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First Thoughts on the Napier Sportz SUV Tent
Tents have really reinvented themselves the past 5-10 years. As I look back on my camping experiences, I believe it is somewhat of a right of passage to struggle through a tent set-up. Call it an initiation into the outdoors to have to struggle for a good hour in the rain and dark (in my case, at least). Once constructed and a campfire was made, all is usually good. I joke of course, but I’m guessing, we’ve all struggled with sloped terrain, bumpy ground, pole mismatching or hard ground that would bend even the best of stakes. That said, Napier has been at this niche of adding tents to cars, trucks, and SUV’s since the early 1990’s. This is where I hope the Napier Sportz SUV will come to my rescue for many years to come.
I live in Colorado, so the camping lifestyle is part of the norm around here. Bikes, racks, gearboxes and lately the rooftop tents seem to be on every other car. Hence, I’ve been quite excited to add this Napier Sportz SUV Tent to my outdoor gear and camping game. I have a Toyota 4runner which is the ideal Colorado adventure and exploration vehicle. I pack it full of all my athletic gear passions to go tackle the mountains via bike, running, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, kayaking, etc. As I go on more multi-day adventures, the Napier Sportz SUV tent is going to come in real handy, so I can leave all my toys in the back for easy access.
Key Features Of The Napier Sportz SUV Tent
- Universal Vehicle sleeve that fits all CUV’s, SUV’s, and Minivans.
- Seamlessly connects to the cargo area of the vehicle
- 10’ x 10’ ground tent plus a 6’ x 7’ Screen Room
- 2 large doors, 3 mesh windows, and 2 overhead skylights
- Large 6’ x 6’ extendable awning provides shade and a protected area
- Gear loft, gear pocket, and lantern holder
- Simple pole hub design allows for an effortless 10 minute set-up
- Made of high-quality polyester taffeta and polyethylene
- Can also be turned into a traditional ground tent by unzipping the vehicle sleeve.
- Capacity 6 persons
- Dimensions 10’ x 10’
- Center Height 7..25’
- Weight 52 lbs.
- Color Blue & Gray
- Doors 2
- Windows 3 plus 2 skylights
- Poles (Tent) 11
- Poles (Awning) 2
- Storm Flaps Yes (windows and doors)
- Water Proofing 1200mm PU coating
- Wall and Roof material Polyester Taffeta
- Window Material Polyester Mesh
- Floor Material Polyethylene
- Rainfly Material Polyester Taffeta w/taped seams
- Warranty 1 year
Putting The Napier Sportz SUV Tent To The Test
I had my doubts as they promote a 10 minute set up. After I took some time to familiarize myself with the instructions and various parts and pieces, I decided to time this whole process. Ten minutes. Not a chance! The first time setting this Napier Sportz SUV tent up, it took me closer to an hour. To be fair, I was in no hurry, had my kiddos help and methodically worked through all the steps. The second time, was just shy of half an hour. Not bad for what was to be our home for a few days.
I give the instructions a “C”. In theory, the set up of a tent isn’t all that hard, but I approach it in a manner that a first time camper should be able to follow these instructions quite easily. More graphics and clearer labeling of the various poles would go a long way. Most of the time, when I set up a tent there is usually an element of stress involved like darkness, rain, tired family, etc.
It’s a large tent that in theory can be set up by one person. Having said that, some help with the assembly would be good. If you are doing it solo, there’s an element of having to dart around this tent multiple times to straighten, adjust and get things properly connected.
The Napier Sportz SUV Tent With Screen Room Set Up
We like to go dispersed camping. Usually, state forests have spots that you can go to where previous campsites have been made. It gets us into places that are a bit more off the beaten path and provides some nice privacy. This time, we did have to search for a spot (that was flat), and we finally found a place in the woods with some great views around the corner. That said, our space was a bit tight as we constructed the complete assembly. Not a huge problem, but if you find yourself with a bit more room on a field somewhere, you will appreciate that.
The above photo shows the tent bag before the very first time that is was assembled. The tent is folded neatly in the factory and tucked away properly. Below is after the disassembly. Things never quite go back the way they should, but all the parts and pieces did fit. One recommendation for Napier is that I would have the handle connections to the bag be reinforced more. This is by no means a light tent and one of the handles did start to pull apart from the bag as we hauled it around. It’s a small thing, but those handles are critical for continued use.
Above is a quick inventory of all the components that will ultimately become our spacious new home. I am impressed by the bag that holds the poles. It is extra thick and padded, because the main poles do have a sharper pin at the bottom.
I had some help for our first set-up of the Napier Sportz SUV tent. They did an admirable job, but ultimately did lose interest. That’s alright I suppose, but if you do have a dedicated second person to help you that would be nice.
The pole connections are fairly straightforward. Getting the proper tension for all the poles to connect does take a bit of muscle to get the tent fabric nice and taut.
The sleeve that fits around my car is obviously what sets this tent apart from the traditional stand alone tent. It adds space for either sleeping, storage or a working area. We put a blow up mattress in the back of the car at night for our kids to sleep on, and during the day, we use it as our kitchen. Having said that, it wasn’t to cook on necessarily, because we do that outside, but everything else which was nicely within reach.
The added bonus is the fact that this does provide a sense of security as we do have our fair share of wild critters in Colorado. If the need ever arises with a bear intrusion or something, we can quickly jump in the car to safety. The odds are so small, because in 13 years I have yet to see a bear, but it has happened. Put your food away safely and they should leave you alone.
I like the little tent mesh storage area, and a strap with clip pops through the middle for a possible lantern of some sort. We hung a flashlight up there, but I will get proper light to luminate our tent space.
Here is a side shot of our tent as it is pushed up against a small aspen tree. Ideally, a little more space would be good.
Here we come to the what sets this Napier Sportz SUV tent from the rest; the sleeve. I was quite curious as to how it connects, and how it stays tight to keep the elements and bugs out. In addition, how the straps would connect to my car (and others), because I did not want it to be a big hassle. I really do like this feature as it has the elastic stretch that hugs my car quite well. The sleeve itself is a stronger material (more like a canvas) then the thin tent fabric, so I felt confident with the fit and adjustments made as I positioned it to the car.
In the instructions, it directs you to attach the clips to the wheel well. My solutions is to stretch it to the rims where it securely fastens. I can attach the top straps to my roof rack system. If you lack that, the straps are long enough to reach the front hood where there are options for clipping in.
The cool thing is that you can unhook the clips, zip up an internal door and take off to explore with your vehicle. I don’t want anyone to think that once everything is set up, that you are now not able to go take your car somewhere. Having a nice home base for a few days, is always a nice thing.
Final Thoughts On The Napier Sportz SUV Tent
This Napier Sportz SUV Tent is a really great option for a “home-away-from-home”. It’s large with great versatility to sleep anywhere from 2-6 people. Despite the fact that I couldn’t set it up in 10 minutes, I am encouraged by the fact that I can create a very stable and safe place to stay that protects us from the elements. We’ve enjoyed our time in the mountains and hope to create many more memories. I’d encourage everyone to look at the various options that Napier has to offer. That said, this Sportz SUV Tent is a solid choice with a reasonable budget. For more information and other options from Napier, please visit www.amazon.com/napieroutdoors.