Arpenaz Base M Review (+ video) – a great budget car/tailgate tent

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I’ve tested the Arpenaz Base M tailgate 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 tailgate / car tent review

Lukas Cech – Nimblecamper.com

arpenaz base M - Arpenaz Base M Review (+ video) - a great budget car/tailgate tent
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 tailgate 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 🙂

4.7

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.

It should fit any car / MPV / SUV with its tailgate (where the tent will “hang”) not taller than 180cm. Anything above that and the tent will hang so that the floor adjacent to the car will not touch the ground completely.

The main/big opening cover sheet also makes it possible to fit onto the side door and taller cars. The tailgate won’t be 100% inside but it will cover the entire roof & tailgate. You just need to make sure it’s protected from the sides. See ways to fit it below.

Need something bigger?

If you need something bigger or taller, you could give the Arpenaz Base Fresh (10 people) a try. Its opening is taller and wider so should fit pretty much anything – but you will have to ensure it’s protected against water and mozzies getting in.

There are three ways how you can fit the tent over your tailgate or side door:

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 are 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)

Fellow campers have tested the Arpenaz Base M tent with their campers and shared their photos & experience in various forums. Therefore you can be sure that it will fit these cars. See the gallery at the bottom to see how it fits various of these cars.

  • Sharan
  • Touran
  • Berlingo
  • Caddy
  • all estates / combis
  • Kangoo
  • Partner
  • Opel Combo
  • most SUVs
  • based on above, should fit all MPVs too

If you need something bigger, you could give the Arpenaz Base Fresh (10 people) a try. It’s opening is taller and wider so should fit pretty much anything – but you will have to ensure it’s protected against water and mozzies getting in.

User testimonials

(I’ve collected these across various FB car camping groups)

Berlingo
Had our first trip away overnight to the beautiful Loch Morlich. 👏🏞
Never thought I’d be camping in November in Scotland, but the wee Kampa heater, multiple layers and the fluffy dog kept me cosy. Even though there was frost on the van when I woke up 🥶❄
Elle
Ford Partner
If anyone is looking at a cheap awning the decathalon Quechua is brilliant.
Thomas
Berlingo
Went to largs to try out new decathlon quechua base m
Torrential rain and blowing a hoolie but not a problem
Best £80 spent
Kelly
Berlingo
I’ve been having problems practicing erecting the Obelink Trinity prior to my trip to Scarborough on Monday so decide to purchase the Quechua Repenaz Base M, this might upset some people but the Base M is far superior in quality, ease of erection and fit, so no contest, the Base M is my goto awning for this season. (It’s on the driveway so not pegged down).
Barry

Video walkthrough:

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5 Comments

  1. Hey Lukas,

    Do you see any reason why this can’t be used as a glamping tent? Thanks for doing the review.

    Best,

    Ken

    1. Hi Ken,

      sorry, your comment slipped my attention. Not sure what you mean by “used as a glamping tent” – glamping tents are big, luxurious, heavy and not compact to carry around.

      This is a cheap, single layer tent, so the only way to make it a glamping tent is to put a comfy sofa, lush carpet and a TV inside 🙂

      Lukas

    1. Hi Jack,

      should work fine – the Caddys barn door is about 114cm tall and 118cm wide (https://www.vanguide.co.uk/vw-caddy-dimensions). As you an see on the arpenaz tent opening dimensions image, it’s 140cm tall and 140cm wide at the bottom / 110cm wide at the top.

      The 8cm difference might stretch the top a bit but shouldn’t interfere with normal use.

      Saying that, I haven’t tested it myself on a barn door. Have asked other campers and will update here once I know more.