roof top tents

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 12:59
ThreadID: 106262 Views:2756 Replies:9 FollowUps:9
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Having recently had an unpleasant experience with an unwanted guest in my swag, I'm considering fitting a roof top tent to my 2010 Mitz Challenger. Given the style/design of the roof of the car, it could accommodate 1.2m2 base (weight cap 80kg).
Any thoughts on the practicalities of roof top tents, options etc would be useful and appreciated
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Reply By: Robin Miller - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 13:27

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 13:27
Hi Coolie

I would never add that weight to a roof as rollovers are still number one way to suffer serious injury but they fill a market niche and some friends have used them.

Most though have had issues with folding them up , and also folding them up when wet.

Often its not the tents fault but people leave blankets in or get a thicker mattress as many are poor and this makes them hard to use - so be aware of this issue.

Also I have to get up a few times during the night and sleeping in our Patrol makes it a lot easier to get out than either a roof top tent , ground based tent , or even crawling out the rear end of a troppy.
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Coolie - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 15:13

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 15:13
thanks. packing up and folding the tent was one thing I had thought about. Always looks easy in their promo videos. I take your point about weight on top. The tents are about 45 - 55kg - the max weight I can put on top of mitz is 80kg. Maybe (as other suggested) a small tent might be the way to go. All I know is it wasn't pleasant having something slither out the open end of the swag!

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Follow Up By: Tony F8 - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 17:02

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 17:02
Coolie, do yourself a favour and just get a mossie dome. Still have the beauty of sleeping under the stars, but with it zipped up you wont get any unpleasant surprises. Had one for years, the one you twist to fit in the circular bag, cheap, lightweight and takes up bugger all room. You can get them now with a fly to keep the dew off you. Saw them in a ray's catalogue for I think $40. We travel the cape and gulf fairly often and thats all we use.
Tony F8
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 17:27

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 17:27
Thats not such a bad idea Tony - I used to have a small dome tent which I used without the outer skin , the inner was mostly mesh except for the top 1m square which was just enough to keep out a light shower - proved very useful in the tropics.

Coolie - I end up making 1/2 my own stuff simply because I am not happy with commercial implementations.

I believe I could make a rooftop tent complete that weighed less than 30kg.
When you do it yourself you can use things like lighter better bases etc etc.
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Hoyks - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 18:27

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 18:27
The max weight you can put on the roof and drive is 80kg, you can put about 5 times that and the roof won’t cave in. Mine weighs in at around 60kg as it sits on the roof rack.

I do like mine, but as said, zipping the cover on can be a bit of a pain. The zip goes the full width of the roof and you also need a spare hand to tuck the canvas in under the cover. A tyre step might be a good investment.
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 20:09

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 20:09
It's that causes the rollover. Too fast around a corner etc etc.

We have one and drop 10 to 20 kph off cornering speed and don't go over about 20 degrees slope.

Max weight - Min weight etc. Not relevant. You the driver must work out what is safe. That is apart from any regulations.

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Reply By: Member - evaredy - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 14:10

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 14:10
You have to pack it up everytime you want to use the car. I think a quick setup tent would be more practical.

When we were tenting it, the tent was ALWAYS closed, because there is no telling what could slip inside when we weren't looking.
AnswerID: 526575

Reply By: Member - John - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 15:37

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 15:37
G'day, this may be of interest to you.

Drifta Tourer
John and Jan

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Follow Up By: Coolie - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 15:55

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 15:55
thanks. I did look at the prospect. I note that the tent is a Hannibal which I've looked at - primarily because they are one of the few that make 1.2m2 folded footprint.
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Reply By: jacent - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 15:39

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 15:39
I have an Austrac campers roof top tent and love it, being up high keeps all nasties out, it's a lot cooler with the breeze flowing through also. I leave pillows and sleeping bags inside and fold it up in under 6mins, set up just as quick if not quicker, yes only down sides are having to pack it up if you wana drive somewhere but they are designed for four wheel driving moving from location to location. Mattress pretty comfy and plenty of room. No issues having the weight up there when driving, even on extreme tracks, some ppl who comment on here have never owned one and shouldn't comment. Mine weighs 55kg. You will find having the tent up there will create more drag and more fuel use but worth it, you can fit a wind deflecter to help with aerodynamics or buy a hard shell slim line one from mad camp or similar! I also have a side awning which completes the set up!
AnswerID: 526589

Follow Up By: Coolie - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 16:03

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 16:03
thanks - it good to get view from a user. Seems I've got some more thinking to do.
FollowupID: 808807

Reply By: The Bantam - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 15:49

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 15:49
One year my brother took his trip up the gulf with a couple more mates than usual.

They where setting up camp.....the brother always camps in the back of the ute..he's well set up for it.

One of the blokes just had his swag.

He looked at the Crocodile caution signs, the sleeping platforms, and the little coppers logs crock barriers.

Then announced....." I'll be rolling out the swag on me roof rack"

Since then it has been more or less standard practice.

It gets him up high and safe, out of the muck and in the breeze....and he still has a full capacity roof rack for what ever....and it cost him nothing extra.

So...try rolling ya swag out on ya roof rack.

AnswerID: 526590

Follow Up By: Coolie - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 16:06

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 16:06
thanks - can't say I'd thought of that.
FollowupID: 808808

Reply By: AlbyNSW - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 16:45

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 16:45
We use both a RTT and swags depending on the trip. Both are great for different reasons but personally I don't see the need for such a drastic change if you are just worried about a few uninvited visitors.
I assume you don't have a fully enclosed swag, have you considered getting one that has the zipped in mesh and solid flaps as they are 100% bug proof.

On a side note, I have the ARB style RTT and whilst it is excellent I am looking to change to the James Baroud solid shell type as they look easier again to operate and a bit more aerodynamic
AnswerID: 526596

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 18:52

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 18:52
The RTT adds a fair bit of wind resistance and a lot of weight to the top of your challenger. Also you have to climb up and down there to use it.

So my question is do you have a side awning? - You can buy good fully enclosed tents that can either clip on underneath the awning (we have one of these) or to the end of the awning like an Oztent - for the nights where you may feel theatened by the insects or joe blakes. Must say I'm still happy to use an open swag on a good night, but for the threats you mention, we have the awning tent as backup.
AnswerID: 526606

Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 20:19

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 20:19
We are tickled pink with ours. When open the bed area is 1.6M x 2.4M. Enough room for two adults and a coup;le of small grand kids. We do that often. Yes it is heavy but you modify your driving to drive safely. After all no matter what the story or regs are if I was to roll the car and kill someone then I would feel it, Not the regulations, mathematical formulas, engineers or regulators. ME!!! So you play safe amd do the right hthing.

We also got the full sized annex with a forward opening that matches the cars rear split tailgate and lifting upper do to give us a fully enclosed and private room.

Expensive but a very good buy. The only drawback is that we find it a bit hard to set up camp, go for a drive and come back to camp. It has a bad habit of sticking to the car as you drive off.

They say a picture says a thousand words.


AnswerID: 526616

Reply By: SDG - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 22:22

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 22:22
And just out of curiosity, what was your guest? Many guests that can get in your swag, can also climb, or fall out of trees.
AnswerID: 526629

Follow Up By: greyemu - Monday, Feb 17, 2014 at 16:43

Monday, Feb 17, 2014 at 16:43
Hi all.

I have a dingo doza rtt with a self inflating mattress & a li low very comfie. Pack it up wet. Set it up at work or home to dry out doesn,t take to long. Enjoy.

Regards Greyemu
FollowupID: 808949

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