Hosting overlanders – and pop top roof Defenders

I’ve been quiet for a few days because I’ve been hosting a family of four German overlanders – the Stahl family ( and their neat 2011 Tdci 110, fitted with a LandyKamper pop top. Their Land Rover cleared Alexandria customs in record time – three working days – thanks to the efficient work of the excellent Nermien Mamish (her website who quoted a tenth of the rates of the previously well established Mahmoud Ezz El Din – who has now priced himself out of the market with ridiculously high charges for his services.

Interesting to compare pop tops and roof tents. A pop top gives you a much larger bed area and living area (assuming you fit a double bed into the roof space) but means that the interior of your Land Rover needs to be living space rather than storage space. You can also access the interior of the car and sleeping space at one go, and you have a solid roof to turn into bad weather. A roof tent on the other hand does not interfere with interior spaces in the car, but gives a smaller living area and is also less solid in high winds and rain.

Balanced against that, there is cost. LandyKamper and Ex-Tec in Germany charge about 10,000 Euros to fit the system – and apparently Ex-Tec are more reliable.  This works out at around 7,200 sterling at current rates. At the other end of Africa, Alu-Cab of Cape Town quote 92,000 ZAR, about 4,400 sterling – a substantial difference. However in the UK we see that Vanhaus, a VW camper specialist in Staffordshire is offering a Defender pop top roof for 2,195 sterling – though I don’t think this has a bed included (they would fit one though if asked) – and it also only takes up 3/4 the length of the Defender body – only *just* long enough to sleep stretched out.

Balanced against these prices you can see roof tents come in at around a thousand sterling and go up towards perhaps double that, or more for the larger sizes.

So an interesting trade off. I am a shade in favour of roof tents still, but…… I must admit Mischa and Juliana’s pop top was very comfy!

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