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Hi again. Another quick query. I’m thinking of having a pop top installed by SC Conversions of Plymouth. I understand the floor of the pop top to be a number of boards (rather than a single base unit) which can slide a little to permit access to the top space. The question is, before I get it done, how does one get in and out of said roof space? Scrambling up and down off the seats? Carrying a mini ladder or similar? Or is it dead easy for anyone with even a modicum of rock climbing ability (that excludes me, of course)?

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3 minutes ago, WideCharlie said:

Hi again. Another quick query. I’m thinking of having a pop top installed by SC Conversions of Plymouth. I understand the floor of the pop top to be a number of boards (rather than a single base unit) which can slide a little to permit access to the top space. The question is, before I get it done, how does one get in and out of said roof space? Scrambling up and down off the seats? Carrying a mini ladder or similar? Or is it dead easy for anyone with even a modicum of rock climbing ability (that excludes me, of course)?

 

Any, or all of the above.

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Hi Charlie.  We have a side conversion with pop top.  The roof lining consists of 3 boards which when in place leave a 10 cm gap at the front to allow for the roof straps.  The top space is really only suitable for children (or very small and light weight adults).  To access the roof space it is necessary to slide the first board back over the top of the second.  If you are an experienced caver 😀 this gives you sufficient space to squirm up and then lean down into (because of the sloping roof) before entombing oneself in the roof space by moving the first board back to its original position.  Personally, we don’t use the top space for sleeping but simply slide all the boards back to give us standing space to use the kitchen properly - they do provide good storage however.  In fact, when we go away for longer than a weekend we find it preferable to leave all the boards behind in our garage.  It is however markedly noisier when driving without the roof boards.  I suggest that you look at an Alphie which already has a pop top to see how it all fits together and whether it suits your envisaged needs - after all , they are expensive and if its sleeping room only that you’re wanting, an awning may be a better (and cheaper) choice.

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Thank you for those comments, Arthur. Interesting. Ours is a rear conversion so there would be different pros and cons, no doubt. And whilst I am anything but small and lightweight, my wife certainly fits that particular bill. But we are both used to bouncing around the high seas in yachts so I suspect a little discomfort and a great deal of squirming in a campervan won’t go amiss for either of us. Not keen on caving, though, nor entombment. There’s plenty of time for the latter in not too many years, I suspect 😱. Oh, and we’ll be looking at a pop topped Alphard in a couple of weeks when SC Conversions get their next one to sort. Standing room is important so I suspect we will go for the pop top. Maybe an awning as well in due course is a reasonable suggestion. It’s all a question, in truth, of how best to avoid night-time torture by snoring! There are compromises and then there are compromises. 

 

Thanks once again for your observations. 

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50 minutes ago, WideCharlie said:

Thank you for those comments, Arthur. Interesting. Ours is a rear conversion so there would be different pros and cons, no doubt. And whilst I am anything but small and lightweight, my wife certainly fits that particular bill. But we are both used to bouncing around the high seas in yachts so I suspect a little discomfort and a great deal of squirming in a campervan won’t go amiss for either of us. Not keen on caving, though, nor entombment. There’s plenty of time for the latter in not too many years, I suspect 😱. Oh, and we’ll be looking at a pop topped Alphard in a couple of weeks when SC Conversions get their next one to sort. Standing room is important so I suspect we will go for the pop top. Maybe an awning as well in due course is a reasonable suggestion. It’s all a question, in truth, of how best to avoid night-time torture by snoring! There are compromises and then there are compromises. 

 

Thanks once again for your observations. 

Seperate Alphards perhaps 😂

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You may want to see if SC Conversions can do a powered lift pop up and if so for how much.  The pop top goes up relatively easily but if anyone is vertically challenged (short in my day!) they may struggle to overcome the power of the gas lifting struts.  Well worth trying out physically - rather than just looking - before you sign on the dotted line.  Before you ask - no, we don’t have a powered top but I wish we did ☹️

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6 hours ago, WideCharlie said:

Thank you Roger. I’ll let my wife know. She has a good head for heights 😉

 

Hello Charlie,

 

Just one other point, which may not be relevant but could be vital.

 

A pop top will increase the height of the vehicle.

Obvious, I know.

 

But if Plymouth is like Torbay, or other coastal towns, that increase in height may just prevent you from entering any car parks with height restriction barriers.

Without a pop top, I have less than 5 cms, and that is assuming the barrier is at the height stated and is level !

 

I have a huge beach side car park near me, and many campers cannot enter it ! Everywhere else ? Double yellows !

 

I would agree with other members, think twice. However easy is it to climb up, as you get older  .......

 

Consider a tent, or an awning.

Awnings are not easy to get for Alphies, but many members have fabricated their own roofattachment rails.

Search for awnings, there's lots to read !

 

 

 

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Once again, thank you for your useful comments. I shall think twice or maybe more about all these things, but I don’t expect that getting into public car parks with height restrictions, or otherwise, will be a deal breaker. I shall probably favour campsites with the facilities necessary for a gentleman of advancing years measured in bladder pressures. I’ll explore the awnings option, I think. 

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When I first went camping with my mk2 Estima I attatched a drive away awning to the nearside. The straps I slung over the roof and pegged them. I made up a box base for a bed, taking out the rear bench seat, put a mattress on it and slept in the Esti. I did my cooking in the awning which had a built in groundsheet. When I wanted to go away for the day I detatched the vehicle, zipped up the awning. The awning had nylon poles. In 2015 I bought a 1992 Gobour Carousel 12TD folding caravan. Which I have been advised that I should not tow behind the 2007 Alphard Hybrid I now have. Wether that is right or not I dunno. Anyway last year I bought a drive away air awning and a magnetic strip to put on Alfie's roof to attatch the awning too. I was going to use this set up last year when I went to a Toyota Estima Owners Club meet, ony the magnetic strip nor the air awning turned up in time. I still went to the meet but could not camp. I was going to sleep in Alfie like I did in the Estima.

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We have a rear converted Alphard AH10 with a Drivelodge pop top.

 

We wanted ours this way as we wanted to retain a factory 2nd row of seating (we have 3 kids) and it also serves as our 2nd car (primarily my daily driver).  So bar the lack of a boot it serves (most of the time) as a regular 5 seat minivan.

 

In this format getting in and out of the pop top is easy as the 2nd row serves as the step to get in and out, though you still have to lift yourself in.  I also concur, I think the space is about right for one adult or two children, though more so it serves to provide nice standing headroom when parked up.

 

Car parks are definitely a bit of an issue.  With the pop top it puts it about 6ft 10" high which is about the limit of most car parks.  Many do sign this conservatively (i.e. you can easily get in and out without problems) but it's very trial and error (and could be very expensive if you get it wrong).

 

For example my local Morrisons has an underground car park which has a 6ft 10 limit, but it goes in and out of there with no issues at all.  The multi storey for our nearest shopping centre however it definitely wouldnt get in and out of there so we've never tried.

 

Basically whilst it makes them alot more usable, it comes with that disadvantage.  Otherwise though to drive it around, it's perfectly quiet and you wouldn't know it had one and can't imagine it does much to affect the Alphards refinement.

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Michael, thank you. I’m currently wading through the literature and websites about awnings. Like everything else, there are pros and cons. I confess I’m not a natural under-canvas camper but I can see that awnings provide a great deal of extra space for storage and dining and so on. Research continues.

 

Paul, thank you. Your line of reasoning reflects our own. We opted for the rear conversion to preserve the second row of seats and to ensure that should we we be obliged to sleep in more or less the same space we would have sufficient room to avoid vicious elbows and knees during the night 😱

 

We’re fortunate in a way that I’m the only driver so won’t be forced to use the camper for things like shopping. We have a perfectly good car for such boring things. We have only ever intended to use the Alphard as an overnight campervan on established sites, and as a day van in areas like Dartmoor. So a pop top should suit us fine and my wife is more than nimble enough to scale the heights in pursuit of a decent night’s sleep. Standing headroom is a real bonus, I think.

 

Thanks again for the responses. 

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45 minutes ago, WideCharlie said:

Michael, thank you. I’m currently wading through the literature and websites about awnings. Like everything else, there are pros and cons. I confess I’m not a natural under-canvas camper but I can see that awnings provide a great deal of extra space for storage and dining and so on. Research continues.

 

Paul, thank you. Your line of reasoning reflects our own. We opted for the rear conversion to preserve the second row of seats and to ensure that should we we be obliged to sleep in more or less the same space we would have sufficient room to avoid vicious elbows and knees during the night 😱

 

We’re fortunate in a way that I’m the only driver so won’t be forced to use the camper for things like shopping. We have a perfectly good car for such boring things. We have only ever intended to use the Alphard as an overnight campervan on established sites, and as a day van in areas like Dartmoor. So a pop top should suit us fine and my wife is more than nimble enough to scale the heights in pursuit of a decent night’s sleep. Standing headroom is a real bonus, I think.

 

Thanks again for the responses. 

 

Make sure, while doing your research, you ensure that any pop top you may have is compatible with an awning, and vice versa !

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Having spent a few nights under canvas trying to sleep and being very very cold then making a bed and sleeping in my old Estima Mk2 there's no comparison. Much much warmer, you are off the ground and no drafts . I'd post a picture to show you but those pics are in an old computer that crashed and I don't think I saved the pics onto a memory stick.. So waiting for warmer weather to set up Alfie with the bed and air awning in my garden

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Hi Michael, and yes I can empathise with the camping experience. Every time I’ve ever been tempted to spend time under canvas it’s turned into a mini disaster one way or another. I can well remember me and the very patient wife, two kids and clouds of midges, all under canvas in an ill-fated weekend in Scotland. Never again, I vowed. So, a camper van (in progress) it is. And not in Scotland. I’m waiting not so much for warmer weather as drier weather to experiment. Some hope!

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