Roof tent, lifting roof or something else?

roof tent, travel, camping

Land Rover Defender with roof tent

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Are you struggling to find the best bedding solution for your vehicle?

A lot information about various bedding solutions and finally a questionnaire which will help you to increase your sleep experience on the road.
It’s all about a good sleep

An adult sleeps between 7 to 9 hours in average which means a human is sleeping around 25 years in life. 1

“The human organism physically restores itself during sleep, healing itself and removing waste which builds up during periods of activity. This restoration takes place mostly during slow-wave sleep, during which body temperature, heart rate, and brain oxygen consumption decrease. The brain, especially, requires sleep for restoration, whereas in the rest of the body these processes can take place during quiescent waking. In both cases, the reduced rate of metabolism enables countervailing restorative processes.” 1

While traveling the brain gets a lot of new impressions, good and bad ones. Therefore a good sleep is essential for regeneration. We all want to have fun and joy while travelling. 🙂

We are all different – so is our sleeping habit. Some of us love to sleep on a hard mattress, some hate light and others need a lot of space. No matter what kind of sleeper you are, your bedding should fit to your sleeping habits, right?

It’s all about space in the Land Rover Defender

Space is very rare in a 4×4 vehicle and a closer look is advisable while looking on the bedding solutions. Therefore a good concept is a must. It is a big hazel to repack the interior of your Defender each time before going to bed. At least this is my experience.

It’s time for a short anecdote about our first trip to Portugal 3 years ago: I bought the Defender 3 months before we wanted to go for the trip. So, we needed to hurry up to find a solution for the bedding. We removed all seats in the back and started to build in a bed with planks. The bed should be high enough to put boxes beneath. And the bed should be around 2 meters long for my tall husband. At that time we also had a large dog box inside which was foldable. Romeo was not feeling comfortable in the car when he was younger. Now we do not use a dog box anymore. He sleeps in a laundry basket. 😉

We finally found a solution for our first trip, at least somehow. The solution encountered to rebuild the interior every morning and evening. It took at least one hour. 🙁 Who would have guessed we experienced it very annoying to rebuild everything each time? Moreover as the space was restricted we had a hard time crawling in our sleeping bags. We bumped the head on the roof, the elbows on the windows and the knees on the planks. Every morning I counted more bruises. Resume: we needed another solution!

So – what did we learn?

As space in a Land Rover Defender is very rare, a good concept is absolutely essential. Vehicles such as vans are much more spacious with a high roof and are not really comparable. It is an individual solution depending on the needs and takes some time and experience. Therefore I am still rebuilding the interior and finding the best solution for me. But one thing I know – the interior concept is worth another blog post. So stay tuned and don’t miss it!!

After this first travel odysee I decided to go for another bedding solutions. I started to research in the internet, went to the Caravan Salon in Bern/Switzerland and bought different magazines such as the “Explorer”.

Cornerstones for my research
  • Restricted budget of max. EUR 2’000
  • Easy to handle for me alone
  • Ready in less than 15 minutes (per assembling and dismantling)
 Various bedding solutions

My researches has revealed the following possibilities:

  • Roof tent with soft shell (e.g. Howling Moon, Eezi Awn)
  • Roof tent with hard shell (e.g. Maggiolina, James Baroud)
  • Electric roof tent (e.g. Pathfinder)
  • Lifting roof (e.g. Overlandtechnics)
  • Bedding in the vehicle (own construction)
  • Tent (various)
  • Azalai Cabin or Off-Road-Trailer  (as this is luxury option I will not discuss this one)

Pros and cons for each solution

especially for a Land Rover Defender 110

Roof Tent Soft Top

Wind & Weather proofed
Mattress
Mosquito net
no modification on vehicle
Possibility to store travel items on the roof
half of roof is still free for load (LR Defender 110)

Covered entrance to bed
depending on the modell, most of tents have it

Easy opening & Closing (one person)
 Needs whole roof of vehicle
Air heating system (car) can be used
Invisible camping – wild camping made easy


 max. EUR 2’000

Roof Tent Hard Top

Wind & Weather proofed
Mattress
Mosquito net
Easy opening & Closing (one person)
no modification on vehicle
Possibility to store travel items on the roof

depending on modell, some have possibilities for light load
 Covered entrance to bed
 Needs whole roof of vehicle
Air heating system (car) can be used
Invisible camping – wild camping made easy


 min. EUR 2’000

Roof Tent Electric

Wind & Weather proofed
Mattress
Mosquito net
no modification on vehicle

 Needs whole roof of vehicle
 Easy opening & Closing (one person)
Possibility to store travel items on the roof
 Covered entrance to bed
Air heating system (car) can be used
Invisible camping – wild camping made easy


 max. EUR 2’000

Lifting Roof

Wind & Weather proofed
Mattress
Mosquito net
not on doors and windows of vehicle
Air heating system (car) can be used
Possibility to store travel items on the roof
roof must be walkable

Covered entrance to bed
 Invisible camping – wild camping made easy
 Needs whole roof of vehicle
 no modification on vehicle
 Easy opening & Closing (one person)

depends on the weight and the hydraulic strut*

 max. EUR 10’000

*I tried once and even while hanging with my whole weight (60 kg) on the roof I was not able to close it.

Inside Vehicle

Wind & Weather proofed
Mattress
  Air heating system (car) can be used
  Invisible camping – wild camping made easy
 Easy opening & Closing (one person)
Possibility to store travel items on the roof
 Covered entrance to bed 

depends on setup
 Mosquito net
 no modification on vehicle

 Needs whole roof of vehicle

 max. EUR 2’000

Tent

 no modification on vehicle
 Easy opening & Closing (one person)
Possibility to store travel items on the roof
 Covered entrance to bed 

depends on modell
Wind & Weather proofed

depends on modell
 Mosquito net

depends on modell
Mattress
 Needs whole roof of vehicle
  Air heating system (car) can be used
  Invisible camping – wild camping made easy

 max. EUR 500

Summary

There is no bedding solution which will fit to everybody needs. A good research is needed and a person who can make suggestions on own experiences. As you can imagine – there is no non plus ultra for every body. One solution which fits to me might not fit to you. It is essential that you are clear on your needs. To find out what your needs are I have created a questionnaire with which I will be able to give you a recommendation. I do not earn money with this, so you can be sure that I am absolutely neutral. But please note that I am not liable for any of my recommendations. It’s still you who are deciding in the end!

Yes, I want to fill out the questionnaire!

My decision

I have decided for the Howling Moon Deluxe Stargazer 140 because

  • A lot of space in the tent (140×210 cm)
  • Easy to open and close for me alone
  • Needs only half of the vehicle’s roof
  • covered space and entrance to tent
  • I can leave the windows open while it is raining and don’t get wet
  • A good mattress (7cm thick)
  • In my budget of EUR 2’000
  • The romantic side: Windows to watch the stars 😉

After more than 2 years using the roof tent for holidays I can say that I really love to sleep up there and I always miss it when I am back home in my “normal” bed. And Romeo loves to sleep up there as well and snuggle with me.  😉 

I hope these information will help you to make your decision easier. Any comments and remarks are very welcome.

References

1 Wikipedia: Link

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Note

As I am not a native english speaker I apologize very much for mistakes. If there are really bad ones, please let me know and I’ll correct them. You can send an e-mail or use the contact form. Thanks 🙂

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