October 2013 long weekend was the perfect moment to test our new ARB Simpson III roof top tent.
During the Penrith Caravan and Camping show (2013), this tent was $1200 with self installation (normal price is $1400), so with a $100 deposit we reserved the tent for that price.
Choosing the right seller
We also wanted to purchase the ARB touring roof top tent and the tent annex from ARB Penrith but we've decided to go to ARB St. Peters instead. Amazing team, helpful and friendly.
The touring roof rack was not in stock, but they agreed to bring it for us from other store quite fast. They also sold us the last tent annex and a Bushranger wheellie bin, both last items in store. They were on display for only 2 weeks, in perfect condition, but they gave us a great discount. Great attitude, super-friendly, highly recommended shop.
Unfortunately the team there was fully booked until the next week so we were not able to have the installation done by them. With only two days before the October long weekend, we had to do the installation ourselves.
Installation and Review
The roof top tent installation was easier than I thought. The first half of the installation was done in the living room. The zippers were a bit tricky as the manual doesn’t clearly explain which goes where, but the rails and the ladder were not too difficult to put in place.
I was able to put the tent on the roof with my wife. We have no garage to lift it with ropes or similar, so with a little bit of elbow grease, it can be done. We put a blanket on the back of the car so it will not get scratched, we lifted the tent on top of the spare wheel, and then a final lift to the roof rack. We have replaced the standard fixing brackets that came with the tent with the one that were provided with the roof rack. They are more solid, and they look nicer painted with the same colour as the roof rack (See here the ARB touring roof rack review).
The tent is easy to setup, easy to fold down. It has great ventilation, lots of windows, each with fine mesh and strong zippers.
We’ve found the mattress to be a bit hard. We were used with the deep and soft one we had in the Oztrail double swag. I think we’ll swap them or replace the ARB one with a thicker self-inflatable (Thermarest) one.
We’ve used it many times now and all I can say is that we are happy with it. It got through some heavy rains but it doesn’t leak, going strong and the stitches are holding.