19 August 2022
Our Editor spends two nights glamping in the Lake District to see if this roof tent is really worth over €3000
Did you know that there are over 170 accessories available for the new Defender? These are just one of the many thoughts swilling through my head as I try and fight my way through Friday evening traffic on the M6. I am in a P400e X-Dynamic S new Defender which retails for £65,915. Thanks to the weather, traffic, roadworks and accidents I am unable to enjoy the over 400 bhp on offer, but at least I am getting nearly 30 miles to the gallon by driving like Miss Daisy. This is a PHEV remember and so the impressive horsepower figures are achieved with the help of an electric motor. I struggle to take this Defender seriously as a hybrid though as the EV-only range is around 25 miles.
Festival in full swing
The reason Land Rover have loaned it to me is to attend the Keswick Mountain Festival that they are sponsoring and to test the roof tent they have put on it. As someone who has spent a night or two in a tent I am probably a good candidate. Plus it always rains in the Lake District, another much-needed ingredient for a proper tent test.
I arrive at the campsite well after dark but I have come prepared of course with several camping lights to give us the ability to see what I am doing. Though I think that one can actually put this tent up blindfolded. I am serious. There is a latch in the middle of the back section of the tent. You just loosen this single latch and up it goes, thanks to the two gas springs. The hard outer shell of the tent is made from a heat resistant fibreglass that opens itself once you undo the latch.
Unlatch and the gas struts will set it up for you. Your bed is now ready
My personal Front Runner soft shell roof tent is a whole lot more labour intensive to put up which probably explains why it costs less than a third of this one. It involves zips, folding it open and then putting six poles in place. Not so for Autohome’s Land Rover Roof Tent which self erects.
The one thing that I don’t like about hard shell tents like this one is that because it is
230 cm long and 130 cm wide when closed, it does tend to take up all of your rack. I am a bit of a rack guy and like to put my bicycle, cooking pot, axe and cargo bags on my rack. There is no space for that with this tent. Not so for the folding open-sideways Front Runner soft shell tent which only takes up less than half of the space on a full-length Front Runner rack. That is the compromise when having an easy to open hard shell tent like this.
Options for entrance at sides or back
What is the tent like? Well for starters you can put the folding ladder at any of three possible entrances, both sides or the back. When open the highest point inside the tent is only 1.5 metres high, so adults are not able to stand in it and get dressed. One can see that Autohome have been making roof tents for over 60 years because they have thought about almost everything. There are cargo nets in the roof for storing goodies, for example, and each of the two campers it's designed for have storage pouches to their left or right.
The Airtex fabric that it has been made from is light, water- and weather-proof. There was heavy rain during the night and none of that water came into the tent. Also the rain did not make an unbearable noise on the fibreglass shell, this tells me it is a very well insulated tent. Another thing that I really liked was the touch-sensitive light with three luminous LEDs which I only discovered on the second night.
Plenty of space inside
Thanks to the high density crushproof mattress I have to say that it was rather comfy. Coupled with the fact it is a pretty spacious space and I got two good nights of rest in it. Another massive positive for me was the fact that you can leave pillows and bedding in the tent when closing it, you cannot do this with my Front Runner soft shell tent.
When not sleeping in the tent I did partake in some of the activities on offer. Saturday was used to run a 25 km trail race and Sunday was for doing a sunrise stand-up paddle board session on Derwent Water. This was also the first time that Land Rover Experience were actually allowing the public to drive the new Defender on their specially-prepared obstacle course. Sadly no matter how impressed Joe Public were with the new Defender no one was able to buy one due to the ongoing chip shortages.
In conclusion I have to say that I was very impressed with the quality and ease of erection of the tent. Today there are more and more people swapping their soft shell tents for hard shell tents and they would not go wrong if purchasing an Autohome Land Rover Roof Tent.
• Weight: 64 kg
• Size: 130x230 cm
• Closed height: 33 cm
• Height when open: 150 cm
• Approx volume: 271 litres
• Cost: €3081.96
For more info see autohome-official.com
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