2023 Best Rooftop Tent | James Baroud Evasion
Whether at a national park, an overland event, or a gas station, we were often asked about the quality and the features of our rooftop tent. Is it comfortable? How long does it take to set up and put away? Is it warm and what about condensation? What do you do with your dirty shoes and isn't it a pain to go up and down a ladder to go to the restroom in the middle of the night?
These were the same questions we (Ernesto and Taisa) were curious about before our continental overland adventure in our Toyota 4Runner. We did lots of research online and decided on the Maggiolina Extreme rooftop tent which we ended up living in for four consecutive years as we traveled through the Americas.
The tent survived 87,000 miles through 23 countries in the Americas. This gave us a chance to really test the tent through tropical rainy seasons, high elevation extremes, and against the infamous Patagonian winds. Overall, we were very satisfied however all those years of adventure in some pretty remote spots, typical (and not so typical) wear and tear caught up to our rooftop tent and it was time for us to consider another one.
We had been eyeing our friends’ James Baroud rooftop tent while camping together in Peru and Brazil. They loved their tent as did so many others online in their rave reviews. So, we decided to make the switch and couldn’t be happier with our decision. The James Baroud Evasion rooftop tent is comparable in quality, price and durability. It surpassed our expectations in terms of comfort. We sleep like babies in it. The 360 degree views, the aerodynamic design plus the comprehensive warranty are icing on the cake.
Now let’s dig into the details of the James Baroud Evasion rooftop tent. We’ve broken it down by specs and some key design features. We also touch on what’s important to us such as usability, ventilation and storage. For the quick and dirty summary, we recommend skipping to the “At a Glance” section of this review.
James Baroud Evasion Rooftop Tent (M) Standard
- Exterior: 55.5” x 78.5″x 13.5"
- Mattress: 55 x 78″ x 3″
- Weighs 150 pounds
- Starting at $4,695
- Custom built in Portugal
- Warranty: 5 Year guarantee on the fabric, fiberglass, the mechanism, the canvas, the lift supports, the ladder and its fixings, the zippers, the mosquito net, the mattress, the rail and fixings, the upholstery of the upper shell. 2 Year warranty includes the gel-coat, the color, the extractor, the flashlight, the tent locks.
- Accessories: awning enclosures, bag-less awnings, comfort pad, isothermic kit, shower enclosure, tunnel annex, tablet holder, vehicle insulation kit, shoe bag, and eco bag.
Set up and Take Down
The James Baroud Evasion includes an automatic hydraulic strut system which takes a few seconds to pop up after unclasping the four clasps. It’s like magic - no cranking needed! It takes us 2-3 minutes to manually compress, tuck in the sides and close the clasps of the tent.
The James Baroud Evasion is roomy. It has a couple of extra inches in width and height (in comparison to other hard shell rooftop tent competitors) making it more pleasant and easy to sit up in and change. The length feels sufficient for us - we are 5’7 and 5’10. There is enough space in the tent to store bedding which is really nice for long term travel.
Now let’s talk zippers and netting. All James Baroud tents have high quality zippers and netting. The fabric material and zippers are noticeably thicker and sturdier than our old tent and are covered under the five year warranty which we think is an exceptional plus. The fabric material is aluminized polyester with an acrylic coating that is 100% waterproof and UV resistant.
For our needs, the James Baroud Evasion has ample storage inside with storage pockets and a mesh attic. It also has additional space for clothing, books or a water bottle alongside the mattress at the base of the struts, which we find handy.
A sweet upgrade of this James Baroud rooftop tent is the 360 degree windows. You can’t beat that view and it really opens up the space and provides much more light and ventilation than we were used to. A complementary feature is the built in solar powered fan. It stays charged for up to 24 hours and is super quiet and efficient. We think that the fan, the comfort pad, the additional air vents and integrated dust filters on the sides of the tent are key (and ingenious) for mold prevention. The only thing we are more mindful of now is not to snag the fan on any branches or vegetation since it protrudes slightly on top of the roof.
Does your rooftop tent keep you warm? This is a frequently asked question and we are happy to say yes, the James Baroud has superior insulation and has always kept us warm and protected. We recommend buying the cold weather isothermal kit if you know that you will be exposing yourself to extreme weather and high elevations. The James Baroud kit wraps around the inside of the tent. It takes 1-2 minutes to set up and less than a minute to take down. In our personal opinion, good quality sleeping bags are important for a comfortable sleep and for an added cozy factor we sometime use an electric mattress pad.
The James Baroud Evasion includes a telescoping ladder that can be stowed on the inside of the tent. We like the permanent latches that help slide and lock the ladder into place against the base of the tent. We think that this is a safer design. Also the ladder is slightly lighter and easier to deploy. The question about the inconvenience of going up and down the ladder in the middle of the night to use the restroom is a legitimate one. Our advice is to drink fluids earlier in the day and be extra diligent when you are coming down in the dark. Some folks get creative and use funnels, tubes, shewees and old water bottles. Life on the road isn’t always glamorous but it usually is entertaining.
What do we do about our dirty shoes? We often place them on top of the roof or in a plastic bag inside the tent. James Baroud sells a waterproof shoe bag as an accessory that mounts on the side of the ladder.
Lastly, the James Baroud brand has an appreciation for aesthetics and so do we. Having the choice of three standard colors is cool. James Baroud offers white, gray or black at no additional cost. And if you are really into customization, the company also offers over 250 color options from RAL Color Swatches for all hardshell rooftop tents for an additional cost.
At a Glance - James Baroud Evasion Rooftop Tent
- Tested by former Dakar rally driver. Rated to withstand heavy rain, extreme temperatures and winds up to 60 miles/hour
- The set up is fast and easy. The tent basically pops up by itself with the gas struts in a few seconds
- The fabric is aluminized polyester with an acrylic coating that is 100% waterproof and UV resistant. It feels very sturdy
- The interior of the tent is spacious both in height and width and we appreciate every extra inch
- We love the 360 degree views! We may have already said that
- The mattress is really comfortable.
- The quiet built-in solar powered fan/ventilation system is a sweet upgrade
- The ladder locks in place, is light weight and easy to set up and take down
- The tent is available in 250 customized color options for an additional cost
- The warranty is comprehensive. It covers parts such as zippers and netting for five years
If you are a sucker for scoping out prime real estate, closer to nature with loft views (like us), then maybe rooftop tent living is for you. We love the versatility, comfort and the views from above. James Baroud rooftop tents offer both comfort and reliability making it easy to enjoy those epically remote spots. Feel free to reach out with any questions and we hope to see you on the road!