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TRAVEL Hints and Tips Post your TIPS to travellers - all the interesting little tidbits you learned on the road about packing, where to get stuff, and how to cope with problems. Please make sure the subject describes the tip clearly!
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Old 6 Sep 2008
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Roof tent versus normal one?

Lots of people travelling in Africa seem to take a roof tent. We are planning to take an ordinary ground based one (cost, weight being the main reasons)! Are we deluded?? Will this be an awful decision?? At the moment I can't see a problem, but would welcome comments from those who have used either ( preferably both) in NW Africa!
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Old 6 Sep 2008
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Hi there

I have used roof tents and ground tents in north west and central africa.

both work and each has its advantages.

Ground tent is light and relatively cheap and can be located in a sheltered position out of the wind (strong wind can be almost unbearable in a roof tent!).

Roof tent is heavy, quite expensive, but allows you to sleep above the creepy crawlies and catch the breaze on a hot night.

The roof tent can be used in crowded campsites or on the side of the road when sometimes it is not convenient (or possible) to pitch a tent.

I suppose I would tend towards the roof tent, but if money or weight is limited I would have no hesitation using a good ground tent, even on an extended trip.

Hope this helps


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Old 6 Sep 2008
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I've used both in Africa and would agree with all the above, I would add that roof tents seem colder than ground ones.
Though they seem to be quicker to erect.
Ground tents let you shuffle the car about, pop out for things etc.
If I had the cash i'd use a roof tent but not at the expense of the trip.
I did collapse the roofrack on my landcruiser bouncing through a gully with the rooftent and one spare wheel on top so make sure the racks solid.
Have fun.
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Old 6 Sep 2008
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Friend of ours used a cheap (Dome) ground tent on the roof of their Hilux- worked very well - Took maybe an extra 2 minutes to erect. One word of warning if you are going for more than 6 months with a cheap tent - the sunlight will distroy it - Our cheap ground tent was perfect for our trip but by the time we reached Cape Town you could push a finger through the fabric due to the UV rotting it. We also camped near a river bed in Northern Ethiopia that was "infested" with spiders and scorpions but as long as the zips work fine there was no problem. Quitet a few cheap hotels(and police barracks) will have good secure parking compounds but poor quality rooms - where pitching a tent on the ground is not a option - and a roof tent would have been an advantage.
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Old 10 Sep 2008
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I love my rooftop tent! It was custom made for me by Zimbabwe Canvas in Harare and if I zip up the outside canvas flaps I am nearly surrounded by mesh. I've spent many early mornings and late nights watching animals in and around my campsite from the heavenly comfort of my little rooftop tent. I think a rooftop tent is the best place to sleep in the world.
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