HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST AUTOHOME ROOF TENT

The range of Autohome products is very extensive and allows every traveler to find what responds perfectly to his/her needs and expectations: ideal solutions for those who have to handle the tent in extreme conditions, as also for those who use it mostly during their relaxing weekends with the family.
Thanks to the different types of technical designs with diversified opening systems, sizes, measurements, colors and accessories, the Autohome tents can adapt to every holiday style and automobile, always ensuring utmost comfort and reliability, besides being attractive and creating a really “stylish” way of travelling.
As proof of their quality, even in the most extreme forays the Autohome tents are the preferred choice of the expert Tour Leaders, explorers, photographers, journalists, sportsmen or adventure travel professionals. Their tents are perfectly identical to the normal products which any one can acquire.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE IDEAL TENT FOR YOUR NEEDS

Autohome tents can generally be applied to any type of automobile, including campers and towed trailers, which only in this case require installation and customized load-carrying racks (with the exception of convertible vehicles without assembly structures).


Here are some simple but precious details that can help you choose:
1. First of all, obviously, consider the number of places the tent has to have, since the size will depend on this.

The 5 sizes available: SMALL - MEDIUM - LARGE - X-LARGE - X-LONG


2. Choose the base rack according to the car model. As a rule observe these elements: type of car, year of manufacture and number of doors. Noting down these factors will help you identify precisely what base rack should be used.


3. In the European Community countries, the load admissible on the roof is generally indicated by the automobile producer. However, take note that it is not a law norm but just advice for safe travel, and is often accompanied by instructions on driving behavior: braking, tracts on bad roads, bends.
A good rule is to always comply with the maximum load allowed on the roof, indicated in the vehicle’s registration booklet. Pay attention however, since usually such admissible load for transport on the vehicle refers to the maximum load for a moving vehicle, and therefore does not refer to the overall static load for parked cars
It would be advisable to carefully read the use instructions attached to the tent packaging, and which are an integral part of the product. These instructions can be consulted also in the Autohome website shop in the submenu of the “Instructions for Use.”


4.For those who own a medium category vehicle, a SW / SUV /4x4 / van, the possible options in Autohome’s offer cover the entire range and one can choose both tents in fabric and shell tents, up to the Large shell tents. For X-Large shell tents, it would be advisable to have them installed on trucks, vans or American 4x4 vans of huge dimensions.


5. When travelling with a big family in a small car, it would be good to go for the OVERCAMP / OVERLAND / OVERZONE / AIR-CAMPING fabric models; these models are very livable, and when closed have a limited bulk since they can be folded into 2. They thus offer highly flexible use without compare, especially when staying in a campsite, and used in combination with specific supplementary accessories.


6.It would be preferable to choose the tent model also according to the physical build of the occupants:
- In case of stocky builds, choose one size bigger.
- For normal builds, choose the correct size according to the seats/dimensions ratio, so as to favor also the aerodynamic and aesthetic impact on the automobile.
- As a rule the stiff shell models are 210 cm long.
- For those who are over 185 cm tall and wish to be more comfortable, the preferable models are the X-LONG (X-LONG = 230 cm - Max length for the stiff models).
- Keep in mind that the length in the fabric models with leaf opening is instead 220 cm.


7. If a flat rack has already been installed on the roof of your 4x4 and you wish to have half of the roof free, that is, if besides the tent you wish to transport other adventure material (such as heavy tool cases, extra jerry cans, tires complete with wheel rims, etc.), choose the fabric tent model which is foldable: this would occupy half of the roof, leaving room for other loading needs.


8. In cases where a supplementary load space of max. 20 kg would suffice, the MAGGIOLINA EXTREME model is recommended since despite the fact that it maintains a rational profile, it also offers the possibility to load the hard shell.




DIFFERENCES BETWEEN FABRIC AND SHELL MODELS:
FIND OUT THE USE POSSIBILITIES AND LIMITS


9. Firstly, keep in mind that any type of free camping is prohibited when the structure of the tent exceeds the overall vehicle gauge.


10. Once open, Autohome shell tents perfectly fit into the outline of the vehicle: the open tent does not exceed the car side-view mirrors, and this means more freedom and having the possibility to stop over and stay wherever you wish, also outside the camping or equipped areas, in car parks, rest areas, and fuel service stations, on riverbanks, or free beaches… All of this can be done on the condition that the overall dimensions of the open tent do not exceed the car side-view mirrors. Moreover, pay attention that the ladder does not exceed the mirrors. Obviously, always respect the road signs and NO-parking areas. Sleeping on the car roof when all elements are in line with the car outline and the side-view mirrors IS NOT considered as camping. It is a type of bivouac in a car which allows total freedom for stopovers or breaks when traveling.



11. With tent models that have a leaf-opening, more space is used up and the overall vehicle gauge may be exceeded. It would then be advisable to use camping areas of prearranged parking lots, also as not to incur annoying discussions and be fined for violation of “no camping” rules.


12. The experience of the expert, Nino Cirani, acquired since 1959, has taught us that in order to stay over anywhere with the leaf-opening tents, you have to mount the tent in the “Safari version”, in order to easily overcome the issue. With such a solution (see picture below AZIZA 3), when open, the tent never exceeds the overall dimension of the car and one is free to stay anywhere.

AZIZA 3

Everything could be found in “Aziza”: Tools, cooking utensils, additional fuel tanks, a small fridge (to preserve photographic films), one hatchet, one pickaxe and one shovel. Also one machete, one rifle and one hand gun. In the images you can see Aziza 3, on which preparation work took 1.500 hours.




WHAT OPENING SYSTEM TO CHOOSE


13. Opening with handle
Definitely the most convenient, whether in the opening or closing phase, is the (MAGGIOLINA®) crank opening. It is an easy opening system for almost all vehicle heights, and moreover allows the fabric to perfectly tense by turning the handle as needed. It also ensures an advantage in terms of stability and superior wind resistance compared to any other tent model. Also after long use, the fabric remains perfectly tensed. Patented for the first time in Italy in 1958, it is a successful, timeless and incomparable system even today.


14. Opening with 2 gas pumps
Those who own a vehicle in which the crank is uncomfortable or hindered by other accessories on the roof, but especially when one desires an essential opening of a minimum internal dimension, it would be better to choose a 2-gas-pumps model (COLUMBUS®). Furthermore, besides having the 2 shells in front always zipped to one another, it offers an advantage in terms of swift closing. When open, it is also appreciated for the remarkable space inside.


15. Opening with 4 gas pumps
The AIRTOP model, which is opened in 2 steps thanks to 4 gas pumps, makes the closing maneuvers easier and convenient. The swiftness of opening and closing is likewise immediate, despite the fact that the maneuver is done in 2 steps. For example this model was chosen by MINI car company to equip the MINI COUNTRYMAN (partnership with the prestigious car company signed by Autohome in Munich in January 2017).


16. Leaf-opening
The highly appreciated AIR-CAMPING system was the favorite of the legendary Nino Cirani and accompanied him for over 30 years in his travels around the world. The leaf-opening is an element which distinguishes the entire range of Autohome fabric tents: OVERCAMP® / OVERLAND® / OVERZONE® / AIR-CAMPING®. This logical opening system, which apparently seems to be almost obvious, was patented in Italy in 1959 by Giuseppe Dionisio from Milan, who was the inventor of the mythical AIR-CAMPING tent. The system allows the tent to be precisely folded in 2, to offer minimum dimension when closed on the vehicle roof. These are “modular” tents, that is, they can be matched to 2 on the roof in order to have independent, separate rooms. They can also be used on small cars. For example it is possible to combine 2 OVERCAMP® tents, as on big 4x4 vehicles it is possible to combine 2 OVERLAND® or 2 OVERZONE® models.




CHOOSE THE MODEL ALSO ACCORDING TO THE MORE FREQUENT DESTINATIONS


17. Firstly, always remember that when you sleep at about 2 m from the ground, the wind and the sail-effects provoked are elements that should not be underestimated, also because at night the fluttering fabrics can be annoying. Precisely due to this, Autohome tents were conceived, both shell and fabric models, taking into consideration this problematic factor.


18. Tents entirely in fabric are the most subject to wind issues. Autohome Philosophy allows fabrics to be always well-stretched, firstly thanks to the remarkable robustness of the fabrics themselves (certified at 420 grams). It is a choice of quality that concurs in offering utmost tent stability. Reliability is also supported by the design of the windows and the fact that the roof is solidly joined and perfectly sewn to the sides of the tent (an exclusive Autohome feature). There are no flying flaps and the wind sail-effect is avoided.


19. Those who often travel to the great North or very windy countries should consider that the most wind-proof tent is the MAGGIOLINA®. In fact, when open, this model is very stable because of the high tenseness of the fabric. The tenseness, also thanks to the handle, can always be adjusted even after intense and long usage.


20. Instead, those who often travel to warm zones or even torrid climates should consider fabric models like the OVERCAMP® / AIR-CAMPING® / OVERLAND® / OVERZONE®. A fabric model would be preferable since it offers more textile surface, therefore, more air circulation. Remember however that for temperature changes one can always add the “Winter Hood” accessory.


21. Whoever wishes to have a “trump card” item, excellent in all situations, may prefer a shell model which easily compensates for the various issues of the environment one is staying in, because of the various technical solutions.




AUTOHOME BEST-SELLER ACCESSORIES: AN IMPORTANT INDICATION


Given that the choice of accessories is very subjective, we drew up a classification of only the most popular accessories which, however, show a clear relationship between the tent and most appreciated additional functions:

1. Wings
This is the Maggiolina® accessory that tops the classification, as it is a very practical and easy-to-apply accessory. All Maggiolina tents are equipped to apply the Wings. Very useful in case of rain, it offers a big rain-shielded space. It is an element separated from the tent fabric and is thus wind-proof and does not generate instability or turbulences. For greater security, it is not sewn to the tent fabric.


2. Winter Hood
This “vest or sweatshirt” is usually taken along when the evenings are cool. It is an accessory for those travelling to the North or when at heights, or also in the middle of the desert when the temperature changes drastically.


3. Changing Room
In a camping site it remarkably increases the space and offers greater privacy. It is a supplementary amenity serving as a “dressing room” or to gather all the camping equipment when the weather is rough.


4. Awning
All the Awnings offer a supplementary, protected relaxation area. They have a sole roof without fabric joints or dangerous stitches, to prevent rain from seeping in as wear sets in with time. There are two options for Awnings:
Travel awnings
These are installed on the roof rack/bars and folded into their cover beside the tents. The modern stiff cover is hooked onto the roof rack/bars during the journey without creating turbulences, vibrations or disturbances when driving.
Camp awnings
Not at all bulky, it can be folded in its sack and stored either in the car or in the shells (they are not exposed during the journey). They can be easily installed as needed, to protect the entrance of the tent from the weather elements, and also offer a pleasant relaxation shadowed area for dining, cooking and storing the equipment in bad weather.


5. ACS 3D Net - Orthopedic springs
Both accessories are located under the mattress, and the choice is very subjective. These are modern anti-condensation systems that allow the air to circulate under the mattress, to make the environment drier and healthier, besides, of course offering greater comfort. They even have an orthopedic function, when Springs are combined with the MEMORY FOAM mattress (h 3 cm), specifically made to complete the supply.


6. Verandas
Verandas act as the “living room” and are supplementary facilities, perfectly customizable to the type of holiday you wish. The Independent Veranda is a fundamental reference for those who wish to holiday in a camping site.
The independent structures remain assembled in the camping site to store all the camping equipment while its occupants are at the sea or doing the groceries. This can be done without having to put away all the equipment in the car trunk during brief or usual errands.


7. Space-Saving Kit
It is a really handy pulley-system which not only allows the tent to be fixed to the box or garage ceiling, but also allows you to perform a more comfortable and swift installation of the tent when it is being installed or disinstalled from the car.


8. Ground Feet
These are essentially appreciated for the following reasons:
- Generally after midnight, cars are not allowed to enter the campsites. Therefore, in view of evening outings, the tents are usually placed on the ground in the camping roadside for the night, while the vehicle is usually parked in the parking lot adjacent to the campsite.
- They are needed when the tent is placed on the ground in combination with the independent verandas. They form a practical solution for a holiday in a more residential camping site.


9. Universal Anti-theft Kit
It is a May 2019 novelty and this is the main reason for its position in the list. It was immediately sold out despite the big quantities Autohome produced. It is an exclusive anti-theft system that hinders the tent from being removed from the roof rack/bars.