April 14, 2017 at 10:22 #212941
It seems a lot of mountain bikers are getting on the rooftop tent bandwagon these days, though to be honest I don’t get it myself. Don’t get me wrong, the tents look really cool, especially when they’re set up at the edge of a canyon, but I’m not sure I understand the practicality. Interested to hear from owners or anyone who has considered buying one of these…
April 14, 2017 at 22:14 #212984
Exploring Arizona over the past few years, and I briefly debated a few options for some of the upstate treks to ride. I haven’t ruled it out but opted to buy another bike instead;)
I looked at the Tepui but also discovered that I have an air mattress that fits nicely in my 4Runner. Less space, but more MPG for the road trips. I’ve only used that set up once, but I may have to try it again.
April 15, 2017 at 07:19 #212989
I’ve looked at those tents, but I’m always looking for duplicity in my gear. So I’m still car camp with my backpacking tent. The rooftop tents just seem so limited in their application. Actually, I sleep without a tent as much as possible, and just sleep under the stars, … … nothing better imo … … but I live and recreate mostly in more arid climates. I have considered buying a camper shell for my truck, for more storage, security, protection from the elements, and for sleeping. Lots of duplicity and utility with a shell even beyond recreation (duplicity again). I think I would go with a higher shell and then cut in a removable raised floor in the bed of the truck at the height of the wheel wells for a nice large bed for two (and head room above with the higher shell) and also ample storage underneath. So for me it’s a backpacking tent, or a camper shell, both seem much more versatile.
April 15, 2017 at 08:24 #213010
Meh. Looks cool, got excited when I 1st saw it… but IMHO, its not practical.
April 15, 2017 at 12:21 #213027
I have a RTT and use it fairly often; pretty tough to beat for comfort with the aluminum platform and 4″ foam pad. I am a non conventional snowbird, in that I split time between Florida and Oregon. I travel with my wife, guide dog trainees plus enough clothing and gear for the various circumstances we expect to face over a 6 month period. We will sleep in the tent about half the time on our cross country trips. I am somewhat of a lazy camper, spending a night or two at a time and enjoy the easy convenience of the tent. One drawback is having to break camp if you need to drive a few miles to a trailhead, but several times I have camped at the TH, hit the trail early and be back at camp before other bikers have arrive for their ride.
April 17, 2017 at 07:28 #213063
One drawback is having to break camp if you need to drive a few miles to a trailhead
This is one of my concerns. Not just that, what if you run out of ice or beer and need to make a quick run into town? Seems like a pain to have to take everything down.
April 15, 2017 at 14:57 #213029
These things look pretty cool, but hard to justify getting one unless I planned to use it a bunch. I have thought about get a truck bed tent, only about $150. This way when I get up in the middle of the night I only fall off my tail gate instead of the roof of my truck.
Truck bed tent:
April 15, 2017 at 19:12 #213033
April 18, 2017 at 20:41 #213289
April 18, 2017 at 21:40 #213290
April 19, 2017 at 01:52 #213294
Meh. Find them practical if you need to stay away from the ground for safety.
April 20, 2017 at 15:00 #213453
On big trips for multiple days, it is hard to beat a van….BUT….for short high speed one or two nighters…..the roof top looks like a PERFECT option. On our last trip to Moab there was a retired gentleman with an AutoHome own his Honda CRV and it looked super nice. It looked like it was perfect for his lifestyle. My wife and I would love to have one for super high speed fast getaways. Hey, the swell looks good in southern Oregon. I don’t feel like driving a big van for one or two days…but with a roof top tent on something like a Honda CRV….BRING IT ON! I love the idea. I think for big trips….sure pack the van with all the toys…but for ….hey, anybody wanna hit the coast for a day…. roof top… AutoHome even has a carbon version…
Link to the AutoHome Hard Shell Tent
April 25, 2017 at 08:19 #213977
I saw a guy demoing the Tepui tents at Sea Otter this weekend and I have to say, it looked pretty sweet. Just unfold, and you’re all set up!
April 26, 2017 at 13:20 #214250
I’m a huge fan of small utility trailers. I sold my pickup truck 8 years ago and bought a folding 4×8 trailer from harbor freight. I currently tow it with a 2003 toyota corolla. The corolla is rated to pull 1500 lbs., and the trailer will hold 1100 lbs. It weighs about 300 lbs. empty (counting the plywood deck). I’ve pulled 2 small dirt bikes (plus other riding gear) hundreds of miles with that setup. The trailer drops fuel economy by 2-4 mpg. It’s still above 30.
My 5×7 two-man tent fits on top of the trailer well enough when I need it to. Obviously it overlaps the fenders of the trailer a bit. If I were camping more routinely, I’d probably build a PVC pipe frame, and buy some canvas to construct walls and a roof. Sew on some velcro straps to hold it to the frame, and make some screen windows, etc.
…but that all seems like a lot of work when the 2-man tent fits well enough.
Large plastic tubs are worth every penny you pay for them with this setup. You have to ratchet-strap them down properly, but they keep everything on the trailer dry in transit, AND outside the tent, after you’ve set up camp. That frees up a lot of space in the car. If you’re willing to spend more, it’s not difficult to find airline cases that have locking mechanisms to prevent them from being tampered with, and to tether/chain them to the trailer frame.
May 1, 2017 at 09:41 #214464
You know this thread ruined my RTT fantasy world. I had not thought about having to breakdown for a beer run.
May 1, 2017 at 09:54 #214465
They are definitely sweet! I don’t own one but I’ve stayed in one a few times and my overall opinion….LOUD! If it it windy at all they are flapping around like crazy. Because of the way they are designed it is tough to REALLY tighten them down. If you can find a nook protected from the wind you should be OK.
September 11, 2017 at 10:08 #224905
September 11, 2017 at 14:28 #224975
I’m with @mongwolf that every bit of your gear should be used in different applications. There were few occasions when I found difficult to find a spot for my tent and rooftop would’ve been perfect. But in most cases backpacking tent is way better for me. And if properly set, no wind noise/flap issue.
September 11, 2017 at 14:34 #224977
For example, someone decides to fall and break a leg and they need to get to the hospital ASAP. Hang on, gotta take down the tent first.
It’s a half awake wife that needs to pee like clockwork at 3am who falls off the roof and breaks her leg BTW 😉
October 10, 2017 at 00:09 #226610
To me, it is all personal preference and what type of camping/trips you are doing. Don’t have one but I’m planning on getting the smittybilt overlander tent in the near future.
October 11, 2017 at 19:41 #226799
I’m going to totally out myself and propose another perspective at the same time. I’m absolutely terrified of bears. Yeah, I know the stats. I know how not to attract them. I know I’m more likely to get killed by a meth head with a gun than a bear who would rather just be left alone. But man, at 1am, when I hear something rustling around outside the tent or near where I’m sleeping, I turn into an irrational gibbering idiot. (Same thing with Sharks, FWIW).
I think the rooftop tent is actually a pretty decent way to give yourself peace of mind (even though it actually makes almost no difference at all).
Again, I realize I’m wrong, but it would help me sleep, just being a few feet off the ground. Dumb, but true.
Now if they just made a shark tent.
October 30, 2017 at 14:07 #228106
TheProletariat, I always had a hunch that part of the popularity behind rooftop tents had to with peace of mind in bear country. I have a Flippac on my truck, but I was attracted to the system because of comfort and ease of setup and breakdown. I can have the Flippac fully deployed in about a minute and breakdown is about 2-3 minutes. I also like the fact that I don’t have to search for a suitable tent site.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600"] Flippac Camper on Nissan Titan[/caption]
October 12, 2017 at 09:14 #226830
Meh……I’d rather not have to break camp every morning and reset every afternoon just to go tooling around and seeing the sights.
November 9, 2017 at 09:05 #228589
I work with Subaru..Saw this today and remembered Jeffs post. Check it out.
November 10, 2017 at 13:07 #228653
Lots of critters out there. Getting off the deck makes tent camping an easier sell to the wifey.
April 30, 2020 at 20:49 #330902
Definitely yeah, but not all tents are created equal. I bought a Tupui low pro 3 for $1,800 and it was good for about 2 years then the wear in tear began to be too much. Granted I live in Hawaii and use my tent weekly in all kinds of elements from typical beach areas but also up in higher elevations of the mountain with temps in 30’s and 40’s. Considering how much I used the tent and the extreme changes in elements it held up ok.
My buddy convinced me to spring the extra cash on an iKamper tent. I have the Skycamp 2.0. It was pricey at $3,800 but is holding up very well (8 months). The low profile hardshell is nice and it has nice locks on it. I don’t mind spending the money on it because camping and exploring the island is our passion. I get a ton of use out of it. Here is a pretty solid review of the Skycamp and other brands as well for anyone interested. They have smaller tents as well and less expensive. I usually have my wife and often times our daughter.
April 30, 2020 at 23:59 #332325
Just a few thoughts about some of the replies above:
1) I know some wildlife researchers who use an electric bear fence around their campsites. These probably give more protection than anything else and aren’t extremely pricey, if you’re worried about bears. Of note, some national parks require a hard sided camper in some campgrounds. On yet another note, alcohol stoves are considered an open flame and are illegal during fire bans, where a gas stove would be ok. Best to check regulations before any trip you take.
2) I have a pickup with camper shell but have quit sleeping in it and use a tent instead. The problem I had was the incredible amount of dust that got in driving on dirt roads, which stirred up some reactive airway problems at night. If you plan on camping in one pay some attention to sealing it off somehow, at least if you get off pavement.
I personally car camp with a backpacking tent. A rooftop tent seems like a solution to a problem which doesn’t exist, but to each his own.
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