NOTFZJ80: ARB Simpson III Roof Top Tent- 07.23.14
So excited to announce that The NOTFZJ80 Project is being sponsored by our friends at AutoNation: America’s largest auto retailer with 270 stores selling 33 brands nationwide backed by industry-leading policies like SmartChoice pricing and no-hassle money back guarantee. They are helping us turn our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser into an overland adventure rig to go discover inspiration off-grid! Follow the progress here as we build up to our first trip.
On NOTFZJ80 updates - the truck is currently in the shop at TLC and we have put in an order for some OEM parts over at AutoNation Toyota Irvine - so big updates to come in the following weeks! Currently the biggest update is the addition of our ARB Simpson III Roof Top Tent we received, installed, and climbed around in… (No, i haven’t spent the night in it yet!) I’m still in awe of it - so fun, so BIG, and i love the way it opens and closes. While rooftop tents have long been the norm in places like Australia and Africa (keeps you up above the creepy crawlies and such) - they are starting to pop up more and more in the US lately. It took Shawn a bit to convince me it was the way to go - until our adventures at Overland Expo where i got to climb in and around a few models to fully understand how this was so different from camping in a regular tent… and picked this one!
So what’s so different? Firstly, THE VIEW! Everything looks so different peeking out from the windows up above the car. And they say a shift in perspective can do wonders - i’ve even heard that taller beds often changing the way you dream! There’s also something treehouse like about being perched up there. Secondly, the nearly queen sized foam mattress! Yup, this isn’t just sleeping on a sleeping pad in a sleeping bag. You can even close it up with your bedding in there. And thirdly, the way it opens and closes with ease - just pull off the cover, slide out the ladder, and pull it open! With a little practice, we’re getting faster and faster with it!
Oh, and yes the cantilever is super secure - and no the ladder is not structural. (First thing everyone asks as they climb up in there!) Ready to see all the details of it up close? To the next page!
As seen in the last NOTFZJ80 update, we securely mounted the ARB Simpson III Roof Top Tent to the Front Runner Tent Mounts so that the load is securely distributed over 4 load bars. We even bounced around up there, and it isn’t going anywhere!
So when driving around - the tent is covered with this hefty UV stabilized PVC cover…
When you’re ready to set up camp - simply, whip off the cover, extend the ladder, and pull to open up the tent. When you have the ladder to the ground, extend and secure the entrance.
Looking up from the ladder to the door…
… each opening has two layers - the main door/window and the mesh screen.
Once inside, you can see the bungees throughout the tent which help keep things where they need to be when you open and close the tent.
After popping those off (and storing them in one of the many pockets) you extend and lock another aluminum section of the entrance and the interior is ready!
Open up the rainfly by popping in the metal hooked poles…
… do the same for the windows!
And that’s it! You can arrange the tent to open on either side - even off the rear. And the first question everyone has asked us is about how it cantilevers… and whether it’s secure… then they climb in and it all makes sense. There are basically two aluminum L channels that sit into each other that support the cantilever, and the aluminum ladder isn’t actually structural. You can also see that the cantilevering creates a great little space beneath it, and we’re waiting for our Tent Annex which basically zips to the tent, creating a spacious room below the tent around the ladder! On the other side of the NOTFZJ80, we’ll also have an awning soon. Camp can be popped up in no time!
Here’s the view of the side opposite the entrance…
… another view of the entrance and window.
Look how huge it is inside when you are peeking in from the top of the ladder with all of the windows open. And since the foam mattress cover can be unzipped, you can easily upgrade it - or tuck things away inside it.
The 4 built in pockets are perfect for flip flops, phones, etc.
View of Bucky watching me climb around in the tent looking out of the windows!
Current state of the car!
UPDATE! A little slow, but instructions could use a bit more detail! Just figured out that for the cover - you have to unzip the base of the zipper and slide the piping into the frame of the tent! … it’s FAR more streamlined now when driving, and the cover stays attached… now to rig something to roll it up like the tent door/windows when we’re setting up camp!