Autohome Air Top and Columbus Variant (any in Vancouver, Canada?)

Would you go with...


  • Total voters
    6

spressomon

Expedition Leader
Never seen an Airtop in person. But I have wondered why AHI doesn't include the same, nice, large end windows on their Maggiolina line from their Airtop. Personally, I wouldn't want the 'fight' of collapsing an air strut RTT. And, apparently, the learning curve of collapsing the Airtop without damaging the fabric sidewalls is steep; just from what I've read.
 

Lemsteraak

Adventurer
Yes, it appears AutoHome has addressed more windows with their new "360", that might be what you are looking for. Personally, I've always preferred the crank up system as long as I have an extra crank handle, easy to lose.

My guess is that AutoHome here in the US is on allocation so they are pretty much sold out all the time. I know a little about AutoHome's process and while it is state of the art, much of it is still by hand. For example, hand laid up fiberglass is best and when you add a vacuum process it is the state of the art. Problem is, it takes time to cure so it limits how many tents they can make. I talked to the guys here a few years ago and they said they would love to have more tents to sell. I don't understand why they don't bring in the whole line of tents. AutoHome has some great niche tents like the OverCamp which is a practical tent for kayakers and surfers.
 

Lemsteraak

Adventurer
I apologize, I need to correct my previous post. I shot AutoHome an email and Mike got right back to me, over the weekend even. They have been making huge (to me) investments to meet demand and have over 150 tents in stock for this season. He said the crew came over from Italy and they had a big display at SEMA. He said the Italians plan to attend the next Overland Expo so you can talk to the design and production staff.

I do think it hampers discussion when a vendor monitors discussions of their product. I like to feel free to discuss design and sometimes take a critical view. If a vendor chimes, they rightfully take the stance of the expert. When they "ask" for opinions on design, it is more about promotion than polling your thoughts. I'll go back to my cave now.
 

FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
I just found this thread by accident.

I am the Frenchie from Western Adventures. I have been using Autohome RTT's for since they were first imported to the USA I believe it is getting about 18 years now. I have been in retirement for a while now and average around 100+ nights a year in my RTT. This is down from the over 250 nights a year when I was working. I feel this gives me some experience with them.

I do talk to them on occasions and email them regularly. On occasion they may not be in the office (sometimes forget about the different time zones). It may be a day or two before I hear back from them. I end up calling on a regular occasions as I loose my crank handles like clock work. I believe I hold the record for loosing them.

Each tent has it's use and depending on what your direction is as which will work best for you.

If you have any questions that have not been answered, I can give you my opinion.

Da Frenchman
 

Wallygator

Adventurer
I just found this thread by accident.

I am the Frenchie from Western Adventures. I have been using Autohome RTT's for since they were first imported to the USA I believe it is getting about 18 years now. I have been in retirement for a while now and average around 100+ nights a year in my RTT. This is down from the over 250 nights a year when I was working. I feel this gives me some experience with them.

I do talk to them on occasions and email them regularly. On occasion they may not be in the office (sometimes forget about the different time zones). It may be a day or two before I hear back from them. I end up calling on a regular occasions as I loose my crank handles like clock work. I believe I hold the record for loosing them.

Each tent has it's use and depending on what your direction is as which will work best for you.

If you have any questions that have not been answered, I can give you my opinion.

Da Frenchman
Well I have emailed them, emailed some of the listed dealers, and no one seems to want to answer my emails or sell me a tent. So I may just be moving on since this company doesn't seem to exist. Glad you have had good luck but apparently my money is no good for them.
 

Lemsteraak

Adventurer
This may sound harsh but you may just need to pick up a phone and call them. May be relatively high tech roof tents but it is an old school company.

I had lunch with Mike who runs the company a couple weeks ago and he said that they are running flat out. Had a big display at SEMA, I saw some pictures and it was impressive. The factory personnel came over from Italy. He said they want to come to Off-Road Expo too, but maybe not this year. Mike said they just moved into a new warehouse and showroom so it all sounds well and good.

I know from experience that emails can take up a lot of time. They don't have a big staff and it is their busy time of the year and firm order always take priority. I noticed their prices aren't much higher than all the Chinese knock-off tents so there probably isn't much of a margin.
 

dstock

Explorer
This may sound harsh but you may just need to pick up a phone and call them. May be relatively high tech roof tents but it is an old school company.

I had lunch with Mike who runs the company a couple weeks ago and he said that they are running flat out. Had a big display at SEMA, I saw some pictures and it was impressive. The factory personnel came over from Italy. He said they want to come to Off-Road Expo too, but maybe not this year. Mike said they just moved into a new warehouse and showroom so it all sounds well and good.

I know from experience that emails can take up a lot of time. They don't have a big staff and it is their busy time of the year and firm order always take priority. I noticed their prices aren't much higher than all the Chinese knock-off tents so there probably isn't much of a margin.
I was at SEMA and for sure it was an impressive display and got me interested in their products. I was checking out the "360" and was really impressed with the outer "screen" that really makes it hard to see into the tent or even where the windows are but looking out from the inside is very clear. Seemed well thought out and constructed.
 

Mike S

Sponsor - AutoHomeUSA
Hey! we do monitor Expedition Portal. And we don't miss many, if any, e-mails. I cannot imagine us not being interested in serving a customer, Wallygator.

We have 'existed' for more than 15 years and sold many thousands of RTTs. Sure you have the right number? 888-852-2359
 

Beowulf

Expedition Leader
I got the opportunity to talk to Mike, Andrew, Frenchie, and the whole Autohome team while at expo. My brother and I arrived well before the show started and did not plan to officially stop and talk. Almost 2 hours later we left knowing we'd more than likely get two Columbus Variant Black Storms. Well, it took 3 more trips back to the booth over several days taking measurements and discussing mounting options.

Just closed the deal and two small Variants are on their way. Also, I highly recommend the Ranger Chair. http://americancampchair.com. The chair was by fair the most comfortable folding chair I've ever tried.

Since there seems to be very few Columbus Variant threads, I plan on starting one for the whole process from ordering, shipping, unpacking, install, and finally use.
 

Wallygator

Adventurer
Hey! we do monitor Expedition Portal. And we don't miss many, if any, e-mails. I cannot imagine us not being interested in serving a customer, Wallygator.

We have 'existed' for more than 15 years and sold many thousands of RTTs. Sure you have the right number? 888-852-2359
I appreciate you responding here after a few months. An just saying my email has still not been responded on. I have moved on, not because of the lack of response but for other reasons. I have found a product that will better fit my needs. Wish you guys the best.
 

CarolinaSmith

New member
Don't be so tough on AutoHome, it is probably difficult for them to just answer their emails. Personally, I don't like it when vendors monitor a discussion, it colors it. We are lucky we don't have to import these direct from Italy, you don't want to see what a box looks like if it wasn't shipped in a whole container. They have to crate the tents because our carriers in the US are so rough on freight.

Back to the discussion - Andrew, think of a RTT like you would a sleeping bag. It has more in common with a bivy than a ground tent. I personally have a Columbus even though I prefer a Maggiolina because this is my wife's preference. She likes the height for putting on her clothes. Me, on the other hand, like it when it is so cold you have to dress inside your sleeping bag. Yes, it is all about compromise.

If anything, I prefer the older AutoHome tents. They were full expedition tents, simple and tough. The small "Adventure" for example was really small, designed for cold weather and stayed toasty inside. Worked well in hot weather too, opened up and the fiberglass shell didn't transmit heat. Had a flat top and tie downs so you could throw crap on top of the tent. Which brings me to my latest "rant" what is with the ABS shells on the Maggiolina knock-offs? Isn't that a thermo-plastic, won't it reform and distort with heat? Maybe they are adding glass fiber for structure? Seems like a huge cost cutting shortcut.

For reference, I'm not a big fan of AutoHome US, I do really like the guys in Italy at the factory. The whole factory shuts down for a month in the summer and everyone goes out and "tests" their tents, seriously. Years ago I talked to their office manager, who spoke English, and wasn't taking her advice seriously, and she set me straight, she and her husband used one of their new model tents in Northern Africa for a month.
I agree with you. They may have a lot of letters, and those who can answer in detail the technical question is not in such a large number.
 

dstock

Explorer
Hey! we do monitor Expedition Portal. And we don't miss many, if any, e-mails. I cannot imagine us not being interested in serving a customer, Wallygator.

We have 'existed' for more than 15 years and sold many thousands of RTTs. Sure you have the right number? 888-852-2359
Is the US website going to be updated to include the Grand Tour 360 or is it not available here?
 
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