Eezi-Awn 1200 Roof Top Tent: Evaluation and Photos
- Category: Nissan Frontier: The Adventure Vehicle
- on Sun Jun 14, 2009
- by Mark Stephens on Sun Jun 14, 2009 - (6) Comments
Benefits of a Roof Top Tent
And I noticed a proportional phenomenon when we met. Let's see if I can say this right. 12 trucks, 12 roof top tents, and (God bless us) 12 women.
What does that tell you?
In general, these tents rank high for comfort in comparison to their ground staked counterparts. Naturally. We're talking about a large foam mattress that's off the ground. Hello? What sucks about that?
Of course, with a tent attached to the vehicle, you have similar advantages that an RV has. Namely the ability to have a comfortable bed with little trouble and in just a few moments.
Good news gains momentum as it rolls downhill: when setting up a comfortable place to sleep is fast and easy, it's a hell of a lot more fun too.
Video: How to set up an Eezi-Awn roof top tent
- Construction: 380g cotton ripstop canvas with wax impregnation (breathable, yet waterproof), 1/2" thick marine grade plywood base with aluminum channel braces, PVC rain fly, and PVC travel cover
- Self-erecting design
- Collapsible, adjustable ladder for variable height set up and mounting
- Proprietary (and innovative) mounting tracks and fasteners allow the tent to be affixed to virtually any roof rack or load bars
- Two doors, booth with an inner mesh screen that allows you to keep out the bugs but let the air flow through
- Two windows with awnings and same mesh screens as the doors
- Interior pockets for storing books, jewelry, and so forth
- High density foam mattress, fabric covered, measuring 48" x 96"
Interior and Exterior Pictures Eezi-Awn Roof Tent
First go around: ripstop canvas construction with a marine grade plywood base coated with an exterior polyurethane. The canvas tent also features a nylon rain fly, an aluminum extending ladder, and proprietary aluminum channels that allow the tent to be affixed to a roof rack of some kind. A peek inside revealed the mattress, which I found extraordinary, but I think it was mostly due to the concept: It's no thermarest on the rocky ground. The truth is that this mattress is the weakest part of the tent. Admittedly, it's still nice to sleep on and we can dress it with queen size sheets (though the mattress is actually 12" too long and about 12" too narrow to be a real queen bed, making the fit rather odd). Again, beats a sleeping bag on the ground.
I like the interior height of the tent. I can sit up to read a book with plenty of overhead height to spare (measures 51" to the peak). In the each corner the tent features a nice pocket, both doors and both windows have mesh screens with solid zippers.
Quote me on this: It's no piece of shit.
Installing an Eezi-Awn Roof Top Tent
More or less a piece of cake, considering it's 110 pounds and 48" square. It's tough to handle it by oneself. But like I brought up in the benefits section, the base has proprietary channels and Eezi-Awn supplies a sliding fastener.
Let's get the good parts out of the way: I've been around the block singing about the fun of having an easy and comfortable tent that's the envy of all my macho buddies who think I'm "soft." We've been able to travel to places and not worry much about where we'd camp. We can take in both primitive dirt road camping as well as a night in an RV park without feeling weird. So, yes, the benefits prove their mettle.
I'm sure that the upside of having a real bed to sleep on while camping is evident.
The bad: sometimes I think that a decent $600 ground tent would be just fine. The trouble with a vehicle-mounted tent is immobility. Once it's set up, you're stuck. Of course,the Eezi-Awn is simple enough to stow, but the inconvenience still exists. For spending a weekend at National Parks, for instance, this isn't much of a problem. However, we've enjoyed more than a few trips in which we camped in one place for two or three nights but wanted to explore or drive during the day - a trailer or ground tent would be much more convenient in this regard, and it's worth considering in the future.
In heavy rain, I've noticed some water ingress in the corners where the rain fly does not protect. The canvas is treated for weather-resistant performance, and this treatment out to be maintained from time to time. Aqua-Tite Water Proofing or 303 Fabric Guard are readily available at boating stores and some camping stores.
Worst of all, though, I simply do not like how dark the tent is inside. This is a direct result of the heavy canvas - which has it upsides and downsides. However, I've remedied the darkness with some extreme low voltage LED lights that I've hard wired into the auxiliary battery. Funny enough, the lights came from Ikea (Dioder: www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50119407)
Custom LED Lights Inside The Eezi-Awn Roof Tent
Currently the 1200 Eezi-Awn retails for $1,650. It's crafted in South Africa and was originally put to use in that market (think safari and overland travel) - I think that speaks to the high quality of the tent. Put it in a container, ship it to the States, run it through customs, pay some fees, inventory the product, handle some damages here and there, service customers . . . I think $1,650 is an appropriate price. You'll consider fewer hotel rooms thanks to the ease of set up and comfort found inside.
As for the configuration on the Frontier, it takes up valuable space, however aerodynamic it remains.
The 1200 is just a shade too small for our family of three, but we manage. Before child, the tent was the perfect size for Brooke and I. Installing a larger tent on this truck, and in the current over-the-bed position, is simply out of the question. There's no space unless I move it on top of a shell (which I like that idea, too). I'm starting to like the idea of a Flippac . . .
Eezi-Awn Roof Top Tents are imported by Equipt Expedition Outfitters: www.equipt1.com