A rooftop tent (RTT) is a go-to product for most overlanders and chances are that you have seen vehicles driving along with what looks like an odd-shaped storage bag or a weird rooftop storage bin. But the fact is those tents fold out to become a great off-the-ground oases in the bundu.
There are definite advantages to having a rooftop tent. For starters, being off the ground definitely helps to keep the dirt out of your tent. If, for example, you are camping on sand or dusty ground, you simply climb up the ladder, brush off your shoes, and get into the tent without tracking anything inside.
Another advantage of being off the ground is that you won’t be sleeping in a puddle of water and mud when it rains. The elevation also means it is easier to catch a breeze, so it will be cooler than in a ground tent. Plus, you’ll have a better vantage point – almost like sleeping in your own tree house. Being on the roof of your vehicle also means you are safer as animals are less likely to get into your tent. Here in Africa, there are plenty of pesky critters running around on the ground and the last thing you want is a nasty surprise in your bed.
The advantages of getting a rooftop tent are clear, and it is probably for this reason that ARB 4×4 Accessories Africa has launched its new and first hard-shell option – the ARB Esperance RTT – here in South Africa. As authorised distributors of ARB Products in Africa, 4×4 Mega World will retail the ARB Esperance.
The sleek hard-shell tent cover and base are made out of ABS with acrylic compound and held together with stainless steel hardware. It boasts a quick setup and take-down and during our testing, we managed to set it up in three-and-a-half minutes, while take-down took just over four minutes. The material used for the canvas part of the tent is 200GSM fire retardant polycotton, with a silver-coated 2m water head. The gas strut-assisted roof tent opens up to offer sleeping for up to two adults and a child. The 4cm thick, high-density sponge mattress measures 1 520mm long and 2 000mm wide and is covered with a removable quilted polyester peach-skin mattress cover.
Inside there are ample storage pockets and three zippered windows featuring dual mesh screens to keep even the tiniest of insects out. The stargazing moon roof is a great addition for those starry nights in the bush.
An internal dimmable LED light strip is incorporated on the inside of the tent and also embedded underneath the tent for better light when getting out at night. Two storage bags are situated on the sides of the ladder, providing space for shoes and toiletries, keeping them clean and off the ground once in the tent.
The ARB Esperance is a great addition to the market, and I will definitely try to get my hands on one for our next trip into the bush.
Important stats on the new ARB Esperance RTT
- Packed size: 1 520mm (L) x 1 220mm (W) x 330mm (H)
- Open size: 1 520mm (L) x 2 000mm (W) x 1 200mm (Height at centre)
- Bed size: two adults and one child
- Weight: 56kg dry (approximately)
- Hard-shell material: ABS with acrylic compound materials
- Main canvas material: 200GSM fire retardant polycotton with a silver-coated 2m water head.
- Rain cover material: removable 210D fire retardant canvas, with silver-coated 3m water head.
- Mesh: 100% polyester, 50g/m2, 68D
- Tent weight limit: 500kg
- Ladder weight limit: 150kg
- Mattress: 4cm, high-density sponge with a removable three-layer mattress cover
Available from 4×4 Megaworld: http://www.4x4megaworldonline.com