My First Guest Blog!

With the weather getting cooler and days growing shorter, I’m longing for summer sun and family camping adventures. I thought it’d be a great time to share with you my first guest post and product review featured on Camping with Your Kids Blog hosted by my good friend, Sue.

The Camper’s Mansion: Napier Sportz™ Midsize SUV Tent Review

The Sportz™ Midsize SUV Tent is a perfect shelter for family camping adventures. The innovative design uses an adjustable durable tarp-like sleeve to transform your CUV, SUV or minivan into ample camping space.  This sleeve is also detachable to transform your shelter into a standard ground tent.

sportz tent

Last spring we were surfing the web for new family camping ideas and my husband stumbled on this SUV tent. I immediately fell in love with the idea of using the back of our Chrysler Town & Country as additional camping space. I was picturing a twin-sized air mattress in the back and space to change diapers while standing up. It was full of potential and convenience. As luck would have it, I found one barely used on a regional swap and sell site.

A few days before our camping trip, I backed my van into the yard and unfolded the tent to gain some experience setting up. I highly recommend this for any new tent purchase. There is little worse than showing up to your campsite in the dark and arguing over what goes where. I know I’m not the only one who’s done this.

camping 1

camping 2

The assembly is a breeze and can be done by one person if needed. The tent assembles into a plentiful height of 6′ in the corners and a spacious 7′ in the center. The connecting SUV sleeve goes up over the open hatch and under the bumper encasing the backend of your vehicle to extend your living space into a mini mansion. The tent is equipped with a 6′ x 6′ awning and a 6′ x 7′ bottomless screen room if you’ve purchased that model.

I highly recommend this mini mansion shelter to any SUV owner looking for a little extra space and functionality in their car camping excursions.

camping 3

Specs:

  • Adjustable SUV sleeve custom fits your CUV, SUV or minivan hatch creating additional camping space.
  • Detachable SUV sleeve transforms tent into a standard ground tent.
  • 9′ x 9′ footprint comfortably sleeps 4 – 5 persons.
  • 7′ of overhead room at the center and 6′ in the corners.
  • Steel and fiberglass pole structure for strength and durability.
  • Waterproof polyester taffeta tent featuring full length taped and seamed rain fly and storm flaps in the windows.
  • Durable waterproof shower liner style floor prevents rain runoff from flooding in.
  • Cyclone Ventilation system provides adequate airflow without compromising storm coverage.
  • Two inside gear pockets and a gear loft.
  • Approximate weight: 30 lbs.

Recommendations:
Go for the screen room. We definitely wish we had that extra space.
Shop around. Most sporting goods stores offer the screen room model new from $260 – $370.
If you purchase the screen room model, spend the extra $30 on the Sportz Footprint to line the bottom of the screen room.

A standard twin sized air mattress is a bit too wide to fit the bed of an SUV or minivan. Coleman makes, at a reasonable price, a Portable SUV Quickbed that measures 41″ x 63.”

Likes:
I have to say the spacious overhead layout is my favorite feature of this tent.
The shower liner style floor is new to me in the world of camping equipment features and I was quite impressed with the ease of sweeping it out at the end of our trip as well as the ability to keep light rain from leaking in at the bottom seams.

Dislikes:
The adjustable SUV sleeve doesn’t quite fit around the bottom of my 2013 Chrysler Town & Country. The bumper is a little wider than my previous 2010 Dodge Caravan model and consequently the sleeve comes up about an inch or two short in material to encase the bumper. To solve that issue, I tuck the bumper portion of the sleeve under the back row of my stow-n-go seating and the folded down seats seem to hold it in place just fine.
I saved a ton of money buying slightly used. The problem is that not everyone sweeps their tent out at the end of a camping stay and over time that dirt grinds at the tent like sandpaper when the tent is stored away. Our tent is in excellent condition with a few little holes in the mesh of the ceiling vent and top of the fly.
While the tent is perfect for car camping, it’s much too bulky to kick the car sleeve and pack into camp to use as a ground tent even if the load was split between two persons.
Campground camping often requires lot scouting and reservation in advance to secure the perfect space to fit the vehicle and tent side-by-side.

Get Outdoors Holiday Gift Guide

When I was a kid, I remember playing outdoors until the streetlights came on. I had a collection of Barbies and dolls and a whole closet stuffed with toys, but what I remember most from my childhood days is riding bikes, lemonade stands, building forts, catching snakes and digging in the dirt.

My kids belong to the few who still enjoy outdoor play. That’s not to say we don’t own too many electronics and toys because we do. My kids have WAY too much in my opinion and I don’t want another Christmas to come around and be overwhelmed by stuff. I’m completely aware this is my fault as a parent. We’re beyond that fact, so keep up. We’ve considered alternatives like tickets to the Monster Truck Finals and Disney on Ice, gift cards, clothes, books, art supplies, but most of all we’re excited to expand on our love of camping.

After moving our son into a local independent scout troop and sending him out the door for monthly camp outs, we fell in love with camping as a family and made it our goal to hit the great outdoors once a month through the summer. It was a bit of an expense each outing since we were short sleeping bags and supplies, but little by little we’re building our family gear. Last spring we opted for day and overnight packs filled with treats, gadgets and gear in lieu of baskets for our oldest boys

eastergearso this upcoming holiday the idea continues.

I present to you my

Get Outdoors Holiday Hotlist:

1. Paracord & DIY Paracord Projects.

2. Games for family fun: Knot So FastNite Ize Flashflight Disc-O, Terrafun Backpack Board Games.

3. Geomate Jr. and Geomate Kit. Whether experienced to the world of Geocaching or just starting out, your kiddos are sure to love the thrill of the world wide treasure hunt given this gadget and party pack.

4. Camelbak Hydrobaks.

6. Camp Chair. Kids love having their very own camp chair especially if it features cup holders and extra pockets.

7. Hammock. It’s the first thing to go up at camp and the last to come down.

9. Headlamps. Perfect hands free lighting for hiking to the bathrooms or finding a safe path to your tent after an evening by the fire.

10. Fishing Pole Roasters from Firebuggz. These are a family favorite. Be sure to check out their video. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without them.

Find these items and more by following my Pinterest board.