Let’s be honest; Roof Top Tent- Yay or Nay?

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I've run a rtt for years and it is nice to sleep in for sure but wasn't worth the compromise for me.
On the move, it's handy to have a comfy place to sleep and don't have to find level ground for a ground tent.
It has a cool factor, especially sleek hardshells. I had a Maggiolina, which has fantastic build quality, probably the best out there.

downsides:
It's a lot of weight to carry, at the absolute worst point for cog. I didn't enjoy driving as much with it, especially off camber situations.
It is a hit to your fuel economy
It's absolutely inconvenient if you want to store it or use the truck for other things
For the weight, size and mpg hit, it can only be used comfortably for one or two people.
If you get out of your tent at night, it's a pain to climb up and down a ladder.
Being able to stand up and change your clothes...who knew that was a commodity?

I felt like I was carrying a massive liability, just to be able to quickly sleep at night.
At the end of the day, I don't care if it takes me an extra couple minutes to setup my ground tent.

RTT's make sense in other parts of the world where lions or other predators are common camp companions.
I just don't have those concerns.

I'm more minimalist leaning, so knowing there are tent solutions that are far lighter, take up very little space and afford more comfort...
made the rtt more a liability for me.

I know this is a long list of negatives, but the rtt might be great for you. I enjoyed using it for solo camping.
It is fun to sleep on the roof.
If you use a trailer, might be a great addition. Maybe the downsides are not a concern, or you have plenty of storage space, etc.

Really, it's a piece of kit, and if you enjoy using it than that's all that matters.
The expense and hassle justifies some thought before you buy. OTOH, you could always sell it.
I had no problem selling mine.

For me, I far enjoy the entire camp experience without it.
 

Get Out GO

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I have an RTT because lions and hyenas :wink:. Seriously though, I do a lot of solo camping and to pitch one of those ground dome tents by yourself is near impossible (we don't get those nice gazelle tents over here).
Ground tents are great as basecamps but I'd rather be a bit higher off the ground, away from predators and creepy crawlies and it is a pain to setup/tear down if you're doing a lot of one-nighters (again, gazelle excluded). My soft-shell RTT took about 5 min to setup and about 7 min to pack up. This was way better than most ground tents and I was off the ground. I still wasn't satisfied with these times though so I recently changed to a hard-shell RTT (iKamper Skycamp Mini). This has been a game changer for me as it now takes around a minute to setup / pack up.
There are some downsides to RTT's as mentioned above (weight, cost, can't stand up in it, having to pack up every time you want to go driving etc) so it's down to your own requirements and what you're willing to compromise on.
 

mdfauls

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I have had a RTT for about 18 months and I’ll never go back. As much as I love camping I have never slept well on the ground, broken uncomfortable sleep. I’ve tried sleeping pads and air mattresses nothing made it better until I got a RTT. A real mattress on a flat surface,no lumps, bumps, rocks, twigs. Up off the ground away from critters and the such. I find it far easier to pack up and don’t have to worry about stakes and stuff sacks and finding a place to put it in an overstuffed Jeep.
 
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RichieFromBoston

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I would NEVER use a ground tent after going RTT been using one for 5 yrs now, if you have afamily the have a RTT that handles that RTT sets up fast RTT sets up anywhere and an RTT keeps you away from things that may surprise you in the night. these anti RTT threads are almost always started by someone that has a swag or tent biz. know that.or dont.
 

rjralston

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I love the idea of a RTT but right now I am going with the Napier Truck Bed Tent on my Ram 1500 Short Bed. Like some of you I am base camp oriented as my rig is not up to doing really challenging trails and I solo camp most of the time. I live in TN so we get lots of rain and on my last trip got some snow/freezing rain. I like the idea that I am off the ground. The tent/sleeping gear takes about 15 minutes to setup. A bit more to take down so if I was on the move a lot I can see where a RTT would be great. All of my gear fits into 4 containers that I can put in the back of the cab at night so everything is safe from bears and such. Plenty of room for me with clothes and other gear I might need at night. The last trip was at a state park so I had electric and put a very small space heater in the truck and kept warm at 20*. So far this works for me. When I get my truck fitted with the lift, better tires and winch I will surely go farther off the beaten path and then I might consider a RTT or maybe a trailer. Great thread that has give me many perspectives.

Cedars Camp Site.jpgCedars Inside Tent.jpg
 

FuDKITO4x4

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I have slept on the bench seat in my truck, slept in nothing but a sleeping bag on a tent floor, slept in a sleeping bag on a yoga pad, on a big fluffy comforter, on a cheap air mattress, on some high-dollar sleeping pads, and on a folding cot. For the last 3 years, I've been sleeping in a RTT. This is by far the best setup for me and what I do with my rig. I'd be more than happy to answer some more questions about it. I have kind of an interesting story about the initial install.

which model tent is this? Nice setup too!
 

wlson1970

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situational. guess we look at it if staying same place a few days we take the t4 plus. if planning to camp multiple spots or just an over night rtt works best.
 

Kevin108

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which model tent is this? Nice setup too!
Old posts live on! I have one of the old Smittybilt Overlander tents, model 2783. It has been fantastic. Going on 6 years and some 130 nights or so in it. I've run it on 3 different vehicles now - not by choice, but it has worked well on everything. This setup was early on in my overland travels. I bring SO much less now! The new Smittybilt Gen 2 tents are massive upgrades in almost every way. Hard to find and hard to afford, but you'll get years and years out of it. A rooftop tent really only makes sense if you're going to use it a lot though. Here's how I've thought about it: the first night I slept in it was very expensive - more than $900. But I kept using it. By night 100, it only cost me $9 a night. How reasonable! And it's getting cheaper all the time.
 
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I've been out with tons of dudes with RTTs. When I first saw them, I was like "wow". But after watching everyone one wrestle with them? Nah, I'll just keep sleeping in my Wrangler Unlimited. If the situation goes south, I just crawl into my driver seat and I'm gone. I watched more than one friend wrestle with a RTT when it's blistering cold outside or raining and there is no way I want to deal with that.
 
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I've been out with tons of dudes with RTTs. When I first saw them, I was like "wow". But after watching everyone one wrestle with them? Nah, I'll just keep sleeping in my Wrangler Unlimited. If the situation goes south, I just crawl into my driver seat and I'm gone. I watched more than one friend wrestle with a RTT when it's blistering cold outside or raining and there is no way I want to deal with that.
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That's why I decided against soft-sided fold-out RTTs and went with a hardshell. I didn't like the time and fussing to set up and pack up a soft-top fold-out RTT.

All I have to do with my hard shell is to undo four clasps, give one end of the tent a shove up, and the whole thing pops right up. Literally as long as it takes to walk front and back and undo two clasps on each end. Just as easy to pull back down and latch up, too. Whether I'm pulled off for just a night or basecamping, and whether I raise my rack or not, it's simple, quick, and easy.

I've had it going on four years. It has been steady in high winds, dry in big rain, far more comfortable and roomy than the bed in my van and wayyy more comfortable than any vehicle seat I've ever slept in. I've spent over 600 nights in all kinds of weather and environments in this RTT, and it has been, by far, my favorite place to sleep and nap.

Whenever I have company come camp, they get the RTT because it's the best spot to sleep, and I sleep in the van.

xv2-n-van_6778-900.jpg

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Billiebob

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That's why I decided against soft-sided fold-out RTTs and went with a hardshell. I didn't like the time and fussing to set up and pack up a soft-top fold-out RTT.

All I have to do with my hard shell is to undo four clasps, give one end of the tent a shove up, and the whole thing pops right up. Literally as long as it takes to walk front and back and undo two clasps on each end. Just as easy to pull back down and latch up, too. Whether I'm pulled off for just a night or basecamping, and whether I raise my rack or not, it's simple, quick, and easy.

I've had it going on four years. It has been steady in high winds, dry in big rain, far more comfortable and roomy than the bed in my van and wayyy more comfortable than any vehicle seat I've ever slept in. I've spent over 600 nights in all kinds of weather and environments in this RTT, and it has been, by far, my favorite place to sleep and nap.

Whenever I have company come camp, they get the RTT because it's the best spot to sleep, and I sleep in the van.

View attachment 197468

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I've likely posted to this thread already but.....,

If the RTT is on the vehicle I only hate them cuz they ground me, If I need beer or toilet paper I must break camp. Most won't even let me move to change orientation but a few will let me drive to the shower full deployed.

As a tent on top of a trailer like ^^^ Roads, yes, absolutely a great choice. Setup, the vehicle is still fully mobile.

But for me, an old body who likes to be mobile, not base camped, I hate all tents so I tow a Square Drop. Zero set up, zero pack up. Park go to bed. wake up its raining, roll out of bed, drive away. If you like the base camp thing, set up, spend a few days there, explore, RTT on a trailer is as good as a square drop..... but you still need to pack it up.

Mostly RTT or no RTT is about carrying all your stuff. An RTT on a trailer offers massive storage in minimal space. How much shittt do you want/need to carry. And how can you best carry it all. The RTT folded up on the road is pretty compact.
 
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