Smittybilt Overlander RTT Review

CurtStyler

Observer
Hey all! I wanted to do a write up on my Smittybilt Overlander Tent. I didn't even know Smittybilt was in the RTT tent game until about 10 minutes before
I bought this. I picked up the deal from 4WheelParts last year when they had it for $599.00 After tax I paid $659.00 with free in store pickup.



Dixie County FL

I had been planning on saving up for a Kukenam Sky from Tepui, but I jumped at the opportunity to get basically the same tent for a fraction of the price. (It's not EXACTLY the same but I will get to that.)

This is my first RTT and I'm tried to separate what I do and don't like about an RTT and the actual differences between this one and others from CVT and Tepui. I tried my best to reference the spec sheets to come up with the differences. With that said let's get into it.


If videos aren't your thing, I summarized my findings below:


The Overlander retails currently for $849.99. While CVT and Tepui both sell tents in this price range, they are smaller than the Overlander. The Smittybilt features a 95"x56" open size which more directly compares to the Tepui Kukenam Sky ($1350.00) and the CVT Mt. Bachelor ($1250.00). It's worth noting that the CVT also includes an annex for that price but does not feature skylight roof panels. The Tepui Kukenam Sky does feature the roof panels and otherwise appears extremely similar to the Smittybilt Overlander.

I'm going to run through a few of the places that I notices Smittybilt cut corners on the Overlander vs the others.

1) Zippers are not YKK and are not waterproof on the Overlander Tent. They do feel like they are durable, but just not waterproof. This doesn't matter too much because they are all covered and it would be unlikely to have a leak unless you had the rainfly off and it started pouring rain.

2) Ladder: The Ladder on the Overlander is one of the square style instead of the collapsable tube style that Tepui is now using. It's higher and takes up more space, but it is also easier to clean and customize the height if you have a short vehicle like I do. The ladder appears the same as the CVT Tent.

3) Lighting: The Overlander comes with a velcro LED strip for inside the tent. It runs off any USB power source and is very nice for lighting up the tent at night. It does come with a cigarette lighter adapter , an extension cable and a USB charger port for your car if that is how you want to power the light.

4) Fit and Finish: I will say there are things on the Overlander that just feel rushed. I had to vacuum the tent to clean up some metal shavings left from the manufacturer. I also had to drill out some of the holes on the frame where the metal pole go in to hold open the rainfly because they were off or not deep enough. All of this was pretty minor but it had to be done.

5) Inside the tent all of the seems look well taped, but you can see a few holes that are beneath the tape. These are really small and I doubt they will cause much of a fuss, but they are there. It just looks like the fabric is stretched a bit too much.

The last few bits all have to do with the tent in it's closed position.

6) The straps you use to close the tent once it is folded are made of velcro instead of using a clip mechanism. The straps themselves feel thin, but I haven't had any problem with them yet. I'm curious how they will hold up long term.

7)The black weather cover is attached with a large 2 inch thick piece of velcro around the perimeter of the tent. No matter how hard you try, there is also some part that is not fully closed. I doubt any water will get in, but it could be a way for bugs to enter the tent when it's packed away. This also means that you make a lot of noise when either setting up, or packing away the tent when you try to maneuver the velcro into place. It's not an issue all the time, but when you are trying to pack up quietly in a campground before sunrise it's a bit of a challenge to not wake everybody up.

That's about it as far as differences from what I can tell. I'm pretty happy with the tent, although it was a bit cold the other night when it dropped to 45 degrees. I can also see myself adding a bit more foam to the mattress, it's better than sleeping on the ground but another inch or so and it could be better.
 

Kevin108

Explorer
Like you, I was ready to get a Kukenam Sky, but the price point was just too convincing. I have about a week's worth of nights in our tent. I've found it comfortable and stable. I agree with most of your findings here as well.




My tent has a battery-operated LED strip, but I'd love to get a setup like yours came with.

The spring rods for the window awnings were a tight fit initially, but after forcing them in and out a few times, it's much easier.




The plastic corner, which is the open part of the channel for feeding in the velcro, is one thing that's highly susceptible to damage in shipping. I haven't looked at them closely, but I would imagine you could drill out the rivets and replace the component.

I really need the extension for the ladder for the height mine is mounted, but the price of the extension was close to the price of a telescoping ladder. I've split the difference, leaving the stock ladder in place for setup and support while using a telescoping ladder for entry/exit, to setup the rain fly, and for other camp tasks.




The only issue I had with mine was having to redrill a hole for the ladder mount.



One note regarding how you've installed the crossbars on your roof rack: I think you've put the fasteners upside down. The bolts should be in the inserts that go into the channel, then the nuts under the bottom plates. It may never be an issue, but I wanted to let you know my observation.
 

tarditi

Explorer
Excellent video walkaround!

What are those bungee cords for? It looks like it's straining the stitching on the eyes tab when you were showing that feature and talking about it being non-adjustable...
FYI - tie the one end into a prusik back onto the cord (run it through the eye on the hook) and you'll be able to adjust the tension.
 

pray4surf

Explorer
Excellent video walkaround!

What are those bungee cords for? It looks like it's straining the stitching on the eyes tab when you were showing that feature and talking about it being non-adjustable...
FYI - tie the one end into a prusik back onto the cord (run it through the eye on the hook) and you'll be able to adjust the tension.
Those bungee's pull the sides of tent into the middle as you fold it back on itself. I typically unhook one side of each (x4) during setup and re-clip them when stowing away the tent. Quality looks very similar to my ancient CampingLab RTT, which has held up very well (6 years now)
 

Kevin108

Explorer
What are those bungee cords for? It looks like it's straining the stitching on the eyes tab when you were showing that feature and talking about it being non-adjustable...
FYI - tie the one end into a prusik back onto the cord (run it through the eye on the hook) and you'll be able to adjust the tension.
They're supposed to pull the farbic towards the center when you close the tent. I've used them and not used them and couldn't tell any difference. I do like the one nearest the door though. I thread it through the handles of the red strap so it pulls them toward the rear when you open things up.
 

captwoody

Adventurer
I have had my Overlander for over a year now and still learned a few things from your video so Thank you for the video. I had all the same issues except my corner plastic was good. I used shoe goo too seal those sewing holes by the support beams and have had no issues since. They leaked before that, but just a little. I did not know how to use those inside bungees correctly but now I do. I got mine for about 620 from 4 wheel parts and I had a couple hundred in gift cards so out of pocket was a little over 400 out of pocket (I really wanted the Tepui). I love mine but that being said its like buying a stripped work truck or a loaded truck both get the job done but if you can afford the better unit they are just nicer. But if you are not sure buy the Overlander. Try it for a year and either keep it like me or sell it and upgrade. if you wait for the sales you would not take more than a 200 dollar hit to try a rooftop tent for a year.
 

TheFutur

Adventurer
Thought I'd toss in a few notes...

The plastic corner pieces of the tent, the one you mentioned was chipping in the video, I found mine was a little brittle with Tepui and actually tore some of the plastic off it. That being said I was installing the Annex attachment to it in sub freezing temperatures so the cold may have been the reason the plastic tore.

I also found the bungees in my tepui seemed to be stressing the seams too much so I don't use them anymore. I've noticed 0 difference in closing the tent so I'm not going to use them again. I also keep one strung up above my girlfriends head and my head while we sleep with the car keys clipped to it so if something wakes us up at night (like a bear or cougar) we both know exactly where the keys are and can both easily access them to set off the car alarm so scare anyway any predators.

Other than that the tent looks good for the price! I whoever am definitely sticking with Tepui because the quality is definitely amazing with them, my tent survived an unexpected tip over which me and my girlfriend in it and came out with 0 damage! Long story short I have my tent mounted to a home built trailer, the trailer did not have rear stabilizing jacks at the time so when we were both on the ladder side planning our next nights stop on our map book (I swear thats the truth! We weren't having sex like everyone believes!) the weight on the hinge was enough to tip my trailer over backwards (think trailer tongue in the air!) The tent folded up on us at least half way and we had to crawl out of it haha. Good times. I've since added rear stabilizing jacks. (Y)
 

capturecolorado

Hooray bikes!
To your comments on the cover with the velcro, etc., Tepui and CVT both sell the covers aftermarket, along with the zippers... It appears that the aluminum extrusion on the sides is nearly the same on both, what are the folded dimensions? I would be curious if you could buy the zippered cover and use it for this tent? It'd be an additional $140~ investment, but that's still not bad considering everything else...
 

F40

Adventurer
It has the same dimensions as the Tepui Kukenam and whatever the CVT version is called. They're pretty much the same tents with different materials. I looked into getting a Tepui cover for mine but the velcro cover has held up surprisingly well and isn't too bad to handle with gloves on (which I usually wear anyways).
 

Kevin108

Explorer
I've finally tried folding up some blankets and pillows inside of everything. The tent structure and cover have plenty of room but the cinch straps are too short. I'm going tomorrow to try to get my outer straps modified.
 

Kevin108

Explorer
Better than new now, thanks to my local upholstery shop. You can see the issue with the original. By the time the strap looped through the buckle, the material was only doubled over itself. I have about 6" of extra rolled up on the end should the full overlap I have now prove insufficient in the future.

 

F40

Adventurer
Better than new now, thanks to my local upholstery shop. You can see the issue with the original. By the time the strap looped through the buckle, the material was only doubled over itself. I have about 6" of extra rolled up on the end should the full overlap I have now prove insufficient in the future.

The newer tents no longer have this issue. I can tell yours is a very early tent by the cover, the newer tents have longer, double loop straps.
 

captwoody

Adventurer
My straps are failing now due to sun rot, only issue I have had in a couple years now I was going to modify some ratchet tie downs by removing hooks and attach loose ends in the same manner as factory. thanks for all the other pointers
 
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