Step one – buy a rooftop tent.
While there are actually quite a few options out there at the moment for rooftop tents (the more you look, the more you see) – the Feldon Shelter aesthetic and little touches had won us over.
I had already gone out and had the tour of the tents – Joel and Beth showing us the system, introducing us to the company, their cat, and I guess, the lifestyle. Joel is an avid surfer – so it’s obvious the shelter system has developed over years of the both of them just wanting something to pack up and head out on a moment (or a favourable weather forecast) notice.
I headed back over with the brother and father (having just spent a relaxing night at Balnagown Hunting) to have the unit installed. While the can just send the tent out, or you can pick up, their preference is to help install and give you a quick ‘orientation’ of the shelter at the same time.
The options – side mount, rear mount.
The original plan had been to purchase a Defender 110 to put the rooftop tent on – and that is still the case – but while we await a suitable vehicle ((anyone who remembers my 109 order will also realise I got bit by the bug)) – we thought we would put the tent on top of my Ford Explorer.
Essentially, the key aspect for mounting a rooftop tent is going to be the roof racks. Much to my surprise, the standard racks on my Explorer were rated to carry enough weight to take the tent. However – due to the ‘hatchback’ nature of the rear door – meaning it opens upwards, into where the tent would be if we set it up to open over the back – we decided to initially set the tent up to open out over the passenger side of the vehicle. This will change once we get the 110.
We opted for the additional coverage that the Crows Nest Extended Rooftop Tent provided – this also means that once we put the Crows Nest Bonus Room on – we get a room for kitchen, cleaning, potentially sleeping in – it also means, that we can climb down the ladder and access the truck, all while never ‘leaving’ the tent space.
However, the Ford is a lot shorter than the Land Rover will be – so we will wait until then before adding that – and just use one of the many tarps I have to create a bit more shelter and space for us.
A second Crows Nest – the standard size, will also eventually be added to the front of the final vehicle – giving us plenty of space to sleep in – spreading us and the kids across what is essentially two queen sized mattresses.
The install – a tight fit!
Install ‘ease’ depends on a lot on the roof racks you have. In my case, the standard racks on the Explorer are quite low, which means that getting the appropriate brackets under them to fix the tent down is a bit of a challenge. Once we change over vehicles, the racks are likely to offer a bit more space and we can switch over from nuts and bolts to a quicker attachment system – though, in all honesty, the tents are likely to permanently stay on the truck. I just need to remember that I likely cant fit into any underground carparks anymore!
However, the install, on the whole, was quick, and Joel and Beth then took us through a tag-team orientation of the Crows Nest. It’s actually fun to watch a couple that is so in sync – they both know the ‘spiel’ well – and happily switched back and forth while the other picked up some spares, talked on the phone or grabbed something from the office.
With the tent on, it was off home to get the rest of the kit required for a night out!
Oh. And no, I didn’t really notice much difference mounted on top of the V8 4.6 Explorer… 😉