So, we didn’t get to go to Africa, New Orleans Jazz Fest, or Durango for Ride the Rockies (bike ride). We had to miss out on the Zac Brown Band, the Steeldrivers, and VIP tickets to see Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats. We can’t hop on a plane headed for NYC or some other exotic place on a whim. I can’t visit a dear friend who is terminally ill.
2020 has been a bust in many ways. However, once we quit feeling sorry for ourselves, we pulled up our big girl/boy pants and moved forward with the same zest for life we have always had – one filled with a need/desire for adventure.
Several months ago, during many idle hours as a result of our friend Covid, I started to research rooftop tents (RTT’s). For those of you who don’t know what they are – they are essentially tents that attach to the roof of the car. They have always been big in Australia and Africa for obvious reasons, but finally have a big presence in the US. They cost less then a 5th wheel or camper-van, but each have their pros and cons – depends on what you are looking for.
I looked into RTT’s because Sean is not the biggest camper so I thought, hmmm, if I get a comfortable, luxurious set-up, he’ll be more into it. Even if he still doesn’t love it, I wanted something that would be more comfortable for me in the Pacific Northwest of the US. We will be relocating there in a couple of years and I’d like to explore every stinkin’ inch of it – rain or shine, particularly the back-country.
After a BUNCH of You-tube videos on various types of tents, we settled on an iKamper, Skycamp. It’s essentially a 160 lb tent with a king size bed in it – plenty of room for me, Sean and Yogi! It’s a hard-top, which theoretically makes these things more simple to put up or take down in the rain. This also means they are a little more expensive and heavy.
After a couple of weeks of owning it, we FINALLY took it out on it’s maiden voyage! Here’s what we learned:
- We had to air it out over night (in the driveway) before we used it – it had that new plastic smell that was pretty obnoxious. One night of airing out did the trick.
- It was super easy to put up and take down just like the videos – literally 60 seconds to unfold and set up. Even given the size of the tent, it does not take more than one person for setup.
- The awning we bought to go with it, was a great investment. It just zipped on to the tent and kept the rain off of us, our friends and pups.
- The bed needs more cushion for Sean – I was fine with it, but he is a tad bit picky and needs more plush padding. The tossing and turning on his side of the tent was ridiculous. haha.
- We will need to buy levelers for the times when we cannot find flat ground. This will be tricky for a while until we get used to the process.
- Need to figure out a way to insulate the bottom of the sleeping pads better – I didn’t sleep in a sleeping bag so could feel some cold air on my bum. However, because this is literally ‘car’ camping, down comforters, flannel sheets and down Rumpl blankets, kept us cozy overall.
- It definitely weighs down the car! I can imagine it will impact gas mileage but no worse then an air-stream.
- We LOVED the window on the roof of the tent – on a clear night, we’ll be able to see the moon and stars (it rained on this trip). In fact, all of the windows were great. You can make the tent as dark or light as you’d like.
- If you have a pup, you will have to load him/her into the tent. Yogi is a 30 pounder, so it wasn’t that big of a deal.
- Finding a good campsite, may be the hardest part of this endeavor. We’d rather stay in primitive, dispersed campsites, which are seemingly hard to find these days given all Americans are all of a sudden becoming nature lovers.
- I have heard people being challenged by not being able to use the car because of the tent. We intend to be in the back country with ours and don’t see this as being an issue for us. Bikes are also with us wherever we go. Also, it really is super easy to put away if you wanted to move camp. If you have the awning attached, that may make things a little tougher.
- It is staying on my car for most of the year. The profile is pretty thin, so we will be able to lean it against the garage wall when not in use. However, it will take a few extra hands to take it off the car.
- Because of the weight of the tent, we did have to purchase new bars to mount the beast, so that was an additional cost we incurred.
Overall, I am super happy with the investment! Pretty sure we are going to have MANY MANY fun adventures in this thing.
HAPPY RTT CAMPING!!!
….i choose this….