The SheltaPod is a versatile 4-in-1 shelter that you can use with cars, campervans, motorhomes, and caravans.
We found the SheltaPod an amazing flexible shelter and have given it the Thumbs-Up award.
Our Score: 7.0/10
We've given the The SheltaPod - a Swiss-army knife of vehicle shelters the Thumbs Up award.
- Lots of flexibility in one package.
- Fits onto a variety of vehicles.
The not so good
- Only 3000 mm HH, but should be OK in most case.
This was a hands-on product review. The product was supplied to us to test and conduct the review.
The SheltaPod - a Swiss-army knife of vehicle shelters has a recommended retail price of £495.
The SheltaPod - a Swiss-army knife of vehicle shelters Videos
The SheltaPod - a Swiss-army knife of vehicle shelters Photos
What is a SheltaPod?
SheltaPod is an interesting concept.
You can use it as a tent. You can use it as a drive-away awning. You can use it as a rain or sun shelter.
But don't think SheltaPod is just for campervans. You can use it with cars and even caravans.
The SheltaPod can sleep a family of four: two adults and two kids.
SheltaPod sent us one over to review :-)
Testing Out the SheltaPod
We were in the COVID-19 lockdown when we tried the SheltaPod out, so our review is limited to trying it out at home in a small front garden. Hopefully, we'll be in the great outdoors with it soon!
The SheltaPod bag and contents
The SheltaPod has a handy carry bag that can easily fit in the car boot or stow in your van without taking up much space. That's more than can be said of some awnings.
Inside the bag, you'll find a kit to set up the SheltaPod for how you want it. Though, we never found the additional guylines in the one we tried.
Pitching the SheltaPod
SheltaPod claims a person on their own can pitch this in 15 minutes. On my first pitch of this, it took me a bit longer and having some help made it easier. However, this was my very first pitch, so not surprising.
Pitching is straightforward. It's essentially like a dome tent with three flexible poles. These poles appeared to be of very good quality.
The three poles go through sleaves in the tent and connect to the same anchor point. I found this a little fiddly as three poles had to go to the same location, and no sooner had one pole in then the other come out. This is where the extra pair of hands helped me until the poles were under tension. I expect this to get easier with practice, though.
Also included are two very good telescopic poles. These are used on the shelter part that attaches from the pod to your vehicle, making more head height and raising the shelter so rain can runoff.
Watch the pitching video below.
Attaching the SheltaPod to a vehicle
The SheltaPod 'kit' comes with webbing straps that clip to the shelter and can be pegged on your vehicle's other side. It also comes with velcro straps to attach to a roof rack and piping to slot into your caravan or campervan.
Other attachments, such as suction attachments or a gutter pole, can work with the shelter pod. These don't come with the SheltaPod.
You need to take care of attaching the telescopic poles, especially if it is windy. You don't want these blowing over and hitting your vehicle's windows.
As a Shelter
The quickest way to pitch it is as a shelter. This needs the basic pod and the attachment to your vehicle.
The pod can be enclosed or open at the back, like in the photo below.
View the Sky
Notice the windows in the roof? I love these built-in skylights. When you are using it as a shelter, they add a lot more light. Of course, when sleeping in it, you get a view of the night sky :-)
In the kit, you get blinds that you can attach to the inside of the shelter, or if it is very hot, to the outside to protect the windows from harsh UV light.
You are not limited to just these two layouts as a shelter. In the kit, you can find a groundsheet and an additional door.
With the groundsheet down, it makes a great picnic shelter if the weather isn't that good, and the door adds an extra bit of privacy.
As a Tent or Drive-Away Awning
Also, in the bag, you will find an inner tent. This comes with a sewn-in groundsheet plus a door. So you don't need the groundsheet and door mentioned above.
With the inner tent, you can sleep two adults and two children. If you want more space for sleeping, you can always use the SheltaPod without the inner tent and just put down the separate groundsheet and door, as mentioned above.
The shelter without the inner tent has handy storage pockets, which you also get when the inner tent is in, and more blinds for the window.
Also in the kit are two privacy screens that attach to the telescopic poles and can enclose the sheltered area at the front of the pod even more.
More uses for the SheltaPod
So, using this as a shelter or tent is obvious. However, I've considered other scenarios where the SheltaPod can be useful.
A Portable Changing Room
We like to do watersports. However, especially the ladies in our family, want somewhere private to get in and out of their wetsuits. And then often somewhere out of the wind to dry off and warm up.
The SheltaPod is excellent for this, especially with the additional door and privacy screens.
A BBQ/Day Camp shelter
There are a few places we love to go and do activities, and set-up a day camp for a picnic or BBQ.
This involves taking some of our camping gear for cooking and sitting outside.
Having a shelter attached to the car provides the perfect place to prep food out of the wind, as well as providing shelter if the weather isn't so great.
A baby shelter away from the sun
We've often used popup shelters like the ones you get for the beach when our kids were babies.
While this will take longer to set-up than a pop-up shelter, it does provide you with some more space, and you can easily wheel a pushchair inside.
Plus, as both sides of the shelter can open, you can get a breeze going through. Now your baby is out the sun but not getting too hot, which can happen in smaller shelters.
A wheelchair-friendly shelter?
Now, this isn't something we've tested, but if you have a larger vehicle with a big door for ease of access, then perhaps you could place the shelter over that, providing more protection from the elements.
And, since both the front and the back open up on this shelter, it should be easy to wheel in and out of.
Final Verdict of the SheltaPod
With the limited testing we've been able to do on this, we've been impressed with it so far.
The poles and tent pegs appear to be very good quality, and there are lots of options and uses for this bit of kit. Plus, it's really amazing value for money. At the time of writing (April 2020), you could get a SheltaPod from £195.
The price was £195, but as of 2023, the price has increased to £495. The prices of everything has gone up massively in the last few years!
We've updated the rating based on this new price.
The areas I would have like to see some improvements with is a thicker flysheet. It's only a 3ooomm hydrostatic head, which should be fine in most situations, but I felt the material wasn't quite as sturdy as the poles. However, a thicker material would make the SheltaPod bigger and heavier to transport, as well as more expensive. So, on reflection, they've probably got the balance about right.
|Attribute||The SheltaPod - a Swiss-army knife of vehicle shelters|
|Product Info||Brand Web Page|
|Recommended Tent Use||Ideal for Weekend Camping|
|Frame Type||Flexible Poles, Rigid, steel or alloy poles|
|Fly Hydrostatic Head||3000 mm|
|Tent Living Space|
|Pitching and Storage|