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Recommendation- tepui ruggedized Autana 3, ARB Simpson III or Gordigear Explorer Plus

Kstine98

New member
I am very new to this type of camping, but I’ve done a lot of research. I am down to considering these three rooftop tents. All three would have the annex included, and would be about $1500. Any recommendations on which set up would be better?

I chose these three due to footprint restrictions (60x60) - bed rack on my Jeep Gladiator.

I will be doing 4 season camping.

Thanks in advance for any feedback.
 

Popupbenji

New member
I am very new to this type of camping, but I’ve done a lot of research. I am down to considering these three rooftop tents. All three would have the annex included, and would be about $1500. Any recommendations on which set up would be better?

I chose these three due to footprint restrictions (60x60) - bed rack on my Jeep Gladiator.

I will be doing 4 season camping.

Thanks in advance for any feedback.
I’ve heard lots of great things in regard to gordi gear.


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NatersXJ6

Explorer
I've always found advice from @Box Rocket helpful with RTTs. He's a Tepui man, but refreshingly honest for a salesperson.
Agreed.

I’m on Tepui number 3 now, and have lots of positive experiences. The only reason I’m considering another brand as I look at a next tent is based on available sizes versus desires. I might just get to Tepui number 4, and stick with a known commodity. Time will tell.
 

Box Rocket

Well-known member
I've always found advice from @Box Rocket helpful with RTTs. He's a Tepui man, but refreshingly honest for a salesperson.
Thank you for the kind words. I'm no longer a salesperson. Have not worked with Tepui for over a year since they were acquired by Thule. Still the best quality/value RTT's on the market IMO. I have no dog in the fight any longer and Tepui is still my first choice. When I recommended them as a sales rep, it was because I genuinely believe what I recommended about them because of my own first hand experience. Nothing has changed except I'm not selling anymore.
Happy to weigh in with my opinion on other brands as well since I have some experience with most of them.
 

shade

Well-known member
Thank you for the kind words. I'm no longer a salesperson. Have not worked with Tepui for over a year since they were acquired by Thule. Still the best quality/value RTT's on the market IMO. I have no dog in the fight any longer and Tepui is still my first choice. When I recommended them as a sales rep, it was because I genuinely believe what I recommended about them because of my own first hand experience. Nothing has changed except I'm not selling anymore.
Happy to weigh in with my opinion on other brands as well since I have some experience with most of them.
I didn't realize that you'd moved on.
Their loss, without a doubt.
Thanks for commenting.
 
Thank you for the kind words. I'm no longer a salesperson. Have not worked with Tepui for over a year since they were acquired by Thule. Still the best quality/value RTT's on the market IMO. I have no dog in the fight any longer and Tepui is still my first choice. When I recommended them as a sales rep, it was because I genuinely believe what I recommended about them because of my own first hand experience. Nothing has changed except I'm not selling anymore.
Happy to weigh in with my opinion on other brands as well since I have some experience with most of them.

Interesting.
Thank you for the honest opinion.
Not to derail the OPs thread, but do you have an opinion about Free Spirit RTTs, particularly the High Country models with the “tri-layer” material.
Thank you!
 

ebrabaek

Adventurer
3'rd year on our Kughenam ruggerdized XL.
Continues to work great.
Have worked flawlessly. I really have nothing bad to say.
It would still be my choice should I have to buy a new RTT.
 

Box Rocket

Well-known member
Interesting.
Thank you for the honest opinion.
Not to derail the OPs thread, but do you have an opinion about Free Spirit RTTs, particularly the High Country models with the “tri-layer” material.
Thank you!
Sure I'll share my opinion. Different features and designs work better for different people and some don't work as well. So take my opinion as just opinion based on my own experience and uses. Your experience may be a little different.

Overall I think the FSR tents are good. Better than many of the cheaper options. Personally I'm not a fan of the base on these FSR tents. From what I've seen the overall construction is pretty good and I would compliment FSR for having a more unique design rather than just rebranding another cheap cookie-cutter tent like Smittybuilt and Tuff Stuff and several others. The big windows are a cool feature if that matters to you. Here's my thoughts on some features like that. If you are someone that likes to set up camp and stay in one spot for a few days, then things like big windows can be nice. On the other hand, if you typically are changing camp locations each night (which is what I typically do), I don't find the windows so useful because I really only set up the tent for sleeping and then I'm off again in the morning. For warm weather camping, big windows can be great for ventilation besides just giving a nice view.

One thing I've found in my own experience is that heavier tent material gets to a point of diminishing returns. It's possible to have tent material that's so heavy that it won't breath well and will get musty and stuffy inside in warm weather and in cold weather will have much more condensation inside. IMO the sweet spot is the 280-320g material weight, but nothing heavier than 320. If you feel like you want more insulation for cold weather then look at tents that offer either an exterior weatherhood, or internal insulation panels that can be used when needed. The FSR tri-layer ones are like that. Tepui also offers interior insulation panels. Heavier isn't always better. It's one of the features of tepui that has become one of my favorites. You can change out the tent canopies on the Tepui tents in about 30 seconds. I have a Ruggedized Tepui that is great in winter/spring and fall, but can be a bit warm in the summer. I have a second lightweight canopy that I can use in the summer time, essentially giving me the ideal tent for any conditions without needing to pay for multiple tents, just the canopy. I think the FSR tents have a good general weight for their canopy material that is adequate in all seasons but can use a bit more insulation in cold temps.

Another thing I like about the FSR is their rainfly design over the entrance. There are tents like CVT that have a similar rainfly that has side entrance protection for wind/rain. They idea is to block as much of the wind/rain as possible from the entrance, which makes sense. But the downside is if it completely covers the side, the rainfly becomes more like a sail in strong winds because it catches more air and the air has no easy escape. This can put more stress on the rainfly and it's attachments, it can also make it so the wind will try to close the tent unless you have the cantilevered side tied down.
The FSR rainfly has some of the same kind of side protection but it's open on the sides toward the bottom. Yes, this can mean some weather could get through, but it also gives wind that is trapped under the fly a place to escape. Personally, I prefer dealing with a small bit of weather than might get through rather than parts that are strained and may need to be replaced sooner.

Another thing from my own experience is that I prefer the telescoping ladders with the locking tabs on the bottom of the rung vs the locking tabs on the face of the rung. The counter-argument is that the tabs on the bottom make for a greater chance of pinching fingers when collapsing the ladder. That might be true, but in more than a decade of tent use I have yet to pinch a finger in the ladder so I don't think it's really an issue. A case could also be made for the tabs on the face of the rungs being easier to hit with your feet and possibly unlock a rung. Neither is a deal breaker, and more of a preference in small details. Myself I prefer the locking tabs on the bottom of the rungs like on Tepui ladders.
 

AlumniCU

Member
I have a Simpson III. Love it, and for a soft shell, it has the best and unique design for the vestibule; it is sloped and it will not collapse from filling with water. Most softshell RTTs today use a design for the vestibule that ARB abandoned years ago.

My experience with ARB customer service was amazing. While I haven’t owned the other brands you mention, I believe the quality, design and customer service can’t be beat.




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Gascan4X4

Low Speed, High Drag
For what it's worth, some years ago I bought a used ARB Simpson III, I wasn't sure if I would like roof top tents or not and wasn't willing to shell out full price for something I might not like. I was looking for a good deal on one "made" by the "big 3" (CVT, ARB, Tepui) and by happenstance came across an ARB Simpson 3. It's the only one out of the three where you don't need to use any guy-lines on the awning over the ladder. Hindsight 20/20, I would have bought the tent just for this feature alone; the idea of mucking about with stakes in the ground and create nigh-time tripping hazards isn't for me. My tent is 7 years old this year and the only thing I've done is reseal the seams inside as the factory seam-seal tape began to peel off, replaced two velcro straps and replaced the tent cover (The Florida sun is brutal), though, I reckon it could have lasted another year. Last of all, every time I go camping, it's like reliving my childhood of building forts/tree-houses; worth every penny!
 
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