why are rooftop tents so expensive?

dado5

New member
I am just starting to look in to a hardshell rtt. I just don't get it. I can buy a Yakima box for the roof for 3 or $400. make it a little bigger and stouter, add some canvas, mattress and struts and it is now $3k! I imagine the profit margin on these is crazy. maybe I am missing something.
 

WOODY2

Adventurer
Not trying to be flippant but since you have an idea go for it and keep track of your hours and material expenses. It's not all roses like it seems.
 

OverlandNA

Active member
If you are importing them yourself:
Pay the manufacturer for x amount of units
Ship a container (used to be approx $3k for a 20')
Pay fees and Tariff
Pay to transport to your warehouse
Pay staff
pay overhead
pay for marketing
Pay your salary
Profit - without profit you just own a job

You can buy a single unit from china from sites like alibaba, what do you do when something goes wrong?
 

ttengineer

Adventurer
I think one of the main issues is the material of the shells.

I might be wrong, but I think all are fiberglass. It’s very time consuming and expensive to use fiber glass.

Now on the flip side, you could save time and labor by using roto mold plastic or abs plastic. But you loose that savings in mold and equipment cost.

Personally, I’d like to see a rotomold shell. Have you seen the beating that kayaks take?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

Photobug

Active member
I am just starting to look in to a hardshell rtt. I just don't get it. I can buy a Yakima box for the roof for 3 or $400. make it a little bigger and stouter, add some canvas, mattress and struts and it is now $3k! I imagine the profit margin on these is crazy. maybe I am missing something.
It sounds like you have figured out a quick way to get rich, design your own RTT.

FYI the $400 roof top box are pretty simple and insignificant and no way could hold 500 lbs. I am guessing there is a lot going into the design and manufacturing of a RTT. Then there is marketing, shipping, retailer profit. I really doubt many people in this industry are getting rich.
 

AbleGuy

[Back] Roads Scholar
If you go on the Chinese exporter site Ali Baba, you will see that these RTT’s are pretty cheap to buy....over there!

But as OverlandNA points out, the attendant costs really start to add up from there....


If you are importing them yourself:
Pay the manufacturer for x amount of units
Ship a container (used to be approx $3k for a 20')
Pay fees and Tariff
Pay to transport to your warehouse
Pay staff
pay overhead
pay for marketing
Pay your salary
Profit - without profit you just own a job

You can buy a single unit from china from sites like alibaba, what do you do when something goes wrong?
 

ducktapeguy

Adventurer
Everyone who's bought a RTT has thought the same thing, I know I did. I've always been one of those people who thought "I could do this myself" and then tried. I even went through the trouble of designing my own thinking I could probably build it cheaper. However anyone who's ever started a project like this probably knows how much effort and cost it really takes, and in the long run it's usually not going to be any cheaper, and definitely not as "finished" looking as buying one off the shelf, and that's not even counting your own time and effort. If you look google DIY RTT you'll see dozens of people that have started making one, but I've seen very few that have finished, and of those that have finished, I can only think of one or two that doesn't look home built. It's very rare to be able to make something cheaper than a finished product on the market, unless you have access to a lot of cheap labor or access to skills and tools that most people don't have.

In the end you can build one yourself for personal pride and satisfaction, but don't expect to save any money. If it were that easy, most of these companies would be out of business already. I luckily realized my own limitations (or someone else realized my track record on home projects and told me not to even start) and just decided I'd rather just buy one and spend the time doing something else.
 

rkj__

Adventurer
$300 for a Yakima roof box?

I googled it, and the first thing that came up was a Rocketbox Pro for $699.99 CAD. I know things are more expensive here in Canada, but its seems even a roof box costs more than your expectation.
 

Buliwyf

Viking with a Hammer
They just are.

If you find that you're over $3000, I suggest going in whole hog and getting the big Bundutec with the electric winch. Nice RTT, $5000.
 

jacobconroy

Hillbilly of Leisure
They just are.

If you find that you're over $3000, I suggest going in whole hog and getting the big Bundutec with the electric winch. Nice RTT, $5000.
Very nice. Their site says it's light too at 130 lbs.

Too bad it is either too short or too wide for my rig...depending on model.
 
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