Friday, June 12, 2015

The evolving rooftop tent... make way for the camper!

Have your thoughts about your overland travel sleeping habits evolved yet?
Camper vs Rooftop Tent?
Ask many seasoned overlanders and a few will start to admit that the idea of a rooftop tent is fading and that the comforts of a permanent bed plus cooking area is very attractive.  The proof point are overlanders on a second extended trans-continental trip... like  Lost World Expedition. Luis & Lacey moved from a Land Cruiser 60 Series to a Mercedes Sprinter van.

I admit, I fall into the latter group.  The rooftop tent was great when it was just the wife and I. Living outside the vehicle, and sleeping on the roof,  in a warm climate made sense.  Years later, my family has grown and my enthusiasm for setting up a dusty rooftop tent and climbing ten ladder rungs has faded.  I want a setup that is quick, self contained and has that extra level of comfort for the family (so as to keep encouraging them to venture to new unknown places).

What I do long for is the ability to use a cabin type arrangement, like a demountable (truck camper), for my family trips and the freedom to use the base vehicle for those remote trips where sometimes the family won't be as interested (i.e. short weekends with lots of driving exploring new routes).

A modified Land Cruiser Troopy makes a lot of sense.  It can comfortably sleep 3 people, and could be used as a daily vehicle.  Aussie Overlanders had a neatly setup interior - perfect for a couple.
Photo Credit: Aussie Overlanders

This Land Rover Defender 130 and camper 'popped' up on Instagram.  The item that stood out for me was the option to sleep 2 additional people in the camper.  A typical demountable in Europe would not support this setup, generally caters for 3 people only.  I like the idea of the bunk bed.

German company Quantis recently unveiled their Marq 1.0 Concept, a modern pop-up camper, which debuted specifically for a LR Defender 130. It's a smart camper type concept that sleeps up to four people (when the expandable top is raised), and also includes a small kitchen with sink on top of the drawers when the sleeper is folded, additional storage, and a private toilet area too. It's currently a concept but is expected to go into production soon. There's also a version for LR's Defender 110 and a few other types of 4x4's. You can find more information and photos on their website at - SOURCE: Quantis #landrover #rangerover #car #royalty #luxury #millionaire #billionaire #bespoke #british #uk #adventure #travel #classy #art #greatbritain #design #legend #icon #exclusive #gentlemen #wanderlust #fun #cool #picoftheday #exoticcars #carinstagram #love #cars #gentleman #landroverdefender
A photo posted by Land Rover Bespoke (@lr_bespoke_vehicles) on
A slightly different idea is the concept from TrayOn Campers in Australia.  In 2013, Chris Hooke shipped his Land Rover Defender to Cape Town and spent a few months traveling around Southern Africa.  The following images are from this website:

Photo Credit: Chris Hooke - Land Rover Defender with TrayOn camper

Photo Credit: Chris Hooke
The beauty of Chris's setup is the fact that the TrayOn camper is hidden behind a canvas cover making it look anonymous.
Photo Credit: Chris Hooke
The Truck Camper, Demountable, Slide-on camper (pick a name) market is not as popular as Camper Trailers. Costs exceed the $10,000 price tag and easily push $50,000 plus.  Certainly quality comes at a price point but the challenge of adopting this as a base vehicle for a Trans-Continental trip goes beyond the means of most independent overlanders.

Additional Reading:
The Alternative Overlander
Demountable Camper Review