Darche Hi-View 1600 Rooftop Tent

The Top End is the ultimate test bed for testing a bed.

The weather up here is as tumultuous as it is unforgiving. One day the rain is steaming on your skin, the next the sun seems to have forgotten you and the air is brisk. No environment demands more from a touring setup than the tropics. And few solutions deliver more than Darche’s latest rooftop tent design.

Over the years I have travelled fairly extensively across the top end of Australia in just about every manner of accommodation. I have rolled swags up the Cape and camper-trailered across the Kimberley.

Two things belabor any traveller and his bed up here: durability and breathability. Above all else, you need something that can withstand the desert and the jungle, and something that will keep you dry and cool.

After a couple of months touring around with the new tent on the truck, it definitely ticks all the important boxes. The canvas is tough, with plenty of windows to keep things dry and cool. The ‘tropical roof’ setup is perfect for hot nights, with the ability to open up the stargazing window to let out any extra heat.

Putting the tent up usually takes me about five minutes, with a little more to pack things down completely. It’s about the same time as a swag, with a lot more room and a breezier outcome in the end. Plus, and let’s be clear here, the missus really likes being up off the ground when we’re in the middle of nowhere.

There are a number of really innovative features on the tent that make set up quick and easy, from the extendable, locking tube design of the main tent to the sprung steel window rods that magically hold the awnings open with the flick of the wrist.

Most of the time I don’t run the drop down annex, as I like to run and gun things when I’m out shooting, but it’s a really quick addition to the setup, and works well with the truck, with a huge zip-out panel for access to my canopy and a bit of extra bug-free territory in my camp.

The overall feel of the tent is of a well-thought out, well-executed design from end to end. Everything has been carefully tested over the years by the guys at Darche to see what works and what doesn’t.

Out here on the road, there’s no better feeling, climbing into bed, than knowing that the bugs are all gone and everything just works.

Hi-View 1600 without annex RRP $2,599
For more information visit www.darche.com.au

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