The Overlanders, Ivan and Simon, obsessively searched for the very best tent to put on our roofs. We looked high and low, tried different things.. including a 36 year old Columbus made by Autohome. We were so delighted with that tent. Compared with the many others we tried it was just the best. Autohome say they're number 1, but actually.. they are. Their tents are by some fair stretch the most refined and beautifully manufactured tent on the market.
Manufactured in Italy since 1958, Autohome patented the first roof top tent. Since then the tents have been continuously refined and improved; we've been impressed by constant, small improvements: more weatherproof zip details, a new aluminium extrusion for the clamps to fit in to make installation easier, ridiculously great fabrics, a new latch which is a work of functional art, etc.
The architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe famously said God is in the details - and you really feel it when going for a good nights sleep on a roof in a desert.
Hard-shell tents are available in a range of sizes to suit different applications; from 130 cm x 210 cm, to the giant 180 x 230 cm XL. Closed heights range from 30 to 36cm depending on the model (including of course insulated top and base with recessed fixing rails).
We've used the 130cm width tent heaps of times for two adults and it's fine. If you're a bit bigger or just keen on more space you'll notice the extra room in the 145cm medium, especially if you're trying to squeeze a little third wheel in there. We do not sell many large tents, sometimes though if the car is big enough, or you're using a trailer, it's great. The 130cm width tent looks great as it fits well within the roof-line/shape of modern cars, which generally taper up a bit.
Extra-long 230cm long tents are available for the Maggiolina Airlander Plus, Grand Tour, GT 360 and Columbus Variant.
S 130 x 210 cm
M 145 x 210 cm
L 165 x 215 cm
Hard-shell tents range from the 49kg Columbus Carbon Fiber, to the 59kg Columbus Variant, the 60kg Airtop and upwards in small increments depending on the model and size. Check out this Autohome page for a thorough run-down.
100% Fibreglass shells handmade by precision craftsmen
Fibreglass is the natural material for a roof top tent. Compared with aluminium it is about half the weight (per cubic cm), easily repairable, expands and contracts a lot less, does not conduct heat and cold, has a waaaaay higher tensile strength to weight ratio, and does not corrode. Hey, aluminium is great for a dingy or a 1995 Cannondale but you won't find it in the Sydney to Hobart........Fibreglass does the job great and for the camper who has everything, give us a ring about the Autohome Carbon Fibre range.
Breathable Fabric & Condensation Management
The fabric maketh the tent. Autohome has since 1980 been using use Dralon® or Airtex® (depending on the model), top of the range fabrics produced in Germany. The Maggi uses acrylic Dralon®. Waterproof and highly breathable. Heat resistant and allows moisture to escape naturally. No trapped moisture or bad smells. No need for fans, other contraptions or gadgets to rid the tent of moisture.
Check out this great lab test comparing the use of truly breathable fabric vs impermeable fabric in terms of condensation management.
Stitching is very important - there should be as little as possible - the fewer stitches the better, with a fine and strong thread. At the base of the tent the fabric should not be stitched as this is where water can seep through - Autohome tents have a water-shedding fabric fold at the base fixed using a proprietary spring-steel clip. This also means tent canvases can be removed from the shells for repair.
Insulated roofs and bases
The insulated Autohome roof uses an air-gap in combination with an insulating Alveolar panel and an internal foam layer. It's very quiet and there's just no condensation on the there whatsoever.
Tent bases use a sandwich construction with a 25mm high R-value rigid foam insulation moulded into the fibre-glass base, with integrated fixing channels.
Mattress & pillows
Autohome® mattresses are of the highest quality and have a density of 25-30 kg/m³. Even pillows are provided! Removable 100% cotton covers, made in Italy. Ask us about the under-mattress air circulation mat :)
Autohome® ladders are the best out there bar none. Very light, with an excellently designed retention clip. They come with a bag so that the ladder can be stored cleanly inside the tent. Clip them to the edge of the tent or the edge of your roof rack. Every time we use them we utter 'jeez these ladders are nicely made'/ Sweet-as.
Osram LED touch-controlled lamp, midge-proof mosquito-netting, anti-condensation roof and base insulation, 1 mattress and 2-3-4 pillows, 1 standard length height adjustable alloy ladder, elastic straps assist in folding the fabric when closing.
4 standard attachment clamps (to suit rack cross bars up to 44mm wide, wider clamp sets are available for purchase)
Longer 4x4 and Extra-long ladders are available at a small additional cost, as are a selection of wider clamps to suit different roof bar widths.
Availability of stock
We aim to keep a good range available, and we make stock that is either on order from Italy or currently in transit available for pre-order.
The Overlanders is the official importer and distributor of Autohome products. We keep and supply stock of the Autohome roof top tents and accessories that we like the best, but there is a wide range of sizes and colours. Please give us a ring on the store number or 0438771105 or shoot us a message to find out more about what's in stock, what'd best suit your specific set-up, and special orders.