Name: Joe Mercer
Location: Genuinely spend most of my time on the road, clichés I know! But home is Kent, UK
Vehicle (make and model): 2004 Land Rover Freelander ‘Frank’!
Joe Mercer is probably one of our most adventurous customers to date, having taken his TentBox from the UK all the way to the Arctic Circle, in the middle of winter! That’s what you call hardcore overlanding.
We asked him a few questions about his trip, and about his TentBox in general:
What do you use your TentBox for?
For me my TentBox was primarily used for a solo winter expedition up through Scandinavia, inside the Arctic circle, to the most northern point in Europe, the Nordkapp. Enduring thousands of miles of ice roads, temperatures that dropped below -35, and overnight snow dumps so deep that I’ve spent 10 minutes just clearing the windscreen of the Land Rover! I covered over five thousand miles on that trip, and spent nearly 3 weeks worth of nights inside the TentBox, with it remaining totally dependable, and keeping me alive throughout. To me it’s now proven itself as expedition tough.
Best trip with your TentBox?
Without a doubt my #NorthToNordkapp trip. With it being something I’d wanted to do for several years now, to finally make it happen this year was fantastic, and it did not disappoint. Camping underneath the Northern lights, experience the dramatic night skies of the Arctic circle, the extreme cold that was experienced as soon as you moved away from the coastline, was all an amazing experience. Visiting the Polar Park (The most northern wildlife centre in the world), exploring Tromso, and of course reaching the Nordkapp itself were all highlights. Surviving a night at -35, having mechanical issues and having to work on them at -15 and getting stuck in a 3 foot snow drift, spending an hour digging ourselves out provided a contrast, but without these challenges the whole expedition would not have been anywhere near as fulfilling or memorable!
How did you deal with the cold?
The TentBox really did help by being off the ground, and having the insulating foam mattress to prevent heat escaping downwards. However, I would seriously recommend a sleeping bag that is suited to the conditions. I used a bag rated for -30, which was a must have!! It was also great to jump into Frank in the morning and get the heater running!
Favourite thing about your TentBox?
Hard to choose just one, so I’ll choose two! For me what was really quite brilliant was not having to look for a suitable piece of ground to camp each night. In the conditions I experienced, the ground was nearly always frozen, and more often than not was covered in Ice and often had a thick covering of snow! Challenging conditions if using a ground tent! But with the TentBox it was never a problem, as long as the Land Rover was relatively flat, within 5 minutes I’d have a spacious comfortable place to sleep and spend the night. This really was quite revolutionary coming from many years of using ground tents on expeditions!
Secondly, the super comfortable memory foam mattress! Does this really need any more explanation!
What would you say to someone thinking about getting a Tentbox?
If you want to revolutionise your sleeping arrangements during overland and vehicle based travel trips, no matter what the scale, then you really need a Tentbox! No matter where you’re planning on travelling too, no more looking for a suitable ground spot to pitch a tent, no more blowing up air beds and unpacking sleeping bags each night, unstrap, pop up the TentBox and climb in. Honestly, once you’ve tried one you won’t want too go back to sleeping on the ground ever again!
When packing up the TentBox, and its below -25 outside, be sure to wear good thick gloves, I made the very rookie mistake of removing mine, and it took 4 hours for the frostnip to recede and about the same again to get feeling back in them!
Wow. That’s a pretty awesome trip Joe. And a pretty awesome way to test out the TentBox in extreme conditions! We’re glad to have been part of your journey, and look forward to seeing what other epic adventures you set out on in the future.
Joe has also made us a video of his TentBox and Land Rover in action in Norway! Brrr, that looks a bit chilly but awesome views! Thanks, Joe!