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”I definitely imagined this differently”, I hear myself saying to Timo, while sitting upright in the tent. Even though my eyes are wide open, I can’t see anything in the pitch black tent. Our new tent definitely keeps the light out well. But that’s not even the reason why I’m so startled. It’s more because I see everything light up in one second, and then go pitch black right after a second later. 

In fact, I would prefer total darkness right now. Because: It is thunder that I’m hearing.  

It is our first night in the rooftop tent. We are lying on top of our car, which is standing on a steep cliff while a thunderstorm is heading right towards us. 

In addition to that, it’s hailing and storming like crazy. Our whole car is shaking, and we are, too. 

But I had checked the weather forecast so thoroughly. There had been some rain forecast for the evening, but not more. Annoyed, I grab my phone and check the weather app again. My phone is still convinced that there’s no thunderstorm in sight even at this moment. 

“How much wind are they predicting?” Timo asks me. “About 35km per hour – is that much?” 

“I’m sure we’ll be fine here.”

I’m not as optimistic but at least relieved that David has fallen asleep next to us within 5 seconds, not registering any of the severe weather.

“Shall we go into the car instead? What happens if the tent gets struck by lightning?” I ask horrified.

“Oh, it’s really far away still”, Timo replies. Just seconds later, lightning and thunder occur almost simultaneously. “Not true”, I exclaim. “Well, but now it was already above us anyway.”

I wish I could keep calm like that. I feel like I’ve never been more awake than right now. Despite having had a long and full day of activities. 

Luckily, the storm passes, and hail and thunder stop after about an hour, and I finally fall asleep.

Only when I get up the next morning, I start fully enjoying our rooftop tent. The view of the ocean from our tent window is absolutely magical, the mattress so comfy, I don’t even want to get up at all. The bed, by the way, is bigger than the one we have at home. 

Despite the severe weather, everything had stayed dry overnight, not a drop of water to be found on the inside of the fly. David sleeping through the whole night and waking up with a big smile on his face.

In the morning, I’m still surprised how well the tent keeps out light, even during the day. Conveniently, it has great interior lighting so we can get dressed in the tent, before climbing out over the ladder and having breakfast in the sun, which has finally come out again.

Later on, we fold the tent back together including bed and pillows so that we just have to pop it open for the next night and go straight to bed (spoiler: it will be super clear and full of stars).

Overall, we’re super happy with the tent and are looking forward to see how it’s going to keep the sun out in summer, and how it performs in the long run. In any case, we’re ready for many more adventures with our off-road vehicle and rooftop tent.

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Why a rooftop tent?

At least since our Akamas Adventure we’ve known that it can be pretty difficult to find a good spot for pitching a tent in Cyprus. Most often the ground is too rocky.

When you have a rooftop tent, that’s no longer a problem. We can park our car anywhere regardless of any uneven surfaces as we can balance out our tires with a few rocks. 

We’re also hoping that it will be a little cooler in summer with the wind creating a little breeze that can flow through. We’ll see very soon if that’s actually the case.

What type of rooftop tent do we have?

We have the Roof Lodge Evolution 2 – 165 Basic, which we brought over from Germany. In Cyprus you can only buy one particular rooftop tent (the Feather-Lite by Front Runner). We liked that one, too, but it has one significant disadvantage: the mattress is only 1.30m. For three people that’s just not enough. With our current one we have a bed with a 1.65m width.

Making the right choice was also about finding something for a hot climate. This means, we wanted multiple, large windows, and a fly that casts shade over the windows.

We also didn’t want to spend a fortune for the rooftop tent. The Roof Lodge is one of the more affordable ones.

How long does it take to set it up and take it down?

Timo needs about 15-20 minutes for both. Over time, this will probably get quicker, too.

Camping with a rooftop tent and a small child – does it work?

So far, it’s worked really well. David enjoys camping and loves playing and sleeping in the tent. He obviously needs help from us when climbing up the ladder because he’s not able / allowed to go up by himself. 

For the nights we’ve spent in the tent so far, we’ve all gone to bed at the same time, so David was never in the tent by himself. Moving forward, we will secure the two exits with a carabiner, so that in case he’s sleeping by himself and happens to wake up, he won’t accidentally open the tent and try to climb out by himself.

Camping with a rooftop tent and a dog – how does that work?

We left Stormy with a friend when we went on our first trip with the rooftop tent. He’s just not the most adventurous anymore. Generally, I wouldn’t take him into the tent with us, but instead leave him in his dog crate. Either outside on the ground or if it’s too cold inside the car.

What trips have we got planned?

We are planning to sleep under the stars regularly, and surely we’ll spend many weekends here in Cyprus just hitting the road with no plan but to spend one or two days somewhere on a beach or in the mountains.

For autumn I’m dreaming up a longer trip to Turkey. We can travel there by car from here. Any tips – please share with me in the comments!

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