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I fitted one last autumn and had this dilemma. Fitting over the rear (overhanging) means you have shade which you can also use as a possible shower tent/kitchen tent. Over the front gives possible mobility, as Sam's just said. Also the angle for the entry ladder is more vertical if you climb up from the rear (and hence a bit more queasy feeling when youve had a few sherberts!) and the whole ladder, being longer, flexes more (adding to the Brown Trouser Factor)
My requirement was that I didnt want to cut my roofrack any more than I had to and I have a row of spots above the windscreen on the front of the rack (looks damn silly but I fitted them after experiences driving in North Africa at night with flocks of goats and gormless cyclists without lights - I decided I want all the lighting I can get, to avoid two tons of Defender making kebab out of hapless goat and Bedu). My rack has a cut-out section at the rear anyway so all I had to do was remove a foot of bar as opposed to the whole front section plus lights.
Given a flat rack and no lights Id fit it to the front as I think the structure is basically more stable that way anyway. Mind you I know a guy who has his opening out solely onto the roof rack (no overhang). Very stable but you lose the entire rack!
Horses for courses.
(Edit; I can however drive with the tent pitched, just take the lower half of the ladder away and you can drive normally with the tent waggling about at the back. I have a friend who also does this)
[This message has been edited by Runner (edited 08 June 2004).]
You can also fit them so they hang out over the side of the vehicle (to one side or the other).
I have an eezy awn which folds out over the vehicle's rear. The tent also has a shower skirt option which is great when you have got a local audience watching your every move! Clearly you could not use a shower skirt option if you forward mounted the rooftent.
The forward mount is attractive though for the reasons mentioned in the previous post, however I think that perhaps it more of a psychological prop than anything else.
In a situation where you feel your personal security is threatened you would either hand over your keys and possesions or take a chance and drive off (probably leaving a proportion of your camping gear behind). Whether or not your rooftent is fully funtional after your experience would probably be a secondary consideration.
NB. If you wanted to prepare for such a situation you could I suppose modify the rooftent such that you can insert a support bar which would take the weight of the opened rooftent without resort to the ladder (which usually bears the weight of the extended half of the tent and occupants).
Runner beat me to it on this post!
[This message has been edited by ctc (edited 08 June 2004).]
The best example of a tent over the front must be Andy le May's from www.overlandy.co.uk .
He modified the roofrack and tent so that access can be gained via the front sunroof of his Discovery. Easy access into the tent and the rear of the vehicle!
I have to agree that over the rear the tent gives a little bit of shelter, esp. if you plan to use a gas cooker of the back door.
I used to have mine over the back and moved it up to the front. Mine sits on top of the roof rack side bars as I have spot lights mounted on the front of the rack and brake and indicator lights on the rear of the rack and haven't got round to redoing these so I can take the bars out. The downside to this is that the tent creates more of a wind profile as its sat 3" higher up that it needs to be but it works. The reason I moved it to the front is a) the ladder is easier to use as it is at less of an angle, b) my girlfriend is only 5ft 4" and she couldn't do anthing with the tent at the back but at the front she can stand on the bonnet and open / close it. As to the shade thing over the rear door, it might help a bit but I'm surprised if anyone is actually using it as a showering point, primarily because it would turn the main access point round the rear door of the vehicle into a muddy mess in most places.
Last weekend placed our tent on the front section of our roofrack. This was new for us and the car since we always placed it in the back. Reason is that I am finishing my roofrack and still have some modifications to do on the backside. But I need the tent to sleep in this week, so had to place it in the front.
By now I am sure we will place the tent back to the back section asap. Fuel consumption is the sole reason.
Seems that if the tent sits in the back, the front screen pushesh the wind up and it 'throws' itself over the tent on back of the roofrack.
With the tent in front the wind gets jammed between the roof and the tent. Causing quite a efficient wind buffer.
Theres good and bad reasons for both ways of fitting them.
I fitted my Hannibal 1.2M at the rear on a Defender 90 and cut out the back of my Safety Devices rack, you get shade, protection from rain and wind whilst cooking and eating at the back door.
Being at the back still between the side rails its protected from all those lovely overhanging branches and sharp thorns that you get in the Sahel - a consideration as I didnt want the PU cover shredded...Mali is a good example of somewhere that will wreck your cover quite quickly.
With The Hannibal (and I think the Ezi Awn too) I can remove the bottom half of the ladder and move the vehicle if neccesary It does not rely on the ladder for all its support, I know you cant do this with a Brownchurch.
Downsides of rear mounting are that after a long days drive the back of the tent (above the door)is normally covered in dust and needs a light brush off before opening. If you mount the tent at the front then this does not happen.
With the tent mounted at the front the rear of the rack is free for any other gear you are carrying - gas bottles etc and much easier to access from your rear ladder than climbing up the front and over the bonnet.
Finally you all like to sleep with your heads higher than your feet right ??? if you mount it at the front you climb up, sit in and lie down ( the rear suspension is normally higher than front - so you would normally lie feet to the front of the vehicle), if you mount it at the rear you climb in sit down turn around and then lie down...Id always get my feet on my girlfriends pillow !!!
If you do fit your Roof Tent to the front or rear on a Land Rover make sure you use extra support bars from rack to bulkhead/rear body as the guttering is not strong enough to support heavy weight on its own over a long period of time - its only rated for 75kg including rack weight - you have been warned !
Just a word on The Hannibal - its a good tent - things that are not so good - the Fly sheet is pants - and I think the sprung poles are a poor design. In hot african weather in dry season the Hannibal was bloody good - more ventilation and cooler than any other (same as Ezi Awn) with the fly off - after prolonged rain though the fly is not up to the job.
The Brownchurch is a better designed tent - not as cool in the heat as the Hannibal, but more suited to travelling through Europe in winter and a rainy season, the fly sheet mounting with the gavanised supports is much better than the Hannibal / Ezi Awn method and the build quality is better.
Hope this is of help, Cheers Grif.
From the last post I understand that the edge (gutter?) were the roofrack sits in is not strong enough over a longer period of time. Wich I can easely believe.
I can see how you can bring the weight down to the main structure of the car at the front. But how to do this in the back of the car?
Any pictures? I have a serie III
On the "Brownchurch" expedition model for LR's, the rear of the rack is supported by a ladder on one side, which takes the weight down to the rear cross member / bumber. And on the other side by a bar which comes down off the roofrack to waistline of the vehicle (ie where the hard top sits on the rear tray) and bolts through the body.
The front of the rack has support bars which attach to the pillar brackets at the bottom of your windscreen.
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