Roof Top tents

Submitted: Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 10:49
ThreadID: 85507 Views:4754 Replies:7 FollowUps:9
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Can anyone help me? My partner and I are looking to take a trip 3 months long going to WA, NT, and QLD leaving beg August. We are looking to purchase a roof top tent thats an affordable price due to budget. If anyone knows where we can do this that would be greatly appreciated. We are looking for a quality roof top as well. Any help on brands, best places to purchase, would be greatly appreciated.


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Reply By: Member - Howard (ACT) - Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 11:56

Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 11:56
Hi Stacey,
if your on a budget go to Ebay.
We purchased a tent /annex-awning/mossie screen package last year from a seller "ARCO-design" in melbourne- just search seller.He also advertises in the trading post
we used the tent for a 9 week trip across the ann beadell, then the canning , kimberly across to kakadu then down the centre home. absolutely no problems with the tent or awning.
I did make up a short extension to the ladder to siut my raised 80 series but they do have them available.
although a No name model iplain grey cover) it was advertised as a simpson 2 and was delivered in about 5 cartons branded made in south africa.
Will admit we did not put up the room under the tent the whole trip. have only ever put it on once during a shakedown trip to make sure it worked.
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Follow Up By: Stacey L - Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 12:19

Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 12:19
Prices look excellent, but did you experience any rain? how did the tent hold up with wind? I did find them earlier but just wasnt sure at quality of them. Can you leave your bedding in the tent and pack it away? Did you have any problems with your set up? Really appreciate this review because I am looking at those roof tops!!! :) All information on this is wonderful.
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Follow Up By: Member - Howard (ACT) - Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 14:24

Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 14:24
yes we had rain 8 hays and nights of heavy rain on the canning leg
no problems with water entry.
make sure you put the bows in the window awnings as we didnt one night and it flapped and drove us crazy .with bows no issues.also make sure tensioners on fly are tight so it cannot flap.
also recommend you get a tent where the ladder is under the fly sheet
some of earlier tents meant you were in the open climbing up into the tent
we left doona and 1 pillow each in tent along with books/torch etc when packed away.
we have a led strip light permanently attached to main bow of tent.
a trick we used to zip up cover up was to use an old UHF aerial with a hook of wire on end. this allows you to reach across vehicle easier given these tents are normally a fair way off the ground.
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Reply By: Mick O - Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 11:57

Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 11:57

Very popular way to go these days. What type of car are you putting it on and do you have a roof rack fitted already. The other option is roof bars of course. The link below is to a list of recent threads on roof top tents which contain a lot of good info. I have used an ARB Pilbara roof topper for a few years and found it to be very good but they are far too pricey these days. Having just been to the recent 4x4 expo, you can get packages and the likes including the roof topper and underneath awning, a side awning and a screen room for that for a little over a grand. Much better value. The majority of roof toppers are identically sourced these days (china) so you tend to be paying big bucks at ARB or not so big bucks at places like Ironman for more or less identical products.

Good luck.


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Follow Up By: Stacey L - Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 12:13

Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 12:13
Out plans at this stage is to take a hodeo rodeo with mounting brackets over the tub both ends and put supports connecting to support roof top tent. I have done some research so far I have found that shippshape, howling moon, autohome, Maggiolina seem to be the favorite. I am just worried about water getting into tent and troubles of packing the bedding up. I have heard that some roof tops you have to take bedding out to be able to store away again. I dont think that would be good for us because we want to keep simple. I also heard things about the wind makes roof tents flap at night when sleeping. I just want to avoid all these issues when purchasing but not spend a fortune. Thanks for all the tips. Where could I find the price you said a grand for the package?
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Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 12:11

Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 12:11
Hi Stacey - look for one that is easy to erect and close. My son bought one from eBay some years ago and found it similar quality to the brand names at a fraction of the price. It appeared that someone had purchased a batch from China and was selling off the rest as a one-off. This worked out very cheap for a good roof top tent.


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Follow Up By: Stacey L - Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 12:20

Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 12:20
Did he say if he had any problems with it? Was water getting inside? did it hold up with the wind? First time going on a big trip, so much information to find out really appreciate the response.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 12:36

Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 12:36
Hi Stacey

He had no problems, but may not have camped in rain and i don't know if they ever camped in very windy conditions. I'm pretty sure it folded down over all the bedding.

So long as you have room to pack all your needs and supplies in your vehicle for your longer trip, a roof top tent sounds like a good choice, although i can see it wouldn't be so much fun in wet or very windy conditions.

Where are you going?

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Follow Up By: Stacey L - Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 12:45

Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 12:45
We are heading to WA first and going along the coast heading North to Darwin area, and then QLD and back to SA. We are thinking of leaving beginning of August for three months. We really dont know what the weather is like either. I am orginally from Canada and this will be my first trip around australia. I am really looking forward to the experience. Just trying to avoid all problems. :)
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 13:23

Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 13:23
Hi Stacey

The better months in the north of Australia are June July August September, after that it gets too hot and humid for me.

Away from your original question: That is a huge trip for only three months and would involve a lot of driving and cost of fuel (which is high in these areas) without having much time to explore the wonderful places you will be passing. My personal recommendation is to pick one or two areas that interest you the most and spend your time there; eg the Kimberley and north of the Northern Territory.


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Reply By: Member - Chris & Debbie (QLD) - Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 12:35

Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 12:35
Hi Stacey
We have been using an ebay rooftop tent for a while now and prefer it to towing the camper around. We have had no trouble with it in the rain or strong winds. Yes they do flap around in strong wind but then most tents do.
We have put an eggshell mattress on top of the standard one it came with, to make it more comfortable, sheets and a quilt and still folds up ok. The pillows left in make it a bit difficult but still possible, we now just put them on top when folded but under the main cover which works well, there is also room under the cover to place extra blankets etc if needed.
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Follow Up By: Stacey L - Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 12:43

Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 12:43
Oh that sounds excellent do you mind me asking where and how much you paid for yours? If you can pass me information on where you purchased yours from (seller on ebay)? Thats great news no trouble in the rain, I have read some things about people having water inside there roof top tents. Thats a bit of a concern. Especially packing it up I heard it can be a real pain putting away when wet as well. Did you have any problems packing it away wet?
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Follow Up By: Member - Chris & Debbie (QLD) - Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 13:07

Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 13:07
We paid just under $1k for it through ebay from Westlat in Victoria, they have, or did have a a website and also sell camper trailers and other camping products. Delivery to the Sunshine coast was $120.
So far we have had no trouble with water getting in, the attached fly probably helps. It has never been raining when having to pack it up but has been wet from raining all night. We found drying it off with a microfibre towel before packing it works well but do carry a cheap tarp to put over the bedding before packing if it was raining and very wet as we do in the camper.
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Reply By: Member - The old fellow - Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 12:55

Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 12:55
Hi Stacey
Check out thread. 85406
I leave my sleeping bag, pillow and sheep skin blanket in my rooftop tent all the time.
My vehicle is parked outside most of the time.
No problems , always dry.
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Reply By: The Landy - Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 13:36

Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 13:36
We have a Ezi-awn roof-top tent that we have used on many occasions and works well for the application. Mind you we have offered it for sale previously as we now have a TVAN, but still have it.

A couple of points to make in response to your questions though;

Firstly, I’d by a reasonable quality one, although with the benefit of hindsight I would most likely have gone the E-bay route knowing what I know now. Perhaps you won’t get anything like the quality offered in some of the more well known branded models, the price variance suggests the risk/reward of going cheaper is still a reasonable option. We’ve tried to sell ours at a steep discount to the new price, and weren’t able to sell as the E-bay no-names come in cheaper, with an attachable room in many cases. Mind you the Ezi-Awn has served as well and it is in the garage waiting for an opportunity to travel with us again!

Whether you can close it properly with bedding included will simply depend on just how much bedding you have. But a couple of sleeping bags, a blanket and a couple of pillows shouldn’t cause any concern.

Wind, any canvas will flap in the breeze/wind, and the roof-top tent won’t be any different, you can expect it. And whilst we experienced no problem in wind, out Southern Cross centre pole tent will outperform a rooftop in very strong winds.

Rain, well I guess that comes down to the quality of manufacture, our experience with the Ezi-awn is that it did not leak water or ingress when driving in the rain. But remember you are looking for a price/quality trade-off so cheaper brands may compromise in that regard.

The other consideration is how long are you going to stay in each place on your trip. Given it is a three month tour will the roof-top tent be your best option? My partner has never been a big fan of them for the simple reasons they are nothing more than a ‘sleeping’ area, whereas a tent provides a ‘living’ area. And whilst many rooftop tends have room attachments underneath, the time and effort to set it up will be no different to setting up a tent.

All comes down to personal good luck with it

Cheers, The Landy
AnswerID: 450687

Reply By: Ozhumvee - Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 18:19

Friday, Apr 08, 2011 at 18:19
Having done many trips between a week and 14 weeks with the roof top tent it really depends on what type of travelling you do.
If driving every day and rarely staying in one spot for more than one night is your normal travel mode then they are great.
If you are more inclined to drive for a few days and then stay in one spot for a few days and do day trips they quickly become a PITA as even though the packup is quiick and relatively easy it wears a bit thin especially if in a van park or city. We used to end up getting cabins for extended stays which increases costs.
The other problem is a lack of shelter in bad weather even though our shippshape has a room beside the vehicle it is still very cold and wet in bad weather where a tent might give you space to sit and read etc.
You also have to get used to getting dressed in the open if you don't have walls on the side room, not usually a problem in the bush but can be a bugger in parks etc.
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