Popup/tent trailer vs Two RTT (roof top tents)


We are planning another spring trip down to Arizona/Utah/NewMexico for end of March beginning of April 2018. In the past we have pulled a 20ft travel trailer. The camping was comfy but the drive down and home was not enjoyable, especially with the fuel economy hit of all that trailer. So another time we went tent only, and that was a much better drive, and allowed us to explore more. But setting up and taking down the bedding every day was annoying when moving around. We now have 1 roof top tent, and it is great for 1 or two people but not 4. So we are now looking at either getting a second RTT or getting a Pop up trailer. From my research pulling the tent trailer would hit the fuel economy, but not as bad as the travel trailer. The main advantage would be having a place to store gear and toilet for the ladies. We are looking at toy hauler types with a bathroom. The downside would be setup, price and where we can go.

The other option is getting the second Roof Top Tent, and just using my normal camping setup. Has one done this? I have a Nissan Frontier crew cab, and have seen pictures of them fitted with two tents, so I know it would fit. Curious what draw back their would be, besides the lack of a ladies room?


Expedition Leader
Have you seen the vmi trailers? Kinda a combo hard side pop top. Fast setup, yet lower profile than the full hard side RV trailer. The tent trailers are not quick setup / tear down rigs they suck for the one night stops. Thats what I hate about ours. But for 2+ day base camp setup the tent trailer is great. Ours is small 4x6 but it has two queen beds , zero furniture just a tent and beds on a trailer. Mileage hit is nearly zero behind the Sequoia and the Subaru runs 21mpg vs say 28-29mpg without.

I think the ultimate mix would be a vmi style 6ft high hard side pop top, with rear opening door for bicycles, kayak etc, then a front slide out outside/kitchen under a awning. Then the vmi bunks inside bunk up top, and bunk down low.


We have a popup trailer and have pulled it from FL to Canada doing 1 night stops the whole way. It's no more than 30 minutes working as a team, wife and I, just setup for sleeping. it's a 12' box with a front trunk with a king and queen beds. It weights in at 2,500lb loaded, but it came with AC, water heater, outdoor shower and indoor cassette toilet, 3 way frig, heater; so it can only carry 400lb cargo.

My 4runner mpg hit was from 18 down to 15 pulling on the hwy. My wife's Santa Fe Sport 2.0T goes from 27mpg hwy to 18.

We love tent camping but having the popup is so much better for her, hot water, AC, propane heater, ladies room inside and sleeping on a happy bed. It's work but worth it for us.
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What about a cargo trailer, built out inside with additional sleeping, possibly a toilet setup inside. Takes some work to get them livable inside, but building a cargo trailer into a camper is significantly cheaper than buying a factory camper, and they are built sturdier as well. Would make a good option for mounting your RTT to as well.

www.tnttt.com - they have a cargo trailer conversion section with some pretty impressive builds. Everything from smaller 5x8 builds to 7x16 toyhaulers.


what are you doing with it is what should dictate what you get....
a popup trailer is a good option depending.. make sure you understand the put up and take down process... some of them can be a pain in butt... they are not RTT's

we use our AT as a basecamp and pull in to camp, level it, lock it down and take off.. when we come back, it takes maybe 30 minutes for the trailer and the Oz tent to get setup (if we are 4 up we use the trailer RTT and the Oz, 3 up it just the RTT and that is a 10 min process with the shower setup). i would also make sure you can do it in the dark as well... with minimal stress.

my criteria was quick setup but most importantly fast take down (30 minutes again as long as the kids put stuff back in the trailer) and modular since i go with one kid, 2 kids and also my wife in all combos. We camp at both established places and out in the boondocks with no facilities about equally.

so my 2 cents is it depends on what you are doing, if an interior bathroom is a must then a hard side or a large popup with a cassette toilet is your go to.. we use an outside solution and the wood :) teach them early

final thought.. each RTT weighs 100+ Lbs and 2 of them would suck if your off road on a trail... also it would suck for take down purposes. Possible just probably not a great idea... just my 2 cents..


Expedition Leader
^ rlynch nailed the warning on the popup tent trailer. Thats my biggest complaint about mine. But mine doubles as a utility trailer and toy hauler. I really like that multi use aspect.


The VMI Alpine with a large rear door so I could wheel a bike in, or haul gear etc would be an awesome replacement to my tent trailer.
Fast setup, sleeps 4, nice accomidations etc. only other idea I like is the slide out cooking drawer up front, out the right side under an awning.

Plus a decently low profile/roof line.