Is a RTT or ground tent better for my use?


Active member
Those ground cot shelters are pretty cool. Eventually someone will make a slightly bigger upgraded version.
The other thing I like is the gazelle tents. Fast up and great reviews!


Those ground cot shelters are pretty cool. Eventually someone will make a slightly bigger upgraded version.
The other thing I like is the gazelle tents. Fast up and great reviews!
The Gazelle tents do look good. I wish someone would come out with a canvas type of hub tent like that. Oztents are cool but they are really long packed up and even the RV-5 largest model won’t comfortably fit 3+ people on cots at least I don’t think so nor have I seen any canvas hub tents.

Teton Sports has a two person Vista tent that is pretty cool and goes on top of two cots stacked next to each other. That’s about the largest I’ve seen.

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There's no simple answer. Cost wise, you're better off in a ground tent. The best compromise would be RTT on a Trailer. You get to keep the base camp aspect of things, and gain the advantages of a RTT. All can be done on a budget. All told I've got less than $4000 invested in my entire setup, including the jeep. But that kind of savings comes with a lot of sweat equity and searching for great deals.

20220219_142243 by Tim, on Flickr


I can't tell you how many times I have been "cheap tent camping" (meaning $150 or less) in severe weather and the next day, we were literally the only people left in the State Park still rocking our cheap tent and a good 10x15' tarp with custom grommets that I did myself, and 2 poles & we were dry as a bone.

If you want an absolutely amazing tent that will hold up to 8 hrs of torrential rain and 50 mph wind, I can personally vouch for the Cabelas Alaskan Guide tents. We were bone dry & the only people left in the park with a tent. But they are not cheap. We had the 8 person model.

Also, I am a strong advocate of Nikwax & coat all my tents with it. It's not cheap either but it works great. I treat the rainfly and the tent.

On our 1985 honeymoon in Alexandria Bay, I was unemployed and used 2 US Army shelter halves and a custom made tarp over the tent and under/inside the tent as a floor. Sides folded up and snapped to the custom snaps I installed. We had a wicked storm blow in and we were dry, but water was actually running/flowing under the floor tarp. But we were dry. Car was lower than tent and water was almost 1/4 way up the tires. We were the only ones left in a tent.

So, you can spend a little or a lot. Choice is yours. The big Cabelas tent is HEAVY AND TIME CONSUMING to set up but it definitely lives up to the "base camp" name.


Well-known member
For our "big trips" we have a bed set up in the vehicle, and this is our preference, however we have experience with RTT and ground tents:

1) Roof top tent - we used this in a rental vehicle for 5 weeks. It made no financial sense to ship our own vehicle for a 5 week trip, we needed a 4x4 (for access to the high country), and didn't want to/couldn't afford to pay for a huge 4x4 camper. We had seen others wrestle with RTTs, taking anything up to 45 minutes or so to put up/take down however thought it would be good to have some experience.

So - a rental vehicle with a Columbus Autohome RTT. It worked very well - 2 minutes to put up/take down, comfortable, warm, good shelter. No complaints, and we solved the question of having to climb down in the middle of the night. DIsadvantages: more wind noise, more aerodynamic drag, hence slightly higher fuel consumption, higher CoG with impact on stability, although this RTT is very light so didn't have that much impact. Overall it was a very good solution to our needs for this trip.

2) Ground tent(s) - we have camped in ground tents over many years, however had not done so for a long time. This (northern hemisphere) summer we needed to travel as a group of three, so the bed in our vehicle was not going to work. The solution was to buy two ground tents. This worked very well for this 5 week trip. Time to set up was around 20-25 minutes (2 tents). Some sites had very stony ground and putting in tent pegs was occasionally challenging. Some sites were not as flat as one would hope so there was some juggling of location to get it right. Putting away two wet tents after a rainy night was slower and inconvenient in terms of keeping other stuff dry. The tents took up some interior space, however not that much, and the mass was kept relatively low.

So - horses for courses! We continue with the approach of using a bed in the vehicle as the best for us on our "normal" big trips, however both the RTT and ground tents have worked for us when circumstances required a different approach.


Do it for the 'gram
I think I want a RTT but I have one big concern. We do not dispurse camp, where we do the majority of our trail riding you can only camp in designated areas so we typically setup a base camp and spend the day adventuring coming back to the base camp in the evening. I’m worried setting up and breaking down the RTT each day will grow old vs a ground tent I leave in place until we are done camping on the trip. How long does your RTT take for setup/tear down? Also if your situation was similar to mine would you got for the RTT or a nice ground tent like an OZ Tent?
The OZ Tent is a great choice for your use case.

Some of my thoughts on the subject:



All good information on here. A couple things that I think are worth mentioning are: wind & weather intrusion.

I can't tell you how many times I've spoken to people with rtt's that bring up the wind. Unless you sleep "dead to the world", strong wind can make them flap so much, that sleeping becomes an issue.

Also, there are more instances of weather intrusion than there should be for something that costs $2-4000+. For that price I would be highly upset if It let water or snow inside the tent. Simply unacceptable at the price point of rtt's.

So do your homework/research before you buy. I would want every penny back + shipping, if I paid $2-$4k & it leaked. As you have already found, different people have different needs & weather plays a huge role. We are all curious what people buy & why but most of all, I think that nobody wants to waste money on something that does not deliver.


I love our tent cot. You could mount it on the roof, trailer or on the ground. I usually put it on the bed if the truck. But the ground is even easier. Ours is a bit heavy but manageable. They have a fold up one too that packs easier, like a pop up shade cover. They are one combined unit so together and pop up in one unit not like the OZ or Teton.

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