Autohome Maggiolina Extreme RTT Review

Haggis

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Founding Member
#1
After a year plus of ownership I felt it was time for a comprehensive review of the Autohome Magglionia Extreme Roof Top tent...

Well, around 2011, my wife decided to go back to school and further her nursing career and because of this our travel time was severely curtailed. As we were not going to be using it we sold our Fleetwood E1 trailer that we hauled around for family travels out in the boondocks. Ever since we had been pondering what our next traveling set-up would be. And we were going to do it based on being a travelling couple instead of a roving family of four. Though we will always leave some wiggle room for extra gear if the kiddos tag along.

Well after looking at all the camping options Michelle said she’d like to try out a RTT. And since we had a trip at the end of April 2012 planned for a tour of the Mid-South she wanted me to procure one to use on that trip for us to try out. My plan was to pick up a used budget RTT like the Camping Lab, Tepiu or Mombosa, try it out for the week and if we didn’t like it we’d just sell it again. Even if we lost a little money it would be cheaper than motel rooms for a week. A fabric folding tent would work well on my secondary lower rack and be able to flip up between my tall stanchions so that was an advantage. But I’ve seen folks rip their covers, tear straps and I’ve listened to tents flap in the breeze as I was following others down the highway not to mention tent’s rustling in the wind once they’re set up.

So after a bit of searching I had the stumbled onto to a "used" Maggiolina Extreme Small RTT that had been used for a magazine review and had only been slept in for two nights. Autohome didn't want to ship it back to them and were looking to cut a deal to somebody to take it off their hands. They made us a very good offer on basically a brand new tent and we couldn't refuse. So here’s the end result…a virtually new “used” tent on the back of Fafhrd…

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I never even considered one of these tents as they are a high end, pricey tent, but I was really attracted to its design. Mainly the hard cover construction. Here in the East I’ve seen tent covers ripped by hugging trees so having a hard sided tent offers some advantage. Also the big bonus for me was storage. We live right next to a trout stream and critters run amok everywhere. You can’t let anything sit for a couple of days without some critter getting into it. I had visions of opening a tent in the woods only to find it chewed to bits and the interior covered in pellets. So after discussing the advantages and disadvantages of hard side and soft sided tents Michelle and I decide to go for Maggiolina

Purchased in early March of 2012, the Maggie has accompanied us on numerous trips that varied to roaming explorations to base camping for float trips and backwoods meet-ups. When travelling we have it mounted to a lower, bed mounted rail system with keeps the tent below the roof line of the cab of the truck making for a streamlined set-up. Driving with the tent mounted on the lower racks you don’t even notice that’s it is back there other than the blocked view out the rear window. There is no real discernible difference in gas mileage between having the tent mounted or unmounted when there is a comparable load-out of gear under the cover of the truck. This is way better than the three or four mpg loss that would happen when we use to haul our Fleetwood E1 trailer around. So far we’ve spent about 30 days or so in the Maggie and we are very happy with our purchase.

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We mount the tent with the bulge (highest bit) to the rear of the truck so as to make access to the raising/lowering crank as convenient as possible.

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*Set-up is fairly quick. It takes me 45 seconds to spool up the top and just a couple of minutes to set the ladder and zip up the doors. Ingress is fairly easy, but care has to be taken as to not bring crub inside the tent with you . Bags and pillows can be left inside ready to go. Normally we use a couple of Marmot down bags and we each have a fleece bag too to layer with. Pillows are Cabela’s travel camping compression units and work real nice. Everything tucks in nicely as you close the tent down as long as you leave the bedroll neatly laid out. Closing down the Maggie is just a bit slower as you need to see that the fabric folds and tucks down nicely and that the fabric doesn’t get caught in the scissor mechanism. Yet I can lower and stow the tent in just a manner of minutes.

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*The materials used in the construction of the Maggiolina are top notch. The tent fabric feels hefty and substantial and is of better quality than the fabric used in our old E1. The zippers are heavy duty and work fast and well with no snag ups. The roof has a headliner in it that has a nice feel and actually contributes to keeping in the warmth and helps deaden outside noises. The mattress is comfy but a little soft for us. We found that placing a couple of cheap closed cell foam sleeping pads (bought at Wally World) under the mattress made a huge difference in comfort. Interior wise there are two storage pockets to each side of the walls and a big gear storage loft at the low end of the hardtop. We use the storage loft to store jackets and sleeping bag cases plus random reading materials and occasionally shoes. The side pockets we use to hold reading materials, glasses and the stuff from our pockets (ie keys and pocket knives). There is also a rotating LED light that does a great job of lighting the interior, though its touch operated and sometimes it takes a tap or two to engage it..

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*When it’s in use it functions great. Having camped on the windy shores of Cape Lookout on the Outer Banks of North Carolina we found that the Maggie shed the gusting winds like they were not even there. We were in constant 20 to 30 mph winds with gust up to 40 mph and the only thing we noticed was the soft tingling of the window zipper pulls against the zippers themselves. We wouldn’t even know that it was that windy outside if we hadn’t stepped outside for yourself. Also we have noticed that the Maggie really retains heat and when we have used it on chilly nights the tent stays considerably warmer than the outside temps. This is the first tent that I ever seen Michelle stripping of layers of sleeping bags instead of huddling underneath every available cover and blanket. Rain sheds off nicely and it has proven to be very bug proof, just make sure you tuck in the entrance doors well. My wife likes her mobile loft...

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*The rack is useful and can serve a number of purposes. It is conservatively rated at 44lbs at the factory but I’ve seen folks hauling canoes or throwing full sized spare up there and they have reported no problems. I am using Thule base foot mounts and rail system to mate to the factory rack tracks. When travelling with the kayaks I use the rear rack on the Maggie and a cab mounted load bar on the truck to spread the loaded weight around. This has worked very well so far.

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*Ours is the small model of the Extreme line. Dimensions for the tent are as follows....Weight 143 lbs.: Exterior Dimensions Closed...W x L x H 51” x 82-3/4” x 13" Exterior Dimensions Open...W x L x H 51” x 82-3/4” x 34-1/2”.

*I’m pushing 5’ 11” and fit fine but if your over 6’ tall you aint gonna fit. I weigh between 190 and 200lbs depending on the time of year and Michelle is on the petite size so we fit just fine side by side and have plenty of room to roll around and shift position throughout the night. With the low ceiling height you can sit up but changing clothes is a wiggle and giggle affair. We pack an EZ-Up canopy along on our trips and use the wall addition to turn it into a kitchen/living room/changing room to compensate.

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*Entering/exiting in the rain is a choreographed dance as there are no overhangs to protect the entrance ways in driving rains. We have draped our Kelty tarp over the Maggie on really rainy trips to solve this but I need to mount an awning to on side to be a final solution for the rain. At least with the cargo rails it will be easy to do.

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*When not in use it the Maggie gets lofted of the back of the truck with a Thule load management lift and stays secure to the garage rafters with some safety straps for added security. I can mount or remove the tent by myself in about ten minutes using this system.

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*To aid getting in and out of the tent and to give us a nicer way to remove our shoes before entering the tent I fabbed up some "porches" to either side. This system has worked great and gives us extra hauling space.

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*All in all we are very happy with our purchase but with all things there is no one right answer. Future plans call for the addition of an awning and to mount the Maggie to a trailer for quick trips and ones where we will be base camping or hauling a bunch of boats. Having to take along more than two kayaks on a trip leads to logistical problems for us. When we are exploring we’ll mount the Maggie to the truck for convience and maneuverability and have a trailer as a option for base camping depending on the style of trip we found ourselves heading out on.

So in the end we can say that the Maggiolina Extreme is Clan Haggis approved. :summer

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Dave

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Founder
Senior Staff
Editor
#2
Great review Mark. Maybe I missed it but how much does it weigh?

Of all the RTT's available, and if I were buying one today, the Maggiolina is my top pick for all the reasons you stated. It just works, and is supremely durable. Another thing I have noted comparing it to the Eazi-Awn and some others is that the Maggiolina mattresses are quite plush - best RTT mattress IMO, followed by the FlipPac ;)
 

Haggis

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Founding Member
#3
Great review Mark. Maybe I missed it but how much does it weigh?
Thanks for pointing out that omission as I meant to add those details in the review. Here's the specs for the Extreme small...

Weight 143 lbs. Exterior Dimensions Closed...W x L x H 51” x 82-3/4” x 13" Exterior Dimensions Open...W x L x H 51” x 82-3/4” x 34-1/2”


Dave said:
Of all the RTT's available, and if I were buying one today, the Maggiolina is my top pick for all the reasons you stated. It just works, and is supremely durable. Another thing I have noted comparing it to the Eazi-Awn and some others is that the Maggiolina mattresses are quite plush - best RTT mattress IMO, followed by the FlipPac ;)
See, we almost went the FlipPac route but as the Tundra is only a part time adventure vehicle and has to be set-up for work more than for play a FlipPac would have been a pain to switch on and off and also to store when not in use. The Maggie works as good alternative and is a whole lot easier to store.
 

Frenchie

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Founding Member
#4
I have had wonderful experiences with the Columbus my first Autohome RTT. This is still my wife's favorite one. Her reasoning is being able to stand up to get dressed. I got one of the first Extremes they got to the US. I had that one for over 6+ years and had over 1,000 nights in it. I sold it when some upgraded changes came out I had to get the next one. I have had this one for 5+ years but not as many night in this one as the wife said she graduated to a Class A RV now that we retired. The Extreme stays on the Jeep and I still use it, but not as much now. The wife still uses the RTT, but 2 nights at a time is her limit (this may be because she is becoming a Ol' Fart (I said May be)). The ease of a bathroom and shower won her over.

I have the Autohome awning and changing room also. It dose keep the rain outside and makes a dry entrance to the RTT. I have also set up my "Easy-up" next to the Extreme, tucking the door into the "Easy-up". This makes a nice kitchen and dry area from the rains.
 
#5
That's one of the more comprehensive reviews I've seen on the message boards. Nice job Mark. And I think I know the mag that had it before you picked it up. You got a good deal no doubt. :)
 

Haggis

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Founding Member
#8
Great job on the mounting system, Mark, really like the "porches". What did you scavenge, I mean "re-purpose", them from?
The steps were made from Werner household grade scaffolding planks. I found them tucked back in rack at a local hardware store and got them cheap.
 
#9
I switched from an Eezi-Awn to a Maggiolina Airlander XL as I could not take the rain fly and the tent from flapping in windy conditions. The Eezi-Awn 1800 was big and spacious, hard to put away on the top of a Chaser, so far love the Airlander, great mattress, no flapping and much warmer in cold weather, easy to stow, so all around a much better tent I think. Yes it is pricey, but you get what you pay for in my .02 cents, and Mike at Autohome was great to deal with.
 

Enzo

Adventurist
#10
I too went from an Eezi-Awn to a Maggiolina. Out of the 4 RTTs I've owned the Maggiolina is by far the best. I will never own another RTT.
 
#11
I've been very impressed with the overall quality of the Maggiolina tents. The only other option out there I see as being comparable is from James Baroud. I'm actually using their Nomad 160 right now and it, too, is top-notch in quality like the Maggiolina. It's probably a toss-up between the two.
 

Haggis

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Senior Staff
Founding Member
#15
On the trailer I'm not going to use them as they would stick out too far and I would probably be banging my head off them or catch them in a tree and rip the racks right off the trailer. Instead I'm going to fab up a mount for box and/or shelf of some kind to store our shoes in before entering the tent. As of yet time has not presented itself to allow me to tackle that project yet.
 

Cboyd

Adventurist
#17
Great review... I too switched from another RTT to an Airtop that I bought from a fellow overlander. I really like it for all of the reasons you mentioned. I too have noticed it stays warmer than other canvas folding RTTs and much better in the wind.

Any details on how you mounted the Thule rails to the shell, or was it factory?
 
#19
Just picked up a used Maggie Extreme Small myself. Have only had it a couple of weeks but immediately put it to use with a 2 week (plus) trip across country to Nevada, some time roaming around there and then back across country. BTW, I'm 6'3" and the length is workable if you lie a little diagonally or curl fetally a bit. Wife does not accompany so not sure how it would work well with a second person.
I'm pleased with it. Moving from a teardrop so there are some adjustments (not one perfect answer) and tweaks I'll make.
 
#20
Frenchie looks to be one of few even mentioning the use of the changing room. I'd pm him, but he's last seen back in 2015 here on AAV! Seriously considering selling my M101CDN and Eezi-Awn Globetrotter for a Maggie. Before the trailer I'd looked at Maggies, but one criteria moving from a ground tent was a vestibule to get up and into w/o leaving the tent area. I'd considered the ARB RTT as it at least had that, but passed in favor of the Globetrotter. Maggie only had an awning at that time.

Anyone with any REAL world experience with Maggie's changing room? I've emailed Autohome for more info as the site info is rather lacking.
 
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