The overall impression one gets from the Kakadu tent is a light, airy space. Dimensionally, it is roomy, 1400mm (55″) wide x 2400mm (94.50″) The ARB Kakadu roof tent features a high tech light high density, single layer extruded foam mattress. This reduces the mass weight of the tent while remaining comfortable, and allows for easier folding of the tent during pack up.
The ARB Kakadu roof tent is a new design that ARB has recently added to their range of overland and expedition equipment. We have written before about the way ARB responds to market needs and customer feedback incredibly well. The ARB Kakadu roof top tent is a physical manifestation this, of ARB’s constant attention to the overland and camping market’s needs.
The Kakadu roof tent is part of ARB’s range of next-generation roof tents, of which the Simpson III roof tent is the flagship product. The Kakadu roof tent shares a lot features and components with the Simpson III roof tent model. However, lets home in on the big thing that sets the Kakadu tent apart from ARB’s Simpson roof tents: The ARB Kakadu roof tent has been designed for warmer climates, where excellent ventilation is required.
The Kakadu tent uses many of the base components that the Simpson III roof tent does, there are a few notable differences to be aware of and examine. The ARB Kakadu roof tent features a very cool ‘total shade’ flysheet. Most roof tents have simple rectangular side flaps, which peg out using two long metal rods. These sides protrude at an angle and keep the rain and crucially, the sun, out of the tent. Anyone who has experienced overland travel in a hot climate will know these side flaps are a lifesaver when the sun hits your overland vehicle in the morning. They keep the sun out, and they provide airflow right through the roof tent, keeping you cool. This is where the Kakadu’s biggest feature comes in – Rather than two simple side flaps, ARB have designed a total-coverage shade flysheet. The flysheet is still pegged out using the same number of steel spring rods, but the canvas joins up entirely to form a total ‘circle’, above the roof tent. This extra canvas, taking the brunt of the suns’ rays, provides immeasurable relief in hotter climates. Because the sun can hardly hit the sides of the actual roof tent, the ARB Kakadu roof tent really does deliver when it comes to keeping cool.
Another noticeable difference to notice about the Kakadu in comparision to the ARB Simpson is that it forgoes the extendable veranda section around the door opening. While at first, we thought this a detraction from the Kakadu’s credentials, we soon came around to the idea that this fits in with the Kakadu’s ethos of being lighter, more streamlined, and easier to pack down than other roof top tents of its kind. The ARB Kakadu is more adapted to desert life, rather than colder climates. Time saved during packdown under the baking sun is an important feature on this roof tent.
For increased ventilation, the Kakadu roof tent utilizes very large side window openings, which allows for much greater air flow through the tent. The internal canvas zip-ups are still provided, to seal the windows in case the weather does turn bad.
The Kakadu roof tent, as with all of the canvas products in the ARB Series III range, features 300 gsm Polycotton Rip Stop canvas with polyurethane coating, for excellent water resistance. The PU coating also helps prevent condensation from permeating through the exterior, which reduces the likelihood of mould and mildew.
Utilizing the same materials as ARB’s Simpson III model roof tent, the ARB Kakadu tent also has an ABS laminated aluminum ladder, and upgraded roof support bows. These have been increased from 16mm raw aluminium tube to much superior 25mm anodized aluminum tube. This is a big upgrade – The 25mm tube gives the entire tent structure greater stability in adverse weather conditions, and you can really feel it when you have experienced
both in a storm! The Kakadu also uses 4mm plated steel hinges along with extruded aluminum ‘tongued’ base edges to lock the two parts of the bases together when deployed. Much like ARB’s flagship Simpson III, all of the seams are sealed with welded seam tape, preventing water ingress through needle stitching holes.
The Kakadu tent’s flysheet is manufactured from 300D Oxford weave polyester. The quality on this one is important, and it means the flysheet is virtually impervious to water ingress. This is key, because it makes the Kakadu versatile – This is not just a desert tent! It will perform very well in adverse conditions too, including downpours. The extended flysheet uses the normal roof tent amount of 8 spring steel stay rods to keep it taut, and reduce flapping in wind.
The cover on the Kakadu roof tent is the same upgraded model seen on the Simpson tents. Manufactured from UV stabilized 900gsm laminated PVC, and utilizing the very nice heavy duty #10 YKK Vislon zips combined with three tie down straps rather than the usual two. One of the main features of the ARB Kakadu are its ‘light and easy’ credentials. The roof tent weighs in at a very ligh 64 kg, and the quick set-up features mean that full set up can be achieved in about 1-2 minutes, with two people. Pretty impressive!
All told, at 4×4 Gear Reviews are very impressed with ARB’s new Kakadu roof tent. It really performs as touted in hot climates, but holds its own with the best in adverse conditions too. Price wise, its within reach of the classic £1000 area most roof tents try to achieve, at a manageable $1,500 retail price. It’s a specific item so you’ll pay a little more for these features, but we think it’s well worth the money for a roof tent with these credentials.