizing all the experiences we have written about, there are three options that we can decide on.

The first is related to the fact that we want to change the car to a bigger one. We automatically think of the option of sleeping inside the car. As long as the car has the right dimensions, this seems to us to be the most convenient and cheapest option.

The second option is a new roof-top tent. We would definitely opt for a hard case, with actuators for easy opening, a sloped roof on one side and enough space inside to easily transport sleeping bags with pillows.

The third option is the most expensive, but we see no downside to it. Namely, we are talking about the lifting roof of the car. Comparing with the previous option, we gain space inside the car. In case of bad weather, we can use the space inside, which we can adapt to our needs.

Roof-top tent – tips for you

When deciding on a roof-top tent, you have to think about some quite important issues. To make your decision easier, we present a list of tips to help you buy a roof tent:

  • Use a rooftop tent rental to see if this style of travel suits you. What you see on the internet shows an idealized picture of the journey.
  • Find out what a roof tent can support the roof of your car. You will pay attention to the limit of the dynamic load on the roof. It is while driving that the roof is loaded the most.
  • Think about whether you really need a roof tent. Classic tents are much cheaper and have much more space inside.
  • We believe that a roof-top tent with a soft shell is better suited if you want to stay at one location for more than 2 nights. With frequent changes of location, unfolding and folding the roof-top tent spoils the fun of using this equipment, because it takes time and costs a little effort.

 

Total
0
Shares
Prev
Overlanding photography equipment
nasz sprzet fotograficzny

Overlanding photography equipment

What we use on our travels

Next
Balkans trip 2021
Park Narodowy Durmitor

Balkans trip 2021

A summary of our adventurous 14 days on the road

You May Also Like
https://offtheroad.pl/wp-admin/admin.php?page=mailchimp-for-wp