Are roof-top touring tents a revolution in car camping?
I’m curious about the ARB Simpson II Rooftop Touring Tent, which attaches to a vehicle's roof rack. It makes sense in a place like Australia, where sleeping on the ground could be riskier. But for the North American camper, is this a revolution in car camping or just a waste of money? Jay Dana Point, California
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Well, it certainly makes sense to camp off the ground in Australia, where there may be more poisonous reptiles per square yard than anyplace on the planet. About 100 Australian snakes are poisonous, including the feared Taipan, which has the most potent snake venom known.
ARB Simpson II Rooftop Touring TentSimpson II Rooftop Touring Tent
In the U.S.? Well, Im not so sure. The ARB Simpson II Rooftop Touring Tent (approximately $1,500; arbusa.com) certainly is a clever piece of engineering. It mounts to the rooftop of your SUV, then unfurls and is supported off the ground by poles, with one end still attached to the roof rack. A ladder gives you access. Its waterproof, comes with foam mattresses, and can be buttoned up in bad weather or opened to the breeze when its warm.
But for starters, the Rooftop Touring Tent costs about three times what high-end camping tents cost. It isnt all that big55″ X 94″ X 52″so compared with a typical car-camping tent, it may be a little cramped. And theres some question about how sturdy it is when not attached to expedition-style roof racks, which are bolted to the SUVs frame, not just the roof sheeting. Besides, when youre car-camping, it really isnt that hard to find a flat place, is it? Not in my experience.
So, I wouldnt call it a waste of money. In the right situation I can see the utility; and it does free you a bit from the need to find a tent site. But for most situations it might be overkill.
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