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Fitting Instructions-All Models-Putting it Up

Try erecting and taking down the tent once or twice to familiarise yourself with it. It's quite simple to put it up on your own but obviously helpful to have an assistant to learn the ropes with you. It's much easier to put it up the first time behind the vehicle, not on its own!

Please see instruction manual supplied with your caranex tent.

If all else fails click here and read note 16 and then follow the step by step instructions.

General Notes

  1. Adjusting to cars with narrow roofs relative to height (smaller Citroen, Peugeots and similar minis, vans like Rascals, Hijets etc) achieve a snug fit to vehicle sides by gathering sleeve material along the front hem together over the vehicle roof. Tie a knot in the drawcord or fit Caranex cordlocks on either side to limit respreading.
  2. Guy anchor points. The front door jambs (the small pillars the door locks to) are ideal for taking the drawcords to either side. Push these well into the base; the locks will still work. To dismantle, slip the drawcords off the pillars so leaving them set at the correct length for re-erection.
  3. Attaching sleeve to vehicle. Once the drawcords are located either round the door jambs or a more suitable anchor point if applicable, remember to tie the ends back to the 'D' rings on the front sleeve below the roof line. Attaching them elsewhere rarely gives a correct fit.
  4. Fit around rear bumper. The top of the elasticated front skirt should face the side of the bumper and not under it. Some vehicles have wide blades making it difficult to minimise the gap around them. Self adhesive velcro can be useful to cure this and any gap that defies adjustment. Remember to 'firm up' the fit to the vehicle with rear guys slack.
  5. Roofracks - H3's & H4TL's. A H4TL will usually fit a vehicle that would normally take an H3 but has an additional roofrack, i.e. a Rascal with a full size rack etc. There is also some 'give' in the design and an H4TL will fit over many roofracks.
  6. Spare wheel mounted on 4X4 rear door with wide swing. Move back roof spacer and support poles to allow full opening against awning side.
  7. Gap above skirt. Ground clearance of 4X4's varies considerably. To reduce any minor gap between skirt top and vehicle floor spread groundsheet or rug from vehicle floor over skirt. To lower skirt, cut and tuck down - use self adhesive velcro to rejoin.
  8. Long wheelbase vehicles. Extend length of front tie cords with spare side-guy cord supplied. Additional cord available on request or use Caranex Limpets with short guys.
  9. Roof drainage channels. If necessary, block channel under front edge of Caranex roof sleeve to restrain rainwater flow to drainholes. (For older vehicles) temporary block with a small ball of paper jammed into the channel - just sufficient to divert flow forwards.
  10. Ventilation. An adult loses a half pint of fluid in evaporation during the night so adequate ventilation is essential to reduce the risk of condensation which can be a problem in any car or tent. A proprietary moisture absorber such as the 'Bison' is particularly helpful if you are sleeping with a full compliment of people or pets. Leave car and Caranex windows slightly open and the top of the door slightly unzipped to give a through draught.
  11. Camping in high winds. As with any tent, avoid exposed pitches. Site the tent with its rear or the car - the sharp ends - into the wind with the entrance in the lee or sheltered side. Drive guy pegs in at 45 degrees. Used crossed, like scissors, for anchorage in soft soil. use side guys in rough conditions. Keep all guys tight and tentage taut, particularly around the car roof. An additional pair of vertical or slanting poles adds to rigidity. See below.
  12. Sleeping arrangements. You may prefer to sleep in the back of your car if there's space and it may be possible to inflate an airbed 'in situ' in the rear and leave your bed made up ready for the night. Cover it before travelling with a waterproof groundsheet, put luggage and camping gear on top ready for relocation in your Caranex once erected. On a noisy site lower the rear door to keep out the disturbance. Let some air in through slightly open windows. Suitably positioned towels or blankets, secured in closed doors or windows give adequate privacy to the sides; a rug over front seatbacks works well to the front. Use self adhesive velcro patches to make a more permanent job. It pays to keep kit to a minimum. A Camping Gas stove on a firm base, about 1 ft square, for warming drinks and soup; cereals, fruit, rolls, cheese, jam; paper towels or a wash leather for clearing condensation from car windows are useful.
  13. Dismantling and Packing. Slacken and remove poles and unhitch rear guys. Arrange tent material evenly within the area of the integral groundsheet with the entrance zipper open and the two sewn-in poles along either side of the rectangle. Pull out groundsheet pegs. Fold either end towards the centre - as far as the poles. Then fold the sides around the poles into the centre. Finally , fold over as necessary, pressing down on the material to expel captured air, until compact enough to fit carrier bag. If packed damp be sure to dry out thoroughly before storing for any length of time when you return home. Mildew is irreversible and reduces waterproofing very quickly with any tent material, so be sure to dry it out fully within at most 2 or 3 days.
  14. Cleaning and Reproofing. To remove mud and 'natural' stains use water without detergents which reduce the resistance to water penetration. Do not use any cleaner unsuitable for nylon. Domestic sewing machines and orthodox sewing techniques may be used to repair the fabric. Every so often spray the fabric and seams with aerosol waterproofer (Grangers' Fabsil and Seam Seal are recommended, available from us and Outdoor shops) to maintain seal along the stitch work and renew general waterproofing. Remember that sewn seams on all tents may leak the first time they get wet then tighten up after first drying out.
  15. FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Caranex material is flame resistant but not fire proof; as with any tent, do not allow a naked flame near the fabric.
  16. CARANEX POLES. Your caranex has three 2-piece poles - one roof spacer and two roof supports - with a sewn-in pair as roof sides. The shorter spacer clips between the centres of the sewn-in pair to form an 'H' frame held up by the two longer support poles. move the central roof spacer pole rearwards to avoid high swing or hatch doors. The freestanding kit (if supplied) has three short 2-piece poles, one a spacer A between the feet of the support poles, two tensioning the front guys at a slant - see . An optional extra pole set adds freestanding rigidity EITHER with extra roof spacer at C having moved central one forward to E, allows a square rather than an 'H' roof frame and, with extra support poles B, reinforce the existing pair Or with vertical poles at each corner - this also adds extra height to allow high swing doors to open fully.
  1. Unroll Caranex with red label to rear and front sleeve adjacent to the back of the vehicle.
  2. Peg the two D rings (1a) at either front corner of the integral groundsheet immediately below the face of the rear bumper.
  3. Stretch and roughly peg out the groundsheet at the rear D rings (1c)
  4. Offer up one side of the front sleeve onto the car roof (2a) making sure its side wall (2b) comes round the side of the car and the top of the elasticated skirt (2c) is against, not under, the bumper's face.
  5. Take one end of the front drawcords to a door jamb (ie lock pedestal) suitable anchor point or Caranex limpet*, then tie back to the sleeve's lower front D ring (2e) with a temporary hitch. Repeat on the other side. On narrow roofs (less than 5ft wide) gather front edge of sleeve using knots or Caranex cordlocks on the draw cord on either side to hold this gathering in.
  6. Ideal for MPV with sliding side doors and/or no convenient anchor points.
  7. From inside the draped Caranex, fit the roof spacer pole (a short two-piece pole with C clips at either end) either to the exposed centre points (3d) of the twin sewn-in poles or anywhere along their length to give the best fit for wide doors and large spare wheels.
  8. Then clip one support pole (long two-piece pole with Y clip at the top, capped at foot), through the tape loop then either to the sewn in pole just forward of the roof spacer pole or, if preferred, to the end of the spacer. Push the lower end of the leg into a front corner. Repeat with the other vertical pole.
  9. Pull front sleeve well forward as far as it will go, realign and tighten its front drawcord to seal it to the vehicle roof to make sides of front sleeve a close fit. A knot or tielock in the drawcord on either side will help retain gathered hem. Skirt end 3e-2c should be vertical viewed side on.
  10. Realign and peg down centre and rear of groundsheet - the forward pair of pegs is unnecessary when roof supports are in place.
  11. Finally peg out rear guys at 45 degrees and 1.5m (4ft) from rear corners. Tighten, ensuring canvas is taut and secure. If this is done earlier it is impossible to position the front sleeve correctly on the vehicle roof and sides.
  12. Fit internal groundsheet with feet of vertical legs resting on front corners. If using extra groundsheet underneath on rocky or wet ground, tuck in exposed sections, otherwise it will collect water.
  13. The only difference in fitting an H1, H3 or H4T series is in adjusting the height of the front sleeve to various heights of vehicles. An H4T series will adapt to most smaller vehicles; just tuck in surplus sleeve on either side to gather tight to bodysides.
  14. aller vehicles; just tuck in surplus sleeve on either side to gather tight to bodysides.

Long Term Freestanding H1 and H3

  • The most secure method for long term freestanding incorporates an extra pole set with two pole clamp hooks.

Long Term Freestanding H4TL

  • The most secure method for long term freestanding incorporates an extra pole set with two pole clamp hooks.

  • If possible. park with the awnings 'sharp end' into the wind.
  • Before removing the vehicle fit two additional support poles (from extra pole set) to the front ends of the two sewn-in roof poles. 
  • Reposition the existing supports to vertical or near vertical to the rear ends of the roof poles, forming a square of roof poles. 

  • Feed a spacer pole through the security screen's hem and clip across the front of the front supports. Tie up with roof tapes at ends. Hook plastic clips to screens side D rings and press fit to the support poles; twist round to tighten up screen between supports.
  • Fix side guys slanting forward from D rings on roof edges and remove vehicle - baffle exhaust to reduce risk of soot on skirt.


Fold over one side of sleeve, clamp its top edge to centre of front spacer pole with pole hook.

Feed sleeve's guy down through its lower D ring to a peg at the opposite front corner and tie back to lower D ring. Likewise with the other half of the sleeve, folding it over the other. Pin down security screen with front groundsheet pins either side of the support pole feet, covering the front skirt. Tighten all guys.


Roll back side sleeves around front supports and clamp in place from inside to keep them hidden from view.

H4TL for Vehicles with Full Roofracks, Hi-roofs and Elevating Roofs

The central roof section of an H4TL folds back to accommodate a roofrack, hitop or elevating roof. Front sleeves tie to the side of the roofrack, door jambs, guyed around the front to the other sleeve or Caranex anchor limpets. With the centre section forward and secured in place, use on flat roofs for standard H4TL applications.

Caranex adapts
                to roofracks and hitops

4x4s and vans with roofracks or roofbars have obvious anchor points. Two Caranex accessories allow side or rear fitting where there are none:

Multipurpose Limpet Anchors

Ideal for securing top panel onto the vehicle roof to bridge the gap to the Caranex

Tips on use:

  1. Follow the assembly guide to lay out and peg Caranex in position.
  2. Then separate the velcro seams on either side of the central panel of the front sleeve. Attach limpets to the guy at both its front corners.
  3. Offer these up onto or over the roof and anchor in a convenient position for adjustment and eventual removal.

Take a look at some testimonials from our Customers and Press page.