For several years, I managed stores specializing in outdoor clothing, tents and technical solutions for trekking, mountaineering and adventure travel. I started my business in 1982 in Filderstadt. Over the course of time, I also developed my commercial commitment in other German cities. I always found it important to listen to my customers' travel testimonials and I really enjoy personally testing materials and devices in the travel industry, on expeditions and tours in various parts of the world. In recent years I decided to devote myself almost exclusively to travel, in particular favouring tours based on a strong spirit of discovery in geographical areas outside the usual itineraries and such as to encourage maximum contact with nature. I particularly love travelling in a well-equipped car, thanks in part to the fact that I am an industry consultant for automotive companies. I also had a long-standing collaborative relationship with Autohome products. I directly followed the developments of the Autohome offer in the activity of my specialized shops. Together with my staff, we immediately understood the philosophy that guided Autohome and the technical-constructive choices that made it a reality of excellence, distinctive on a market where, unfortunately, improvisation existed and still exists. On the contrary, Autohome immediately pursued the path of quality. That is why we chose in our business to make it one of the mainstays of the offer. A decision that proved to be correct from every point of view, as demonstrated by the increasing success of Autohome roof tents even in extremely demanding and prepared customers. I always recommended roof tents since the beginning of their diffusion, over twenty years ago, because I knew their characteristics well in terms of practicality, comfort and safety. We can safely say that it was the roof tent that made the car more functional and competitive than other solutions for sleeping at night. Today this concept is acquired, but not completely. There are still many who do not know the differences well. So let us see together to point out some important aspects.
MAGGIOLINA®Maggiolina, for example, everyone knows it and it is probably the most popular roof tent in the world. In the choice, however, it is important to remember first of all the "dimensions" aspect. For those who have a rather sturdy build, I suggest to prefer the Medium model. For those who have a normal physique and love aesthetic perfection, I suggest to choose the small because it is already well liveable. It also looks good on small cars. For those who are taller than 185 cm, it is best to choose one of the X-long versions, which provide comfort even for taller users. If you want even more space inside, both closed and open, it is better to prefer the Grand Tour model: inside it is a bit higher. While the Airlander model, it is slightly lower but more streamlined.
AIRTOP®Airtop is often chosen by those who own medium height vehicles. Experience confirmed this vocation. In this sense, it is interesting to remember that Airtop is the tent of choice for MINI BMW. Produced by Autohome exclusively for the MINI Countryman market. A fact that is certainly significant. It should be remembered that even Airtop, like Maggiolina, when open, always fits into the shape of the car and does not protrude from the car mirrors. This means that you can stop and camp with your tent open even in parking lots or other public areas, avoiding the imposition of "camping area only".
COLUMBUS®Columbus is the Autohome model characterized by a sloping roof, typical of the aesthetic tradition of tents. The opening is immediate and instantaneous, thanks to only two gas springs that bring the upper shell to a height of about 160 cm. It is the tallest tent in the Autohome offer. It is a favourite model for those who own tall vehicles and for those who want a rear entrance. While devoted to practicality, Columbus respects the high quality Autohome, starting with the shells that are made of fibreglass, with all the advantages that this material offers. In addition, the roof is ventilated: insulating and anti-condensation, soundproofed even in the rain thanks to a thick mousse. The quality of the fabrics is another element that stands out and makes Columbus a quality tent: they are in fact fabrics that boast a high capacity for transmitting water vapour to the outside.
AIR-CAMPING®, OVERLAND® e OVERZONE®Air-Camping was my first adventure companion: initially on solo tours and then travelling with my whole family. This tent is a specific range of Autohome together with Overland, Overzone. I can confirm that they are excellent curtains in use and offer great internal liveability. In particular, their habitability stands out when they are opened and they are of minimum encumbrance when they are closed: in fact they leave half of the roof of the 4x4 free, so as to allow the loading of other material on the door everything, which is very useful in every travel-adventure. Today they also rightly became a choice for moving around with the family or for those who love a comfortable camping, thanks to their versatility in use. They are even used on the ground in combination with the many accessories that allow a comfortable and long stay.
OVERCAMP®Always from this point of view, a specific quotation deserves Overcamp, a modular tent that lends itself to multiple personal choices of use. An extraordinarily practical model when combined with the veranda on a campsite. Today it is considered not only the tent of the sportsmen, but also the friend of the family, because it allows an excellent independence in the rooms. Fantastic when using 2 matching tents to have a really large and important space.
When I founded the Photo Challenge "The journey within everyone's reach”, I wanted to transfer my thoughts in a creative and engaging way. I think I succeeded, in light of the success of the proposal. I always thought travel is about having fun first. Surely, there are many components that lead to the adventure journey, but at the base lies the creation of a new dimension with yourself. Photography and documentary are the narrative expressions of this condition. It is no coincidence that my great passion is the deserts and in particular that of Libya, which is constantly in my heart. I work as a tour leader and teach off-road driving. However, I really like to go back to my Padua when I am not around. In my activities, I have used everything from the best 4x4 in long-distance travel, to motorcycles, quads, trucks... I talk about it in my journalistic reports that are published in various trade magazines. Always in these articles, I often remember that I am a great admirer of Autohome roof tents. With Autohome, hundreds of thousands of tourists solved in the best way the problem of how and where to spend the night. A safe, comfortable and always in the front row, in close contact with nature. I am convinced that the bed curtain is a winner compared to the classic ground curtain. Because the roof tent contains the mattress, pillows, blankets and everything you need for the night, leaving plenty of space in the car. Then you sleep on a real bed, without the slopes of the ground or the edges under the back, lifted from the ground away from the night dangers, insects and humidity. Wherever and whenever you stop, the roof tent is always ready to provide a comfortable rest: without fatigue and bending down on the ground, to stretch sheets and plant poles. Some indications and some of my advice on the main Autohome models show how the basic advantages of the roof tent are enhanced in these models.
MAGGIOLINA®Maggiolina, first of all, which is Autohome's bestseller. What is this worldwide fame coming from? I believe that the first reason is the great convenience of opening and especially closing. However, the credit goes to all the quality of the tent and the elements that make it up. The line consists of various models to meet all travel needs and requests. The brand Airtop always belongs to the Maggiolina family. All materials are Maggiolina, so are the fittings. The only difference is the opening system, which is made by means of 4 gas springs, an operation similar to what happens with car doors. The opening mechanism is arranged on the sides, thus avoiding encumbrances in length. The model with total vision is then Airtop 360°, with mosquito nets I see and do not see integrated into the fabrics, to have privacy even when doors and windows are open.
AirlanderAirlander is a streamlined, sober and clean tent that looks good on small cars, 4x4s and large vehicles. In terms of functionality and comfort, it has everything you need: 2 doors, 2 windows and each opening has a mosquito net. As I experienced personally several times, the mattress is really perfect and the fabric, as in the whole Maggiolina series, it is highly breathable ensuring a cool, dry and healthy environment. Very appreciated is also the waterproofing, there are no problems even when it rains very hard. Airlander's plus model is essentially characterized by the door finishes, which, being equipped with additional arched hinges, allow for customized partial openings. This way, while lying down, you get a great view on all sides of the tent, while maintaining the necessary privacy.
Grand TourGran Tour, on the other hand, is characterized by its consistent size: the shell is in fact a little taller and larger than Airlander, with a higher internal volume. I recommend this model for medium cars, such as Suvs, Vans and 4x4s. Its identity is based first of all on the original style, then on an aesthetic factor. The finish and every other detail are the same as Airlander Plus, while the front door is slightly larger. The fabric is also the same, therefore always highly breathable and, of course, perfectly waterproof. Gran Tour 360°, launched in 2019, is a model fitted with mosquito nets I see and do not see integrated into the fabrics. They guarantee privacy even when doors and windows are fully open.
ExtremeWith the Extreme tent you enter directly into the conceptual territory of the "long journey", when all the available cargo space has to be used to the fullest; but also simply in the sport holiday, where the loads and overall dimensions of the equipment have to be well managed. Technical-functional features, equipment and everything else are the same as Airlander Plus and Grand Tour: the difference lies in being able to further load materials over the roof.
Airlander Plus 360° X-LargeX-Large, also launched in 2019, is the largest shell model on the market: 180 x 230 cm, made with the crank opening system. Even on vans and large vans it does not pass the mirrors, so it fits in the shape of the car. This means you can camp anywhere, even in public areas of normal vehicle parking. Nothing of the tent protrudes and therefore there is no need to go camping.
COLUMBUS®Finally Colombus, a model that is really appreciated, because it focuses on simplicity: 2 springs only, so little space for lifting mechanisms inside the tent. Two gas springs and everything is ready: the curtain opens and closes without any further need. You like the immediacy of operation, the shape when open, but above all the internal height that reaches 160 cm; this means that you can even "change clothes" while staying comfortably in the tent. Also worth highlighting, the doors on the sides that turn into comfortable and large windows. The Variant model exhibits a very open back, equipped with an arched zip that allows considerable customization of opening. The equipment is similar to the standard model. It is the elastic mesh in the attic that makes the difference, as well as the interior light and the posts that transform the tailgate into a comfortable awning.
AIR-CAMPING®, OVERLAND® e OVERZONE®Autohome also offers a specific line of fabric curtains: Air-Camping, Overland, Overzone and Overcamp. Once the PVC canopy is removed, these curtains all open like a book with a single, simple gesture, using the ladder. They all have a very effective and reliable fabric: consistent and robust, it has excellent stability. This means no noise and no flapping of fabrics in the wind, even when there is a breeze at night. The fabrics do not swell: the walls and roof are in fact well attached to each other, firmly sewn together. Even the windows are windproof and silhouetted on the walls, so as to avoid the sail effect of the wind. In addition, the windows open and close while remaining comfortably in the tent: this is thanks to special tie rods, prepared for an operation similar to the shutters of the house. To remember: being a series of cantilevered tents, they come out of the silhouettes of the car so the European rules impose the use of the tent only in camping areas. Camping is not allowed in public areas or parking lots.
I have always been convinced that a true traveler must be the maker of his dreams. The journey spontaneously leads to freedom and knowledge. That is why I mainly dedicated myself to new projects, sometimes even a little crazy, which then became classics of adventure travel. Even as a boy, I was a dreamer, a rebel. I wanted to be free to go where I wanted. It was almost inevitable that even in my feelings I would look for and find a person, a woman able to share (and bear...) my character. Therefore, it was with Doris, who actively shares my adventures. I happen to be impulsive, to carry out courageous projects, but from a technical and equipment point of view, I think I am very strict. Maybe that is why they asked me to be a travel consultant and experimenter. Even Autohome asked me. Since the '90s. Also in those years, I started to take courses as a trans-Africa tour instructor. We began to put Autohome products to the test in Asia, developing the world of travel-adventure in the East. For example, on one tour I touched "extreme" sites in China, Burma and Tibet. During numerous expeditions and events, I publicly thanked Autohome as "Superior rooftent". The reasons? Let us see some of them together. Taking for example my favourite curtains and some accessories.
COLUMBUS®I start with Colombus whom I love very much, especially because she is taller than normal: she reaches 160 centimeters. I directly experienced what this comfort means: I am over 190 centimetres tall and I am also sturdy. It is no coincidence that I chose the X-LONG model of 2.30 centimeters. Inside the tent, I can comfortably change my dress. Wearing fresh, clean clothes after hundreds of miles is an absolute pleasure! I also appreciate very much that the two shells are directly hinged to each other on the front, so the lowered roof is more supportive to the base and has no support mechanisms. Very functional is also the large rear opening that I can customize. I like the arched design of the two large doors on the sides that also become windows. The fabric is Airtex technology, perfectly waterproof and of high quality, but above all it is not bulky and folds easily into the tent. I therefore believe that Columbus is the tent for a dynamic and concrete itinerant journey, for those who travel at every sunset, ideal for those who demand the essential but do not want to give up comfort.
WingsLet us see Wings. When I first saw the typical "bat wings" I thought they were really what the Maggiolina series needed! Creating 160 cm coverage at the entrance to the tent is an advantage for several reasons, especially if it does not hinder the movement of the tent. In practice, you get a large protected entrance that allows you to take off your shoes without staying under water, for example. In fact, very comfortable are the hooks for slippers or boots, which remain hanging on a corner of the cover. In addition, when you wake up in the morning, in case of rain you are not immediately under water. With Wings, the advantages are also under the sun: in the case of high temperatures, the awning doors can in fact remain fully open to facilitate the recirculation of air, while remaining protected from water, sunlight and prying eyes, thus ensuring greater privacy. Therefore, it is a great idea, and what's more, there is no work to be done on the tent: no holes in the shells, nothing! The Wings are easily applied simply by acting with a special support pole that hooks into the slots under the roof, everything is provided as standard.
Accessori Autohome®Finally, I tell you about some other Autohome accessories that I often use. First of all, the winter hood. I tested its pleasant function both as an additional protection against cold and sudden changes in temperature and as a "collector" of heat in the early morning sun. A piece of advice: when you mount the hood, it is best to keep a few windows ajar, in order to have enough air circulation to let the humidity out. Equally functional is the locker room cabin. I experienced many times how useful it can be to have an environment connected to the tent. You can change your clothes, of course, but you can also keep your personal belongings, store other accessories or equipment and so on. Security, but also privacy: you have an additional protected area, completely lockable on all 4 sides. It is a rational accessory also in the assembly: it is in fact made with a few poles that hook quickly to the roof tent. In many travel and camping situations, awnings and verandas are valuable. The first is a very useful accessory when you want to get a big cover at the entrance of your tent, to protect yourself from sun and rain. In the easiest way, you can create a space to have lunch or relax in the shade. I remind you that the awning can be hooked on both sides of the awning and can be used in combination with a changing room cabin or awning. In this way, you get a complete system of sun and weather protection. With the veranda, you have a self-standing structure that remains mounted and stands alone, without the need to have your car near. A protected space to store things when you leave the tent. Particularly convenient is being able to quickly put your sports equipment away. Installing the veranda is also very useful to guard your camping site, avoiding to find it partially invaded by other campers.
After years of journalism, I felt the need to launch myself more directly into the part of the traveller, the one who starts and goes. In addition, it was passion right away! With my expedition "The world Offroad I" I wanted an experience of great commitment right away, without half measures. I set up a Land Rover Discovery3 equipped with a Maggiolina Extreme Forest tent and in 2007 I set off on a round-the-world trip. I knew it was going to be hard, but I had no idea to travel 167,000 km in 1,234 days, touching 67 countries and 5 continents. How did I do that? Passion and curiosity. Shared with Vula, my life and travel companion. Maggiolina has been our home and refuge for 718 nights in about 600 different places! For Vula and me those were unforgettable moments, perhaps unrepeatable. We were excited and we loved that total sense of freedom that only an Autohome roof tent can provide. I underline: a very good roof tent, because if there had not been the quality of Maggiolina on several occasions there would have been trouble. I have told it many times remembering this great journey: Maggiolina gave us positive energy from day to day. We slept both in hot temperatures and in freezing conditions, but in the Maggiolina we always found ourselves pampered.
An irresistible desire to travelOur first big tour was in collaboration with the leading automotive magazine in Greece, for which I worked. Writing has always been my main job, which also includes editing books and travel guides. With Vula and our daughter, we lived in Italy for several years, but the desire to travel never abandoned us. Not really! We had many more experiences since 2010. For example, we took part in the project "Around the World" launched by "7Milamiglialontano". After this collaboration "The World Offroad II" was set up, which is taking us along new routes starting from the mythical "Silk Road". In this adventure, I am driving an IVECO 4x4 motorhome, but without renouncing to mount a 90 cm wide Overland Autohome tent on the roof, as a wildcard space useful both for relaxation and to accommodate additional travelling guests. Also during the new tours, I continue my activity as a writer and photographer, which today is carried out mainly thinking about the online world, on sites, portals and social networks. It will always be the network to welcome my next reports, documentaries created with particular attention in observing the countries and populations with which we come into contact. Cultural experiences as well as adventure, on which I like to involve my daughter very much.
MOTHER AND WIFE OVERLANDER
I have always been a dynamic, vibrant woman. When I start up something, I put all of myself into it. That is what happened with my off-road project. Although my background was more related to art and theatre culture. I have in fact had a career in dance, both as a performer and then as a choreographer and teacher. I fell deeply in love with the adventure trip when I met Akis Temperidis. Therefore, for me it was a double love! I shared with him the dream of travelling the world for almost four years, in our project "The World Offroad", which started in 2007. It was an experience of extraordinary intensity, which also allowed me to play the role of tester of the equipment we used, first of all the Autohome roof tents. After several other travel experiences, including a long stay in Africa, we moved to Italy where our daughter Anastasia was born. However, the desire to travel, that desire that fans know well, led us to design another challenge, even longer and more demanding. In 2018, together with our daughter, we set off on a second expedition along new routes around the world, which is still going on and will certainly last for years. I also renewed the task of tester, focusing even better on the needs of women in difficult, not to say extreme, journeys. An Autohome tent accompanies and assists us on this second expedition: Overland. On the contrary, it would be better to say "the system" Overland, because it is an articulated system, intelligent, I would even say "brilliant" in its daily practicality. This result is obtained first of all in the relationship between the tent and its accessories, which make Overland ideal both for big trips and for short stays of relax and holiday. Based on my constant use of the Overland system, I have the opportunity to provide some practical advice that I believe will be useful for everyone. I am focusing on some accessories.
VerandaLet us start with the veranda. It is an independent structure from the tent that can be used to store various things while you are away, for example going to the beach or shopping. Therefore, it is a perfect accessory for campers. I assure you, however, that even on more demanding trips it can be very useful. In addition, because with the versatility of the Overland system, the veranda can be coordinated with the roof awning or with the awning on the ground feet for longer stays.
Changin roomIt only takes a few days of use to understand how much the locker changing room is an indispensable part of the equipment. It is made with 4 walls of the same fabric as the tent, connected by a zipper, and can be easily applied under the base of the tent. It ensures practicality without cluttering up because it adapts perfectly to the tent. It creates a space of privacy to change clothes, but also to store camping equipment, especially in bad weather.
FeetThe feet on the ground are only apparently marginal accessories, but I can guarantee from direct experience that they are often essential. Of course, they become indispensable in the case of long stays. An important additional advantage to remember: with your feet and tent on the ground you do not have to respect the closing times of the campsites, you can return on foot without restrictions.
Winter hoodThe winter hood was a real salvation for Akis and me so many times! How many sub-zero nights we spent protected by this indispensable accessory. As simple as it is precious. Remember that even when extreme climates are not reached, the winter hood is still very useful. In particular, it is an ideal barrier against temperature fluctuations. Perhaps not everyone knows that even in Europe there are many places that have daytime and night-time fluctuations of 25°C!
Eugenio Martignani has a long track record in adventure travel on board a series of off-road vehicles. He has transformed his passion for nature and exploration of far-off lands into a profession, as a journalist specializing in 4WD autos. For the past thirty years, he has contributed to Italian and international magazines, worked in TV as a test driver, technician, sportsman and travel reporter. He has seven Camel Trophies, years of experience in African Rally Raids, has crossed Siberia in winter and headed up the frozen Mackenzie River as far as the Beaufort Sea. And more. For work or fun, he has driven in all the Continents: from the Amazon to Mongolia, from Australia to the Polar Circle, from Indonesia to South Africa. He has written books and guidebooks for off-road vehicles and, when he has a little time, heads off to somewhere new, with a preference for deserts, which he has explored the world over. His “mission” is to leave civilization behind and explore unknown destinations, because – as he says - “the four elements of our planet are earth, water, air and fire, not asphalt or cement!” On his off-road adventures, he has used and tested the roof tents of various manufacturers and, in particular, the wide range of Autohome products, which are able to meet even his demanding needs. “What do I look for in a roof tent? Distance from the ground, protection against animals, rapid opening and closing and comfort inside because a good night’s sleep is all important if you want to travel well.”
THE BASIC FEATURES OF AUTOHOME QUALITYIn general, they are all tents of superior quality, with manufacturing and technical features that undoubtedly place them at the top of the sector. Technically (function, performance and comfort) and in aesthetic terms, they are unbeatable. Autohome represents “history” and the continuous development of roof tents for vehicles; the company is the market leader with products that just can’t be copied. It is no accident that they were the first in the world to patent and develop this type of tent. Since 1958 they have created a whole range of innovations and successful products. Their tents are the biggest sellers the world over, which is unusual because quality doesn’t usually coincide with quantity. But with Autohome, it does. Another added value which today is particularly important is pride in a product that bears the “Made in Italy” label, with exclusively Italian and some European suppliers.
PROFILE OF INDIVIDUAL PRODUCTS
MAGGIOLINA® (AIRLANDER - GRAND TOUR- EXTREME – EXTREME FOREST)These are models that open and close with a handwheel, using 4 lifting poles, two at the front and 2 at the rear. Fabrics used: DRALON® (Made in Germany) and AIRTEX (German-made, of the highest technical quality).
AIRTOP®Airtop opens with gas springs fitted into the 4 lifting arms, in pairs on both sides of the tent. Fabrics used: DRALON® and AIRTEX®
COLUMBUS®Tent models opening with gas springs fitted into 2 lifting poles on the sides. Fabric used: AIRTEX®
AIR-CAMPING® / OVERLAND®This tent opens “like a book” with 2 platforms hinged at the sides with 3 ribs supporting the fabric.
OVERZONE®Conceptually similar to Overland, opening like a book and again with 2 platforms hinged at the sides with 3 ribs supporting the fabric and a further adjustable rib at the entrance to the tent.
OVERCAMP®Opening with 3 adjustable ribs supporting the fabric. I should point out that one of the advantages of these tents is that, when they are closed, they only take up half of the space on the vehicle roof, leaving room for sports gear (for example for surfing or canoeing) or other equipment.
THE OFF-ROAD GURU
I am always a little surprised when they call me a 4x4 wizard. If I were born in India, what would they call me? Guru? Let us not kid ourselves... No magic, but a lot of experience and a bit of intuition, which is it, that is it! I started working in the sector back in 1990 and continue today in my workshop in Portogruaro, specialized in setting off-road vehicles for the most demanding challenges. In many years of work, I have helped many projects and many dreams of adventure around the world. My task is essentially one: to ensure that the vehicle is consistent with what it will have to face. Developed in every detail to prove himself worthy of the situation. Everyone knows I have a great love: The Defender. It does not matter the age or the conditions of use... love is love! I think I know really well this extraordinary creation that for many years never ceases to amaze. My workshop is clearly orientated towards the Land Rover world, with which I work both commercially and for specific projects in the field of adventure travel. Maybe that is why they also ask me to be a tester. They say I am inflexible in evidence and judgement... I think instead I am simply rational and honest. If there is something wrong, I will say it openly and plainly. If I find something I really like, I recommend it. That is all. In any case, I always justify my opinions. I am a big off-road enthusiast, but I never got carried away by easy enthusiasm. It is probably for these reasons that Autohome asked me to join the team of verifiers, who are impartial in their judgments precisely because they are external to the company. I have a deep esteem for the quality of Autohome products, but with as much frankness, if there is something that does not work I report it. Text products, services and accessories. I notice that they trust my judgements, so much so that before going into production they always ask for my opinion. Among the most recent tests I conducted is the one dedicated to the new closures, introduced for all rigid shell awnings from 2020. After gruelling field tests, I can confirm that these closures are truly innovative and make a significant improvement to the concept of functionality in the industry. A reconfirmation of the commitment that distinguishes Autohome in all the technological elements, even those that sometimes tend to be forgotten or neglected.
"Luggi" LUDWIG SCHMID
The expert’s opinion
Ludwig Schmid offers professional off-road equipment. He is one of the best southern Germany specialists in the fitting and preparation of vehicles for long-distance adventure travels. Thanks to his high-level mechanic job and to being part of the DTM Audi (GT-series) team at the Rally Dakar, he also has a wide and qualified experience in off-road. His passion for the off-road world has been handed on from his father. As he remembers: “I’ve always been fascinated by off-road, by the spirit of freedom, the contact with nature that makes it unique. At the same time, this is a world where technology is essential and precision and rationality are necessary. This is probably why I managed to make a job out of my passion. I love not having any barrier between my hobby and my job”. It is not a coincident that, apart from the off-road, his favorite hobbies are fishing, hunting, skiing and ice hockey. Hitting the road is what makes him happy the most and makes him able to improve his professional skills.