FOLD OUT V’S POP UP TENTS – THERE ARE A FEW MAJOR REASONS WE CHOSE HOWLING MOON SAFARI TENTS – read on…
Quite simply, we think the South African designed and manufactured Howling Moon Tents are best by far for the UK with its ever changing weather. Complete with queen size memory foam mattresses our roof tents offer superior space and comfort. Designed for hard-core safari adventures they’ll withstand high winds, will keep you cool in warmer temperatures and warm in cooler climes with their excellent ventilation system. Windows open easily giving you full visibility of the views around – with a front door, side and rear windows you’ll have panoramic views from your elevated bedroom on the roof! Best of all this extra comfort doesn’t come with much extra effort. They’re quick and easy to put up and are just as easy to bring down when you decide it’s time to move on.
We tried a couple of different versions of the pop up roof tents on the market. The Tent Box Classic was one of those. It’s very easy to use, a really simple set up and great for an odd weekend here or there. Nice in Summer weather but it just didn’t feel like a tent. It lacked security. It didn’t seem robust enough to withstand the ‘raining cats and dogs when it’s blowing a gale’. It lacked privacy, felt small and we couldn’t attach any accessories to it like an annex. The main and only benefit of the pop up is its ease of use. Some are simpler to pop up than others but generally they’ll take between 1-2 minutes to get up whereas the fold out tent takes a little longer, generally 3 – 5 minutes. Don’t forget, when you’re camping, time is very much on your side so a few minutes here or there shouldn’t be a deal breaker when you consider the benefits of the fold out far outweigh those of the pop up.
Once we decided we were going down the fold out route we invested in a couple and really test them out. Our Our Land Rover Defenders are equipped with one or two tents (one opens to the side and the other to the rear when used in unison). Over 6 weeks, travelling through 12 countries we took one of our Defenders all the way to Turkey! With our then 15 year old daughter in tow, two tents was a must. Given the room our tents offer we could have slept three people in one tent but three adults is a push – two adults and a child – absolutely, but moreover, 15 year olds need their own space and she slept safely and soundly in her own tent for the entire adventure.
On our trip we encountered every bit of weather you could imagine facing during the Summer months in Europe. From wet and windy France (not the climate we’d envisaged!) to 35°C heat of Croatia and Northern Greece. The trip was absolutely incredible. Our Defender was a beast. We were the envy of the other campers and wherever we pitched up had many an admirer. Funnily enough we’d be tucking into breakfast or an evening meal and passers by would stop to take photographs! The set up is just something special.
One very proud moment was on a ferry heading across to the Island of Bol in Croatia. I think we had the best compliment ever from a VWT5 California owner. He simply walked up and said “even after spending 80K and thinking I was going to be the coolest on the road, you always come across someone who has a cooler set up, awesome mate” he said!
Our journey to Turkey was a laid back meander. Our journey back up to Northumberland needed to be swift. Our record for putting up the tent and then taking it down when we needed to hit the road to make the Euro Tunnel was just a couple of minutes up and the same down. By this time however, we were pro’s.
We knew we’d made the right decision to go with Howling Moon when we toured the NC500 through Scotland spending time high up on the North West Coast in 2021 (yes, we love Land Rover camping so much we have to admit to booking some slots out for ourselves). On two separate ocassions we came across other holiday-makers who had hired from another defender hire company using pop up tents. They weren’t using the tents and we found both sleeping in their vehicles with the tents packed away.
Intrigued we asked why and both said they were scared of damaging the tent boxes. They’d been briefed on hand-over that if winds rose above 25mph they were liable for any damage caused to the tents if they were used in those conditions. Really, 25mph winds in Scotland? We’ve been in Borrowdale Valley in the Lakes in winds and gusts of 50 – 60 mph, didn’t get a wink of sleep but were all safe, sound and dry!
So, the upshot is our tents have never let us down. Not ever. You can always get warm providing you have the right equipment. Howling Moon originates from South Africa and are the original roof tent manufacturers with over 30 years experience. They’re designed to withstand extreme conditions. They’re bomb proof and the material and ventilation via the windows set up keeps you cool. Even in 35°C of Greece there were only a couple of nights where we felt the heat as we slept.
Every Land Rover has an awning. It’s a must. With two roof tents it’s the Half Moon Awning that’s packed. With one roof tent we have the 270° Swing Awning. Both are awesome bits of kit. For our Turkey trip the half moon awning gave us protection from the sun and rain and the size of it allowed us to carry out any task no matter what the weather – from cooking to storage and shelter.
What’s more, our trips have meant we have been able to extensively test all the equipment we provide with each hire. What we include today is what works. Most importantly it allowed us to get rid of anything cumbersome, unnecessary or just not fit for purpose. The only suggestion we’ve had from one of our customers has been the addition of a salad bowl! It’s this attention to detail, we are told, that makes all the difference.