The first modification was to add the rooftop tent and it went something like this…
Can we actually put a rooftop tent on the Freelander? Yes, after researching on how this could be done I eventually figured it out.
Which Rooftop Tent? I chose the Maggiolina Airlander in a small size. Why? Well there are pretty much two options to choose from as I see it. one is a fold out rooftop tent on a hinge creating an entry and exit from under the tent at the side or rear of the vehicle. Two is a hardtop that essentially goes straight up and down and pretty simple.
How did I make my decision? I wanted a tent that would be reasonably aerodynamic, simple to put up and put down quickly (I have seen people struggling to put away their fold out ones and all have a soft cover that goes over, some easier than others). I have found two types of Hardtop tent in WA although they are not easy to find and after settling on the Maggiolina Airlander the distributor is on the east coast so lots of shipping involved. Maggiolina have a variety of models and I went for one that was on special offer with the distributor and with the winch handle. I think if I had the luxury of choice now I would have gone for the model that allows a spare wheel to be fitted to the fibreglass roof however more than happy with this model. We have spent a lot of weekends and some weeks away using this now and find it perfect. Arrive and unclip, wind for 30 seconds and clip on the ladder, that’s it. Plenty of space in the small model for the two of us (size of a double bed) with good ventilation and insulation. The mattress is very comfortable so no problem in spending a long time away. The medium size would fit onto the Freelander however the width would be noticeable coming over width of vehicle and roofbars would be a struggle to find.
Which Roofbars? – So this is worth some consideration. I had the roofrails fitted at the local Landy dealer in Perth as looking through the instruction manual made me realise attempting myself would not be worth it! Once the rails are fitted it is a matter of finding the right legs and bars which is not easy at all. At first I looked at Rhino legs and bars and thought I had found the right ones with even getting a Rhino heavy duty bar cut to size. This was a mistake, the Rhino legs do not fit onto the Freelander Roof Rails as they are too large. You have to work outside the recommended fitting for the Freelander since all the recommended bar sizes will be too narrow. The bars need to fit under the full width of the tent so it is supported and the standard bars only fit between the roof rails. The answer is Thule which is another big brand in Australia so thank you Sweden for the solution. Thule legs fit the roof rails and then it’s a matter of getting the longer bars. I sourced these from ARB after at first getting bars that were a bit longer than then width of the tent however these do not fit the Legs so ended up with slightly smaller bars which exactly matched the width of the tent (another reason not to go for any bigger than the small Maggiolina tent).
Fitting – So the Rooftop tent arrived at a depot by the airport in a large box and with fittings that would not work on the roofbars. So with a bit of help I managed to get it on the roof at the depot and lash it with some rope to the bars. Then it was off to Bunnings to get the correct bolts which I managed to find easily and fitted them in Bunnings car park. I think a bit of prep before picking up and having the right bolts would be easier although this can vary dependent upon your roof bars.
Height – Be aware the tent of course raises the height of your vehicle. We have an underground car park at home so had measured this before buying the tent to ensure it would still fit as you don’t want to be taking it on and off. Whatever anyone tells you removing and installing the rooftop tent is not a quick and simple operation and most people leave their tents on all the time to make quick getaways.