iKamper Skycamp initial thoughts and observations

#1
So I bit the bullet and did the KickStarter. I received the tent 2 weeks ago and mounted it last week.

First trip with it was to Overland Expo East. All in, it cost me $3000, that includes the annex, awning, and canopy. I opted for the medium ladder at 94" in length.

Here are my Positive thoughts and comments:

1. This thing is HUGE! I mean its absolutely cavernous. I'm a larger guy at 6'2" and 250lbs, and I fully believe you could fit 4 of me in here and sleep relatively comfortably (Its 80" wide!). For sure 2 adults, 2 kids, and probably a dog or 2 would all fit at the same time. Absolutely ingenious.

2. Opening the tent is very straight forward and initial set up takes about 60 sec. This is a huge plus to me.

3. Mounting is also very easy and straight forward. At only 160lbs its relatively light, but the size requires 2 people, 3 if your roof or rack is over 6' off the ground, to lift and mount.

4. The poly canvas is on par with other tents and I have yet to find any flaws in the sewing or seam sealing.



Now on to the bad parts.

1. The shell is extremely thin. Far thinner than the other fiberglass tent shells on the market. How thin you ask? Well I can see fibers in the gel coat, I can deform the shell with just a light hand touch, and at night as the temp drops the shell pops as its contracting. There are also very visible waves, bumps, and deformations in the shell when the light hits it just right. This is probably my largest concern with the tent and why the damn Chinese shouldn't make anything unless meticulously micro managed.

- side note: What is this obsession with Fiberglass? Its brittle, cant take a hit, sucks to work with, and overall is a sub par material when compared to roto-mold plastic or ABS plastic. Personally, if I were designing a hardshell tent it would have a roto-mold shell. Have you ever heard of a new roto-mold kayak breaking, its VERY rare because the plastic is tough as nails. But what do I know, I just have a degree in engineering. (snarky side note over)

2. The mattress is absolute dog poop. Who on this planet can sleep on a 1" thick mattress?! I had to add a 2" topper, which for my wife was fine but left me wanting about an inch more of foam. Perhaps if you're a back or stomach sleeper the mat would be sufficient, but for me its sorely lacking. If folding it is the problem, why not offer an inflatable mattress? (side note: Why has no one done this yet!)

2b. When closing the tent with the additional 2" mattress topper, there is zero room left for bedding. The topper must also be folded twice and slid all the way in the back nearest the hinges to ensure a proper closure.

3. The windows, screens, and covers all zip and roll up. Why would you design it this way? They should all zip down so I can let as little or as much light in as I want as well as adjust the venting. The black out shade zip is also only reachable from the outside. It needs to have a 2 way zipper so I can open/close it from inside the tent.

4. The side windows do not have spring stays, so its either all the way open or all the way closed.

5. There needs to be a vent fan like a James Baroud. There is no way to vent the tent of air or condensation when the rain fly is installed. To me this is a huge problem.

6. The awning and annex require that the fly be installed since both use the fly as its only method of attachment to the tent. Huge design flaw in my opinion. What if its a hot summer day and I want shade AND venting of the tent? Because of this I cant have both.

7. The design of the awning lends itself to a difficult pitch. I think its due to the fly connection and the shape. Its doable, but it takes a few stakes and time to get going. With practice i think 5min setup time is reasonable.

8. The annex does not have a floor.

9. The plastic securing latches are cheap and seem brittle. They also rub the edge of the shell and will cause premature wear.

10. Last one. The name is so incredibly stupid and over played, as are the name badges (bubble letters... REALLY!) The iPod came out, what, 16 years ago this month, and people are STILL trying to ride those coat tails with "i" branded products? It's insulting, un-inventive, and down right intellectual theft if you ask me.


Now, I know there are a lot more negative points here, but with a few very minor, easily changed construction details, and one major (the shell), this tent could very well become the best on the market. Its certainly the largest, which right now is its only redeeming feature in my opinion. It needs a gen 2 release STAT.

Coincidentally, I plan on selling mine, its not that I don't like the tent, because I do. I am just moving in a different direction. If you are still convinced you want one, PM me and we can discuss.
 
Last edited:
#4
My wife is a huge kickstarter supporter. She showed me is one with two weeks left in the deal. I almost got pressured into doing it but held off. Found a 23ZERO soon after. Thanks for the first impressions sir.
 
#5
Nice to hear some feedback from real users on the iKamper. I got mine two weeks ago also but haven't been able to get out yet due to recovery from recent surgery. I plan on doing a lot of tweaks and improvements to it. In a perfect world, I'd like to see an aluminum shell with roof storage, a better designed floor hinge that folds over leaving a bigger gap to allow for a proper mattress and some solid latches. Yes the name is goofy but it's also very easy to remove the logo haha. The design of the iKamper really is the game changer I think. It's super quick and plenty spacious. I would think this should be the direction Tepui, CVT and most soft shell companies should head. It's the hard shell setup and takedown ease, combined with the soft shell roominess.

Despite all the preconceived faults, I'm pretty stoked to get out and start using it. RTTs are all compromise. There's no perfect setup.
 
#6
Some photos.

Shell deformation



Wear at latch



Zipper to awning does not lock or match up. Had to use a guy line to keep it zipped on.




Blackout shade rolled up




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Box Rocket

Adventure Fan
#7
I was able to check these out up close at Outdoor Retailer a couple years ago. Granted there have been a few minor changes since then for the production model but the negative points mentioned are consistent with my own impressions when I saw it. Premise of the iKamper is good, but the execution is sub-par IMO. FWIW, Tepui has been exploring this idea (fold out tent space with a hardshell cover) for quite a while. As always, look for segment innovation from Tepui.
 
#8
I feel the ikamper design is the best path forward in regards to a RTT that has a hardshell and can sleep 4. It might have some issues now but honestly for the weight this is the only ticket for a family. I have an alucab expedition 3 that I LOVE. its super burly and can be bashed into low hanging branches all day, carry, surfboards, and sets up in 30 seconds. That being said it's a tight squeeze for just my wife and I. I'm screwed when I have a family of three LOL.

I was super intrigued by Tepui's hardshell but honestly I think that experience goes to show you how hard it is to develop a new tent and make a business case for it. I had to bail on their kickstarter as they where 10 months behind schedule and the finished tent left a lot to be desired (zero headroom). I think they scrapped the whole project as they are not making them anymore. I really hope Tepui can design an ikamper like tent, though I have my doubts based on my experience with the white lightening. I would love to support them as they are a local company to me and are good guys/ladies. However they need to hire a project manager (they can hire me :) it's what I do for a living).

Honestly I think every one of these hardshell tents should be made out of aluminum. My expedition 3 weighs about 150 and is burly! I dream of an aluminum hardshell that folds out like the ikamper, made in the USA, it would prob cost something close to AT's habitat though...................
 
Last edited:
#9
FWIW, I used to work in the outdoor industry on the retail side of things. Companies RARELY if ever listen to consumers, let alone industry insiders. BUT, I spoke with CVT and they are working on a "very large" rotomold shell that could end up being larger than a James Baroud XXL. JB is also working on an ABS shell model. Both are more than a year out I imagine.
All it takes is someone not willing to compromise on design. Unfortunately, there are not many people left that are like that.
I also feel that we are on the precipice of some major industry innovations. The industry is rapidly growing and soon I think it will hit hits peak. In a year or so, at least that's my thought.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Last edited:
#10
Some photos.

.....
Wear at latch



.....
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Interesting - I will have to look at mine there, thanks for the review, too. Had it on for the last trip of approx 2700 miles, will be interesting to check there. I didn't use the awning yet but that's annoying if that's not a one-off. My shell has no deformations, but I've seen pics of others like yours. It's definitely somewhat of a pisser.
 
#11
Thanks for the review. I was seriously considering jumping into the kickstarter when I first saw this tent, it looked very promising. But I'm not willing to be a beta tester for a purchase this big. I'm hoping after a few years they listen to some of the customers to work out all the flaws and hopefully release a new improved version.

I was also surprised when I heard how thin the mattress is from one of the earlier reviews. I guess it's a tradeoff, a thicker mattress either means a thicker profile and less room for bedding, or both. So you can't have it all.

How long does it take to pack it away? Is it a lot of trouble to stuff all the fabric back under the shell, or do they have guylines to pull it in?
 
#12
Thanks for the review. I was seriously considering jumping into the kickstarter when I first saw this tent, it looked very promising. But I'm not willing to be a beta tester for a purchase this big. I'm hoping after a few years they listen to some of the customers to work out all the flaws and hopefully release a new improved version.

I was also surprised when I heard how thin the mattress is from one of the earlier reviews. I guess it's a tradeoff, a thicker mattress either means a thicker profile and less room for bedding, or both. So you can't have it all.

How long does it take to pack it away? Is it a lot of trouble to stuff all the fabric back under the shell, or do they have guylines to pull it in?
It literally takes 2 minutes (initially took me about 5 minutes) - fold up the ladder and the platform, pull down on the nylon strap in the middle - the tent will stick out some on both the front and rear - open up a couple of inches and put the excess from the rear in, move to the front, open up a couple of inches and put the excess from the front it, close catches.

I agree on the mattress - but the 1" wasn't terrible - I slept mostly through the nights on it, though would upgrade it if used more often. Definitely better than the thermarest pad I have for ground camping......
 
#13
.

I agree on the mattress - but the 1" wasn't terrible - I slept mostly through the nights on it, though would upgrade it if used more often. Definitely better than the thermarest pad I have for ground camping......
See I have a thermarest neoair and find it extremely comfortable, but it is 3" thick and filled with air.

But this 1"pad BS really gets to me. Especially after spending 3k on this thing. I'll need to look online and see if I can order a custom foam mattress for it. May just go with a super high density 3-4" mattress and get rid of the original.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
#14
How much space is there between the fixed half and folding half when folded? If it was designed for a 1" mattress I assume ikamper probably didn't budget a lot of extra room for thicker mattresses, pillows, and sleeping bags. What happens if you leave too much stuff in it? Does the ladder portion contact the outer shell? Being able to leave the bedding in the tent is one of the main advantages to having a RTT, if that's not possible then that's something to consider. Too bad thermarest doesn't make a self inflating mattress for RTT's, seems like that would solve the problem.

On my tent I lined the floor with those interlocking foam tiles for some added insulation and noise reduction. With a 2-3" mattress I can't really feel the difference unless I'm kneeling on it, but it might improve the comfort of a thinner mattress. Even with those thin foam tiles under the mattress, I can feel the resistance due to the added thickness when closing it.
 
#15
How much space is there between the fixed half and folding half when folded? If it was designed for a 1" mattress I assume ikamper probably didn't budget a lot of extra room for thicker mattresses, pillows, and sleeping bags. What happens if you leave too much stuff in it? Does the ladder portion contact the outer shell? Being able to leave the bedding in the tent is one of the main advantages to having a RTT, if that's not possible then that's something to consider. Too bad thermarest doesn't make a self inflating mattress for RTT's, seems like that would solve the problem.

On my tent I lined the floor with those interlocking foam tiles for some added insulation and noise reduction. With a 2-3" mattress I can't really feel the difference unless I'm kneeling on it, but it might improve the comfort of a thinner mattress. Even with those thin foam tiles under the mattress, I can feel the resistance due to the added thickness when closing it.
I'll have to measure, but I'm pretty sure it's only about 2.5". So not much room. The floor extension only cover about half of the main floor when folded though, so in order to fit a topper or bedding all you need to do is push everything towards the shell hinge side. You don't have room for both though. It's either a topper or bedding.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Top