I was reading through BMW’s recent press release about the Mini Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 when I realized I was significantly more interested in the box mounted to the roof of the Mini in the press photos than the vehicle itself. In fact, the photographer also seemed to be more interested in the roof box because it’s prominently featured in so many of the shots. It is after all, in the words of Mike Brewer from Wheeler Dealers, “quite an awesome bit of kit.”

Let’s take a closer look at this thing.  There’s a ladder.

[Photo courtesy of BMW.]

There are windows and screens.

[Photo courtesy of BMW.]

There is mood lighting!

[Photo courtesy of BMW.]

My goodness–they’re multiplying!

[Photo courtesy of BMW.]

Here it is from outer space!

[Photo courtesy of BMW.]

It turns out that this isn’t a roof box at all–it’s a roof tent! An Autohome roof tent to be specific, and this wasn’t the first time BMW shared an Autohome roof tent in a press release (see here).

Autohome sells a number of different styles of roof tent, but after browsing their website, I think the one that sits atop the Mini is the Maggiolina Range.  It comes in a variety of different sizes and materials and the price ranges from $4,000 for a standard version to $6,600 for a carbon fiber version. I was planning to make the joke that you could buy an entire VW Westfalia Camper for less than that, but a Facebook Marketplace search revealed that is no longer the case–wow those have gone up in price!

I’ve always been intrigued by roof racks and roof-rack-mounted accessories. I have a few configurations for my ‘15 328i (F31) depending on the need: a craigslist-special Thule Atlantis 2100XT roof box for long family road trips, a pair of modified Thule Peloton trays and wheel carriers for cycling trips, or a combination of box and trays. It only takes a few minutes to install and remove the roof-mounted gear, so most of the time these accessories hang on the walls of my garage.

My ’15 328i wagon at the beach this week, complete with a Thule roof box.

Roof boxes, baskets, trays, and other rack accessories can be a part of someone’s automotive style or even an integral part of their project. Ever see a Porsche 911 Safari build with a roof basket and spare tire up top? How about a storage box mounted to a supercar? Yeah, those are cool.  The photos from BMW’s recent story, “Exploring the Lofoten Islands with the MINI Cooper SE Countryman ALL4,” focused on the roof tent for good reason. It screams, “I’m ready for an adventure.”

Do you have any unique accessories mounted to the top of your vehicle? What adventures have you used them for? Share your story and a photo with BimmerLife in the comments section below.–Mike Bevels

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