Hard Shell RTT vs soft RTT

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Sep 17, 2015
Jefferson City TN
Thinking about moving from our soft fold out RTT to a hard shell RTT on our 80. got a few questions.

1. Gas Milage and Weight? anyone ran both? Which works out better for an 80 series? It seems like the hard shells take up almost the whole rack. Any difference in gas milage?

2. any hidden issues with hard shell RTT's I know they are higher priced, but i am looking more for clearance issues? not compatible with certain racks, etc...

3. Would you guys mind posting a few pics of your hard shell RTT on top of your 80 series?
Who makes a hard shell one? Having a hard time convincing wife to go RTT route; did not know hard shell was an option.
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James baroud (so?)
I think ARB as well.
Tepui is releasing one soon also!
I've got both--the hardshell has less room, and the ladder is in the way of the door when it's set up. The soft side tent is big, but there's more wind noise when driving. The soft side (flip open) does get you the room and covered area.

The hardshell goes up a lot faster. It's also warmer inside (less room, also seems like it has an extra layer of insulation).

Check out CVT tents--Bobby has some neat new hardshell offerings that don't break the bank. These include automatic openers.

I've put off selling one because I haven't been able to choose.

Does anyone know hard shell ones are lighter or heavier than the soft shell ones? Going off road I like to keep weight as low as possible. I'm leanintowards soft top because I will have enough roof rack space left for per things.

Good point on space up top, too.

Weight depends.

My hardshell has a sleeping area of 53" x 84" and weights 135lbs.

You can go carbon fiber and save a decent amount of weight, but it's going to cost. Like, buy another 80 series cost.

My soft side tents sleeping area is 72" x 96" and it weights 150lbs. It's way more tent than we need.

You can get a soft side RTT with a sleeping area that's 48" x 96" that will weight 96lbs.
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Love my Maggiolina Grand Tour Medium. It's warm and quiet, which helps when there's 10+ kids in the campsite that wake up at dawn.

It is a bit on the smallish side interior wise. My wife and I fit comfortably, but if my 8 year old wants to sleep in the tent, I usually have to sleep in the truck or a ground tent. It's a bit tight with more than two and we're not snugglers.

I didn't use a roof rack, just mounted two Yakima crossbars to the stock 80 rack. I had no issues with it, but when I removed the RTT for winter the stock rack felt very loose. I've since removed the stock rack and got some Yakima gutter mounts with 3 crossbars. I'll be throwing the tent on soon as our camping trips for the summer are coming up.

You'll feel the weight for sure with the RTT. My truck felt noticeably more top heavy and was bobbing around a bit on the stock 115,000 miles springs/shocks. The pics are from last year. I've since installed a lift with med/heavy springs and Icon 2.0 shocks, so we'll see how that feels this summer. Didn't notice any mileage difference, but I'm not really keeping a close eye on it since the 80 is more of a camping/play rig.

Overall, I really enjoy being able to set up and take down in 5 minutes and being able to leave the bedding and pillows in the RTT and not taking up space in the truck.

I'm thinking of switching out the soft RTT for a hard shell - specifically for the Tepui White Lightning. Word direct from the source at Tepui is that they hope to have them available by late summer. Anyone have one, seen one, slept in one, driven with one etc? I'd love to check one out first hand before plunking down the coin or driving up to Tepui.

And once I have the new tent, I'll put my Camping Lab RTT up for sale for a good deal:

I love the alucab! It has a hardcore aluminum shell. It also has power ports, lights, and insulation built in. It weighs way less than my old tepui tent with a heavy roof rack


FWIW I was involved with the tepui white lightening but they just never could seem to get it together to release it. I have checked out the prototypes and it was pretty cool. Though the head room is much less than the alucab due to the hinge design. It will eventually be a light weight solution that in my opinion is perfect if your not bashing the tent around off-road.

I was hoping to get it last December. I had to pull the plug because they were not going to have it ready in time for a trip to Baja. Glad I did! Crazy that it is still not out yet!!
Tepui is releasing one soon also!
Yep, should be available in another few weeks (was the last word I got). Lowest profile HardShell on the market at 8" high with integrated load bars if you want to attach bike racks or racks for paddleboards/kayaks etc. 100% Made in the USA
White Lightning Hard Shell | Tepui Tents | Roof Top Tents for Cars and Trucks

As for hardshells in general, you'll have less room in most cases, typically they are 2-person tents, maybe 3 for a really big ones. Benefits are incrementally better aerodynamics, less noisy in wind but can still make some noise. The hard shell is more durable than the covers on soft tents but the fiberglass can still crack with impacts.

Downside is cost. They are much more expensive than a similarly size soft shell tent. Weight. This can go either way depending on the tent some will be lighter, some can be heavier. For instance, the new Eezi-Awn Stealth is a very heavy hard shell tent, but that's mainly due to the aluminum shell rather than fiberglass.
Just looked up the weight. Mine is 170 lbs plus 20 lbs for the crossbars. When I had a soft-shell tent it was 70lbs for the roof rack and a bit over 200 for the tent if I remember correctly
Pros & cons to both. In a perfect world we'd have both along with the ability to easily swap between the two...not happening tho.

Tepui White Lightning claimed weight is 119lbs.
Pros & cons to both. In a perfect world we'd have both along with the ability to easily swap between the two...not happening tho.

Tepui White Lightning claimed weight is 119lbs.
I don't buy that claimed weight at all. I was at the warehouse and saw all the final production shells. They expected the weight to be around 150 LBS
I believe it. Claimed weight is always under...
You can also get the vehicle habitat from AT if you wanna cut a hole in your roof. Its more permanent and probably still pretty heavy, but you can also install it without the hole in the roof.
You can also get the vehicle habitat from AT if you wanna cut a hole in your roof. Its more permanent and probably still pretty heavy, but you can also install it without the hole in the roof.

Those are cool, but modularity rules.
I recently went from a soft shell rtt to a hard shell. I have not had a chance to use the hard shell rtt but have opened it and closed it a few times and it goes up and down very quickly, like sub 5 min. One of my biggest complaints about the soft shell tents is that they take way to long to set up and put away. I felt like it was a crazy amount of work to get it all sealed up and back together.

Plan now is to have the upstairs tent for the wife and I and the kids sleep in the car on the rear sleeping platform I made with the DAC inc. rear tent off the hatch of the car. They can watch movies downstairs in the car. I am sure people will be going up and down during the night but at least there should be plenty of room for everyone to sleep between the two areas. Many of the trips that we take though it is just my 9 year old daughter and myself which makes the hardshell rtt great for the quick stop and sleep and move on.

Realize that all these tents are made by a handful of mfg's in china and can be purchased directly from them via alibaba at a major cost break. I picked mine up from a local guy on craigslist, brand new for $1300. It is the exact same tent as guys like roofnest etc sell for a huge markup with nothing but a label added to the tent. I could of purchased the same tent directly from china for about the same cost. I went with the smaller size tent and glad I did as the larger one would of hung off the sides a bit, which I would not of liked. The fiberglass hardshell tents come in 2 sizes, small and larger. Don't purchase anything ABS, it will be crap.

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