Roof Top Tent Advice

Robert Mueller

New member
Hi all,

I am looking at getting a rooftop tent. I was wondering if anyone who has had any experience using them could let me know the pro's and con's and share any experience.

I look forward to hearing all of your stories,

Thanks,
Rob
 

TSnider

New member
The soft sided flip style ones are best suited for people who set up camp for days on end. I preferred this type for hunting trips as a base camp. They have the annex that can zip on and give you another enclosed space to get out of the rain without having to actually go up and lay in bed. I really miss having that feature. Setting them up takes 10-15 minutes typically. Putting them away takes 20-30 once you get good at it and usually requires climbing around on top of the tent to compress it enough to secure it shut. This is especially true if you keep bedding inside of it, which most do because thats part of the point of them.

Hard sided tents take about a minute to set up, and a few minutes to break down. I personally use the Alucab and its brilliant. All bedding stays inside, its got an insulated roof, double canvas walls so it retains heat, has power run to it, and can have gear stored on top of the tent. It was expensive, so unless your sleeping in it 40+ nights a year I dont know that many can justify the cost. If its raining and I have to put the tent away, I dont have to spend long in the rain to close it up. I did lose the ability to have an enclosed room at the bottom. The side access I use for the ladder also isnt shielded from rain, so if its wet out a little bit of rain gets in. Doesnt bother me much.

Different brand tents offer more or less options of course. Generally speaking anyone who has prolonged use of a RTT will recommend a hard shell. Less hassle, better in the wind, retain heat better, overall feels more secure. IKamper is a sort of hybrid between the two styles but I see people commenting on how thin the mattress is and Im not positive you can upgrade the mattress in those.
 

go4aryd

Adventurer
If Search or Google are not specific enough, then I would suggest hunting through Overland Journal, like this snippet,


Good luck on your adventure
 

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Robert Mueller

New member
The soft sided flip style ones are best suited for people who set up camp for days on end. I preferred this type for hunting trips as a base camp. They have the annex that can zip on and give you another enclosed space to get out of the rain without having to actually go up and lay in bed. I really miss having that feature. Setting them up takes 10-15 minutes typically. Putting them away takes 20-30 once you get good at it and usually requires climbing around on top of the tent to compress it enough to secure it shut. This is especially true if you keep bedding inside of it, which most do because thats part of the point of them.

Hard sided tents take about a minute to set up, and a few minutes to break down. I personally use the Alucab and its brilliant. All bedding stays inside, its got an insulated roof, double canvas walls so it retains heat, has power run to it, and can have gear stored on top of the tent. It was expensive, so unless your sleeping in it 40+ nights a year I dont know that many can justify the cost. If its raining and I have to put the tent away, I dont have to spend long in the rain to close it up. I did lose the ability to have an enclosed room at the bottom. The side access I use for the ladder also isnt shielded from rain, so if its wet out a little bit of rain gets in. Doesnt bother me much.

Different brand tents offer more or less options of course. Generally speaking anyone who has prolonged use of a RTT will recommend a hard shell. Less hassle, better in the wind, retain heat better, overall feels more secure. IKamper is a sort of hybrid between the two styles but I see people commenting on how thin the mattress is and Im not positive you can upgrade the mattress in those.
Thank you very much for your detailed reply, I am certainly going to be seriously looking into a few different hardshell options including the Alucab!
 

Robert Mueller

New member
If Search or Google are not specific enough, then I would suggest hunting through Overland Journal, like this snippet,


Good luck on your adventure
I really like the look of the roofnest !
 

TSnider

New member
Just keep in mind that specific Roofnest and the GoFast rtt are two of the tents on the market that you can’t store bedding in. Having to unpack bedding twice a day defeats some of a RTTs purpose in my eyes. In places like Moab or Colorado, you couldn’t store pillows or blankets in the vehicle and have the option of having a window rolled down at all on a trail. You would be breathing dirt while you sleep the rest of the trip.
 

Frogprince

Observer
I have had two. I had a cheaper one and then upgraded to the largest CVT. I ended up selling them both off and went back to tent camping.

Pros: Quick Setup, Stable, and in the case of the CVT very well made.

  • The last year we used the CVT it was setup and a wind storm came thru and shredded one tent in the group. We where out of the trees on the edge of a meadow and the trailer was rocking and the tent was being well tested. In the morning there was no damage to the tent.
  • Setup was quick. We where able to setup the tent in about 15 minutes and then unroll the sleeping bags and was ready to go. The annex was nice but it added to the time to setup up camp and in the end we didn't use the floor.

Cons: Water Leaks in the Annex, Lack of room, and not comfortable

  • The annex always leaked. The issue was the doors. They didn't or don't have a zipper along the bottom. Just a metal bar to help keep them weighted down and in high winds and large amounts of rain it would get inside the annex floor. So in the end it was easier to tarp inside the bottom of the annex and let the water drain on the ground.
  • Being tall (Over six foot) we needed the largest CVT Tent so it had the length needed. The issue was I couldn't really get much done while in the tent section. I could sit up in the center. IN the annex the ladders took up a good amount of the free room. So it was always working around the ladders. To me I feel I have more freedom in a standard tent with the cots then I did in the Annex/Tent Combo.
  • The mattress was horrible. I attempted to add some pads and etc but even my wife dreaded sleeping for a week on the RTT mattress. We looked at buying a new one out of Cali but never could get the company to commit on cost and a date.
The final thing that killed it for us was a family. While older kids could climb up and down the ladder our toddler couldn't. So that would mean going up and down with a toddler. My wife already struggled while pregnant getting down in the night to use the restroom. The other was our dog. Carrying a 60lb dog up and down the ladder was for the birds. Since we couldn't use the annex with a floor without getting wet we didn't feel comfortable leaving the dog down in the annex.

In the end back to a 10x14 Cabin tent with two cots. We have room for the Pack n Play for the kid and a dog bed for the woofer. It takes longer to set up but is more comfortable, dryer and to me more roomy. Also cost...all in we are in less than 1k. That RTT was over 3k and still didn't really fit what we needed.
 

cptorrez3

New member
Hello, well my opinion may differ but i feel i found a happy medium. I started with a knockoff rtt similar to a tepui or cvt. Initially i loved it, i found it very comfortable. But after a few years the little things started to bug me. Straps started to ware, and i hated...i mean hated putting in the rods for the windows. I then found a knock off of the freespirit recreation tents. It was still sof shell but basically had straps you strap to the rim of the truck and that holds up the frame. This kne wasnt nearly as comfortable but i could have added a mattress topper or more bedding. But once agian it was the fit and finish that was lacking.
Sooooo i was patient and found the perfect tent. It is a freespirit 55" adventure serries with the tri layer tech. It is still soft has 3 bars that clip togeather and your done. All the fit and finish is great...zippers, pulls, stitching, staps...all top notch. The bed is comfortable and washable. And the tri layer will perform great in weather. The reason i like the soft better is that i can add an anex, and to me it feels mor specious but to be honest i havent slept in a hard shell.

On a side not gofsr.com is havind a sale that ends soon. So check them out.
Pm me with questions
 

Beowulf

Expedition Leader
I ended up going with a hard shell. Speed of setup and packing were the main goals. Rarely am I in the same camp spot two nights in a row. I have a full thread on the install and my experience so far.

 

TimB

New member
I had a CVT mounted on a camp trailer, sold it after one week of use. Couldn’t stand the flapping and climbing up and down, could not get comfortable in bad weather even with the annex. CVT was well built and set up easily, I had no trouble selling it. Went to a Nordic style teepee that sets up in minutes, is rated for 8 men so is great for two people and two dogs. Heats with a wood stove, two large mattresses give a king size bed with sheets and wool blanket. Still room for camping chairs inside with stove and bed assembled.
 

TSnider

New member
I use a Kifaru Sawtooth for backpacking and hunting. Heated shelters are hard to beat, but a RTT rules in my opinion.
 

UltraDFW

New member
Small Columbus Variant (hardshell RTT). It's great. Setup and takedown in a couple minutes. Bedding stays in it so it's ready to go at all times. Included mattress & pillows are comfortable, even for side sleeping. Handles West Texas gusty wind w/ no problems. One surreal night we slept very well in it in a truck stop parking lot surrounded by massive oilfield tankers & the like, their engines running all night.
 

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