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Eezi-awn Roof Tent
One of the most important pieces of equipment of our trip.
We settled upon the Eezi-awn 1.4 T-Top roof tent with side skirts. This was initially fitted at the front of the vehicle opening to the nearside but eventually moved to the rear of the vehicle with it opening to the rear (with roof rack moved to front).
The main reason for moving it was because the awning sides are designed to fit the opening rear door rather than the side doors; the 1.4 one is about as wide as will fit in this position. The tent is 1.4 metres wide and when opened, 2.6 metres long, giving a very generous bedroom with ample headroom.
The T-Top model has an addition pull out canopy that encloses the rear opening and ladder which means the ladder is enclosed by the awnings sides if need be – I made up guy ropes to tether the two rear corners in very windy conditions. With the tent fitted at the rear of the vehicle the rear flap opening was out onto the roof rack giving access to the roof contents and an alternative exit. The standard ladder needs to be extended to allow for the extra height and we took a plywood support to prevent the ladder sinking in sand.
The tent cover suffered a fair amount from acacia and bush thorns and whilst it never ripped, the stitching was worn away in places. Quite a bit of the stitching has now rotted and needs re-stitching or the cover replacing. I would now design some sort of strengthening for the two front corners that take the brunt of the bushes. Eventually the cover was replaced as the waterproofing had broken down, presumably the affects of sunlight over time.
We supplement the standard mattress with a memory mattress that made it very comfortable. We had assumed that we would spend a few nights at a time in the tent before having a few nights in a lodge to recover: as it happens we were so at home with the tent we spent very few nights away from it.
The tent is fitted with fly screens but we did at one stage supplement this with a mosquito net strung up inside but this made it quite claustrophobic.
We remembered to lock the vehicle on the key each night rather than with the key fob that would arm the alarm so we weren’t awoken to the alarm shattering the peace.
We assumed we would use the roof tent awning sides to give us protection from wild animals, as it meant the tent ladder exited into the enclosed space below and for protection from the elements. As it was, we rarely used the sides and for the space they took up could be regarded as a luxury.
We were conscious that once we were up in the tent there was an outside chance that we could be attacked by people or more likely trapped by wild animals. We had two exits; down the ladder or out onto the roof. We took to bed with us items for security and comfort: water, wind-up and big torch, sat phone, uni-sex ‘pee’ bottle, hunting knife; (my ear plugs lived in the tent pocket!) We also had two folding back-rests to make reading in bed easier that were reasonably successful although mine broke when I threw it at a monkey in Zimbabwe!