After many years of resisting, I’ve finally decided to go the roof top tent route versus purchasing a 4×4 trailer or RV!
This has been a big expensive project!
The first challenge was the Front Runner Slimline 2 rack on the Land Rover was only a 3/4 length. While I could have made it work with the tent, I did not like that fact that I would have almost a 20-inch overhang over the front of the rack.
A trip back to Front Runner in Agoura Hills resulted in the necessary replacement parts to make the Slimline rack full length.
Unfortunately, the factory roof mounts on the Land Rover were very rusty, and several bolts sheared in the process of mounting the new rack. I will save you the details, but please know that removing a bolt extractor that has broken is an enormous job!
In doing my research on hard roof top tents, I found the James Baroud to be highly rated and equally expensive, funny how that always happens.
I found a local dealer for the James Baroud tents in Escondido by the name of Nomad Ventures. Working with their friendly staff, I soon meet the owner, Bruce Damon, who was the most helpful person I’ve met in many years – I highly recommend you give him a call if you’re in the market for a James Baroud tent – or any outdoor gear for that matter.
Bruce worked with me to modify the roof mounts to the Front Runner rack. Since Front Runner is in South Africa and James Baroud in Spain, they don’t offer an off the shelf solution for the tent mount. Steele at Front Runner was very helpful in setting me up with the correct parts to change out the rack. Please carefully consider your solution to mounting a rooftop tent including consideration for load, attachment to your vehicle, and height.
Our first experience with the James Baroud tent was a short trip to Idyllwild for the three-day weekend. My hope was to find a Forest Service campground or yellow post site, but everything was full when we arrived on Saturday night. Knowing that the state parks will let you purchase a handicapped site after 5 pm we got lucky and got a site at the Idyllwild State Park. While the site was not that great I was impressed with the facilities of the park including flush toilets, showers, and water. Close to town, it was handy to walk to dinner.
On Sunday we went in search of a more remote site, but all the National Forest sites and Yellow Post sites near Idyllwild were full. Deciding to check out Thomas Mountain near Hemet Lake we found a really nice Yellow Post site below the summit.
Our first impressions of the James Baroud tent are favorable. I was really concerned about going up and down the latter, particularly at night for a nature call. The provided aluminum latter mounts to either side of the tent and is plenty sturdy. We also have an alternative exit on the rear of the Land Rover with the permanent latter.
I was surprised how much the Land Rover moved as we rolled over in the tent. It did not take any time to get used to this. Overall the mattress was very comfortable, ventilation really good, and I love being able to open up the tent fully with screens. An added bonuses are the included USB rechargeable light and solar power fan when the tent is zipped up tight.
The yellow post site was situated high above the Valley and the wind was pretty significant. The James Baroud tent performed great and we even had some light rain during the night.
Closing up the James Baroud tent in the morning prior to departure was an easy task. I store the latter and case in the closed tent along with the sleeping bags, pillows, and blankets.
Once I’ve had a few trips under my belt with the James Baroud tent expect to see some videos detailing those first impressions.