Roof Top Tents - What's the issues People Find using them?

Hi,
I'm wanting to install a RTT to a frame on my box trailer, but I'm a little bit unsure spending the money when I've heard various stories from friends who have had them on their 4WD's and have sold them on their return from their Touring trip, etc. The usual story is that u end up getting covered in dust/dirt when setting/packing up from the cover which is usually covered in dust. Then there's the hassle with re-fitting the Cover on. Windy nights can be a issue too..... Then theres the issue of not being able to move once u are setup - This won't apply to me as I'm planning on fitting it to my Box trailer.....
As I plan on putting mine on my Trailer and having greater access to the RTT to unpack and pack up, I'm thinking I shouldn't get to dirty.....

What are some of the "other" hassles that people find when using their RTT or "Why" did people sell their RTT ??

Any particular Brand to stay away from because of its design and the hassles in setting up, etc

thanks in advance......

rob
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Reply By: Member - John - Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 06:24

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 06:24
Rob, I have a similar set up as you propose, the RTT is on electric actuators to raise and lower it 300mm for ease of pack up and room to walk underneath the annexe bit, works very well, find it much easier with the cover etc. (Similar to Drifta Touring Trailer) Used ours at Chilli Beach, blew a bloody gale all night, was very comfortable and no worries. I have a South African made one from a mob in Melbourne. One mod I did was to make the annexe self supporting, two slide out tent poles tension the annexe, much better in windy conditions and no guy ropes to trip over. I am selling my trailer due to my knees being buggered and find it easier in a hard floor camper now. If I do a Simpson Crossing in the future, I will look at a cheap RRT rather than the trailer.
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Follow Up By: RobMac (QLD_Member) - Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 23:35

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 23:35
Hey John, thanks for your reply......

Your "electric actuators to raise and lower it 300mm for ease of pack up" has got me curious... any chance to see some photos and a bit more info on how it works ??

rob
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Wednesday, Nov 04, 2015 at 07:29

Wednesday, Nov 04, 2015 at 07:29
Have a look at Drifta off road campers. They have the electric actuators.

http://www.drifta.com.au/offroad-tourer/
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 17:01

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 17:01
I did not notice any electric actuators on that page.
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 17:35

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 17:35
If you go into the spec sheets or watch any Drifta youtube videos he usually demonstrates them.

There are pictures supposedly of them up and down, and some text about them on the bottom of this page -

http://www.drifta.com.au/dot-5-army-green/
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Reply By: vk1dx - Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 07:03

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 07:03
We have a Hannibal roof top tent. We got a wider for the additional grand kids we get.

Ony real issue is having it set up you can't move. Dust is a part of where we go so we can handle it. Having it open over the rear of the car gives us an excellent enclosed area with full access to the rear tailgate for a "kitchen" bench. No issues with the wind. The canvas holds up well. And being thick it helps in the cold night up in the high country.

Quite happy with ours even though the years go on and the body is not as flexible these days so getting down is awkward when in a rush for a midnight "visit". We also rarely stay in one place for more than one night and take a small tent for those trips. If we do it is not such a big hassle to pack up that we don't mind but we do leave a small tent at "base" to come back to.

Phil



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Reply By: Member - Alastair D (NSW) - Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 07:03

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 07:03
Rob,
we had a RTT on top of our LC-100 for some years and found it good but with some issues. We got rid of it only because of age and the climbing up and down.

Dust on a vehicle is a problem which I largely solved years ago before the RTT. I always install a compressor somewhere which is hard wired and switched from inside. I turn it on before we are due to stop to charge up the reservoir. I have a connection point on the front and rear bars and a hose which lives under the drivers seat. As soon as we stop if the car is dusty I just blow it all off. Takes a couple of minutes and means things stay cleaner.

When you buy your RTT make sure the cover has plenty of space and is not tight. Our Aussie Traveller would fit in all our sleeping gear and still do up easily. Some of the cheaper versions seem to have taught covers before the bedding goes in. If the height is a problem then carry a set of small fold up steps. I didn't at first and with the suspension lift I had to stand on awkward places to do up the cover. I found a small set of steps was easy to carry and made the job easy with fewer risks of falling off.

I like the idea of the RTT on the trailer with jacks but the main reason we bought our RTT was to have accommodation when we did not want to tow otherwise we took a camper trailer. Trips into places like the Vic High country is much nicer without towing.

Checkout the ladder on what you think of buying. Some are really frail and wobbly. I like something solid, especially when I have to venture out in the middle of the night.

cheers
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Follow Up By: RobMac (QLD_Member) - Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 23:45

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 23:45
Cheers for that...... if it was just the 2 of us, then yes, I would prefer not to tow either, but with our 3 kids growing, room is becoming an issue..... I didn't want to buy a C/T as I didn't really want to spend the money and I've had a soft floor C/T before and won't be buying another one in a hurry. If I did buy another C/T, it would be a Hard Floor only...
I want to trial this RTT on my box trailer idea to see if we can make it work for the next few years until the kids don't want to come with us anymore....This way I'm not outlaying a lot of $$$ if it doesn't work in the end....

I've got to figure out the height I want it to be off the ground & whether I want to be able to walk under it when its set up or lower to the ground for more stability and easier access, etc

Has anyone got any suggestions as to a good all round height ??

rob
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Reply By: Member - Alastair D (NSW) - Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 07:07

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 07:07
Rob,
Having seen Phil's post that happened while I was typing reminded me that our RTT opened out to the side. Each has merits but consider which is best for you. We liked having it to the side leaving rear access clear however as phil says his gives good coverage.

You are putting it on a trailer I know but the issues are still the same.

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Follow Up By: RobMac (QLD_Member) - Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 23:51

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 23:51
Thanks... I was thinking about having it opening up parallel to the length of the trailer and basically covering the length of the trailer when it's opened and just having a small section overhanging the rear (7" trailer length), but upon talking with a mate today, he suggested having it come out the side as well, that way it will still give me an area on the roof of the trailer to chuck some fire wood when required..... This was some sound advice I thought :)

Rob
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Reply By: The Landy - Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 07:50

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 07:50
Rob

You might like to take a look at this thread, there were plenty of comments/reviews provided.

Rooftop Tents, The Good, The Bad, and what do you really think

Good luck in your deliberations!

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
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Reply By: Michael H9 - Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 07:54

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 07:54
I have a RTT and the only thing wrong with it is it goes on the roof of the car. I found that not being able to move once set up a pain. Also, if you are at the same camp for 3 days and want to do some exploring each day then you have to pack and unpack 3 times. I found it a pain getting the cover back on way up there as well. I fully intend to use mine again once I find a trailer to put it on. All my negatives don't apply to you. I now see other cars on their daily drive with massive tents on top of the car and I'm glad it's not me. The plus sides...for actual sleeping it was great and you don't have to worry about what the ground is like, just that the car is reasonably level.
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Reply By: sweetwill - Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 08:36

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 08:36
Hello RobMac.
My rtt is fitted to my trailer, it is a 5x7, with it opening out the back of the trailer, when you fit it to the trailer make sure that it is high enough up from the sides of the trailer so you can still get your gear out, in saying that "not to high or you may as well have it on your car" If your cover is fitted well the dust isn't a problem just brush it of with a hand broom, And don't forget that you will need jack stands at the back of the trailer, Also my trailer has a tounier cover that goes a fair way down the sides, if I'm going somewhere and only plan on sleeping one night at a time the rtt can still go on top of the 4x4, hope this makes cense cheers Billy.
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Follow Up By: sweetwill - Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 08:41

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 08:41
And to add to the above the rtt is the best setup I have found for my type of camping/ traveling. Billy.
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Follow Up By: RobMac (QLD_Member) - Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 23:59

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 23:59
How high did u have your RTT off the top of the trailer?

I'm still considering if I want to be able to walk under the fold out section w/o bending over or have it lower but still be able to sit under it for some shade......ideas/suggestions?

rob
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Follow Up By: sweetwill - Wednesday, Nov 04, 2015 at 08:51

Wednesday, Nov 04, 2015 at 08:51
robmac.
My rtt is 2'ft above the trailer,remembering it is a high sided trailer and I have a sail track along the side that I slide a12'ftx12'ft awning into,the awning only go's on if i'm staying more than one night
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Reply By: friar - Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 13:12

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 13:12
I have the Autohome fibreglass tent it operates on gas struts,2 minute set up, just as quick to pack up, with a Fiama roll out awning this works for me,kitchen &fridge in rear of Prado,& pop up shower tent with porta potty & pump up companion shower,all up about 10 minute set up.
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Reply By: Flighty ( WA ) - Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 15:26

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 15:26
Rob
Have a "Madcamp" hard top RTT fitted with no problems .
Can be either wind up or battery lift via push button control, no issues except if you are 6 feet tall where room is tight in length.
But happy with it as for as dust and setup/ pack up time about 3 minutes ( mine is wind up )
Other varieties are available but can be a little expensive for most of us.
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Reply By: jacent 1 - Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 23:07

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 23:07
I have my roof top tent bolted to the cage on my trailer, I made a mount for my awning which is height adjustable on the side of the trailer which works great. It is the quickest camping set up ever and very comfortable too. My trailer is a tandem so no need for stabilizers and has a hand brake so no need to chock wheels. Being mounted to my trailer makes it easy to reach to set the tent up as you can get in the trailer etc. I don't really get dirty from the cover as I just un zip it but don't fully slide it off I just let it hang on the side of the trailer. I can send you pics if you like as before I did this I couldn't find any pics online for ideas. This way I have my trailer to go to the tip, a camper in twenty minutes or I can mount the tent to my 4x4 depending on where we are going. Definately go ahead and do it.
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Follow Up By: RobMac (QLD_Member) - Wednesday, Nov 04, 2015 at 00:04

Wednesday, Nov 04, 2015 at 00:04
Hey Jacent1.... That would be great if u could send some pics as I still want to be able to use my Boxtrailer to take rubbish to the dump as well.....

rob
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Reply By: Brian B4 - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 11:13

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 11:13
We have had eezi awn tent for almost 10 years now, first on our Navara for a four month tour of the north of oz, and then on our pajero. I had a pully system in our carport to lift on and off.

We sold the Pajero and bought a grand cherokee and it allows a roof weight of only 68 kilos.
So we now have a ford ranger ute tub trailer with flexiglass canopy and rtt and it works a treat

The btest thing about a rtt is the ability to camp anywhere regardless of ground surface and all your sleeping gear (except pillows) is tucked away giving you more storage room elsewhere.

I do have a question though, we have been away at shark bay & kalbarri with the trailer, and have talked about any possible issues with having a heavy weight high on a trailer and how that could effect trailer body roll on very bumpy tracks (cape peronfor instance). The trailer hitch is a McHitch and we have 90 litres of water on trailer and other gear too ?
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Reply By: Member - Young Nomads - Wednesday, Nov 11, 2015 at 17:31

Wednesday, Nov 11, 2015 at 17:31
Hi Rob
We have had our RTT for several years.
We had the unfortunate opportunity to be tent bound for 24 hours because of rain in the desert.
However..we stayed dry and warm..as always.
Dust..no issues.
Just give the cover a very quick dust off with a rag or soft banister brush, before you unzip it..no need to remove the whole cover when you are setting up for the night..slide it across the rope track as far across as you need it to be to still gain access to your door/ other. ..It won't get dirty or wet on the ground and makes it an easier packup
We have a "older" ARB (howling moon) RTT, which at the time..suited to our style of travel(moving nearly every day).
our RTT is the Simpson model..it has the extended end of the canvas which gave us privacy & a bit more space to shelter.
We also had the annex which we only used occasionally (ie. ..Birdsville cp where we could walk to everything.)
We no longer use it as we now have a TVan and a caravan, which suits us better now.
As far as tight cover..ours is more than adequate. We keep all our bedding in there when we pack up (except the pillows)..you will find it easier to zip back on when the cover is warm. My husband used to get up on the roof rack an kneel on it(when folded up). This compressed the tent while he zipped up the cover.
We will sell it ..when?..that's another question.
Cheers
Robyn



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Follow Up By: RobMac (QLD_Member) - Wednesday, Nov 11, 2015 at 19:13

Wednesday, Nov 11, 2015 at 19:13
I love your set up and vehicle choice too :)

On a side note......My cousin recently bought a T-Van as its was something he's always wanted. He took it away for 2wks around the mid NSW coast, but unfortunately they had bad weather (rain and high wind) and he's came back now wanting to sell it due to his bad experience..... I said he was nuts, but he said it's just not a suitable setup in bad weather (wind/rain).... Have u experienced any bad weather in yours and how have u found it if u had to stay put for a week or so in bad weather?
Cheers..... RobM
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