SmittyBuilt RTT Overlander XL???????

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Kirk Kinnell

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Member

Contributor II

When in search for RTT @ the 1st of my trailer build last year, I looked & researched many of them out their. Designs & materials were pretty close to the same. Price isn't a issue with me. I heard from forums that Smittybilt Overlander Tents were junk. As "for me" I do not always believe what I hear or read. But when you go on-line & check out actual reviews they say a different story, other wise positive reviews. The reason why I purchased the Smittybilt Roof Top Tent was I have a good friend who works for them (NO I didn't get a friend deal either). Their was also some video's on you tube that kinda help me decide to go with Smittybilt by 410 Expeditions "Cappy" about the 1st Gen Smittybilt RTT review & a second review on the 2nd Gen Smittybilt RTT he made. These video's pretty much sealed the deal with me. Smittybilt has been making vast changes & improvements to their product lines & contines to do so. What verifies this even more is that Smittybilt made a huge improvement on the Annex for the 2783 tent by moving the entrance to the annex over to the side, when it used to be in the front of the ladder.

Watching both of those video's plus talking with my friend who works for Smittybilt the vast improvements Smittybilt continuously makes on there product line is only a good asset & shows me they do care about their products.

Now the mattress stinks, no if's, and's or but's about it, it is flat out uncomfortable. But what I read about "most" RTT mattresses seem to be this way. But after researching for a new mattress & reading about make shift solutions on forums I decided to go with a new whole mattress: Exped Duo Mega Mat 10 Queen Size extra long\extra wide. This mattress is like sleeping on my home mattress which is tempurpedic mattress. https://www.backcountry.com/exped-megamat-duo-10-sleeping-p…

I own the Smittybilt 2783 RTT for some time now. My overall review of this tent from "my opinion" when I 1st purchased it to now with many trips & nights slept in it from cold night down low as 23 degrees & hot southern summer nights in the 80's & in windy rainy conditions w\ the new mattress that aids in comfort to our RTT is a win win for Sally & I. The tent is structually sound & IMO will give years of use w\o issues., assuming the typical little things will go: velcro straps & small items which IMO are give me's to any RTT which in time from continuous use will need to be replaced or fixed.

IMO a good quailty anti condensation mat is a must, which mine is a CVT mat, & a shoe hammock instead of that horrible designed shoe bag. The shoe bag we used to store our Coleman collapsible oven in. What I like & think that works for Sally & I is any personal mod's or add-on's to the RTT only makes for more of a enjoyable & memorable camping trip.
Compact Camping Concepts sells these shoe hammocks. https://compact-camping-concepts-2.myshopify.com/…/tent-sho…
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This. Outstanding perspective and review.
 
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SLPNBG

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Traveler I

2,515
Mechanicsville, Va
Member #

11700

My wife and I absolutely love it! So happy that we don't have to struggle with a zipper to hold the cover on like some other brands. Velcro closure is no joke! The tent material is a touch lighter than some of the more pricey brands but still just as heavy as any quality ground tent material. I do wish the LED light strip came with a switch in the tent. Other than that I have had ZERO complaints!!!View attachment 64829

Amazon has a USB dimmer mad by Onite. I think it was $8.00 for a 2 pack
 

Matt L.

Rank VI
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Traveler II

2,953
Midland, TX
Member #

7395

This might be a dumb question but how do your vehicles handle the tent while going down the highway? There must be wind noise but how about fuel economy and wind drag?
I have an F150 Ecoboost with a shell on the back. The shell has a factory rack where the tent would sit, if I get one.
 
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Poseidon

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Contributor II

271
Wetumpka , Alabama
First Name
Raymond
Last Name
Camp
Member #

19552

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Custom made Jeep off-road camping trailer. It started out as a sea doo trailer frame. The tongue was cut down for a shorter look. The original c channel axle was cut and extended 7 inches to fit the couragia 285/75/16 mud tires. It has 2 tires and three cragar wheels. The fenders came off a Vietnam m416 trailer. The actual box on the trailer is vacuum sealed and waterproof. It also comes with a 5 gallon gas can mounted to it. Has a roof rack welded to the top. Has a hitch mounted to the rear but it’s not weight tested. I used it for a carry haul and a flag pole. Comes with tow rope wrapped around the tongue.
 

Enthusiast III

We’ve run the Smittybilt Overlander Xl for a few years now, and have previously experienced a Tepui Kukenam, more ground tents than I can shake a stick at, and live-in solutions like a mattress under a truck cap, sleeping platform in the back of a JK, etc. The Smitty is great value, but it has serious deficiencies that depending on your use might be deal breakers or might not matter at all. I would agree with a lot of what’s been said here, and will add my perspective.

The Smitty is about 60-70% the tent that my Kukenam was. I used to say 80% but I’ve lowered that a bit. However, it was only about 40% the cost of a comparable Tepui when we bought ours. This represents pretty good value for money, but that 40%- 30% might be important if alternate accommodations aren’t an option. Specifically, we’ve had poles break on our tent, and the hinge has not lined up since new (which means the floor isn’t as supported as it should be). I’ve also severely cut my hand on the hinges — the hinges on ours are not sanded down and still have a very sharp edge on them (Well they did, till I found it....I’ve since gotten rid of that edge). On one of the broken pole occasions, I was trying to lift the pole to fit it back into the hinge, and when I placed my hand on the hinge to pull the pole into it, I got sliced up pretty good. It almost ended the trip as the cuts were quite bad and in bad spots for using my hands.

The other broken pole was the pole over the awning area, as others have reported. The straps for the cover all tore, too.

All of the above problems were fixed for under $75 total from the hardware store and a bit of time with a Dremel. If we had known about them to check this stuff preventatively it may have been less.

Whenever I think about the more value priced gear, I will generally focus on the opportunity cost of it failing.

If you get out on weekends mainly, and are never more than a day or so away from home or a hotel (and that is a realistic option for you — as in, you have the $$ for an emergency hotel) then the Smitty is great value for money. You will save $2k over a Tepui of a similar size, and that pays for a lot of “just in case” hotel nights — not to mention lots of gas for more adventures. Or if you have a second ground tent as a spare, an awning room, etc. you might go with a Smitty, because If the tent fails totally, you still have a place to sleep and your trip isn’t ruined. We almost always have a spare tent on the bike, and don’t mind a tarp tent so for our use case it’s great.

But if you are not in that position and really need to rely on a tent as your primary shelter for an extended period, or where a failure of that shelter represents a major issue — time, money, abandoned trip, etc. — I would buy elsewhere as the Smitty just isn’t built robustly enough to really depend on it long term in our experience. Our new rig is bought with this in mind so our Smitty is only temporary.

And if you aren’t wanting to go through it to do some of your own quality control and take off the sharp edges, DEFINITELY do not buy this tent. Had my hands been cut slightly differently it would have sliced tendons. As it was, it needed stitches (super glue did the trick). I bet for most of us, avoiding a bad cut (or for some, the hospital bill after a bad cut) would make buying a different tent a pretty good investment.

We won’t be buying another, the cut hands thing was a deal breaker and we aren’t confident it will meet our needs on our longer trips.

Edit: I reread my post and it had a tone I didn’t like and did not intend, so I edited to remove that. This tent is still excellent value, just with a few caveats.
 
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Poseidon

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Contributor II

271
Wetumpka , Alabama
First Name
Raymond
Last Name
Camp
Member #

19552

This might be a dumb question but how do your vehicles handle the tent while going down the highway? There must be wind noise but how about fuel economy and wind drag?
I have an F150 Ecoboost with a shell on the back. The shell has a factory rack where the tent would sit, if I get one.
If the tent was mounted on the Jeep I’m certainly would hear noise at hey speed, I do even with my light bar but I don’t hear it at all while it’s on my trailer, I have a slight decrease in fuel economy but that’s to be expected. I barely feel my trailer being back there, it rides so smooth.