Let’s talk tents

ARB Esperance RTT

What’s better than to stop for a night, set up your tent, sleep tight, pack down then away you go back on the road to the next adventurous day.

From basic to boujie, your choice of camping accommodation comes down to a number of factors. These may include your budget, the length of the trip you intend on taking, the size of your family and so much more. Comparing a swag to a caravan is like comparing apples to oranges. For many 4WDers heading off the blacktop and onto some of the tougher tracks, the idea of towing can become a bit daunting as you’re going to need a serious off road trailer or van, purpose built for tight and rough terrain. Let’s take a look at each of the standard camping options and you can make up your own mind about which is right for you. 

The Humble Swag

Great for:

  • Solo travellers
  • Couples
  • Older kids
  • Overnighters and quick getaways
  • Those with limited storage space
  • No fuss, quick set-up

The swag originated with Australian swagmen, farm workers who used to walk between farms looking for work during the 1800s. Their swag would be rolled up with their belongings inside and carried on their back. Over the years, the humble swag has evolved from a simple sheet of canvas to a tapered design and, more recently, to dome-shaped structures. Swags are great for cool nights as they hold heat well and modern designs offer full star-gazing views with over-sized entries for warmer conditions. 

Some important things to consider when choosing a swag include:

  • Material: Make sure your swag is made from a heavy-duty, waterproof canvas with wicked seams and rain gutters to prevent water entering zips. Swags that also incorporate a waterproof PVC base are important for keeping you dry and protected in extreme conditions.
  • Size: Swags can make some people feel cramped so we recommend a king single size at minimum. Dome swags also provide a roomier comfortable night’s sleep with space to sit up and get in and out more easily. A double-sized swag is great for couples, multiple kids or extra room for your furry friend.
  • Mattress: The thickness of your mattress is vitally important; after all, a soft bed of meadow grass is rarely an option when pitching your swag. We recommend a minimum 70-millimetre mattress thickness and make sure it comes with a machine-washable cover. Many swags on the market are provided vacuum-packed, which can mean waiting weeks for your mattress to gain proper shape (if it ever does), so look for swags that are provided ready to use straight out of the box.
  • Ventilation: Whilst swags are great to keep you warm in winter, without proper ventilation they can be stifling in warm or humid weather. Look for a swag with multiple windows and large openings for maximum ventilation and airflow.

The Great Tent Debate

There are a plethora of tent options on the market, from tiny one-person tents to multiple-room camping mansions. There are many important considerations when choosing a tent and these can include:

  • Number of people using the tent
  • The environmental conditions the tent will be used in (Look for a tent that offers features that will work in every condition.)
  • Ease of use and the time it takes to set up
  • The size of the tent (Remember, the bigger the tent, the larger the campsite you need to find.)
  • Weight and size when packed up (Will you have room to fit it in with all your other camping necessities?)
  • Price (You get what you pay for with tents and a good quality tent can last a long time.)
  • Aftersales service (Look for a manufacturer that provides warranties and stands by their product.) 

Rooftop Tents vs Ground Tents

Whilst the option of having a rooftop tent will depend heavily on your 4WD set-up, there are many benefits to them. They keep you off the ground, which means you don’t have to worry about messy sand or mud or finding a perfectly flat surface. Rooftop tents are also ready to go as soon as they are set up with your mattress and bedding packed inside. Rooftop tents also free up vital “everyday access” storage space in your vehicle.

A room with a view

A rooftop tent delivers the ultimate in ease and convenience when traveling. Unfolding in minpick-ups, a rooftop tent provides sleeping quarters off the ground, protected from the elements. All bedding can remain inside the tent during the journey, freeing up vital storage space in the vehicle, and allowing the tent to be quickly and easily packed away.

Five Reasons Why a Rooftop Tent Is a Top Choice 

  1. A rooftop tent is a simple extension of your already very capable 4WD; it can go anywhere your 4WD can. 
  2. Set-up and pack-up is quick; bedding can be stored inside, you’re one fold away from a good night’s sleep.
  3. A rooftop tent can be used on any terrain. Unlike a ground tent, you don’t need to worry about the ground surface; whether it is rocky or uneven, the rooftop tent is oblivious. Additionally, no extra space is required other than your vehicle’s footprint.
  4. Your bed is well off the ground, away from water, creepy crawlies and other nocturnal animals; great for trips to the Cape, the Victorian High Country, Fraser Island, etc.
  5. Generous internal space with great climate control, nicely elevated and with plenty of windows; managing airflow for a comfortable night’s sleep is a breeze.

ARB Flinders rooftop tent

Easy set-up and hassle-free pack down:

  • Set up and pack down is simplified thanks to the zipped cover which does not have to be removed.
  • Setting up is as simple as unzipping the cover, opening out the tent using the ladder and sliding the extendable poles into position – all internal poles will intuitively fan out into place!
  • Packing down is easy via 2 internal bungee lines to help pull the sides of the tent in as it folds down.

Compact and lower profile:

  • The lower packed height of 200mm (without ladder affixed)results in reduced wind drag and adds less overall height to the vehicle.
  • Compact size allows for improved aerodynamics as well as improved access to low roof areas and tracks with low canopies.
  • Removable ladder.

Large internal space with windows:

  • When set-up, enjoy a large overall internal bed space: 2400mm(L) x 1400mm (W) x 1,200mm (H at centre).
  • Manage airflow via the 5 zippered windows featuring dual midge-proof mesh screen.
  • Rain and sun awning shelters to side windows and entrance.
  • Integrated vent ensures maximum airflow and reduced condensation.
  • Includes comfy 50mm high-density foam mattress with bedding retention straps.

Internal light, USB charging points and storage pockets

  • Features an LED touch lamp and 2 x USB charging points that can connect to a vehicle’s 12V outlet.
  • Includes 4 storage pockets, shoe pockets, pack down bungee cords, 5m lighting cable extension, mounting kit and hardware.

ARB Esperance RTT rooftop tent

Simply lift, pull and rest:

  • Set up is as simple as unclamping the cover, lifting it up, and folding out the tent via a pull.
  • Can be packed up with compact bedding left inside.
  • Internally stored telescopic ladder.

Extra protection:

  • Wind-resistant, slimline hardshell design that has been crafted with a streamlined mould.
  • Stainless steel hardware for long-term durability.
  • Canvas is made from 200GSM poly cotton fire retardant with a silver-coated 2m water head.
  • Fly is made from removable 210D fire retardant canvas, with silver-coated 3m water head.

Roomy and comfy interior:

  • When set up, enjoy a large overall internal bed space: 1520mm (L) x 2000mm (W) x 1200mm (H at centre).
  • 4cm thick, high-density sponge featuring a quilted polyester peach skin removable mattress cover.
  • Manage airflow via the three zippered windows featuring dual midge-proof mesh screen.
  • Integrated vent ensures maximum airflow and reduced condensation.
  • Stargazing moonroof.

Handy features:

  • Features an internal dimmable LED strip light with concealed cables.
  • External LED strip lighting to help you out late at night.
  • Includes internal storage pockets, shoe pockets, cargo pockets, mounting kit and hardware.