CVT Mt. Baker RTT Long Term Eval

80t0ylc

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Figured with all the inputs I've been giving on other threads, I should start my own for reference and so comparisons and analysis should be easier if all in one place. Feel free to post comments and questions. First off the vendor website page that this tent is on:

CascadiaVehicleTents

I purchased this tent on June 20th of this year. At the time, the tent sold for $1995. Since I was a member of the local Cruiser Club, I got a $100 discount, but there was also a $50 installation fee. Here it is in my driveway:
[URL="https://forum.ih8mud.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=646301&stc=1&d=1340260284"] [/URL]
[URL="https://forum.ih8mud.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=646302&stc=1&d=1340260284"] [/URL]
As you can see, mine is black and the tent on the website is white. It comes in either color now. Bobby is saying that when he starts building the tents in Bend, OR, you will be able to request other colors for the fiberglass shells.

This is my first RTT so I don't have any experience or first hand knowledge of other RTTs. I originally was interested in the Hannibal Impi, but after waiting for several months for a response to requests for info and getting nothing, I chose a local vendor. I know some folks in my club that I wheel with that have an 80 series and a Maggiolina RTT. They've had it for a couple of years now with no real problems. So, I'll start with my experiences so far in next post.
 

80t0ylc

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I had several personal events this summer that kept me from being able to try the tent out, so I'm actually just getting around to trying it out. I demo'd it (popped it open) to all my relatives that I've been with this summer, mainly because they were curious. One of the questions that kept popping up was: Does it have enough room to stretch out? Well, in the couple of times I've used it so far I've noticed that since it pivots open at the "feet end" there is less room down there and I do notice when I turn over, I sometimes will kick the top of the shell. I'm 5'9" and I think taller folks would have problems stretching out.

One of my concerns that I had after I got the tent was the mattress that came with the tent was 1.5" thick. :eek: The website at the time I bought the tent boasted a 3.5" mattress! So I voiced that concern with Bobby Culpepper, CVT's owner/operator. He explained that the 1st tents came with the wrong mattress and when the new one came in, he'd ship one out to me. (The website now says 2.75" mattress:rolleyes:)

One problem that surfaced was the driver's side air strut top mount just separated from the shell:
[URL="http://i874.photobucket.com/albums/ab305/tbridge1/RTT/HPIM0833a-1.jpg"][URL="http://i874.photobucket.com/albums/ab305/tbridge1/RTT/HPIM0833a-1.jpg"] [/URL][/URL]
[URL="http://i874.photobucket.com/albums/ab305/tbridge1/RTT/HPIM0832a-1.jpg"][URL="http://i874.photobucket.com/albums/ab305/tbridge1/RTT/HPIM0832a-1.jpg"] [/URL][/URL]
[URL="http://i874.photobucket.com/albums/ab305/tbridge1/RTT/HPIM0834a-1.jpg"][URL="http://i874.photobucket.com/albums/ab305/tbridge1/RTT/HPIM0834a-1.jpg"] [/URL][/URL]
Bobby, said it was a manufacturing defect. He replaced the tent for me. Still no new mattress had showed up. He actually drove the new tent out to me here in John Day, which is 3 hours from Bend, and we took the old tent off and installed the new one at no cost to me. He also let me keep the old mattress. So now the combined thickness is 3" since the current tents still have the 1.5" mattress.
 

80t0ylc

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One of the things that bothered me about the Yakima bars hanging out on the edges of my roof was their exposure to catching obstacles off road. I wanted to try and prevent this and strengthen the setup if possible. My solution, shown below is yet untested and unfinished, but I think will work. And in addition it will assist entry and exit from the tent. It has already improved the upper end of the ladder connection:
[URL="http://i874.photobucket.com/albums/ab305/tbridge1/RTT/HPIM0909a-1.jpg"][URL="http://i874.photobucket.com/albums/ab305/tbridge1/RTT/HPIM0909a-1.jpg"][URL="http://i874.photobucket.com/albums/ab305/tbridge1/RTT/HPIM0909a-1.jpg"] [/URL][/URL][/URL]
[URL="http://i874.photobucket.com/albums/ab305/tbridge1/RTT/HPIM0913a-1.jpg"][URL="http://i874.photobucket.com/albums/ab305/tbridge1/RTT/HPIM0913a-1.jpg"][URL="http://i874.photobucket.com/albums/ab305/tbridge1/RTT/HPIM0913a-1.jpg"] [/URL][/URL][/URL]
[URL="http://i874.photobucket.com/albums/ab305/tbridge1/RTT/HPIM0919a-1.jpg"][URL="http://i874.photobucket.com/albums/ab305/tbridge1/RTT/HPIM0919a-1.jpg"][URL="http://i874.photobucket.com/albums/ab305/tbridge1/RTT/HPIM0919a-1.jpg"] [/URL][/URL][/URL]
They are pre-treated 2"x6" boards and u-bolts holding them to the bars. I've recessed the Nylock nuts and washers so I can put some sort of a non-slip surface on the top side. I'm also planning on intalling limb risers from my ARB to a bracket that mounts on theses side supports. I've eyeballed it and it looks to clear the hood. If possible, I'd like the top brackets to allow the limb riser to attach at the level of the top of the front of my RTT. That should help to keep limbs from trying to scrape it off, I hope.:hmm:
I'm wondering if a generous snow fall might build up on the boards and cause the old ice dam problem for leaking into the tent. Well, let it snow - it's getting to that time of year, at least here.
 
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80t0ylc

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Some observations from the few times I've been able to use it:

All the zippers work great and seal it very well. The screens keep out all bugs, the mesh is very fine (actually makes it difficult to see details at times), but I'm not sure if it's fine enough to keep out no-see-ums.

The tent fabric is thick enough to help keep it reasonably dark inside, even in bright sunlight. It also is well insulated for a tent. The rear facing window has a 3 sided protection flap, so can be kept partially open even in heavy rain.

These tents come with a support pole that can be used to take the load completely off the air struts if necessary. It telescopes and has a set screw to hold it extended in the needed position. I don't know how necessary it is to use this pole normally, because the struts really do their job well. I was glad to have it on a 3 day camp out at the Cruising The Woods event this year. My replacement tent had not come in yet, for my broken strut mount. So the pole gave me the confidence that the tent would remain up for the full three days and took the load off the single strut that was left.

It seems that when camping before, it was either one extreme or the other. One end being a camp trailer with a full bathroom in it and the other end was a small 2 - 3 person tent. The RTT seems to be kinda in the middle. This tent is a 2 person maximum. And you better be ready to be cozy with the other person because it's really not very big. It's roomy for a solo person, which is my case. You can leave the sleeping bags in the tent, unrolled of course, even when traveling. Smaller items can be left inside, also.

Setup is unbelievably quick. You can actually set it up and be inside in less than a minute. What takes the longest time in that minute is extending the telescoping ladder. Take down is not that much longer. You just have to tuck the tent fabric inside the shell as you close it. For 1 person or a couple, this is the type of tent to have.

It felt great being off the ground and above the crawling critters of all sizes. What is not so great is bathroom trips. If you don't have problems holding your bladder at night, it's hard to beat a RTT for tent camping.
 

80t0ylc

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Before I got my CVT, I had been interested in the Hannibal Impi:

I had read and heard good things about it. And what still interests me are the doors. As you can see from the pic, they pivot open from the top and the screen is on the inside of the door material. This is opposite of the CVT design. I've tried to find a review that would offer an opinion as to which is better and why. But have had no luck. It would seem to me that the top pivot would be better in wet weather because it would help to keep the moisture out of the tent. CVT's Bobby has had good feedback from his customers on the bottom pivot design. Owners with small children feel that there's less of a chance of a child falling out from a door that's not fully closed when the parents are asleep or distracted and not watching closely. As far as the screen being on the outside or inside of the door fabric - I think that's just a toss up. Either way, if it's not being used the screen can be rolled up and secured out of the way. Any preferences or opinions on this?
 

80t0ylc

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Well I took it out last night just to test the mattress and also my new 0* F rated sleeping bag. (It's an Asolo Maggiore mummy) My thermometer read -4.1 Celsius which converts to 24.6 Fahrenheit and the bag was toasty. Course I'm sure it was warmer in the tent. But the mattress still leaves something to be desired. Even double thick, it's still too hard. Currently, the thickness added up with 2 mattresses is 3". Maybe it's my 58 yr old bones, but I'm going to be looking for a softer mattress. It's livable and may work for younger bodies, but IMHO there's room for improvement. My modified 2x6 bar covers worked just fine. They aid entry and exit as expected and make an excellent & secure place to rest the top of the ladder, keeping it away from the side of the 80. Oh yeah, my new Costco headlamp sure makes the difference for convenience at night. The tent has a LED light inside it, but for fumbling around outside in the dark, choosing a site, getting the ladder out and setting it up and climbing up the ladder and into the tent it sure frees the hands up. It's almost like working in daylight!
 

80t0ylc

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Been thinking about it and I realized what the mattress reminds me of. A wresting mat - I'm serious. Anybody that's spent much time in that sport knows that while they are adequate for wresting matches, you'd have to be "dog-tired" to get much sleep on one. They do come with a washable cover, which is a plus I guess. :rolleyes:
 
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Is the new tent redesigned so the air struts do not come unglued? That looks like a rather large weak point since they are always exerting force on the attachment point.

Have you had it out in a good rain storm yet? That is my #1 requirement with any tent is its leak proof and keeps you dry in even the biggest rain storm. Unfortunately up here we see rain on every trip.
 

mcgaskins

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Been thinking about it and I realized what the mattress reminds me of. A wresting mat - I'm serious. Anybody that's spent much time in that sport knows that while they are adequate for wresting matches, you'd have to be "dog-tired" to get much sleep on one. They do come with a washable cover, which is a plus I guess. :rolleyes:

I have a suggestion. For my bed at home, I have a 1.5" thick memory foam mattress topper with a 1" down feather bed on top of that. Just for fun, I actually put it down in the back of my last SUV for a camping trip to sleep on instead of setting up a tent. Honestly I couldn't tell the difference between the floor of my SUV and my bed at home it was so comfy! I'd say ditch one of the mattresses and get yourself a setup like that!
 

80t0ylc

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Is the new tent redesigned so the air struts do not come unglued? That looks like a rather large weak point since they are always exerting force on the attachment point. .......
I agree, a weak point if not fixed. The new tent, I was told by Bobby, has a different, stronger attachment point that is reinforced. I can't tell, though, without tearing it apart to look, so I'll have to trust and give it time.

.........Have you had it out in a good rain storm yet? That is my #1 requirement with any tent is its leak proof and keeps you dry in even the biggest rain storm. Unfortunately up here we see rain on every trip.
No, I haven't camped in it in a good rain, yet. When I first got it, I had it open in my driveway for several days to air the fiberglass smell out. It went through two good rain storms and I had to take it down to head out on a trip while it was raining, so tent fabric was still wet. It did not leak and was dry when I reopened it 6 hours later. Also, it seems to keep dry and dust free inside when driving, with tent closed up for transport, in hard rain and dirt roads. The 2 halves of the clam-shell do not look to be sealed well, when closed. But, it keeps out the water and dust amazingly well. I will be updating this thread on a regular basis, as long as it is getting used.
 

80t0ylc

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I have a suggestion. For my bed at home, I have a 1.5" thick memory foam mattress topper with a 1" down feather bed on top of that. Just for fun, I actually put it down in the back of my last SUV for a camping trip to sleep on instead of setting up a tent. Honestly I couldn't tell the difference between the floor of my SUV and my bed at home it was so comfy! I'd say ditch one of the mattresses and get yourself a setup like that!
Hey, thanks! That's an excellent idea. I think it would also insulate better in cold weather. A poorly insulated mattress can suck a lot of heat out of even a good sleeping bag, in below freezing temps. :cheers:
 
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very cool tent! and nice write up. curious, where are these ones made?
looks like there's a new wave of autohome/columbus and maggiolina copies coming out too (or did someone start that before autohome?). a great design as well.
 

80t0ylc

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very cool tent! and nice write up. curious, where are these ones made?
looks like there's a new wave of autohome/columbus and maggiolina copies coming out too (or did someone start that before autohome?). a great design as well.
Thanks, Romey! I'm not sure of the manufacturers name, but I do know they're made in China. The tent fabric looks to be good quality. The inside surface reflects heat and the tent seems to hold heat well with all doors and windows closed. It also stays reasonably dark inside in direct sunlight. CVT's owner, Bobby Culpepper plans to be building them soon, here in Oregon, as I've already mentioned.

This type of RTT works well for my purposes, now. I can see that any injury or health problem might challenge a person to use this type of tent, though. When I mentioned that to Bobby he laughed and said that he had sold one of these tents to a 70+ yr old lady that uses it regularly, traveling around. So I guess if I want to camp, I just need to stay in shape, which is not a bad idea anyway. :D
 
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With the US Thanksgiving sale they have on right now its really hard to resist. I would like to see how this one holds up in the air strut area though before I spend money on one. It looks as though its just glued in place.

How stable is it in wind? Also you mention it does not appear that the two sides are sealed very well when closed. That could really suck driving for 8 hours in a rain storm to find a wet tent when you get where you are going.

Looking forward to see how this 2nd one holds up, the first one was not very confidence inspiring from a prospective customer stand point.
 

80t0ylc

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With the US Thanksgiving sale they have on right now its really hard to resist. I would like to see how this one holds up in the air strut area though before I spend money on one. It looks as though its just glued in place........
Bobby admitted to me that after seeing mine, and 1 other that this happened to (out of approx 150+ tents like this he's sold) there was a design flaw. The tents have a 4 yr warranty - twice the Hannibal warranty. So I'm confident if there's any future issues, I'll be taken care of. "The new tents have an improved design" is the word I'm getting. But, truly, I understand your hesitation. It's a lot of $ for a tent. I believe 'themorb', a fellow mudder from up your way, has one of these tents now, if you want to PM him for his opinion.
..........How stable is it in wind? Also you mention it does not appear that the two sides are sealed very well when closed. That could really suck driving for 8 hours in a rain storm to find a wet tent when you get where you are going..........
I notice more wind noise up top on the highway, but have not noticed a substantial drop in mpg. Remember, this is a hard shell tent, made to hold up better to the elements - at least in the closed position. It comes with a telescoping pole that adjusts firmly to hold the tent fully open and take the load off the struts. I have not used it in serious windy weather yet, but plan to test it when the weather cooperates. :D

As far as the "seal" between the halves - there is none. But top half overlaps the bottom and I have not had an issue with water or dust. I believe that to allow the tent to dry out after it's put away wet, some air has to be allowed to flow, so if sealed up tight, you'd probably have mold/mildew issues.

.........Looking forward to see how this 2nd one holds up, the first one was not very confidence inspiring ................
You and me both! I will post on this thread any changes of fortune for round two.:D Hope this helps your decision!
 
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can you feel it up top when driving on the highway? Mine when folded up is 14" tall and you can feel it up there. These style with the lower COG and more aerodynamic seem like they would not be very noticeable up there?
 

80t0ylc

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can you feel it up top when driving on the highway? Mine when folded up is 14" tall and you can feel it up there. These style with the lower COG and more aerodynamic seem like they would not be very noticeable up there?
Yes, I do notice more wind noise and slightly more affected by side winds. But, what is surprising is my fuel milage has not taken much of a nose dive. I would estimate a gallon - maybe 2 if I'm pushing it.
EDIT: I meant a mile or 2 per gallon, sorry!
 
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80t0ylc

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Update: Well, Mother Nature cooperated here in the PNW with some wind and rain. So I opened the tent in my driveway and slept in it last night. With winds that were gusting up over 50 mph and a some rain (under an inch), I was dry, toasty and secure. The winds were strong enough to buffet the 80 and the tent fabric would flutter some, but no other negative surprises were noticed. I left it set up, with doors closed all day while I was at work and we had strong winds and some more rain though most of the day. When I got home and checked it out, the only surprise was the addional telescoping pole that is used (inside at the back wall) to take the load off the struts had was found laying on my sleeping bag. My conclusion is that with the vibration the tent was exposed to in the nearly 24 hrs being open in the strong winds, it came loose. I'll just have to tighten the hand screw tighter in the same conditions next time. I would also conclude that this type of tent, holds up very well in windy conditions.
 

80t0ylc

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I was in Portland over the Thanksgiving Holiday looking at mattress toppers and decided to try a 1.5" thick memory foam from Walmart. The "Full Size" looked like it would work for my tent from the dimensions on the box. It came with a mattress cover and I tried it out one night and I think I'm headed in the right direction. Still not as comfortable as my bed at home, but was still quite an improvement. I took the 2nd OEM mattress out before the trip, since it added nothing to help comfort. I went for the 1.5" since it was the cheapest (about $50). Next available thickness, 2.5" was almost twice the price.

Right now the combination thickness is approx 3" and I'm thinking I don't want to exceed that by much. It seems when I stacked the 2 OEM mattresses, it made closing up and latching the tent difficult. The memory foam topper compresses easier and seems to work better all around.
 

spressomon

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FWIW my experience with using memory foam (Costco) in my then Maggiolina was not good when the temps dropped below 60 degrees or so. And at near or below freezing the memory foam turned darn near brick hard. Maybe the current crop is temp independent.
 

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