why are rooftop tents so expensive?

jacobconroy

Hillbilly of Leisure
They are expensive because idiots like you and me...pay for them.

I have paid nearly 3K for an RTT, and I am not likely to do so again. Anyone that tells you that a fiberglass shell with a tent in it justifiably costs four thousand dollars is lying to you. ANYONE.

Dude one builds the tent at a cost of $1500.00 U.S. He tacks on $500.00 U.S. (as well he should). Dude 2 imports some of these tents to the U.S. and sells them for $3800.00 each.

Bunch of douchebags doing business if you ask me.
 

FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
Just some thoughts and facts!

Having been a business owner this is just some of the related cost. Building them in mass production will reduce the cost some. The cost of R&D. Then you have the overhead of the building, there is the cost of the utilities. The cost of the equipment. the government regulations and EPA regulations that you have to comply with. Business licenses. Then you will have to have help to build them. The cost of (workers comp., liability, building, health & unemployment) insurance. Wages (salaries, social security, sick leave, & vacation pay). Creating and packing. Shipping (from factory to shipper(s) to distributor, from distributor to you). Then in shipping or along the building line a bad tent is made and shipped out. It is returned at the builders dime. Then it is replaced from the builders profits of the other tents sold. You need to buy the materials to manufacture tent. You have the cost of marketing and advertising. You have got to have some money to start the business. This is a business loan paid back with interest to banks or investors. These are the main expenses. Now you have after all of the other expenses taken care of you want to make a PROFIT for all of the work that you put into the business.

People who have never owned a business do not see what is going on in the background. If you work a 9 to 5 job, most of you do not care about much more then your paycheck. You may walk into the bosses office and that person is shuffling papers. It looks as if the person is just sitting back having a drink and smoke. They may be worrying about sales, making payroll, why supplies are late getting orders sent out on schedule.

I did this post as long paragraph on purpose and not as a check list to make you read it and not just scan a list. It helps to hide my poor grammar as well.

Now as a one off RTT you can eliminate some of the cost, but pay more for others. What happens if your idea and engineering did not work out as you planned and you have to scrap it and start from scratch again. It could cost twice as much or even more. It is a good thing your working very cheep.

R&D is expensive. Why do you thing the Chinese tent is so expensive that the Chinese tent manufactures send their people to the US, Overland Expo West with cameras click, click, clicking away. That is them doing their R&D and making it with the cheapest material they can find.

As was said in a earlier post "Try building it yourself". If it was so easy they would have a builder on every corner.

Now building a boat takes nothing more then Flex Seal and some old screen doors. o_O Oh do not forget to register it.

The world is a wonderful place and need to learn something every day!

Da Frenchman
 
Last edited:

Nd4SpdSe

Adventurer, eh?
Back when I got my knock off RTT 11 years ago (and still going strong). I remember looking at at the Autohome AirTop hardshells and I distinctly remember them selling for around C$2500 at the most expensive models. Now they sell for over C$5000+ I'm sure R&D was done and paid for long ago, but damn, I could of bought one then and sell it used 10 years later for the same price.
 

aaen

Adventurer
Research and development? These rtt are all built in the same two factories on Asia and everg manufacture copies kff the other and adda some bs piece that nobody uses and charges an arm and a leg for it.
 

FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
Hi Kevin,

I agree with your question; What do you think is fair for a good 5x7 rtt?

If I am buying it to some $500.oo may be fair. But if that same person was selling the same RTT then $5,000.oo, may still not be enough.

I do not think that people who are not swinging a hammer or pushing buttons on a computer know what it takes to own or run a business. Whether it is buying and importing the RTT's or actually building the RTT.

Research and development? This can be making a RTT and finding after using it that their is a problem with it. Now make another with the changes in it and try again. Only to find that the changes did not correct it or it caused another problem. If you build anything and do not correct the problems you will have no customers.

Not all of the tents are made in Asia. How about Africa, Australia or Europe. There are people in these countries that make a bit more then equivalent to $1.oo per hour.

Da Frenchman
 
Last edited:

The Artisan

Adventurer
I agree. I have a patent pending hardsided poptopper coming out but my buddy wanted me to make him a simple slant fabric rtt using the same technology. I came up with this and he likes it.
KevinIMG_20190711_001717_557.jpg
 

Mike S

Sponsor - AutoHomeUSA
They are expensive because idiots like you and me...pay for them.

I have paid nearly 3K for an RTT, and I am not likely to do so again. Anyone that tells you that a fiberglass shell with a tent in it justifiably costs four thousand dollars is lying to you. ANYONE.

Dude one builds the tent at a cost of $1500.00 U.S. He tacks on $500.00 U.S. (as well he should). Dude 2 imports some of these tents to the U.S. and sells them for $3800.00 each.

Bunch of douchebags doing business if you ask me.
I must be one of those douchebags. I have been importing and selling RTTs for over 15 years... You are a consumer and are free to buy, build, innovate, or whatever, as you like. You make your choices.

Customers (quite reasonably) demand some reasonable level of services. They want to know that you have the product offered on the shelf, ready to ship. They want exactly the model they specify. They want to know that you have accessories and spare parts. They want to know that you will be in business to honor product warranties and provide spare parts when needed. This requires a some business acumen and a solid business plan.

So you can quite easily get into this 'rip off', highly profitable business. Just find a producer who is trustworthy as a business partner and who will, likewise, be there for you to build your business on. Then commit to buying some hundreds of units a year, and sign a contract committing you to some millions of dollars over a term of years. Next, get a few hundred thousand dollars together and order the inventory (with international container shipping, import duties and domestic trucking) that is needed to have all the product on hand - ready to ship - when the phone rings.

But first you need a warehouse, warehouse equipment, funds to pay people to answer the phone and take orders, and people in the warehouse to crate and ship product efficiently. And a business license, banking relationships, website, catalogs, advertising, press relations, legal and accounting assistance, phone and internet communications, insurance, funds for attending trade shows, etc. About half a million ought to do to get you started.

Now you can start selling. Or, if you prefer, ripping people off. And since you now have revenue you can begin to pay state and federal taxes, the rent on your warehouse, your clerical, sales and warehouse people, your shipping and advertising bills, merchant banking fees, office costs, and warranty claims. And, of course, buy more inventory. Simple. You might even make a profit that you can re-invest in growing your business or spend feeding your family, paying you rent/mortage, or saving for retirement.

As I have said, I have been in this business for more than 15 years. I know very well the costs and risks involved. You are not being ripped off and you are perfectly free to buy what you like, from whom you like, in any way you like.


 

billiebob

My Uncle drove a government issued Jeep in Europe
why ?

because everyone wants one. Supply demand profit. for a deal, go buy a tent trailer
 

Mykh

Outdoor Party Animal
I must be one of those douchebags. I have been importing and selling RTTs for over 15 years... You are a consumer and are free to buy, build, innovate, or whatever, as you like. You make your choices.

Customers (quite reasonably) demand some reasonable level of services.

...
Very well put, Mike!
 

Winterpeg

Member
$300 ground tents are pretty good. Bigger too!
I disagree.

In 1 summer I ended up going through 3 different tents and ended up with a heavy-duty one (Cabela's XWT) that costs around 1k after the extras are added in.
I got so tired of tents leaking, ripping, breaking....
Hell, I had one start to rip the first time I was setting it up in my backyard with no wind!

I just bought a $500 one (MSR elixir 4) ..... We'll see how that goes. Needed a smaller one for shorter trips.

I don't mind paying for quality. Nothing worse than going on your long anticipated trip to have equipment failure ruin it for you.
Everything from tires on up is included in this opinion.


Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
 

Ovrlnd Rd

Adventurer
FrenchieXJ can attest to the time I spent on the IDBDR last year setting up and taking down a "reasonably priced" RTT. That combined with the amount of dirt I accumulated removing and installing the travel cover every time I deployed it or put it away was enough to convince me I needed to spend a little more on a hardshell tent which goes up and down much quicker and easier. I have MS and as such have a limited supply of my own energy and climbing all over my vehicle setting up a traditional RTT expends too much of that.

I would also like to comment on Mike S' post about customer support. I had a Gordigear tent and while I thought it was a quality product and the folks in Australia seemed eager to assist me when I had an issue, their US rep is a complete, lying, male body part. I had the tent less than 6 months when the travel cover zipper pull broke. After 5 emails of him assuring me he would take care of it he completely stopped all communication. As I said, the folks in Australia offered to take care of it after I contacted them (and they made the excuse that he was probably out testing new product - yeah, right) but I was leaving for OEX West and couldn't wait so handled it myself. Before that I had bragged to everyone what a great tent it was. Now I might say it's a quality product but their support stinks - specifically their US rep. Customer support can make or break a company, especially a small one.

But getting back to price, my needs are such that I'm willing, (and at this stage of my life) able, to pay more for something that makes my life easier. I still have the same tent my wife and I bought together 27 years ago because I'm a cheap SOB and it's still usable but practicality sometimes outweighs frugality.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
I have a sail boat. US sailors always have a sail maker on call. I have had mine fix tents, replace panels in tents, even make custom duffel bags, covers and the like. If you have a product made in Australia and it needs a zipper. Pay your local sail maker $30 to fix it. 🤦‍♂️
 
Top