TEPUI AUTANA RUGGEDIZED SKY
Camping is our escape. Our distraction. Our therapy. Really, it is. Life gets so busy. It's easy to get so caught up in work, school, sports and family responsibilities that we forget to have fun together. When we pack up and leave town, even if just for a night, it brings our relationships closer together and allows us time to unplug and recharge. Investing in a roof-top tent made all of this easier for our family.
Years ago we purchased an ARB tent for our Schutt Industries X-Venture off-road trailer. It fit the budget and met the need, but left a bit to be desired. The zippers were tough to slide, the roof wasn't completely drip-proof in heavy rain, the screen poles were tough to insert into the frame, and the mattress left our backs aching every morning. Not to mention the poor design of the awning poles - a slight gust of wind and those bad boys bend like Gumby. And then we were in a real bind trying to fit them back into their tracks for storage. The ARB tent did get us off the ground when we camped and it was relatively easy to set up and take down. It was a decent roof-top tent, but ultimately not the best fit for our family. So we sold it to some friends that could make better use of it and we started our search for the perfect roof-top tent that could accommodate all of our needs.
This time around we put more thought into the purchase of our roof-top tent and found one that alleviated all of the issues we had with the ARB roof-top tent. We looked at several different brands and just like you, we researched hard, looking at reviews from fellow off-roaders. That's when we ran across Tepui Tents. Not only did they appear to be a step ahead of the others, but we liked that they offered a "ruggedized" version, in addition to their already heavy-duty tents. If you know us, you know we need rugged. We compared the Tepui Tent with ARB and a few others, but ultimately went with Tepui. And we're so happy that we did.
We ended up with Tepui Tent's Autana Ruggedized Sky roof-top tent. When it arrived, the Tepui Tent was already assembled. We just had to attach the ladder and the rails to the outside of the folded tent, which was a piece of cake. It literally took five minutes, using the wrenches supplied. The ladder is held securely to the outside of the folded tent with a locking strap. Honestly, we were blown away at the simplicity of this. The Tepui ladder is literally the best ladder we've seen in the industry. It's locking, telescoping design makes it easy to store, but even better - it's simple to lock into place under the tent when it's open and in use. Which, trust us, is a big big deal. In the middle of the night, the last thing you want is to have your ladder give way under you. Or when you're setting up your tent, it's a pain in the neck to try and find the perfect piece of level ground to stand the ladder while getting it at the right level for the tent. Let's just say, the ARB tent ladder only has one position. And we've spouted off our fair share of choice words getting it set up. The Tepui Tents ladder has multiple locking positions, which spares the frustration and is much more safe.
Out of the box, we also noticed a big difference in the quality of the tent cover. It was made with a more rugged zipper that slid easy, with no catching. It was even a teensy bit roomy, which led to less tugging and pulling when we closed everything up. Plus, it gave us enough room to fold the annex room (and floor) flat and store alongside the ladder, under the zipped cover. We really appreciate the forethought that went into the sizing and dimensions of the Tepui Tent cover because it allows us more room in our rig for other gear.
To open the tent, it's as simple as unzipping the cover, extending the ladder and pulling down until the tent is fully extended. It opens like an accordion and literally only takes a handful of minutes to do. It's much easier with two people but can be done single-handedly. Once it's fully extended, all you need to do it adjust the ladder height and lock it into place, extend the bars inside the tent and pull taut, insert the window screen poles (which is a much easier, yet still snug, fit than the ARB), and zip the annex room into place. All in all, it takes ten minutes from completely closed to completely open and ready to use. That's amazing in and of itself.
Once the tent is ready for use, you'll notice a few very cool features right away that set it apart from the others:
1. The mattress inside the tent fills the entire floor of the tent. It's also quite comfortable. It's not a memory foam mattress by any means, but it's a good solid dense foam that leads to a surprising restful sleep.
2. When you take the rain fly off the top of the tent, there are two screened "sky-view" openings. No better way to truly experience a starry night than in the comfort of your tent and with a full sky view.
3. There are storage pockets everywhere inside. Big and small, for a variety of items...shoes, phones, water bottles, clothes, whatever. There's a spot for anything and everything.
4. The interior poles of the tent are wrapped in heavy duty fabric. In the middle of a cold night, it sure is nice to roll over into a warm pole versus an ice-cold one!
5. All of the zippers, screens and poles are incredibly heavy duty. This tent will outlast any kind of rugged camping that we choose to do.
6. Oh, and one of our favorite features is the annex room that zippers around the ladder, underneath the bed of the tent. It's almost like having another tent. It gives us another space to use as either a changing room, an enclosed ground room for protection from the sun or wind, or provides a place for the kids to sleep that's in close proximity to us. The floor zips to the walls, but is also removable.
If you're debating which roof-top tent to get, we highly urge you to look into what Tepui Tents has to offer. They've got a wide range of tents based on any size and budget. The thing we really appreciate about them is the high quality, the thought they put into the design, and the price-point. Not to mention, they have a wide variety of color options and we all know, if you're going to outfit your rig, you may as well make it how you want it!