HOW TO GAIN VERTICAL SPACE IN A TINY VAN
There is no doubt that our Toyota Liteace is a small van and so gaining space upwards is very important. We were on the look out for a Roof Tent and checked on Alibaba to perhaps import one. I began conversing with several China based Roof Tent manufactures and got the actual costs of importing them. Unless you can import them in bulk the final cost is very expensive.
I am not really a big fan of online shopping purely because I love being able to try out a product before actually buying it. So we decided to try our luck on Mudah where we managed to find a local 4 x 4 Accessories Shop selling Roof Tents! Excitedly we headed over to check out their Roof Tents only to find out that we would also require a Roof Rack in order to mount the roof tent onto our van. (Sweat!!)
ROOF TENT VS CONVERTIBLE BED INSIDE THE VAN
When you get a van, you will be faced with a decision of whether you should sleep inside the van or on the roof of a van. The VW Westfalia has a pop up roof which allows you to pull out a top bunk bed and it also has an option for you to pull out the bottom chair into a bed. The Toyota Liteace however, has a middle row seating that spins 360 degrees on its axis which allows you to sit facing any direction you wish and the back seats are completely foldable.
In hot weather, the option of actually sleeping inside a van is not at all appealing. To sleep in our van would mean removing its original seats in order to rebuild a convertible bed and this is something we really wanted to avoid doing.
3 TYPES OF ROOF TENTS (PROS & CONS)
There are generally 3 types of Roof Tents in the market. After much deliberation, we decided on the canvas roof tent.
CANVAS ROOF TENTS
The Pros –
- More spacious inside.
- You can add a ground level annex to the ladder side of the tent.
- Windows can be left open when it rains because of the canvas awnings.
- It’s cooler in hot weather.
- Cheaper than the Pop Up Roof Tents.
The Cons –
- Takes a little more time and effort to open and close.
- You have to make sure it’s completely dry when you pack up to avoid moss.
- Not as streamlined as a Fibreglass Pop up Tent is when closed.
The installation of our Roof Tent in Xtrek took several hours and it was such a hot day that I took refuge inside their shop with Kin, whilst Rene, Azlan (the owner of Xtrek) and his helper were outside in the burning heat installing it all. By evening when the time came to finally open up our Roof Tent it started to rain so we didn’t get the chance to fully set it up or take a better photo of it opened.