This is the James Baroud Horizon Vision. Its not cheapest RTT (Roof Top Tent) out there but the size, weight, unique features and quality of materials led me to choose this tent over others. After a day of hiking, prospecting for gold, binge drinking or adventuring I want a dry and comfortable place to lay my head. This tent fit the bill. I’ll cover some of the features here and why they were important to me. If you’re reading this because you are considering a roof top tent, most of these features will be important considerations on any brand RTT. I will also be doing some blog posts in the future on roof top tents and the fun and not so fun things about them. I’m very happy with this tent so far. Also, at the time of this writing I have no relationship with James Baroud so this is just my honest opinions of the tent.
Size: 59″W x 43″L x 9″H Closed / 59″W x 86″L x 48″H Open. This is great sized tent. When opened it’s basically a queen sized bed on your roof. It even has a small space at the end for your shoes, clothes and a small bathroom….if you count a one gallon water jug as a bathroom. Enough height to sit up fully even if you are 6′ 1″ like me. Great for changing clothes easily. Enough space for two people and very spacious when traveling solo. Plenty of room to sprawl out. Closed its compact and at just 9″ of height it doesn’t create too much wind noise or resistance going down the road. I think it probably dings me for 1 mpg on a Jeep.
Weight: 105 lbs. One of the lightest roof top tents on the market. This was a huge factor for me. It has a full aluminum structure and aluminum composite floor with an insulating layer. Not only strong but lightweight.
Material: Canvas coated with 6 layers of aluminum to reflect the sun and make it super water resistant. So resistant that there is no rainfly to mess with. Many manufacturers now days will not call their tents “waterproof”. I think it’s because of some legal bullshit or something. So far the material has kept me dry every time from light rain to serious downpours. That makes it “waterproof” to me. The aluminum layers reflecting the sun also help to keep it cooler inside on blistering hot days.
Ventilation: The tent has a covered vent on each side at the peak in addition to the windows. These help a lot with ventilation and condensation control. I also have an anti condensation mat underneath the mattress. The system works fairly well. I have never had any dripping condensation off the roof or serious dampness on the mattress. When it’s really cold, any tent is going to get a little condensation. Especially if you’re a mouth breather like me.
Mattress: The mattress is about 2.75″ thick and is made out of memory foam. I do have the anti condensation mat underneath it, so that may contribute a little to the comfort. The mattress for me is perfect. It’s surprisingly comfortable. I know many people often add another layer of foam, I have not found it necessary so far. I mean its definitely not a pillow top mattress but on the road in the middle of nowhere it’s a luxury. It also absorbs heat very quickly and doesn’t cause me to sweat like memory foam often does. The mattress comes with a washable cover. I actually use a fitted sheet, a sheet and a down alternative comforter. So it feels just like crawling into bed at home….home is where I park it. I am not a big fan of sleeping bags because I feel too constricted.
Windows and Doors: This has 4 screened windows. When combined with the 2 screened doors this allows for great air flow and a nice cross breeze. It also provides an incredible panoramic view of your surroundings. On a beautiful lazy day surrounded by mountains it’s definitely an experience. On a not so beautiful day the 2 doors also have a tinted plastic window layer. This allows for light to come through and you don’t feel like you are in a dark cave. I will say that the dual layer doors are a bit confusing at first with all the zippers. One thing I don’t like but see why they designed it that way is the dual velcro sealing closure at the bottom of the double layer doors. It does seal it up tight and you won’t get any drafts or water coming in at seam as you could if they had used zippers. Smart thinking by the engineers. However, if you want to sneak out of your tent at night then good luck. Unsticking that velcro will wake the dead and its also pretty tough stuff to unstick when you’re half asleep. On a good note, heavy-duty velcro was used so its unlikely to wear out. Not a deal breaker, just annoying at times.
Ladder: The ladder is just “Ok” for me. It’s lightweight and sturdy but it could be a little wider overall. The rungs are slightly angled so they are fairly comfortable even on bare feet, but again they could have a little more depth to them. The ladder can be a challenge after a night of drinking. The ladder is probably not at fault though….
Wind and Weather: I believe this tent is rated for up to 60 mph winds. I’ve been in high winds before and never had a problem. I will say that getting in and out in the rain can be a little tricky because of the sloped entrances. The angled entrance will let a little bit of weather in as you are entering or exiting the tent. It really hasn’t been a big deal to me. The canvas is very thick and does a great job of blocking the wind. The tent stays fairly warm on moderately cold days. I’ve only ever taken it down once because of weather. I was in the Badlands boondocking near the edge of a cliff when I was fortunate enough to get a weather alert on my phone at 2am. A storm with 70 mph winds and dime sized hail was coming in 20 minutes. I took the tent down. I think the tent would have handled the winds but I was worried about the hail. Ended up being a mean storm but no hail. It did annihilate the ground tents around me.
Opening and Closing: This has gas assisted struts in the frame and a pull strap to help with opening and closing the tent. It makes it fairly easy when you factor out it sits on top of a slightly lifted Jeep with 34″ tires. So its up there.
Cover: The cover is made of heavy duty vinyl with a heavyweight stretch cord that attaches to pegs on the underside of the tent. It’s a good cover, no weather is getting in and I feel secure, even going 80 mph down the highway. Putting the cover on is fairly easy. Attaching the stretch cord is easy on the back and sides of my Jeep. However attaching the front cord is a serious pain in the ass because of the Jeep’s height and position of the tent. Again not the tent’s fault. I tend to always start with the front because it’s a bit easier with a little play. On a side note when not in use make sure you don’t hang the cover over a pine tree branch with dripping sap….for better results store cover underneath vehicle folded up.