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Rooftop tents


One percent
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One percent

As per title. Thinking of getting a rooftop tent for my car for just buggering off away from all this shite. Recommendations /advice/ experience please. 

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The Autohome ones - used on minis are really good, but expensive, probably the worst time to buy one though due to pricing if looking for s/h deal.  They really are excellent if driving long distances and want instant setup to kip overnight.  

However, some issues, do you mind having this installed not the car permanently?  If not they are heavy and tricky to install solo - a rig in the garage and hanging it up is ideal if you have the space and this is a requirement.

Alternatives - there are some very good quick erect tents, not quite as quick but the you are are not really camped with the bed on the car - i.e. you can't hang out the front or awnings of the tent and cook for example. 

If it is a tool for doing mega miles and quick pitch / unhitch then brilliant, carefully picking other ground tents and accessories I think you can get a lot more for the money and not that much more faff on site.

If you have a towbar even better, get a waterproof camping trailer setup and just hook / unhook the whole lot - tent, clothes, walking / wet weather gear, cook setup, dry foods, sleeping gear. Ansemms ones rock. reversing is an issue but otherwise you hardly know they are there, but you need somewhere to store, though the good ones can be stored outside packed with no problems. 

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Andersen

A have mates who sleep in the back of their estate cars when camping, a lot easier to get to than your roofrack. Depends how grass roots you are willing to go. I've used a trailer tent in the past and was impressed but they take a lot of space when not in use, and prices are high now. 

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Calcutta

If I was planning on camping much now I'd almost certainly go for a small tent for the kids and something like a volvo estate for me to sleep in. 

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Andersen

How about a car / MPV that you can take the back seats out of when you want a camping trip (decent headroom & lay-down space in the back esp if you're not too tall, bad if you need seats for more than driver + passenger, in which case look at 3-up-front Fiat Multipla ?)  https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/askhj/answer/101462/what-cars-offer-removable-seats- 

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Popuplights

I had a Peugeot expert teeepeeeee for a few years. All the seats were removable, and you could get a double mattress down in the back. I sold it for very little in the end before I went to the US. 

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swiss_democracy_for_all
On 28/03/2021 at 17:03, Andersen said:

A have mates who sleep in the back of their estate cars when camping, a lot easier to get to than your roofrack. Depends how grass roots you are willing to go. I've used a trailer tent in the past and was impressed but they take a lot of space when not in use, and prices are high now. 

Yes, this.

If there's only you, or you+1, a big old estate is easiest - they drive faster, more comfortably and better economy than vans, and are much more useful and useable when you're not going camping.

Roll up to wherever you're going, park, chuck the surplus stuff into the front seat and climb into the back, you're done and ready to sleep/shag as appropriate in 2 minutes even in the dark. Consider carefully where you park to avoid direct early morning sun if possible.

 

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On 28/03/2021 at 13:16, One percent said:

As per title. Thinking of getting a rooftop tent for my car for just buggering off away from all this shite. Recommendations /advice/ experience please. 

Basically two types of roof top tent, soft and hard shell.

Soft shell comprise a folding platform made out of ply, plastic or aluminium on top of which is a ripstop canvas or nylon tent fitted with a thick travel cover. They can be had for under £1k (Chinese) up to £2k or more (South African) and are reasonably quick to put up once you’ve removed the travel cover.

The big downsides are the time and effort needed to pack them away.

On your own and with practise perhaps 20 minutes to fold it all up and get the travel cover zipped on if everything goes well: wet canvas and even a moderate breeze will take a lot longer, be very frustrating and probably have you looking for a Travelodge the next night.

Hard shells come in various formats but an Autohome Columbus, for example, only has a single catch to undo before a slight push will erect it via couple of gas struts. Packing away is a case of pulling down the top, checking the canvas is tucked in then closing the single catch. One minute to erect and maybe 2-3 to pack away, even in bad weather.

James Baroud (made in Portugal) or Autohome (from Italy) are the best known but will be two to three times the price of a decent soft top. That said, their reputation is excellent, they use premium materials and design is based on a lot of experience and user feedback.

Tentbox are relative newcomers, very popular and cost just under £2k while Bundutech will set you back almost £3500 but goes up and packs away at the touch of a button!

There are lots of other hardshells becoming available now but if you can, take advice from someone who has actually used them as many of the resellers seem to have no idea at all!

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11 hours ago, Duck said:

Basically two types of roof top tent, soft and hard shell.

Soft shell comprise a folding platform made out of ply, plastic or aluminium on top of which is a ripstop canvas or nylon tent fitted with a thick travel cover. They can be had for under £1k (Chinese) up to £2k or more (South African) and are reasonably quick to put up once you’ve removed the travel cover.

The big downsides are the time and effort needed to pack them away.

On your own and with practise perhaps 20 minutes to fold it all up and get the travel cover zipped on if everything goes well: wet canvas and even a moderate breeze will take a lot longer, be very frustrating and probably have you looking for a Travelodge the next night.

Hard shells come in various formats but an Autohome Columbus, for example, only has a single catch to undo before a slight push will erect it via couple of gas struts. Packing away is a case of pulling down the top, checking the canvas is tucked in then closing the single catch. One minute to erect and maybe 2-3 to pack away, even in bad weather.

James Baroud (made in Portugal) or Autohome (from Italy) are the best known but will be two to three times the price of a decent soft top. That said, their reputation is excellent, they use premium materials and design is based on a lot of experience and user feedback.

Tentbox are relative newcomers, very popular and cost just under £2k while Bundutech will set you back almost £3500 but goes up and packs away at the touch of a button!

There are lots of other hardshells becoming available now but if you can, take advice from someone who has actually used them as many of the resellers seem to have no idea at all!

I see a lot of ‘vanlife’ type van conversions parked in Travelodge and Premier Inn car parks at the moment. It’s possible they just want a proper shower/bath with swimming pools and gyms closed but can’t help wondering if the novelty of roughing it in a van quickly wears off.

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swiss_democracy_for_all
27 minutes ago, SNACR said:

I see a lot of ‘vanlife’ type van conversions parked in Travelodge and Premier Inn car parks at the moment. It’s possible they just want a proper shower/bath with swimming pools and gyms closed but can’t help wondering if the novelty of roughing it in a van quickly wears off.

I reckon van life for everyday life would be shit. What’s ok for a long weekend walking/climbing/surfing with lots of eating out and doing holiday things so mainly just sleeping in the van would be shit when trying to work and live cheaply cooking properly for yourself. 

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Green Devil

I think camping this summer in the UK is going to be shit. Really shit.

The roads are going to be solid, the campsites are gonna be packed solid, wall to wall people snoring within 2 feet, have the corresponding dirty shitty toilets that are disgusting 5 mins after their weekly clean and the managers are gonna be charging higher prices than ever. The beaches will be rammed, the pubs will the shut, the queues to attractions to cafes outdoor service are going to be longer than ever.

A good year to camp in your garden i think !

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Long time lurking
6 hours ago, swiss_democracy_for_all said:

I reckon van life for everyday life would be shit. What’s ok for a long weekend walking/climbing/surfing with lots of eating out and doing holiday things so mainly just sleeping in the van would be shit when trying to work and live cheaply cooking properly for yourself. 

I don`t know i lived in one for 18 months on a tidy site whilst working away ,granted it was a bit cold when i woke one morning with two feet of snow on it other than that it was great 

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swiss_democracy_for_all
1 minute ago, Long time lurking said:

I don`t know i lived in one for 18 months on a tidy site whilst working away ,granted it was a bit cold when i woke one morning with two feet of snow on it other than that it was great 

Admit it, you never washed anything up, or yourself, ate in Spoons, lived like a pig and didn't care!  :P

 

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Long time lurking
2 minutes ago, swiss_democracy_for_all said:

Admit it, you never washed anything up, or yourself, ate in Spoons, lived like a pig and didn't care!  :P

 

Nope it was a 5 start site though ,under floor heating it the shower block and it was a converted window lickers bus that i was living in so quite roomy in side 

I done 5 months in it down the Atlantic coast of France Spain Portugal and a couple of months on the west coast of Ireland and Scotland 

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Frank Hovis
6 hours ago, swiss_democracy_for_all said:

I reckon van life for everyday life would be shit. What’s ok for a long weekend walking/climbing/surfing with lots of eating out and doing holiday things so mainly just sleeping in the van would be shit when trying to work and live cheaply cooking properly for yourself. 

I'ver seen quite a few of this bloke's videos.  He's been living in one for years and is well happy with it.

Why I think it works for him in particular is that he is an overnight lorry driver so he parks up in pleasant estates during the day to sleep and then moves every night to drive to his workplace and goes for weekends away with other van owners.

People in general aren't going to be bothered about a campervan that is parked up for the day and leaves in the evening; and as he's parking up on residential estates in the morning whne everyone has left for work there will be plenty of space.

I can't see it working as well with a normal job where you are having to find somewhere to park in the dark and with the risk of the police moving you on in the middle of the night or neighbours complaining.

 

 

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swiss_democracy_for_all
43 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

I'ver seen quite a few of this bloke's videos.  He's been living in one for years and is well happy with it.

Why I think it works for him in particular is that he is an overnight lorry driver so he parks up in pleasant estates during the day to sleep and then moves every night to drive to his workplace and goes for weekends away with other van owners.

People in general aren't going to be bothered about a campervan that is parked up for the day and leaves in the evening; and as he's parking up on residential estates in the morning whne everyone has left for work there will be plenty of space.

I can't see it working as well with a normal job where you are having to find somewhere to park in the dark and with the risk of the police moving you on in the middle of the night or neighbours complaining.

 

 

There was an IT contractor from Cornwall, surfie type, at one place where I worked years ago. He slept in his VW camper van in the car park quite a lot. I don't think it's a great look when you're working at a consultancy firm (though he just did coding), especially as he contrived to be late for work even though his commute was about 40 metres! He lasted a little while while demand for the skillset was very very high, but as soon as the market slipped a bit he got the boot.

 

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Frank Hovis
19 minutes ago, swiss_democracy_for_all said:

There was an IT contractor from Cornwall, surfie type, at one place where I worked years ago. He slept in his VW camper van in the car park quite a lot. I don't think it's a great look when you're working at a consultancy firm (though he just did coding), especially as he contrived to be late for work even though his commute was about 40 metres! He lasted a little while while demand for the skillset was very very high, but as soon as the market slipped a bit he got the boot.

 

I worked with someone who did similar for a few years to save up a mortgage deposit but I don't think he slept in the car park.

The only successful full time van camper I knew with a normal job lived in a big RV following his divorce with no home base. He was a temporary contractor but on one or two year jobs and his RV would be stationary on a campsite through those jobs. He had a separate car to travel to work.

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Rooftop tents look an absolute joke. If it's the hassle of putting up a tent you don't like why don't you get one of those air/inflatable tents?

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Frank Hovis
14 hours ago, gibbon said:

Rooftop tents look an absolute joke. If it's the hassle of putting up a tent you don't like why don't you get one of those air/inflatable tents?

I mostly agree but I've seen some videos from the US where they are on the back of pick up trucks - so no great climb up or down - and enclosed in a hard shell like a rooftop box which you just open.

I know that you can also add the bolt on half caravan to a pick up truck but this is a lighter solution.  It's not for me as I woudn't want anything as big as a pick-up truck but if you have one then it's an easy way of conveting it into a camper.

To me it makes sense if you are going somewhere with venomous snakes and spiders like Australia as it takes you off the ground but I don't really see the point in the UK. 

 

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nirvana

you only need a roof tent if you're paranoid and/or frightened of creepy crawlies....

2 second pop up tent will do you, it's all about getting out and 'living the life'

most of this camper van craze is a load o shite too....who wants to cook, wash, shit etc in a van when the sun is shining??

Learn to crap in the woods and wipe your own arse with some dock leaves 

If you're a sadarse who is addicted to your mobile (and/or dosbods ;)) just throw half a dozen 'power brick' chargers in your car too.......portable gas stove.....learn to wash in a lake and river....

Bon courage! Leave the UK asap and explore Europe before the gestapo take full control :P

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Biggest advantage of a roof tent is that you can have a full size, thick comfy mattress.  My back kills after about two nights on a thin camping mattress.  Very expensive compared to a cheap pop up tent and difficult to store.  You wouldn't want it on your everyday car all of the time.

There are a few Land Rover's around my way that leave them on all the time, but the PVC covers (of the soft shell types) deteriorate quite quickly in the sun/rain.

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Hopeful
On 28/03/2021 at 13:16, One percent said:

As per title. Thinking of getting a rooftop tent for my car for just buggering off away from all this shite. Recommendations /advice/ experience please. 

 

Can you share a link to what you are considering and say where you want to go?

Roof top tents are easy and quick to put up and perfectly comfortable. They are quicker, or as quick to erect as a tent and can be done by one person, and certainly give a better night's sleep than in a tent on the ground.

But unless there are dangerous animals, I'd probably start with a tent on the ground in this country as it would be a much cheaper option initially, firstly to see if you like the camping type of holiday and secondly, because if you are car camping, as opposed to backpacking, you can have a bit of luxury with a better mattress to give a better night's sleep. All camping is better suited to dry climates.

I've used this type quite a bit for several weeks at a time

 

Rooftop-Tent-Open-w-Awning3-1-800x533.jp

 

But I've just bought one of these because roof top tents are better suited to dry, warm conditions.

 

BUT, the very first question to ask is can your car roof take your weight ?

 

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One percent
1 hour ago, Hopeful said:

 

Can you share a link to what you are considering and say where you want to go?

Roof top tents are easy and quick to put up and perfectly comfortable. They are quicker, or as quick to erect as a tent and can be done by one person, and certainly give a better night's sleep than in a tent on the ground.

But unless there are dangerous animals, I'd probably start with a tent on the ground in this country as it would be a much cheaper option initially, firstly to see if you like the camping type of holiday and secondly, because if you are car camping, as opposed to backpacking, you can have a bit of luxury with a better mattress to give a better night's sleep. All camping is better suited to dry climates.

I've used this type quite a bit for several weeks at a time

 

Rooftop-Tent-Open-w-Awning3-1-800x533.jp

 

But I've just bought one of these because roof top tents are better suited to dry, warm conditions.

 

BUT, the very first question to ask is can your car roof take your weight ?

 

Cheeky sod. 
 

back to the tent. Dunno where I’m going.  This country to start. Feel a roof tent would be safer/ more comfy. Have not looked at any specific models but do know that mini were selling a rebadged one. At a very inflated price. 

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The Masked Tulip
29 minutes ago, One percent said:

Cheeky sod. 
 

back to the tent. Dunno where I’m going.  This country to start. Feel a roof tent would be safer/ more comfy. Have not looked at any specific models but do know that mini were selling a rebadged one. At a very inflated price. 

 

Save your dosh. Buy a pop-up tent AND some quality mattresses & sleeping bags.

Get to the campsite, open your pop-up tent, stick your bedding inside and then open the beers. You can then spend the next 6 hours watching some plonkers trying to put their roof tent on top of their car.

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