Those of you who may have read “House of the Gods”, my Tepui rooftop tent review will remember the issues I pointed out with the optional Kukenam annex. To name a few, the door was behind the ladder making the entrance a pretty good squeeze to get in. In order to remove the annex or install it, you had to unbolt the ladder, and it had no floor, but was otherwise a useful place to get dressed and such in privacy and out of the weather.
After reading my first review, the general manager at Tepui contacted me via email. He wrote how he enjoyed the honest review and how many of the issues we had with the annex have been solved with a complete redesign. Awesome! I bought mine six months too early, I thought. But as I continued to read, he went on to say that the redesign would be available soon and they would be happy to send us the new, improved version, free of charge.
A complete redesign is no stretch of the truth, as very little of the original remains other than the construction materials. For starters, the new annex has all four walls like its big brothers, instead of three as in the previous model. That fourth wall actually slips thru the channel that the tents travel cover goes into when the tent is stowed away. This means several things: first with the new floor zipped in, it is completely enclosed and makes a great escape from mosquitoes and/or bad weather; second, it has a large zippered portion that serves as a vehicle access panel. (though, unless the tent is centered around the rear door, which mine is not, can be a pain all the same); third, because it is using that channel mentioned a moment ago, it cannot be stowed away without being removed (unless you want to pitch the travel cover—your call).
Moving right along, there’s also the new zip-in floor. While I don’t see any specs on their site to say for sure, I’m confident it is made from the same 1000g heavy duty PVC that their travel covers are made from, durable and waterproof. What else can you say about a floor? Wait, I have one—the zippers are a major pain in the ass. However, I will never need to unzip it anyway because, to stow the annex, I fold the whole thing down on itself and roll it all up to stuff in the provided sack. For me, it is now permanent.
The skirt that the annex zips onto is a great improvement, as well. While you have to remove the ladder from the hinges to install it, you only have to do this once, as the skirt fits right down under the travel cover. Removing the annex from the base of the tent is very quick. Excellent design.
And to my favorite and most obvious improvement: the location of the door. Located on the side, to the left as you face the ladder, it is now wide open for chairs, a table, or whatever you like with ease. Ahhhh… things are right in the world again.
Made from the same 260g ventilate coated canvas as the tent itself, it is sure to be durable and waterproof for many seasons. Durable YKK zippers secure the storm flaps that cover the door and windows, as well as to the floor, vehicle hatch and to the skirt that remains on the tent when the annex is removed. The new annex seems larger too, as there is easily room for two adults to sleep in it. You can play cards, eat, hangout or take a shower in total privacy out of the elements. What the guys at Tepui have done, is made a very versatile and usable space that will be very handy on short or long trips. Well done.
While I’m at it, I might as well give a run down of the Tepui six-foot awning we recently installed, as well. For starters, and a pleasant surprise, it is 80 inches wide—that’s 6 feet 8 inches for reference—even though the website says 6 feet, and it extends out 6 feet. This equates to a large amount of shade and rain cover from the vehicle. Four adjustable aluminum poles work together to provide a sturdy frame, and there are two ropes provided for extra security to protect it in windy conditions —which we have yet to test it in.
It can be difficult for one person to set up, but it can be done, and I’m sure I will get better at it in time. We have only used it on one weekend getaway so far, but it seems to be a quality unit and will do its job well and provide yet another comfort to our back country adventures, when needed.
In conclusion, the Santa Cruz, California-based company is providing excellent products at an affordable price point, and they are clearly looking for improvement all the time. Many thanks to Evan Currid and his crew for their support!