Rooftop tent pros/cons?

Joined
Feb 13, 2018
Messages
172
Location
Riverside, CA
Hey guys,

Been thinking of getting a rooftop tent. I never did before because they seem bulky, look too small, inconvenient, only good for 1-2 people, etc. However, with my family getting less interested in camping and me being more interested in getting out there solo, I'm reconsidering. I'd love to hear thoughts from rooftop tent owners.

Specifically -

  1. Are they easy to set up and tear down so you can drive daily? A la 100s in the hills?
  2. Does not being perfectly level make it annoying to sleep on a slant?
  3. Is the ladder a pain for getting in/out?
  4. Is it too short to be worthwhile?
  5. Is it the kind of thing that is "cool" but not really worth it?
Any other thoughts are appreciated!
 
Joined
Oct 13, 2011
Messages
710
Location
Calgary, Alberta
 
Hey guys,

Been thinking of getting a rooftop tent. I never did before because they seem bulky, look too small, inconvenient, only good for 1-2 people, etc. However, with my family getting less interested in camping and me being more interested in getting out there solo, I'm reconsidering. I'd love to hear thoughts from rooftop tent owners.

Specifically -

  1. Are they easy to set up and tear down so you can drive daily? A la 100s in the hills?
  2. Does not being perfectly level make it annoying to sleep on a slant?
  3. Is the ladder a pain for getting in/out?
  4. Is it too short to be worthwhile?
  5. Is it the kind of thing that is "cool" but not really worth it?
Any other thoughts are appreciated!

I'm not a rooftop tent owner, but here's why:

1.) They are very easy to setup / take down. No question.
2.) I'm told this can be a challenge. Usually a flat parking spot is not that hard to find.
3.) Biggest pain for many folks, is getting up/down a ladder...particularly at night
4.) Many ground tents are much taller than RTTs, my personal preference is a ground tent, or an ARB awning tent (very roomy).
5.) Yes

Rooftop tents are really heavy pieces of equipment: Ask yourself if you need the convenience of a folding tent on your roof. It's quick to set up, but so are most modern ground tents. The RTT also takes up your entire roof rack space: do you use it for other things?

Other guys love them, so take my opinion/view with a grain of salt.
 
Joined
Nov 20, 2017
Messages
120
Location
Columbus, MS
My RTT came with my truck so this'll be a somewhat unbiased review.

Are they easy to set up and tear down so you can drive daily? A la 100s in the hills?
Yes, if you're in good shape and not super short. Takes me probably 15 mins to set up or tear down, including the extra time I spend struggling with my old and janky zipper around the cover. Involves some standing on tires, in door jambs and hanging off the roof rack for me at 5' 9" occasionally, but it's not bad at all. Pro is you can leave your sleeping bag/gear in the tent. That saves a bunch of time.

Does not being perfectly level make it annoying to sleep on a slant?
You can generally find a way to park it to get it level. I've used rocks in the past, but with the addition of my 4 traction boards this hasn't been an issue. I'd say the RTT is vastly superior to ground tents in this area. Can't level the ground under a tent very easily.

Is the ladder a pain for getting in/out?
Could be. I'm 26 and in average shape so it's not a problem unless I'm super drunk. And even then I haven't had issues if I take it slow.

Is it too short to be worthwhile?
Not quite sure what you're asking here, but mine is the width of the roof stowed, but folds out to double it's width. I can comfortably sleep 2 grown men with tons of extra room.

Is it the kind of thing that is "cool" but not really worth it?
Depends on the price. If you can pick one up for a good deal, and will use it often enough, it is totally worth it.
Other nuggets:

The height is awesome. I've taken it to the infield at Talladega and it's glorious because people can't drunkenly walk/fall into your tent - offroad this translates to fewer bugs/animals. Also, gave me a front row view of the race with a window open. In the summer, it gets you off the ground and cooler, it's suprisingly more windy that high (might backfire in the winter, wouldn't know yet).

If I were to buy another one, I'd get hardshell. The PO of my rig didn't take care of the vinyl cover. It had some holes that I've tried to repair. It did fine until the summer, when I realized i hadn't thought about the melting temperatures of the materials I had used. Flex seal/tape is a no go. Melted and slightly gummed up the zippers like I mentioned. (It did waterproof it though, sooo...).

Mileage takes a hit - for me it's about 10-20%; even more so if you're speeding. I was caravaning with some bros in newer trucks doing 80-90 once and I was getting like 8 MPG with my 4 speed transmission... For that reason and to keep it from wearing excessively, I remove it in the off season - quite the task, but worth it. My RTT is NOT light. Which brings up the other major downside. It really lifts you CoG, and whether or not it makes a real difference, it definitely impacts my confidence while offorading sloped sections.

Finally, even on trips like the one from the pics below you can see how loaded up my cargo area is. It's nice to be able to carry more since you don't have to sleep in the rig. Allows me to stay out for longer without resupply and keeps me from putting stuff outside the truck when sleeping.

TL;DR: Nothing is perfect. But if you have the money and will use it, get one. They're amazing.

Lemme know if you hace any other questions! Pics for proof.

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Joined
Apr 9, 2007
Messages
674
Location
Marietta, GA
 
 
I've had an ARB Simpson II for about 5 years now and here is my take based on what I have:

Reasons for buying:
- I'm getting older, and although I love camping and spent about a dozen years in the Army roughing it in the sticks, I finally asked myself "what is the point of sleeping on the ground on a 1.5" sleeping pad". You'll find in pretty much any brand RTT that the foam mattresses are at least twice as thick which my back likes.
- wife liked the idea of getting off the ground away from critters


After at least semi-annual trips in the RTT a couple of take home points:

- they are very easy to set up and take down once it's on the truck, but I would say most modern 3 season tents aren't that hard or time-consuming either.
- Better have a way of getting it onto your vehicle. I have created a pulley system in my garage, but it's definitely a chore if you do it by yourself.
- they are much better served on a lightweight trailer.
- Off the ground but well within reach of any ladder that comes with the RTT. On my lifted 80, the ladder BARELY reached the ground
- if you want to leave camp for anything in the vehicle, you have to pack the tent back up before going anywhere. A trailer would obviously mitigate this need.
- Although most it's use was on the top of my under-powered 80, I can tell you the wind resistance is REAL. More power obviously helps.

All-in-all I've come close a couple of times to selling it (they're becoming extremely popular and I could get almost what I paid for it), but in the end it is a very comfortable alternative to going all out and getting a pop-up or something similar. This in my opinion is the next step and I think the RTT in general fill this niche between ground tents and small campers. My wife does love it and there's plenty of room.
 
Joined
Dec 5, 2016
Messages
2,088
Location
DC
If you're camping solo or with only 1 other person max, this is the way to go. If you pack heavy, throw everything on the roof rack.






I built that with $150 budget, and its comfortable, i feel safe inside, and i don't have to setup/take down, climb a ladder. I'm not adding unnecessary weight to the top, causing wind drag/noise, and it's more stealth sleeping inside. I lived in my truck for 23 days while traveling across the U.S last year. Slept like a baby and feel safe every time.
 
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Joined
Dec 10, 2018
Messages
62
Location
Boulder, CO
I've had mine for roughly a year now and spent probably over 30 nights in it. Overall, for my style of camping, it has been a great upgrade, albiet not a perfect thing whatsoever.

The main advantage for me is having a separate sleeping space so all items in the interior of the truck can stay organized and in place. And if i want to bring some friends along, no problem, I can leave the back seats in. I have a hardshell, so setup is done in ~2 min with no worries if it's windy, etc. There is also a feeling of security being off the ground.

It is not a viable option imo however, if you plan to do long winter trips or have a big dog that sleeps with you. I spent a week in AZ/utah this winter road tripping where the warmest night was 18*. We survived with 0* bags, but after a few nights of that, I started seriously considering other options. Going to try some additional tent insulation next winter to see if that helps, but I have my doubts.

  1. Are they easy to set up and tear down so you can drive daily? A la 100s in the hills?
Setup is real easy generally but every tent has its quirks you have to learn. Mine goes on in April and doesn't come off until November. But removing is not hard as long as you have a buddy (mine weights 125lbs)
  1. Does not being perfectly level make it annoying to sleep on a slant?
Never been much of an issue, especially if you're used to ground tents. Stack a couple rocks worse case.
  1. Is the ladder a pain for getting in/out?
Usually no, but I've eaten s*** while drinking before. Snow can be slippery too.
  1. Is it too short to be worthwhile?
Changing in the tent is a pain, otherwise its a cozy place to hang out.
  1. Is it the kind of thing that is "cool" but not really worth it?
Totally depends on who you are. I use mine a lot and it makes camping a more convenient thing. If you only use its a couple times a year, I'd stick with a ground tent.

IMG_0398.jpg
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2009
Messages
137
Location
Present: Seattle Past: Windhoek and Dar es Salaam
 
 
  1. Are they easy to set up and tear down so you can drive daily? A la 100s in the hills?
  2. Does not being perfectly level make it annoying to sleep on a slant?
  3. Is the ladder a pain for getting in/out?
  4. Is it too short to be worthwhile?
  5. Is it the kind of thing that is "cool" but not really worth it?
Background:
Eezi Awn Series III, 1.8M owner for the past decade, plus. I've used it throughout Southern and Eastern Africa then brought it back and have been using it US West for four years. I've replaced nothing on it except the cover two years ago. It's never leaked, not even the time we got hit with a tropic monsoon while living in Tanzania.

Answers to questions:
1. Yes, it's pretty easy. In fact getting the cover on mine is usually the most time consuming task. With a hard shell tent I bet you are looking at maybe a minute set up and break down. I can set up in about 5 minutes. I take more like 10 because of the cover when packing up.
2. Never noticed. It's been pretty easy to level up with my tent. Usually it just takes a minute or two to find the best parking spot/angle etc.
3. Ladder is easy, No problems. Buy a shoe bag that hangs off the edge. Wear your kicks up the ladder, have a seat, take them off. Store.
4. My tent is 1.8M by 2.4M open, basically the mattress is a California King. We can sleep three adults easy now. In the old days my wife, my two sons and I slept in it with room to spare. More to your point. There is lots of head room. I can sit up straight basically anywhere inside.
5. I've noticed that people pay more attention to the tent here than in most African countries, but I've never though of a tent as something that is "cool" or not.

My cons to roof top tents (some specific to my tent and habits):
Roof top tents like my Eezi Awn are heavy, like 200 lbs heavy. It's made of canvas, steel, more pvc'd canvas and a couple of slabs of marine ply. Eezi Awns are tough; I've seen Landcrusiers turtle onto their tents and when righted the tent still worked. That said, I don't keep my tent and safari rack on the truck full time so I've got to slog some weight around when I get set for a camping trip.

Roof top tents are still soft sided tents. It was a surprise for me to learn about the difference between Grizzly behavior and Lion Behavior. To a grizzly a tent is a snack to be unwraped, to a lion it's something to be ignored (or slept next too if the bonnet of your truck is still warm and it's a bit chilly out). Good news, snake and skorpions don't climb ladders. Hyena's will try but they give up easy and good news the US doesn't have any (good thing too, as they make an absolute racket at night).
 
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Joined
Feb 13, 2018
Messages
172
Location
Riverside, CA
Awesome feedback everyone!

Great advice on the shoe bag. I camp several times a year, but looking to do so more and more, and more remote.

@Blue Phoenix - I have slept in the cruiser like that and love it. But also travel with a fishing gear, coolers, etc, so I found myself having to move things around too much every night. I guess not much different with the roof top. I do want to get a solid drawer system but haven't yet.

@brauski - great info!

FYI - today's thread was triggered by seeing this on sale. Any thoughts on it?

Amazon product
 

sammybones

Study in Moppishness
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Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
721
Location
Sharpsburg, GA
 
I’ve got the Smittybuilt XL with annex. I found it on Craigslist for a good deal. The tent and annex is great when the family comes along. My wife loves the annex. If I’m solo I sleep inside on my drawers/platform. I sleep great in both. Put it up and taking it down isn’t too bad. Level spots are easy to find.

I wheel pretty hard so I was worried about the tent up there. It’s really not too bad as long as you’re mindful it’s up there and adjust your lines accordingly. Probably not as much of and issue out west where there aren’t as many trees. I just recently did some trails with some really gnarly trees and branches. The canvas cover should have gotten ripped to shreds but it did great. Whatever material they used is tough as hell.
 

Otter

All Access Pass Holder
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Joined
May 11, 2010
Messages
1,532
Location
Scottsdale, AZ
 
 
I've had my Alu-cab for a little over a year. I was against RTTs for a long time. I always slept in my truck, but typically traveled solo. If my wife came along, I'd set up a tent. When we had our son, I started thinking more about the benefit of a RTT. My first year at 100s in the Hills, every morning I'd watch guys struggle with the rain soaked vinyl covers for their soft-top RTT, it rains almost every day. That cured me for ever wanting a soft-top.

I can set up and take down my Alu-cab in about a minute or two. Ladder is easy. I can sit up and almost stand inside to change. I can store all my bedding inside. All three of us have slept in it with no issues. If it's raining, I can wait until the last minute to set it up. Leveling is not a problem, same issue if you sleep inside the truck.

Is it 'cool'? Sure. I've had people stop me in parking lots to ask what it is. I step on the bumper and flip it open for them. Takes 10 seconds. I answer their questions and close it.

Would I go back to sleeping in the truck or a ground tent? Not willingly.

If you're interested in one, don't buy one because it's on sale. I looked at several different models over a couple months before I decided. Find one that has the features you like. Listen to anyone who has complaints about a particular model. All stock RTT mattresses suck. Manufacturers cheap out there first. Look at upgrades people have made. I immediately changed the mattress on mine, got a telescoping ladder, and replaced zipper pulls with cordage after listening to them rattle all night in a windstorm.

If I missed anything, feel free to hit me up.

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Joined
May 15, 2005
Messages
8,074
Location
Ladysmith
 
 
 
Go second hand first. Decide if you want to have it live up there, cause they aren’t real nice
to take on and off unless you think of that before you buy it.
I’ve just about had enough of mine. But it’s comfortable. I have CROCS for climbing the ladder.
i mention them specifically because even at -20 in light socks or bare feet they keep enough
heat for a short period of time, and they are easy to bang crap off before you bring them into
the tent. See if anyone local will rent/borrow you one for a short trip.
 
Joined
Jan 6, 2012
Messages
8,098
 
I decided against a roof top tent because of wind resistance, and garage clearance vs all your getting is a good place for a sleeping bag. Plus you have to pack everything up if you want to drive around. A very small and light trailer with a roof top tent would be nice because then it's not on your truck all the time. I ended up getting a pop up camper with a shower and toilet used for a good price.
 
Joined
Jan 4, 2017
Messages
351
Location
Southern Oregon
I’ve wondered about the popularity of these for a while. Usually when I camp I set up in a spot then I’m in and out for a few days. I’m not interested in striking camp every day. A ground tent is so simple and quick to set up, takes almost no space in the truck. I’ve been camping my whole life and only maybe two times have had encounters with critters at night. The real memorable one I was sleeping in my truck with the windows down cause it was so damned hot outside and a huge fat raccoon came in to look for snacks. Anything with a screen I think would have prevented this. Or staying away from a campground.

Also, my dogs can’t climb ladders and my wife sometimes has to get up in the night. She’s not keen to climb a ladder in the dark at 2am.
 
Joined
Jan 6, 2003
Messages
923
 
 
 
It really depends on what type of camping you do. If you're the type who's constantly on the move and breaking down camp every day to move to a new spot, they're great, or if you stay in one spot for multiple days, they work ok too. If you tend to basecamp in one place for multiple days and use the vehicle for day trips, they're probably more trouble than they're worth.

I've been using a 3 person Tepui for about 5 years. They have their pros and cons. If I were solo camping, I don't bother with a tent and built a sleeping platform in the back of the car. However, if they family is going and I have to use a tent, the RTT is default first choice unless there is a reason I can't use it.

1. Setup depends on the tent and the car. Hard shell tents are much easier and faster than soft shell. However, if you're relatively tall or have a short car, setup even on a soft shell can be very quick. On my Subaru I can have it open and ready to sleep in about 2 minutes. On a lifted land cruiser, it's closer to 10 minutes for setup, and 15 minutes to pack up. Most ground tents can be setup in faster, but that's just for setting up a tent that's already laying out on the ground. When you take into account clearing the site, unpacking the tent from the car, getting the sleeping bags and mattresses out, etc, it probably breaks even or the RTT is faster. If quick setup and take down are important I would not get a soft shell tent. The biggest problem is the cover on and getting everything tucked inside, they can be a pain when it's cold outside because the cover gets really stiff and hard to manage. Also, if you're comparing them to the larger canvas tents like Springbar, Kodiak, or Jet tents, those tend to be large enough that they need to be stored on a roof and have some of the same COG issues and mileage problems of a RTT.

2. Finding a level spot has never been an issue. I've heard this issue more from non-owners who want to find fault with RTT's, but I personally can't remember ever having problems. I can pretty much feel if the tent will be level before I even get out of the car, if it's not I drive around until it is. If you can't find a level spot, all it takes is a rock or piece of firewood to drive on and you're good to go, and if you can't, then you would have been screwed in any type of tent. It's much easier to level the car than trying to level out an area for a medium to large size tent. In fact, one of the biggest advantages of a RTT in that you never have to worry about finding a flat, level spot to setup. I've been able to camped sharp volcanic rock, dry rocky riverbeds, sandy washes, places that setting up a ground tent would have been a big problem but in a RTT it didn't matter.

3. Ladder has never been a problem for me or my kids, and my youngest has been camping in it since they were 2-3. After a few trips in it you probably won't even notice climbing up and down, it becomes automatic. It's about 3-4 steps at most, so for a normal active person it's really a no-brainer. I don't get stupid drunk when camping so that probably helps.

4. Too short for what? If you're talking about height, then you can't stand up in it. But I prefer a shorter height, it helps keep the tent warmer. Compared to my Kodiak, the RTT is much warmer. However, if you're the type to spend a lot of time inside the tent then they can be cramped and a ground tent can be a better choice.

5. RTT have been around long enough and are cheap enough that the "cool" factor has probably worn off for most people. I still think it's cool, and more importantly my wife and kids really like it, which means they are willing to camp more often, so just for that factor alone I think it is worth the cost. Plus, there is a special feeling about being up high that you won't get sleeping in a ground tent, it's kinda like playing in a tree house when you're young. There is a sense of security (whether it's real or imagined) that you have when you're on top of the car, and that's important if you have kids or wife to make them feel safe. I have had a raccoon break into my Kodiak one time while my kids were inside sleeping, and on another trip a curious squirrel got trapped inside a different tent. I'm sure they could have climbed up in my RTT, but I don't think they'd go through that trouble. The other benefits are a RTT stays much cleaner being off the ground, I never have the problems with dust and dirt being tracked in.

If you can borrow one I'd try it to see if you like it. You'll probably know right away whether it's right for you. I never thought I'd end up with one, but I decided I wanted to try it out one day. I looked into renting one for the weekend, but for the cost of renting one I figured I could buy one and resell it if I don't like it. I've been using mine for 5 years and I could probably sell it for more than what I paid, or at least break even, which makes it like a free rental.
 
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4Beast

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Joined
Mar 10, 2016
Messages
667
Location
MA
So I have had a rooftop tent for the last few years, and just gave/sold it to a buddy so he could be sure that he had one for a cross country trip (this was before Covid). I was always painfully aware of the RTT tradeoffs so here's a few thoughts (I appreciate the specific question prompts, btw.)


  1. Are they easy to set up and tear down so you can drive daily? A la 100s in the hills? This was actually one of my primary objections. When I first got the tent everything took forever to set up and especially take down, I got the tent caught in the zipper and struggled to get everything stowed. After a little bit I actually got really good, and the set up was down to just a few minutes and the stowing down to probably 10, but nevertheless I was still annoyed when I had to stow it to go out for the day and come back and set it up again. It wasn't crazy hard, just hard enough to take the fun out of it. It should be said that that this was a "soft" standard RTT, so all the Maggiolina, Alu-Cab, hardshell types are not really included in this. That being said it was awesome when I was staying a few nights, and I was still super smug when I was set up in 5 minutes and my buddy was still setting up his ground tent, I just think that the hard shell might be a better choice for me in the future. Mine weighed about 130# and was a pain to find a buddy to help me get in on and off for the season.
  2. Does not being perfectly level make it annoying to sleep on a slant? I always leveled it with a rock, firewood, maxtrax etc or just parked so if there was a slight slant that my head end was higher in the tent.
  3. Is the ladder a pain for getting in/out? It's honestly not a big deal, but I prefer to not fully wake up in the middle of the night, cause then it takes longer to get back to sleep, so I keep a Gatorade bottle in the tent for middle of the night beer pees. If you have a big dog it may be a challenge.
  4. Is it too short to be worthwhile? I guess you mean off the ground? or sleeping length? Neither is the issue for me I found it plenty roomy for a couple, and my buddy stayed in it with two daughters for a while before upgrading. It's 7' off the ground on my lifter cruiser, so that's plenty.
  5. Is it the kind of thing that is "cool" but not really worth it? My favorite thing about them is stowing the bedding in there semi-permanently. I had several sleeping bags up there of varying thicknesses and it was so easy to just leave them. Even after years of RTT being all over, it still attracted a decent amount of attention at the state campgrounds and places like that. People have a lot of questions. Sometimes we get in our overlander bubble and assume that everyone else is into what we are. Then you show up at the Vermont Overland Rally or someplace like that and there are like 200 of them so it sort of reinforces it. I think it's worth it for an inexpensive one, but am having a hard time justifying a really expensive ($3-5k) one, honestly. Mine was very good to me, and I survived a tropical storm in it, basically dry and have some fun memories with it.
I am putting in drawers once the quarantine lifts and my buddy can help me, so I will sleep in the truck on an ExPed Megamat when it's just me solo, and will probably get a Gazelle and a couple cots for when I want my sweetie to go with me. As i said I may go with a hardshell (used, if I can find one!) at some point and leave it on year round. Also, regarding things like COG etc. My truck weighs 7,000# loaded, with the tent, while it didn't help offroad, it didn't bother me all that much. I was surprised that it didn't kill the already atrocious gas mileage. I ended up with 12mpg no matter what. Hope this helps.
 
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Dissent

GOLD Star
Joined
Sep 27, 2012
Messages
3,650
 
+1 on the shoe bag. I have the Tepui double bag and it's awesome!
 
Joined
May 12, 2009
Messages
44
 
 
I swore I'd never be the guy on Mud posting to say the same thing that the seventeen people above said already but here I am. Ours is a generic soft RTT that came with the truck when we bought it. To answer your specific questions:

1. Set up is easy, Take down is getting better but still about 15 minutes and I end up climbing on top of the truck which I don't like doing. Very easy to get the tent material stuck in the zipper. I'm waiting to break a zipper pull when I do.
2. Leveling has never been a problem. Don't worry about it.
3. Ladder is not an issue. I do get stupid drunk when camping and have no problem nor does my wife after eating gas station salad (only slightly less dangerous than gas station sushi).
4. It's not too short for any normal activity other than standing up.
5. Meh. Don't worry about what others think. Except Mud members. Listen to their opinions, evaluate and use that info to help you decide.

Other thoughts in order of importance: Wind, comfort, storage.

6. The biggest con here in the Great Basin is that it puts you up in the wind. You can use the truck to shelter a ground tent but with a RTT in the Basin you're always in the wind. It's gotten so bad in Death Valley that we got up at 2am, packed up camp (including the parts of the tent that had blown off!) and started the 600 mile drive home.
7. We added 2" of memory foam on top of the 3" of foam rubber that was in there. Combine that with flannel sheets and several wool blankets and you have a bed as comfortable and cozy as home. This alone almost outweighs the cons. Maybe it does - I haven't sold the tent yet despite thinking about it.
8.Storage. They're big and heavy. Where are you going to store it for six months every year? We take ours off after every trip. Do you have someone to help you do that? Mounting/dismounting takes about 20-30 minutes (I've never actually timed it so I'm guessing). The first time my wife and I put it on the truck there were tense moments, terse words were exchanged, she didn't talk to me the rest of the day and I had to make my own dinner. We're getting better at it. But I still classify it as a pain.
9. I thought having to take it down to move the truck would be an issue but it hasn't. We're either in the same place for a few days (not driving anywhere) or we move camp each day. Think about what kind of camping you do.
10. I wonder what happens when it gets rained on - it's never happened to us. You'll have to remove the bedding before packing it up. Does the mattress get wet when you fold it up. Drying it when you get home could be a pain.
11. I don't buy the "safer off the ground" baloney. Being 5'-7' off the ground isn't going to save you from the bloodthirsty, rabid killer bears and mountain lions, but I don't worry about them no matter what tent I'm in.

So, no definite answer from me but at least a few new things to think about.
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2017
Messages
1,035
Location
Los Angeles, CA
  1. Are they easy to set up and tear down so you can drive daily? A la 100s in the hills?
  2. Does not being perfectly level make it annoying to sleep on a slant?
  3. Is the ladder a pain for getting in/out?
  4. Is it too short to be worthwhile?
  5. Is it the kind of thing that is "cool" but not really worth it?
1. Yes they are if you keep them in good shape. Lube up the zipper on the cover with wax or soap. Tear down is fast once you get used to it. It does help to have sliders or a place to stand on each side of the rig to assist reach.

2. Thats all up to personal preferrence. I personally dont care.

3. No, but be careful if there is dew on it. And if you habe been drinking it can become challenging, like many simple tasks can, like walking...

4. Plenty roomy for camping needs. If you are running to a different spot every night, it is just for sleep. If you need standing room you can make an annex room under it. Even just clipping a sheet out there ro make a quick makeshift privacy wall would work.

5. It is nice to have, and pretty quick. This last year I took a ground tent to Turf N Surf since I was in another Landcruiser due to my HG retiring on mine. Anyhow, I have a Gazelle tent and it sets up real fast. Then I have to stick my matress in there, and my sleeping bag, and my pillow and my light and heater. So it takes a while to get it ready to sleep. With the RTT you can actually leave a thinner sleeping bag in there. On mine, I leave the rain fly on there all the time, and I rarely prop up the side window flaps. So I just flip it open, and then it is ready for sleep. In colder weather, I stick my buddy heater up there and my 0 degree bag up there. Its quick.
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At Pimso


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Near the Bradshaw Trail in So Cal.

I got mine used from a mud member! Still in good working shape. Has some issues, but gets the job done. I would find it hard to justify what they go for new. But for a few hundred bucks its not bad.

The hard shell ones are waaaay faster to deploy and you can usually leave all the bedding in there. Those are nice too.

My advice is dont break the bank on getting one just because. If you plan on going out solo more, get a nice quick deploying ground tent or make a temp sleep platform in your vehicle if possible. Then you wont have the wind drag and weight up high, and you will save money for fuel and beer that way.
 
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