What is a Caranex?
A unique vehicle tent - a "car annex" to exploit the space and convenience of your personal transport, whether saloon, hatch, estate, van, 4X4 or MPV. It fits easily and quickly and is freestanding too. One model covers virtually all cars from Fiat 500 to Mercedes estate, while a range of heavy duty models fit compact and medium range vans and 4X4's, including all Land Rovers, Range Rovers and Discoveries, MPV's such as the Espace etc., and many more hi-top campers.
Since first introduced in the 1970's, as a functional, multi-purpose vehicle accessory, over 8500 have been sold worldwide. It is on The Design Centre Index, a worthwhile indication of its workmanship, value and usefulness. Take a look at our testimonials from our Customers and the Press.
When can it be used?
Any time - it's versatile as plain shelter from the elements, back-up accommodation for a night away, or base for more extensive travelling....and ready for use within minutes, (the record is 4.5!). Easy to erect, even single handed, and firmly attached over the back of the host vehicle, it gives immediate through-access via rear hatch or door, which can still be opened or closed, giving secure and useable extra space under one roof.
A flexible skirt along the rear bumper and a sewn-in groundsheet ensure a dry floor area seating four, or room for twin camp beds with additional sleeping space in many vehicles with fold-down seats. With 6'4" (1.93m) headroom over the working area and ample space for a full size trestle table, it's a decent sized workshop or office. Somewhere to live, sleep or work, it makes life easier "on the road".
Touring at home or abroad
The economical way to stretch the range of journeys further afield as, for example, travelling through Europe where camp sites are well documented, increasingly plentiful, and civilised alternatives to indifferent or scarce accommodation.
Competing at shows or events?
As a changing and preparation room, equipment workshop and store, a sales display area or an official office for time keepers, marshals and organisers, it gives privacy and convenience on site and alternatively may be used freestanding.
Caravan or Camper owner?
An alternative to larger vehicles or trailers on narrow roads or expensive ferries, and only minutes to pack for a night away or a longer tour. Useful too, as supplementary accommodation, particularly with a full compliment of children.
Going overland or off-road?
Many hundreds of heavy duty models have proved themselves on 4X4's under tough conditions - as medical surgeries and workshops in undeveloped regions, and bases for long distance off-road travelling on every continent. Some see service in war zones and peace-keeping missions. Apart from convenience and practicality, their toughness, speed of assembly and trim size when packed are key advantages appreciated by users with limited storage space for bulky orthodox awnings, often slow to assemble in difficult conditions.
In short, an inexpensive, practical option for most outdoor activities that saves its cost - about the same as nine nights B&B for two - in a matter of days.
Is it easy to put up?
It takes about the same time as boiling a kettle and is simple to erect solo. Only a few steps are involved:
- The base is laid out and roughly pegged behind the vehicle.
- Next the front sleeve is spread over the rear of the roof and temporarily secured by both ends of the front guy around suitable anchor points such as the door jamb posts on either side.
- From inside the Caranex, one cross-pole is clipped as a spacer between the twin sewn-in roof poles; then twin vertical support poles are attached to this roof frame.
- The front guys over the vehicle roof are then adjusted and tensioned to seal the front sleeve in place.
- Finally the rear guys are spaced out and tensioned.
In short, before most orthodox tents of equivalent size are unpacked and laid out, it's up and ready for use.
Take a look at our detailed instructions on the How to Erect page.
And pack up?
Essentially the reverse of erecting - and in less time - into a compact bag 3'6" (1.07m) long by 1ft (0.3m) across and only 11 lbs (5kg) - less than an overnight bag.
Will it stand on its own?
Yes, saving a pitch and the chore of dismantling when transport is needed. A screen from the transverse roof pole curtains off the interior and extra guys tension either side. A simple free-standing pole kit replaces the support provided by the vehicle. Optionally an additional roof spacer and two vertical support poles may be positioned to give a pole at each corner of the roof, adding interior height and greater free-standing stability. This extra pole set is recommended in windy conditions or when free-standing frequently.
What is it made of?
The material is hard wearing and waterproof, a woven nylon canvas to resist fraying and tearing in hard usage, internally sealed with a breathable coat of polyurethane to minimize condensation. Seams are double stitched and individually proofed against leakage. Weight for weight, the design gives outstanding long-term protection from wind, rain and low temperature - a high insulation value keeps the interior noticeably warm in cool weather. It is tested to British Standards and Ministry of Defence specifications and is fire resistant.
- An integral sewn-in floor to keep the interior dry and draughtfree. An elasticated skirt, adjustable for height on the H4T models, faces the rear bumper sealing the gap under the vehicle.
- A separate heavy duty groundsheet of tough plastic weave covers the whole sewn-in floor. It is impervious to water, wipes clean, and reduces a brasion from studded shoes, dogs' claws etc. Alternatively, used under the tent on muddy or rocky ground, it reduces the risk of puncturing the floor and keeps the underside clean for storage.
- A zipped side door, with twin sliders from both ends, is operable from inside or out and can be locked shut with a light padlock from either side. All zip components are rust free.
- A side window/ventilator in the opposite wall has a mosquito netting cover and a roll-down external blind
- Only three two-piece aluminium poles, light and rust free, are needed to assemble the Caranex for everyday use. As mentioned above, additional poles may be fitted to add height and rigidity. Some larger vans have hatch doors that support the Caranex roof without the need for vertical poles, while some unusually high opening rear hatches can be limited from fully extending upwards with a suitable length of cord.
- Guy ropes are woven nylon cord, rotproof and virtually unbreakable. One, threaded through the front hem of the front sleeve, secures it on either side of the host vehicle. Both ends are passed around any suitable fixture - door lock post, seatbelt anchorage, etc., thence back to the "D" rings on the sleeve. Extra rings are provided along the top of the roof for optional side-guys while a further two tension the rear.
Finally, what will it fit?
A range of sleeve heights cater for most vehicles. The H1 models fits 99% of all cars, saloon, hatch, estate, from Mini to Volvo with roof heights up to 5'7", whether 2, 3 or 5 door. The H3 is specified for light car-based vans and vehicles with slightly higher rooflines than the normal car. The H4T range of models cater for middle-weight vans, MPV's and 4x4's. A VK Kit allied to the H4T series allows DIY attachment to the sliding side doors of many hitop campervans and minibuses. Take a look at our detailed list of models Caranex is compatible with on our Model Range page.
A Caranex can be modified to suit your needs by our associates, C.l.T. Ltd., 93a Hersham Rd, Walton on Thames, KT12 1RJ. Tel 01932 244311. They are very experienced and will quote to you directly for work on "off the shelf" or used tents. Your new Caranex can be purchased from us for delivery to their workshops on your behalf or, alternatively you may prefer to decide what modifications you need after trying it out before sending to C.l.T.
Left - Skirt along rear bumper accommodates tow bar if fitted.
Left and Right - Hatches open fully into roof space.
Who makes it?
A small, family-run business, with a limited annual output, have produced Caranex since the late 1970s. Each is hand finished before individual inspection. Stocks are sufficient to give "off-the-shelf" despatch and the service you would expect from an established firm run by its owners. Sales are exclusively by mail order from our address. There are no showrooms to maintain, so less expense to pass on - a complete service by mail or phone with 24 hours Ansacall backup.
So how can we get one?
Simply print out and fill in the Order Form, mail it to us with your cheque or credit card details, or for rapid processing, simply phone or fax through your order any time on 01852 300 258. We aim for delivery on the UK mainland within 2 working days, quicker if needed.
Caranex Materials - Technical Specification
- Materials: - 100% woven nylon fabric internally coated with hydrolysis resistant polyurethane. Silicon proofed outer surface and twin-Sewn seams throughout. Material weight of base fabric 3.4oz/sq yd.
- Coating 0.6 oz/sq yd
- Total 4.08 oz/sq yd
- Tear strength (N) Warp 87 Weft 82(LBF) Warp 19.5
- Cold crack - 40°C
- Water resistance, penetration as received,150 cms/min.
- Tested to British Standard 3424/1973 and Ministry of Defence specification UKSC 3418F. Material manufactured in UK specifically for outdoor weather protection against high wind, rain and low temperature.
- Zip rustless OPTI with twin sliders controlling aperture.
Guarantee: All Caranex tents and accessories carry a full 12 month guarantee with full consumer protection in all respects. Goods returned in unused condition within 10 days will be replaced or payment refunded.
CARANEX is a registered trade mark, and is made in the U.K. of British material throughout. Selected by The Design Centre, London for inclusion in The Design Index. Available exclusively from the sole supplier.