Arpenaz Base M Review (+video) – a good budget car tent for car camping

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I’ve tested the Arpenaz Base M tent during our 11-day camping trip in Croatia with 2 days of rain and I’m very happy with it. If you consider its price – 95-100 GBP / EUR, compared to other car tents (awnings) starting at 250 and going to several hundred, it’s a very good option if you want to test whether this kind of camping is for you. Here’s my experience & review.

Key information

  • Tent type: CAMPING LIVING AREA – single layer
  • Size: Square living room with an area of 6.25 sqm (2.5×2.5m floor) and a maximum height of 2.15 m
  • Tailgate opening size: height: 1.4m, width bottom: 1,4m, width top: 0.9m (and it gets wider, 20cm lower it’s about 1,1m) + you can stretch it to some extent to fit the boot nicely – see images below
  • Waterproof: Tropical rain laboratory test | Under shower: 200 L of water per hour per sqm
  • Packed size & weight: 57 x 18 cm | 18 litres | 8 kg
  • Openings: 3 (2 doors, 1 window) + each with a mosquito net + a cover (for privacy). Big opening fits a tailgate (1.7m height from the floor, 1.4m height of the opening)
  • Assembly: two poles, best assembled by two people

Arpenaz Base M car camping / microcamper review

Lukas Cech –

arpenaz base M
If you don’t mind it’s not meant to be used as a car tent – but it actually can do the job pretty well, you’re in for a treat – at only 99 GBP / 99 EUR (yep, cheaper in EU), you will get a pretty good tailgate tent – or a side door tent, you can make it fit both. Better for cars like Caddy, Berlingo, Shara etc – with lower height compared to a Multivan (as most car awnings are made for those). Confirmed to fit a Berlingo, Kangoo, Sharan, Touran (see images below).
– Very cheap!!
– Height : 2.15 m | Floor area: 6.25 m2 | Comfortable for 6 people
– Openings on 3 sides | 3 mosquito nets
– Waterproof (200L per hour per m2)
– Packed size – rectangular cover | 57 x 18 cm | 18 litres
– Weight 8kg
– Easy set-up with a free-standing structure | Only two fibreglass poles
– The fabric filters UV radiation with a UPF of 30
– Withstands force 6 winds – around 50 km/h | Wind tunnel test
– doesn’t need a rail to be attached
– will not fit exactly as it’s not meant to be used with a car, but should do the trick – the opening is big enough for the tailgate + the sheet will protect from rain.

99 GBP / 93 EUR*

*yep, in EUR it works out a lot cheaper
I haven’t seen a car tent that works better in this price range. Easy to carry, easy to assemble and does the job perfectly – you will gain a lot of storage / living room with mosquito nets and window covers for privacy / during rain. If you add a tarp to cover the tailgate for additional rain protection, there’s not much that this (unintended) car tent is missing. If you are considering testing car camping with a car tent, you should definitely try this one. And you might actually never need any other one unless your family starts to grow 🙂


How does the Arpenaz Base M fit the car for camping?

The Arpenaz Base M big opening measurements are:

  • height: 140cm
  • width bottom: 140cm
  • width top: 90cm (and it gets wider, 20cm lower it’s about 110cm)

But you can stretch the materials a bit, so it’ll fit around the boot opening nicely.

There are three ways how you can fit it over your tailgate:

The tailgate “full fit” where the tailgate is inside the tent (image 1) or tailgate outside the tent (image 2) or side / sliding door fit (image 3). I find the first (full fit) best as there’s almost no gaps – keeps the water and mozzies out the best.

second image thanks to: WILL WALKLEY OUTDOORS, third image: Sweeper Liam

I tested it on my VW Sharan 2013 and it fits perfectly. There are some gaps that you might want to cover in heavy rain or rain with a side wind or to block every single hole for mozzies to enter. In normal rain, it holds very well – it rained twice for hours and the water didn’t get in through the tent.

Where the water does get it is down the sides of the tailgate and then enters the tent by dripping from the rear bumper. It is designed to do this intentionally as car makers don’t expect you to stick the tailgate inside the tent… I wonder whether this would be a problem with a more expensive car tent too?

How to fix that? Easily – just add some kind of thin sheet to lead the dripping water outside of the tent just below the tailgate. I used a small camping mat to do just that:

Confirmed to fit these cars:

(based on this, it will likely fit any MPV tailgate as they tend to be about the same size)

  • Sharan
  • Touran
  • Berlingo
  • Kangoo
  • Partner
  • Opel Combo

Video walkthrough:

Arpenaz Base M car camping gallery

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