If you're debating whether to go for a HiLo roof on your van or not, we’d say just go for it - you will not be disappointed!
We bought our first base van in March this year (SWB T5.1 4 Motion T30) and the most important decision to us was what to do for a pop roof. After visiting a few shows and speaking with different conversion companies, it was clear a solid product was essential to maintain rigidity with the original roof removed (not all reinforce the framework sufficiently, we hadn't even considered this).
We looked at numerous options including SCA, but settled on Hilo. The main reasons for us were that its low profile and colour matched so you cant really tell that it’s got a roof on at all, in fact people ask us when we are going to get the roof done and are then blown away when we pop it! It's ease of use when opening up, no roof straps flapping around (Hilo solution really neat and tidy in this respect), room in the bed area and standing/ sleeping at the back (particularly when getting in & out, turning around, wanting to sleep with your head facing rearwards while your partner answers the call of nature at 3am etc..), build quality (we've been really impressed with this - as have all friends who have suffered one of our 'full tours' whenever they show any interest! We've been out twice a month all over the UK since Spring, literally 'hammering it' each time). Plus with 2 kids under 4 and another on the way, the peace of mind knowing the system had been crash tested was important to us we didn’t want to feel that we’d compromised on the quality and safety of the van that we had saved up for and stretched ourselves on initially.
A few other things we’ve realised since living with the roof that have further 'sealed the deal' for us are the Scenic zip option - we get comments at every campsite and every show or festival that we take it to - people love it, as do our kids! The 3 layer windows (blackout probably more important than we realised with two toddlers inside), the thick canvas & substantial hinges at the back - both have been great on the colder, windier nights, (we've literally been out in a gale on the seafront and in the Lakes and never had any worries).
Its not the cheapest elevating roof out there, but we didn’t want to scrimp on the roof as we saw it as the main integral, value adding part of the conversion. It’s in the same ballpark as the other options we looked at, but with a lot more functional value, so it was an easy decision in the end. We spent a lot of time looking at our options before taking the plunge, but we couldn’t be happier with the result - it's been a game changer both for our van and our family weekends away. Can't wait to get back out there in it once the downstairs has been converted next month!
James & Colette, Ilkley, West Yorkshire