Generally, we love ARB 4×4 gear. The ARB Simpson III Rooftop Tent is no exception. The series III roof tent is the latest in ARB’s Simpson roof tent evolution. The thing we like about ARB is that they draw inspiration from actual overland experience, and learn from previous mistakes. The ARB Simpson roof tent provides everything you need (and more) from a roof top tent.
One of the most important things people want to know when purchasing a roof tent is, “how long is this thing going to take to set up?” This ARB roof tent can be deployed in about 3-4 minutes with two people. The Simpson III is Spacious and comfortable at 1400mm (55″) wide x 2400mm (94.50″) long. One of the huge benefits that the ARB Simpson III roof tent boasts over most other similar roof tents, is that all your bedding, sleeping bags, pillows, etc can remain inside the roof tent when folded up. This frees up vital storage space in the 4×4 vehicle for the journey, and saves a lot of time during pack down. Anyone who has undertaken long-term overland travel will know that this kind of space, time saving feature will be a godsend, and will truly improve quality of life on the road!
The ARB Series III Roof Tent features a lot of upgrades from the Series II tent. It has an updated design and uses cutting edge materials for rigidity and water resistance. The base of the roof tent is manufactured from vacuum laminated ABS substrate, which is an upgrade designed to improve strength and also insulation. The series III roof tent canvas has improved waterproofing, with the increase from 240gsm rip-stop canvas to a heavier 300gsm Polycotton rip-stop canvas with Polyurethane coating. The stitched seams on the ARB tent now have nice welded seam tape to eliminate water ingress through needle punch holes. The toggles have been elasticized to reduce those annoying flapping noises common on roof tents when it’s windy. The ARB Simpson III is part of ARB’s new generation of high-tech roof tents. This includes the new Kakadu roof tent, designed specifically for hot climates.
The main supports and ‘ribs’ of the Simpson roof tent structure have been increased from 16mm raw aluminium tube to much superior 25mm anodized aluminum tube. The hinges have been uprated for durability, as have the plastic fittings, from PVC to a more durable Nylon material. One of the nice features of the ARB Simpson roof tents is the ‘veranda’ skirt, which affords protection around the doorway from the elements. This now features double extendable ‘bows’ that allow for better tensioning of the canvas as well as increasing internal space.
The mattress in the ARB roof tent has been upgraded from single layer foam to high-density bonded chip foam. The difference is noticeable. This is one of the most important, (and often overlooked) features of any roof tent. The extra comfort the ARB tent’s mattress affords on both long and short trips really does help out with better comfort! The chip foam also offers much better durability, and means the mattress is less likely to collapse from extended use.
The ARB roof tent cover itself has been upgraded from 560gsm PVC to a UV-stabilized 9000gsm laminated PVC, still in the classic ARB grey. All the seams are now sealed with heat-welded seam tape, which prevents water ingress. ARB’s Previous roof tent covers had a spiral zip, however with rigours of the road, and with dust ingress, we often find this type of zip getting destroyed pretty quickly. The ARB Series III roof tent covers now have a larger, No. 10 Vislon zip, which is truly heavy duty. It’s these kind of respondent ‘learn as you go’ style subtle upgrades which make ARB’s equipment a cut above the rest. It also feels as though the company responds to problems – as if they’re working with you to create better products. All in, we really like the ARB Simpson roof tent. The new series III is the best this roof tent has yet been, and we look forward to whatever upgrades they’ll think of to pack into the series IIII. So, how much will the ARB Simpson roof tent III cost you? These roof tents retail at around the £1,000 – £1,200 mark. Very reasonable we think, for a quality product that boasts some serious features that it’s competitors’ lack! We would recommend the ARB Simpson III Roof tent to weekenders and long term Overland travellers alike.