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First Test: The iKamper X-Cover Roof Top Tent

Innovation is a rarity, and quality is even more elusive, but this new roof top tent (RTT) from iKamper has them both in spades. At Expedition Portal, we were given the first access to this new tent and took the opportunity to use it in the field, digging into every feature and fabric looking for flaws and benefits.
Editor’s Note: This is a prototype unit and minor changes are planned for the RTT before production.

The tent construction and domed rainfly helped the tent endure high winds in our testing. The side window shades have been redesigned for the production model. 

The iKamper company originally launched into the North American market with a unique hard-shell/soft-shell hybrid called the SKYCAMP that set up in one minute and permitted sleeping for four on a king-sized mattress. As a manufacturer, they have been deliberate with each new model and just released this third product called the X-Cover, which solves several of the frustrating attributes of clamshell fabric tents—principally the cumbersome covers, long setup times, and loss of rack space for outdoor toys like bikes and paddleboards. The X-Cover abandons the typical PVC cover and retains a hard shell on the top for mounting a secondary rack. Dust and grime are kept off the tent with a belt of coated canvas that runs around the sides.

The tent is extremely low profile at only 10 inches without the cross bars or accessories. This lowers the overall profile of the vehicle and reduced wind drag. 

 

Left: The ability to mount bike racks and other accessories is a significant benefit but needs to be tempered by the roof load limits of the vehicle.
Right: Of note are the high-quality, innovative, and quick-mounting feet. They clamp around most bars in seconds. Traditional mounting methods can also be used. 

The set-up process of the X-Cover saves an entire step by not requiring the removal of a cover. However, the two platforms do need to be unzipped from each other, which is also easier than other models because of how the zipper is positioned and tensioned in place. Once unzipped, the ladder is removed from between the mattress and clipped to the edge of the distal end of the overhanging platform. Then the process becomes more familiar, and the tent is pulled open using the ladder. There is a rainfly that covers the entry door and the rear window, and two separate integrated side window rain sheets. All are held open and tensioned using spring steel rods that nest in robust aluminum brackets on the platforms. The quick setup takes just under three minutes of casual effort.

The interior is a sanctuary with a quality, quilted mattress and large storage pockets. 

Comfort inside the roof tent is excellent with a thick, quilted mattress and heavy canvas walls. The entire structure exhibited minimal noise but rattled in the moderate wind I experienced when testing it at the Grand Canyon. Also unique in the test is the first time I have seen waterproof zippers used, and the moon window is a nice touch. This model will particularly appeal to travelers that want to bring bikes or other outdoor toys along for the trip. $2,900 | ikamper.com

Pros
Allows for top-mounted crossbars and accessories
Lack of traditional cover speeds setup, reduces weight
Unique and frustration-free mounting system
Excellent weather protection

Cons
Ladder needs to be removed when tent is stowed
Limited bedding can be kept inside while unit is closed

Look for a full comparison test of the newest soft-shell roof tents in the Spring 2019 issue of Overland Journal.

Special thanks to Turtleback Trailers for the use of their heavy duty Getaway Trail trailer for the testing. 

There is something about waking up to the Grand Canyon… 

Special thanks to Turtleback Trailers for the use of their heavy duty Getaway Trail trailer for the testing. 

Scott is the publisher and co-founder of Expedition Portal and Overland Journal. His travels by 4WD and adventure motorcycle span all seven continents and include three circumnavigations of the globe. He lives in Prescott, Arizona