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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Good grief that tent is HUGE!!!!!!!!! I had been hoping to use it on my cross country road trip but you need 2 people to get this monster up and I dont think that my dogs will be much help there :p

Has anyone tried the cabana on the end of the car? I think that might be a little easier for one person to set up. How secure is it on there? It looks like a breeze could blow it off from the pics. I camp deep in bear country and it would be nice to have something a tad secure. Has anyone tried making a clip on or zip on screen kinda like what the old VW's had? Thinking about digging out the seweing machine and starting a new project:) But if the cabana works fine i could save myself some hassle. I have been looking for pics of what it looks from inside the tent but sofar have not had much luck on that front.

Posting some pics of my lil lady with her big butt ( tent :p ). Camped around Detroit Oregon and car slept near St Helens after hiking the Lakes trail. Nothing like tons of bear poop and leaving the bearspray back in the city for a good nights sleep!



for more pics check out here

http://www.flickr.com/photos/xiliafaye/sets/72157622078170136/show/
 

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The Cabana is like a square umbrella that straps to the raised upper tailgate. It has a pair of crossed, curved poles that give the top its shape, and lets it project half of its length beyond the tailgate. It is held in place with a strap that goes around the base of the tailgate. There are also straps or bungees that hold the sides close to the fender. And when fully zipped up, it tucks under the lower tailgate.

In effect it gives you privacy with the tailgate open. My impression from looking at it at the dealer, and following discussions here, is that it is best at the beach, and less functional in a storm. Also you cannot close of the tailgate with it mounted. It certainly isn't going to keep a bear out if it smells food inside.

Another tailgate option is a DAK campertop tent. This is closer fitting. The 'midsize' model is designed for a pickup with campertop, which is wider, and not as tall. So the fit on the Element isn't the best. They also make a version for minivans, which typically have a single piece tailgate. It might fit the Element better, but I'm not sure.

With my sleeping arrangement, I don't need to lower the tailgate to get enough space. So in cooler weather - especially when wet - we sleep with the Element closed up, except for some side ventilation. This is the best varmint proof option. In warmer weather I have draped mosquito netting over the raised upper tailgate to bug proof ventilation.

With a roofrack, you can rig a variety of rain tarps off the side of the Element. The Kelty Carport is one option. I don't know of anyone rigging a bug proof tarp off the side.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I had looked about at the other forums and in this one found some mixed reviews on the cabana. It looks like a fun option for going to the beach and to keep a few bugs off but thats about it. :(

Paul J....

What is your sleeping arrangement? I would love to be able to just lay down and not even have to worry about having to undo the rear hatch I am 5'4 and find my feet hit the tailgate but many of may pals are giants! :p

If I can do that I wont even bother constructing a waterproof shield to put on the back that actually attaches to the car.
 

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FYI, I've slept in my car with the cabana many times, much more often than I've used a tent—and I have several. Once I cut a small hole in one part of the cabana to prevent water from collecting inside and weighing down the cabana (and liftgate) during a long overnight rain, it has been great. Anybody who's over 6 feet will want to sleep with the tailgates open, and that's where the cabana comes in. I did modify mine to keep it from flapping in the wind by adding a few grommets; easy to do.

Yes, it's also a nice changing area or quite a long awning, if you add a couple of poles and guys. (No need to buy the Honda tent poles; any telescoping type will do.)

Also, get Skreenz for your windows!

P.S. PaulJ and others have already posted pictures and descriptions of their sleeping setups. Find the appropriate threads (and link in PaulJ's sig); no need to reinvent the wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I tried Searching Pauls posts but he has over 500. I gave up around the 4th page :p

The screens are a great idea!

I am starting to get the measurements and materials to make a zip on weather shield for the back with the hatch open..wish me luck.. its been years since I sewed anything!
 

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Also you cannot close of the tailgate with it mounted.
Paul you got me confused :confused:

I can close the tailgate with the cabana on. If your inside it would be easier to tie something to the release button to pull. I have also had to close the hatch in the middle of the night. I have a handle mounted in the center of the hatch to which I attach a dog leash. Closes fine, my only complaint would be the cabana then lays on the ground.

Here's another type of cabana. A few have this type & it is cheaper than the oem. http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___20746

I have the oem cabana & love it. You have privacy while sleeping, there's room to change with the tailgate open (you do have to open the zippers enough to stand there) & if you don't need privacy on a hot night unzip for lots of ventilation.

Gaily
 

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I defer to your experience with the Cabana. Does it drag on the ground when the upper tailgate is closed? I suppose that if the strap around the tailgate is close enough to the hinge, it might allow you to close it.

The Campmor one is what I misspelled as 'DAK' (should be DAC). I own the midsize-campertop size, and modified it to suit the Element's opening. But in recent years I've been leaving it at home, since I have enough space inside without it.

If you can sleep in the Element without tailgate up, and still need ventilation, consider getting this net from REI and a bunch of button magnets.
 

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Yeah the cabana lays on the ground with the hatch closed even with the zippers closed all the way. It's only an issue when raining. Depending on your site it can get really dirty/wet. I know the cabana can be cleaned it's just getting it home without spreading the dirt to other items.

Good idea about the net. I made a screen for the back hatch with magnets but that's me. From what others have posted & I don't remember exactly where but the netting by the yard is really cheap. Your only limited by imagination as to how to cover the element & magnets work great.

Gaily
 

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The Mombasa netting is the knitted tropical mosquito 'bar' material, which is a bit coarse. REI stores also sell bulk mosquito netting (check the climbing rope section) that is finner, typical of the 'noseum' stuff used on tents. It keeps smaller bugs out, but at the cost of ventilation.

Hardware stores sell replacement material for windows and screen doors. That is stiffer fiberglass.

If it is real buggy, I prefer to use a standalone tent. It is easier to keep bugs out, with zippers than with the wide car doors.
 

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Cabanas podding together

Cabanas podding.
One has flap up on poles and the other has the flap down.

They then connected to the EZ ups with light weight nylon tarps. Easy to dry and light to carry. Fold up very small.

jurn
 

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I defer to your experience with the Cabana. Does it drag on the ground when the upper tailgate is closed? I suppose that if the strap around the tailgate is close enough to the hinge, it might allow you to close it.

The Campmor one is what I misspelled as 'DAK' (should be DAC). I own the midsize-campertop size, and modified it to suit the Element's opening. But in recent years I've been leaving it at home, since I have enough space inside without it.

If you can sleep in the Element without tailgate up, and still need ventilation, consider getting this net from REI and a bunch of button magnets.
Years ago, before my present setup, I used something like this for a couple of years. It came from Barre Army and Navy store in Vermont. It was actually no-see-um netting for a 4 poster bed. Worked quite well and covered the opened side windows, (the pop outs) as well.

jurn
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for all the input everyone! I am thinking 2 things at this point.... constructing a waterproof version of the cabana as well as making a platform to sleep on. You have all inspired me! :)
 

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Thanks for all the input everyone! I am thinking 2 things at this point.... constructing a waterproof version of the cabana as well as making a platform to sleep on. You have all inspired me! :)
Sorry I should clarify, the cabana is waterproof, the problem is the pitch of the roof. Open the tailgate & you will see what I mean. Each time it has rained I've had my hatch screen on. Enough water runs down the screen which gets my mattress wet but only on the passenger side. That's the side I sleep on. I've only closed the hatch to keep warm. Got to remember next time to remove the screen & see what happens.

What is needed is something that goes across the roof just under the cabana to stop the water from running down.

Gaily
 

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The DAC tent has a flap that extends about 3' along the roof. More often, though, I folded it so it projected only about a foot or so. Still, I had to remember than water would pool at the low point right over the tailgate hinge - when it came time to pack up.

Without any tarp, rain water on the roof drains down channels on either side of the tailgate. As long as you keep your gear away from those channels that water shouldn't be a problem. The raised tailgate also keeps water off - except for splashes and drips along the side.

The DAC unit does not have any side openings, so I never had problems with rain from there.
 
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