advice on rooftop tents

Submitted: Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 13:29
ThreadID: 68535 Views:8110 Replies:16 FollowUps:18
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Hi all

Need some advice on rooftop tents how easy are they to set up as I have a bulging disc in my neck that can’t be fixed and arthritis all through it and my spine.
I will be going to the caravan show this week to look around so I would like some advice before I get told its easy and buy one only to find I can’t use it.
The c/t is too hard to set up unless I have help although everything is the right height once set up. I don’t really want a caravan at this stage and a tent with all the other gear takes up to much space and don’t want roof racks as it will be too hard to get things off.
So could I please have advice on the rooftop tents pros and cons. I don’t know what’s out there at the moment so some advice on that will be good.
Most trips will be on my own, when the family come along I can use the c/t.

Thanks Pat.

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Reply By: Member - Greg T (ACT) - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 13:47

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 13:47
Hi Pat,
I have a ARB Simpson 2 rooftop tent. it is attache to two rhino racks. getting the tent on and off for me is quite simple, as i have set up a winch (boat trailer winch with a couple of rollers at different points to make it work)to the carport. This way i can just wind it on and off.

Pros:
gets you off the ground.

very insulated.warm in winter, cool in summer

very quick to put up

very quick to pack away

strong construction, been through hail, wind rain both driving and
set up. came out strong with no leaks.

provides shelter to the back of the 4wd for access and cooking

easy to unfold. just use the ladder to leaver open/close.

the cover is easy to put on. just tuck it up under the tent when open, and flick it back over when folded

cons:
I have a 2 inch lifted Patrol. so its high

every time you want to move you have to pack it all up. even though it takes max 5 mins. you still have to do it.

under the matress gets a fair bit of condensation. counteract this by letting it all dry off before you move on. takes about 15 mins in warm a environment.

car parks and shopping centres a no no. 2.5mtrs high all up on my rig.

use a bit more fuel, but stick to 100km/h and you wont notice it.
you pay more attention to low hanging branches.

Pics on profile

all in all, i love the tent, it is the best thing since sliced bread

hope that helps
AnswerID: 363338

Follow Up By: Member - Troll 81 (QLD) - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 13:55

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 13:55
Hey Greg

Did you have troubles with your ladder not reaching the ground with the 2 inch lift?
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FollowupID: 630961

Follow Up By: Member - Greg T (ACT) - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 14:13

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 14:13
On level, i dont have any trouble. it actually sits better as the ladder isnt on so much on angle (being a light 120kg it holds my wieght on an angle as well as near stright up and down).
It s easier to get up and down with the lift.
but when im n a reasonable uneven surface, it needs a bit of building up under the ladder.
but i have only had to do that once out of hundreds of outings, so i would say no it isnt an issue.
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Follow Up By: Member - Effie C (NT) - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 15:42

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 15:42
Greg
Any chance of some shots of your set up for quick removal, having just purchased and used for the first time a ARB rooftime tent (hence unable to give a true indication of ease of use as yet) I am looking at a way of removing and replacing the complete unit on the roof bars.
Thanks
John M
Live One Day at a Time for Tomorrow May Never Come.
Landcruiser 200 Series Altitude, Rav4

Lifetime Member
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FollowupID: 630977

Follow Up By: Member - Paul W- Esq (VIC) - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 18:28

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 18:28
you can buy a "ladder extension" for the ARB and Howling Moon as they are the same. i had one on my H/Moon as it did not reach the ground without it on my 100 series
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FollowupID: 631005

Follow Up By: Member - Greg T (ACT) - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 21:11

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 21:11
John,
sure can. i will take some photos tomorrow.
Dont want to take over the post, but this pic will do till tomorrow, when i can get the camera out.
i have a boat winch attached to the side of the carport, then at two points i have a pulley, then at the connection point, i have 4 key ring like clasps braided onto the rope which then connects to each point of the roof rack.
ill post pics tommorrow.

Image Could Not Be Found
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FollowupID: 631047

Follow Up By: Member - Greg T (ACT) - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 21:17

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 21:17
oh yeah, i hope you like my drawing skills. so accurate in the diff location and my wipers... hopefully the pics turn out better
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FollowupID: 631049

Reply By: Voxson - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 13:47

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 13:47
Look up Maggiolina
AnswerID: 363339

Follow Up By: ctaplin - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 15:04

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 15:04
Should be cosy in the Maggiolina for you & Brenton in your upcoming trip...
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Follow Up By: Voxson - Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 10:50

Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 10:50
Thats funny Chris....
You know you are my favourite,,,, dont worry...
We will find our very special place when i get to Nhulunbuy and give the locals a show they wont forget..
Anyways,,,, lol,,,, looking forward to catching up with you when i get there,,, and that boat ramp is a must do..
I guess dhimuru will be open on weekends so i can get camping permits.?
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FollowupID: 631315

Reply By: peterjs - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 14:30

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 14:30
Hi, we have a rooftop tent on a tradesman trailer, this works well for us, it is slightly lower than the cruiser and we can either leave it at a camp site all set up or do an overnight stop with it still connected to vehicle, we have made some awnings and have the skirt for it making it comfortable for longer stops, the trailer has the fridge/stove and storage also a false floor, I can't post any photos here as I am a visitor but if you would like to see what it looks like I will send some if you would like, we find the tent quite easy to put up and pack away, we are both in our 60s and my wife is, a well whats it called today, height challenged. hope this helps, Pete.
AnswerID: 363341

Follow Up By: tim_c - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 14:46

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 14:46
Hey Pete - I'd love to see some pics of that set-up: my username (above) at hotmail.com I've often wondered about mounting a roof-top tent on the back of a ute...
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FollowupID: 630972

Reply By: tim_c - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 14:42

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 14:42
Hi Pat,

Greg has summed it up quite well with pros/cons. I had a Howling Moon Tourer which I used quite a lot (although I never experienced condensation under the mattress).

They are great if you're moving every day, but if you like to set up a "base camp" and do day trips (driving) you'll have to pack it up each time (I found 10min was more realistic). I always travelled with my bedding (sleeping bags, pillows) inside so I never had to pack them away separately. They don't hamper off-road ability like a CT/caravan.

If you have a bad back, you may struggle with setting it up/packing away - I found I was up and down on the rear door sills and rear-bumper/step to set it up fully (windows, awnings, etc.) or pack it away.

I found it so comfortable - I slept better in it than at home! I sold it to go overseas but would seriously consider getting another one.
AnswerID: 363344

Follow Up By: Member - Paul W- Esq (VIC) - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 18:30

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 18:30
The only condensation in my old H/Moon deluxe was on the roof and drips off the bars but never under the mattress either
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FollowupID: 631007

Reply By: Member - Wayne David (NSW) - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 14:43

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 14:43
One thing you probably should check into is the weight & if your vehicle is suitable or not. Pretty sure my Landy is not.

I've looked at these things over the years and wondered about them. Seems to me just the thing if camping in croc country.

AnswerID: 363345

Follow Up By: The Landy - Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 11:06

Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 11:06
Works well on ours!

We had a similar set-up to you at one stage...2000TD5 & KK

Cheers
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FollowupID: 631323

Follow Up By: Member - Wayne David (NSW) - Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 14:44

Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 14:44
The Landy -

Well that's good to learn and gives me a very nifty option for when I can't take the CT.

Blowed if I know why I thought our gutters or roof were unsuitable for something like a roof top tent. Seem to recall being told it by someone who 'looked like he knew' and just accepted it as fact.

I'll now check with the bloke who looks after my Landy and go from there as the comments about these tents seems mostly pretty positive.

I wonder though if you have used these tents in croc country and if so how they went. I mean perched up high like that, you'd be somewhat reluctant to leave the safety of that roof at night even if the bowels were growling...........wouldn't you?



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Follow Up By: The Landy - Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 16:34

Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 16:34
Who looks after your Landy?

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Follow Up By: Member - Wayne David (NSW) - Friday, May 08, 2009 at 09:22

Friday, May 08, 2009 at 09:22
Our Landy looked after by a fella by the name of Anthony at Coffs Harbour 4WD Centre. Land Rovers are his passion.

My Landy is our daily transport for getting me in and out of my property through some country which can prove tough going at times with rough roads, mud and creeks, and for that they're pretty good.

I use it as my 'pony' for tugging the CT around the countryside.
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FollowupID: 631485

Follow Up By: The Landy - Friday, May 08, 2009 at 10:59

Friday, May 08, 2009 at 10:59
Thanks david...I use the 110 as a commuter, and the 130 for touring.....

Cheers
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FollowupID: 631495

Reply By: Brian B - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 14:58

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 14:58
We have an eezi-awn and have travelled quite extensively, we love it and support the comments above.

I am interested though in pictures or desciriptions of how people put the tent on the roof (eg the winch concept sounds good)
AnswerID: 363347

Follow Up By: tim_c - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 15:53

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 15:53
Strong arms and strong backs :) I bolt the feet of the roof bars onto the roof, then we heave the RTT up (which has the roof-bars bolted on already) and then just bolt the roof-bars to the feet.

I agree, I'd really like to set up a winch arrangement, but would need to raise the carport roof first - I'm out in the frost/sun whenever the RTT is fitted :(
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FollowupID: 630980

Reply By: Witchdoctor - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 16:15

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 16:15
Hi Pat,
Have a look at Hannibal. You get Australian made canvas & a 3 year warranty. Had mine for 4 years with no problems, in fact i have just up graded to one of the larger models with all the fruit. Hannibal should be at the show. good luck.

Cheers David
AnswerID: 363356

Reply By: Member - Tony & Julie (FNQ) - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 16:26

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 16:26
Shippe Shape is another good brand. More $ but good quality and should be asy to open. Wood floor and full size mattress which is a thing to look for. Link BelowShipp Shape Rooftop Tents

Cheers tony
AnswerID: 363360

Reply By: Best Off Road - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 17:03

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 17:03
These

Roof Top Tent

Are very good. I recently slept in one for a week. They have breathers in the top. Despite cold nights and heaps of condensation outside under the fly, it was a dry as a bone inside.

No issue with condensation under the mattress. The base in not old style wood, it is alloy/foam "sandwich" board.

Very well made and at $749 they are excellent value. The bloke who sells them can also get you an extension for the ladder if needed. Dead easy to set up.

Cheers,

Jim.





AnswerID: 363366

Reply By: Roddesh - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 17:39

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 17:39
Hi Pat,

I've had a Howling Moon for a few years now and it has been excellent. It's always warm and dry when it's cold and wet, and thanks to the window awnings the windows can be left open when it's raining and hot. packing it up wet isn't a problem either.

I have mine on the roof of my 80 series Cruiser with a 2" lift and it is very easy to put up and down but it does require climbing on to the rear step and rear door sills.

I hurt my back while I was in Kalumburu a couple of years ago and the only issue I had was actually crawling into to the tent, not putting it up or down.

I made ladder extensions for mine before my first trip with it but have never used them. ( I have lived in the tent for up to 3 months at a time)

Cheers,

Rod
AnswerID: 363374

Reply By: Tim - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 19:05

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 19:05
Also be mindful of getting in and out of the tent. The ones which have the awning out over the top of the ladder require a bit of an awkward manouvre to go from tent to ladder. I would expect the ones without this extra awning would be a little easier. I don't think its something you would be wanting to do with a crook back.
AnswerID: 363388

Reply By: Member - ross m (WA) - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 19:22

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 19:22
Hi Pat. The onlly think I have found is some of them you need to be a bit of a contortionist entering or exiting the camper.
I would try a complete run down at the shop before you hand over the cash.
AnswerID: 363391

Reply By: Pat (vic) - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 19:34

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 19:34
Thanks everyone for the replies, a lot of food for thought didn’t know there was that many roof top tents around.
Will have a good look around at the show on Friday and try climbing in and out and maybe have a go at opening and closing one.

Thanks again Pat.
AnswerID: 363394

Reply By: Ozhumvee - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 20:16

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 20:16
Another vote for the Shippshape, we fitted an innerspring mattress from Made To Measure Mattresses in QLD to ours and sleep better in it than at home.
Peter
1996 Oka Motorhome

Member
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AnswerID: 363403

Reply By: Steve Ellis - Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 22:47

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 22:47
Not for or against as I dont own one but something we saw may be of interest. We were at Hawks Nest beach a few years ago when a more than middle aged bloke and his wife pull up in a 100 series Cruiser. They set up the rooftop tent for the first time ever. That night it blew like blazes. Next night they were in a cabin. Dont think I could get my wife into one. The ladder is a problem and up and down in the middle of the night to go to the toilet would be a drama. Ok I suppose for young reasonably fit people, but not for the plus middle aged who need better bladder control. Think seriously or it could be an expensive dream.
AnswerID: 363424

Follow Up By: Best Off Road - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 at 06:13

Wednesday, May 06, 2009 at 06:13
The bed in these things is so long (8 feet/2400mm) we found we had room to put the porta dunny down the end to use during the night.

When I'm on my own I just take the trusty old plastic bottle to bed.

Jim.

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FollowupID: 631092

Reply By: Member - Danny R (WA) - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 at 12:21

Wednesday, May 06, 2009 at 12:21
Galaxy Outdoor Campers is another great brand for Roof-Toppers and Camper Trailer Tent tops.
Definitely worth a visit.
AnswerID: 363475

Follow Up By: mowing - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 at 18:43

Wednesday, May 06, 2009 at 18:43
Danny, looked at this website.........you should declare your interest in this business to be fair.

Mark
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FollowupID: 631196

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