Jeep Rooftop Tents took the U.S by storm in the late and great 2016 providing a safe, efficient, and cozy form of camping that we branded as “Glamping”. I know, I know! Those of you who already enjoy such luxuries hate the term “Glampers” but hey! Truth must be told.
For those who have no idea what I am speaking of, imagine this. A Canvas or Pop-Up style Tent placed on a Roof Rack specifically designed for a Roof Top Tent. Some Canvas types may have an Annex (a changing room before entering the tent) with a aluminum ladder that is climbed to enter your facility. Depending on how deep thy pocket is, such luxuries as an Annex or memory foam mattress can be purchased.
In all this adversity you have the commodities of an RV with the experience of sleeping under the stars. Being the birth of the great term we enjoy “Glamping”. Roof Top Tenting is hated by the masculine of men. Being its un-orignal form of experiencing the wild. Although a perfect cocktail for the misses who has fear of bugs crawling up her leg at night.
There are 3 major styles and various models one can choose.
The first and foremost, most economical option is a Canvas Tent it is very much similar to a ground tent the difference is there are no pegs to stifle in to our brown earth. Instead you must purchase a Roof Rack which does not come with the purchase of your Roof Top Tent. Yes very annoying. Once such device is set up, assembly and disassembly is no problem with proper experience.
Next runner up is the Pop Ups. Pop ups are made from fiberglass which do as they are named, they pop up. Some have the benefit of opening up from one side similar to the famed VW Pop Tops. A price option compared to canvas tents but seeing benefits of quick disassembly when on the move to a new location is attracting.
The price option is a fully constructed camper unit on the vehicle similar to a RV. Now there are a few drawbacks on such a system being price. And vehicle longevity. If you are interested in dropping such an amount of cash you must be understanding this might be an investment of a lifetime.
Option 1 and 2 are perfect for us Jeep owners being we are the famed and great weekend warriors. But is there.
I was able to experience myself the luxury of a Roof Top Tent with a friend who recently purchased a Overland Labs Expedition Series Roof Top Tent online at a fairly cheap price. After one night sleeping under the fiery lit crystal aluminum stars here is my thoughts on “Glamping”.
Croc Brain and Sleeping Under the Stars?- Most of us know our brain evolved in 3 phases (those that didn’t, surprise) Anywho, the croc brain is responsible for our most primal of emotions for example fight or flight, happiness, love, attraction you get the gist. Being that Homo Erectus came from the trees Glamping is placing the croc brain in the most primal of locations bringing a feeling of extreme relaxation almost bringing you to the point of non existence. A ground tent on the other hand with the annoying rock pressing into your rear cant do such prophecies.
Rain and Camping ?- A little rainfall can be all too great when out camping, but if you are not prepared it can be hectic (trust me). Beside the fact of bringing along two tarps. One for foundation the other for overhead. Then still having to dig a trench. You are doing lots of work just to enjoy rain. With a Rooftop Tent there is no trench building or placing a tarp under a tent. You just enjoy.
Time is Money?- Overland Labs Expedition Series Roof Top Tent is the one my buddy purchased and too be honest the assembly time was about 10 mins. Quite the opposite of previous ground camping trips.
Drinking With Fellow Hooman’s?- The most beautiful aspects of camping is having a few brewskies to really make the landscape resonate. At times we might pass the threshold leading to what we call “Blackout” in cases like these it's not the insects you should worry about but the 2 legged mammal we call humans. A Roof Top Tent can change the fear of someone breaking and entering leaving you with nothing. Not even a pair of shoes, it sucks.
Space!?- No not Outer Space. With your Roof Top Tent being on your Jeep Roof you'll eliminate heavy carrying cases deeming much more space and finally eliminating the U-Haul trailer I see so many souls roll up with.
After experiencing my buddies Jeep Roof Top Tent I had to analyze deeply. What negatives can I point out on a piece of modern equipment that is designed to remove such negatives. Let's try to break out some of these negatives.
HIking?- Camping locations have hiking trails scattered around with beautiful waterfalls and views city slickers are missing. Although such trails are 10 miles out from the camping ground deeming having to disassemble your roof home before driving out. Unless you have a friend who brought a separate vehicle or you don't mind taking 5 to 10 mins for a disassembly then you are in the green light.
Handling and Fuel Consumption?- At slower speeds you will not notice much of a problem until hitting higher speeds, the “center of gravity difference” will be noticeable. Such differences will cause your Jeep to swerve between lanes. An easy fix with widen backspaced rear rims and tires. Fuel consumption will alter due to the aerodynamics and you might notice your needle going down more than usual. Truth is we do not have a fix for fuel consumption. Yet.
Price, The Deal Breaker?- Jeep Roof Top Tents can be found used online at a reasonable price. As this friend of mine who purchased a Overland Labs Expedition Series Roof Top Tent on the Offerup app at a price of $1,200 for his Jeep Wrangler. Prices will fluctuate depending on your specific taste. The price range you may be looking at is $1,000 to $3,000. BUYER BEWARE: I recommend sticking to higher priced and reputable names. The idea of being blown off a Roof Top is scary.
Roof Rack, A Separate Deal?- When purchasing a Roof Top Tent the Rack is purchased separately. Each vehicle is unique deeming it needing a specific rack to meet Jeep specifications. Racks can run at a pretty penny. Most averaging at $600 - $1,200. Some manufactures sell bundles with the tent and rack.
You've seen the benefits and the negatives. This up to you to decide if such a jump is worth it. Installing is no problem since most manufactures give you instructions on assembly. As long as you have the basic set of tools and at least 3 peeps to aid in the install you should be fine. I say at least 3 peeps because Roof Top Tents can weigh from 100 to 200 pounds depending on what model and brand you choose to purchase.
Now the real question is. Who would want or need such a modern form of camping you know as “Glamping”?
I think all can enjoy but.
Is heading for the mountains a onetime thing every Summer to experience the clean air and views? Then a regular ground tent would be best being the concern of price. If cash isn't a situation and you are definitely intrigued to try out Glamping, then full steam ahead.
But for the Man, the Outdoorsman, the true Lewis and Clark adventurer who lives every dire minute in the wilderness in search of something more than a 9-5. A Roof Top Tent is just the device needed to continue your expeditions.
With this I leave you to incubate, if you decide yes. Your next step might be researching which Canvas Tent or Fiberglass Pop Top is in your budget and compatible with your Jeep. Until next time.