Oh Recent additions to OZtrail Overlander range This is the brand new Birdsville 1400 Rooftop Tent, a hybrid tent that combines hard and soft shell design aspects. The best of both worlds, you might say. And when we got the chance to install it on our ever-expanding MU-X and go camping, we didn’t hesitate.
The hard shell component of the design consists of an aluminum pack top with roof bars, located on top of the filled tent. This provides additional storage options if you have the ability to load recovery boards etc. Unfortunately, we didn’t have that luxury.
With the Rolla roof rack already eating up the MU-X’s 100kg roof load capacity, we had to be very diligent when choosing which tent to mount. We settled on the Birdsville 1400 RTT, as its 71.5kg total weight (excluding ladder) just squeezed through.
Once we were comfortable with the weight, the model was tucked away and the skilled team at the Roof Rack Superstore in Epping, Victoria attached the tent to the top of the rolla tray. The tent comes with all the necessary mounting brackets, hardware and instructions for most roof rack systems, and Cameron White of Roof Rack Superstore told us that professional installation is highly recommended. It took about 30 minutes for his team to secure the tent.
The first thing you notice is how high it is. Birdsville RtT sits when not unfolded and stored inside its heavy duty 550gsm PVC transit cover. At 1.43m (L) x 1.23m (W) x 0.31m (H) – plus an extra few inches between the roof rack and the base of the tent – the RTT towers high above the vehicle and is hard to ignore while cruising. Freeways at 100 clicks. Thus, it therefore significantly affects fuel consumption. But isn’t there a tent on the roof?
People under six feet tall have trouble setting up and packing down because of the tent’s height — and forget it if you don’t have side steps. We had to use a ladder to reach the specific tie-down straps, and pull the ladder down ourselves.
The 2.3m adjustable ladder is designed to fit larger vehicles and trailers, but needs to be stowed away after use and cannot be left attached to the top of the tent when packed away. This is something to consider if cabin space is in a pinch.
Despite these issues, set-up and pack-down is reasonably straightforward and should take 10 to 15 minutes – however, with a bit of practice, you can probably be set up at camp within five minutes.
The tent itself is constructed from heavy-duty 280gsm ripstop polycotton canvas, topped with a 210D seam-sealed ripstop poly-oxford fly, designed to keep occupants warm and dry. An extended fly above the ladder ensures you stay dry during entry and exit, and multiple fly tension poles for the windows – located on both sides and rear of the tent – are included. are and a cinch stands.
The tent also comes with an optional Birdsville Annex for an additional $399.99. The enclosure provides extra space and is designed for a vehicle up to 2.2m.
A close inspection of the tent’s seams indicates quality workmanship, and multiple tie-down straps and clips around the tent ensure the tent doesn’t flap around in the wind. When all the doors and windows are zipped up, the tent is pitch black on the inside, making it ideal for those who prefer to sleep in on cold winter mornings. The sturdy tent remains stable when occupied, and its interior size can easily accommodate two adults.
Inside the tent, there are two sky mesh panels on the ceiling, enabling users to look up at the stars as they drift away. These panels – combined with large windows – help with ventilation and temperature control in harsh Australian climates.
LED lighting strips, powered by OZtrail’s own Lumos tech, illuminate the interior as the sun dips below the horizon, and are connected via a USB cable – we ran ours from a power bank. The handy storage pockets next to the mattress are handy for phones, wallets, water bottles and other bits and pieces you’d normally have on your bedside table.
For those who like to camp comfortably – some call it glamping – the 60mm memory foam mattress features a removable luxury flannel cover. Underneath the mattress is an anti-condensation mat, which promotes airflow and traps moisture, thereby preventing mold from growing. To say it’s comfortable is an understatement, and the mattress is perfect for a good night’s rest after a day of driving on bloodist tracks.
With high-quality materials, smart design touches, a comfortable mattress and plenty of storage options, the Birdsville 1400 RTT is a great proposition for campers looking to spend several days relaxing at a campsite.
Overlander Rooftop Tent Range
There are two more rooftop tents in OZtrail’s Overlander catalog: Immigrants 1400 and range topping Canning 1300.
Oztrail Canning 1300 Rooftop Tent
OZtrail Tarkine 1400 Rooftop Tent
At $3999.99, the Canning is a premium hardshell tent with an aluminum, slimline exterior and a four-point scissor frame design. Gas struts make setup and packdown easy, and a 50mm memory foam mattress is included. Canning weight 85.5 kg (excluding roof bars and ladder) or 95 kg (with roof bars). It measures 2.1m x 1.3m x 1.43m when open (2.1m x 1.3m x 0.21m when closed).
Priced at $1499.99, the Tarkine’s soft-shell construction is lightweight and its size means it’s perfect for smaller 4x4s. It weighs 59kg when set up (inc. ladder) and measures 2.4mx 1.43mx 1.3m when opened (1.43mx 1.23mx 0.31m when closed). A 60mm high density foam mattress is included. All tents are constructed with 280gsm Ripstop polycotton canvas and 210D poly oxford fly sheet.
Birdsville 1400 Rooftop Tent: $2499.99
Available from: www.oztrail.com.au