Camping In Luxury
We are dependent on our Jeeps for all kinds of things. They get us out of the house when we just can’t stand the chattering wife or screaming kids. Our Jeeps get us out of civilization and let us get into the back woods for camping, hiking, hunting, or whatever our favorite recreation is. We can take them muddin’, rockcrawlin’, and trail runnin’. Whatever it is that we are using the Jeep for, it usually means we are out in the woods and far away from the idiots we encounter in everyday life. Most of us just toss a tent on the ground and call it good. For a couple of days a month, that is well and dandy. But when you come home, you’ve gotta take the tent back out to get the dirt or moisture out of it, air out the sleeping bags, clean the cookware, and more. There are just all kinds of boring and time-consuming chores to keep the equipment in good condition for next timeand who wants to do that?
There are better ways to camp that will result in more comfortable nights, easier setups, and the ability (not to mention willingness) to get out there more often. By picking the tent up off the ground, you will be able to camp cleaner, you don’t have to worry about snow or rivers flowing through the tent, and you’ll be safer from whatever critters might come crawling around. Most rooftop tents have mattresses in them, along with enough space to store your sleeping bags and a couple of pillows, making packing and unpacking so much faster. Cleanup is easier, too. About once a year you can hose it off and vacuum it out at the same time you clean your Jeep.
If you don’t have a roof that can accept a tent, you can always pick up an old military trailer. But there are also many dedicated off-road/camper trailers on the market. Face it, it takes time to convert an old military trailer, and then you still have an old military trailer. Many, if not all, trailers on the market will tow better than any old military trailer and are available with many options. The nice thing about a trailer is that when properly equipped, you can store everything you need for a trip in it and be ready to go at the drop of a hat. There is nothing quite like coming home from work on a Friday, hooking up the trailer, and going wherever you want knowing that you have everything you need on hand for a camping trip. No more having the wood and forgetting the matches, or having the tent and forgetting the rain fly. We’ve had a few experiences with off-road trailers and have daydreamed a lot about the different ways to camp in luxury, so we dove into our bookmarks and catalogs to put together this buyer’s guide for rooftop tents and trailers of every size (oh my!).
Adventure Trailers JK Habitat
Why is a trailer company leading off the tent section? Well that would be thanks to the JK Habitat and organizing the section into alphabetical order. The JK Habitat is a replacement hardtop for the four-door JK that features a flip-forward roof that provides sleeping area over the hood of the JK when open. The area over the interior of the Jeep features a 60/40 hatch and provides additional head room so you can stand up and move around the interior. Once in the sleeping area, the hatch can be replaced for additional sleeping room. When the Habitat is closed it provides more insulation than the factory top ever could, increasing the effectiveness of the A/C system. The Habitat also features a large, comfortable mattress. Once the Habitat is installed, the Jeep can be outfitted however you want from no interior changes all the way up to a full self-sustaining mini-RV.
Size (inches): 64x98 (closed), 64x196 (open)
Accessories: 12V lights, drawer system
Contact: Adventure Trailers, 877/661-8097, adventuretrailers.com
ARB Series III Simpson
ARB tents are born of the rigors of the Australian Outback and can be mounted on just about any rack. The fabric is a high-quality cotton/poly ripstop fabric and is breathable, waterproof, and mold resistant. Mold resistance is important for the time that the tent is stowed. If you stow it wet, or water gets in while it is closed you won’t know about it until you open it next time with that nice smell of mold and mildew. The mattress is 212 inches thick and there is a flysheet that can be raised above the tent on multiple steel bows, which allows the windows to be opened even in rain. All windows and doors have insect screening, and the integral bungee cord system helps pack the tent away neatly and quickly.
Size (inches): 55x47 (closed), 55x94 (open)
Accessories: annex, ladder extension
Contact: ARB USA, 425/264-1391, arbusa.com