5 Reasons I Sold the Roof Top Tent

The VagabondExpedition Overland Jeep parts ways with our Tepui roof top tent for 2017 and beyond. Although we love RTT's, here's why we parted with ours.

Reluctantly, I’ve made the decision that going forward into 2017, the VagabondExpedition Overland Jeep will no longer be sporting our loved Tepui brand Roof Top Tent. We’ve gotten lot’s of use out of the roof top tent, but here are my 5 reasons while I sold it.

Jeep wrangler with Tepui Tent at lake in Alberta

1. It’s big, and it is heavy…
Yes, I knew this getting into it – most roof top tents are 100 pounds or more. That’s a lot of weight to have on your vehicle roof and it will affect vehicle performance and handling. You do get used to it, but you’ll find yourself driving that little bit differently. Is 130 pounds of ‘extra’ really necessary for me to sleep in?

2. Aerodynamics…
Really it isn’t that big of a deal. On the VagabondExpedition Jeep it seems to make a 1-2 L/100km change in my fuel economy. But it is the overall aerodynamics hit that does get a bit frustrating. The wind hits you and pulls (and pushes) constantly. Yes it’s a Jeep and I get that anyway, but the extra of a roof top tent gets adds to it. That all being said, expect a cargo box to sit up top at some point in 2017, and I’m sure I’ll see similar ‘frustrations’. At least with the cargo box, it won’t be constantly loaded with 130 pounds of gear.

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3. Exposure to the elements…
I’ve never really had an issue with my Tepui roof top tent and mother nature. We’ve slept in the cold, we’ve slept in the summer heat, we’ve slept in snow fall and in the rain. Never moisture or rain issues in the tent – BUT it is still a tent – made of fabric and that alone exposes you more to the elements in one way or another. It’s all fine once in a while, but for longer term travel you sometimes just wish you had a hard “roof” over your head. One summer night solidified the decision to part with the tent, and that was when I had been taking storm photos from a across a lake. I decided to point the camera and see what the sky over the Jeep was like. A 2 am tear down of the tent was now urgently needed as a severe thunderstorm was rolling in and fast. I’m not sure I want to be in a roof top tent during a severe thunderstorm.

4. Setup and tear down…
Sometimes you just want to get up and go, and even when the tent only takes 2-3 minutes to tear down, other times it takes longer. It could be cold out and you’re frozen and just eager to go. Or the tent is wet from an over night rain. Now you’re wiping down and drying things off the best you can and that five minute planned departure is now 30 minutes in. Also, as a photographer, I want to stop for a while, catch a few Z’s grab the photos I want and go to a new location, or we’ve been driving a long day and it’s late at night. The tent is too much work at times. Sure, it’s “first world” problems when you can really go from closed to sleepable in less than 3 minutes, but that’s under “ideal” conditions, and doesn’t factor in time to find a spot to “camp” unless you’ve pre-planned at least somewhat.

5. I like “stealth” camping…
While out on adventure, you can’t always the find the perfect camping location. Sure you may have some favorite locations you’ve already scouted out that you regularly visit and a roof top tent is perfect in those cases. But for someone like myself – always on the go somewhere new – it can become frustrating to find a spot to pitch the tent for the night. It’s often just easier to pull into a parking lot, climb into the back and go to sleep “stealthily” rather than having a full size tent pitched open on the roof.
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All of the above being said, the roof top tent is a lot of fun and draws a lot of attention to the VagabondExpedition Overland Jeep, so yes, I’m going to really miss having it. However, it has served our team quite well for the past three years and it’s time to venture into something different going forward. We did get excellent value out of the tent, and ended up selling it at a great price to a new owner.

I’d still recommend a roof top tent to many folks, but it isn’t the right answer for everyone. Stay tuned to see what we’re doing next with the new sleeping arrangements. It won’t necessarily be as “fun” as the roof top tent, but I think that it better matches me and my style of adventuring.

2 thoughts on “5 Reasons I Sold the Roof Top Tent”

  1. Steve says:

    What do you think you will go with? I am half temped to build a teardrop to pull behind the newly buily 4runner trail…rtt has caught my eye but with kayaks it seems a no go…..

  2. Charles Boyd says:

    Made the same bittersweet move. Mostly was the stealth camping option. Everything was redesigned for sleeping inside with a Twin(solo) or Full(wife/gf) air mattresses. The fuel efficiency trade offs were zero. I replaced tent with a low profile cargo box and fuel. The overall feel is lighter and more mobile within moments(just jumping into the driver’s seat). However, I will admit, for a fix destination and a longer term stay at that destination the RTT is better. Bottomn line; the RTT doesn’t fit my Vagabond Mission. Thank you

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