4 Different methods of sleeping, which is right for you?

Ground Tent vs Awning Room vs Roof Tent vs Jimny! Which might you prefer to sleep in?

How good would it be, to be able to try out every possible sleeping arrangement before committing to a choice without having to spend a load of money, well yeah that would be good but not that easy so here are our thoughts that might help you decide which you might prefer!

In this blog we wanted to cover various sleeping arrangements that we have tried and what our thoughts are on the different variations.

Sleeping arrangements tested:
– 4 Person Tent: EuroHike Sendero 4
– 2 Person Tent: Ozark Trail 2
– Awning Room: Direct4x4
– Suzuki Jimny
– Roof Tent: Front Runner

When we go exploring we like to stay as comfortable as possible. There is no point doing something if you’re not enjoying it, so for us if we can stay comfortable we can enjoy being outdoors even more. HOWEVER! In some cases, certain comfort features need to be comprised. We soon learnt that sometimes what can be comfortable can also be a pain in other ways, again making the outdoor experience less enjoyable. So as time passed we have started to learn the simpler a process can be the more enjoyable the outcome. We are still in search of our favourite sleeping arrangement which we hope to find soon enough. Never the less, here are our findings for now, enjoy!


The Mighty 4 Person Tent:

Why a 4 person tent?
When we started camping we had a VW Polo so we never worried about space or weight, we packed it full of all sorts not knowing what we was doing. Along with that thinking we bought the 4 person tent which had a bedroom and living area. We thought it would be sensible to make sure we had somewhere to store all our gear and have a separate bedroom. We also thought it was very important to stand up in our tent… 

Why don’t we use this option?
We soon chose to ditch this huge mistake as we got fed up of having to set up a huge tent. We enjoyed the extra space and shelter, but once we had an awning fitted to the Jimny, we no longer needed the shelter. So instead we downsized for convenience.

Who might the 4 person tent be for?
We would probably say this sort of tent is best suited for a family of 4, hence it being a 4 person tent… We would also say it might be good for people who have only one destination in mind, hoping to stay at said location for a few days. We don’t stay in one location for long enough to justify such a size of tent.

Not much experience in the cold with this tent, so can not answer greatly.

Pros Cons
Spacious Requires too much time for set-up
Well organised Rather big packed away
Possible to drive away, leaving tent behind Requires a minimum of 2 people to set-up
Shelter from rain Can’t pitch anywhere you like
  Uneven/Unlevel floor can be uncomfortable
  Requires storing when not in use

Jimny and Tent

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The Smaller 2 Person Tent:

Why downsize to a 2 person tent?
We downsized to a small 2 person tent as it was far simpler and quicker to set up! Also a small bonus was the smaller tent was much lighter and compact when packed down. We bought our small 2 person tent from Asda for a stupidly low price that still to this day doesn’t make sense how a tent can be so cheap. We still enjoy using our 2 person tent because of how quick it is to set up and how little space it takes up. 

Why don’t we use the smaller tent, often?
We simply don’t use the smaller tent as often as we would like, as we prefer how quick and easy the roof tent is to set up. Being able to keep our bedding in the roof tent means we don’t have to pack away our bedding every time we need to pack the smaller tent away. It is also really nice being able to always have a flat floor and not worry about the terrain we will need to set the tent on.

Who might the 2 person tent be for?
Beginners will love this option as they are very cheap, we only paid £12 for ours on sale at ASDA! We would also say that the 2 person tent is good for couples or even for solo trips as 2 person tents usually can be set up on your own. These smaller tents are much better for people who tend to spend less time in one place.

Smaller tents can be warm, we have never felt cold in this tent as it has a lot less volume of air inside the tent for your body heat to keep warm. With a better more expensive tent we could agree it will probably be better than our ASDA special!

Pros Cons
Very easy to set up Can’t be pitched anywhere you like
Not much time required for set up Uneven/Unlevel floor can be uncomfortable
Set up can be done solo Requires storing when not in use
Can be warm Not much space for sheltering from rain
Can drive away  

2 Person tent, under awning for shelter

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The futile awning room:

Why did we purchase the awning room?
We visited Direct4x4 to pick up some stuff and saw their awning room on display. We stepped inside and was amazed with all the space that was available. The awning room measures 2x2x2m making it an absolute perfect square. Meaning we could stand in each corner, which you can not do in a conventional tent. Unable to resist the price tag, we thought the awning room would be a good purchase and went for it.

So why don’t we use it?
First things first, you are required to already have an awning mounted to your vehicle, as the awning becomes the structure of the awning room. Unfortunately, what we weren’t fully aware of was that your awning needs to be mounted just over 2 meters high, otherwise the sides of the awning room (when attached to the awning) will not be taught enough therefore they will flap about in the wind like a flag. We discovered this after the first use. We tried to mount the awning higher but didn’t manage to get it any higher than 1.9m before it looked daft. We have seen an awning room in use, mounted on a Jeep Wrangler which was lifted and on 37 inch tyres making the overall height of the awning higher than ours and the awning room looked much more taught, holding its shape better.
In addition, we can’t drive away without removing the entire room off the awning, making it more of a pain than a benefit as we don’t spend long enough in one place.

Who might the awning room be for?
People who would prefer to stay in one location for mutliple days might like the shelter that the awning room can provide on a calm’ish day. Also people that require more space from a smaller footprint when compared to a traditional tent. Awning rooms may also be of good use for solo campers as it’s the prefect amount of space for solo trips, also being very easy to erect on your own.

This awning room is not warm! It will be just as cold inside as it is outside! Due to the vast amount of volume inside this awning room it is hard to keep warm especially as you only have one piece of fabric between you and the outside compared to traditional tents that have two parts (inner and outer).

Pros Cons
Very easy to set up  Rather heavy compared to traditional tent 
Little amount of time to set up  Does not maintain heat very well
Can be set up solo  Too much material to handle when wet
Very spacious Not great to use in high winds
  Can not drive away 
  Can not be set up anywhere 
  Requires an awning 

Awning Room mounted at 1.9m high

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DISCLAIMER! Not recommended to use the log burner in the awning room due to fire risks! Proceed with caution…

Sleeping in the Jimny:

Why would you!?
Ha! why would you? Well believe us it’s not as mad as it might sound! On one of our trips we forgot to pack one essential piece for the awning room to be able to attach it to the awning so unfortunately we had no choice but to sleep in the Jimny! However we learnt one very valuable thing that it’s not actually that bad at all sleeping in the Jimny.

Would you sleep in the Jimny again?
YES! We was already aware that is it is fully possible to get a good nights kip in the Jimny as our good friend GeordieJimny has done so a few times and has put together one very in depth and helpful article about ‘Sleeping in the Suzuki Jimny‘. After our experience we realised ourselves that it’s not too bad. We would certainly consider doing so again in the colder months because there is a very interesting kit that you can buy from ‘Jimny CampStyle‘ on instagram who make thermal insulated window covers and fitted mattresses, they look spot on!

Who might want to spend the night in a tiny Jimny?
We would certainly say it’s not as bad as it sounds so if you own a Jimny it’s not too bad to just give it a go. We think this is a great way to spend the night if you want to be very stealth and also if you don’t go as often so you’re not inclined to buy a tent. Like we mentioned above, we think it might be a good option to consider in the colder months, fitted with the correct gear it might be a very warm option.

It can be as warm as you want depending on how much fuel you have… However, on a serious note you can get fairly warm in the Jimny by relying on initially heating the car up and then your body temperature, sleeping bag and insulated window covers can maintain the heat.

Pros  Cons
Sleep anywhere your car can take you Loss of storage when sleeping
Easy to warm up, turn engine on Front seats need lifting before driving away
Very minimal set up time Not very spacious like a small tent
Easy to level, place rock under wheel Lack of privacy without window covers

Lack of privacy

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The King of them all, roof tent:

Why did we buy a roof tent?
We were lead to believe that they are more of a practical solution seeing as every Tom, Dick & Harry has one. We liked the idea of how quick and easy they are to set up and also being able to store some bedding inside. With that being said they also look really cool.

Even though you use it often, why would you be inclined to sleep in alternative options?
Even though we own a roof tent we are still inclined to use other options more often as constantly carrying an excessive amount of weight on your roof decreases the amount of enjoyment when off-roading because we feel like the Jimny will roll over easier. This is why we are moving our tent onto a trailer to decrease roof weight. Leaving the tent on the trailer means we can drive away without having to pack anything away. In general we have experienced that the roof tent is not as warm as our ground tent, though we have not spent many cold nights in either.

Why Front Runner?
Simply because it is the lightest roof tent on the market in the UK. This is important for us because the Jimny has a low carrying capacity. We would like to say that hard shell tents are quicker to set up, though they weigh a lot more.

Who might this be for?
Certainly not for beginners because of the price. Roof tents are a vast amount of money for not much gain here in the UK. If you live outside the UK where you need to sleep off the ground for safety reasons then this might be a good option. However, we don’t have dangerous creepy crawlies to bother us when sleeping therefore the only advantage we see is set up effort is very minimal, though we don’t think it was worth the price we paid. We would say that this option might be for couples or solo adventurers, any more and it’ll be too cosy.

We haven’t used the roof tent much in colder temperatures to answer.

Pros Cons
Minimal effort required to set up Expensive
Possible to leave some bedding inside Heavy
Good views in the morning  Rather big, awkward to store away
  Not the warmest option 

Set up from last camp

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Our final thoughts:

Unfortunately, we can not comment on which is our favourite as we do believe there are certainly times when one is better than the other.

We do really enjoy our roof tent with it being very easy to set up and also able to store bedding inside when packed away is very helpful. However, after our last trip having around 100kg on the roof of the Jimny didn’t feel comforting when off road, nor is it even safe as the Jimny should only carry 35kg max on the roof…
We are looking forward to trying out our roof tent on our camper trailer which should hopefully allow the Jimny to drive more stable and be safer, we will talk about this subject eventually after a few trips.
Regarding roof tents, we would like to mention that hardshell tents do look more practical in the sense you can store more inside, store items on top of them but also they are more insulated so they should be warmer, but with all those benefits comes a lot of gained weight.

Like we mentioned above, we will probably try sleeping in the Jimny more during next winter to see how well warmth can be maintained maybe using the Jimny CampStyle accessories and an extra addition we have in mind. This will be a great solution when towing the trailer in colder destinations abroad.

We do believe it’s quite nice to always have a back up option like a simple small tent. You really can’t go wrong with a tent, they are small, easy to use and cheap to buy.

One thing we do think is well worth having is an awning, because whatever option you choose for your sleeping arrangement (excluding larger tents) you will need somewhere to sit and stand when its raining or you require some shade from the sun which we barely see in the UK.

We hope we have been helpful in this blog, these are all our opinions. If you have any other questions or concerns, leave a comment or get in touch via Instagram.

Thank you,
Denis & Katy

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