View Full Version : Maggiolina mesh too course?
04-08-2009, 05:25 PM
I just recieved my new Large Maggiolina Safari and have checked it out. Generally I'm pretty pleased. The matress is hugely comfortable, it's nice and roomy, etc.
but there were 2 things that surprised me. Once, was the size of the window mesh. The squares are quite large, and I have to think that Canadian blackflies or "No-See-Ums" are going to be able to pass right through. Has anybody found this. The other thing, is that there is no zipper on the bottom of the door. It's kinda wide open. I see there is this little flap thing on the bottom that can block it off, but I'm just wondering why there isn't a zipper?
04-09-2009, 02:21 AM
The mosquito netting on the Maggiolina is fairly open. Two reasons I see for this, durability and strength, and ventilation. If you use a very fine mesh like a no-see-um netting, then ventilation suffers as you almost have a cloth. You want an open mesh so air passes through easily. Zifer is always making changes to the door, you may have a new one with the doors they developed for wildlife photographers. The bottom can be used as a privacy screen. You can keep the top open for ventilation but no one can look inside.
If you are going into an area where small flying insects are a problem, pick up a bottle of Avon's Skin so Soft. Spray this on the mesh and this will keep the little guys from joining you inside. They can't fly through the mesh, they have to land on the mesh first to wiggle through. They hate Skin so Soft so they don't land.
I was talking to an ex-Marine who was involved in procurement. He was telling me that the Marines actually bought the rights to make Skin So Soft but weren't able to make it effective without the perfumey niceness. They scraped the project because who would want nice smelling Marines.
04-09-2009, 03:22 AM
An additional zipper could be put across the bottom, but you would have to 'capture' the ends of the zipper (like zipping up a jacket, but sideways and on your knees), which would become tiresome.
The mattress fit closely into the bottom shell, and the inside flap, when tucked under the mattress completely blocks any draft, and is easy to secure and makes opening the door flap equally easy. This is the thinking behind the design, and you will see that it works really well.
04-10-2009, 12:05 PM
Thanks guys. I'll try the SSS, that sounds like a reasonable idea. I don't know how it will fare against ravenous northern blackflies, but I'll try to report back. I don't like camping much when they're in season anyway. ;) May is pretty much a write-off.
I think I may have the door-within-a-door thing. I can't check it out because I had to put the tent away while I work on the trailer. But now I'm curious. I remember there being something going on with the door that I couldn't figure out and maybe that's it.
I did figure out to tuck the inside flap under the mattress, and that's why I didn't get too freaked out. Seems like it would work, but it's a bit fidgety. Couldn't they use a zipper that turns a 90° corner to zip along the bottom, similar to every other tent? Seems easy enough, but maybe I'm missing something. And how important is it really to have the windows open for ventilation? Will it condense inside if it's not?
What about the light system? I see the light, but don't see any wires? Are LED light bulbs available to replace that bulb?
Can I use a drill to open and close the tent?
Is there any really good owners manual? I guess I have a billion questions, and the little thing it ships with is too brief.
I noticed when it's open, that the frame isn't super stiff fore-aft. Anybody find it moves around a lot with winds?
Does it really only need two racks under it? That's pretty cool. I like the idea of being able to use it on our minivan sometimes, but I'm sure it's well over the "weight rating" on the factory rack. What's the reality of that situation? I see some people are using them on small cars with Thule racks and such. Nobody really publishes static ratings.
How do I know when I've got too much stuff stored inside? As long as I can reasonably close it, I'm fine?
Any reason not to mount it backwards? I'm designing my trailer such that the top of the tent will be level with the top of the truck, and I figured it would actually be more streamlined sloping to the back. I noticed the "front" has two clasps and only one on the "back". Maybe since the tent is in the slipstream of the struck, one clasp at the front is fine?
Thanks for any help guys. I really am happy with the tent and how quick it sets up, and looking forward to be guaranteed to be dry and warm. :)
04-10-2009, 11:22 PM
I used to have a Maggiolina for many years so I'll try to answer your questions.
"I did figure out to tuck the inside flap under the mattress, and that's why I didn't get too freaked out. Seems like it would work, but it's a bit fidgety. Couldn't they use a zipper that turns a 90° corner to zip along the bottom, similar to every other tent? Seems easy enough, but maybe I'm missing something. And how important is it really to have the windows open for ventilation? Will it condense inside if it's not?"
Condensation isn't a problem, the Drylon fabric is like a mesh with thousands of tiny holes so water vapor passes through easily. The windows are triangular so it is easy to control airflow. Maggiolinas are very warm tents, I remember camping with my wife 7,000 feet Donner Summit in December and having to shuck off coverings in the middle of the night. In high winds at high elevation you can feel a little breeze inside the tent. The winter hood is designed for that, turns the Maggiolina into a double walled four season tent.
The old doors and panels were designed to be replaced or modified. You can drill our the rivets up top and unclip the bottoms if you need to work on the fabric. The doors if I remember are designed to be replaced pretty easily, if the mesh is damaged for example. I would recommend using the tent for a few months before you make any changes though. A lot of input from a lot of people around the world have gone into the tents. They try to keep things as simple as easy as possible.
"What about the light system? I see the light, but don't see any wires? Are LED light bulbs available to replace that bulb?"
LEDs I think last about forever but personally I don't like the glare that comes from them. You can tap into the wire there and add stuff like and outlet for a computer, fan, or in my case, chart lights for reading. I like the light from halogen bulbs. The power wire should be coiled up next to the door. AutoHome normally leaves it bare so you can add a cigarette lighter plug or alligator clips, whatever works for your vehicle.
"Can I use a drill to open and close the tent?"
Yes, Mike should have some adapters. Always a good idea to have a spare crank. I left mine in the tent and drove off in the morning and it fell off somewhere. You realize there is no way to open the tent without a crank, it is like a key. A really large screwdriver will work but it takes forever and is a real hassle.
"Is there any really good owners manual? I guess I have a billion questions, and the little thing it ships with is too brief."
Good point, they are always changing the tents and have all sorts of undocumented improvements. Mike was showing me his new Maggiolina and it looked like they added a couple loops above and to the side of the doors to hang an awning. AutoHome will add stuff without telling anyone, they seem to be alway undergoing testing. The benefit is you can retrofit so your tent doesn't go out of date too fast. It is sort of odd having to try to figure out all the goodies in your tent. The owners manual is more of like what not to do, after that anything goes, make your tent your own.
Mike has added a blog to the AutoHome website. I just wrote an article on retrofitting the older Maggiolinas for awnings. He is encouraging everyone to add their suggestions and improvement. This should help a little, but you are right, not all features are explained.
"I noticed when it's open, that the frame isn't super stiff fore-aft. Anybody find it moves around a lot with winds?"
Your Maggiolina can take more wind than you can. The side walls become sheer walls and the tent is really strong when the fabric is tight. Only trouble, it is difficult to sleep in very high winds, there is a real racket outside, like trees falling. In those conditions, get out, close the tent and find someplace safer and quieter for a good nights rest.
"Does it really only need two racks under it? That's pretty cool. I like the idea of being able to use it on our minivan sometimes, but I'm sure it's well over the "weight rating" on the factory rack. What's the reality of that situation? I see some people are using them on small cars with Thule racks and such. Nobody really publishes static ratings."
I was amazed too when I got my tent but two bars is all you need for most cars and trucks. You can add more if you wish, but is isn't necessarily needed. Mike showed me the results from AM General's crash testing of the Maggiolina and Columbus, they were impressive. They both survived a simulated 45 MPH crash test with no issues. I don't think static ratings are a concern because the racks are usually tied into the roll cage of the vehicle. You are right about most of the manufacturer's roofbars, they are usually pretty wimpy and I don't trust them. Thule and Yakima make some well engineered bars, and they will give you a weight rating.
"How do I know when I've got too much stuff stored inside? As long as I can reasonably close it, I'm fine?"
The top will not close, seriously, you want to have light fluffy stuff inside the tent. Good place for the ladder but be careful of "point" loading, where a lot of pressure is in one small point. It can cause the fiberglass to flex and the gel-coat will crack around it in what is called a spider. It is cosmetic but the finish is so nice, why damage it. The Airland is designed to be as sleek as possible, not much other than bedding can go inside. The Grand Tour has an elevated roof so you can load a lot more inside the tent.
"Any reason not to mount it backwards? I'm designing my trailer such that the top of the tent will be level with the top of the truck, and I figured it would actually be more streamlined sloping to the back. I noticed the "front" has two clasps and only one on the "back". Maybe since the tent is in the slipstream of the struck, one clasp at the front is fine?"
Should be fine, I've seen it done. There has been a lot of testing to make sure the tent has minimal wind noise. Wind noise is drag, cuts into your mileage. If you hear noise, it would be a good idea to test and move the tent forward and back on the mounts to find the sweet spot where the air passes freely around the tent. The clasps are really a redundant feature, to keep the two shells from working against each other. The tent will not open without the crank. If you are concerned, ask Mike for a couple more clasps, they are easy to add.
Hope this answers this batch of questions. I'll be adding some content to the AutoHome blog from time to time. In the meantime, I would be happy to help, I know Mike can get really busy.
04-10-2009, 11:48 PM
Thanks guys. I'll try the SSS, that sounds like a reasonable idea. I don't know how it will fare against ravenous northern blackflies, but I'll try to report back.
Can you get Permethrin intended for fabric, used for example on pant cuffs to kill ticks?
04-11-2009, 01:32 AM
Rich, very good answers here.
I wondered what those loops are on top, my AirLand has them.
I do not remember seeing them before until I opened it up last weekend to launder my sheets and put in the pockets I bought from Mike last year.
So the awnings on the site just clip into those two sewn loops?
I already use an awning on the drivers side, and I have the ladder on the passenger side.
I think it would be good to have the Autohome one too on the passenger side so it covers the ladder and door opening in case of rain.
Also the changing room addition, it is private enough to use a toilet in it?
If so, I would use my Cabelas shower tent for just a shower.
Not much info on the site about the awning.
Does it pack into a bag to store inside of ones rig or what?
04-12-2009, 03:27 AM
The loops you mention are a perfect example of an undocumented improvement. I believe you are right about these being used for awnings. The attachment method I outline in the AutoHome blog works well but is a little difficult to figure out at first. This will be much better.
I'm kind of opinionated on awnings and side tents. I personally like stand alone awnings because it seems like the place you need the awning is over there, and your truck is over here. But when it is really wet it is nice to have the protection of an awning when you get in and out of the tent. From what I can tell, AutoHome subs out their awnings and side tents, the materials are good but the designs aren't as crisp as their rooftents. I think the problem is Europeans don't use awning and tarps like we do when camping.
There has be a real advance in awning in the past few years. The new parawings are one of those things that you look at and wonder why we haven't thought of them earlier. If you have ever used a standard awning or tarp, when the wind blows, like when you need them, the straight edges flap and flutter in the wind, why some designs use poles on the edges. The parawing design has curved edges like a bat wing so when you tighten the guylines the whole edge tightens evenly so you get less flapping and they can take higher winds and no need for a frame. The one I have is made by MSR and you can have a party under the thing. I was talking with the Cascade rep about their wings when they came out with theirs and with some pretty simple modifications and a ridgepole, you can modify the Outfitter Wing to fit the Maggiolina.
The Maggiolina Awning has some major pluses because it is designed for the tent. I had one with my old Adventure and it was nice because you could loosen the loops that held the ridgepole under the roof's lip, lower the tent, roll up the awning and tie it to the roofbars. This way you could deploy it easily when the tent was up or down. The little triangles zip in very quickly giving you a shower room, place to change, or a protected place out of the wind to be. They try to make it simple and adaptable. I tend to be a little harsh in my review because the Maggiolina is so good, you just expect something remarkable and you just get a well thought out awning. Last one I had had steel poles that broke down into 4 foot sections and a waterproof fabric. They never used to come with bags or cases, I would just roll mine up. I guess it would fit in the tent for transport too, if you want.
04-12-2009, 03:36 AM
.... The one I have is made by MSR and you can have a party under the thing. I was talking with the Cascade rep about their wings when they came out with theirs and with some pretty simple modifications and a ridgepole, you can modify the Outfitter Wing to fit the Maggiolina....
MSR got their 7 point tarp line from Walrus. I have the medium size Vistatarp, which has a 7' long 'back edge' (120 sq ft). They dropped that model, but appear to have reintroduced it this year. The Outfitter is the larger size (200 sq ft). Walrus also made netting inserts for these tarps. I wish I had picked one up for my Vista when Moontrail in San Antonio had them on clearance.
Moss tarps may have originated the Wing design. I have a small 4 point one from the 1980s. Unfortunately, as with most nylon tarps from that time, the waterproofing has gotten sticky.
04-12-2009, 03:15 PM
Thanks for the information Rich, and I looked up on the blog too, good info for adding the other type of tarps/parawings.
I think I may try out the AutoHome one since I have the loops.
It will be nice to have a cover over the ladder in case it does rain.
I think I would get the privy panels for it too.
04-13-2009, 01:35 PM
Thanks for all the answers Rich. So, what is your involvement with Autohome? And what is the involvement between AM General and Autohome? I've seen a number of references.
The main thing with the crossbars is that I'm building a trailer, and could put as many crossbars as I need. 2 is easiest, but I was wondering if 3 or 4 would be beneficial. I've got 2 up there now and am proceeding with that.
The biggest thing I have to figure out is an awning system. What I want to do. I was originally going to build the trailer intending to use a trailer tent or classic RTT with an add-a-room.
Ideally I'd like to add an Oz-tent to this setup, but I'd like to have an awning that goes to the top of the Mag. I could lift up the awning on an Oztent to go that high, but then the side walls won't fit.
I'm debating about something like that, vs. something like a huge tarp over the entire trailer. I like the huge tarp idea so I can walk around to the kitchen side and be dry, but I'd also like insect protection that walls would offer.
04-13-2009, 03:10 PM
I think that if you want a reliable bug shelter, it is better to go with a stand alone design. While attaching one to the vehicle can be convenient, it is hard to get the junction bug proof.
Your Canadian shop, MEC, sells an interesting design, their Mantis, with a square floor plan, but only one high corner. For the floor area, it is much lighter than the conventional screen house (which they also sell). More tolerant of wind as well.
04-13-2009, 06:22 PM
That was the big thing that prevented me from getting the trailer tent. Nobody could really say how they would attach to the trailer body reliably. I do already have plans to use an "Easy Up" type shelter for dining. I was just hoping to get something else to use in addition, to provide some shelter on the sleeping side. Also, the Ezi-Up doesn't have opaque walls. I was thinking of buying one cheap ($120 from Walmart) and having custom opaque walls fabricated.
I like the Ezi-Up type shelters because... they go up fast, they're cheap, and I find them relatively weather resistant when staked down. But also, they don't HAVE to be staked if the weather allows. That was another one of my driving factors, was I don't want to have to stake my shelters unless I need/want to.
04-14-2009, 05:55 AM
I've loved these tents for years, had a little company that brought these in these tents in to North America called LoftyShelters. Had a really great time doing it but I'm going to be off again on an extended voyage pretty soon. I was going to stop but I found Mike and he wanted to continue with it and AutoHome wanted things more formal so it all fell together so AutoHomeUSA was formed a few years back. I help Mike any way I can. AutoHome is really lucky, a lot of folks help.
Here is my favorite folding contraption and trailer.
And what she looks like deployed
We will have some old clunker with a Columbus on it as our support vehicle for crossing the country and when we are here in the US. When we are on the boat we have folding bicycles to explore on land. I also have a folding kayak in the engine room for those waterways that are too small for the mothership. Kind of a compact folding lifestyle for exploring the world.
I've always kept relationships with many car manufacturers, have done shows for Ford, and with Volvo. I have a soft spot for Jeep, don't we all?, and won Chrysler's Design Excellence award a few years back for a showtruck we put together. I was introducing the concept of rooftop tents back then. Jeep was one of the first manufacturers that really got it. Land Rover has also been supportive, we never would have made the new carbon fiber tents, they underwrote the concept. AM General, not the new Hummer, but the South Bend guys have been especially helpful. They use our equipment sometimes when they are testing their trucks and their engineers would call with suggestions and ideas. They have done extensive testing of all our components for us, they have resources we only dream about. AutoHome tents really benefit from all this help.
Getting back on topic, Mike has been working on coming up with a good side tent for years. It is a really difficult engineering challenge. If you build something like AutoHome's Verandah, it sucks because it has everything we hate about tents, has poles, guy lines, stakes, everything we have come to dislike about tents and why we switched to rooftents. It seems no manufacturer can make a decent side tent because each application is different. You build one that fits a trailer, but then it also has to fit a Land Rover. Then you come up with something that works well, but then it has to stand alone so it can be left back at the campsite. You end up with the Verandah, adjustable in height, stand alone, only trouble, it weighs around 80 pounds, packs in two duffel bags and takes half an hour to set up. Needless to say, you have to twist Mike's arm for him to sell you one. They just aren't a good piece of kit, trying to do too much.
I think the better approach is to specialize and pick the best for your needs and where you are going. Copy what the locals use. That is how I found out about Skin So Soft, I found out about it in Florida because they like it and say it works better than bug repellant. Up in Canada, they must have some crazy system for keeping their dreaded flying insects away. Local knowledge is key, be foolish, ask questions, do what they do no matter how crazy it seems. Then they get a good laugh but you always learn something.
Your question on crossbars is a common one. AutoHome tents only need two, the rest are for the vehicle. Sometimes it is beneficial to use three bars to stress the tent. Some of the guys that go out on class 3+ trails use three bars. The theory is that their vehicles are bending and if you have the tent stressed it will be like a big fiberglass spring and move with the vehicle. Seems to work, but then, from what I've seen a little noise from the tent wouldn't be heard anyway.
04-14-2009, 06:49 AM
At one time I tried to buy an UK Aztec AutoHaven tent to use with my Honda Element. The price was ok, but shipping from the UK would have doubled the cost, so I gave up the idea.
Here's a description, with video of new version aimed at taller vehicles like Landrovers
Notice that this tent is designed to be weather tight, but not bug proof - for example there is no closure below the tailgate. Instead, it comes with an ' 2 berth inner tent.' of bug proof mesh.
04-14-2009, 11:34 AM
Up here, the only thing that keeps the bugs away in May, is 4 walls and a roof. ;) I'll try the SSS, worth a shot. I have used it before and it is available up here. I found that it sorta works, but not really, almost more of a placebo... Nothing works as well as good old DEET. I guess worst case I can just try some OFF on the door? Hmmm... maybe not. That military stuff I don't think I'd try either. I'll give that a few years to see how it works out. Not like the military ever uses dangerous stuff... ;)
Paul, interesting idea. Only thing is it won't go high enough. But something based on that concept could work. Tents like that are available from other companies in the US/Can.
04-14-2009, 04:11 PM
Most US tents that connect to cars, are essentially regular wall or dome tents with the sleeve added.
I don't know what was in the original SkinSoSoft (the hand cream) that earned it the reputation for being a good repellent. Several years ago I bought some cream from the company that was actually labeled as being a repellent. It had citronella, a known mildly effective repellent.
I see from Amazon that Avon now sells SSS with Picaridin. Picaridin has been touted as the best alternative to DEET, originated in Europe. It's been available in the USA for several years (mid 2000s?), but it might not be approved in Canada. It may be as effective as DEET, or at least not as long lasting, but its big plus is that it does not soften certain plastics.
Here's a notice from the Canadian Forces about the use of Permethrin on clothing. There's a curious mix of regulations here. Permethrin is approved in Canada for various uses as an insecticide, but it is not approved for use on clothing ( http://www.rei.com/product/768970 is a typical US product for this purpose). So Canadian Forces in Afghanistan have had to get special approval to use it.
Health Canada only assessed the safety and effectiveness of permethrin treatment of uniforms for deployments outside of Canada - this is why uniforms treated with the pouch system had to be turned in within 30 days of returning home.http://www.forces.gc.ca/health-sante/pub/rpt/apollo/permethrin-eng.asp
04-14-2009, 08:43 PM
I can attest that Picaridin does indeed work (https://www.rei.com/pwr/product-reviews/Camping-Hiking/Insect-Repellent/Natural-Products/Cutter/p/769361-Cutter-Advanced-Sport-Insect-Repellent-6-oz.html).
I used this last year up at Mt. Rainier where the skeeters and black flies can be think, and it worked great.
I use to use REI Jungle Juice which was all DEET, but that stuff is not the best for you or your clothing.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.1.11 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.