Roof Top Tent ----Pros and Cons

Submitted: Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 08:02
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Howdy, we have been looking at the differing styles of roof toppers and have narrowed it down to 2 brands but completely different styles. Mrs Kanga really likes the James Baroud Espace, I can see the benefits of this style of roof topper, undo 4 clips and "Hey Presto" it sets itself up, I believe it has some shortcomings, frinstance you don't get any shade from it and there is no covered access to the tent, these 2 things are why I prefer the Hannibal/Howling Moon type product as you sort of get them by default.
Anyone got either of these styles of roof topper and want to share your experiences/opinions, and how they fare in rain/wind/cold weather. Cheers, Kanga.
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Reply By: Member - Alastair D (NSW) - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 08:36

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 08:36
Kanga,
Look at the Aussie Traveller. We had one and were very happy with it. Well made, plenty of space, good ventilation and strong ladder. Do not underestimate the need for the covered part, one stop in bad weather will convince you.
I have watched people using a suitcase type RTT in the rain. Not pretty.
Cheers
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Follow Up By: Kanga1 - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 08:43

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 08:43
Alastair, I'm totally with you about the shelter part, Mrs K keeps muttering about broken nails and getting dirty getting the cover off, small price to pay I reckon, for not getting soaked getting in or out! I'll have a look at the Aussie Traveler, cheers. Kanga.
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Follow Up By: Kanga1 - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 09:08

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 09:08
Hi again Alastair, nice design with the tent cover becoming the rear awning, does it get very dirty/dusty, because the topside of the tent bag becomes the underside of the awning? Have asked them to email a brochure as they don't have a stockist in Tassie. Thanks again. Kanga.
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Follow Up By: HID GRANT - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 09:18

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 09:18
Hi Kanga,
I am another 1 for the Aussie Traveller which is quick to set up and pack up with the bottom canvas still attached.
This is the second 1 i have owned after the first 1st 1 was
burnt in a mates factory.
I did have it modified with zippers in the corners of the annex so you can roll them up in the hot weather.
I probably have some photos if you give me your email.
I think you were after canopy ideas as well i can email some of those photos.

Cheers

Grant


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Follow Up By: Kanga1 - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 09:29

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 09:29
Would this be HID Grant we met at Lawn Hill or thereabouts a couple of years back???? Wouldn't mind having a look at your pics of the mods, but bit reluctant to post my email up on here, I did it a couple of weeks ago in a Post and got a lot of Spam out of it, thankfully the ModSquad took it off the forum, do you know anyone who is a member on here and they could Member message me your email???? Happy trails Grant and good to here from you again, cheers, the Kanga's.
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Follow Up By: HID GRANT - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 13:38

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 13:38
Hi Kanga,
Yes this is grant from the cape and then lawn hill,what are you doing in TAS i thought you were a WA man.
Text me your email and i'll send you the picks.I had a look for your card
but no good 0417246605

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Reply By: The Landy - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 09:02

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 09:02
Howdy

On rooftop tents, I bought an Ezi-Awn, good quality roof-top tent to use with “The Landy” when I first rebuilt it in 2006.

Mrs Landy was never a great fan, preferring to use our Southern Cross centre poll tent, and of course we have the Tvan these days which has made the roof-top tent a bit redundant.

TomO and I have used it a few times over the years, but in the end we just take a tent these days if the Tvan isn’t in tow.

The concept of a roof-top tent is fine, but largely depends on the use. If you are on the move daily and travelling the CSR or Anne Beadell for example then a rooftop tent has a lot of merit on that type of trip...

But once you start stopping a few days here and there they are far less convenient, and as you highlighted, usually no shade, and in many cases, no standing room unless you add an annex.

And once you start adding an annex, why not just put a tent up? Mind you, they are elevated from the ground, so there is an advantage in some instances.

I have tried to sell the Ezi-Awn over the last couple of years, but it still occupies a space in “The Shed” and who knows, it might get another run on the 79 Series!

You don’t intend travelling with the Tvan?

Good luck, Baz
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Follow Up By: Kanga1 - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 09:21

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 09:21
Hi baz, we come from a history of camper trailers, first was an Aussie Swag then we had 2 Tvans, and I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one if the need arises. We have just bought a new D-Max Space Cab and will be building that up to a level of spec that suits our needs for the next few years, self contained and without the need to tow anything, we have a Black Wolf Turbo Lite tent for use where extended stays are planned but would really like to put a Roof Topper on the Canopy (yet to be built) on the Ute (yet to arrive) for practicality and convenience when touring. We have a decent trip planned for next year involving the Flinders, all the Corners, the Simpson, bottom half of the CSR, Australasian Safari and the ABH home to Tas, so a RTT is going to get a work out for the most of that, then after, that Hmmmm so much to see. Thanks for your thoughts, cheers. Kanga.
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 09:53

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 09:53
Sounds perfect for a trip like that!
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Reply By: Navigator 1 (NSW) - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 09:05

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 09:05
Hi Kanga,
Before buying 'The Truck' we travelled in an Aussie Traveller roof top tent for our adventures for about eight years. We would sometimes be away for 3, 4 or 5 months.
We had the delux version - the cover was uses for an awning over the back of the landcruiser. It had an excellent, bug proof 'room' with floor and large screened windows and door. The directions said to remove the floor before folding but we had a technique for packing up with it still attached which we would be happy to explain to you. The folding ladder was excellent with good flat treads (others you will find are round tube type steps which are very hard of the bare feet).
It is essential to have a room to retreat into - bugs, wind, rain, cold - even at night we had a little room to sit in to watch a DVD or do photos/blogs etc.
Go for the Aussie Traveller,
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Follow Up By: Kanga1 - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 09:34

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 09:34
Hi Rob, I am so with you about the covered area and shelter, if we go with the Aussie Traveller I will send you a MM to find out the secrets of the folding!!! I just had a look on Youtube at the setting up part and the end product looks pretty good. Thanks for the reply, Kanga.
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Reply By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 09:45

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 09:45
Hi A & G what happened to the new Defender? Thought that was th evehicle you intended to use next year for the big trip?

Two of the guys on our last desert trip I did had roof top tents. One had the James Baroud and the other your typical canvas type roof top tent. Think I sent you some photos that actually showed these 2 vehicles?

Advantages of the JB was that it was up in a flash and down the same way and condensation was never an issue. This guy was always the last to start to set up camp and yet he was sitting around the fire b4 anybody else. Also the struts on the JB are strong enough to allow for a tyre carcass to be strapped to it. Less chances of roof leaks and potentially more stable in a strong wind or storm.

Disadvantage - no shade and bloody expensive for a glorified box.

Typical RTT - more room, relatively quick to set up, and shade as a given and side awnings can be added easily. Plenty of ventilation.

Downside is they require a bigger campsite, condensate like any other fabric tent so breaking camp can be as slow as just tenting. The seams can leak and in a strong wind you'd cop a battering. And as said if your in a spot for a couple of days or more and still want to sight see or whatever they take longer to pack up and then set up.

Have fun with the research and you know who'll win in the end don't you.

Cheers


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Follow Up By: Kanga1 - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 12:20

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 12:20
G'day Dunc, I wondered when you were going to notice about the defender!! At the risk of starting a riot, discretion got the better part of valour, 1/ I do really need a ute at home, 2/ Landrovers can have issues, which when travelling alone in the bush I didn't want to take a Fault Code reader, and be wondering when a problem may pop up. I spent hours researching and in the end decided a D-Max had it over the Fender ( logic won out in the end). Maybe one day a Fender.
Both the RTT s have their merits and anomolies, for me, the shaded area and shelter climbing in and out, created by the Hannibal/Aussie Traveller style wins out hands down, but for Gill she doesn't want to have make a bed everyday! From what I can gather, with the Hannibal type you only have to take pillows out. You might get a shock to see what we turn up with for next years Aust Safari. Not long for you now, hope the Troopy is all prepped up for the 2013 Event. All the best Dunc, A and G.
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Follow Up By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 14:38

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 14:38
Agree about the DMax and seeing what Bruce Garland did to his in the Safari I reacon they are pretty robust.

Yer had our meeting etc last Saturday and equipment pickup is this Saturday. WRT the Troopy still adding stuff and I'm looking at getting an external aerial for my Sat Ph but at near on $500 I've got to be able to justify that and considering nobody would ring me at $19/min (due to me being on prepaid with the Inmarsat IsatPhone).

Enjoy the build-up of the DM.

I've been considering getting a RTT for the Troopy but the height is a problem and then because Ian always travells with me I'd need to still pack the tent. We already get sideways looks from people when they see two blokes sharing a tent, let alone a roof top tent. LOL

Cheers

D
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Follow Up By: Kanga1 - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 19:01

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 19:01
I didn't like to say anything Dunc, it's not as if there is anything wrong with that!!! LOL just kidding, with regard to the RTT, I had no idea there were so many varieties so you have your work cut out for you picking one if you do go that way, (get a wide one people are less likely to talk ;-) enjoy yourself on the Event and if we miss you in the Simpson, we'll see you in Perth for next years. All the best A and G.
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Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 11:13

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 11:13
We have the Hannibal Tourer.

And apart from having to take the tent with you if you want to go exploring it's great. Lots of coverage, strong and weather proof and with the annex you have a totally private room out the back. We have it set up on the 100 series so that it extends over the rear of the car. The annex has an opening that matches the rear door and with the tailgate down we have a neat kitchen area as well. A couple of the grand kids sleep on stretchers with my wife and my self an may another two kids up top.

Been in the snow, deserts, storms and strong winds. All good and secure. The skirt keeps the running water out and the floor dry. Except for those who forget to wipe their feet or take their boots off. Plenty of ventilation. Ours gives us a 1.6 by 2400 bed. I think that is a smidgin bigger than a double bed.


When not in use we store it up out of the way under the verandah, suspended on two 2 metre lengths of 4x2 that are hung on chains from hooks screwed into the underneath of the verandah.

It is removed and installed in about 15 minutes each time. A one man job.

To mount in on the car; Reverse under the verandah, undo the chains one at a tiome allowing the tent to lower to the roof rack. Remove the wood supports and do up the bolts.
To remove it; Reverse back under the verandah, undo the bolts. The insert the two wooden supports and lift it up, one corner at a time and hook the four chains to the hooks screwed to the underneath of the verandah. Drive away and leave it there.

Wouldn't swap.

Phil



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Follow Up By: Kanga1 - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 12:30

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 12:30
Thanks for your input Phil, from talking to the dealer for them in Melbourne last week who sold me the 6 internal Sensatyre TPMS, they look to be good quality and built to a good standard. We will fit the RTT to the Canopy and then when home Jack the whole unit off the Ally trayback so that we can use the Ute at home. The 1.6 metre wide Hannibal was my preference from their range too, for the hot nights up North, nice to have a bit of room. Your trick with getting the RTT off is a great idea, 55kgs at full stretch would be a handfull. Cheers, Kanga.
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 13:54

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 13:54
I use a step ladder and when you only lift one corner at a time it will be a lot less than 55 Kg. I would guess at about 16 kg to 20Kg. I lift each corner with one hand because the other is needed for hooking or unhooking the chain. I have also used my shoulder under the end of the wood as I go up the ladder.

Cheers

Phil
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Reply By: Member - Alastair D (NSW) - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 11:44

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 11:44
Kanga,
A couple of other thoughts. When you look a different brands make sure that their is enough room to be able to leave you bedding etc in the tent when you close it up. The Aussie T is fine with plenty of room so the cover is not taught and hard to close.

If the canvas is wet when you have to pack up just spread a plastic paint sheet over the bed before closing it up. Stop the bedding getting damp. Make sure you let it dry at the first opportunity otherwise you will get mould etc very quickly when it gets warm and sweaty.

We had our Aussie T mounted to the side so we had easy access to the rear of the 100 series plus access to the rear side door with the tent down. I have seen them mounted like Phil's with the tent to the rear. Each to their own.

I have a compressor and tank mounted in the engine bay and an outlet on the rear Kaymar bar. I have a springy air hose under the drivers seat and if the vehicle is dusty the first thing I do is to connect it up and blow off all the dust from around the doors and roof. When we had the RTT on I would give it a squirt too. Only took a couple of minutes and you then stayed clean(er).

I would also suggest one of those simple fold up steps to give you an extra foot of height which makes putting the RTT up/down much easier. My vehicle has a small lift which made it just at the limit of my reach.

We sold the RTT because we found climbing up and down the ladder getting harder. Sorry to see it go in some ways as it was good for taking the 100 when we did not want to tow. We have a 1995 troopy setup for remote travel but it is not as nice to drive long distances as the 100.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Kanga1 - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 12:38

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 12:38
You have made my day, can't wait to tell the boss about the bedding staying in place, she really isn't keen on having to do that when you get to the chosen destination and are possibly filthy like everything else, we always have a small step in the car ( see pics of my Troopy, they are really high even if you aren't a Hobbit). Glad to hear that you had no problems with yours, and that they can take a bit of Weather. Cheers Alastair, Kanga.
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Reply By: Navigator 1 (NSW) - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 15:34

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 15:34
Kanga,
Looking at the Hannibal I think I would choose this one if I was buying again.
Reason: All of our cooking gear was in the rear of the Landcruiser and the Hannibal's downstairs room would have incorporated this area. With the Aussie Traveller, we may have had a bigger room on the side but we were still out the back cooking.
Also the Aussie Traveller takes up your whole roof area whereas the Hannibal leaves room on the roof racks for something else.
Go the Hannibal,
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Follow Up By: Kanga1 - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 19:08

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 19:08
Hi Rob, losing use of the roof is possibly not going to work for us ( I need to put Maxtrax and a Spare wheel up there as well as a RTT, I don't fancy hanging them out the back. Nice truck you have there, I am familiar with the Amesz build and actually tried to buy one a few years ago, the guy just wouldn't sell it, they are really the ultimate touring unit for my $$$, good luck and happy trails with the new Unit. Cheers, Kanga..
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Reply By: Member - Rob S (NSW) - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 18:44

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 18:44
Kanga

Gordigear roof top tents might be worth a look

Gordigear roof top tents

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Follow Up By: Kanga1 - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 19:11

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 19:11
Thanks for the Tip, nice thing on Youtube about the Gordigear product and seem well priced too, cheers Rob, best regards, Kanga.
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Follow Up By: setsujoku - Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 22:29

Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 22:29
We've had the gordigear RTT for a few years now, and must say that yu can wake up and forget that you are hundreds of km's from anywhere. It is comfortable, sturdy, and not made from cheap material. It's not the cheapest around, but in all our research and testing, it was the best for quality vs price in our view.
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Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 20:16

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 20:16
As you can see by our photo, we have a RTT! Easy set up if you are not too old or find it difficult to jump up on the wheels to set up windows and zip and un-zip the cover. We did have a problem a few years back where we had high winds one night in a camp area near Thredbo. We have a RTT that has the overhanging section to zip to a lower tent set up, we had that section tethered to the ground and it tore a stitched seam in a lower area, about 300 mm long. If we had been parked at 90 deg from where we were like our neighbours next door, we may have avoided the tear and inconvenience! Sometimes we stay somewhere for a few days and it is really all too hard to pack it all up and come back the same day and set up again. That probably comes down to age, so if you are happy to pack it up and unpack again, you should be OK. If we stay in on spot a few days, we run the engine for 20-30 minutes every afternoon to charge the battery for our thirsty fridge and use our on board shower from the hot water generated from the engine. We generally tend to walk more places which is good and see lot more than you would driving around aimlessly. Generally the RTT concept is good but even better if you are moving to a new destination every day. Regards Michael.
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Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 20:22

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 20:22
Ours is a South African made unit the same as the early ARB Tents
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Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 20:35

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 20:35
I forgot to mention that RTT's tend to sweat under the mattress. Its because the base of the tent is generally a sandwich of two sheets of aluminium and polyurethane insulation in the middle. We normally just stand the matress up during the day if not travelling and it dries out properly. Even travelling seems to dry it out so its not really a big deal but I have to say they are very warm and cosy in the winter and not to bad in the summer with all the windows open for flow through ventilation. I can definitely recommend one, there are plenty to chose from with size, features and price in mind!! Michael
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Follow Up By: Kanga1 - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 22:14

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 22:14
Michael, thanks for thoughts on the RTT I had a suspicion that moisture may get trapped under the mattress due to there being no holes in the Plywood/sandwich board underneath it, we plan to take our Black Wolf Turbo lite as well and use that when staying in the same place for a few days, I couldn't help but notice that you have yours folding over to the Drivers side instead of to the rear, does the ladder get in the way of the rear door on your Patrol? Very glad to hear they a warm inside when it's cold, as the first proper trip will be starting early July next year for about 3 months. Cheers, Kanga.
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Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 16:56

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 16:56
G'day Kanga, the tent is 1400mm x 1200mm folded. If you hang it over the back it's 1400 wide. I have it the other way to have it 1200mm wide as it looks way too wide the other way and its better for fuel consumption . I have also added a polycarbonate wing on the front and I get the same economy as I did without the tent on. I didn't have the wing initially and it was noisy and cost another 2 litres aprox per 100 Ks more diesel than without it. Believe me it's worth adding if you are doing long trips. Our tent has been on the vehicle for nearly 4 years, it only weighs 40 kg but you can't remove it by yourself without help or mechanical gear. You can leave all your sleeping gear inside most if this style of tent. I hope this helps! Regards Michael
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Follow Up By: Kanga1 - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 18:42

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 18:42
Thanks Michael, your RTT looks like a Howling Moon type, somebody told me they did a deal with ARB when they first got into the RTT market, very good info about the fuel consumption, I was going to put a deflector up there to keep branches and bugs off the tent while on the move ( a mate used to keep his Swag on the roof when on trips, even if there was room in the car for it, after a cloud a locusts got splattered all over the front of it it stunk pretty bad, he stores his new replacement swag inside now). Glad that you are pleased with your RTT, that particular style has it over the Clamshell types for me, no question, just have to convince Mrs K, ;-) . Cheers, Kanga.
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Reply By: Member - John - Friday, Sep 06, 2013 at 05:53

Friday, Sep 06, 2013 at 05:53
Kanga, if you do decide that a RTT is for you, maybe look at a set of these or something similar. Unfortunate name, but they work well. The sticker peels off very easily.....................
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