Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in Overland Journal, Summer 2018
Camping is one of the most enjoyable aspects of overland travel—nothing beats pulling up to a remote lake with no other vehicles or buildings in sight. Certainly, sleeping in the wild can be a simple affair, using a bedroll unfurled beneath the stars. Or it can be an elaborate camper, with everything including the kitchen sink. Between these two extremes is the rooftop tent (RTT), which has one distinct advantage: the sleeping system is placed on the vehicle, which isolates the tent from uneven terrain, rocks, and muddy or snowy surfaces. For some travelers, there is also the sense of being above the fray—elevated above critters that slither, bite, and growl.
As the popularity of RTTs has increased, it has become more difficult for manufacturers to differentiate themselves and for buyers to know the difference. Treeline Outdoors is a new name to many, but they have done a good job of designing thoughtful features and incorporating value into the Tamarack Constellation. There is a full set of optional and included accessories available, from a his and her urinal bottle to loops for mounting a Goal Zero solar panel.
The Constellation has a 2- to 3-person layout with an optional annex overhang and side walls. One of the immediate benefits of the annex construction is that the user climbs into the tent under the cover of an overhang which is particularly useful in the rain. With the sides attached, it becomes a spacious changing area with enough room to place a porta-potty or use a camp shower.
The Tamarack has a full-length rainfly that employs two PVC, frost-proof skylights. For my first attempt, setup took about 10 minutes, with extra time needed for fitting the annex hoop and pegging the support lines. On my G-Wagen, the ladder was a few inches short, so it is important to match the vehicle height, but most typical trucks or wagons will be fine. One feature I particularly liked about the Constellation is the wider hinges, which permit keeping most bedding in the tent. This greatly improves convenience and reduces storage space requirements in the SUV. I also found the 2.5-inch mattress to be comfortable, especially as a side sleeper. Personal design touches abound, with everything from rubber latches to hold fishing rods in camp to shoe bags that hang just below the door. The travel cover uses a zipper to provide a dust-resistant seal, but it can be time-consuming to zip on a tall vehicle. The tent is made from 380g poly/cotton ripstop canvas that has a water-resistant PU coating and is both fire and mold/mildew resistant.
$2,729 (WITH ANNEX) | TREELINEOUTDOORS.COM