Roof Top Tents

Submitted: Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 15:43
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Hi all,

The little woman and I are heading off to have a look at the Canning Stock Route later this year, and of course can't take the camper trailer.

I have been thinking about a Roof Top Tent but don't know where to start as I don't even know anyone with one.

Can anyone who has one please give me some pros and cons for the one they have which should get me started on the track to find one.

One which I have found interesting so far is GordieGear Explorer Plus. If anyone has one of these I would be especially keen to hear about it.

Appreciate any help
mortdad
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Reply By: Member - John - Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 16:50

Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 16:50
G'day, used one to go to the Cape last year, good pice of gear with some shortcomings. I used an extra mattress topper, Clarke Rubber egg crate foam, made the bed very comfy. Tried using a doona, but was a pain, needed to remove it every morning to fold up the tent. Eventually settled on a cotton over blanket, great for the tropics, not so good in the Desert. You need some where extra to store your pillows and bedding. The RTT can be a pain to pack up, the best way I found was to get on top of it and zip it up from there, but can be tricky if a bit dewy or raining etc.
The one I have is from an ebay seller, made in South Africa and the same as the ARB ones. I got the bigger one.
Ebay RTT

Since returning home, have decided that there is an easier way and am modifying my camper trailer so it is similar to Drifta Offroad Tourer, with a section with the RTT on that I can raise and lower to allow easier packing up etc.
Drifta Tourer
John and Jan

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Follow Up By: Member - John - Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 16:52

Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 16:52
oops, forgot to spell check........
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Follow Up By: Hoyks - Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 17:05

Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 17:05
Zipping for me wasn't a huge issue. The vehicle is shorter and I'm tall ;-).

The worst time was zipping it up in sleet at Barrington Tops. I found that tying some string loops through the the zippers helped. It gave you something to grab with gloved fingers while the other hand stuffed the loose bits into the cover.

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Reply By: Hoyks - Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 16:56

Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 16:56
I have one of these: http://www.austrackcampers.com.au/roof-top-tents/ They were good on price and had a bricks and mortar store where you can get help if needed. They also do a wider version which gives a bit more sleeping room, but is also a lot more $$.

There are a lot that are very similar, only difference I can see is the ladder design. ARB do one that looks a bit nicer, but overall, I don't think it is much different apart from the flash fly. There are also hard top tents available that pop up, but you don't get as much room.

I looked at the ones being flogged on eBay and opted for a tent that has cover over the ladder so you can leave boots or socks hanging on the rungs and they don't get damp. This also lets you sit in the tent and stick your boots on without being 1/2 in the rain.
The extra roof also allows the addition of a zip on room around the ladder. It came with the tent, but I have never even taken it out of the box.

I take it camping with 2 small kids and there is enough room for us, although it is let us say cozy with winter sleeping bags and blankets. 2 would be comfortable. The mattress is about 3" thick which is adequate, better than my swag or thermorest that I used to sleep on.

Th main reason I got it is for ease of packup. With 2 kids under 12, they are never keen to roll sleeping bags or pull tent pegs. With the roof top tent I pull 2 tent pegs, unhook a few spring steel spreaders, fold the sleeping bags in 1/2 and fold the whole thing up. A bit of stuffing and zipping and you are ready to roll.

The only down side that I have found is getting the vehicle level so you all don't wake up in a corner. Site selection, a few wood blocks or careful positioning of the jack can help with that.

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Reply By: bigden - Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 17:52

Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 17:52
is it only me that cant see the point of a rooftop tent?
you cant move once you have set up. if you are like me and get up a few times thru the night after a few wines you might fall and break your neck.
we went up to the cape this year with a black wolf turbo 300 with a instant bed and had the whole thing set up and drinking wine in 15mins. maybe the wine is the problem
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 18:19

Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 18:19
I have a Hanibal RTT and had over 600 nights in it. Very safe, very dry, and very comfy and always a great sleep. They are so good that when I buy a trailer it is likely to be the Drifta trailer which also has a RTT. A Liptons tea bottle saves the climb down the ladder in the middle of the night.
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Follow Up By: Member - fawkesp - Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 19:14

Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 19:14
bigden,

What type of 'instant bed' do you use?

Peter.
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Follow Up By: SDG - Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 19:23

Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 19:23
Nope. I see it. I'm trying to think how I would be able to get in and out with my bung legs, and after a few drinks...........Looks like i'm sleeping on the ground.
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Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 20:02

Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 20:02
If you are travelling daily, the RTT is great. Its like everything, there is always a downside. I usually run the engine for 20 minutes in the afternoon if i stay for more than a day, it charges the battery for my thirsty fridge and heats the water for the heat exchange for the shower! Pack up for 2 adults is 30mins tops for everything and you are on your way. With kids it a bit different! Michael
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Follow Up By: bigden - Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 20:52

Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 20:52
peter, i cant think of the brand . but its the same as an oztrail instant bed. about 2ft of the ground with an inflatable mattress that zips into place. queen size
i like my comfort
tent is 3m x3m
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Follow Up By: Tony F8 - Sunday, Jan 05, 2014 at 09:39

Sunday, Jan 05, 2014 at 09:39
No bigden, I second you on that, unfortunately people seem to forget about "COG" with what they put up top on their 4wd's.
Cheers Tony F8.
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Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Sunday, Jan 05, 2014 at 17:23

Sunday, Jan 05, 2014 at 17:23
Hi Tony F8! I made my own roof bars to keep the weight down, 5 kg each x 3 and 40 kg for the tent. Some of the steel Roof tent racks are 60 kg and there is a spot for a spare wheel on the front of around 40 kg. So its like a lot of things, its how you approach the problem is the key.! Regards Michael
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Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 19:56

Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 19:56
WE have had a RTT on the Patrol for about 4 years! Used it a fair amount of nights with no problems. It does take a bit of un zipping and re folding and zipping! You will have to be a little agile to climb up on the back wheels to get it sorted, takes 5 minutes to unpack and 10 to repack. Side steps are a big help to get enough height to make it all happen! WE just did 5 NP's in 5 days so daily use is not really a big problem. You can leave your bedding in the tent and just remove your pillows. Very warm in winter due to the 40mm sandwich floor and great in summer as you are off the ground and seem mostly to get a bit of breeze, being a bit higher than sleeping on rocks on the ground in a tent! Photo of mine below, made in South Africa, nice quality and about $1300 with awning and insect screen and the skirt to fit below the tent for dressing, showering or a place to set your toilet up or more sleeping quarters! I have the skirt for the tent but it takes a bit of effort to set it up and it is a bit bulky so i tend to leave it at home. ARB have exactly the same setup but made in CHINA and its about $2500.
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Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 19:57

Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 19:57
OPPS ! Sorry same pic for both photos! Michael
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Reply By: Deejay - Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 20:17

Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 20:17
Hi Mortdad, I did the Canning in 2012 and Cape York in 2013 - 3 cars with RTTs and me with my Coleman 10x10 InstaTent. The tent was way quicker going up and lots quicker coming down and it only took one person (obviously me). Disadvantages I observed with the RTTs is that they are labourious to put up and pull down, if they're wet, you can't leave your bedding in, if you want to go for a drive you have to pack the thing away, realistically you need an assistant and finally, they present a big wind drag on the top on the car. On the up side however, you don't have to use up space in the car with a tent and if you have good weather?, you may be able to leave your bedding in the RTT. We're going east to west next year and after witnessing the dramas and spousal altercations of people with RTTs we are saving for a James Baraud hard shell RTT. Aerodynamic, 69kgs, queen size, up in 10 seconds, down in 30 and bedding can be left inside. They're damn expensive but from what we've experienced, they're worth it. Deejay.
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Follow Up By: Member - Rosss - Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 20:54

Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 20:54
Mate of mine has a Baroud for sale for $2800.00 He paid about $4500.00 for it. Only selling because he can't have that and a tinnie on the roof together.
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Follow Up By: abqaiq - Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 21:09

Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 21:09
We have been looking a RTTs for months. There seem to be very few actually made n Oz. After searching the web for hours and hours, I found a few that interested us. We looked at Baraud and the Chinese versions and ultimately just having a square space was not for us. We have pretty much settled on one brand, all things considered. We pass on the wooden floor idea, simple telescopic ladders, etc. In any case do look at the Gordigear website and youtube for some thoughtful things to consider [I have no connection to Gordigear]. All the RTTs are functionally the same it's quality that counts. There is a German proverb - We are to poor to buy cheap-quality once.

Here on Saudi we only use a pop tent which my wife has to set-up while I make drinks, she always is done first [throws it out and it sets up!!!]
Happy travels
Abqaiq
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Follow Up By: MactrolPod - Sunday, Jan 05, 2014 at 17:30

Sunday, Jan 05, 2014 at 17:30
We bought a 2nd hand James Baroud Evo Espace a year ago, it is fantastic up in 65 seconds and packed in double that time on my own. That includes getting the ladder out and putting it away.
Whatever they say, 8 seconds is BS. It would take you longer to walk around it to release the latches.
It has no awning over the access, so if its raining it would be a pain. We use the rear access and have fitted a sail track for an awning, works well but only use it if it looks like rain.
We also fitted some grab handles on the rear as the struts are mighty powerful, makes packing away easy as.
Leaving a clothing bag, pillows and bedding in it packed is not a problem. Could put more in there but its only a mattress so would need to be removed for sleeping.
A mate has a Maggiolina and its use is very similar to ours.
Recommend you look at them, climb into them and set up & pack up yourself before buying.
The hard shell RTT's are a great idea.
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Reply By: mikehzz - Sunday, Jan 05, 2014 at 00:01

Sunday, Jan 05, 2014 at 00:01
I've got a light hammock style roof tent, a bit like a stretcher tent. It goes up and down very quickly and only weighs 15 kgs all up. I can put it on the roof and take it off myself very easily. The brand is Oasis 5.2. The floor is a stretch material similar to a trampoline and it's very comfortable. Downside is there is no covered area underneath like on the big heavy hard floor roof tents but I have an awning for that. Going up and down ladders is a pain though...literally if the steps are narrow and your shoes are on the ground.
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Follow Up By: mikehzz - Sunday, Jan 05, 2014 at 00:07

Sunday, Jan 05, 2014 at 00:07
Pictures here...

http://www.exploroz.com/Members/250163.000/12/2012/My_SAC_Hits_the_High_Country.aspx
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Reply By: Tony F8 - Sunday, Jan 05, 2014 at 09:34

Sunday, Jan 05, 2014 at 09:34
Morning all.
Not knowing what type of vehicle you have, I can only offer some basic advise.
Unless your roof rack has supports to the chassis, I would be apprehensive about putting that weight up there. At times the corrugations can be bum numbing, I would personally look at a lighter, cheaper and simpler form of accommodation. This is from personal expirience having seen some of the damage sustained on vehicles on our trip.
Cheers and drive safe.
Tony F8
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Reply By: Ozrover - Sunday, Jan 05, 2014 at 12:56

Sunday, Jan 05, 2014 at 12:56
Hi Mortdad,

I thought that I'd put my pennies worth in!

I've been around the block a few times, did the swag, tent, trailer, rooftop tent, camper trailer, caravan thing & now I'm back to a Rooftop tent!

I looked around & all of the cheapies were just that, cheap & nasty, I ended up going for a Hannibal rooftop tent, way better quality than most of the others & quite a bit dearer, but worth it in the long term.

Yes they are a bit fiddly to put up, but practice makes perfect as they say!

I'll be doing at least two Madigan Line trips this year & hope to get back up to Cape York, as well as a Canning trip probably next year, this is where I'm at, at the moment, but my vehicle is always changing when I think of something different to try.





Hope this helps!



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