Packing up a rooftop tent. How much hassle?

Submitted: Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 19:31
ThreadID: 106827 Views:6344 Replies:12 FollowUps:17
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We have an Oztent which we are happy with but looking at a Canning trip we thought maybe we should try a rooftop tent. Is it actually quicker to set up and pack up than our tent? Do you need to be tall? On Utube all you see are fast forward demos. We are not interested in lots of pros and cons, just realistic comments on the above.

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Reply By: Hoyks - Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 19:52

Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 19:52
I haven't played with an Oz Tent, but I find the roof topper easier to pack away than all other tents I have had, simply because I leave almost all the bedding in it. I take 2 kids camping and they always have somewhere better to be when ever this job is to be done, or they get in the way trying to help, but making it harder.


To pack a normal tent 1st you pull out and roll up the mattresses, pack away pillows, stuff sleeping bags into the stuff sacks and load all that into the car, and that is before a peg has been pulled.


Roof top tent: Pillows into the car, extra blankets too if it has been cold. from there fold the sleeping bags in 1/2, make sure the car keys are out of the tent (you only need to get caught with that once), hook up the bungee straps, pull 2 tent pegs and fold the tent up. Zipping the cover on can be a bit of a stretch as you need 1 hand to tuck the canvas out of the way of the zip, so one of those tyre steps might be a good idea, or just open the back passenger doors and stand there.
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Reply By: mikehzz - Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 20:00

Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 20:00
It's a lot better than a tent if the ground is muddy. It can be a pain depending on the car and tent model. Setting up is always easier from my experience but packing up is sometimes a little harder.

The pros- easier quicker setup, can be setup anywhere you can park, cleaner being up in the air.

The cons- climbing up and down the ladder at night, carrying all that weight up top, once set up the car is out of action no driving into town for a pizza, a pain to get on and off the car if you don't want to carry it around fulltime between trips.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: MactrolPod - Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 20:26

Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 20:26
If your not easily able to reach, grab a meter long work platform from Bunning's for $39.00.
Great for packing a RTT and a whole lot of other uses.
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 11:12

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 11:12
I do not climb up and down the ladder at night I have a Liptons Iced Tea bottle. A bit harder for the girls but then again they don't seem to go as often.
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Reply By: Kanga1 - Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 21:35

Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 21:35
This link to youtube is worth a watchhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yhi1nkWYWiU
It'll give you some tips to watch out for. Cheers, Kanga.
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Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 23:12

Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 23:12
You have to be a little agile to pack and up pack! 5 minutes pack or open up, Up out of the dirt and mud and you can generally get a breeze on a hot night being 2 metres off the ground. Very snug in winter with the insulated floor and off the ground. We have been using ours for 4 years and works well for us! Michael
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Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 23:27

Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 23:27
Maybe the easiest way to answer is like this. From what you see in the picture below to driving off took us 20 minutes and we were not rushing. You don't have to be tall not agile. We are a little lucky with the tailgate allowing me to hop up top easily to do the final tying down before the canvas goes on. We also pack a small set of steps under the canvas to help with the side zippers.

20 minutes to drive off including all the "stuff" you put around the inside of the annex.

Phil

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Follow Up By: Crusier 91 - Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 09:12

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 09:12
Hi Phil,

Great roof top tent you have there. It looks a lot sturdier than the $1000 ones that are being pushed on the market.
What brand, weight and cost if you dont mind me asking.
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 09:45

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 09:45
We like it. We can sleep two adults and two grand kids up there. The bed is 2.4 (L) x 1.6 (W), when opened up, and then the annex extends a few meters further back from the car.

Cost! We can't recall but it could have been around $3000 a few years back. That includes the fully enclosed Tourer Annex and which is velcro'ed to the walls. No idea what the price is today. It weighs around 65Kgs I think.

Sure it costs more but the canvas is the Australian made 380gsm Dynaproofed Polyamide Cotton canvas. The tent is made in South Africa and they get the canvas from good old Aussie.

Heavy but warm and cosy. We were camped at Coward Spring, just NW of Marree, on a very, very windy night. The bloke next to us lost his. His canvas just ripped apart and was only new. Ours was worth the extra.

Phil
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 12:38

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 12:38
Chris and Lindsay,

Hard to imagine anything as simple and practical as the Oztent.
Just think, where do you cook or sit under when its raining?
We have the peak side panels and the extra living space under the awning is worth the additional effort of putting them up and pulling them down.

If you are just looking for somewhere quick to sleep, maybe consider swags and a side awning on the vehicle.

Bill


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Follow Up By: Member - Chris and Lindsay (VI - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 14:30

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 14:30
Yes we have all the extra awnings too. We have done many trips with our Oztent but feel that setting up every night and packing up every morning is getting to be a bit much. Just looking for a quicker alternative for a constant on the move trip. Not yet convinced though that a rooftop will achieve this. Still love our Oztent .
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Reply By: Idler Chris - Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 21:23

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 21:23
Phil has a Hannibal RTT the same as me. Had over 600 nights in mine would not have anything else. Camp on any ground no matter how rough, it withstands howling gales and drenching rain with ease. I have a larger cover which does not look as neat but makes packing up extremely easy. At seven years old and never been off the Cruiser it maybe a bit faded but still as good as the day I got it. They are really great in the hotter places as you are off the ground (away from creepie crawlies and things that want to eat you) and you can get any breeze that might be around.
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 07:08

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 07:08
Good point about the crawlies and the roof tops. Away from those big ones in the tropics also.

Unlike you Chris we take ours off. Two bits of wood, four lengths of chaiin and four sturdy hooks in the underside of the verandah. Back the car up, lift each and of the tent and put the wood under and then hook it up to the verandah and drive away. About ten minutes. The hardest part is the forward most bolt to the roof rack. It's hard to get at because it is next to the awning that stays on the car. The awning is a pain to get off and install.

Taking it off allows the car to be used to go to supermarkets and the footy in Sydney (300 kms away) and into their car parks.

But a bloody good tent.

We take a small tent which we set up empty if we want to set up a camp and go for a drive and return. It just holds the space. Just a cheap one but we use the roof top.

Phil
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Follow Up By: Turbo 1 - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 09:57

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 09:57
Are there any problems with wet canvas wetting the bedding when packed up ?
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 10:16

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 10:16
A good point.

Never had an issue as yet. The only thing about all the roof tops is with the "door" uncovered the rain can get on the mattress. I fold our mattress first before uncovering the door. That way the actual bed etc does not get wet and I give the wooden base a wipe just before closing.

But rain is a problem with camping anyway so we have to each deal with our own setups.

Phil

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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 10:28

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 10:28
The roof does not get really wet because the fly keeps most of the rain off it. I generally wipe the canvas and that seems to suffice.

I also try to fold the annex roof part in such a way that the wet part is not touching the bedding.

I will say that we have not had any really "heavy" rain as yet. So maybe lucky.

We also have a large plastic sheet that goes over the bedding, like a cover, to help keep any wet canvas off it.

I hope that helps.

Phil
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 10:36

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 10:36
The Hannibal tents have a cover over the door (its called the jumbo fly) so you zip this up before you pack up so no water can get in.

Phil, I string an occky strap between the door ties on the outside, I then roll up the jumbo fly and tuck it behind the occky strap instead of in the door opening. This keeps all the bedding dry without having to fold the mattress.
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 10:48

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 10:48
Chris Why didn't you say that earlier. We have been leaving the "rear" door unzipped to let the air out and we have folded the annex roof (jumbo fly) into the tent. Mugs.

I like your way and leave the "front" window open to let the air out. That would stop the rain getting in at least.

Thanks mate.

Phil
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 11:40

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 11:40
Phil, if its a wet pack up the front really needs to be zipped up too. I zip the lot up, the air escapes out near the hinges without any trouble.
AS mentioned above I have a larger cover 290mm high. Not as neat but VERY practical. It allows more bedding, the sides or front do not have to be tucked in, ( really great on a cold morning) and ground mats can be put on top before the cover is pulled over. You will also notice the longer roof rack legs this is so the tailgate will go up to its maximum height.
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 12:32

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 12:32
I think that our cover may be smaller. I still put extra up under the canvas though. Things like floor/door mats and steps.

The storage is also handy. The stitching didn't work too well. I am not usually fiddling with photos. But at least it is easy to put on and take off.

I don't want higher legs. We would have trouble with secure parking where my wife works and even some shopping centers. While the car is not used much at home it is handy "getting under cover".

Phil

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Reply By: troopmaster96 - Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 22:05

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 22:05
Hi all, some good replies here, I hate to hijack the thread, but I have a question for you.
FYI, Im 6'10" in the old scale, and weigh in at about 160kg, I love the idea of a Rooftop Tent, but the whole cantelevered base off of the Rack worries me a little, is the only thing that stops the Tent from "Falling" the Ladder? (Im assuming it stops the Base from dropping)
Does the Hannibal have a weight limit?
My Troopcarrier is pretty tall too, does the Hannibal have an extendable Ladder for higher Vehicles?

Any feedback appreciated! :-)

Matt. :-)
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Follow Up By: Rustynails59 - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 02:09

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 02:09
Any thought of a hard shell roof top tent
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 07:16

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 07:16
Our Hannibal opens up to a 2.4 (L) x 1.6 (W) bed. The "cantilevered" bit is only 1.2M long supported by the roof rack one end and a strong aluminium ladder the other. The ladder is strong enough for a good sized adult. I am 95 Kg. I am sure that you would be fine with a Hannibal. However get in touch with Hannibal and ask them about the weight.

Phil
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Follow Up By: troopmaster96 - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 08:42

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 08:42
Thanks Phil, been sniffing around the Hanibal site since this thread started. :-)
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 11:09

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 11:09
At 6' 10" you will find a RTT very easy to setup. Hannibal RTT has a ladder which can be extended. What I have found to be even easier is to use a wheel leveling chock under the ladder. This gives it a firmer grip on the ground and a ladder with a greater slope which makes it easier to climb.
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Reply By: Wayne NSW - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 16:48

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 16:48
Chris and Lindsay,

I don't have a roof top tent but I have a Troopy and have driven the CSR a few times.

I see from your profile that you have a dual cab ute and I have taken a few of those vehicles along the CSR in a convey and they also had a roof rack with a lot of camping gear stored up there.
One of the vehicles lost his roof rack (slid forward and sat on the bonnet). The roof rack was not strong enough to take the corrugations and all the bolts worked loose also the track does get over grown a bit on the Northern section.

If you still want to take a roof top tent make sure it is over the cab only. The amount of twist and movement between the cab and the tray is quit a bit and having a roof rack between the two will cause no end of problems.

Taking a tent would be fine for the CSR.
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Reply By: Cruisevessel - Monday, Mar 24, 2014 at 19:34

Monday, Mar 24, 2014 at 19:34
We have an Oztent and a rooftop tent. We did a Simmo Crossing last year and used the Oztent. If my daughter hadn't of come on that trip I would have left the tent at home and used the rooftop tent.
We have since got swags for the family now and if I did it again tomorrow I would swag it. A lot less mucking around I reckon.
We live up Cape York and it's the swag all the time now over the others when we camp out
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Reply By: The Landy - Tuesday, Mar 25, 2014 at 09:46

Tuesday, Mar 25, 2014 at 09:46
We have used both a Southern Cross centre pole tent and we have a roof top tent, the latter gets little use these days and in fact we did try to sell it at one time. No experience with an OzTent other than to say they appear to have a very easy set-up.

There are a number of reasons as to why one alternative might be better over the other.

But specific to your question, which is easier to pack up?

I would say there would be little difference, and in fact for us we find by the time we take out some of the bedding in the rooftop tent to enable it to be closed then timing is marginal either way versus packing up the Southern Cross tent. Whilst some bedding can be left up there, it will depend on how much bedding you have.

So it leaves other reasons as to why you might select one over the other, and I'm sure there any number of pros and cons for that.

Cheers
AnswerID: 529052

Reply By: Ross & Gail - Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 15:34

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 15:34
had an Oz tent for 10 years and went to a rooftop last year to explore the Pilbara.

I am 130kg so not small and have no issues in getting in or out. (My partner lost money as she thought that I couldn't)

I have extended the bag height 90mm and this allows me to keep 4 pillows and bed made up at all times.

After the first time up and down its so easy.

Bur still have the oz tent as when I have the tinny on cant have the roof top.

Enjoy
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