RTT vs Ground | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

RTT vs Ground

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Jeff B

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2,306
Putnam County, New York, USA
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14747

We have a quick set up ground tent that we used on our cross country trip. Less than 10 min. Setup up. Much cheaper than a rtt but it has to pack into our Jeep with all the bedding. It is nice to be able to leave camp setup if you need to run and get something or go see the sights. Family of 4, so if we got a rtt it would be a large one. With the ground tent I have my roof rack free for my storage box and I can put my kayak up there too.
 

Nickel

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271
San Diego, CA, USA
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Steve
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Jones
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28940

If you are camping as much as you say you are , a RTT might be the way to go. But again with how often you are going, man it sounds like just leaving it on full time makes most sense. Did I read that right? Twice a month? That is a lot of off/on/off/on with a RTT.

Me personally, I am hoping to get a Gazelle quick setup and break down for price and convenience. Probably my least liked "chore" of a camping trip is the tent setup and tear down. Currently for family trips we have an REI Habitat 4 person tent. Very roomy but very clumsy to setup and break down. I have a wife and 2 teenage girls. I get a lot of blank stares when I ask for assistance.

Gazelle tents seem very hard to come by these days!

For solo trips I sleep in the bed of my truck (has a mid-rise topper).

With a RTT, my issues are:
  1. Cost/Benefit - I would not use it enough I am afraid. You seem to be in a spot where you WOULD use it
  2. Weight
  3. Storage when not using it
  4. Help mounting/removing
Interesting thread.
 

bryceCtravels

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116
Charleston, SC, USA
First Name
Bryce
Last Name
Campbell
I love RTTs, I live out of mine. To gain any actual benefit over a ground tent, you need to get a fiberglass or metal popup RTT. That's the simple truth. And for that price, you're looking at least 2g, closer around $3,000.

It sounds like you are out enough to justify an RTT, but you're going to be spending a few thousand (because fabric RTTs are not worth buying)
Instead you could have an awning and a super easy, high quality ground tent. Not to mention almost every RTT (even the ones marketed for families) get tight with 2 adults, forget unmounting and remounting -- that is a hassle.

Get a tent, get one of those giant square sleeping bags, get a thick sleeping pad, and you will be set. And you'll have like a grand leftover.
 

CO.Ranger

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797
Colorado
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Brandon
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We have a quick set up ground tent that we used on our cross country trip. Less than 10 min. Setup up. Much cheaper than a rtt but it has to pack into our Jeep with all the bedding. It is nice to be able to leave camp setup if you need to run and get something or go see the sights. Family of 4, so if we got a rtt it would be a large one. With the ground tent I have my roof rack free for my storage box and I can put my kayak up there too.
A big factor for us, as we've discussed it, is that we can keep all the bedding/pillows in the tent so we don't have to try and find storage in the truck. I just put a tonneau cover on the truck, but the last time (security reasons) a lot of the crap was inside. (sleeping bags, pillows, clothes.) Then we had our 'camp bin', tent, chairs, cooler, firepit, and propane tank in the bed. We were pretty full up for a couple days of camping. Not having to worry about packing all those things is looking better and better. As we camp more, we will remove things we don't need or use often and add things we are missing. I hope that we can start pairing down. 23Zero offers a queen sized tent at 63(or close) inches wide and we were able to lay in one for a bit. It fit us nicely and we had plenty of room for a child (to a reasonable age). Of course, we don't yet have a child, so this is an educated guess.

If you are camping as much as you say you are , a RTT might be the way to go. But again with how often you are going, man it sounds like just leaving it on full time makes most sense. Did I read that right? Twice a month? That is a lot of off/on/off/on with a RTT.

Me personally, I am hoping to get a Gazelle quick setup and break down for price and convenience. Probably my least liked "chore" of a camping trip is the tent setup and tear down. Currently for family trips we have an REI Habitat 4 person tent. Very roomy but very clumsy to setup and break down. I have a wife and 2 teenage girls. I get a lot of blank stares when I ask for assistance.

Gazelle tents seem very hard to come by these days!

For solo trips I sleep in the bed of my truck (has a mid-rise topper).

With a RTT, my issues are:
  1. Cost/Benefit - I would not use it enough I am afraid. You seem to be in a spot where you WOULD use it
  2. Weight
  3. Storage when not using it
  4. Help mounting/removing
Interesting thread.
I may end up leaving it on more in the camping season than taking it on and off. I still want the option to be able to store it when I don't need it and I will work on a system to make install/removal quick and easy. I've heard too many stories of them being stolen in broad daylight to want to risk it all the time. I can park in line of sight at work (I work at a cigar shop part time, and at home full time), so it may be less of an issue that I am making it out to be. 2/monthly is our goal, so that we can enjoy our investment and time together. We both work on computers all day (don't we all?!) so getting away is important for our sanity. As OB says, Adventure is Necessary.

I love RTTs, I live out of mine. To gain any actual benefit over a ground tent, you need to get a fiberglass or metal popup RTT. That's the simple truth. And for that price, you're looking at least 2g, closer around $3,000.

It sounds like you are out enough to justify an RTT, but you're going to be spending a few thousand (because fabric RTTs are not worth buying)
Instead you could have an awning and a super easy, high quality ground tent. Not to mention almost every RTT (even the ones marketed for families) get tight with 2 adults, forget unmounting and remounting -- that is a hassle.

Get a tent, get one of those giant square sleeping bags, get a thick sleeping pad, and you will be set. And you'll have like a grand leftover.
Hard top is out of the question for us, as they don't make them in a size that fits my truck and my family (planning). I have looked at all the options (at least reasonably) and I don't find one that meets my criteria.
 

Nickel

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271
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OP - It sounds like you have your mind made up for a RTT. You have rebutted all other suggestions. Let us know what you get and enjoy!
 
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CO.Ranger

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OP - It sounds like you have your mind made up for a RTT. You have rebutted all other suggestions. Let us know what you get and enjoy!
It’s funny, because this thread has made me think that now too. Haha. Also, my wife told me we were getting one. Best not to argue with the boss. The back and forth has really helped me think it through. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your own head and forget opposing ideas. This thread made me think a lot about all the viewpoints.
 
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4x4tripping

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Enthusiast I

193
Switzerland
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Heinz
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Treben
What is the perfect fit for you, has a lot to do with your home and your environment. I`m still a city guy (because of my job), with changing flats and underground car park slots. It limits the height of my vehicle, I also have limited space for storage.

A RTT wouldn let me use my parking space (because of height), I would have to rent an additional space for storage, to bring an example. Somebody who lives more natural dont have the same worrys, because of storage, and limited vehicle height.

As active readers my know, I did decide to sleep inside of my rig. Again something what has to do with my environment, because that solution will just work flawless if you havent kids jet.

So the choosed solution has always a lot to do with your environment and setting - because of that are that much solutions out there. All of them tested and approved over years and even on extended worldtrips, ground tents, sleeping inside, roof top tents, trailers with rtt or rv trailers.

Because of that you cant use the arguments of others "it is perfect for me, i have done it for years with success" to find your solution, you have to look witch sleeping solution will fit in your life and environment, you have to make a list of your individual pro/cons.

Many may not know about the legal specs for using an roof rack in offroad condition. It lower the amount of weight a vehicle should carry during driving offroad. For most vehicles the values are so small, that they shoulnd carry a RTT for driving offroad. Let us check that with a ford ranger double cab:



Rhino Rack publishes theyr values to the public - other manufacturers you have to ask for those values for offroad conditions....

One sleeping solution never got mentioned often, but is one of the best in my eyes: the camping tent cot

camping-cot-bed-tent.JPG

- portable
- lightweigt
- cheap (Buying range between 100$-500$ (USD): example: the camping tent cot
- you can use them even for international overlanding trips with rentals

I will never understand, why they are that underrated in the overlanding community. I did even see them as "double" edition for couples.

On my personal list of pro/cons against a rtt there are just positive notes

+ no additional weight above
+ less cost
+ better comfort
+ easier access
+ easier storage
+ offroad friendly (weight / height)

trippin
 
Last edited:

ontos

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60
Mid Atlantic
First Name
Patrick
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Shepherd
We rather like our ground tent. It is an option I don't see discussed very often, but that we find to have some really great benefits. We use the E-z Up Camp Cube and a generic straight-legged 10x10 shelter. We already had the shelter from cooking BBQ at food festivals, but even if we had to start from scratch, I think it is a strong option. Things I like about it:

1. I can stand up and move around inside of it.
2. On rainy days, we fold our air mattress vertically, and can bring the table and chairs inside to play cards, eat, use the computer etc.
3. It goes up pretty quickly.
4. Double roof design keeps it very dry when it rains.

The downsides are that it is a bit big and heavy and it takes a little more time to put up than a Gazelle or similar. Once you get the hang of the pop-up shelter two people can deploy it quickly, but there is a knack to it. We've been using them for years, so know how to avoid the frustrations, but there is definitely a learning curve.

We camp out of a small CUV and don't have any problem packing two chairs, table, fridge, cooking stuff, shelter, tent, inflatable sleeping pad, double sleeping bag, real pillows and tarp that we rig from the shelter to the car for an awning.

The tent itself feels more like a small cabin than a tent which keeps everyone happy. It is also nice because if you only need shade and not an enclosure, you can deploy the canopy alone.

A nice bonus is you can rig a window AC in the doggy door if you are at a place with shore power. The front porch ground cloth is also a nice touch.

 

leeloo

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- cheap (Buying range between 100$-500$ (USD): example: the camping tent cot
- you can use them even for international overlanding trips with rentals

I will never understand, why they are that underrated in the overlanding community. I did even see them as "double" edition for couples.

On my personal list of pro/cons against a rtt there are just positive notes

+ no additional weight above
+ less cost
+ better comfort
+ easier access
+ easier storage
+ offroad friendly (weight / height)

trippin
They don't have any for couples.. this is why.
 

MidOH

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Off-Road Ranger I

1,298
Mid Ohio
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When you get an Rtt, keep your ground tent.

The suckiest thing about Rtt's, is that parking spots aren't always the best campsites.
 

leeloo

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Have you seen how big that thing packs ? Might as well get an RTT straight up..
 

dirtnsmores

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60
southern california
First Name
Mike
Last Name
M
Gazelle tent for full family or back of the truck if only two of us. Climbing up and down that later doesn't sound good. Especially with my German shepherd. The ease of setup of the gazelle tent makes all the difference. And it'll save you thousands
 

Truckee

Rank IV

Enthusiast II

Have you seen how big that thing packs ? Might as well get an RTT straight up..
I did choose an RTT but other people have their reasons.

Folded Dimensions:
49 5/8" x 32 11/16" x 6 1/8"
This one doesn't seem too bad. And only 37 lbs. Could easily throw that on the roof.

 
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AggieOE

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I think I was in a similar spot to you a year ago. At that time my wife and I finally pulled the trigger on a Tuff Stuff RTT. I always loved the idea of being off the ground as I can't stand tracking in dirt and plus it just seemed so cool!
Plus, I also got tired of clearing any rocks, sticks, and debris, setting up a tarp, staking the tent and all the ties for the rain/privacy fly, and airing up an air mattress. Not to mention tearing all that back down, sweeping out the tent, and rolling up a tent with dew and/or bugs all over it. It just lacked all luster and made camping feel like somewhat of a chore.

RTT, though, brought back a lot of the excitement. I bring a couple different thickness pieces of wood for leveling the truck, swing the cover over, pull the ladder and flip the tent open, set up the window/fly poles, and then through pillows in there.

It may not be faster. It may even be slower. But for right now it is fun and something new.

Something that does suck though, maybe specific to us, is we added an extra pad under the pad that came in the RTT which made keeping sleeping bags up there more difficult. My wife's a side sleeper and the hip bone digs right through the pad that came with it.
I DO get tired of setting it up and tearing it down anytime we need the vehicle to drive a trailhead, to the store, to get some food, etc.

I'll be putting it on a small trailer soon with it just under the vehicles roof line. That should make camping and driving a little better.
 

offkamber

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oleg
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If I were solo or just with wife I’d have a RTT. I have a 2.8 year old and a 1 year old. RTT is out of the question. Not practical for either age group. Once kids turn 5 or so, than I might consider a RTT.

Keep in mind that with a RTT you won’t be able to camp everywhere. There are times it doesn’t make sense so you will still want to carry a regular tent and sleep setup unless your confident where you are going a RTT will work. Therefore space is not saved.
 

Speric

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I've never done the RTT route, but I know it's not for me. Climbing a ladder to get in and out = no. I like being able to stand in my tent to get dressed, I'm done shimming into my clothes while laying down. Ground tenting =/= sleeping on the ground, that's what cots/air mattresses are for. They're cheaper, and they don't live full-time on my vehicle. If I was out all the time, or maybe even a long road-trip, then I could see some advantage to a RTT, but I just can't really justify the cost in $$ and space.
 

sbc

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90
St. Louis, MO, USA
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Sam
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Charrington
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New to overlanding and thinking about the same issues, so it's been helpful to read everyone's comments here.

Having just completed our first big trip, I started out firmly against RTTs "in theory" due to many of the often discussed reasons--cost, weight, center of gravity, MPG hit, 2 am bio calls, etc. I'm now in the market for one.

Mostly what I found is that we weren't very comfortable in the ground tent and it wasn't very convenient:

- Sure I can disassemble my ground tent in 5 minutes, but pulling up camp took us a lot longer. Two things that took extra time were packing up the exped sleeping pad and the gigantic sleeping bag we had. It'd be great for all this stuff to just stay in the RTT.
- In spite of the expensive exped pad, rocks and roots were uncomfortable and the slightest grade had us sliding off the pad.
- The pad and sleeping bag took up a ton of space in the truck that I'd love to get back.
- We spent a few nights in hotels due to not wanting to set up camp in the rain or in the dark. I may be deluded but I'd like to think that with a less involved RTT type setup we'd have saved that $$.

I'm sure an RTT isn't the only way to address these issues, but it seems like an interesting solution at this point.
 

mack1611

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Off-Road Ranger I

90
Red Stick Louisiana
First Name
Mike
Last Name
Ackerman
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KI5QMJ
I'll second being a ground guy. The thought of navigating a ladder at 3 am to find a handy tree is not on my list of things to do. It would probably be safer to fight the bear.
I have a long funnel attached to about 6 feet of 3/4 inch tubing so I don't have to leave the RTT. A little water out of a bottle to give it a flush and back to bed...
 

Conner Hunt

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I'll second being a ground guy. The thought of navigating a ladder at 3 am to find a handy tree is not on my list of things to do. It would probably be safer to fight the bear.
I have a long funnel attached to about 6 feet of 3/4 inch tubing so I don't have to leave the RTT. A little water out of a bottle to give it a flush and back to bed...
Hahahahahahhaa