Blog Archive

Apr 14, 2008

Mombasa Roof Top Tent Review

4/28/08- UPDATE- After my review TRD Parts took the time to contact me and let me know that Mombasa was aware of the issue with the cover and was working to fix it with a new DOUBLE thickness cover. You can get one for you Roof Top Tent for $99.00 and its worth every penny. Mine just arrived.
I assume the future tents retail price will increase, but deservedly so.
Thanks for listening to customer suggestions Mombasa.

I ordered up a roof top tent a while back from
This tent is the Roof Top Tent from Mombasa.
The price from TRDParts4u was the best I could find anywhere. Most roof top tents are in the $1200- $2500 range making them out of many offroaders budgets. This tent comes in at about $800 shipped with the ladder extension providing a great value. Keep in mind that future iterations may cost more as items like materials are changed or features are added.
The tent arrived very quickly and in good condition except for the ladder. The product ships in three packages. The tent, the ladder, and the ladder extension. (Ladder Extension is recommended for use on lifted vehicles)
The ladder had been banged up pretty badly in transport by the shipping company. I emailed TRDParts4u and provided a picture of the damage to the ladder. They responsed promptly with a tracking number showing a replacement had been sent out. In this day customer service like that is rare and I appreciate it!

There is not a lot of assembly required, but allow for a couple hours to get the tent situated and mounted to the roof of your truck. I decided to mount the rack to my factory Toyota 4runner rack and cross bars. The tent is within the racks load capacity, but when you add two adults it is well over the max capacity. I had to try it to see if it would work and it did while driving and sleeping for 2 nights. On the second night the factory rack gave up and broke. I'll be looking into Yakima, Thule and possible a custom mounting option to keep the tent as low as possible.

Below are some examples of the mounting hardware I used.
In the center of the picture you can see the bracket that came with the tent. It seemed plenty strong, but was not long enough to get around the wide factory racks so I tried a door hinge as a replacement to get me to a friends house where I built the larger plate out of 1/8 inch steel. The piece is 4" by 2".
The strength of the provided bracket seemed plenty strong and it appears Mombasa has upgraded this part from previous generations of this tent. When I install Yakima/Thule etc I will go back to the provided mounting hardware as it will then fit.

Another two areas of low ratings on past reviews of this tent were the ladder and the tents material. Both appear to have been solved. The ladder is now made out of aluminum and feels plenty stout as well as the ladder extension.
The tent material appears to be of a much higher grade than previous models and appears to be less prone to rips.

You can see the finished mounted set up here.
With the weight of the tent on the 4Runner I was worried about it feeling top heavy. I was surprised that there was very little noticeable difference.
The largest different was in the wind resistance at highway speeds. Up to about 65MPH there was little noticeable affect. Above that speed I did notice that the 4Runner had to work harder to carry the same speed as it would without the tent.
I'll be looking into creating a wind deflector for the tent at some point to help this.
With a quick unzipping of the cover and unfolding of the tent it is then at this stage.
I plan to leave the tent at this stage on many camping adventures when arriving late at night etc. One can crawl in and go to bed at this point.
The tent comes with metal poles that hold the rain cover and window awnings out to complete the assembly and look of the tent so it looks like this.
This opens up the windows for great views while inside and completes the look of the tent. It only take about an extra five minutes to place the 8 metal poles into place.
Once inside the room is impressive!
We have decided to use a down comforter and a couple pillows from home. These actually stay inside the Roof Top Tent when its put away making it even easier to set up camp each night.
The night I took these pictures was a great test for the tent. There was a large wind storm the whole night. I didn't get any sleep because the tent violently shook in the wind, but what tent doesn't do that. It held up great and I suspect that now that I know it can handle this sort of wind I'll be able to sleep next time!
Unforetunately about half way through the night the stock 4runner roof racks snapped! OOPS! Those will be replaced by some much stronger ones.
All in all I'm very happy with this tent. The areas for improvement are as follows:
1. The storage cover used while driving already has a small 4 inch rip in it. I assume there must be a sharp spot on the tent itself that ripped it that I'll need to smooth down and patch.
2. Its hard to do, but I'd like to see the thickness of the tent decrease. I think that if a few inches were cut out of the height it would help both the offroad and on highway performance.

For pricing info check out and for the manufacturers info check out

1 comment:

lala412 said...

Do you still use and like your tent? I want one! I actually really want one of the hardshell types (which of course are more expensive) because I think I might feel a bit safer in one, but right now I can't get either one. Apparently no one every gets rid of them - have been googling "used rooftop tents" and found nothing. So I was curious if you still like yours after two years - was it worth the investment?

Thanks -