Best Rooftop Tent

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overlandozzy

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Contributor II

I need suggestions on a rooftop tent for my tacoma. I've been looking into a CVT Mt Rainier but dang its expensive. Needing suggestions from people and pictures if you can!
 

Graeman

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I like the hard shell RTT's as they 1. do not suffer from the sun's rays as much as soft material, 2. they are also more compact in size when folded up, 3. you can carry items on top of them (bikes, kayaks, etc.), 4. less vulnerable to theft or vandalism by being lockable..
 
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FrankRoams

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FWIW I saw Tepui is having a 40% Demo/Blem sale on the 27th. I think it's pick up only at their HQ in Soquel, CA though. I saw it on their Instagram account.
 

Tim

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We have one of the previous model ARB Simpson models (although not sure how much different the newer ones are). For us it works well. Had it 6 years and no issues but only use it a few times a year and it gets stored away in the winter. I have to say that many brands look very similar these days although from the ones I've had a chance to play with there are a few differences that I would take into account if buying another one. Most have fly screen mesh but some have the covers you'd zip up when it rains on the outside of these... not ideal if you just want to block the wind/rain out in a hurry from the inside. Some have a canopy over the ladder so you have shelter getting in or out of the tent and others don't. The fly screen material can be a bit delicate on some too, easily snagged by rough hands. Tentco and Howling Moon seem to have stronger material here. Why did I buy the ARB one... I got a good deal on it.


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overlandozzy

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I really like the CVT but I've also thought about going with a habitat setup like to X Overland guys did with their Central America Trip. I've got just a simple Ozark Trail ground tent right now and love it due to it being able to fit a nice queen sized comfortable air mattress inside but if its raining it sucks sleeping on the ground.
 

Pathfinder I

Depends on how you define "best" .

Bang for the buck, I'd say it's hard to go wrong with the Smittybilt. Their Overlander XL is nearly half the price of comparatively sized Tepui and CVT options (at least it is in Canada) at just over $1500 for a large tent. Combine that with the "no questions asked" extended warranty from a place like 4 wheel parts and you've got a decent tent for the price. But if you are at all brand conscious this might not be for you as Smittybuilt has a reputation which is only sometimes deserved, but often negative.

I have no complaints about my previous Tepui. We'd still be using it but wanted a bit more room. It wasn't without its issues but it was an early one and they've been making improvements ever since. The customer service from Tepui was top notch even across the border. CVT is comparably good, and I give huge props to the boys in Bend and Santa Cruz for their way they engage the community. Fundamentally though their tents are not that different in terms of the specs of the Smittybilt. Same quality of fabric, zippers, etc. One can argue that the quality control of the CVTs and the Tepui's is better but there are smitty dealers all over North America so the risk of getting a lemon from Smitty is mitigated. My own Tepui was not that different in build quality to the Smittybuilt tent I checked out, but remember mine was 6 years old and Tepui have been making improvements each and every year.

In this family of tent you've got the $2300 dollar plus tents going on for a comparable size to the Overlander XL. There's no brand hesitancy and there's something to be said for supporting those that support the community.

ARB is where you see an appreciable difference in build quality in my opinion with better zips and fabrics. The ARB are comparable in build (and price) to the ruggedized versions of the cvt and Tepui line based in what I've seen.

The next level is to the crazy expensive EeziAwn and their kind. If you are living in it everyday and cannot afford a broken zip or tiny leak to your accommodations after a few hundred nights, and can by virtue of opening it up every day for years ensure there's no mold and such, then these are the ticket and will last a lifetime. But for the hobbyist overlander who gets out in the occasional weekend and may be stowing the tent wet or whatever, you are probably better served by one of the other options. Let's face it, stuff happens from flying campfire emblems to plain old post - trip laziness causing mold and I'd feel better about writing off a $2k tent instead of a $5k one! I am much more likely to tackle a home repair of a cheap tent than worry about wrecking a pricey one.

Expedition Portal has a good write up that is I think reasonably fair (with the exception of advising caution about Smittybilt because of folks detracting them as the walmart brand for off roading).

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Pathfinder I

Well Im with @Raul B on this one...
99% of the time, so am I. But it does depend how you plan to use it. Resources are finite so I'm in favour of judicious spending on these high ticket items.

Mold grows just as fast on an expensive tent as a cheaper one. 1000D fabric will tear on the same dog's claws no matter how much you spent on it. And if you are a weekend warrior having the $5k EeziAwn might not be ideal when that much money is a Tepui and the supplies needed for a 3 week trip to Alaska! A needle and thread with the right fix it attiude can do wonders.

If I had my time again I'd be going with the JK habitat instead of the roof rack and the RTT. In my application I'd only be out about 2 k more and I'd have that paid for in utility and convenience. Alas, live and learn and now that I've got the sunk costs on the rack I'm sticking with the tent.

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CampWithChin

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If you know how to find good deal, your wallet might not as hurt as paying full retail price.

If you are REI member, they are running 20% off on a full price product including RTT. REI sell tepui and Yakima RTT.

I'm lucky to jump on a GB and able to secure a CVT tent. I'm now just took delivered for CVT Mt Denali Summit series RTT.

Another cheaper alternative RTT is mention above, Smittybilt XL.


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Red Rock Overlander

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How, when, where you use it and camping style play into it as well as what you mount it on. For us the manufacturers that provide the Extended Annex and quality that provides a broader camping experience than just the tent itself was key to our decision. Budget is important and I agree but your perceived value is most important.

For us the community support around the tent was especially important as well as buying from a family owned US business that backs its products and growing. Next like we said the Annex and having extended space was a real consideration and having a larger one that standard RTT's mattered next understanding for us the trailer RTT made more sense to minimize packing unpacking setup etc. RTT is more than just about the tent..... how will you get in and out is the ladder on the outside in the rain... can you cook out of the rain, what if you are having to do "your businesss" at night and it's storming... can your initial RTT investment get you started on the right foot? Hardtops have benefits and compromises and actually they all do. Me I want a place to get in and out of the weather before I crawl up in the RTT. I've not seen a Hardtop that does that. Think of your own personal functional requirements and biases. Gordigear has a video that talks about what to look for in a quality tent. You can buy a less costly build and if it is better functionally for you and because it fits your budget buy it. If you will beat it up or use it allot maybe you need to go smaller or pay more.

Don't really want to guide you into my biases and functional requirements but you asked . I hope knowing the best is what is right for you perspective helps.
 

Pathfinder I

Yup, these groups buys can be a great option. Another advantage of getting the RTT at REI is your annual member dividend. Even as a Canuck I try to take advantage and if there's that fancy stove or bit of camp kit you've been eyeing that rebate may make the Tepui worthwhile.

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CDN Offroader

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No affiliation, but check out WildCoast Tents based in Nova Scotia. I know a few guys that have them up here, and they all like them. Good price, and includes annex w floor.
 
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I have been very happy with my autohome airtop rtt. It takes about three minutes to pop up and set up the ladder, and a couple more to put down. This is especially nice if you want to easily move to a new campsite or when we launch the boat in the morning when salmon fishing. This tent has withstood very strong wind, but I haven't had it in a hard rain yet. It is about the same size as a full size bed inside and I keep my bed made with pillows in it all the time. I like that it is reasonably aerodynamic and and has a window with screen in the front and doors with screens on the other three sides so you have flexibility when deciding where to set up the Ladder. It weighs about 150lbs with my bedding so two or three guys can take it off, but I just leave it on since it gets used a lot and makes for easy spontaneous trips. There are lots of companies that make similar hard shell rtts, I just scored this one on Craigslist and got lucky that it happened to be a great model. Every time We use it my wife and I wonder how we camped without it or the Arb awning mounted next to it. Definitely money well spent!


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