Rooftop Tents

Submitted: Sunday, Aug 17, 2003 at 11:04
ThreadID: 6634 Views:4355 Replies:10 FollowUps:2
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Has anybody had any experiences with rooftop tents?
I'm planning a big trip but can't decide between a lightweight camper trailer or to buy a roof rack and add a rooftop tent.
My main concern is how much it will affect my fuel economy, especially on the open road.

Cheers
Dan
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Reply By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Sunday, Aug 17, 2003 at 11:56

Sunday, Aug 17, 2003 at 11:56
Dan the main problem I have seen with roof top tents is that if you want to go for a drive you have to fold down the whole thing down and then put it back up for the night but if thats not a issue . We had a family away with us this year and they said that was a pain . I would sujest if you were going to buy a trailer buy a heavy duty or road style . A trailer is going to cost a deal more than a roof top camper .
All the best Eric
www.capeyorkconnections.com.au
4WD TAG ALONG ADVENTURESCape York Connections
AnswerID: 28173

Follow Up By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Sunday, Aug 17, 2003 at 18:50

Sunday, Aug 17, 2003 at 18:50
Dan at the end of my reply it was ment to say heavy duty off road type.
All the best EricCape York Connections
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Reply By: Member - Bob L - Sunday, Aug 17, 2003 at 13:15

Sunday, Aug 17, 2003 at 13:15
Dan
We purchased a second hand Shipshape several years ago and can recommend this camping option. They are quick to erect and pack up and 4" foam mattress is very comfortable. You can camp on uneven or rocky ground by using shovel or rock etc to level the wheels.
As Eric said, Base camping can be a pain but we found that by taking a small dome tent we can throw all our gear inside and at the same time reserve your campsite for when we return.
A ground sheet over bedding will keep everything dry should you need to pack t up wet. still easier than a canvas tent. Fellow club members are in their 70's and use an Aussie Traveller with no problem.
Recently purchased a Tvan (keeping the Shipshape) and found economy at say 95km to be very similar.
Dont buy a roof rack until you know what your doing as second hand unit may have them already.

PS I can take the Shipshape where I won't go with the Tvan ie Vic Alpine Country.
Hope this helps
Cheers
Bob

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AnswerID: 28182

Reply By: Member - Oskar(Bris) - Sunday, Aug 17, 2003 at 13:52

Sunday, Aug 17, 2003 at 13:52
Dan
We recently did a trip into the Simpson with a family (4 off) who used a roof top tent.
They reckon they would never use one again for the same reason as previously mentioned. Like another response also mentioned, they still had to put up a dome for the rest of the family.
It also meant that they had to "farm" some of their gear out to others in the party because they couldn't wear a normal roof rack. (no trailers in the desert)
The only benefit to them was that they would set up their "kitchen" in the ground-floor of the roof topper.
I think they also made a comment about "rocking and rolling" on top of the truck (100 series).
But still, do what suits you best.
Cheers
Oskar

AnswerID: 28185

Reply By: Member - Bob L - Sunday, Aug 17, 2003 at 18:11

Sunday, Aug 17, 2003 at 18:11
Dan
We purchased a second hand Shipshape several years ago and can recommend this camping option. They are quick to erect and pack up and 4" foam mattress is very comfortable. You can camp on uneven or rocky ground by using shovel or rock etc to level the wheels.
As Eric said, Base camping can be a pain but we found that by taking a small dome tent we can throw all our gear inside and at the same time reserve your campsite for when we return.
A ground sheet over bedding will keep everything dry should you need to pack t up wet. still easier than a canvas tent. Fellow club members are in their 70's and use an Aussie Traveller with no problem.
Recently purchased a Tvan (keeping the Shipshape) and found economy at say 95km to be very similar.
Dont buy a roof rack until you know what your doing as second hand unit may have them already.

PS I can take the Shipshape where I won't go with the Tvan ie Vic Alpine Country.
Hope this helps
Cheers
Bob

AnswerID: 28204

Reply By: Member - Alpaca (SA) - Sunday, Aug 17, 2003 at 21:22

Sunday, Aug 17, 2003 at 21:22
Dan, We also have a shippshape and we recon the're the "Ducks Nuts" If you plan ahead b4 you camp for the night and do your shopping etc you don't have to put them away to do just that. The speed that they can be erected and packed up (about 3 Minutes each way) doesn't even come into the equasion.
For those people who have them and want to sell them, I know three people who would like one.
Ours is on a 100 series with std suspension and we haven't noticed any rocking and rolling. I'm over 185cm tall and yes if I stretch out, my feet touch the bottom frame but I don't usually sleep stretched out.Alpaca
AnswerID: 28242

Reply By: Member - Timothy - Monday, Aug 18, 2003 at 09:53

Monday, Aug 18, 2003 at 09:53
Dan,

there is no right answer
and what you finally decide will be a compromise to some degree.

We have a Eezi-awn that we used on top of the Defender for a 5 week 8,500 k trip.

On the plus side, we were very snug especially on some freezing nights. It is quick to put up, a bit longer to put down.
You do get a wide choice of places to camp. It didn't seem to effect the fuel consumption too much but I have not yet done the sums properly.

Theres plenty of room ontop of the defender of course, for other storage. WE kept it very light, but once the tent is up, you can access that area from the top.

We did have to whack some more waterproofing on the seams. The zips etc, look really solid.
We found it extremly stable even in a couple of very windy spots.

The drawback, as already stated is if you are spending more than one night anywhere. Or even arrive early and want to explore a NP or area after you have found the perfect campsite. Yes, we carried a small dome tent as well for this purpose. (Also if the truck needs to go in overnight for repairs service).

The argument that its only a few minutes
to set up / breakdown is true, however...
you also spend a few minutes getting the truck level, fixing awnings out, connecting cooking ( we kept the gas on the roof and ran out a hose) etc.
These are the things that add up the extra time.

The other point is some people need to watch there consumption of beer late at night before retiring, as negotiating the steps in the dark is fun, but you get used to that very quickly

They are still a bit of a head turner in some places, so be prepared for a lot of questions and people watching you as you set up/ packdown.

We are very happy with the purchase, though there will always be some thoughts about, is something else more suitable. There seems to be a fairly good second hand market in them, so selling after a trip would be possible if you hated it. You can rent them, but if longer than a week or so it would add up.

As someone else stated very sensibly, wait until you decide before getting the racks, you may well get a good "package deal"

Let us all know what you decide to do

timothy
AnswerID: 28268

Reply By: bruce.h (WA) - Monday, Aug 18, 2003 at 11:30

Monday, Aug 18, 2003 at 11:30
Gday Dan what state are you in , i have a roof top camper im think of selling
Regards Bruce
AnswerID: 28275

Follow Up By: Macco - Tuesday, Sep 09, 2003 at 20:26

Tuesday, Sep 09, 2003 at 20:26
bruce,
Just wondering if you still have the roof top for sale. I may be interested.
You can contact me at cpalmer@airnet.com.au.

Cheers

Chris
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FollowupID: 21662

Reply By: Member - Bill- Monday, Aug 18, 2003 at 15:30

Monday, Aug 18, 2003 at 15:30
Dan, we have a Howling Moon. When we base camp we put it on a rack over an enclosed box trailer with stabilising legs. When we tour we have it up top of the Patrol. There is still room for a small roof basket in front of it for the other stuff. We've given it a hiding and it's held up well. Also, sleeping up top we find is warmer and quieter (in campgrounds) than on the ground in a tent. Fuel economy is similar between the roof up top and a relatively light trailer. Big advantage is the no tow in areas where trailers are difficult.Regds

Bill
AnswerID: 28303

Reply By: Steve - Monday, Aug 18, 2003 at 18:02

Monday, Aug 18, 2003 at 18:02
Got an Aussie Traveller on the roof and (Toyo Diesel) get about 11 litres per 100 kms .. on the open road and better than that when the going is slow( desserts etc ) ... mind you I dont go over 100 kphon the tar and drive the rig with care the rest of the conditions !!
AnswerID: 28326

Reply By: KiwiAngler - Thursday, Aug 21, 2003 at 21:36

Thursday, Aug 21, 2003 at 21:36
Dan

I have had an EzyAwn for some time now and it is unbelievable. Easy to put up (about 6 minutes) I leave all my sleeping gear inside (sleeping bag and 2 pillows) all the time. I also have the side awning which rolls out in about 4 minutes. The rooftop is cool in summer (4 side windows) and warm(ish) in winter (just got back from Wombeyan Cave trip at -3c). When erected the base of the rooftop acts a roof over the tailgate for cooking etc.
Only uses 50% of the roof rack space.
I highly recommend them.
AnswerID: 28652

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