Designed for extended touring, the DARCHE Eco Panorama 1400 Roof Top Tent feels tough and durable from the get-go. The first thing that you notice is that the DARCHE Eco Panorama 1400 RTT is a well-built and high-spec product, which is reflected in the four-year warranty the RTT comes with.
A sustainable and strong design
This model also uses eco-friendly recycled materials. According to the DARCHE website, “the ecoWGAF™ material used in this tent’s construction delivers high performance in tear strength, abrasion resistance, colour fastness and water repellence”.
The material is 100 per cent recycled polyester and has undergone extensive testing at DARCHE’s factory as well as independent real-world testing. This is every bit as durable as traditional canvas and offers great protection. The 280gsm polyester oxford ripstop material used in the tent has an impressive PU 5000mm water rating, seam sealing and a removable fly.
The mattress is a high density 50mm foam with a mattress cover that is removable and features a water-resistant base. The ten's insulated baseboard is made from heavy-duty compressed checkerplate aluminium. Coming with a fully removable and durable PVC cover, this unit features a compact design that packs down to 290mm high when you’re on the road. The 2.3m telescopic ladder folds neatly on top of the roof and feels very sturdy underfoot when you climb in and out of the tent. The ladder length allows for comfortable fitting on top of vehicles up to a roof height of 2.2m. A D-Ring buckle strap allows you to secure the ladder to the top of the tent in transit, eliminating rattle and wear.
The SSP zippers are dependable and make setting up and packing down stress free. A neat feature is a material skirt around the tent which allows you to tuck in the tent, avoiding any material snags when you zip up the tent.
Make and break camp with ease
Deploying the tent is straightforward. Unzip the removable cover, grab the ladder and pull towards yourself. Lock in the required steps on the telescopic ladder and your rooftop nest is ready.
There is fine mesh on all the full-length side windows and the sky roof (if the fly is off). There’s nothing like lying on a comfy bed looking up at the night sky through this stargazing window. The ventilation is perfect for capturing the breeze on hot days. If you’re facing cold and rainy weather, attaching the polyester fly is easy, with the fly secured via dedicated loops and toggles on all corners. You can create a snug dry cubby with the mesh windows zipped up and the fly attached. The tent has ventilation units to allow fresh air ingress when the tent is completely enclosed. Our review model had a sewn-in canopy dropping over the entrance by 50cm which allowed extra protection and privacy.
Once you climb into the DARCHE Eco Panorama 1400 RTT there’s a big space for your bedding. The spacious interior sleeping quarters (2400L x 1400W x 1250H mm) is very comfortable for two adults and a child with room to spare. The tent is designed to keep your bedding in place once it's packed down too, which is always a handy feature. The gusseted windows are protected by awnings and the awning stays easily slot into pre-drilled spots on the tent base. They can be deployed from inside the tent by unzipping the windows. There are also handy storage pockets to keep your keys, wallet and mobile phone secure and close by.
Packing down a rooftopper is usually when the cursing starts. In the case of the Panorama 1400 RTT there’s little need to cuss. Three internal bungee cords have sewn in loops and toggles to help collapse the side walls in the tent pack up. The telescopic ladder packs away in a cinch and helps propel the tent onto itself to pack up. Handy straps through D-Ring buckles provide good leverage to reduce the tent height. Adding the cover and zippering it up is made easier with the neat skirt flap to keep the tent and zip separate, eliminating annoying snags in the zipping process. An important feature is the compact height (290mm) of the tent, even with bedding inside, which reduces wind drag and overall vehicle height.
Putting it to the test
After testing the DARCHE Eco Panorama 1400 RTT for a five-night trip, the tent proved its price tag of $2399 is money very well spent. Our only thoughts would be to pop a thin self-inflating mattress under the supplied mattress, especially if you are planning to use the tent for extended tours. Side-sleepers will definitely welcome the additional support. Alternatively, you could look at a total replacement mattress from DARCHE – the RTM 1400 mattress which would be a sound investment for longer trips.
We found the set up and pack down hassle free and the benefits of being able to control the effects of the weather with the use of the zippered sky window and side windows unfurled to capture a breeze during warm weather or the fly attached and windows zipped up tight in cooler climes. We experienced these conditions during our five-day trip in the Victorian High Country earlier this year and the durability of the tent kept us well rested.
Having first slept in a rooftop tent almost 20 years ago, the soft shell design has not changed much. DARCHE has advanced the appeal of the RTT by using premium quality components, attention to detail in production and the ease of use. Everywhere you look the DARCHE Eco Panorama 1400 RTT echoes quality, durability and functionality.
The four-year warranty, backed by a nationwide retail network means if you are travelling and something goes wrong, servicing is not too far away.
The DARCHE Eco Panorama 1400 RTT is designed for long-term use and will impress with its high-spec build. The tent comes with a mounting kit, guy ropes, window poles, pegs and instructions. Check your roof load rating prior to purchase but at 63kg it will fit most 4WD’s and utes without a problem. Couple it with a quality awning, such as DARCHE’s Eco Eclipse 270° Awning, for some extra sun protection, and you'll be ready to hit the road to adventure.
The DARCHE Eco Panorama 1400 RTT is good for the planet and great for seeing the planet.
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