Outdoors

Explosively vibrant inflatable roof tent makes small car a mini-camper

Explosively vibrant inflatable...
Fjordsen XL inflatable roof-top tent
Fjordsen XL inflatable roof-top tent
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Fjordsen has focused on maximizing interior space to sleep two to four people
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Fjordsen has focused on maximizing interior space to sleep two to four people
Fjordsen's RTTs are much more colorful and artistic than average
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Fjordsen's RTTs are much more colorful and artistic than average
Fjordsen's folding design uses a dual-panel hard floor and inflatable tent body
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Fjordsen's folding design uses a dual-panel hard floor and inflatable tent body
Fjordsen's design uses both internal and external inflatable beams
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Fjordsen's design uses both internal and external inflatable beams
Fjordsen's inflatable tent in action
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Fjordsen's inflatable tent in action
The Fjordsen tent secures to the crossbars with the usual dual-bolt plate mounts
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The Fjordsen tent secures to the crossbars with the usual dual-bolt plate mounts
A waterproof cover keeps things dry
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A waterproof cover keeps things dry
Fjordsen's XL doesn't pack quite as small or light as GentleTent's inflatable RTTs, but it is designed for use by cars large and small
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Fjordsen's XL doesn't pack quite as small or light as GentleTent's inflatable RTTs, but it is designed for use by cars large and small
Fjordsen's bright-orange tent stands out against the snowy backdrop
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Fjordsen's bright-orange tent stands out against the snowy backdrop
Drop the Fjordsen on a van and you have something of an inflatable camper van
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Drop the Fjordsen on a van and you have something of an inflatable camper van
Fjordsen XL inflatable roof-top tent
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Fjordsen XL inflatable roof-top tent
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When Austria's GentleTent debuted its GT Roof and Sky Loft, we didn't expect inflatable roof-top tents (RTTs) to become much of a thing. They're not quite there yet, but we do have another brand entering the ring with its own inflatable RTT design. Dutch brand Fjordsen combines a traditional folding hard floor with an inflatable body to create a family tent that rides comfortably on everything from full-size trucks and vans to superminis and small sedans.

The Fjordsen XL's cabin tent structure is quite distinct from other inflatable roof and ground tents we've looked at.

After experimenting with various shapes, from a basic tunnel to something of a trapezoidal prism, Fjordsen settled on a final design that maximizes interior space above an 87 x 87-in (220 x 220-cm) floor. A hybrid exo/endoskeleton of inflatable beams stretches the waterproof acrylic-coated TenCate poly tent fabric out, pushing the roof up to an internal height of 51 in (130 cm). The four sides of the tent are angled outward to increase elbow room, giving two adults to a family of four a roomy, comfortable stay.

Fjordsen has focused on maximizing interior space to sleep two to four people
Fjordsen has focused on maximizing interior space to sleep two to four people

Unlike GentleTent's inflatable floor, Fjordsen uses a more traditional dual-panel folding floor. The panels sandwich the deflated tent during the ride, with a sturdy cover keeping everything protected and dry. After folding out the floor, the owner uses the included 12V pump to inflate the tent into shape. The whole setup process takes about three minutes. Fjordsen's video shows that the ladder is removable and can be pulled off and stored in the vehicle.

The XL doesn't come with a built-in mattress like other RTTs, so campers will have to bring their own mattress or pads. Each of the tent's outwardly angled sides has a door-size window inside the outer door fabric, providing the opportunity for generous views and ventilation.

Fjordsen's XL doesn't pack quite as small or light as GentleTent's inflatable RTTs, but it is designed for use by cars large and small
Fjordsen's XL doesn't pack quite as small or light as GentleTent's inflatable RTTs, but it is designed for use by cars large and small

With its hard floor, the XL isn't as lightweight as GentleTent models, but at 132 lb (60 kg) it is still light enough to be carried by a large number of vehicles, including surprisingly small options like the Mini Cooper, VW Polo (not the Up!, though) and Nissan Micra. Buyers should always check the roof capacity for their own vehicles ahead of time, but Fjordsen does a solid job of listing compatible makes/models with roof dynamic weight capacities.

Fjordsen's bright-orange tent stands out against the snowy backdrop
Fjordsen's bright-orange tent stands out against the snowy backdrop

Fjordsen has gone all in on big colors, making its lineup stand out with options like a multicolor "StreetArt," "Woodland" camo and retro-trippy "FlowerPower."

The Fjordsen XL is selling for an early bird April price of €2,650 (approx. US$2,875) in the EU and £2,385 in the UK. Shipping is free to select European countries including the Netherlands, Germany, the UK and France, and costs €95 throughout the rest of the EU and €125 to other destinations around the world. Deliveries will begin later this month.

Source: Fjordsen

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3 comments
minivini
I love the concept. Having sold Yakima Skyrise and Tepui Explorer for a few years, I wonder about the longevity of inflatable tubes for structure. These tents spend 99% of their lives very tightly compacted in their enclosures; often in the heat and cold of the elements. The metal ribs and poles in most tents don’t have any issues dealing with the elements. The fabric starts to show wear after a dozen or so uses (not bad, but it isn’t difficult to see where future problems will occur. Even commercial rafts have a useful life of around ten years under the very best conditions, and the materials used in those are of the highest durability standards. I’m interested to see one of these in person!
Phil of the North
A company called Cambi-camp made these 50 years ago. I bought one in the '80s. Not particularly new.
Signguy
Car suspensions aren't made for this; too much bouncing around.