James Baroud

To fully understand the identity of James Baroud, you have to go back 30 years. At the time, Tony Partenio had already covered thousands of kilometers on trails. For him, the only vacation he can give himself is behind the wheel of his 4x4. Like many before him, he first studied in France, then he set off for the North Cape and Iceland, before moving on to a destination that he had dreamed about for a long time: Morocco. 

This county was a revelation for him (he has since returned almost every year). After a few 'Wet" and difficult bivouacs during a previous trip to Iceland, Tony decided to offer himself a roof tent for more comfort and to settle in more quickly at the end of the stage in the bivouac. 

Thirty years ago, there were only two types of hard-shell roof tents on the market: automatic tents with trifold opening, triangular opening, activated by cylinders, and "manual" tents with horizontal opening activated by a crank. In the interest of space and comfort, Tony chose the manual opening mechanism. This first experience with a roof tent didn't go very well. 

After two weeks in Morocco, the tent became jammed mid-course (a recurring problem with this type of tent). Tony is a good handyman. After a good hour of effort, he managed to close his tent, but could no longer open it and, for his last week in Morocco, he was forced to spend each night inside his car. 

Upon his return, Tony got rid of his tent. But he didn't stop there. Was there nothing else on the market? Never mind: he'd make his own roof tent! For him, the concept was excellent, it just needed to be improved.

France/ Portugal, a fruitful partnership

From design to execution, there was a lot of territory to cover. Tony had the ideas, but he lacked the know-how and technical resources. He needed both a plastics specialist and a textile professional. After a lot of searching, he met Mário Martins. 

Mario is Portuguese. He ran a small plastics company which also manufactured reception tents, as well as mess tents for the Portuguese Army, NGOs and also for various communities and several companies linked to the world of motor racing. 

Between these two men, one French and the other Portuguese, they got on well immediately; it would be the start of a long friendship and a more than fruitful partnership. So, Tony formed a company with Mario under the name of James Baroud®, and the history had just begun. The distribution of tasks was perfectly defined: Tony was in charge of design and marketing while Mario was in charge of production and quality control. 

Tony took inspiration from the concept of the manual roof tent by starting from scratch. Ultimately, the product is different even if, from a distance, one can observe some similarities. Set up is done using a crank but, unlike other manual tents, its tent has two opening anchors. If one is defective, the second takes over. Therefore, the tent will never be jammed in opening or closing. 

The start was difficult and success took time, but many professionals came to trust the James Baroud products and, after 5 years, the brand was widely known in the 4x4 universe. 

The two accomplices did not "camp" quietly on their laurels. They were constantly working to develop their range and improve their products. After a few years, they abandoned the crank system, which they found too archaic, and definitively switched to automatic opening activated by cylinders. 

Little by little, James Baroud tents have carved out their place on the market to become, after twenty years, the benchmark for hard shell tents.

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