As our short winter is already fading here in California I can smell a whiff of the open road in the air. The last time we popped our tent was in a friends driveway, so it is clearly time to get the rig on dirt again. There are so many choices when it comes to how to camp in the wild with your vehicle, and we chose the Autohome Roof Top Tent in the Columbus Variant for a few reasons:
- Ease of set up and break down
- Sleekness on the vehicle when closed
- Ability to paint to match the car
- Compact but generous bed/cabin room
You can go from parked to set up in literally 10 seconds with this thing. The hardest part is getting the ladder out of the bag. We did end up upgrading our ladder to something more sturdy after a few trips, and it has been much appreciated by us in the early morning hours. The quick set up and break down also help if you are camped somewhere not far from town and need to use the car during the day. It doesn't feel like too much of a hassle to close the tent up for day use.
The unforseen biggest perk: the view. Parked at the top of a hill overlooking a valley, watching sunrise from inside the cocoon of the tent has proved to be magnificent beyond our wildest imaginations. Waking up in the night to see the starry sky and have a blast of fresh air in your face, these are things no trailer will give you. And being perfectly dry, high off the ground in a rainstorm is priceless.
Here are the cons:
- Can be difficult to close with bedding inside. We remove our pillows but leave the comforter inside. We have had to devise a very specific way of folding everything so that the top will close. Keep in mind that we also added a slim feather bed to the mattress which also adds to the problem. But hey, if this is your bed for a few weeks it's nice to have it be comfortable!
- Hard top will get scratched over time - on trees, low parking lots, etc.
- Not ideal for a large family. We are two and it is great. We could easily sleep with a small child, but beyond that we would need to invest in an additional trailer.
- Cost - we bought this as part of our honeymoon, so felt we could rationalize the cost (cheaper than plane tickets!). However, it is a really pricey tent and not for everyone.