Rooftop tent vs Oztent Awning/tent

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 09:52
ThreadID: 106931 Views:11969 Replies:7 FollowUps:18
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Hi community,

I am planning on travelling with my Nissan Patrol around Australia during the next year. Thus I am trying to figure out which sleeping setup I should use. I already have a Foxwing Awning on my car and at the moment I am considering two options...

Oztent RV-5
1.039 AUD

The RV-5 is connectable to the Foxwing awning, but I am not quite sure if that is really important, since it would only matter in rain. Especially if you drive away and come back you have to park exactly where you did before or it wouldn't fit.

Benefit: more space, cheaper (?)

Rooftop tent
somewhere between 1.000 AUD - 4.000 AUD

I generally like the idea of a rooftop tent, but I am not sure how much you have to spend to get a rooftop tent that is worth it? Because I guess it has to be high quality to withstand wind, rain, dirt etc. and offer a decent sleeping comfort.

Benefits: quick and easy setup, useable even without a proper space for tentground

Has anyone had the same conflict of ideas or some opinion/advice that he/she could give me? I know its an old discussion rooftop tent or not, but maybe someone can enlighten me especially on the Oztent setup or how much I would need to spend on a rooftop tent...?


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Reply By: PGU - Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 10:07

Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 10:07
One thing that just came into my mind ... would I run into a space problem with a rooftop tent and a Foxwing awning?
AnswerID: 529236

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 17:44

Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 17:44
Yes Especially if you mount the roof top tent over the rear door as we do. We have a normal awning and hardly use it since we also got the fully enclosed Hannibal Tourer RTT.

I will say that with a stand alone tent you can set up camp and then go for a drive and come back. You can't with a RTT as it tends to go with you.

But we don't mind that as we a rarely (once only) stayed in one place for two nights.

And don't stuff around with a cheap tent or a cheap roof top tent. a bloke at Coward Springs had his RTT rippe to shreds by strong windw. Ours was fine.

FollowupID: 812008

Reply By: Member - Chris_K - Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 10:23

Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 10:23
Rooftop tents have the inherent problem that you need to pack it up every day if you want to drive off and explore somewhere. That can be a PITA. If you have a nice camping spot, you also might find that someone else has arrived and camped where you were when you get back!

If the above is not an issue for you - they are great for getting away from creepy crawlies, crocodiles and heavy rain though! You can pick up quite good value roof top tents second hand every now and then...prices can vary depending on the quality, but you can pay up to $2,500 - $3,000 for a reasonable one.

AnswerID: 529238

Follow Up By: Tony F8 - Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 15:54

Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 15:54
Just out of interest, now the heavy rain I agree with, but what are the stats in Aus for people being taken by crocodiles whilst asleep in their tent. Just wondering.
Tony F8
FollowupID: 811989

Follow Up By: Member - Chris_K - Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 16:14

Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 16:14
The statistics on that would be pretty hard to find! I'd imagine you would be more likely to have an accident in the car on the way to the camping spot than taken by a croc while in your tent. Having said that - I wouldn't test the theory by camping too close to any water with crocs! :)
FollowupID: 811994

Follow Up By: Michaeljp - Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 17:39

Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 17:39
A bloke was taken from his tent by a croc up cape york several years ago. It was all over the press at the time.
FollowupID: 812006

Follow Up By: Tony F8 - Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 17:58

Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 17:58
Thats right Michael, they were camped at Bathurst Bay, and were from Logan Qld. Thats the only one I could think of aswell.
FollowupID: 812013

Follow Up By: Member - Chris_K - Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 18:43

Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 18:43
Yep - I seem to recall that someone jumped on the back of the croc, then shot it. Still - of the 1,000's of people that camp at Cape York - I reckon that more people are killed by lightening strike each year!
FollowupID: 812019

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 19:33

Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 19:33
Statistics mean ZIP to my wife. Unsurprisingly, she is quite happy with the roof top.

We haven't had up there yet. Oops! Did I say "yet".

FollowupID: 812023

Follow Up By: Member - VickiW - Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 19:48

Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 19:48
But I would bet that many in tents have restless sleep :)
FollowupID: 812025

Follow Up By: Danna - Friday, Mar 28, 2014 at 16:27

Friday, Mar 28, 2014 at 16:27
Yes Vicki, you right!
A especially when the canvas flipping in stronger wind. That makes horrible noise.
Than there are R T tents with aluminium floor, which gets vet under the mattress in cool or cold weather. We fixed that by gluing flute PVC to the alum. flooring under mattress.
But after all that we come to totally worst scenario; that is a dust-storm with high wind and in middle of nowhere. There was now way anybody could sleep in any kind of R T tent. But we were fortunately near Yeo Lake Homestead, so we were safe and happy to sleep on floor there.
Hoo Roo Dana
FollowupID: 812099

Follow Up By: Member - eighty matey - Sunday, Mar 30, 2014 at 02:01

Sunday, Mar 30, 2014 at 02:01
We have a Shipp Shape roof top tent and we've travelled many thousands of kms with it.

To us the benefits are; all the bedding is out of the vehicle, the bed is made and ready to go, the bed is cooler on the roof than setting up a tent on the ground in the afternoon, rain doesn't run around the outside of the tent (if it does we're all in trouble), you're more likely to pick up a cool breeze on the roof and we don't have to worry about wildlife sniffing around at night - we've had dingoes, pigs, camels, horses, cattle and you reduce the risk of having other things slither into your tent before you go to bed.

The setting up to have a day trip isn't an issue with us. It takes 5 minutes to set up and ten minutes (tops) to pack it up.
We leave our shade cloth mat pegged on the ground and leave some stuff around. We're pretty trusting and we haven't had any issues with stuff walking.

Not having to tow anything is a bonus for us. We like to go where not many others get to.
We have to be aware of the height of the vehicle. We've had a few times we've had to lift branches and vines to get through that that's rarely been an issue.

At this point in time the roof top tent is the best option to suit our kind of touring.

FollowupID: 812227

Reply By: Crusier 91 - Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 14:16

Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 14:16
I've been doing a lot of research on the roof top tent vs camper trailer vs swag.
I've come to the conclusion that they are all great but need to fit their purpose.

Roof top tent for me is only good for me if I go fishing for a few days where the truck stays put for a few days, other than that I find it no good for the slightly extreme 4wding we do, its to top heavy. Many of our friends with roof top tents have had to take alternative roots to us and as mentioned, a pita if your on the move every day.

It's what suits your needs and budget with out as much inconvenience as possible.
AnswerID: 529250

Follow Up By: PGU - Friday, Mar 28, 2014 at 09:06

Friday, Mar 28, 2014 at 09:06
The occasions in which I will go extreme offroading are probably not a lot ... but you never know if I will get the taste for it....

Anyway if I don't have a RTT I the normal tent, jerry cans, the awning and two storage containers with recovery gear and other stuff would end up on top anyway. Do you recon that would make a big difference in weight and fuel consumption?
FollowupID: 812065

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 30, 2014 at 10:05

Sunday, Mar 30, 2014 at 10:05
We aren't into extreme either but where the club has gone so did we. But it is a valid point if you are going to carry other gear upstairs.

FollowupID: 812241

Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 30, 2014 at 10:51

Sunday, Mar 30, 2014 at 10:51
PGU - good point - I've had both an Open Sky RTT and now a Maggi on the top of my vehicle - I've had few "know it all's" wander over and tell me it looks top-heavy - and then the same K-I-A's head off with a copuple of Jerry's, Spare tyre, Gas bottle and various tarps on the roof-rack - go figure !

Personally - I love the RTT's - alll your bedding is up and out of the way, cooler breezes, don't have to tow

Downside is the packing up, however with the Maggiolina it's all of 3 mins - also you need to get the vehicle reasonably level as the lean gets amplified the higher you get...
FollowupID: 812245

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 30, 2014 at 11:12

Sunday, Mar 30, 2014 at 11:12
We take a little longer. When the weather is bad or for some privacy we always set up the fully enclosed annex. Nothing like a bit of privacy for the ablutions or getting changed etc. Good to keep the snow, dust, rain and wind out as well. I hate dust in my dinner. Snow is a pain as well.

Three minutes might be good but in a group my wife really appreciates the annex for changing etc.

The whole pack up camp and car only takes us 20 minutes all up anyway.


FollowupID: 812251

Follow Up By: Crusier 91 - Sunday, Mar 30, 2014 at 16:38

Sunday, Mar 30, 2014 at 16:38
PGU, I have a rack up top that only holds a front a rear awning,2 sets of max tracks and a shovel, I notice the weight and fuel consumption straight away.
We do a lot of off roading and get into a lot of scary angles, for me its the least up top the better but i know to have any truck fitted out for performance cost money.
When i mean performance it includes the way the truck rides in all conditions meaning............low centre of gravity.
Long range fuel tanks, wheel carriers are great but at $$$$$.
If you cant afford many mods as mentioned and still want to tackle harder tracks make sure someone is spotting up front with a 2 way to ensure you dont push your truck to a roll over with gear up top.
Enjoy 4wding, you will get hooked, just ensure you, passengers and you're truck make it home in one piece so you can get back out there again.
Have fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
FollowupID: 812271

Reply By: sweetwill - Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 16:09

Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 16:09
hello Philipp.
As said above it depends on what you want to use it for are you going to move each day or are you going to be static for up to a week. Having looked at the oz tents with the intention of buying for myself I decided that they are just to small to camp in for any length of time,Having said that I went with the rooftop tent, most of the time it gets to go with me, the other times I will take the southern cross tent it to is excellent but its getting a little heavy for me as I am 67 years young now, and just to confuse the situation I am starting to take the 15' van to and loving it, oh and by the way I do still have the swag and how I loved the ease of it but the old bones steer me away from it now, So mate their isn't a straight forward answer to your question, I do hope this is of some help cheers Bill.
AnswerID: 529255

Reply By: Member - Peter G20 - Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 16:43

Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 16:43
We are travelling around Oz at the moment and have come across some folks using roof top tents on a number of occasions where they have resorted to sleeping in a ground tent when it has been very windy and stormy!
In WA it's not uncommon to experience very windy conditions on a regular basis!
Around Geraldton the trees grow sideways!

I'd choose the Oz tent!


AnswerID: 529261

Follow Up By: Member - John - Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 17:35

Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 17:35
G'day, camped at Chilli beach last year with a RTT and thought we would be blown away the wind was that strong, but to my surprise it faired better than the camper trailer that was parked next to us.
John and Jan

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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Friday, Mar 28, 2014 at 11:59

Friday, Mar 28, 2014 at 11:59
I once camped beside a flash near new Kimberly Kamper it blew so hard its occupants slept in their 4WD. My RTT rattled a bit but sturdy as a rock. This does not mean that a RTT is better than a KK, it just means the owners of the KK did not understand the strength of a KK. A good quality RTT, mines a Hannibal, is bolted to a three tonne anchor (read Toyota Land Cruiser), its not going anywhere I don't drive it. A pegged down tent is going to get blown away long before a RTT. I like camping on cliff tops overlooking the sea, great views from the pillow. It gets very windy sometimes in the middle of the night (maybe most times), this would not be possible with anything other than a RTT. As for croc's getting me. Sleeping on or near to the ground, the chances of a croc getting you are minute, but those odds do not stop your mind from wondering, and when a mouse scurries past you tent and you cannot see out, you cannot be sure what it is, which makes a good nights sleep very difficult.
What other people think of me is none of my business.
Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

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Reply By: Tony F8 - Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 18:22

Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 18:22
Ok, we can forget the crocs, I think it's a conclusion they aren't a inherent problem.
Your dilemma really boils down to what your usage requirements are, remembering the rooftop will affect your vehicles cog and fuel usage.
Personally the tent has many advantages, we ourselves are more than happy with the awning I have adapted to fit the roof rack, attached the walls from a foxwing and use a swag. We are able to detatch the awning within 1 minute and drive the vehicle away, on returning, back the cruiser in and reattach the awning and mums the word, by the way the awning is 6m x 5m. As I said this works for us, not everyone, but we have spent a lot of time in this up the Cape and Gulf. A lot cheaper than many other options and doesn't take up much room. Have a look at what your comfortable with, and having done the big lap, we found simplicity of set up wins hands down.
Cheers and drive safe.
Tony F8
AnswerID: 529266

Reply By: Rustynails59 - Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 20:23

Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 20:23
I have a foxico hard shell roof top tent
Up in one minute, down in one minute
Better aerodynamics
Weighs about 70 kg
It's on top of a landcruiser 200 with awning
AnswerID: 529272

Follow Up By: PGU - Friday, Mar 28, 2014 at 09:09

Friday, Mar 28, 2014 at 09:09
I had a look at the hard shell RTT like Maggiolina and if I had the money it would probably be my choice, but I couln't find a decent price in Australia for these. They are around 4000-5000 AUD :-(
FollowupID: 812068

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