Test all limits in the Nissan Navara
Test all limits in the Nissan Navara

It’s not inside, it’s on top!

A roof rack is an expensive purchase, and has a myriad uses in addition to carrying all sorts of items, among them acting as a mounting frame for awnings and shower cubicles. Anton Willemse Jnr popped in at Tentco to chat about how to get the most out of your roof rack.

Africa is known for its brutal heat and finding shade when camping in places like the Karoo and the Kalahari can be a challenge. As such, a good awning should be high on your shopping list. Tentco – who are known for their reliable, affordable, and highquality products – offers quite a few awning options to suit any camper’s needs.

Bundu Canopy

Tentco has multiple bolt-on awning options, with their most affordable being the Bundu Canopy. While technically not an awning, it serves the same function with slightly less practicality and ease of use. It bolts to and hangs from the side of your roof rack and provides a shade area of 2.5m x 3.0m.

Instead of using the conventional swing-out method, the Bundu Canopy is more like a tent as it divides into two separately packed parts: the canvas and the structure. This means disassembling and re-assembling takes a little longer. The benefit of this product is that it’s inexpensive, even if you have to work a tad harder for your shade.

The Bundu Canopy is made from 260gsm Howard Safari ripstop canvas, which is durable, weatherproof and UV-, rot-, and mildew-resistant. The frame is made of 19mm yellow passivated electroplated steel poles. The entire weight is 9kg, and it packs down to a compact 124cm x 30cm x 8cm. It’s the ideal option for people starting out, thanks to an affordable price tag of R1 535.

Pull-out Awnings

If you want something easier to work with, Tentco offers a convenient bolt-on awning design that comes in two widths: 2.0 and 2.5 metres. These provide less shade area than the Bundu Canopy, but are very convenient. It’s as simple as unrolling the canvas and fastening the two lateral and two upright rods – easy enough for one person to manage.

They are made using quality 280gsm ripstop canvas, and feature cast aluminium hinges integrated into the awning frame and 25mm telescopic aluminium poles. The awnings roll up into a heavy-duty 10cm x 10cm PVC bag, which is 2m or 2.5m long, depending on the variant.

With their ease of use, quick set-up time and weights of just 13kg (2.5m) and 12kg (2m), these awnings are ideal for people who are on the move while travelling. At R2 970 and R3 240 respectively, they are a little pricier and offer less shade than the Bundu Canopy, but they are fairly inexpensive compared to similar awnings in the marketplace.

270 Heavy-Duty Awning

Suppose you want the best of both worlds – something that provides superior shade without being a pain to set up? Then Tentco’s flagship option, the 270° Heavy-Duty Awning, is perfect for you. This premium awning is ideal for so many reasons. First, it’s massive when set up, and setting it up takes seconds and very little effort. When folded into its 2.5m-long heavy-duty PVC bag, it also takes up no more space than a conventional pull-out awning.

It’s made from durable 280gsm ripstop canvas, and the frame is constructed with 25mm telescopic aluminium poles. Set-up is as simple as zipping open the bag and unfolding the canvas with its integrated frames towards the rear of the vehicle, where it is fastened. Then the four legs are dropped down to spread the load. Collapsing it is just as easy, with the trickiest part being zipping up the bag after use. At 29kg, it is almost double the weight of a simpler pull-out awning, and the price is a heftier R10 499, but it offers plenty in terms of convenience and shade area.

Shower hour

Another use for your roof rack is to fit a shower cubicle, allowing you to take a private shower when wild camping. Tentco’s roof rackmounted shower cubicle is 1m x 1m, with adjustable height to ensure privacy.

The initial set-up is a little cumbersome, but once hooked up, it takes mere minutes to get out of its bag and back in. The cubicle is made with 420D aluminium coated nylon and uses a 19mm aluminium frame. It folds up neatly into a PVC bag, with a pack size of 105cm x 20cm x10cm.

Tentco’s wide range of options to get the most out of your roof rack, will undoubtedly elevate your camping experience. All these products add practical value to your roof rack, and make your vehicle feel just a bit more like a true home away from home.

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