In 2012 we decided on an Exprorer roof tent from James Baroud in the size 140x200cm
To open the roof tent, first at the front and then at the back, two flap locks have to be released and then the tent stands by itself within a few seconds, thanks to gas pressure dampers. There are three ways to enter the tent. On the right and left, the ladder can be attached to the lower tent shell on one of the two long sides; from the rear, you would then have to enter via the rear of the car.
The rungs of the ladder could be a bit narrow for barefoot users and press against the soles of the feet. The ladder comes in 2 different lengths (regular cars and higher ones) and we have transported it in the car.
The real mattress width at the head and foot end is only 117cm! This is because of the hinges for opening and closing the tent. The mattress is cut out there so that nothing gets jammed when it is closed. The width of the mattress in the middle area is approx. 137 cm.
The luggage tray of the Exprorer roof tent is designed for a spare tyre and has 6 attachment points. Inside the tent it is limiting the height. What is lost in depth from above is lost in height inside and affects about half of the roof. In addition, a luggage net is attached to the sky at this point.
However, the interior height of approx. 98cm, where there is no luggage tray, is sufficient to sit down. Getting dressed and undressed is easily doable for people up to approx. 185cm tall.
There is Velcro tape all around the ceiling in the tent. 2 mesh pockets, which are included in the delivery, can be attached individually. The battery lamp can be attached to the short side of the roof tent in the middle with a Velcro loop. The insect screens on the windows are effective, the tent cover is rainproof and windproof, but not very suitable for darkening.
Closing the Explorer is most conveniently done by two people. Together we pulled down the roof on the front pull loop and hooked in the metal eyelets. After it was hooked in at the front, Mike always climbed onto the roof of the Toyota and pushed the tent down from above. The tent cover has to be stuffed in all around, hook in the rear eyelets on both sides and fold it down. Push the metal flaps up at the front, press in the locking pins and you’re done. The locking pins can be a bit difficult to insert. If you open the metal flap a little more, it’s easier and if you’re wearing gloves, you won’t get so much pressure on your fingers. Dismantling takes about 5 minutes, including pushing the sleeping bags inwards and out from under the luggage trough, hooking in the rubber so that the tent canvas is pulled inwards, closing the window to a hand’s width, pulling it down, stuffing the canvas and hooking it in.
Our roof tent has been permanently mounted on the holiday vehicle for 8 years. The car is in the garage more or less 8 months a year. The black shell of the James Baroud has nevertheless faded considerably and has developed superficial cracks in the luggage tray. We have never polished, lubricated or impregnated it. After the holiday, it was washed once with the high-pressure cleaner and that was it. It is still tight and stable after 8 years. There are a few stains on the interior roof lining from killed bloodsuckers, dust and dirt has collected in some folds, the tarpaulin at the zip end of the doors (which can slip between the shells when folding) has suffered a little and one of six brackets of the luggage tray has not withstood the strong tightening of a tensioning strap with ratchet. In addition, the battery of the roof fan can no longer last a full night.
The customer friendliness of James Baroud is also worth mentioning. Through my own fault, the plastic hooks on the ladder broke. A metal replacement arrived promptly and free of charge. The rivets and instructions for repairing the damage were also included. The charging cable of the lamp could not be found for a while and we received a new one without any complications and bill. Such a good service simply has to be mentioned. (No, I am not getting paid for this)
The experiences of holiday life with a roof tent and why we have given it up you can read here …