Cot Tent as a Roof Top Tent

E

erikvogel

Joined
Jan 26, 2010
Messages
46
I was planning on purchasing a RTT for my LC for about the last year. I spend a lot of nights camping on the salt flats, and really like the idea of being off of the ground. However, all of the roof top tents I looked at were very heavy (100 pounds plus), and took up most of the rack. Since I need the interior to transport large model airplanes (why I am on the flats to begin with), I need to keep the camping gear on the roof.

I purchased a cot tent a few years ago, and found it big enough (barely), and very comfortable for sleeping. I had been simply strapping it to the roof and lifting it down each time I wanted to use it. I started thinking about how I could mount it to the roof and turn it into a small, light, RTT. The Cot Tent I used is the regular size. They do sell larger ones, however - the bigger ones require additional supports on the ends that would limit the mounting options and possibly require additional supports or modifications that I didn't want to do.

Doing the mod is easy. I removed the two legs and used eye bolts to mount it to a set of large RTT mounts from slimline. I also removed the pins that allow it to act as a chair so that it would be easy to open / close. I purchased an telescoping ladder for about $60, and designed and had made a custom cover.

I should note that I have this mounted on my SlimLine II roof rack that makes it really easy. However - by adding some 1"OD tubing on the sides, this could easily be mounted to any rack or cross rail using some U bolts.

Pros: Easy to install by myself since it only weighs about 25 pounds, provides decent shelter for 1 person, comfortable sleeping platform, small enough to allow me to load my kayak, bikes, road shower, etc. on the rack with camping gear, is very low profile (creates no wind noise and minimal drag), I can pull into the garage with it on the roof, and is easy to store in the garage when I'm not using it. Plus you can build this with the cover for less than $300. Also - the tent can be easily returned back to original if you don't like it on the roof.

Cons: This is really only big enough for 1 person to sleep in - and that is it. Don't think you are going to be sitting up playing cards in it. These tents aren't really meant for long-term use - but for the 10 or so times I am realistically going to use it a year - the durability should be fine
IMG 1995
IMG 1997
IMG 1998
IMG 2003
IMG 2004
. Because of the size, I could see condensation being an issue in high-humidity areas. This is a challenge with the tent size - not really to do with having it on the roof.
 
Rudster

Rudster

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Jan 26, 2009
Messages
2,636
Location
Chandler, AZ
Been looking at doing this for the longest time...Nice job..looks good...Would it be possible to take some close up shots of how it is actually mounted.
 
E

erikvogel

Joined
Jan 26, 2010
Messages
46
Sure - I'm going to take it off the roof tonight since I don't need it for a few months. I'll post some more picture.

Erik
 
kevsta

kevsta

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Oct 4, 2012
Messages
252
Location
Ibiza
having been watching RTTs come and go on eBay for more than a year I thought of this idea only last week.

it's great to see someone has done it already, and so neatly. also love to see more detail on mountings.

I would need a 2 man version though.
 
MDarius

MDarius

I break stuff.
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Apr 10, 2006
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2,030
Location
Bountiful, UT
That's a cool DIY solution! I love backyard ingenuity. BUT, can someone help me understand the driving issue behind RTT's? I mean, I think they are cool looking as heck! And the convenience of not having to pack the tent and set it up and take it down all the time is great.

I slept on my roof last week and had to pee in the night. I had the option of going off the side, using a pee bottle which I didn't have with me, or climbing down and back up. Point goes to a ground based option.

The next night I just put my cot under a tree with no cover. I'm sleeping in the desert with no rain and little humidity, and no wild animals to worry about. No tent required. Point to a ground based option again. This was easy and my nightly excursion was uneventful.

A good tent can be had for a few hundred dollars, much bigger I might add, than a $1k+ RTT. Points to the ground again.

I get the convenience of always having it up there... If you're using it twice a month or more. I get the pop up convenience. And in this case it's a home brewed solution, so the cost isn't the issue. Why not lift a 10 pound cot off the rack? Having it mounted keeps you out of parking garages and probably your own garage. It looks like 2 bungees would hold it in place very nicely. Is it just the cool factor? It's not like it's hard to find a place on the flats for a cot.

For a full size RTT, at $1k more than a ground based tent, that means it's worth $50 to $100 every time I take down or set up my tent. Maybe it's worth that to some people. You still have to recover the sleeping bags and gear from the RTT when you close it up, right?

I'm not really being a jerk about this, I'm just trying to understand if there are pros I'm missing or not placing enough value on, because I really like the concept and look of RTT's. I just don't get the cost (including opportunity cost) to benefit gap. Even for this one. I'm not judging, just trying to figure it out.
 
the gimpey one

the gimpey one

Joined
Apr 19, 2010
Messages
6,944
Location
pickens, sc
That's a cool DIY solution! I love backyard ingenuity. BUT, can someone help me understand the driving issue behind RTT's? I mean, I think they are cool looking as heck! And the convenience of not having to pack the tent and set it up and take it down all the time is great.

I slept on my roof last week and had to pee in the night. I had the option of going off the side, using a pee bottle which I didn't have with me, or climbing down and back up. Point goes to a ground based option.

The next night I just put my cot under a tree with no cover. I'm sleeping in the desert with no rain and little humidity, and no wild animals to worry about. No tent required. Point to a ground based option again. This was easy and my nightly excursion was uneventful.

A good tent can be had for a few hundred dollars, much bigger I might add, than a $1k+ RTT. Points to the ground again.

I get the convenience of always having it up there... If you're using it twice a month or more. I get the pop up convenience. And in this case it's a home brewed solution, so the cost isn't the issue. Why not lift a 10 pound cot off the rack? Having it mounted keeps you out of parking garages and probably your own garage. It looks like 2 bungees would hold it in place very nicely. Is it just the cool factor? It's not like it's hard to find a place on the flats for a cot.

For a full size RTT, at $1k more than a ground based tent, that means it's worth $50 to $100 every time I take down or set up my tent. Maybe it's worth that to some people. You still have to recover the sleeping bags and gear from the RTT when you close it up, right?

I'm not really being a jerk about this, I'm just trying to understand if there are pros I'm missing or not placing enough value on, because I really like the concept and look of RTT's. I just don't get the cost (including opportunity cost) to benefit gap. Even for this one. I'm not judging, just trying to figure it out.
While being cool is a big factor I think it depends on the particular setup as well. If it is a hard shell RTT that literally just opens up and is ready to sleep in that is very tempting. Usually you can leave the mattress and sleepimf bad inside them closed.
 
the gimpey one

the gimpey one

Joined
Apr 19, 2010
Messages
6,944
Location
pickens, sc
I may try the cot tent route. I have one in storage not being used. I use unistrut for my roof rack so attaching it should be simple.
 
roma042987

roma042987

Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
5,501
Location
Huntsville AL or Yuma AZ
That's a cool DIY solution! I love backyard ingenuity. BUT, can someone help me understand the driving issue behind RTT's? I mean, I think they are cool looking as heck! And the convenience of not having to pack the tent and set it up and take it down all the time is great.

I slept on my roof last week and had to pee in the night. I had the option of going off the side, using a pee bottle which I didn't have with me, or climbing down and back up. Point goes to a ground based option.

The next night I just put my cot under a tree with no cover. I'm sleeping in the desert with no rain and little humidity, and no wild animals to worry about. No tent required. Point to a ground based option again. This was easy and my nightly excursion was uneventful.

A good tent can be had for a few hundred dollars, much bigger I might add, than a $1k+ RTT. Points to the ground again.

I get the convenience of always having it up there... If you're using it twice a month or more. I get the pop up convenience. And in this case it's a home brewed solution, so the cost isn't the issue. Why not lift a 10 pound cot off the rack? Having it mounted keeps you out of parking garages and probably your own garage. It looks like 2 bungees would hold it in place very nicely. Is it just the cool factor? It's not like it's hard to find a place on the flats for a cot.

For a full size RTT, at $1k more than a ground based tent, that means it's worth $50 to $100 every time I take down or set up my tent. Maybe it's worth that to some people. You still have to recover the sleeping bags and gear from the RTT when you close it up, right?

I'm not really being a jerk about this, I'm just trying to understand if there are pros I'm missing or not placing enough value on, because I really like the concept and look of RTT's. I just don't get the cost (including opportunity cost) to benefit gap. Even for this one. I'm not judging, just trying to figure it out.


Really depends on the tent. Mine deploys in two minutes and stows away in two more, the mattress, pillows, ladder, and two person sleeping bag stays inside so to go camping I simply load up the cooler and water jug or whatever ever else I want to take and off we go. Another plus is that with my tent it is generally 10-15 degrees warmer inside if you keep the doors and windows closed so it makes winter camping that much more pleasurable. It has been an absolute game changer. My wife actually enjoys camping with this tent which means I get to spend a lot more time camping :) Yes they are expensive but it has been one of the favorite purchases ever. I paid 1300 for mine used. I also tend to do a lot of cross country road trips and being able to pull into a rest area and catch a few zzzs is very nice. Couldn't really do that with a ground tent.

Tent
 
NyNomad

NyNomad

Joined
Dec 2, 2009
Messages
940
Location
NomadUSA
Pretty cool! I've been debating on using that kamprite tent on top of my little trailer or the light weight James Baroud Horizon Vision RTT.. the jury is still out.
 

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