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Field Tested – Quick Pitch North America Roof Top Tent, Weathershade 20 Second Awning, Quick-en-Suite Shower Cubicle, and Quick-Barbe

I was faced with a dilemma when planning a journey across the USA with a borrowed Range Rover Classic: accommodating three adults and a teenager in a compact SUV. We would be camping every day, and needed a sleeping solution for four people as well as space for those multi-day breaks from the road. We sought a setup that could be deployed and packed quickly for one-night stopovers. But we also wanted living space, as we have learned during our decade living on the road that space is the ultimate luxury.

I was inspired by Des and Jen Bartlett, National Geographic filmmakers who spent most of 30 years sleeping on a tarp in the Namib Desert beside an old Ford 4WD. Sometimes the way it has always been done is one of the best ways to do anything, but with compromise.

Our solution was to dip a toe into the innovation which comes with the popularity of an activity, and oh my, hasn’t overland travel become popular? We mated a wedge rooftop tent to a 270-degree awning with walls and a shower cubicle for privacy. Luisa and Jessica slept in the tent, while Keelan and I slept on cots beneath the awning, attaching the walls when necessary. In total, we used these products every day for a full two months. These products represent a relatively minor investment, in that together, they transform a vehicle into an overland vehicle capable of housing a family for months or even years on the road; this was our goal.

 

The Quick Pitch range of products is manufactured in South Africa. From that statement, you will gather that the products are well-made, relatively affordable and that the canvas, in particular, is of the highest quality. Everyone knows that South Africa produces excellent canvas. The Quick Pitch products are made to stand up to the African elements and, therefore, can take a beating anywhere in the world.

When we collected the Range Rover from our friend in Fort Lauderdale, it took less than a full workday to mount the rooftent, awning, and shower cubicle, despite the intense heat and humidity. The rooftop tent base is designed for the attachment of other Quick Pitch products, such as the awning and shower cubicle. All hardware is provided with the tent, and the assembly is somewhat complicated but simultaneously logical.

The Quick Pitch Roof Top Tent

The “wedge” hard-shell rooftop tent is relatively lightweight but incredibly sturdy, manufactured with extruded aluminum and clean welds instead of rivets or nuts and bolts (which has the added benefit of eliminating leaks). The tent itself weighs in at approximately 187 pounds, and a further 70 pounds of gear can be stored on top of the tent. We kept the spare wheel, a kit bag, and a solar panel on our test tent. As a family who once spent four years living in an old-school rooftop tent, we loved that the Quick Pitch opened and closed in seconds, a simple task for any of us. Once open, the tent is a comfortable, well-designed cocoon with a small integrated awning that provides both shade and protection from the rain. The windows consist of separate mosquito netting and solid fabric layers along with a shoe bag that attaches to the side. The interior is a great place to be with a 12-volt power outlet, storage bags incorporated into the ceiling, and a high-density foam mattress, insulated from the floor of the tent and very comfortable. The textured materials used inside the tent offer a modern, durable aesthetic. We were able to store all of our bedding in the tent when closed. My only gripe would be that the securing bracket for the telescopic ladder (provided) is almost exactly the width of the ladder hooks and can be fiddly to attach. Yes, that is my only criticism.

The tent is wide enough to be comfortable for a couple and long enough for the taller traveler. Our teenager absolutely loved the tent, as did Luisa.
$3,600

Weathershade 20-second Awning (with wall kit)

An awning is a product which many overlanders use frequently or hardly ever. We realised that adding an awning with a wall kit to our Land Rover Defender camper (currently in South Africa) tripled our living space, and often I chose to cook, relax, and sleep in that “room” (when snakes were not a concern). The awning is mounted directly onto the Quick Pitch rooftop tent and deploys effortlessly; it was clearly designed by someone who uses these products in the field. The awning can deploy taut, supported by a large bracket and beams, or telescopic poles may be extended and secured to the ground when inclement weather threatens or when the walls are to be attached. The awning is constructed of high-quality canvas with a silver lining to reflect heat. The five awning walls are likewise made of high quality, thick canvas, and zip onto the awning and then to each other, creating a cavernous, private living space providing protection from wind, sun, and light rain. Heavy rain is the nemesis of most awnings and of this walled configuration in particular, as water finds a way between the side of the tent and awning, potentially drenching a sleeping camper. That said, the engineer anticipated liquid accumulation on the canvas, and an additional arm is built into one of the five extruded arms, creating a pitch that stimulates runoff. During hot, sunny days, we attached the walls to the awning individually and folded them onto the awning “roof” as needed to regulate airflow and shade. At night Keelan would attach mosquito netting to the extruded arms and arrange our cots, either attaching all the walls, a couple or none, as the situation required.

We thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the combination of the rooftop tent with the wraparound awning and walls. It gave us the flexibility to camp comfortably and have private, covered space—essential for a family on the road together 24/7 for months at a time.
$1,380/270 awning, $1,056/270 awning kit (left or right side)

The Quick-En-Suite Shower Cubicle

At first, I thought the shower cubicle was inessential, but after traveling across Southern Africa and the United States with a unit, we have come to regard it as absolutely essential, especially for a family. Deployed and packed in seconds, it does not even irritate me to show the cubicle to friends, and we have found that it is perfect for a quick change before and after a swim in a river, a shower, or for using a portable toilet. As with the awning, the cubicle attaches to the Quick Pitch rooftop tent but can be affixed to most roof racks or campers. The construction is excellent, the frame sturdy, the cubicle height is adjustable, and the cubicle material provides sufficient privacy while drying quickly.
$435

The Quick Barbe

South Africans love to barbecue (braai). The stainless steel Barbe is compact, simple to open and close, and sturdy, with three grid levels. The grill surface is more than sufficient to grill a meal for famished travelers and, due to its compact design, the user does not need to burn a lot of fuel. Ideally, we shovel coals from the campfire to the Barbe; the campfire can continue to burn, providing heat and light, and the meal can be cooked conveniently—from your camp chair if that floats your boat. After responsibly disposing of the coals, all the unit needs is a quick wipe and fold before being stowed in the convenient and well-constructed carrier bag.
$340

In summary, we were impressed by the engineering, construction, and quality of the Quick Pitch products tested. The awning walls are quite heavy and cumbersome in the storage bag and, together with cots, portable toilet, and all the gear needed by a family on the road, necessitated the use of a tow hitch basket. More roof space would be ideal, but the idea of traveling with a large ground tent is less appealing than a secure rooftop tent and a large living area.

These products are an investment and built to travel the world; the configuration we chose is ideal for a couple and more than adequate for a family.

All products are available here QUICKPITCHNORTHAMERICA.COM

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Graeme Bell is an author and explorer who has dedicated his life to traveling the planet by land, seeking enlightenment and unique experiences. Together with his wife and two children, Graeme has spent the last decade living permanently on the road in a self-built Land Rover based camper. They have explored 27 African countries, circumnavigated South America, driven from Argentina to Alaska followed by exploration of Europe and Western Asia. Currently the family are planning a journey from Western Europe to the Russian Far East. Graeme is a member of the Explorers Club, the author of six critically acclaimed books and an Overland Journal/Expedition Portal contributor since 2015. You can follow Graeme's adventures across the globe on Instagram at graeme.r.bell