Rooftop tents... what do you think??

Mike S

 
 
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Aug 19, 2003
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Interested to know how many of you use (or would use) a rooftop tent on your rig, or on a trailer?

What features would you like to have if you could design it yourself?

I am going into the business of distributing AutoHome tents to the North American market. Looking for some feedback on the roof top tent concept and what you guys would like to see...

Thanks for your help.

Mike S
 
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Never used one, might if they weren't so expensive.

One thing that I think would be neat, that may very well be in existance already, is the option for sunroof access, i.e. a door in the floor. This would allow you to pass things up and down to the cab of the car as well as ingress and egress w/o being exposed to the elements during times of rain or snow(or when that bear is circling the truck ;) :D ). This obviously would require a hatch in the roof rack and bottom of the tent, but I think might be an option worth persuing.

Ary
 

Junk

 
 
 
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Aren't they the same as lofty shelters?

I had a hannibal on a cargo trailer for awhile. Nice setup, just not exactly what I wanted though. H has it now on top of his 80. If you search the outfitting forum for tent, you should find a few threads.

Good luck with the biz.
 

Mike S

 
 
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Junk said:
Aren't they the same as lofty shelters?... Good luck with the biz.
Yes. We will be importing the equipment from Italy. And thanks.
 

Pskhaat

 
 
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Yep, I'd be all over them if they weren't so flippin' pricey. I ask why not just buy some ABS plastic carton runs (think stretched steel in plastic) and put up a `normal' tent for a mere fraction of the cost.

Or even one that did and looked off-road'y, boxy, black, but not thick.
 

Lars

 
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I'll sleep in a tent on the ground until someone offers something reasonably affordable.
 
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My OverCamp (brought from the Lofty Shelter two years ago) is bolted to the modified wood beams/metal tubes on my custom M416 trailer.

Putting on the truck roof is very difficult even for two six footer. Suspending from the garage ceiling is out of question because my truck is only six inches from the garage door beam so it can't be installed on truck roof and then roll out outside.

As for camping, I would upgrade to "large" OverCamp instantly for my growing family but I'm not sure why AutoHome don't manufacture this model. They labeled my OverCamp as "meduim" on thier bochures and web site. It gives out the impression that there is a large OverCamp but it isn't? BTW, largest new OverLand is only 20cm wider than my meduim OverCamp.

Eee this link and you will notice that 'large" is missing from selection of OverCamp.

http://www.zifer.it/file_gb/tendeaconfronto.html

Cheers,
 
Last edited:

Exiled

 
 
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Think two minutes to set up camp, even in a storm. Think sleeping on a mattress, with regular sheets and blankets. Think better protection from critters.

I love mine. Like snook's, mine's mounted on top of a modified M416 trailer. I tried it first on the Cruiser, but mine's SOA and the tent is heavy, I didn't want the added tippiness. Besides, that made my very light aluminum roof rack impossible to install and remove without three other guys.

I'm really happy with the results, the trailer functions as a self-contained mini-camper that can be locked and secured and left at the campsite (say at CM, for example) without anyone tampering with the interior. The tent can be left open or folded back every day, it's so easy it doesn't matter.

Glad to hear we'll have other options, I know these are pricey but you *have* to separate yourself from the notion that it is just a tent. My father spent two decades exploring the northern Amazon with a Brownchurch expedition tent and while very faded and on its third set of zippers, the tent is still being used by my cousin today. Mine's already five years old and in *perfect* shape, I fully expect to get 20 years out of it.
 

REZARF

 
 
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I would say that the drawbacks for me are:

Price, by a long shot. I have an expedition backpacking tent that will out perform any rooftop tent out there and fits under my drivers seat with room to spare.

Bulk, you either get top heavy or have to add a trailer (but I like the trialer idea) but I add more cost.


The advantages are:

Set up time, my backpacking tent is small but setting it up is a small job, but in bad weather everything is soaked by the time I can get into it.

Comfort, I do think this would way more comfortable.

They LOOK AWESOME.

Level "ground" everytime.



All that said, i wont even look at one for the costs right now.


Rezarf <><
 
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I recently bought an Eezi Awn. Will try it out on my newly reconditioned m416 this weekend with a little more work and a bit of luck. Thanks Exiled for the inspiration.
 

Mike S

 
 
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Exiled - good to hear that your experience is so positive. Rich (LoftyShelters) and I were in Mantovano, Italy two weeks ago and spent the day there. The plant, quaility, and people are really first class. These 'tents' are made of very fine (read 'expensive') materials. They are built to last.

We are bringing in quite a few of these, and have a good number in stock now. They are really selling well.

Snook - right. The OverCamp is only available in two sizes. A really good tent for you might be the OverLand. The Large OverLand is 71" x 43" x 12" when closed, and 71" x 87" x 49-1/4" when opened. This is a new tent, and will have these around the end of May.

My new tent - a large OverLand - is going on top of my trailer, too. Soon as it arrives. I am a customer and user, as well as the distributor.

M
 

Cruiserdrew

On the way there
SILVER Star
 
 
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Having seen Darwood's and Snook's up close and personal, I like them. Given the $ most of us have in Cruisers what's another $1500? The fast set up is the real advantage, but the "up off the ground" thing is good too.

The real down side is the 100 pounds of extra weight in the worst possible place-up high on an already tall vehicle. The trailer mount like Jay's is really great if you happen to have the trailer with you-ie great for Baja, not so great on the Rubicon.

Mike-since your truck is not super tall, I think the roof-top tent would work great. The one feature I would like to see is to cut the weight in half and maintain the same durability. I'm not sure if that could be done or not.
 
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I would love one on a trailer but he cost is out of my range. I love the idea of being up of the ground and out of the run off from rain.

For the cost, I just can't get over the fact it is a tent.
 

Mike S

 
 
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Andrew

The lightest tent is about 95 lbs. The heaviest is near 150 lbs. Most vehicles have a dynamic roof weight rating of 150lbs. or less - in the USA. Other countries it is more - sometimes a lot more - for the same vehicles. What, in your mind is an acceptable weight for the top of your 40, 80 or 60?

You are right. My FJ60 is only lifted about 3" with the OME set up on it. If the truck was lifted with SOA it might make a greater difference.

Here is a 'hard shell' unit on an FJ55...

 
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Mike,

Take a note.

I loved OverCamp but there is one major drawback is the design of the ladder steps. Although the steps itself is flat but when the ladder is at angled, I can't even step on it barefoot, the edge is too sharp.

The steps itself should be angled so stepping surface is parallel to the ground when the ladder is at angle like 60 or 70 degrees.

Cheers,
 

Mike S

 
 
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Jay, you'll like the new ladder design. Improved over the previous one. I saw this in Italy, but did not get a picture.

M
 

FJ40-GARAGE

I`ll be back....
 
 
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I bought a Autocamp a few years ago and used to have it on a hilux.
after selling the truck i decided to put it on a trailer.





Well worth it , the only bummer is heavy wind....... its huge and acts like a sail. ;)

Gonna make a better picture next weekend ......
 

Cruiserdrew

On the way there
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Mike S said:
Andrew

What, in your mind is an acceptable weight for the top of your 40, 80 or 60?

You are right. My FJ60 is only lifted about 3" with the OME set up on it. If the truck was lifted with SOA it might make a greater difference.

I would consider a roof top tent if the tent and it's mount were in the 75 pound range. All of the ratings are conservative but they are on unlifted, stock trucks. By the time you have a rack (100 lbs) and a tent (100 lbs) and the other stuff you put on a rack, you're talking serious weight. On a big lifted truck that 200+ pounds can really upset the balance of your vehicle. On my 4 inch 80 series lift and a lightly loaded rack I could still notice the extra heft on the roof of the truck. I've got a set of the elusive Slee 4inch springs on order to firm up the handling.

I have a friend (not an off-roader) who uses one of those hard shell Maggiolina tents on the top of his Suburban. That is a nice unit, but heavy.
 

esh

 
 
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I bought mine because I'm often out in the Oregon boonies and kept finding myself looking for a potential campsite either just before sunset or after dark. Exploration has no time tables. I don't like location dictating my choice to spend the night. I've also found incredible campspots which are impractical for tents.

Those are the factors I used to arrive at purchasing. I'd advise any potential buyer to realistically plan on using it often (10-30 times a year?) to get good use out of it. It's an expensive accessory otherwise.

Kind of a downside, and I get around it be going it alone often, is that if you have others along, you still likely need to find campsites for them if they don't also have a roof-top setup.
 
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