Where to sleep?
How you plan to use your vehicle has a direct impact on sleeping options:
If you prefer using your vehicle in offroad competition and difficult offroad trips then you will need a light and agile vehicle. This means a very low point of gravity with little or no roof weight.
You would probably choose a ground tent, swag or sleep in the back of your vehicle.
Although a touring vehicle is also used offroad, it will be driven at a slower speed and less difficult off road tracks. This will open the doors to additional options for having a good nights' sleep.
Pop Top Conversion
Although Pop Top Conversions can be done to a number of vehicles, the most often seen candidates are the Toyota Land Cruiser 75/78 series (aka 'Troopy') as well as the Land Rover Defender 110.
Here a few Pro's and Con's.
This is why you would decide for a Mulgo Pop Top:
- You get full standing height in your vehicle.
- All the sleeping gear is stowed away on the bed below the roof.
- If it rains you don't have to step outside of the vehicle.
- The interior can be used to maximise storage as well as living area.
- The bed is always ready made up, no need to setup tent before going to bed
- Bed and bedding doesn't get wet when packing up in rainy conditions.
- Internal access to open and close the roof.
- Lower overall height than with a roof rack / roof top tent which results in minimal impact on fuel consumption and centre of gravity.
- Setup time: less than 1min
- Pack up time: less than 2mins.
This is why you would decide against a Pop Top Conversion:
- Overall height of the vehicle could prevent you from entering certain car parks. The Mulgo Pop Top for the Troopy adds only 35mm and to the Defender 160mm to the overall height of the vehicle.
- You would like to be able to sleep 'incognito' in the vehicle.
- You don't like the Pop Top visually.
- Your budget is no allowing for a Pop Top.
Roof Top Tent
There are two types of roof top tents. We call them the Soft Shell and Hard Shell roof top tent variants.
- Soft Shell Roof Top Tents
- Soft Shell roof top tents are the most commonly used roof top tents, they can be quite roomy and comfortable. For the cheaper tents the canvas is normally a thin pure polyester fabric and the matress might need to be changed to a more comfortabler one. The higher end tents (Howling Moon) have excellent poly canvas and are very durable.
- The soft roof top tents need a bit getting used to for packing up and need to be quite agile to be able to tuck everything in and put the protective cover back on.
- When packed up they use less space on your roof rack than the Hard Shell units.
- Only minimal bedding (in addition to the mattress) can be left in the tent while travelling.
- Depending on yor budget, there are various manufacturers of soft shell roof top tents on the market. Eg. Howling Moon, Front Runner, Darche
- Hard Shell Roof Top Tents
- Heavier than the Soft Shell tents.
- Very easy to setup and pack up.
- Bedding can be left in place while travelling, freeing up some valuable space in the vehicle.
- Made from Aluminium or Fibreglass
- They are about 2.2m in length, which means they normally block all your roof space. However if made from Aluminium, the actual roof of the tent can be used as storage platform.
- Depending on yor budget, there are various manufacturers of hard shell roof top tents on the market. Eg. The Bush Company, Howling Moon.