A Guide to Vehicle-Attached Tents & TrailersPosted in Product Reviews on January 27, 2014
The overlanding movement has made rural roughing-it downright civilized. Remote vehicular adventure has evolved from sleeping on seats to nearly Ritz-caliber accommodations. Innovative tents and camping trailers are rounded up here for your exploration. Some of these companies also provide turnkey expedition vehicles and even travel consultation.
The Adrenalin Blast is a hard-floor camper trailer made from folded aluminum. It has an adjustable independent air-ride suspension and a 360-degree off-road swivel hitch. The symmetrical tent accommodates up to 12 people. Standard features include a queen bed, a stainless sink, onboard powered water, and 12-volt outlets. ATVs, bikes, and kayaks can be towed on top.
Information: Adrenalin Campers
The Simpson III, ARB’s newest rooftop tent, is designed for the ultimate in ease and convenience. All bedding can remain inside the tent, freeing up storage space in the vehicle and allowing the tent to be quickly packed away. This updated design incorporates new materials for better strength, rigidity, and water resistance. Features include insect-screened windows and doors, a retractable aluminum ladder, and an integrated pullout veranda. A high-density foam mattress and UV-stabilized laminated PVC cover are included. Dimensions: 55 inches wide, 941⁄2 long, 51 high.
Information: ARB USA
AT Overland’s Adventure Trailers feature proprietary independent trailing-arm air suspension. The Chaser model is targeted to technical 4-wheelers, featuring a low center of gravity and high ground clearance. AT says its first design, the Horizon, remains popular. AT also offers fuel can holders, storage systems, rooftop tents, refrigerators, and complete turnkey global-ready expedition vehicles and consultation services.
Information: AT Overland
AutoHome has manufactured shelters since 1958. The tent shells are made from lightweight fiberglass or carbon fiber for four-season protection and comfort over the long haul. AutoHome rooftop tents have thick mattresses, gear storage space, a strong alloy ladder, and even LED lights on Maggiolina and Air Top models.
Bivouac Camping Trailers manufactures lightweight, off-road utility trailers and camping trailers for outdoor adventure. BCT’s flagship is the M.O.A.B. Fort. It is self-contained and offers large-trailer amenities in a smaller package. Also, this trailer is marketed as more affordable than many other models. Specs: 10.2 feet long, 6 feet wide, 16 inches of ground clearance with 31-inch tires, 2,500-pound axles with brakes, 19.7 cubic feet of storage, 1,300-pound curb weight, 2,500-pound GVWR.
Information: Bivouac Camping Trailers
Eezi-Awn Rooftop and Trailer Tents have won awards around the globe over the past 30-plus years. The Series 3 and XKLUSIV rooftop models combine comfort with classic design and craftsmanship. The Globe Trotter trailer-based tents offer the same four-season tent characteristics at a lower mounting height.
Information: Equipt Expedition Outfitters
The Front Runner Feather-Lite rooftop tent was designed in South Africa and Australia to be the next step in the evolution of rooftop tents. According to the manufacturer, it has the lowest profile on the market and is lighter than other comparable rooftop two-person sleeping solutions. Other features include a flysheet for unobstructed four-window views, durable 400D Oxford fabric, and hardware that mounts to common roof racks. Options include a retractable awning, a ladder extension, and a shower annex.
Information: Front Runner
Four Wheel Campers
Four Wheel manufactures slide-in popup campers designed specifically for off-highway travel. They are engineered with reinforcements in several critical areas and designed to absorb the stresses, strains, vibration, and flex encountered in an off-road environment. Because they aren’t permanent, Four Wheel Campers are well suited for daily driven pickups.
Four Wheel Campers
Hallmark Manufacturing has made four-season slide-in truck campers since 1958. Each is built to customer specifications based on a choice of four floor lengths. Custom building materials, appliances, electronics, lift systems, rack systems, solar systems, and fabrics are some of the choices. Customers control the weight of their campers using an à la carte options list. Hallmark offers full indoor shower and toilet systems in some models. Full- and midsize bodied trucks as well as 51⁄2-, 61⁄2-, and 8-foot bed lengths can be accommodated.
Information: Hallmark Mfg.
The Ironman Luxury Rooftop Tent comes with an Annex. Features include a climate-cover flysheet, a popup window awning, waterproof ripstop tent material, a high-density foam mattress, a retractable ladder, and a waterproof PVC car cover. Setup is said to take less than eight minutes.
Information: Ironman 4x4
This French company offers rooftop tents in different sizes and styles. The wedge-style Discovery model is rally-tested and supposedly sets up in five seconds using gas-charged struts. Included are a fiberglass shell, wind- and water-resistant tent canvas, a mattress, LED lighting, solar-powered ventilation, and a ladder.
Information: James Baroud
Kodiak Truck Tents attach to a pickup bed using a clamp-on rail design with an integrated 3⁄4-inch steel tube frame. Material is Hydra-Shied cotton duck canvas, chosen for its durability, water-resistance, and breathability. The tent has five windows, including one for cab access. Interior ceiling height is five feet.
Information: Kodiak Canvas
Moby1 makes custom teardrop-style trailers for off-road adventurers. The top tier is the XTR, available in two widths: 54-inch double bed or 60-inch queen beds. Features include high ground clearance, a coil-spring independent trailing A-arm suspension, and adjustable Rancho shocks. Standard items include a propane cabin heater, A/C, a vent fan, a sunroof, tankless hot water, a shower, a sink, a sound system, a combination fridge/freezer, and 36 gallons of fresh water. Available enclosable awnings and several rooftop tents increase capacity from solo/couple to a family of six or more.
Information: Moby1 Expedition Trailers
Phoenix Campers are custom-made and sold factory-direct. Tested in the Rocky Mountains, Phoenix Campers are engineered to complement trucks, Jeeps, and SUVs. From a Jeep Wrangler popup to self-contained F-550 and Unimog flatbed/chassis-mount living units, Phoenix strives for innovative, extreme-performance camp units.
Information: Phoenix Pop Up/Coyote RV
Rightline Gear’s SUV Tent With Screen Room lets you sleep off the ground in the comfort of your own vehicle. The water-resistant tent with tape-sealed seams connects to the back of any SUV, minivan, wagon, or pickup truck with cap. The bug-free screen room facilitates eating, playing games, or reading. The “alligator clamping sleeve” easily disconnects from the vehicle, allowing you to leave the tent behind at the campsite. Overall dimensions: 15 feet long, 8 wide, and 6.7 high.
Information: Rightline Gear
The Sportz SUV 84000 Tent wraps around the cargo area of your vehicle, allowing you more access for sleeping space or storing gear. No more unzipping and zipping the tent doors and opening and closing vehicle doors to get something you need from your vehicle. This 10x10-foot tent boasts 7 feet of headroom, sleeps five to six people, and has a 7x6-foot floorless screen room attached for bug-free relaxation.
Information: Napier Enterprises
So-Cal manufactures handmade teardrop trailers for on- and off-highway travel. The Krawler model has a powdercoated frame built of 2x3x0.120-wall steel tubing. The 3,500-pound axle has 10-inch electric brakes. Suspension is Old Man Emu leaf springs and nine-way-adjustable Rancho RS9000XL shocks. The Krawler’s cabin is built with a reinforced Baltic birch rib system, and the doors are double-sealed. Amenities are customized to the owner’s needs.
Information: So-Cal Teardrops, 909.982.1199, www.socalteardrops.com.
The Kukenam rooftop tent is a three-person unit made from 600D ripstop ventilate-coated material. The A-frame design offers headroom to fully sit up on the 21⁄2-inch-thick mattress. Doors and windows have mosquito netting. The Kukenam comes with universal mounting brackets that attach to most roof racks or aftermarket roof bars. The tent includes an 8-foot 6-inch telescoping ladder.
Information: Tepui Tents
Thaler’s Jeep ActionCamper is designed for two-person expeditions. The slide-up roof with insulated hard walls offers up to 6 feet 3 inches of clearance. All windows are insulated. The roof has a panorama window and recesses for two 120-watt solar panels. The camper can be taken off the Jeep in minutes.
Information: Thaler Design
VMI makes lightweight expedition and overlanding trailers—both production models and built-to-spec versions. VMI Xtender trailers are made from high-tech marine and aerospace aluminum materials. Features include a 3,500-pound solid axle, a 3-cubic-foot locking tongue toolbox, and a swing-away spare carrier. Many option and accessories are available, as are rooftop tents and complete expedition vehicle conversions.
Information: VMI Offroad
The Camper Case and Bushwagon are two pop-up camping creations distributed by Wild Boar Products. Both are designed for comfort and ease of use. The Camper Case (shown) is a rooftop camper that reportedly goes up in less than 20 seconds. The Bushwagon is a tow-behind tent trailer designed for off-road use. Both are constructed of honeycomb fiberglass and 600 Denier tent material.
Information: Wild Boar Products
888.998.1980, www.camp-n-case.com or www.bushwagon.com.
The XPCamper is engineered to be a popup overlanding solution: convenient, compact, and easy to drive. The base vehicle needs a minimum 2,000-pound payload capacity. A hydraulic system raises the roof 3 feet to provide 61⁄2 feet of headroom. Seamless exterior construction is made from carbon fiber and Kevlar. Kitchens are standard; each camper is built to order.
Information: XPCamper, 415.672.1504, www.xpcamper.com.