Up till now, we’ve had a sort of platform bed arrangement for grabbing some beauty sleep in the back of the 109 when we go away. It’s essentially three sheets of wood with a self-inflating mattress on top. It’s simple and comfortable, and it was cheap and quick to make. The platform is also just the right height for storing banana boxes underneath (banana boxes are surprisingly strong, and free from the local supermarket – ideal storage solution!)
The platform bed isn’t flawless though – it’s not exactly private, which is fine in Scotland but was problematic at times on mainland Europe. It’s also not great when the weather is wet (which is most of the time in Scotland). Even with the roof vents open, it can get a bit condensation-y in there.
Roof tents seem popular with overlanding types, so I thought it might be worth trying one. The fully-canvas ones looked a bit of a faff (looked being the key word, I’ve never actually used one), which left the hardshell ones. After some internet sleuthing, I decided I wanted a Maggiolina. They seemed to be well-liked by owners, and look fairly stealthy when packed away. I found a second hand Maggiolina Airlander in good condition on eBay – I figured if we don’t get on I can just sell it again, so it *shouldn’t* be a total waste of money.
The temperature dropped a bit the last few days, and the rain finally stopped. Ideal time to test the roof tent out and maybe nab a couple more Munros then.
We headed out on Friday night, and pitched up at maybe 9.30 pm, so obviously it was pitch black. The roof tent went up with no fuss – the base and roof are fibreglass, and it goes up in maybe 30 seconds by winding a handle on the side. There is a power screw and scissor mechanism at each end which hoists the whole thing up, and once the sides are taught it’s a surprisingly stiff structure. The base has a built-in mattress, so we just had to launch a few duvets up and it was good to go.
The base was fine and comfy, though it could be a bit longer – I’m 6’3 ish, and there wasn’t much room to spare.
Next time I’ll try opening the small vent panels in the sides – we left them closed as it was muchos chilly. This didn’t seem like such a good idea in the morning when everything inside the tent was covered in frost! Evidently the moisture in our breath had nowhere to go. This could have been a very damp experience had it not been well below freezing.