We had to pleasure of meeting Beth & Joel, the two legends behind Feldon Shelter (Roof top tent extraordinaires) when we were travelling around New Zealand in February and wanted to share their story with you. These guys have taken roof top tent adventures to the next level! They have taken quite a few journeys with Corona, woken up in a snow covered tent and parked up in the middle of a lake. Take a read.. it's exciting stuff!
WHO IS BEHIND FELDON SHELTER, TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF?
Feldon is made up of Joel and I (Beth). I am often found planning the missions, navigating the maps, exploring tonight's recipe, photographing and more often than not, found sitting on top of the truck taking it all in with my journal in hand. Joel, on the other hand, is normally rushing around, ignoring the maps, eating all the crackers and generally just winging it on our adventures across New Zealand. Basically anything that involves an adventure and living on top of a truck, we will be there (oh, offshore winds seem to help too).
WHEN DID IT ALL BEGIN?
Now you will find this funny... it all started in Australia (laughs). The two of us were over there for a holiday, Joel was racing at a two day event at Queensland Raceway and when we asked the boys what hotel they were in and got told "we are just sleeping on the trucks". It wasn't until later in the night that they showed us their rooftop tent setups that it actually clicked. Upon returning to New Zealand around 2 years ago we were obsessed, and when we couldn't find something of high quality available here locally, we decided to design our own and it's all kinda snowballed from there. The concept of tents on the roof of your vehicle isn't original and has been around since the 1960's, but never before has there been a tent designed locally and built specifically for New Zealand's unique conditions.
That's where we come in. We both love to travel and both have travelled and worked abroad in the past. We were settling back into New Zealand and wanted to somehow fit our love of travel and the lifestyle travel encompasses into something creative and challenging. Rooftop tents made sense. We both had yet to explore every corner of New Zealand and Feldon Shelter has given us the means to take in all the beauty our country has to offer and can do for our customers also.
YOU JUST EMBARKED ON A WINTER WONDERLAND ADVENTURE WHAT WAS A THAT LIKE? THE PHOTOS ARE MAGICAL.
Thank you for the kind words, I found capturing this trip hard, among other things because of the cold. But looking over the photos, it was worth every freezing moment waiting for the condensation on the camera lens to disappear.
That trip was like no other. We actually left a wedding early to make it down to Ohakune before morning's first light. Guests remarked "you must be crazy" "this is the coldest weekend in NZ history, you know that right?". We knew this and it only made the trip more appealing. Arriving at 4am, in complete darkness we were unaware of the wonder the morning would bring. A complete magical white out. Snow capped tents, frozen shoe laces and seized truck doors. Everything took longer, lighting a fire was almost impossible but it was all worth it. A highlight being a local tip taking us down an old dirt track and high up the mountain. The higher we got, the denser the snow become causing the trees to fold with the weight from the snow. The track started to narrow the higher we got and we pushed on through. Having our friend Hugo there was a lifesaver. With a winch he pulled back the thick branches that hung over the track making it almost impossible to continue in our trusty Landy. But we made it, right to the end, when there was no more track to go down. So we played in the snow and made a snow man to welcome anyone else game enough to make it to the end. We set up camp and found some warmth and dryness in our tents. The nights were cold (our car read -6 in the morning) and if it wasn't for our possum scarves and down sleeping bag there's no doubt we would have shared the same fate as our drink bottle in the tent, frozen solid.
WHAT TUNES DO YOU BLAST ALONG THE WAY?
Music is big for us, we cover a lot of kms and music keeps us sane. We actually have a Spotify playlist dedicated to road trips - https://www.feldonshelter.com/pages/roadtrip-radio. It's only 26 songs deep at the moment but the plan is to add more tracks along the way and as we remember and discover them.
WHAT’S THE ONE THING YOU COULD NOT LIVE WITHOUT ON THE ROAD?
Joel's answer would have to be his standard shortboard. Any mission with Joel usually revolves around waves.
Mine would be a pack of playing cards. Cards is a crowd pleaser (even with just the two of you) and it always seems to get out of hand with competition rearing its evil head and banter being thrown around.
THE BEST SPOT YOU HAVE EVER SET UP CAMP?
At the very bottom of the South Island. There's beaches with amazing waves and no one around. This area is definitely our favourite.
WHAT OTHER TRAVELLERS INSPIRE YOU?
To be honest, friends and planning trips is what really inspires us. Planning is always the fun part and when it's with good company with loads of cool ideas being spit balled, well, that's the best thing.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR FELDON SHELTER?
We've been working really hard on our 2017 rooftop tent design, also camping with our motorbikes is becoming more appealing so it seems we might start looking at ways we can do that better.
Thanks Beth & Joel for chatting with us about your epic adventures. Make sure you check out their website to find out more about Feldon Shelter