We fitted our long-term DARCHE Kozi 1300 Roof Top Tent on a variety of utes between December and March 2022. Since then, I’ve spent 40 nights in it in various locations, temperatures and weather conditions. Am I looking forward to the next 40 night in it? You bet I am!
For starters, the Kozi 1300 Roof Top Tent is light-weight roof topper, coming in at a measly 45.3kg. The tent has been fitted to the tub of a few different utes in its time with Camper Australia. Being fitted on the tub, as opposed to the roof, eliminates any wind drag as it's below the ute’s roofline. Even if it was mounted on the roof, the drag is minimal as the tent is 285mm high when packed.
Load it up?
Installing the Kozi 1300 is straightforward with its pre-mounted channel rails which suit most roof racks and platforms. The tent hasn't budged since it was mounted, and it has had to endure a lot of rough tracks and corrugations. It is an easy two-person job to mount, and the tent’s light weight certainly helps.
Generally, the biggest hassle with soft shell tents is packing them down. This tent springs to life in about a minute. Unzip the cover, which can be removed or hangs down, grab the ladder and pull towards you and it's erected. The cover is fixed to the tent in a sail track and is easy to remove (and fit back onto the tent when it comes time to pack up). For ease of pack down, sleeping gear like rolled out sleeping bags can be stored inside — but not your pillows or a thick doona.
Accessing the tent
The alloy ladder provides sturdy access to the tent. The ladder locks from the bottom, is easily adjustable and is very well made. The inclusion of a doormat is a nice touch to keep dirt out of the tent. The telescopic ladder folds neatly and is secured by a strap to keep it secure in transit. The ladder locks from the bottom rung and it takes a couple of times to get used to its mechanism. Once user error is eradicated, the alloy ladder is very secure and has a nice solid feel when you’re using it.
As mentioned, any way to reduce pack up time is a win. The Kozi 1300 has some great features to help you pack down. There are ‘shields’ built into the base of the tent to stop the zip catching on any of the tents 300D PU-Coated Polyester Oxford material when you zip it up. Some D-buckles help flatten the tent on either side. The cover is snug but loosens over time. Getting the zip to grab at the start of pack down can be helped with a firm grip and once it's started, the zipper is easily pulled around to pack it down. A couple of straps over the cover help make sure everything stays where it should be for travelling. In terms of packing down, the Kozi 1300 is hassle-free due to the well thought out inclusions. Protective flaps cover the zippers when packed up keeping the zips protected.
Speaking of zips — and the Kozi 1300 has plenty of them — they are great quality and very functional. Anyone who has struggled with dodgy zips knows how frustrating it can become. The main cover zip has a pull tag on the zip’s handle. This really helps when you have the zip under load packing it up.
‘Kozi’ sleeping quarters
The aluminium baseboard supports the 65mm high density foam mattress and combined, it's a comfy sleep option. An aftermarket mattress topper would be a good option for a more comfortable night's sleep if you’re a heavier set human. Nights sleeping in the Kozi 1300 have been comfortable and climbing into it after a day's travel is very welcoming.
Internally, it has plenty of space for two adults. It is 1250mm wide and 2060mm long. The internal height is ample at 970mm. The flexibility of windows makes this a great allrounder. You are able to unzip smaller windows at your head and feet if you need some airflow, and the big side windows in the middle allow light and air in if the weather's warm. Zip them all up and it is very snug, as the 300D PU-Coated Polyester Oxford material insulates very well. If the weather is clear and warm, a great experience is to remove the fly and expose the night-sky through the zippered sky window. Opening both ends of the tent aids to the Kozi 1300’s ability to deal with hot weather conditions. The versatility of the tent’s windows (all have fly screens sewn in) work incredibly well within any weather environment you find yourself in.
Fly into the night
Setting up the fly on the tent involves using the eight stays to keep the fly up and off the tent. With the fly erected you have great protection from the rain, while still being able to see outside and have privacy. Removing the fly (made from denser 420D PU-Coated Polyester Oxford than the tent itself) is a 30-second task and an easy task at that. It's secured by four buckles. Condensation is kept off the mattress in packing up the tent and if the fly is a bit soaked, removing it and storing elsewhere in your vehicle is easy and ensures a perfectly dry mattress at night. There’s nothing like falling asleep looking up at a star filled evening with the fly removed.
Three aluminium poles (25mm) on each side of the tent aid in the easy set up and pack down of the Kozi 1300. The aluminium poles are really well secured onto alloy side-plate. They fan out as you open the tent, and the poles keep the tent stable should a wind blow up during the night.
The Kozi 1300 is priced at $1799. It sits in the upper range for soft shell RTT’s. Mind you, a quick look online has seen it for considerably less on sale from some retailers. The Kozi 1300 comes with a well-supported two-year warranty. The inclusion of some internal pockets is about the only missing with the Kozi 1300.
The design of this tent shouldn't be underestimated. Everything works very well and is designed to allow you to enjoy whatever the weather throws at you, time and time again … or in this instance for the next 40 nights at least!
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