THE DUPLEX OF CAMPING
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Idespise small tents. Tent ratings are like the recommended serving sizes on frozen food – according to them, I am a family of four, all by myself. Threeman tents are like buying hotdogs and buns, two sausages too many.
Which is why I was attracted to Napier’s SUV tent model 84000. It is spacious. It features a 3m x 3m (10’x10’) interior floor with 2.2m (7.25’) of headroom in the main tent, a 1.8m x 2.1m (6’x7’) screen room, a sleeve that connects to the interior of your SUV and a 1.8m awning for when you want to be outdoors but not in the sun.
The design features, including storm flaps, cargo pockets, lantern hanger and a full taped-seam rain fly, clearly show that the tent engineers at Napier have been into the woods with this three-season tent. But the pièce de résistance is the vehicle sleeve.
Reasons to access your vehicle from inside the tent might not be immediately apparent to some folks, but anyone who’s heard those famous words in the middle of a dark, rainy night, “Honey, where are the ____?” and you answer, “They’re in the truck”, will understand. If not gear, then what about a place to put a couple small kids? Close enough to keep an eye on them, without getting poked in the eye.
The tent seals up without your SUV, so you can unclip the vehicle sleeve and drive off to indulge in your adventures.
Napier says 15 minutes to set-up. I say that’s after some practice and under ideal conditions – i.e. not in the dark, not when it’s windy, not when you’re reading the instructions in French as a test to see how bilingual you are.
Granted, the big tent will take up some cargo space and add some weight, but it’s roughly half the weight of a roof top tent and will leave your roof rack free to hold a lot of other gear.