Home made rooftop tent for XJ

MHead

Adventurer
How it is set up

Here are a few pictures showing tent set up. These were taken at the edge of the Beaver Dam Mountains in the very NW corner of Arizona just up from the Virgin River (36 deg 58.229' N 113 deg 47.895' W). A good overnight spot when going from San Diego into Utah.

Last picture shows the packed up Jeep (taken in Mesquite NV). The layer is

Cargo
Tables
Tent
Bedding
Furniture blanket
Roof rack (with 1/4" ABS plastic deck added)

Next picture shows stack with cargo removed. You can see the table legs. Tables are top down on the remainder of the stack.

Next picture shows the stack with cargo and tables removed. The tent is unfolded and laid over the sides of the Jeep. Transverse fiberglass rods are inserted from the sides.

Next picture shows the tent going up. Rods are lifted two at a time by persons on each side of the Jeep and inserted into holders.

Next picture shows insertion of the lengthwise rods.

After this the ends are zipped in. Bed is already made from previous night. Just add pillows!


And the next-to-last picture (taken in the morning later in the trip) is why you might want a tent of some sort... Ha!
 
Last edited:

MHead

Adventurer
The cargo

Here are some pics in answer to a question about the cargo arrangement. Carco space in the back of this XJ is dedicated to food and tools. Clothing, chairs, and other items are carried on top. It seemed to me that access to food is needed throughout the day but access to items on top isn't necessary except when setting up camp.

The cargo space in an XJ isn't very well organized with the volume above the top of the back seat being hard to utilize. The rack in the picture attempts to make better use of this volume. Rack is made from 1/2" square aluminum tube, welded.

Top shelf is for coats, hats, other clothing items that are needed during the day. Next shelf down has three plastic tubs and holds dry-goods foods. Next lower, left column holds two drawers that are removed in picture but that can be seen elsewhere in this thread. Between these drawers is a pull out cutting board/shelf which is really convenient for preparing lunches. At bottom right is a pull out shelf with heavy duty sliders. Ice chest is placed here. Two 7 gal 'blue cube' plastic water tanks go between ice chest and drawers. Tools are stored in aluminum boxes made to fit behind sloped jeep rear seat. Pic 4 shows LED based light that is operated from jeep battery. This can be operated for long periods without fear of draining the battery. Pic 5 shows how rack is secured to XJ. I drilled two holes thru the jeep floor and bolted a steel strap containing a welded nut. An aluminum bridge secures to this nut and clamps the rack in place. Rack can be removed in just a few minutes.
 
Last edited:

Xtreme XJ

Adventurer
WOW !! I love my XJ and think it's a great base rig to build upon.....
I tip my hat to you both in the tent design and the cargo area.... too bad they don't make a rack long enough and sturdy enough for my tall/fat ass....
I don't see why it couldn't be done off of another platform though.
Is that a Weber grill on top ? I think I'd like my COG a little lower though.
You've got some great ideas... congrats again on a cool design and set up...

See Ya !
Curt
 

MHead

Adventurer
Webber - yes

Xtreme XJ said:
WOW !! I love my XJ and think it's a great base rig to build upon.....
I tip my hat to you both in the tent design and the cargo area.... too bad they don't make a rack long enough and sturdy enough for my tall/fat ass....
I don't see why it couldn't be done off of another platform though.
Is that a Weber grill on top ? I think I'd like my COG a little lower though.
You've got some great ideas... congrats again on a cool design and set up...

See Ya !
Curt
Yes, a Webber. There's more pictures at:
http://expeditionportal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5392

I like the Webber for charcoal cooking but especially for building wood fires. After dinner cooked over coals we just toss in some wood. Coals keep it going. We've cut the legs of the webber to get it down near the ground. It's really heat-efficient compared to a ground fire since you can cuddle up and put your legs partially under. Don't have to carry so much wood this way. Best thing is that you have good control of the fire since you can put it out by putting the lid on. In the morning the ash can be collected and bagged so nothing remains behind.

On the other hand the Webber is mostly spherical and doesn't pack well. I'm thinking of making a replacement with a flatter bottom and flatter top.

I hear you about stuff on top. I'm really paranoid of off-camber trails. I've tried to place only the lightest of cargo on top.

And lastly rack is plenty strong. I've a picture of 5 people sitting on mine at the same time. That's over 600 pounds. My rack is 4.5' X 6'. There was a 7' available. I have 6 attach legs from rack to Jeep. And I've cheated a little by welding in several extra cross-wise struts.

http://www.conferr.com/

Mine is a conferr but the web site says they've gone out of business. Too bad.

One point about XJ that isn't in my opinion really appreciated is that the roof has a folded seam where it connects to the body. This seam is several sheetmetal layers thick and provides a really strong point to anchor racks to. Newer designs in other vehicles have eliminated this seam.

Thanks for the compliments to all above! It's fun to make stuff that is appreciated.

Mike
 

Lynn

Expedition Leader
MHead said:
On the other hand the Webber is mostly spherical and doesn't pack well. I'm thinking of making a replacement with a flatter bottom and flatter top...
Mike,

When you said you wanted a flatter webber, it sounded like the one I've got:




If you're not sold on making one, you should check out the Aussie Grills portable charcoal.

Notice the stock photo above, that I borrowed from their site, looks like she's just bought it from Walmart's garden section? I think I got mine at Target.
 

cipioxx

Observer
awesome...

I wish I could make something like that. That tent is amazing and practical. I just got rid of 2 Cherokees and now wish I had kept them. I love your setup!!!
 

xcmountain80

Expedition Leader
MHead said:
Here are some pics in answer to a question about the cargo arrangement. Carco space in the back of this XJ is dedicated to food and tools. Clothing, chairs, and other items are carried on top. It seemed to me that access to food is needed throughout the day but access to items on top isn't necessary except when setting up camp.

The cargo space in an XJ isn't very well organized with the volume above the top of the back seat being hard to utilize. The rack in the picture attempts to make better use of this volume. Rack is made from 1/2" square aluminum tube, welded.

Top shelf is for coats, hats, other clothing items that are needed during the day. Next shelf down has three plastic tubs and holds dry-goods foods. Next lower, left column holds two drawers that are removed in picture but that can be seen elsewhere in this thread. Between these drawers is a pull out cutting board/shelf which is really convenient for preparing lunches. At bottom right is a pull out shelf with heavy duty sliders. Ice chest is placed here. Two 7 gal 'blue cube' plastic water tanks go between ice chest and drawers. Tools are stored in aluminum boxes made to fit behind sloped jeep rear seat. Pic 4 shows LED based light that is operated from jeep battery. This can be operated for long periods without fear of draining the battery. Pic 5 shows how rack is secured to XJ. I drilled two holes thru the jeep floor and bolted a steel strap containing a welded nut. An aluminum bridge secures to this nut and clamps the rack in place. Rack can be removed in just a few minutes.
Now I dont wanna rain on the parade but looks like you could use a trailer. You guys have more stuff than my wife and I, Im not even going to show her the pictures because she'll say see we could have taken that, and this, and 2 of those! But I still love the home made roof tent that is super cool. I forget what you said you were using as a mattress but I bought a temperpedic 2.5" or 2" foam mattress topper and covered it with a waterproof cover which added a bit of luxury to the plywood.





AAron
 

kcowyo

ExPo Original
MHead - very well done! :clapsmile

Love this pic. What an excellent use of space and creative design. Unique touches like the LED light and slide-out cutting table are brilliant.

I hope the summer will bring lots of opportunities for you and yours to get out and enjoy it.

:beer:
 

MHead

Adventurer
So far this summer have logger 3500 miles thru Eastern Sierra in California, Nevada's Great Basin Desert, Idaho Rockies, Yellowstone, and various other points. The shower is really awesome. First long trip for it and glad to have one each night! See the post http://expeditionportal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3261 for shower talk.

Flat Webber is a good idea! Have seen these but never actually considered them. Will look.

Matress is 1" foam in a slip cover made from old sheets. We put two full length 1" thermorest pads on top of this.

Thought long and hard about a trailer. I have tools to build a cool off-road type. But I often have to turn around in tight spots. Lots more difficult with a trailer. I value the mobility more than the extra stuff I could haul. And besides as several above have observed, I have plenty of stuff already!

Pictures below show Jeep inspiration. All are prairie schooners from about 1850. First two are taken at Three Island Crossing, Oregon Trail, southern Idaho. Last comes from Cove Fort in Utah. Note that one of the wagons has canvass that is designed to extend over the driver to give shade. I wanted the same effect but it was a complicated sewing job. The other wagon was less expensive most likely and has vertical ends.

The families who drove these about 150 years ago were really toughing it! But they carried all they had in life, not just my camping toys.

Last picture is Jeep in a Yellowstone campground. Don't like official campgrounds but sometimes I have to stay in one. You can partially see how the bug problem is addressed. I just purchased a rectangular bug net designed to be suspended above a cot with ropes. Put bits of velcro on this and mating velcro on the inside of the roof top tent. When in bug country I just clip this bug net up inside, then crawl inside the net.
 
Last edited:

MHead

Adventurer
The jeep has a few new features that might be fun to look at. These are

1) New 'sombrero' cover for rear
2) Refrigerator replaces icebox
3) New 'coffee service' shelf and stove

The first pic shows addition 1, the sombrero transport bag containing the sombrero. This is a tent-bag sort of thing closed by a zipper that runs horizontally. It is velcored to the roof rack and remains permanently attached. The sombrero is deployed by unzipping the bag and unrolling the sombrero within. The sombrero is permanently attached to the bag and so remains attached to the roof rack. When fully unrolled a fiberglass rod similar to the ones used for the roof top tent is placed into velcro tabs. The sombrero fabric keeps the rod bent and the rod's tendencancy to unbend tensions the fabric. The sombero is supported by simply laying on the open rear hatch of the jeep. The second picture shows it deployed. The idea is mostly shade, but it will also be useful in a gentle rain. Wind is something of a problem.


The third pic shows additions 2 and 3. It turns out by shear luck that there is an Engel refrig that is nearly exactlly the same size as the ice box that I previously used. A perfect fit. The interior volume of the Engel is a little smaller than the ice box, but when you deduct the volume of ice required for cooling I think there's a net volume gain. And refrigeration is great - no water in the cheese!! I added a second, deep cycle, battery to support the refrig overnight and also solar cells but these will be a subject for discussion later in this thread. Refrig slides in/out just like ice box did.

Picture 4 is a closer look at the coffee service. At right there's a Coleman burner which is plumbed to a small propane tank located within the spare tire rim. It's great not to have to set up a stove in the morning. The counter is stainless steel as are the supporting square tubes. These are connected to the spare tire carrier by welded tabs. Counter is held up by a wood prop and held down against the tire carrierby a bungee cord. It all folds flat so the tire is in the normal position for travel. It's outside the vehicle of course and it is yet to be seen what the effect of dust and rain might be on the stove.

All in all it makes for pleasant food service with nearly no setup/tear down time. Well under 5 minutes.
 
Last edited:
Top