Best Rooftop Tent

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Pathfinder I

I like those hardshells but am not a huge fan of the cost! Great if you can find them used though!

How do you find the headroom in it? The wife and I like to read before bed sitting up.

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Sadkomodo

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Traveler I

271
Washougal Washington
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4311

After much thought and a whole lot of research, I bought a CVT Mt Shasta extended version for the exact same reasons mentioned above. Living in the PNW, the extended version with an annex sometimes is the only way to get out. So that being said, the environment you plan on being in should have a spot in your thought process.
Also, doing a lot of research in third party vendors who carry your favorite RTT may offer older models and/or discounts. The vendor I went through had a substantial stock of CVT tents including last years models. I purchased a late model year 2016 with a 12% military/LE discount.
An inexpensive or expensive RTT is a big purchase to who ever is buying it. With a little research, there is always a way.


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000

Rank III
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Enthusiast III

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3923

I like those hardshells but am not a huge fan of the cost! Great if you can find them used though!

How do you find the headroom in it? The wife and I like to read before bed sitting up.

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I lusted over a new airtop for quite awhile and finally resigned to the fact that I wasn't going to spend the money on one and then a week later I found mine on Craigslist in my town for $1,300, I was just browsing not even looking for anything in particular! Since then I've noticed they pop up from time to time, but not often and the ads aren't up for long. I like it so much, if I had to replace it and couldn't find it used I would pay for a new one. Unless of course I could talk the wife into letting me get an AT habitat, but I don't think that will be happening... I am 6'4" and can sit straight up with plenty of room over my head. The rear is about 6" taller than the front but I sleep with my head facing whatever direction is slightly higher, and try to get the side to side level when parking


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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.
I don't know about the other brands, but Autohome actually makes a changing room/annex for my airtop hard shell. It tents the entrance and ladder like the soft rtts. It's not cheap and since I live in ca. weather usually isn't an issue so I haven't broke down and bought one yet. my wife seemed interested in it so I probably will get one eventually.


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atcbrad

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1451

Anybody have any experience with the James Baroud soft shell? We have a 23 zero we're not completely thrilled about. Just some small things like zippers, cover very tight, and not much room to store pillows and blankets in. It's stressful and a chore to get it open and closed. We had an arb Simpson 3 and it made a lot of difference with those things. Only thing was that it leaked, but arb bought it back from us. That was very sweet of them. But we're just kind of looking around for something that would be easy and has a lot of attention to detail. Anything to make the trips less stressful and enjoyable.


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chuckoverland

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Influencer II

2,808
Spokane, WA
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3367

I am happy with TuffStuff, especially for the budget minded. It comes with annex which as mentioned is great for inclement/cold weather paired with MrHeater. I really haven't seen any notable quality deficiency given the price difference to the well known brands.


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We are very happy with our tuff stuff. Its held up against torrential rain, heavy wind, and a thick low hanging branch. Xmas deal with annex awning and led strip 1400$.
 

Joe Stasney

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Member I

173
Southern California
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5023

After a lot of thought and review I bought a Tepui White Lightning today. Won't be available till Julyish. That's ok, daughter getting married in two weeks.....midsummer adventure.
 

Red Rock Overlander

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Lakewood, CO 80228 USA
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5494

Congrats Joe. If you think about it enough and do the right research usually it's the right call. It's always fun anticipating gear... Plan wisely and ease into it!! We are all here to help.... it's all about enjoying the experience !!
 
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Red Rock Overlander

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Lakewood, CO 80228 USA
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5494

For Overlanding Adventures we opted for a CVT Denali Stargazer Summit with the Extended Awning as our RTT and decided the additional functionality of having it on a newly built CVT enhanced M416 axle less trailer with electric brakes and a tall rack for the RTT was best for us overall.

Trying to cram weeks of Overland expedition gear into the back of the Rubicon JK 4 Door with drawers a fridge, water was and an RTT had us concerned about the overall off-road performance on many of the trails and rugged area we roam in the Rockies and Canyon Country (Specifically off camber situations)


This CVT Denali Extended is extremely well made for durability and the fabric used on the Summit line is so much thicker than the the competitive offerings with similar upgrades. Once you see the differences in fabric and build you'll be impressed with the effort . The attention to detail really shows once you set-up, pack up and endure variable weather conditions, heat, wind, driving rain, etc..

Durability and the overall functional features especially the huge Annex with enclosed ladders that can be folded up and suspended out of the way and having a floor with 3 screen doors provided amazing ventilation.

The clear fly and roof top venting provides some great stargazing and weather views an option that wasnt originally on our list but really "opens up" the RTT and really keeps the sleeping area nice and breezy when it's warm.

With the huge window on one side it also functions as an additional entry exit to the RTT to step out on the trailer rack to the wheel fender and that is really handy surprise.

Set-up and packing up is so much easier as you can stand around on the trailer to tuck and zip more easily. We put a quick release of the RTT ladder to use as an alternative step ladder as well which is a simple mod that really works well when needed.

The trailer option allows us to leave camp and explore more of an area in our Jeep without having to take down and set-up over and over again each day. The trailer also gave us the option of going to the larger RTT which gave us a huge Annex space to get away from bugs and wind and not have to be up in the RTT. We really value the Annex size and huge screen doors to alter that side sun or wind. The thicker fabric matters with the Annex as well.

Looking forward to organizing the trailer for storage and adding a Alu-Cab Shadow 270 Awning due to its ability to handle wind and provide a "pole less" setup that will allow us to extend our Annex and add a screen room area to protect us while cooking and relaxing when the weather requires it.

With our approach we outfit a new well designed trailer with storage lighting/power and kitchen incrementally at a lower price point than funding a fully built expedition trailer. We're upgrading the tires from 31's to 35's so we only carry one spare and will upgrade the hitch as well.

This approach to the RTT was so much better for us than having our Jeep crammed with gear in some sort of organized chaos;) no matter the storage options we considered. Towing the trailer even in extreme 4x4 areas has been really easy and painless thus far.... We are sure to test the limits


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Red Rock Overlander

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Contributor I

233
Lakewood, CO 80228 USA
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5494

Wow! Those are pretty amazing ... love the way the fold down.
Yes if really folds up nicely. They are carpeted and extremely stable and well made. They are multi use for in and out of the back cargo or back passenger door of our JKU (one door that we allow to swing open forward by removing the restraining strap) We Alison added aditional steps (are adapting some
poles to either side for added stability) so they will allow our Great Dane to get in and out through the large CVT Denali Summit Extended Window for the exceptional times we won't be setting up the RTT Annex. Due to the way the RTT is designed the steps don't need to rest on the RTT and potentially wear on the window zipper fabric. And that also eliminates how many steps are needed.