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Cheap roof top tent idea: Is it practical?


A. Paul

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Billy Barty might have been able to sleep in a jeep, but not most people.
I'm 6'2 and I make it work. It's all about technique, and design. Sure a tent is more comfortable, but I sleep better when there's more than fabric between me and the bears.
 

A. Paul

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You must be double jointed.
I put my feet where the hardtop plug/connections are and my head and the passenger seat with it folded forward, I fit okay with a slight angle. Will actually be building a platform soon which will give me more length and allow me to store my gear more easily. Keep in mind I'm not all that elderly yet so with a thick enough foam mattress I don't hurt in the morning.
 

pcoplin

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Spiders and Racoons? We have them. Also rattlers and scorpions over east. I've slept on the ground for a long time. :)


I think RTTs are great for only one thing, pulling into a rest stop or parking lot and flipping them out.
 

moab

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I spent some time in the Marine Corps. And I grew up in the mountains of the PNW. Sleeping outside in the mountains of WA and high up in the CA Sierras, all over parts of Asia etc. etc.. I've slept on the ground, in snow caves, in the back of military transports of all kinds, on ships and in vehicles.

And I still don't get the RTT deal. It just doesn't seem practical. And every time I watch a good YT vid on the pros and cons from guys that use them. I always walk away glad that I've never had one. I'd probably get up to pee and fall right out. Or crush the thing. I'm 6'3" 250. Not to mention a "ladder". WTH? lol. You have to use a ladder to get in and out of your tent? Not for me.

All the added weight and bulk. Just doesn't add up to me either. You could have a really nice cot tent. OR full on heavy duty tent for a whole lot less money and weight (and hell probably a couple better upgrades to your Jeep for the price). And if you can't sleep on the ground. Consider a hammock or hanging tarp tent. Either one will get you up off the ground as high as you like. And will weigh a fraction of a RTT.

If you're that worried about bears. Consider a perimeter fence. One that's electrified if need be.

In the end I can think of ALOT of upgrades to my Jeep and/or camping needs for $1000-$2000+. For a grand I could outfit you in a top notch tent, cot or hammock and perimeter fence. And still have money left over.

I don't know if you have the room. But Iamjake on YT used to sleep in his Jeep full time. But he was alone, could afford to remove the passenger seat, and got a standard cot to fit diagonally with a few modifications ie - bending one of the front legs of the cot to fit where the passenger seat is. He had a hard top too. So that kept him in a fairly good safe weatherproof environment. He also liked the idea that he could get up and drive off without having to get out of his vehicle too. I don't think I could ever fit at 6'3". And usually camp with someone else if not more.

I don't even understand tent trailers. My father used to have one. And it just seemed like a lot of extra weight. Especially with how good camping and hiking air mattresses have become. They're damn near bombproof. And very very comfortable. And take up VERY LITTLE room. Like smaller than a Nalgene bottle. And insulated ones too. That keep you off the ground and warm down to very low temps.

I guess what I'm saying is there are so many better alternatives. I mean I guess if you were 5'6" 145 and already had a real roof rack. And you were 21 and didn't care about climbing up and down a damn ladder every time you wanted to get in or out of your tent. Then ya. I could maybe see the practicality. But even then. I'd advise you to spend your money on a good tent, a cot and an air mattress made for hiking. (Not the ones for when people sleep over in your house. Those are crap and will develops holes easily.)

Plus they weigh so much. I don't even have a roof rack. And even with a roof rack and a bit to much weight. Your looking at making your already short wheelbase Jeep that much more top heavy. I say bad idea. And if you think you have to sleep in the mud. I'd say your not looking hard enough for a good camping spot. Find some higher dryer ground. Or get yourself up off it another way. Like with a hammock or a cot.

I see RTT's kind of like snorkels. They're the latest cool thing that everyone has to have to look "overland". But really aren't right for their intended purpose. Other than that they make a good tree fort for the kids. But who needs a 400lb tree fort on top of their Jeep?! ;)
 

Sundowner

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And I still don't get the RTT deal. It just doesn't seem practical.
Roving camps in sub-Saharan Africa and central Australia are what they're designed to handle. Most places in the northern hemisphere - Central Asia excluded - aren't the best for that kind of shelter.
 
OP
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SafariRumbler

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On another note lol what do you guys think about diy stinger? Someone on the forum made one of 1 1/2 conduit piping and it looks good... as for strength probably not the greatest but I’m sure it could be re enforced. It’s cheap and probability pretty comparable to the China made stingers these days anyways.
 
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SafariRumbler

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@SafariRumbler did say he was a high schooler, a "tree fort" might just be exactly what he wants.
I’m 5’2’ and 16, I’m a boy scout who goes camping all the time. The rooftop concept for me seemed practical for 3 reasons, After school on fridays I leave and go camping so I have 1 hour to get packed. I can’t take out my seats and set up a hole living area in my Jeep BUT I can throw a tent and a “deck” in the back. When I get to the campsite all I have to do is throw the “deck” on top of the SRC smith rack and open robe clasp on the pop up tent. Put a sleeping bag in it and done.

Yes I COULD pitch a tent like normal or have a tent on stilts for the muddy and swampy areas with tree roots, or a hammock, but sometimes I’d like to go spend a few days in a field or park with friends and have a bonfire or go on a road trip and stay the night in a parking lot. If the rtt that I am designing is impractical, my only loss is a plywood deck that I could repurpose for other things, a tent i could return, and a snotty rack which I already would like to invest in for storage. Also, if I didn’t feel like climbing up all the time, I could just pitch the tent on the ground like normal.

Other RTT that you buy are only useful for on top, you can’t take them off and camp on the ground, I want that flexibility
 
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SafariRumbler

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Someone earlier isn’t he forum posted this and it’s very close to what I would like to do. I’ll post a concept image I drew up. Also I just want to put a disclaimer that I’m not stubborn or stuck on the RTT idea, they just appeal to me and I want others opinions on the practicality of dabbing my own/tips and advice from those who have done it. I appreciate everyone’s feedback and I think it’s great reading the responses. I want to make sure y’all understand where I’m coming from and that I’m not a young and stubborn teenager, I really am considering every comment.
 
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SafariRumbler

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Side note-is there any way to turn on notifications for this forum to alert my phone so I don’t have to check it so frequently?
 

A. Paul

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I’m 5’2’ and 16, I’m a boy scout who goes camping all the time. The rooftop concept for me seemed practical for 3 reasons, After school on fridays I leave and go camping so I have 1 hour to get packed. I can’t take out my seats and set up a hole living area in my Jeep BUT I can throw a tent and a “deck” in the back. When I get to the campsite all I have to do is throw the “deck” on top of the SRC smith rack and open robe clasp on the pop up tent. Put a sleeping bag in it and done.

Yes I COULD pitch a tent like normal or have a tent on stilts for the muddy and swampy areas with tree roots, or a hammock, but sometimes I’d like to go spend a few days in a field or park with friends and have a bonfire or go on a road trip and stay the night in a parking lot. If the rtt that I am designing is impractical, my only loss is a plywood deck that I could repurpose for other things, a tent i could return, and a snotty rack which I already would like to invest in for storage. Also, if I didn’t feel like climbing up all the time, I could just pitch the tent on the ground like normal.

Other RTT that you buy are only useful for on top, you can’t take them off and camp on the ground, I want that flexibility
Keep in mind that roof racks especially the cheap ones are incredibly noisy and make removing the top even more of a hassle, not sure if that's important to you, but it's what has put me off from buying one.

Given your size and age I think you could fit inside pretty comfortably. I used to be in a similar scenario when I was younger, my solution was burying the girls in the backseat with the gear, and then taking my backseat out once we got to wherever, using the seat as a bench in front of the fire, and then throwing a mattress on top of whatever was left in the jeep and sleeping there.

Times have changed though, I now go wheeling to escape the women.