Home made rooftop tent for XJ

MHead

Adventurer
Were you at Zion in April? I think I saw your rather distinctive truck in the campground there. I was tooling by in the NPS shuttle van so I didn't stop to say hi.
Yes, we were at the north end of the camp. Can't remember when exactly. Seems like it was the week prior to Easter.
 

MHead

Adventurer
Next Installment - mounting the tent to vehicle

This installment covers how the transverse rods are attached to the jeep.

The picture below shows one of the joints. You see the white 1/4" diameter fiber glass rod entering a 1/2" OD X 1/4" ID tube that has been welded to a 1" X 1" square tube, and a 1" square piece welded over the end of the tube. The material is aluminum painted black but steel would be more easily worked and not much heavier.

The tube is welded at an angle which preserves the circular bend in the fiberglass rod. Also the tube is a little outside and below the roof rack. This gives the vent and elbow room discussed above.

I drilled the 1/4" ID to 0.275 just to allow a free fit of the 1/4" fiberglass rod.




The picture below shows that the tube is in front of the rack, again for vent and also so that the front tent panel doesn't interfere with the lighting.



The 1" tube extends the length of the jeep and holds 4 fiberglass rod tubes. The picture below shows how this assembly is attached to the roof rack. This Confer rack has 3 supports on each side that clamp to the jeep roof seam. I take advantage of the bolts used to secure these supports to also secure the 1" tube. The bolt goes thru a tab welded to the top of the 1" tube.




Although difficult to see the last picture, below, shows the 1" tube extending the length of the jeep. It actually extends beyond the rear end of the roof rack by a couple of inches to give ventillation.

Of course there is a identical, symetric, 1" tube on the opposite side of jeep to receive there rods after they pass thru the tent.





The next installment will give a sketch of the tent canvas itself.
 

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MHead

Adventurer
Next installment - closer view of the tent

Here's a closer look at the canopy. The point here is that it is a relatively easy pattern and sewing job, being completely flat and rectangular.

The picture below shows the underside (the side you would see if you were inside the tent) of the tent. I've laid 3 transverse poles where they would normally go except on top of the sleeve they go in, and placed the fourth pole inside the sleeve. I haven't put the three lengthwise poles in the picture, but they go in the lengthwise sleeves.

The ends of the 4 transverse poles normally go into the holders shown in the last post. The lengthwise poles go down blind sleeves and are held in by the velcro flaps you see.

Notice the 4 tabs on each side of the tent. These have velco faces and wrap around the pole support 1" tube. These prevent really strong winds from sucking the entire tent and poles off the rack. These were a later addition based on high wind experience. Didn't loose the tent but we had to improvise an attachment. The tent does really well in high winds. It just collapses on the up wind side during the high gusts and springs back.

You can see the zippers at each end and the overhang flap.




Next picture is a close up of the wind-flap, zipper and pole. You can also see the draw string that closes the zipper flap. I've added a eyelet at tent corners so that the tent might be suspended by ropes to give some shade when not being a tent.





Last picture shows the ends. Not too much to say here except that these are flat and are an easy sewing job. You can see the zipper that mate to the tent zippers. The rear end has a complete zipper so that there's a door when half zipped. The front end has two zippers that meet at the top to make an adjustable vent.



The last installment covering the tent will be the bill of materials. After that it's on to the "sombrero" . (I don't name these, I have a friend who is in charge of names...)
 

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MHead

Adventurer
Here's the bill of materials

Tent material is Top Gun purchased from Rochford supply. Material comes in wider than 60" so two pieces can be sewn together at the dotted line in the sketch to make the top. I'm guessing about 12 yards for top plus the two ends.

http://www.rochfordsupply.com/product_listing.asp_Q_CatID_E_419_A_SubCatID_E_487_A_ProdID_E_3500

Zippers are

http://www.rochfordsupply.com/shop/...g_Zipper_10_With_Double_Metal_Pull/index.html

You'll need one 10' zipper and two 5' zippers.

You'll need to seal the seams:

http://www.rochfordsupply.com/shop/...scellaneous/Plastiseam_Seam_Sealer/index.html

I put eyelets in the corners for rope attachment should the canvas be used as some sort of wind break or cover.

http://www.rochfordsupply.com/shop/Fasteners/Grommets/Sheet_Brass_Grommets_and_Washers/index.html

Last you'll need 1/4" diameter fiberglass rods. 5 X 20'

http://www.eplastics.com/Plastic/Fi...adf492b2d2295fae.e3eSc3iSaN0Le34Pa38Ta38Pc3f0




And here's the sketch of dimensions:



This completes the roof top tent feature. Hope you liked it.
 

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MHead

Adventurer
Between installments - a little travel log

Thought a little travel log would be nice to break up the drawings and details.

Here's a fun trip. Spent New Year's eve at the Crystal Palace in Tombstone. It's Wyatt Earp's old bar. First picture is New Year's day, Tombstone AZ.


Next picture is about 20 miles by dirt road almost straight north of Tombstone at Chochise's Stronghold, Dragoon mountains. A nice remote place. Good rocks if you are a climber. Build a fire from down oak. Oak!

Last picture is dinner - genuine tex-mex in the dutch oven. There were patches of snow on the ground all around. A really good time!



 

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Explorer 1

Explorer
Conferr Roof rack light brackets

Nice build on the XJ!

I have I think 4 of these left over from my old Conferr Rack. I saw that you had a few lights on yours, any interest, let me know.

Thanks,
Fred
Explorer 1

 

Bigskyxj

New member
Well,
I love it brother and I think you gave me some really great ideas here. What did you use to seal the fiberglass rod guides after they were sewn on?

I know that you mentioned condensation forming inside from breathing, have you ever used a heater inside this setup and if so how well did it keep everything heated? I realize that you said there is plenty of ventilation with the endflap left partially unzipped but is it enough ventilation to run a small catalytic heater inside? How well has it held up to heavy rainstorms and or heavy snow.

What are the dimensions of your rack and how comfortably can you sleep.

How drafty does the unsealed bottom get and if you had to do it all over again would you seal the bottom?

Sorry for all the questions, I am sure you may have answered them somewhere else in this thread but I have already downed about a pot and a hlf of coffee and may have just missed it.
 

MHead

Adventurer
Well,
I love it brother and I think you gave me some really great ideas here. What did you use to seal the fiberglass rod guides after they were sewn on?

I know that you mentioned condensation forming inside from breathing, have you ever used a heater inside this setup and if so how well did it keep everything heated? I realize that you said there is plenty of ventilation with the endflap left partially unzipped but is it enough ventilation to run a small catalytic heater inside? How well has it held up to heavy rainstorms and or heavy snow.

What are the dimensions of your rack and how comfortably can you sleep.

How drafty does the unsealed bottom get and if you had to do it all over again would you seal the bottom?

Sorry for all the questions, I am sure you may have answered them somewhere else in this thread but I have already downed about a pot and a hlf of coffee and may have just missed it.
Thanks, Fred, for offer of Confer brackets. Sorry, I don't need these. I welded tabs to the rack for my lights.

Ok, questions... thanks for these since if you want to know then others will also.

Sealer.. see the link in the bill of materials above. Think it is the third one.

Heater... never tried. Rack is 4 1/2 feet wide X 6 feet long so all the space is consumed by bedding. No place for a heater save hanging it. I'm a backpacker so I'm happy in a down bag. Current record low temp is 20 deg F and it was really no problem. The roof top tent is mostly just a sleeping place. In a few days I'll post how I manage shelter for eating and non-sleep. Yes there's plenty vent for CO2 heater exhaust. But the heat would go out same way.

No really heavy rain and no snow experience. In gentle rain you get a nice dry feeling inside the tent. Mostly I guess this comes from knowing that there won't be any flooding like happens in a ground tent. Snow should be no problem since there's no surface for it to accumulate on. Same with rain, no surface for it to puddle. Like any tent it does get moist inside after several days rain. Most moisture risk is to bedding while traveling or setting up/taking down while raining. I have a travel cover that works really well. But I don't have a setup/tear down during rain solution. This is the main weakness of the tent. Not too bad if it is just raining. If you are quick you can get the cargo off, tables off and flip the folded tent out to give cover. But if there is rain and wind then it's gonna get wet. Setup in strong wind can be done but it is a slow process.

In my use down here in CA deserts I don't see much rain. I know the tent survives very strong winds.

Rack dimensions - 4 1/2' wide and 6' long. Sleeps two quite comfortably. This is a little wider than a standard double bed. I'm 5' 10".

Drafty - in a do-over I'd leave the bottom vents. I really like them. If you close the zipper vent you limit the buoyant heat convection mostly. External moderate winds don't generate much internal drafts.
 

MHead

Adventurer
Next installment - Sombrero

The next feature is the "sombrero". No I didn't name it. I have a friend who invents names. But they are nice to refer to these things.

First a couple of pictures of the sombrero in action:






The sombrero refers to the circular canopy that extends out from the back of the Jeep. I've spent some time building a kitchen into the back of this jeep. The sombrero is built to make the kitchen experience pleasant. Mostly it keeps the sun off and provides a shady cool spot to make lunch. But it will also keep a gentle rain off and helps in a wind. I've pictured it at night above to make the point that it also provides a good deal of light reflection which helps when working in the kitchen under simple lantern lights.

Sombrero is attached to the rear of the roof rack and is quickly and easily deployed. The perimeter is stretched by a fiberglass rod similar to those used in the roof top tent. Vertical support comes from the jeep Cherokee rear hatch. Cherokee has a perfect rear hatch for this. It is big enough to support a large sombrero without poles and just happens to provide a high center point so that rain won't puddle.

If it happens that the wind is steady from some direction the jeep can be parked pointed into the wind. In this case the triangular sides of the sombrero and the sombrero top provide a modestly wind-free bubble. Really nice if the wind is cold. Unfortunately the sombrero as shown in the pictures doesn't do very well if the wind is gusting around.

That's it for this installment. Next I'll show how it is attached and some close ups of features.

Mike
 

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RgrBox

Adventurer
Wow.. very nice tent.. and that cooking table and cooker mounted like that is ingenious.. did you make that?

RB
 

MHead

Adventurer
Next installment - attaching the sombrero

The idea behind the sombrero is shade for lunch on the road/trail. In must be quickly and easily deployed. So it should be transported already in position for quick acces and depend mostly on the jeep for support. The previous posts show that the jeep rear hatch provides support. Here's how it is attached and transported.

The picture below shows the stuff sack. The sombrero is actually sewn into this sack and the sack attached to the roof rack. The sack is secured to the bottom rail of the roof rack and has two velcro straps that hold it up when traveling. Attachment to the lower rail is accomplished by 4 velcro tabs as shown in the second picture.

Sombrero is supported by a 18' long 1/4" diameter fiberglass rod. This is transported like the tent rods, by wrapping from one side of the roof rack to the other. You can see this rod (white) just below the sack.

All that is required to access the sombrero is to pull the zippers of the sack open. The sombrero is rolled inside and just falls out.

Next installment will show the set up.



 

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MHead

Adventurer
Wow.. very nice tent.. and that cooking table and cooker mounted like that is ingenious.. did you make that?

RB
Yes, the cooker was bought off the internet and the table constructed by me. I'll give better pictures in a future post.

Thanks!
 
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