Rooftop Campers

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Rowy

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Anyone on here had any experience with rooftop campers? Thinking of buying one for my 4WD and would love advice on what to look for and any pitfalls.
 

Camo6

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My mate had one on his cruiser and the only drawback was having to pack it all up everytime he needed the car. On the plus side he never had to worry about bears.
 

punkin

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Bit hard to kneel and piss out of in the middle of the night, i'll stick to my swag i'd kill myself in one of those.
 

Rowy

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punkin said:
Bit hard to kneel and piss out of in the middle of the night, i'll stick to my swag i'd kill myself in one of those.
I'm big on the swag myself......SWMBO not so keen though.
 

Ducatiboy stu

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Camo6 said:
My mate had one on his cruiser and the only drawback was having to pack it all up everytime he needed the car. On the plus side he never had to worry about bears.
Does put you closer to drop bears
 

Camo6

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punkin said:
Bit hard to kneel and piss out of in the middle of the night, i'll stick to my swag i'd kill myself in one of those.
You kneel and piss out of a swag? Doesn't that smell? :D
 

Dave70

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Never owned one personally, but from what I've read they can knock your fuel consumption around due to the drag, so it pays to fit some kind of wind deflector. As mentioned by another caller, I could envisage myself in a kind of semi pissed stupor getting up to bleed the weasel at 3 am and taking a Funniest Home Videos style tumble down the ladder. You'll be on holidays after all.
All in all I'd say the pros outweigh the cons.
I don't know if Tigerz makes em, but if they do you can count on two things, they'll be cheap, and they'll last one trip. If you're lucky. With all those little moving parts and stitching, I'd really be doing my homework before laying down the cash.
 

komodo

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I've got a Hannibal Rooftop tent. Pretty much the ducks nuts as far as roof top tents are concerned. The only other ones I'd look at would be howling moon.
The tent is made in South Africa but its made with Australian made canvas.

You get what you pay for with cheaper tents. I've had so many people with cheaper tents come up and check mine out and tell me their horror stories and how they wish they spent the extra.

Now they're NOT cheap. My whole package - Roof top tent, extended fly, lower room, side awning and roof rack was near $7k! But I was travelling to cape york for my honeymoon and I wasn't going to have my honeymoon ruined with a shit tent.

My suggestion - forget the lower room. They're a PITA you'll never use it.
Awning is some of the best money you'll spend. From road side stops to somewhere to spread a swag under on blokes weekends to somewhere out of the shade for road side repairs - you'll use it HEAPS.
Of my $7k near $2k was the hannibal roof rack. Its alloy and its awesome. But you can save serious bucks here by going with an Oval or Rhino etc.
My awning was a further $1000 and the tent with bottom room and additional fly was $3800. Smaller tents are cheaper and in hindsight I wouldnt get the bottom room and I probably wouldnt get the additional nylon fly either. The tent by itself is more than water proof. This would save more money and put it closer to the price of the cheaper tents but much much better quality.

My tent is 1.8mtrs wide - its HUGE. The sleeping area is as big as my king size bed at home.
Most roof top tents are 1.2 - 1.4mtrs wide and open to the rear of the vehicle. Mine has to open to the side.
Again hind sight I'd probably go a 1.6mtr tent rather than a 1.8 but I do love the additional space over a 1.4mtr tent and I wouldnt even concider a 1.2mtr tent.

My tent is so dark that I normally wake up in a tent fairly early because of sunlight (my bedroom at home has block out curtains and is painted dark cause I hate being woken cause of light). First night in the hannibal we stayed at the showgrounds in ipswich. I woke up hearing some traffic thinking it must have been 5:30-6ish cause it was still dark. The surprise I got when I opened the window and was blinded by the 10AM sunlight!
Its super heavy canvas. Its bloody awesome!


Pros to a roof top.
Your tent is out side your vehicle freeing up space inside.
Matteress is in the tent and the floor (assuming your on reasonably level ground) is flat and comforatable with not rocks poking through the matteres off dips in the ground making you sleep with a curved back.
Far easier when touring than towing a trailer
Minutes to setup and packup. I can be in my bed within 5 minutes of pulling over. I've spent nights on the side of the Hume hwy, Bruce Hwy, Dawson Hwy, Newell Hwy etc. Its handy when travelling to be able to just pull over and flip out a bed and catch some ZZZs. Takes me about 15 - 20 minutes to packup.

Cons
My fuel consumption goes up conciderably with the tent on. I go from 14L/100K to around 18L/100K in my TD42T GU patrol. This could be reduced with a less heavy right foot, ATs instead of MTs, 31's intead of 33's etc. But the roof top will still knock consumption about.
Handelling is affected. Admittedly not as badly as I would have thought but you do know you've go a bit extra weight up there. With the tent, awning, rack and fly I've got about 100kg over head.
If you base camp or want to spend a few nights in one spot its a bitch to have to pack up the tent only to come back and setup again. I'm currently building a trailer so my roof top will go on the trailer for most trips and only on the car for touring trips.
Getting up to pee in the night. I'll be honest - you learn to restrict fluid intake before bed and hold on till you really have to.

I think a RTT is more versatile than a camper trailer but I the pros of a camper trailer out weigh the pros of a RTT - which is why I'm building a trailer for my RTT so i get the best of both worlds.
I don't really like swags. I think they take up more room than people really think. They're uncomfortable unless you stick in a decent matteress and then they take up HEAPS of room - especially if you're taking more than one swag away.

I'd highly recommend the hannibal. Its not without fault - I dont like the PVC tavel cover the way it zips up for example. But its one of the better units on the market and I'm more than happy with mine.
I'd stick well clear of the cheaper ones including ARBs unit. They're just nothing compared to the south african made units. I've seen too many of them that are rooted in no time.
I like a decent tent (my normal tent is a Southern Cross canvas extended centre pole touring tent) and I think you get what you pay for.

The other thing to concider is a centre pole tent. They set up fast, portable, cheaper, heaps of ground access room and you can stand in it...

YMMV
 

pk.sax

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Side mounted pull out awning with zipper down side walls, ground sheet and swags to sleep in. Best of everything I reckon. Me, I get pissed and pass out in the 'tub'.
 

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