Aluminum Clam Shell RTTs

Romer

Adventurer
I have been doing a lot of research on the aluminum hard shell RTTs. Just a personal preference as I like those over Fiberglass ones

I developed the below table to help me compare. I have links on vendors and reviews in my table, but can't see how to post a table here. So here is a screen shot and I put the links below. Note the prices are what I was given for the Holiday (Black Friday) and they would honor them until that time

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Bush Company Alpha RTT

The Bush Company Alpha is an South African product. It is a new product coming to the US at an introductory price of $3650 with pickup or shipment from Houston. I liked this unit and when I asked about getting one, the local distributor told me the first shipment (expected in Feb) is sold out and the next shipment is May and they were not sure the Introductory price would hold.

Here is a good review of it
This is very similar to the Alu-Cab Alpha with a better ladder, wrap around awning and few features that make it a little nicer than the Alu-Cab

Alu-Cab Gen 3

The Alu-Cab Gen 3 is also a South African Product. Very similar to the Alpha as you can see from these reviews


https://www.basillynch.com/new-blog/2017/7/2/tested-alu-cab-expedition-iii-rtt

The thing I don't like about this tent is the ladder being one piece and dealing with the bag. This is resolved with a $100 telescoping ladder

Lots of reviews and history on this.

For both the Alpha and Alu-cab I was concerned about the width causing extra drag and the 194 lbs on my roof when wheeling. I think my current CVT Mt Bachalor Ultimate Extended is close to that though. A guy with an 80 and another with a 100 said it isnt an issue and they do the same trails I do (Ouray and Moab)

What is nice about the Alu-Cab is there is a local dealer in Arvada https://juniperoverland.com/ . The distributor of the Alpha is a Auto Body repair shop https://www.facebook.com/rideshiny

Camp King



Camp King seems to be top of the line. I really like the finish on this one the best. It is less weight than the Alpha or Alu-Cab at 176 lbs.

This is a nice review of it


Roofnest Falcon

Roofnest Falcon is from a boulder based company. At first glance this seemed to be a winner for me. First it is only 50" wide which would have zero overhang. that is fine for just me but likely cramped for two. They do have a 60" wide version. It's only 135 pounds and is only 6.5" tall. These are made in China and have had some quality issues. One owner told me it arrived damaged, the stainless steel started rusting after a couple of months and it leaked. They get shipped to LA were they are stored in a warehouse and then shipped directly to your house. The folks who did the two reviews liked it though so maybe it is a consistency issue which could be returned to Boulder if I were to get a bad one. Here are the reviews


It has only been out since July, so could be growing pains. Not a lot of reviews

GFC

GFC is an American made product. It is the thinnest of the bunch at 6" tall. Based on that size, the mattress is only 2" It's specs are similar, but a little bigger than the Falcon. Most everyone complains about the mattress and there isnt room to add a topper to this if I wanted to. The ladder also costs extra, not that big a deal though.

https://gearjunkie.com/go-fast-campers-platform-rooftop-tent

I had decided (Personal Preference on the Aluminum Hard shell style. I want a clam shell type as the set up fast, under 30 seconds with a similar take down

I have ruled out the GFC due to the mattress size

The Falcon has a 3" mattress and I like the size and weight. It appears to have thinner canvas and also there is no insulation on the top and bottom. You cant store your sleeping bag or pillows in it and I am concerned about the quality issues. I have reached to them to discuss

The Alpha and Alu-Cab are very similar with the Alpha likely nicer due to it's features, just harder to get.

The Camp King seems to be the best built and nicest quality, but is also the most expensive. Rhino does have it on their 200 series :) There is also a local Colorado dealer, Peter Sloop

I am still deciding, but thought this might benefit someone else

Yes, there is also the Terra pod, but all the info is posted here and isnt out yet
 
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Nice table

What about opinions on used price values. I have struggled with a forum members opinion of his 3 year old alu cabs value. Let's face it new these are expensive tents but more manufacturer options are driving down price. One forum member claims to have got 3K for a one year old unit not counting the cost of a 6 hour drive for the delivery meet. The three year old one asking 3 k for the tent and 4k with awning and has turned down an offer for $3300 for tent and awning with local pickup but seems to be willing to take drive 850 miles spending at least $200 in fuel for a 2 day delivery trip. It seems to me to at current prices $2800 would be a fair value of a 3 yr old alu cab . Above that should by new and get warranty.

I think new it's a trade-off between the brands between quality/ruggedness vs height/ weight . With the exception of the camp king, price it's about 400 to 600 difference which should become closer with a year. So I think the alpha and alucab compare as equals with long history on other continents so for me the alpha price difference is a ++ along with the better mounting rails and rain awning.

The falcon and thinner profiles and weight probably pay off best on lightweight overland rigs and cars along with the lower price.

So IMHO if your rig can handle the weight get the alu cab or alpha or your level of overlanding use requires the ruggedness, I think there durability will be worth the extra $500 or so if you have a smaller SUV where weight and wind resistance are more important factors and they will be treated more gently they would be the better option.

Really interested in others views of these tents used value
 
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Romer

Adventurer
Used price values are hard to consider generically as it all depends on the condition.

I agree with your trade and I am currently at Ruggeness/quality. I like to buy quality and then not have to worry about an upgrade later on

As far as vehicle, I have a 200 series Land Cruiser and the RTT is for whan I am not pulling my Australian Camper across the backcountry

I bought the camper and imported it directly from Australia as I didnt see a US camper that compares and holds up off road
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fireball

Explorer
Why did you rule out the Falcon?

I saw one at an event a few weeks ago and the owner was very happy with it. It looks to tick all the boxes and I really like that it’s so much lighter than the other options.
 

Romer

Adventurer
Why did you rule out the Falcon?

I saw one at an event a few weeks ago and the owner was very happy with it. It looks to tick all the boxes and I really like that it’s so much lighter than the other options.
There were a couple of reasons. Some where happy, others not. One owner I talked to said the stainless steel hardware was rusting after two months and it leaked. I think its a cool design with some learning pains I am sure they will get fixed. The new ones are of a different lot

Looking at the pictures and the amount of light that can get through it seems like thinner canvas. Also, you can't store your bedding in it. I did talk to the folks there and they seem like top notch folks. Even without the quality issues I likely would have gone another way. I Know Australia and South Africa products are built to take a beating and there are lots of reviews to prove it.

It comes down to personal preference. I didnt want to spend $3000 and then wish I got something else. If I was in something smaller than a 200 series Land Cruiser I would have likely felt differently. I was still open to it until I bought an Alu-Cab for less than the Falcon
 

Romer

Adventurer
I talked to Jeremiah Proffitt since he has a Camp King. He likes the Camp King Better and stated they have better struts, but he also said the Alu-Cab is a quality product.

I was going to a local dealer today to look at an Alu-Cab. They didnt have any in stock but would give me a pre Black Friday 5% discount for when the shipment comes in

They were demoing a 2018 model that belonged to one of the folks who worked there and they told me he was selling it to go with a camper setup for his truck. It had some scratches on the outside and was perfect on the inside. He had already taken care of the two complaints I see in reviews. He bought a telescoping ladder and added a 1" foam mattress. I bought it for $3000 no tax as it was a private sale and they installed it right then and there

I could feel the additional weight on my way home, but not significant

This is for when I don't take my Kimberley Karavan that you can see in the background of my second garage. Hey when you get old and they kids move out you have more money to spend on toys and a place to keep them :)
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Romer

Adventurer
I asked about the weight since some sites say 88kg = 194 lbs and others say 165 lbs. They said its 165 lbs and two of them easily picked it up and put it on the fork lift to load on the top of my 200
 

Lownomore

Member
I asked about the weight since some sites say 88kg = 194 lbs and others say 165 lbs. They said its 165 lbs and two of them easily picked it up and put it on the fork lift to load on the top of my 200
From installing a couple of them, my own included the 165 number seems close. We put mine on my FJ with two of us. It wasn't what I would call easy but it wasn't terrible either.
 

shade

Well-known member
Most everyone complains about the [GFC] mattress and there isnt room to add a topper to this if I wanted to.
If you wanted to add a 1" topper to the mattress pads, it could be done, but without knowing what the underlying 2" foam was like, I'm not sure how much it would help. I added a thin topper to my Tepui RTT mattress and it helped.

I have a GFC with the original 3" mattress and I find it comfortable. I don't know about "most everyone" complaining about the 2" mattress, but I have seen some complaints. I hope the GFC guys are rethinking their move to a 2" mattress. It seems that was done to appease people that demanded space for bedding to be stored in the tent. I store my down bedding in a compression stuff sack, so I don't see that as a problem. A move to a dual density 2" or 3" mattress might make a significant improvement. When I need to replace the foam in mine, I'll likely use 3" of at least two densities.

As for the rest of the GFC's construction, the only problem I've had is with the latching/sliding bolt pins getting stuck in the tube. I have one of the early units, and they didn't put any corrosion inhibitor in the tube, but I've taken care of the problem. I heard that they've redesigned the latching system, but I haven't found any information about it. Other than that, it's a solid product.
 

Surlyvan

New member
Hey folks, just wanted to chime in here. Full disclosure, I started Roofnest so I'm biased. Just wanted to mention that we had a couple production issues on our first manufacturing run. But they were mainly due to the electrophoresis method we used to powder coat the aluminum edges and we've cleared that up since the second run which we are almost sold out of.

There hasn't been any rust issues, this is actually impossible because there is no ferrous metal anywhere on the tent at all.

If any of you would like objective opinions from real customers we do maintain an open Facebook group called the "Roofnest Flock" on Facebook which anyone can join and you can interact with tons of real owners in an unmoderated way.

Finally, we will be running a black Friday sale for $300 off so the final price including shipping will be under $3100. And we include the ladder, extra ladder mounts, and some cool pockets that attach to the accessory channels outside the tent.

Happy to answer questions if anyone has them!
 
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