MU-X Build: OZtrail Birdsville 1400 rooftop tent

OZtrail’s all-new Birdsville 1400 hybrid rooftop tent transforms our MU-X

OZtrail Birdsville 1400 rooftop tent

A recent addition to the OZtrail Overlander range is the all-new Birdsville 1400 rooftop tent, a hybrid tent that combines aspects of hard- and soft-shell design. The best of both worlds, you could say. And when the opportunity arose to install it to our ever-blossoming MU-X and take it camping, we didn’t hesitate.

The hard-shell component of the design consists of an aluminium pack top with roof bars, positioned above the packed-down tent. This provides additional storage options should you have the capacity to load recovery boards and the like. Something we didn’t have the luxury of, unfortunately.

4 X 4 Australia Gear 2022 O Ztrail Birdsville 1400 Rooftop Tent MUX Build 45

With the Rola roof rack already eating into the 100kg roof-load capacity of the MU-X, we had to be extremely diligent when selecting what tent to install. We settled on the Birdsville 1400 RTT, as its 71.5kg total weight (excluding ladder) just squeezed in. Had we opted for the range-topping Canning 1300 RTT (85.5kg), we would have exceeded the vehicle’s roof-load capacity.

Once we were comfortable with the weight, the model was ticked off and the skilled team at Roof Rack Superstore in Epping, Victoria, bolted the tent atop the Rola tray. The tent is supplied with all of the necessary mounting brackets, hardware and instructions to suit most roof-rack systems, and Roof Rack Superstore’s Cameron White told us that a professional installation is highly recommended. It took his team around 30 minutes to secure the tent down.

4 X 4 Australia Gear 2022 O Ztrail Birdsville 1400 Rooftop Tent MUX Build 55

The first thing you notice is how high the Birdsville RTT sits when unopened and housed within its heavy-duty 550gsm PVC transit cover. At 1.43m (L) x 1.23m (W) x 0.31m (H) – plus an extra few inches between the roof rack and the base of the tent itself – the RTT towers above the vehicle and is hard to ignore when cruising on freeways at 100 clicks. As such, it noticeably impacts fuel usage because of this; but what rooftop tent doesn’t?

Folks below six-foot tall are going to have a difficult time setting up and packing down due to the height of the tent – and if you don’t have side-steps, forget about it. We had to resort to using a step ladder to reach particular tie-down straps, and to pull down the ladder itself.

4 X 4 Australia Gear 2022 O Ztrail Birdsville 1400 Rooftop Tent MUX Build 70

The 2.3m adjustable ladder is designed to fit larger vehicles and trailers, but it needs to be stowed away after use and cannot be left connected atop the tent when packed down. It’s something to consider if cabin space is at a pinch.

Despite these issues, set-up and pack-down is reasonably straightforward and should take 10 to 15 minutes – however, with a bit of practice, you can probably be set-up at camp within five minutes.

The tent itself is constructed from heavy-duty 280gsm ripstop polycotton canvas, with a 210D seam-sealed ripstop polyoxford fly positioned over the top, designed to keep occupants warm and dry. An extended fly positioned over the ladder ensures you’ll stay dry during entry and exit, and multiple fly tension poles for the windows – located either side and to the rear of the tent – are included and a cinch to erect.

4 X 4 Australia Gear 2022 O Ztrail Birdsville 1400 Rooftop Tent MUX Build 88

The tent also comes with an optional Birdsville annex for an extra $399.99. The annex provides extra space and is tailored for vehicle’s up to 2.2m tall.

Close inspection of the tent seams indicates quality workmanship, and multiple tie-down straps and clips around the tent’s perimeter ensure the tent doesn’t flap around when the wind picks up. When all doors and windows are zippered up, the tent is pitch-black inside, making it ideal for those who prefer to sleep in on cold winter mornings. The robust tent remains stable when occupied, and its cavernous internal size can easily accommodate two adults.

Inside, the tent has two SkyMesh panels on the ceiling, enabling users to gaze at the stars while they drift off. These panels – in tandem with the large windows – help to control ventilation and temperatures in harsh Aussie climates.

4 X 4 Australia Gear 2022 O Ztrail Birdsville 1400 Rooftop Tent MUX Build 40

LED lighting strips, powered by OZtrail’s own Lumos tech, illuminate the interior once the sun dips below the horizon, and these are connected via a USB cable – we ran ours off a power bank. Convenient storage pockets located beside the mattress are handy for phones, wallets, water bottles, and other bits and pieces you’d normally have on your bedside table.

For those who like to camp in comfort – some call it glamping – the 60mm memory foam mattress features a removable luxe-comfort flannel cover. Beneath the mattress is an anti-condensation mat, which promotes airflow and prevents moisture and thus mould from breeding. To say it’s comfortable is an understatement, and the mattress is perfect for a night’s rest after a day spent driving on bulldust tracks.

With high-quality materials, clever design touches, an uber-comfortable mattress and ample storage options, the Birdsville 1400 RTT is a compelling proposition for campers inclined to rest up at a campsite for days on end.

Overlander rooftop tent range

OZtrail has two more roof-top tents in its Overlander catalogue: the Tarkine 1400 and the range-topping Canning 1300.

4 X 4 Australia Gear 2022 O Ztrail Canning Rooftop Tent
OZtrail Canning 1300 rooftop tent
4 X 4 Australia Gear 2022 O Ztrail Tarkine Rooftop Tent
OZtrail Tarkine 1400 rooftop tent

At $3999.99, the Canning is a premium hard-shell tent with an aluminium, slimline exterior and a four-point scissor frame design. Gas struts simplify set-up and pack-down, and a 50mm memory foam mattress is included. The Canning weighs 85.5kg (excluding roof bars and ladder) or 95kg (with roof bars fitted). It measures 2.1m x 1.3m x 1.43m when open (2.1m x 1.3m x 0.21m when closed).

Priced at $1499.99, the Tarkine’s soft-shell construction is lightweight and its size means it’s suitable for smaller 4x4s. It weighs 59kg when set-up (inc. ladder) and measures 2.4m x 1.43m x 1.3m when open (1.43m x 1.23m x 0.31m when closed). A 60mm high-density foam mattress is included. All tents are made with 280gsm Ripstop polycotton canvas and 210D polyoxford flysheet.


Birdsville 1400 rooftop tent: $2499.99
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