Question for roof top tenters

Greybeard415

New member
Greetings programs,
I just ordered a Smittybilt XL Overlander RTT/Annex. I know its entry level, but dang, Last time I paid over a grand for a tent, it was a canvas teepee over 22ft in diameter many moons ago.

I digress, I'm looking for some input on orienting the tent on the bed of my truck bed trailer. I see most Youtubers have them open to the right or left side, but have yet to find someone have one open to the rear of the truck bed. Is there a good reason for this?

My truck has a topper on it and a contractor rack over it. I am building a 180 degree awning for one side of the truck bed and have another awning /room tent on the opposite side, so I'm thinking I want the RTT/annex to open off the rear of the bed. The annex has a large zipper door that would allow me to access the cargo area of the truck bed. At least in my mind, it would work this way.

Any thoughts from the experienced masses?
 

NMBruce

Adventurer
So how wide and long is your tent? If I opened my Alpha ll to the rear, I would have a lot of over hang on the side
 

Kmrtnsn

Explorer
Greetings programs,
I just ordered a Smittybilt XL Overlander RTT/Annex. I know its entry level, but dang, Last time I paid over a grand for a tent, it was a canvas teepee over 22ft in diameter many moons ago.

I digress, I'm looking for some input on orienting the tent on the bed of my truck bed trailer. I see most Youtubers have them open to the right or left side, but have yet to find someone have one open to the rear of the truck bed. Is there a good reason for this?

My truck has a topper on it and a contractor rack over it. I am building a 180 degree awning for one side of the truck bed and have another awning /room tent on the opposite side, so I'm thinking I want the RTT/annex to open off the rear of the bed. The annex has a large zipper door that would allow me to access the cargo area of the truck bed. At least in my mind, it would work this way.

Any thoughts from the experienced masses?

The XL is too wide for opening over the rear.
 

Greybeard415

New member
The tent has a footprint of 122x76 open, the roof rack has a footprint of 135x56. The roof rack, however, is a custom built heavy steel over-cab contractor rack that I am customizing (widening) to fit over my truck topper, so structurally I can make it work. I can even widen it to completely support the tent, but that may not be necessary. The truck bed and topper are 73 inches wide so a 1 1/2 overhang on each side would probably go un noticed. Have welder-will customize...lol.

I guess I'm trying to determine how and where the experiences of my overlanding peers intersect with my vision of what I THINK I want in my own build?

It makes sense to me to have access to the truck bed from inside the tent annex. This would allow me to use a 180 degree awning for shade, have an overlanding style shower/toilet enclosure as well as another awning/screen room on the opposite side of the truck bed (which I already own).

In my mind, it all works, just looking for ideas on what I'm NOT yet thinking about...

Thanks again for your input...
 

Hoghead

Observer
What Kmrtnsn is saying is that to open the tent to the rear, the 76" dimension will be perpendicular to your bed rails. If the roofrack is 56" wide, you tent is going to hang off 10" on each side. That is the reason that you don't see many opening to the rear. It does make perfect sense to open it to the rear and the annex be accessible to the bed, but it just doesn't really work that well. You may also have issues with your toppers rear hatch.
 

gabrielef

Well-known member
Usually you only see two-person tents opening to the back (for reasons stated above). Certain hard shells are specific to open to the passenger side, pretty much all softshells can open to either side. My CVT Mt Denali (87” x 48” when closed) open to the drivers side and my Overland Pros 6K 270 awning opens on the passenger side.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

VanWaLife

Active member
Well I deleted my first response after realizing it didn't really apply. According to the SB mounting instructions Off-the-back is just fine, but the XL tent needs three crossbars. You can fabricate three crossbars pretty easily. Here was my first shot at crossbars for my RTT on my lumber rack:
11.jpg

Seems like three of these with the mounting extrusions parallel to the sides of the rack should work just fine for your off-the-back application. Another idea would be to get your hands on one or two extra mounting extrusions (looks like the tent comes with two), and run the extrusions perpendicular to the rack rails, they might provide the support you'd need without the center crossbar. That wouldn't be less in line with the install instructions than fabricating the crossbars, but it might work and wouldn't require any fabrication.
 

nukeandjuke

New member
I think 2 awnings is too much. Its redundant.
Openning to the back can be a plus but not in an xxL

I like the tent to open to the right. That way, i tailgate at a game...and park on the street and open to the sidewalk.

Its just preference at that point

Sent from my LM-G850 using Tapatalk
 

Greybeard415

New member
Well I deleted my first response after realizing it didn't really apply. According to the SB mounting instructions Off-the-back is just fine, but the XL tent needs three crossbars. You can fabricate three crossbars pretty easily. Here was my first shot at crossbars for my RTT on my lumber rack:
View attachment 652313
Seems like three of these with the mounting extrusions parallel to the sides of the rack should work just fine for your off-the-back application. Another idea would be to get your hands on one or two extra mounting extrusions (looks like the tent comes with two), and run the extrusions perpendicular to the rack rails, they might provide the support you'd need without the center crossbar. That wouldn't be less in line with the install instructions than fabricating the crossbars, but it might work and wouldn't require any fabrication.

I like where you are going with this. I have some unistrut I thought might be useful, just need to see how the tent situated. Luckily I'm not too fearful about modifying the rack. Thanks for the input.
 

Greybeard415

New member
I think 2 awnings is too much. Its redundant.
Openning to the back can be a plus but not in an xxL

I like the tent to open to the right. That way, i tailgate at a game...and park on the street and open to the sidewalk.

Its just preference at that point

Sent from my LM-G850 using Tapatalk


Good insight. I guess I'm all caught up in the imagined potential of it all. There are some pretty insane rigs on YouTube. 360 degrees of stuff going on... I like the idea of being able to enjoy all season camping with lots of room to gather out of the rain and scale the cover as needed. I may only use the awning or any combination of awnings/enclosures depending on the need. II appreciate the insight on how and why you set your rig up the way you do. Question- would you set up a detachable trailer the same as your tow vehicle or would you set it up differently? That's one thing I'm working out. Do I want my trailer build to provide more shelter in a scale able way? Food for thought...
 

Greybeard415

New member
I think 2 awnings is too much. Its redundant.
Openning to the back can be a plus but not in an xxL

I like the tent to open to the right. That way, i tailgate at a game...and park on the street and open to the sidewalk.

Its just preference at that point

Sent from my LM-G850 using Tapatalk

Good input, thank you. Yes I agree, having everything set up at once could be a bit much. I guess I'm thinking "one ring to rule them all..." or "one build for any occasion". I may/probably wouldn't use all the awnings, enclosures all the time. I like the idea of tailgating the game vs. a week long elk camp or even a weekend family gathering at the beach. I like the idea of having options... After all when I go fishing I have different bait and tackle depending on the place and fish I'm after... Fly, trout, bass, etc. Thank you for input...more food for thought.
 

Greybeard415

New member
Usually you only see two-person tents opening to the back (for reasons stated above). Certain hard shells are specific to open to the passenger side, pretty much all softshells can open to either side. My CVT Mt Denali (87” x 48” when closed) open to the drivers side and my Overland Pros 6K 270 awning opens on the passenger side.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Nice, would love to see pics. Do you just stow gear in the truck bed/ rear of the vehicle? Do you use the tailgait area for a kitchen or as part of the living space/have a sleeping area there? Do you use any kind of pop-up awning for that area? With a larger tent/annex on one side and a 270 awning you pretty much have all sides covered as well. Do you set it all up every time you use it? That's one thing I'm working out. What to build and how to configure it to serve multiple situations. Camping, hunting/fishing trips, family gatherings, etc.
 

Greybeard415

New member
What Kmrtnsn is saying is that to open the tent to the rear, the 76" dimension will be perpendicular to your bed rails. If the roofrack is 56" wide, you tent is going to hang off 10" on each side. That is the reason that you don't see many opening to the rear. It does make perfect sense to open it to the rear and the annex be accessible to the bed, but it just doesn't really work that well. You may also have issues with your toppers rear hatch.

Great points, all. I will certainly have to look at the function and aesthetics of how it sets up. The rack I have is not as wide as my topper shell/trailer but that isn't a show stopper since I'm already modifying the rack. The annex will need some space even with the wall that partially zips open against the vehicle. I guess I was hoping the opening would be wide enough to accommodate the tailgait and topper hatch. I may need to make some sort of slide out brace to support the tent when it opens but give me room to open the rear of the truck bed. Food for thought...thank you.
 

gabrielef

Well-known member
Nice, would love to see pics. Do you just stow gear in the truck bed/ rear of the vehicle? Do you use the tailgait area for a kitchen or as part of the living space/have a sleeping area there? Do you use any kind of pop-up awning for that area? With a larger tent/annex on one side and a 270 awning you pretty much have all sides covered as well. Do you set it all up every time you use it? That's one thing I'm working out. What to build and how to configure it to serve multiple situations. Camping, hunting/fishing trips, family gatherings, etc.

If I’m family camping, I have a table from Alps Engineering that serves as the food prep area, if it’s me or one other, the tail gate is food prep.

Pretty much all gear is in the back cargo area, on an OEM sliding cargo tray. Fridge plus gear is in that section. I do fold down the left passenger seat down for all my recovery gear bins.

I don’t sleep in the vehicle.

My awning has walls that I can attach that create either a privacy area or for shade/inclement weather protection. And the version of awning that I have, the front right of the car to all the way around the back and then underneath the tent platform is covered. I’d say 1/4 of the car is NOT a covered area. It’s pretty awesome haha.

7e4f8dee6166d59957cfa0935e8fd26b.jpg

8ab51d4c5f6c92c4ade7538d3ee63656.jpg

38c440341527e40d462553bd6e3fc675.jpg

196ec0c77ef831123a86224ab702cf13.jpg

These pics give a bit of the yard sale that I have lol.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Forum statistics

Threads
186,790
Messages
2,888,062
Members
227,280
Latest member
Smithmds77
Top