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Discovery Evolution’s Rooftop Tent - Baroud, James Baroud

Posted in Product Reviews on December 19, 2014
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Setting up your average ground tent in the middle of the night, after a long day on the trail, can be annoying. Multiply that by five nights camping in different locations each night and camping becomes a chore. Each morning feels like the movie Groundhog Day.

This scenario is a thing of the past when you have the James Baroud Discovery Evolution Off-Road series rooftop tent affixed to your roof rack. Unhook the two latches on the rear sides of the upper shell and you’ve just released the magic. The upper clamshell opens automatically with the help of two ALKO gas-charged struts, in a matter of seconds.

Next, unzip one of the side entries. Reach inside to grab the collapsible ladder, which stores inside the tent (when closed), and set it up on the most convenient side of the vehicle. There’s even enough room inside the tent to store your sleeping bags when the tent is closed, so your bed is already made each evening. The 3-inch foam pad is easy on the back too. If you are over 6 feet tall though, check out the Discovery Space Evolution series, which offers a bit more foot room.

When it’s time to break camp, just reverse the setup order and you are ready to hit the trail. The canvas walls have a rubber band built in that helps implode the sides of the tent, so closing the tent is a one-person operation.

Surprisingly, the Discovery EVO fit the footprint of our American Expedition Vehicles roof rack perfectly. Even the mounting ribs on the underside of the tent fit between the slats of the AEV rack. Two bolts and a metal brace on each corner secure the tent to the rack.

The tent weighs about 100 pounds and is light enough for two people to lift onto the roof rack or pickup bed of any vehicle. But, once installed, the center of gravity on your rig will be affected enough that the extra weight may be noticeable on twisty roads. It took a bit of skill to countersteer the weight around corners on pavement. Off-road we had to be cautious not to smack into a tree because the Jeep was about a foot taller now.

While traveling on-road, we expected our fuel mileage to suffer a bit. But the aerodynamic shape of the tent virtually cheated the wind. While the tent was installed on our ’12 JK Unlimited, we still averaged 13.9 mpg over 900 miles roundtrip on our journey to the Sierras. We were thoroughly impressed with this hard-shelled tent by James Baroud.

Opening and closing the Discovery EVO Series is easy. Start by releasing the two side latches, and the tent opens automatically with the help of two gas struts. Then reach inside one of the side entries, obtain the side ladder, and attach to the most convenient side of the vehicle. Closing the tent is a one-person operation, with the help of a rubber band that’s built into the canvas, which helps implode the tent while collapsing.

Two mounting channels run parallel (front to rear), include sliding brackets for securing. Once you have set them to the desired location, attach the metal brace and tighten the bolts. We’d recommend checking the torque after 25 miles or so, to ensure tension.

The tent interior has a few cool amenities, such as a solar-powered ventilation system, a rechargeable LED flashlight, and roof net storage for your current copies of 4WOR.

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