I don't understand open bed trucks with racks and tents.

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The two major advantages for an RTT for us have nothing to do with time to setup (as was mentioned previously); I think it was billiebob that mentioned the joy (or lack thereof!) of setting one up or tearing it down in the rain, and I’m 100% in agreement! I would also agree that some people may feel that they need to have an RTT due to social pressure, though there are lots more reasons to own one beyond that and they are definitely in the “nice to have” category, not “need to have”.

However, time is not a big advantage with traditional Eezi-awn style RTTs. Our RTT takes about the same time to setup as our ground tent, and the same should be true for any well designed ground tent — they aren’t complicated, after all!

The reason we like an RTT is because of three advantages. The first advantage is not having to worry about the ground condition (rocks, mud, insects, sticks, roots, or even occasionally pavement — none of that matters with an RTT). This means that we can spend more time exploring the world, and less time going from spot to spot looking for a suitable campsite. Basically, anywhere works with an RTT.

The second advantage, and the reasons many are mounting one on a truck rack over the bed, is that an RTT keeps your whole sleep system (mattress, bags, pillows, shelter) outside of the cargo space. This is a few cubic feet of lightweight stuff, so being able to use that space for other stuff is valuable. In a truck, the interior space (in the cab) is even more precious, as there is less of it, and keeping it in the box requires a dust and waterproof solution of it’s own, which takes up additional weight and space. With an RTT, that stuff stays up top, out of the way, dry and ready to use.

The third advantage is we do find the thicker mattress in the RTT to be nicer than our thermarests, and is therefore a bit more comfortable.
 

Wile_Coyote

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I went with a rack instead of a cap for many reasons. Here are a few:

I use my truck primarily for overlanding in the desert. I need a Baja chase rack with tent rails. I need to be able to get at things like propane, CO2, shovel, sledge, jack, gas, etc.. in the bed from the sides. I don’t want to go though a window in a cap. I don’t want to crawl into a cave either.

I also need a secure place and way to store this gear where so it’s ready when I need it. Critical gear can’t be packed away in the back of a cap. I want quick easy access.

My rack doesn’t rest on the sides of the bed or bed rails. It’s bolted to the bed itself. This transfers the weight of the load to a lower point. I can say from experience with both types of setup, bolted to the bed handles (corners) significantly better. In my case this is an important difference.

Clamps on the bed rails are not for me. I camp in the desert and like to take washboard at speed. The vibration can be intense. In my experience this is very bad for clamps. Most caps are clamped to the rails and I don’t want to worry about my cap and tent sliding off.

I don’t like the idea of a significant load applied to the sides of the bed over time.

Sleeping on an air mattress in the bed won’t work for me so there’s no advantage to sleeping under a bed cap.

My rack wasn’t cheap and it’s custom made. Still, I bet it cost less than a brand name new cap with similar capabilities.

It’s also likely stronger and overall lighter than a cap. It’s steel so maybe the weight is a toss-up. It’s definitely stronger.

It’s all about what suits your needs the best. For me, this works way better than a cap ever would.


View attachment 104580
Wow, you have some weight in there. Is that Floor jack mounted to the bed? I'd hate to see that heavy-weight object become a skull crusher in a roll-over.
I would assume it is hard-mounted, given the other items appear to be hard-mounted.
 

John~SWNM

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I dont have an RTT, too hard to get two 50 pound dogs up a ladder, but I do use a bed-rack & cargo basket. For me it makes loading very easy, the heavy stuff in the bed and lighter stuff in the basket where it wont effect the CG as badly. A packing job that used to take over a half hour is now done in less than 15 minutes. Plus the rack gives me places to mount my traction boards,, water cans, Hi-lift & pioneer tools. The stuff that goes in the bed is generally in weather tight crates/boxes and whatever is in the rack basket gets covered in a hgh-quaity waxed canvas tarp to keep the rain and trail dust off of everything. It's a great system for us. Also, if I need an open bed for moving furniture, etc, I designed the rack so it comes out easily, only 4 bolts & 4 nuts and it's ready to come out., which I can remove myself because I made it light weight.

I went from a Jeep CJ-5 (as a single guy with just my dog) to married with 3 dogs & an SUV (Jeep Liberty). The SUV was OK and we got lots of use out of it but the engine let go at only 140k miles so when we were looking for a new vehicle I specifically wanted a truck, preferably one with more than 2 doors. Found the Tacoma at a great deal and started turning it into a verhicle to suite our specific needs.
View attachment 104307
UPDATE: Now up to THREE 50 pound dogs, lol. Looks like we'll be tent camping forever, lol ;)
 
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Lanlubber

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The two major advantages for an RTT for us have nothing to do with time to setup (as was mentioned previously); I think it was billiebob that mentioned the joy (or lack thereof!) of setting one up or tearing it down in the rain, and I’m 100% in agreement! I would also agree that some people may feel that they need to have an RTT due to social pressure, though there are lots more reasons to own one beyond that and they are definitely in the “nice to have” category, not “need to have”.

However, time is not a big advantage with traditional Eezi-awn style RTTs. Our RTT takes about the same time to setup as our ground tent, and the same should be true for any well designed ground tent — they aren’t complicated, after all!

The reason we like an RTT is because of three advantages. The first advantage is not having to worry about the ground condition (rocks, mud, insects, sticks, roots, or even occasionally pavement — none of that matters with an RTT). This means that we can spend more time exploring the world, and less time going from spot to spot looking for a suitable campsite. Basically, anywhere works with an RTT.

The second advantage, and the reasons many are mounting one on a truck rack over the bed, is that an RTT keeps your whole sleep system (mattress, bags, pillows, shelter) outside of the cargo space. This is a few cubic feet of lightweight stuff, so being able to use that space for other stuff is valuable. In a truck, the interior space (in the cab) is even more precious, as there is less of it, and keeping it in the box requires a dust and waterproof solution of it’s own, which takes up additional weight and space. With an RTT, that stuff stays up top, out of the way, dry and ready to use.

The third advantage is we do find the thicker mattress in the RTT to be nicer than our thermarests, and is therefore a bit more comfortable.
No more wall mart lots for you guy ! You done lost your stealth and spirit of adventure, the thrill of roughing it, and all that he man stuff.. :laughing:
 
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Supernaut

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Wow, you have some weight in there. Is that Floor jack mounted to the bed? I'd hate to see that heavy-weight object become a skull crusher in a roll-over.
I would assume it is hard-mounted, given the other items appear to be hard-mounted.

The jack is hard mounted. One of the things I love most about the rack is that everything has a specific spot and stays put. This rack started out from the Forged Offroad bed rack. We added tent rails and a few other goodies like the roadshower, propane, and DeeZee boxes. Paul and Matt at Forged are awesome.

Yes. It’s a good amount of weight but I have Deaver +3 HD springs to accommodate it. I also have Fox 2.5 bump stops in the back just in case.

Last time I had to change a tire on the trail the floor jack really proved its value. We were switched out in no time.
 

tjZ06

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The two major advantages for an RTT for us have nothing to do with time to setup (as was mentioned previously); I think it was billiebob that mentioned the joy (or lack thereof!) of setting one up or tearing it down in the rain, and I’m 100% in agreement! I would also agree that some people may feel that they need to have an RTT due to social pressure, though there are lots more reasons to own one beyond that and they are definitely in the “nice to have” category, not “need to have”.

However, time is not a big advantage with traditional Eezi-awn style RTTs. Our RTT takes about the same time to setup as our ground tent, and the same should be true for any well designed ground tent — they aren’t complicated, after all!

The reason we like an RTT is because of three advantages. The first advantage is not having to worry about the ground condition (rocks, mud, insects, sticks, roots, or even occasionally pavement — none of that matters with an RTT). This means that we can spend more time exploring the world, and less time going from spot to spot looking for a suitable campsite. Basically, anywhere works with an RTT.

The second advantage, and the reasons many are mounting one on a truck rack over the bed, is that an RTT keeps your whole sleep system (mattress, bags, pillows, shelter) outside of the cargo space. This is a few cubic feet of lightweight stuff, so being able to use that space for other stuff is valuable. In a truck, the interior space (in the cab) is even more precious, as there is less of it, and keeping it in the box requires a dust and waterproof solution of it’s own, which takes up additional weight and space. With an RTT, that stuff stays up top, out of the way, dry and ready to use.

The third advantage is we do find the thicker mattress in the RTT to be nicer than our thermarests, and is therefore a bit more comfortable.
Great info/opinion there!

I agree on all-fronts. Ground tents these days have come a long way from my backpacking days, and really the longest part of the process is probably staking out the corners of the main tent and guylines for the rainfly. Your points about the key advantages are exactly how I feel (not having to find a rock/root/ant-hill free spot on the ground, having your tent itself and all the bedding/pillows not take up cab space, and a nicer mattress). I have a camping pad I actually find really, really comfortable (ExPed Megamat 10 LW) which is staying a lot, since I'm a big guy and a side-sleeper. Still, nothing is as comfortable as a nice thick mattress with a memory foam topper. And the convenience of not packing all the bedding up, stuffing sleeping bags into stuff-sacks, etc. just adds to the simplicity of setup/breakdown.

-TJ
 
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Lanlubber

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Great info/opinion there!

I agree on all-fronts. Ground tents these days have come a long way from my backpacking days, and really the longest part of the process is probably staking out the corners of the main tent and guylines for the rainfly. Your points about the key advantages are exactly how I feel (not having to find a rock/root/ant-hill free spot on the ground, having your tent itself and all the bedding/pillows not take up cab space, and a nicer mattress). I have a camping pad I actually find really, really comfortable (ExPed Megamat 10 LW) which is staying a lot, since I'm a big guy and a side-sleeper. Still, nothing is as comfortable as a nice thick mattress with a memory foam topper. And the convenience of not packing all the bedding up, stuffing sleeping bags into stuff-sacks, etc. just adds to the simplicity of setup/breakdown.

-TJ
I don't sleep on the ground fellas, I sleep in a comfortable cot with a nice memory foam mattress and wonderful bed roll, so a Gazelle T4 tent is fine with me, nice and roomy, full height ceiling, cheap carpet on the floor and a nice buddy stove to keep me warn this winter. If I don't throw a tent it will be good sleeping inside my rig. Been a while though and me old back may not like anything any-mow ! LOL
 
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Wile_Coyote

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Ditto on the sleeping on the ground thing. I recently purchased a nice cot with springs and a great pad that I used on my last outing. I used a ground tent, which was ok, but certainly take a bit of time to scout out a location, clear the location, unwrap the tent, stakes, poles, unload the gear, setup the gear...yadda, yadda. I'm seriously looking for a RTT for future expeditions.
 
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tjZ06

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I don't sleep on the ground fellas, I sleep in a comfortable cot with a nice memory foam mattress and wonderful bed roll, so a Gazelle T4 tent is fine with me, nice and roomy, full height ceiling, cheap carpet on the floor and a nice buddy stove to keep me warn this winter. If I don't throw a tent it will be good sleeping inside my rig. Been a while though and me old back may not like anything any-mow ! LOL
Fair point. I have some outfitter's cots that we use on the sleeping porches out at the family cabin way deep in the Payette National Forrest in Idaho. The're super comfy (especially with that ExPed I posted a link to on one) and get you off the ground, so you have to worry far-less about clearing a totally perfect spot (though it's still worth clearing the best you can, since you tend to walk around inside a tent barefoot so a sharp stick/rock under the tent is a pretty real hidden risk). I'll probably be going with a ground tent for a while at least, since I have $ to spend into the rig itself, unless a steal on a RTT comes up.

-TJ
 
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Lanlubber

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Fair point. I have some outfitter's cots that we use on the sleeping porches out at the family cabin way deep in the Payette National Forrest in Idaho. The're super comfy (especially with that ExPed I posted a link to on one) and get you off the ground, so you have to worry far-less about clearing a totally perfect spot (though it's still worth clearing the best you can, since you tend to walk around inside a tent barefoot so a sharp stick/rock under the tent is a pretty real hidden risk). I'll probably be going with a ground tent for a while at least, since I have $ to spend into the rig itself, unless a steal on a RTT comes up.

-TJ
I gottcha, Rig first, comfort second or third or fourth. If I were younger I might consider a RTT too, but at my age I try not to get too far off the ground. For me in reality a $40 Wal mart canopy and a $60 amazon screen enclosure is good enough 90% of the time, spring, summer and fall. I prefer to camp in the woods which makes a big difference in ground preparations. I use to camp a lot in the desert and the ground was mostly sandy and ant free and hotter, so open canopy camping was the way to go.
 

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I see a lot of trucks here with a open bed, the rack with a roof top tent, why? What is the advantage. Is it because of the cost? is it most beds are short these days? Why no shell/topper? Why not a pop-up shell.
I have a long bed truck, shell and a overhead rack. The rack is for my toys, Surfboards, Kayaks, Fishing rods. whatever, sometimes I sit up there and watch the surf... I can sleep in the back and my stuff stays dry in the rain. It doesn't get dusty or muddy. It's mostly safe when I park somewhere and leave my truck. When I had smaller trucks brought a tent to keep stuff or sleep in, the rack/s was for toys and gear.
If this offends some of you, I apologize in advance. I just don't understand. If it works for you please tell me why.
No offense taken from me on this. Hope this helps explain from my perspective.

Coming from a new overland enthusiast as well as a Truck owner with an open bed and Rack, I will say I looked at both options.
I checked out a cap and even though about a bed cap and rack on top. But my truck has a short bed and I'm too tall for that to be comfortable. Additionally, my family (wife, son, and dog) will all be camping so using the bed for sleeping didn't match with our needs.

Our setup is just getting started but we ended up getting the large smittybilt tent so all of us could fit comfortably and the front runner bed rack which will add a little security to the bed as well as keeping it a bit lower profile. This way we can still use the bed if needed for storage but with the height of the rack it protects some things and I can pretty easily remove everything if I need the full bed.

Everyone's needs are different, for a single person or maybe a couple the bed could work out just fine, but if you have more people or equipment the rack seems to be a better option and provide more flexibility.
 
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Wile_Coyote

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Like has been said before, everyone has a different reason for how they have their truck setup. I like to hunt and camp and when I bought my truck I was a ground tent person. I needed a way to store things securely in my truck and decided on a Diamondback bed cover. This is a heavy duty bed cover that I can stand on yet keep things like my tools, chainsaw, camping gear, etc. secured under the cover. It's aluminum so it's easy to under 4 bolts and remove it if I need to hall something in the back of my truck. Recently I built my own RTT Rack as I plan to have a RTT by this fall. I custom built the RTT Rack so I can still open the front half of my Diamondback cover and access things I have secured there. I was able to build it on top of my Diamondback cover and again it is all easily removed if I need to remove it. 6 nuts hold the RTT Rack down on the mounting brackets which can easily be removed and the RTT Rack taken off, again the Diamondback cover comes off with 4 bolts loosened. 99% of the time my truck will have the Diamondback bed cover and RTT Rack on it. Another nice thing about the rack is I can now tie down anything I want on top of the Diamondback cover and have multiple mounting points to secure things. I've already hauled a new ladder home on it and it was sweet how easily I could just throw it on the rack and tie it down with a ratchet strap! To each their own but this is what works for me!

View attachment 104375View attachment 104376View attachment 104377
Thanks a lot Viking, you've ruined my credit card! :fearscream:

I have a Softopper that performed OK during my last outing, but I quickly came to the realization that it was not quite up to par.
There is a company out there that makes soft tops that one can mount a RTT on, but dang they are expensive. And, all soft toppers are not really dirt, dust and even sometimes water proof.
I saw your rendition of a rack on the DiamondBack, and started doing the research on this unit.

Very nice.
  • You can secure your items in the bed, when out away from camp, such as on a hunt or hike
  • Water resistant, which is better than the soft toppers
  • Can haul a load of weight on top of the HD models and 400 lbs on the SE models
  • Can remove the doors quickly to haul items that need to be stood up.
  • Can remove the entire setup fairly quickly should you need the whole bed
  • and did I say, one can secure items in the bed?

I'm looking at getting the HD Silver HD Model for about $1350.
Then, I'm looking to do the same thing you have done and make a mount for a RTT, using Structural tubing from Lowes or HomeDepot.
I did find a used DiamondBack SE For $750, but a few hundred more and I have the HD Model....sooo, I'm a little on the fence there....


It looks like you have the SE model, with a weight capacity of 400 lbs.
Any issues with flexing of the top?
 
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Viking1204

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Thanks a lot Viking, you've ruined my credit card! :fearscream:

I have a Softopper that performed OK during my last outing, but I quickly came to the realization that it was not quite up to par.
There is a company out there that makes soft tops that one can mount a RTT on, but dang they are expensive. And, all soft toppers are not really dirt, dust and even sometimes water proof.
I saw your rendition of a rack on the DiamondBack, and started doing the research on this unit.

Very nice.
  • You can secure your items in the bed, when out away from camp, such as on a hunt or hike
  • Water resistant, which is better than the soft toppers
  • Can haul a load of weight on top of the HD models and 400 lbs on the SE models
  • Can remove the doors quickly to haul items that need to be stood up.
  • Can remove the entire setup fairly quickly should you need the whole bed
  • and did I say, one can secure items in the bed?

I'm looking at getting the HD Silver HD Model for about $1350.
Then, I'm looking to do the same thing you have done and make a mount for a RTT, using Structural tubing from Lowes or HomeDepot.
I did find a used DiamondBack SE For $750, but a few hundred more and I have the HD Model....sooo, I'm a little on the fence there....


It looks like you have the SE model, with a weight capacity of 400 lbs.
Any issues with flexing of the top?
No problems with flexing, I'm not sure which model I have, bought it in 2011 through the Line-X dealer and it is branded by Line-X but just a Diamondback cover coated with Line-X. Underneath the cover there are 2x4 size aluminum beams going across each section of the cover so those prevent the flexing. I've placed an extension ladder on top of it and climbed up the extension ladder, I'm 250+ pounds and never an issue!
 
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BCMoto

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For myself when we aren't out camping, I carry a lot of mini motos and travel with them a lot and a shell is just not good for my use. Plus like others said its a grandpa cap and I refer to it as a pap-cap. I have a tent that goes in the bed of the truck and it works well for me and I keep all of our gear in totes so everything stays dry and clean even tho the totes get really dirty.
 
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Britome

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I think part of the issue is folks who buy pickups never intending to use them as trucks. I have a small homestead and haul rocks, straw, mulch, wood, etc. in my truck. I also carry my mt. bikes on a Yakima Bedrock with Lockjaw mounts that puts the bikes above cab height. Canoes - I pop on the Yakima Outdoorsman. I can put them on or take them off in under 10 minutes. A shell turns a truck into an SUV without the back seats - just buy an SUV in that case. I really like the design of the Leitner Active Bed System with the slideable top rail. I could have that on and by just sliding the rail forward I could still haul large furniture or an appliance like a refrigerator. Can't do that with a shell. I guess I just like using a vehicle for what it was designed for instead of trying to turn it into something else.
Exactly right on all counts. That’s why I have this system.
 

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I have saved up to purchase a new wranlger diesel. I currently have an xterra w rtt that i will give to my son in a few years. My issue with the wranlger is by the time i lift it and put on a cage so i can run an rtt. I will not fit in drive throughs and down some trails plus mnt bikes on a hitch rack tend to limit trail access. Now i am leaning toward the gladiator with a bed rack so i can keep an rtt and stick the bikes in the bed to keep departure angles high.

He loves his rig.20191004_082459.jpeg
 
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