Without a doubt, the Alu-Cab Gen3 Expedition Tent is a fantastic tent and probably the best (and possibly most expensive) rooftop tent on the market.

It is ALMOST perfect. What? Why only almost?“, you will ask yourself?

We travelled through Namibia and Botswana for a few weeks and finally had the chance to test the tent properly. 
The Alu-Cab Gen3 Expedition Tent can be pitched within seconds (you get to have your beer sooner!), it is extremely comfortable, very strong and will draw the attention and envy of any other traveller you will meet on your journey.

Unfortunately we found a whole list of things that are just wrong, and we often stood thinking: ”Did these guys ever go camping with this tent?” Some of the points made us really angry, wishing our old standard rooftop tent back.

Let’s get started:

The Doors:

The doors/windows/openings/entrances (however you may call them) are in my opinion the biggest mistake Alu-Cab made constructing the tent.

The ‘doors’ open to the bottom, and only to the bottom and this comes with a whole bunch of problems.

  • The fabric either hangs down over the ladder (which is highly dangerous) or it lies on top of your bedding in the tent and you have to climb over it (also it brings a hell of a lot of dirt inside). During the night you always have the canvas in your face if you want to sleep with open doors.
  • When you want to go in or out, you have to open the doors entirely and if you do that while it is raining, your whole tent gets wet inside. You can’t just ‘slip’ in and out, like you usually do in a tent.
  • The zippers. I have had quite a couple of tents in my life (e.g. the Hilleberg Saivo or the LAS Pro Tent Series II) and I think all of them had a “normal” tent zipper system. One to open and close the canvas door including the netting door and within this door a second zipper to open only the canvas. So you would never need more than one zipper to open the tent. Not here. With the Alu-Cab Gen3 Expedition Tent you always have to open two zippers completely, one for the canvas and one for the net. Getting in and out takes longer than pitching the whole tent.
  •  The mosquito netting is on the outside. Really? Have you ever seen a tent with an uncovered net on the outside (like the little canopy at the LAS Pro Tent Series II) ? In the rain it soaks up water like a sponge and it takes quite a while to dry.

The solution: Opening up the doors to the side or to the top and put in double zipper system which works in both directions and put the net inside.

The Ladder:

  • The ladder is massive (and still too short -> quite steep to climb up) and you have to stow it inside the Alu-Cab Gen3 Expedition Tent. And because it is not an extension ladder, you have to angle it very carefully, otherwise it could damage the corners of the tent casing when you close it. Who had that idea?
  • We all know that camping can be quite a dusty and dirty matter…storing your dirty ladder on top of your bedding is a horrible idea.
  • The ladder attachment for the tent should be made out of stainless steel.

The solution: An extendable ladder, attached under or on top of the tent.

Push to Open:

Pitching the  Alu-Cab Gen3 Expedition Tent is extremely quick and easy. Except if you are not strong enough for the initial push to make it lift on its own. Jasmin is not able to open the tent on her own and I really have to give it a good push with my whole body weight, taking care not to overstretch myself.

The solution: This is not an easy one, but some kind of a lever mechanism just to lift it the first 20 cm.

The Mattress:

  • The mattress is too short! And within the night slides to the front of the tent, completely blocking the lights and the USB connection, leaving a 20-30 cm gap at your feet. Pushing it back is quite a mission, as it fits very snugly on the sides.
  • Another problem is the foam bottom on which the mattress is lying. There are no air holes or vents to aerate the mattress from below and every day or two you have to lift it to get rid of all the moisture. If you don’t do it, it will rot!

The solution: Use a longer mattress and put a little box on either sides of the lights/USB to prevent the mattress from shifting.

The Inner Lining:

It is white! This looks very nice…..but hell yea, that thing gets dirty quickly. (Never try to smash a mosquito on it!!!)

The Rivets:

All the rivets inside are covered with little felt stickers. Unluckily they fail their description because they don’t really stick. You always find them sticking to your bedding or elsewhere.

The Solution: Use proper glue!

The Rods:

The rods to fix the storm cover are very easy to put in, but taking them out is a hassle. You need some force to wiggle them out of the attachment holes. The problem is, while doing so, they scratch over the paintwork – which is quite robust – but surly won’t resist for ever.

The Solution: Just make the metal plate of the fixture a bit bigger, so it doesn’t scratch over the paint.

OK, that was a lot of bashing, I know, but it’s really a good tent and only with a little bit more testing and researching the Alu-Cab Gen3 Expedition Tent could have been the perfect rooftop tent ever built…but now it’s only 80%. And somehow we feel like we could have a asked for a little bit more for the money we have paid.

Let’s wait and see what will happen in future, and if the Gen4 Expedition Tent will eradicate these teething problems – we would be very happy to test.

One Response so far.

  1. Buchner Engelbrecht sagt:

    Good morning. Thank you for the review and interesting read. I’ve only saw a Gen3 tent in person once before and it did impress me. The owners loved it.

    My bundutop RTT has most of the same ‘problems’, as did the eziawn RTT we owned before that, and honestly we prefer it that way.

    If the doors opened from the top you’ll get more rain/dirt in because it has less protection from the roof/flysheet. We almost always leave a slit open at the top and it never rain in.
    The door tucks in between the tent and mattress within a second, never in the way, I’m sure it can be done with the alucab model?
    I don’t understand the issue with opening the entire door. To climb through a partially opened door is more a safety thing for me, even in a ground tent, your foot can get stuck so easily in a corner and you’ll have a nasty fall.
    If the mosquito net was on the inside you would firts need to unzip the entire door on the outside and then rezip the inside mosquito net, hence double work and letting in mosquitoes! My net doesn’t soak up water though, maybe they should look into a different material.
    Yes most ladders supplied with RTT are crappy, we bought a telescopic ladder afterwards.
    Our mattress doesn’t get moist, and the bottom doesn’t have any holes. But maybe it has something to do with the mattress being 100mm thick.
    The white inner lining helps with natural light inside the tent, I wish my tent was white on the inside.

    In my opinion the ‘worst’ thing of the alucab (and most other clam shell tents) is the flysheet over the front opening. We live in Port Elizabeth and I’m always looking at the wind factor in everything. Those sheets flap flap all night in the wind.

    That’s my 2c

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