U and your Roof Top Tent

BBQdave

Active Member
Aug 31, 2016
291
North Carolina
What's your experience with a Roof Top Tent (RTT)?

When it's time to upgrade my tent, should I go canvas ground tent or a soft shell RTT?

Potential setup will be a mid rack on a crew cab Frontier, with folding soft shell RTT on the mid rack. Will continue container camping, with storage in the truck bed.

What do you like about your RTT? What are the challenges?

Thanks for your thoughts :)
 

Overland

Active Member
May 1, 2013
518
Bristol, Pa
Pro: Off the ground, and usually a quick and easier setup for me, with a bad back. Espescially on a mid rack such as you mentioned.

Con: Having to pack away any time i want to go see the sights, or run for provisions. Unless i'm moving to a different location everyday.. but that can get tiring as well. Limited space.

Most recent RTT's are made in China.. with typical tent style fabrics.. if your able i'd suggest finding a good used older model with heavy canvas or buy one new.

I went from an RTT to a modified for offroad small pup, now i'm back to an RTT and see my camping days are numbered.
 

BBQdave

Active Member
Aug 31, 2016
291
North Carolina
Con: Having to pack away any time i want to go see the sights, or run for provisions.
Appreciate the experience, Overland. Was thinking about this, but my camping tends to be a base camp, with vehicle not moving.

I hike and fish, and sometimes bike - on what I call a forest bicycle, big tires. I like having the truck bed open (no cap) for easy access to containers, firewood, supplies and gear. Was thinking too, the mid rack would be more accessible for set up of RTT.

Currently looking at CVT RTT's. Seem to have a good reputation. And there's a CVT store in the neighboring state of TN. Might make a camp - run there to pick it up - if that's what I get :)
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,660
Albuquerque, NM
We've never tried one, using a cargo carrier was much better use of the roof for us. (& I don't do ladders.) However, we see them here in the SW, and have seen a lot more over the past couple of camping seasons than ever before. A lot of the users seem to be people who stop in the campground for one night and move on the next day. For them, there isn't a need to take down the campsite to go out and sight see and explore.
There seem to be a few styles, including one (or more) I've seen with an extended "floor" at roof height. A couple we saw on high-wind says didn't look like you'd get much sleep on a windy night.
 

BBQdave

Active Member
Aug 31, 2016
291
North Carolina
In my mind, I like the idea of unfolding a RTT and having the foam mattress and bedding ready to go. Quicker camp set up. Of course, I have not tested this idea. Going off of what I've read and researched.

I believe wind would be a challenge in both of my choices, RTT or Canvas ground tent. Though you are not as high up with the ground tent :)
 

Anthony Hitchings

Super Active Member
Silver Supporting Member
Mar 2, 2019
3,675
Oakland, California
it seems to me that most RTT owners leave them on - so you have extra fuel costs from hauling it around everywhere that you go (especially extra wind resistance, worse on some models).

Does your cammping include a wife/girlfriend who needs to pee in the middle of the night? This is when the ladder becomes an extra PITA!
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,660
Albuquerque, NM
In my mind, I like the idea of unfolding a RTT and having the foam mattress and bedding ready to go. Quicker camp set up. Of course, I have not tested this idea. Going off of what I've read and researched.

I believe wind would be a challenge in both of my choices, RTT or Canvas ground tent. Though you are not as high up with the ground tent :)

That would be one reason we went to the popup, which had the advantage of being able to stay in the campground while we went out an explored, as out ground tents had before us. Even with as much moving of stuff back and forth in the camper, the second popup was definitely less work to be ready to sleep than the tent. (& the small travel trailer is quicker yet, at least we can leave the bed made up, which we could not in either popup)
 

Drufus

Member
Mar 19, 2020
55
Not sure how you dry a rtt that was soaked while camping unless you have a shop you can park your truck. Especially in the pnw where it is constantly raining. Maybe if you live in a dry climate it is a nonissue.
Also not being able to explore or run for supplies without breaking down camp is a deal breaker for me.
I think the rtt thing makes sense for people doing one night and traveling on to the next spot, not camping multiple nights.
 

davekro

Super Active Member
Aug 30, 2019
764
SF Bay Area, CA
BBQdave,

Good for you to come here and think out loud (well sort of) to get additional perspectives to add to your internal debate. For me, this always help me solidify my options and choices, feeling like I put in the due diligence in my considerations. A con for me on the spectrum of ‘shoot from the hip’ impulse buy to ‘analysis paralysis’, is I can bury the needle on the latter end of this scale! [:O] [LOL] Good luck in your fun decision process. I think we all Vicariously share in your excitement as it reminds us of the joy we felt in our own decision process. Thanks for coming here to share your process with us.

We all choose our Pup, TT, Tent, RTT, other, mode of camping and adapt to this chosen route. Of course, we can change over time to a different ‘mode’. Most commonly on this site from tent to PUP. And of course from PUP to TT, Affectionately known as going to the Dark Side (hear the TT saying in a low gravely voice...: “PUP, I am your FATHER.” [:D] ).

Years ago, we decided to upgrade our camping from 7’x7’ dome tent to a 10x14 tent with huge windows, vertical walls and a swinging door! We also bought nice cots and cushy pads. We called this our Hotel. That upgrade was maybe a $400 investment. Two seasons later, DW says she’d like us to get a trailer. We looked at an awesome used Holiday ____? 17’ TT that the owner had made many nice upgrades to. If we were going to go TT, THAT was the one to buy! As much as we admired that TT, we talked a lot about pros & cons for OUR situation and preferences, which obviously varies w i d e l y person to person (and DW to DH! [:D]), we settled for us, on easier towing AND storage, low wind resistance, ability to store/ work on in garage -or- side yard space we had. Also, as awesome as the interior and layout of this TT was, the idea of just having, IIRC, just two small maybe 24”x18”? windows vs. almost a full 360 degree view of the wilderness out side... was a strong influence. Everyone’s priorities vary!
 
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Dingit

Super Active Member
Mar 8, 2017
2,033
I love the concept but those middle-of-the-night bathroom trips would be the end of me. :) I need something more like the old Flippacs so I'd have a spot for my portapotty.

I'm familiar with having to break camp for exploring by vehicle because we sometimes take a popup truck camper. Gotta unpop to move. But it's not breaking camp, not really. You're just closing the tent (which is now the quick part of camp) and leaving everything else.

(I happen to enjoy having my kitchen and bathroom with me on day trips but that's a whole 'nother thing.)
 

BBQdave

Active Member
Aug 31, 2016
291
North Carolina
it seems to me that most RTT owners leave them on - so you have extra fuel costs from hauling it around everywhere that you go...
I believe a truck bed mid-rack would help me with this. The RTT would be mounted so it was cab high or a little lower. And it would allow me to climb in the truck bed for set-up and gear access.
...I'm familiar with having to break camp for exploring by vehicle because we sometimes take a popup truck camper. Gotta unpop to move. But it's not breaking camp, not really. You're just closing the tent (which is now the quick part of camp) and leaving everything else.
That's my thought too. Camp kitchen and other camp set-up would be the same as it is currently with my ground tent. I would fold the RTT and go as I need, but leave the rest of camp set-up :) And many of my camp destinations are truck parked until time to go home - with travel being hiking or bicycling.

I camp solo or with my kids, or group camp (me, sometimes with the kids). My Wife does not camp. Her idea of roughing it, is a fully furnished cabin with hot tub :) So when we travel together, there's a destination cabin or lodge in the plans :)
 




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