Nov 05 , 2020
To Annex or Not to Annex
Benefits of an Annex Room
With the growing popularity of roof top tents in the US over the last 5 years, all the options can seem overwhelming, especially when they all look the same. In the past, multiple companies have sourced rooftop tents from a handful of manufactures leaving you with similar features and functionality, and only a brand logo as the key differentiator. Don't get me wrong, I'm a sucker for a fresh new color or good looking logo, however, selecting a company that's going to be around before your warranty expires is important. The good news is today's market has fresh new players that are figuring out ways to stand out in a sea of soft shells that for the most part, still look the same.
Tepui (now owned by Thule) and CVT were the OG soft shell tent importers, both great companies. These guys did it right by actually going to China, touring the factories and doing the R&D needed to produce a quality product. On paper, there is minimal differences. For many years, companies like Tepui and CVT included Annex rooms with their tents, a big bulky sleeping bag looking duffle filled with fabric. "For what? I didn't order this... Oh it's included? Sick! - No but seriously why, what's an annex for? How do I set up my annex? How do I get it back in that bag!?"
What is an Annex and why do I need one?
Don't worry, we're here to help. Annex rooms although bulky and at times annoying to set up, do have a number of key advantages. The best part is, now you have more choices. Companies like 23Zero and Roam Adventure Co, Are the new top players with innovative features and more importantly both allowing you to decide whether to Annex or not to annex. I'm going to pause here because I know what some of you are thinking, "I bought a RTT and it didn't come with an Annex?" That may be true and to keep things simple, there are two different style soft shell tents, standard and extended. The extended version extends over the ladder, creating an overhang for additional coverage, but more importantly a covered area for you to pass to and from your tent if it's raining. Historically, if you purchased an "extended version" it came with the Annex. Moving on. The choice to add the Annex or not is important because for one, it's an additional expense. For example, an annex from 23Zero can range from $350-$629 depending on the size and model. So after the rack and tent, an additional cost at that price point begs the question, do I need it? In what feels like the longest build up in blog history, here are the two biggest reasons why the Annex might be right for you.
How can I use my Annex Room?
This seems obvious to some, however many haven't considered it as an additional sleeping section. This is the #1 reason why people add the annex. The Annex becomes an additional room next to your truck or trailer extending from your roof top tent. It makes your living quarters a duplex, or your house a walk out. Dogs and kids are the biggest reasons why most folks decide on an annex. Either the dog is too big to get in the tent or you simply aren't interested in cuddling, the annex allows your dog to be a part of your camp, but not necessarily in your face. Same goes for kids, large families will put the kids on the lower level while the adults sleep in the penthouse. From a real estate perspective, the additional cost seems fair to essentially double your square footage.
Can an Annex room be used for Storage?
So much room for activities. Depending on which size and model you get, an Annex can house a small party in inclement weather. Talk about being a camp hero, try hosting a happy hour in a fort. Or set up a table and chairs and enjoy dinner if the weather turns south. Another great use is just storage. Keep your gear clean and dry throughout camp while using the annex as a changing room, housing your clothes and gear. Whether it's raining or you just want to have a private dance party, the Annex is great covered space to relax, hang out and store gear.
Something to consider when purchasing an Annex Room
I had you at happy hour hero didn't I? So what's the catch you ask? Outside of cost, there are a few downsides to consider. Extra storage means you need extra space, it also means more weight. However the biggest downside for me is the extra step. Whether you're setting up or breaking down, more gear means more time. If you can look past these minor inconveniences and focus on the private dance party, I think you'll really appreciate the added benefits of the annex to your rooftop tent. If you'd like to see one in action, check out our youTube where we walk through the install of one. To determine whether the Annex is right for you, please consult your doctor BUT also please don't ever hesitate to call the shop. Some models come with removable floors, some come in different heights, we're here to help you make an educated decision and get you living your best camp life.