RTT vs. Wind

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Quicksilver

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I've pretty much convinced myself I want a trailer of some type. I keep going back and forth between something like a Turtleback or a teardrop (something like this). The main reason I'm considering a teardrop is not having to worry about the wind. Last fall, we encountered an unexpected storm that destroyed our ground tent, so I've become a bit paranoid about it.

So I'd like some insight from those who have RTTs, either on a trailer or their rig, as to how they hold up in 50+ mph winds. I don't think I've ever seen/heard anyone talking about their RTT being damaged, so I'm assuming they hold up. But assuming things has bitten me in the backside more than once, lol.
 

Eric Neal

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Can only speak to my personal experience on this.

In past life when doing loads of backpacking I too have had some ground tent fails. Waking up at 2:00 - 3:00 AM wih the tent collapsing in my face from either wind, tree limbs, snow load, etc. (I wonder why MotherNature always seems to send the worst storms in my direction in the middle of the nite but rarely during the daylight??)

You know, stuff I could have addressed with better planning, forethought, and so on. But that being said, my tent selections were based on two critical factors, 1) weight, 2) cost/budget.

With my RTT (Yakima 3) there is a much stronger aluminum frame since weight isn't of much concern, relative to other vehicle and gear weight issues. Of course budget considerations seem to be thrown out when looking at almost any RTT.

My wife and I have had to "suffer" thru several nights of loud "wind flapping" which kept me awake or sleep coming in spurts between gusts but we haven't had any sort of failure during our camping in the Appalachian Mtns, Arizona deserts, Death Valley, Mojave Rd, and points in between.

Our three worst wind issues occurred near Grandfather Mtn in NC in Oct. '17, on the el Camino de Diablo, AZ in mid December along the Mogollon Rim also in AZ early Jan. 2018.

Have had this set up (RTT on rack system mounted over the truck bed on '02 Ranger PU) since July 2017 and have logged about 150 nights camping since purchase.
 
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1Louder

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I have had 3 RTT’s TJM, CVT, and 23 Zero. All held up fine in strong winds even with the annex on when properly staked down. BUT they are very loud and will rock you trailer or vehicle. Anything that isn’t tight will flap all night. Window shades, rainfly, annex etc.

Turtleback is one of the best trailers out there period. I used to own one.

For now I have switched to a VRV Teardrop. Less than half the cost with lots of trade-offs. A different experience but I like sleeping indoors. Especially when the temps are low or the wind is strong. It’s taller than the TB and then skins are a thinner aluminum sheet as compared to the TB.

Everything is a trade-off though. Turtleback cook in 30 seconds, bed in 5-10 minutes. VRV it’s the opposite. My VRV is super roomy inside compared to most teardrops.

I have had 4 trailers in 5 years. Ha! I plan on keeping the VRV but my track record isn’t very good so we will see. They are also coming out with a new model in a few months that I might consider getting and renting my current unit. There are times I miss the TB though. If you are taking unknown routes with unknown conditions the Turtleback will never let you down. It’s a tank.

Lockhart Basin


Central AZ near Picket Post Mountain
 
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Road

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I've pretty much convinced myself I want a trailer of some type. I keep going back and forth between something like a Turtleback or a teardrop (something like this). The main reason I'm considering a teardrop is not having to worry about the wind. Last fall, we encountered an unexpected storm that destroyed our ground tent, so I've become a bit paranoid about it.

So I'd like some insight from those who have RTTs, either on a trailer or their rig, as to how they hold up in 50+ mph winds. I don't think I've ever seen/heard anyone talking about their RTT being damaged, so I'm assuming they hold up. But assuming things has bitten me in the backside more than once, lol.
I've had great luck with both my hard shell RTT (Roofnest Eagle) on my trailer, and my ground tent (OZTent RV-5) in windstorms when others around me had their tents collapse or main ridge poles snap. I think a lot of it has to do with the gear you choose and how well you rig it.

I purchased both my RTT and ground tent used for about half what they cost new, and both were hardly used. If cost is a factor, shop around, you might be surprised at what you can get from people who wanted to try this or that, but are switching it up now.

I was going to go with a fold open RTT, and there are some great ones, but in the end chose one that pops up super quick and closes up just about as fast. It's been great in high winds.

The RV-5 ground tent, when staked out right and even with awning and rainfly, is amazing in storms and high wind. No flapping sounds, handles the wind quite nicely, and you feel snug and secure.

The best though, and the one I choose most often is sleeping in the van as all my stuff is already in there where I need it, close at hand and organized. Handles the wind and rain like a champ, of course, and over the years I've come to look forward to storms and falling asleep to the sound of rain on the roof.

Here's my full base camp type set up. I don't always have it all set up, but when I do, I drink Dos Equis :tongueclosed:

roaddude_cadescove_campside_3706.jpg

starboard-awning-rtt-IMG_3179.JPG

This was a five weeks in one place experiment to test gear, tweak set-up, and see how various parts of the set-up hold up to use and weather. I had a ton of interesting and challenging weather, too.
 
I've experienced some harsh winds in my Smittybilt RTT my last camping trip. The rain fly is about the only concern I had with it. But I remedy the problem by carrying bungee cords in one of my totes. I attach the bungee's on the corners of the rain fly & around the tent rack shown on the photo. Worked great with no excessive flapping. I also drawed up the buckles tighter towards the top of the tent too. There is many thing can be done to solve a wind issue with RTT.
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Tim

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We used our RTT is some fairly rough weather last year in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland . The wind was blowing hard and it was raining as well as we camped close to the coast. There were several in out group with RTT’s and a couple of makes between them and they all survived without serious damage. We only lost a strap on the fly sheet that had to be stitched back on. It was very noisy with all the canvas flapping so not much sleep was had. When I got back from that trip I bought a storm cover. This not only gives an extra layer of protection from the wind and rain but will hopefully also reduce the noise as there will be less canvas to flap. More details on this page http://tuff-trek.com/soft-top-tents.html


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Winterpeg

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Aluminum poles is definitely a key ingredient in having a tent survive the wind.
I refuse to buy anything but aluminum now.

My ground tent is a Cabela's Extreme Weather Tent... we've escaped into there a few times.... with wind so hard that it was hard to talk to each other outside - we go inside and we are able to talk.

I am also interested in acquiring an RTT though... some good info from members with their experiences!
 

Quicksilver

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Lots of great information here. Thanks for all your input. Looks like my assumption about RTTs was correct, which is good to see. Because frankly, I'd much rather have a Turtleback than a teardrop. :laughing:
 
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GeoYota

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With relevance to your question about RTT camping in the wind...

We acquired our Yakima Skyrise 3 late last summer, mounted it to a bed rack in our Tacoma (higher profile) and spent our first weekend testing it out in the local mountains (San Diego, Mt. Laguna). Our first day set up we encountered some serious (for SoCal, I know Oklahoma and Texan OB mems might chime in here...) winds and rain. At least 25 mph sustained, with 40 mph gusts. Pine needles everywhere, lots of rain fly flapping, but no real issues...

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Our next trip out was the real "wind tunnel test," when we set up camp at Russel's Cabin in Death Valley. We set up with a group of other RTT's in what we hoped was a more secluded area of the cabin...but wind doesn't discriminate in the desert. We were buffeted all night long with 40-50mph winds with some serious 60-70mph gusts that sounded like the hand of...well pick you diety...hitting our tent. I did get up and remove the rainfly that night, which helped to quiet some of the flapping, but the gusts still knocked our tent around. Shooting earplugs are now stowed in our camping kit for just such occasions...

IMG_8061.JPG

Finally, we just came back from two nights at Aqua Caliente CG in Anza Borrego...another fine desert wind event! I'm hoping by this point you realize that RTT's are good in the wind...as we camped this time with our RTT mounted on our AT Chaser. Much more stable and no rocking of vehicle suspension to deal with. Still noisy with the rain fly deployed, but no issues with the tent structure or mounts.

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Good luck in your search...obviously I'm biased towards your trailer choice (Turtlebacks are just plain fantastic!) but you wouldn't hate fully enclosed either.

John & Daphne
 

TOTA

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My first trip in my rtt was over two years ago at the Texas coast. We got hammered pretty good with 40+ mph winds. I hardly slept at all due to all the flapping and betting worried about the tent but everything was fine. Hardly any sand blew in since I was several feet off the ground. We had strong winds at Big Bend last week and it was fine there too. I took the rain fly off last year and that really helps reduce the flapping noise. I have it back on now even though it is pretty noisy.
 

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Winterpeg

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So what I'm hearing is that the RTT's will survive in the wind... but they flap a lot... so it gets noisy.

In my experience anything that flaps will eventually start ripping/breaking.

Has anyone had their RTT's for a number of years and if so how has it held up? What brand?
 

TOTA

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So what I'm hearing is that the RTT's will survive in the wind... but they flap a lot... so it gets noisy.

From my experience yes. I'm a very light sleeper though so I wake up even when the raccoons fart after stealing my food.

In my experience anything that flaps will eventually start ripping/breaking.

I'm not sure I can agree with that statement in this case. I guess it depends on how you define "eventually". You have canvas sitting on aluminum poles and in some spots it won't be held tight against the pole so it may flap against them. My biggest noise maker by far is the rain fly where it's held out by the two flexible aluminum poles. If I have a cross wind it will flap similar to when you shake the cookie crumbs out of a sheet. I guess "eventually" this could rip but they are sewn very well and are a strong material. Mine has shown no signs of wear at all and I've used many many times over the last couple years.

Has anyone had their RTT's for a number of years and if so how has it held up? What brand?

I have had mine since January 2016 so not that long but we have used it quite a bit. Like I said previously it's been beach camping with a constant strong wind and stronger gusts to desert camping with equally strong winds and I literally can not find a stitch that's broken. It has even survived my son who is now 4.

My tent is a TJM Yulara which is the same as several others (or was when I bought it) such as the ARB Simpson 3, Tepui Autana, and whatever else. They appear to be manufactured by whomever and then a logo slapped on it for whatever company.

If you are at all hesitant to buy a rtt don't be. They are very strong and reliable. I have thoroughly enjoyed mine and we have many great memories and many more to be made in the future.
 

Tim

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We’ve had ours since 2010 but it only gets used maybe 3 times a year (except for a couple of longer trips). Apart from that one strap that let go in the wind we’ve had no problems with it. It’s an ARB Simpson 2. I’m thinking I should probably give it a good clean and waterproof it this year. The annexe, that zips in round underneath it to form a room, I’m not so impressed with... it leaked the first time it rained and because the floor is like a tray it just filled with water


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BcYeti2503

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This is actually a great discussion. I have been searching for a new rooftop tent as I remember seeing in a video that someone had made a flip style of tent that had very tight and external pole design fabric. Something I remember was that the rain fly was not necessary for basic rain as well so it would be something you put on for more extreme conditions only.
If we find this rtt it will help with the wind issue.
At the moment I run a tepui autana winter camo edition and while I love the look and robust fabric, there is always an upgrade.IMAG0777.jpg