Talk Me Out of a RTT

Finn

Adventurist
#1
Please talk me out of a Roof Top Tent: Here's the backstory.

I've camped in Roof Top Tents, ground tents and hammocks all over the southwest. I have had my eye on a Go Fast Camper for sense there release and planned on going that route. Most of our trips are one night and we have no room to store a trailer at the time. However the wife is convinced it is more important to put the money towards a new house and not a camper. She has suggested getting a roof top tent.

I can get 25% Off 23 Zero tents and am thinking I might go that direction. We're both tired of dealing with air mattresses and the other hassle's that are involved with a ground tent.

Can someone please confirm or deny this is a good idea?! :eek:

Seems like there are sure a lot of people who ditch the RTT. So that why I am hesitant.
 

Al Swope

Adventurist
Founding Member
#2
How many nights per year will you camp? If you are realistically less than 10, I'd get a good ground tent and some good cots. Agree, air mattresses are a pain in the ass. Taking a RTT on and off a daily driver is also a pain. Leaving it on kills handling and mileage. Ground tents give you the most options. The only advantage I see for a RTT is it gives you the "overland" look.
 

Code Red

Adventurist
#3
As sure as the sun rises, I will have to pee in the middle of the night when camping. (might have something to do with drinking beer around the camp fire). Less ladders between me and my objective at 0300 are always a positive. Princess is not on-board with a pee-bottle.

After doing both, the "convenience" of the roof-top tent simply isn't there for me. No stand-up height, too much acrobatic talent required to enter and exit, no good way to knock the dirt off your shoes before climbing in, etc . . . The longer you stay in one place the worse it gets. We did the rain, mud, and cold at Expo east last year. Having a big enough ground tent to pull in a table and chairs and set up Mr. Heater was solid gold. Neighbors brought food and booze so they could come in and get warm or eat somewhere besides their RTT.

As Al mentions it introduces a compromise to your daily driver. If you don't have room for a trailer, I am assuming you don't have a ready place to store an RTT off the vehicle. I aspire to camp about 30 nights a year. That's a lot for me, but even on good years, I still don't want to lose the day to day utility of my truck by making it a dedicated "Overland Rig."

Don't give up on the air mattress. Not all air mattresses are created equal. We got a new one last year with a built-in rechargeable air pump. That was a game changer, and it doesn't seem to lose as much pressure as the temp drops. Much less hassle than what we were using before. Cots are also an option.

https://americanadventurist.com/forum/threads/lightweight-cots.6565/

All of that said, I am interested in the half height RTT models. They seem easier to get in and out of. Like the one on the Turtleback Adventure Series trailers, or the Patriot trailers have a similar setup, but that one's a little higher. I believe Eezie-Awn makes a trailer height tent as well. They tend to have a built in Annex that sets up in one motion with the tent. That gives you a changing room, an easier ingress/egress, and somewhere to escape bad weather without going to bed. You mention that a trailer is not an option for you, but it seems to me that a flatbed might make one of those viable on a truck.
 
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Finn

Adventurist
#4
How many nights per year will you camp? If you are realistically less than 10, I'd get a good ground tent and some good cots. Agree, air mattresses are a pain in the ass. Taking a RTT on and off a daily driver is also a pain. Leaving it on kills handling and mileage. Ground tents give you the most options. The only advantage I see for a RTT is it gives you the "overland" look.

I typically camp about 20-30 nights a year. Hoping this year to increase that number. Definitely don't care about the "look" l am just attracted to the simplicity of it.
 

Dave

Adventurist
Founder
Senior Staff
Editor
#5
I typically camp about 20-30 nights a year. Hoping this year to increase that number. Definitely don't care about the "look" l am just attracted to the simplicity of it.
I was an “early adopter” when RTT’s were “new”. Eazi-Awn 1600.

I grew to hate it. The ladder. Wrangling the damn travel cover. Couldn’t fold it shut with the bedding inside. Mattress rated for a baby crib.

Never again.
 

Code Red

Adventurist
#6
I was an “early adopter” when RTT’s were “new”. Eazi-Awn 1600.

I grew to hate it. The ladder. Wrangling the damn travel cover. Couldn’t fold it shut with the bedding inside. Mattress rated for a baby crib.

Never again.
Ohhhh the travel cover, how could I forget the travel cover? I guess I just blocked that bad experience out of my mind.
 

Trump

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Founding Member
#7
Yep, breaking camp every morning having already sweat through my clothing by the time I get the RTT cover on. Never again. Convenient set-up, but tear down would take me longer than most ground tents. The hard shell options take care of that, but at a cost of at least 50 additional pounds of weight right where it shouldn't be.
 
#8
I have a Howlingmoon RTT, and I moved it from my truck to my trailer. I used the ARB awning room last time I was out, but am looking at getting a RV-5 tent and using it. The RTT is great for the kids, but I'm getting old and an fat....... I may end up setting the RTT....
 

bob91yj

Adventurist
Founding Member
#9
EVERY time you want to go somewhere you have to break camp, that's the biggest issue I have with RTT's. Of course I'm in the same position as I have a slide in pop up camper in the bed of my truck.
 
#11
EVERY time you want to go somewhere you have to break camp, that's the biggest issue I have with RTT's. Of course I'm in the same position as I have a slide in pop up camper in the bed of my truck.
I would contend w/ the fact that clamshell setup like the vagabond or autohome columbus is going to offer a very different experience to say a tepui, gfc, or maggiolina
 

Dave

Adventurist
Founder
Senior Staff
Editor
#12
I would contend w/ the fact that clamshell setup like the vagabond or autohome columbus is going to offer a very different experience to say a tepui, gfc, or maggiolina
Being able to easily open and close it, while leaving all bedding in place, would be a plus. But I still see entry/egress as an issue with any RTT.

Midnight pee breaks require thunder jug technology to prevent orthopedic injuries.
 
#13
I have the V 2.0 of the CVT MT St Helens hard shell RTT. Comfy, easy to set up and almost as easy to close. Big PITA to move, store, install and remove. Great for touring and easy trails but adds 175 lbs way high up. I have found my Oz tent easier to use when Stacey is with me but when I'm solo sleeping in the bed of the truck is best for me.

Last year I used my Oz tent more than my RTT. Also consider with a RTT you need a rack to mount it on, on the low end your looking at around $500.
 
#14
I've got an older Maggiolina. Camping for me is a solo excursion (she ain't gonna, no need to cover that ground again).
You stop on a relatively level piece of ground (side to side), fore and aft you adjust so your head is slightly elevated just like at home. Flip 3 catches, turn the crank, extend the ladder. When its time for bed, stop near the top of the ladder and sit on the edge of the bed -- already made up from when you climbed out -- pull off the boots. Zip the doors and screens to match the weather.
Wake up, sit on the edge of the bed, put the boots back on and climb down. Crank it down, tuck the edges in and flip the catches. Drive away.
C'mon guys, I won't see 60 again in this lifetime and the climbing up and down a ladder -- even during middle of the night -- ain't that hard.
 
#15
Being able to easily open and close it, while leaving all bedding in place, would be a plus. But I still see entry/egress as an issue with any RTT.

Midnight pee breaks require thunder jug technology to prevent orthopedic injuries.

Yeah, that's why I called out the vagabond over the gfc and summit. It's a bit longer than both options and has a 30" gap between the bed and the rear of the camper so I can duck down and use my gatorade bottle urinal at 4am. the summit, gfc, and vagabond all have room to fit bedding, the vagabond just has more room though because you can leave fullsize pillows in place.

i've been considering options a lot more and maybe changing things up with my habitat towards a pop top. I'll miss the space, but i'll manage, i've realized that most of my trips are stop at one spot and move on the next day or even the same day. being able to take hour long naps mid trip will be exceptionally useful for me.
 
#16
I've got an older Maggiolina. Camping for me is a solo excursion (she ain't gonna, no need to cover that ground again).
You stop on a relatively level piece of ground (side to side), fore and aft you adjust so your head is slightly elevated just like at home. Flip 3 catches, turn the crank, extend the ladder. When its time for bed, stop near the top of the ladder and sit on the edge of the bed -- already made up from when you climbed out -- pull off the boots. Zip the doors and screens to match the weather.
Wake up, sit on the edge of the bed, put the boots back on and climb down. Crank it down, tuck the edges in and flip the catches. Drive away.
C'mon guys, I won't see 60 again in this lifetime and the climbing up and down a ladder -- even during middle of the night -- ain't that hard.
Pretty much me too - except that my James Baroud has four latches and pop up struts! I've done the ground tents, the trailer with Eezi-Awn Globetrotter tent and now a JB RTT. Plus and minus to all as responses show. For the RTT I have now, I love the 1 minute set up and 2 minutes take down. Dislike having to do so if you want to go anywhere. Ladder is ok, and being solo, the nalgen bottle at night is just fine. I loved the vestibule of the Globetrotter. Not crazy, at my age, not having anywhere to STAND UP to dress/undress in the RTT. I guess that's the biggest drawback for me with a RTT. Truck is not my DD, so I don't deal with the on/off issue of a RTT. I agree to a point with Dave about the cover. The Globetrotter cover on the trailer was a little easier being closer to the ground than having to do a cover on top of a truck and it's not an issue with the fiberglass clamshell of the JB.
 
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java230

Adventurist
#17
I go both ways..... RTT is super nice when you want a quick stop for a night. Pull up pop open throw in pillows done. Ground tent takes set up, but lets you move away from camp easy. Trade off.

The cover sucks. If I was buying a new one it would be hard shell 1000000%.

Will you move every day or set up base camp? Thats what it come down to IMO.
 

Doug

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Founding Member
#18
I have a Maggiolina Extreme (crank up and down). It weighs 125# and is great. It’s tall enough for me to sit up in it and takes about a minute of cranking up or down. With my wife along tucking is quick and easy. By myself, I have to hop off the tailgate 2-3 times to tuck but it generally only takes a couple of minutes regardless. I make regular use of a thunderjug and bring it down in the morning without issue. (FWIW worth, I bought a cheap double walled 40 oz stainless steel bottle and put a biohazard sticker on the top to avoid accidental use as a water bottle.) It’s great and I never have to crawl around on the ground rolling up a tent.

The only difficulty I have is how to remove it once I get home. When I build a garage with an 8’ or 9’ door, it’ll be easy to lift off with an electric hoist. For now, we’ve had four people lift it up and one more drive out from underneath. I recently bought a drywall lift that will lift up to 150 pounds. I plan to use it to store the RTT up at the 10’ ceiling with a couple of straps. I should be able to lower it, roll it to the edge of the roof rack and slide it over. If it works like it does in my mind, problem solved.
 
#19
I still prefer ground tents, but I will echo what's said above about the advantages of hard shell RTT's. I spent 9-10 nights last year in an Alu-Cab hard shell that was infinitely better than the Eezi-Awn canvas tents I had used before. No travel cover, all the bedding fit inside, and set-up tear-down was a matter of seconds. But we had good weather the whole trip and the hard shell did nothing to help with pee breaks and ladders.
 

Finn

Adventurist
#20
Thanks for all the feedback everyone! Sounds like a Hardshell is the way to go if staying on with a RTT. Unfortunately the nicer ones like JB and Alucab are out of the budget.

Definitely going to show the wife the shiftpod and see if that’s something she wants to try.
 
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