RTT on full size truck, lifted Jeeps, etc...how are you handling deployment and covers? Carry second ladder? Only buy a hard shell?

urbex

Observer
About a month ago I picked up my first RTT as part of what I believe to be a mid life crisis, lol. Some guys buy a Corvette and a 21 year old with daddy issues..I bought a tent and camped my way across the country for a few weeks. While it certainly won't be replacing my RV, I did love the experience. Now I'm at a bit of a cross roads though...

Tent is a Smittybilt gen 1 Overlander, largely because I found a cheap deal on a brand new one, and I didn't want to be several thousand deep in this if it turned out I hated it on the first night out. I had originally mounted it on the bed of my '96 Chevy K2500, and built a rack system that put the base at the same height as the bed rails - about 4 feet off the ground. Made deploying/repacking and getting the cover on/off super simple.

That truck developed major issues about 1,000 miles from home on the return trip, and I ultimately decided to swap it out for a 2017 Ram 2500 which sits MUCH higher.

I found pros and cons to having the tent sitting lower in the bed, but I think on this truck I'm going to put it on a taller bed rack, which puts the tent base roughly 7 feet off the ground. I've seen pictures of these things on lifted trucks and Jeeps, but I'm sitting here pondering just how in the world are people getting these things opened/closed, and travel covers put back on when they're that high.

Do I carry a small step ladder? Go without the travel cover while on the road? "should have bought a hardshell pop up"?
 

Airmapper

Inactive Member
You crawl around like a monkey standing on your wheels and bed rails to reach and you'll make about 20 trips around the truck to climb, tuck, and tug on it from all sides if things don't fold up just right the first try.

Nothing about the setup will be easier with it higher.

I have the same tent and was so happy when I got that off my truck and down low on a small trailer.
 

urbex

Observer
You crawl around like a monkey standing on your wheels and bed rails to reach and you'll make about 20 trips around the truck to climb, tuck, and tug on it from all sides if things don't fold up just right the first try.

Nothing about the setup will be easier with it higher.

I have the same tent and was so happy when I got that off my truck and down low on a small trailer.
Ok, so leaning more towards either low rack again, or ditching the idea of a RTT altogether. Starting to understand more why there's so many "only used once" RTTs in the classifieds 😅

I get why people go the trailer route, but I'm thinking it's going to be hard enough to maneuver a crew cab long bed in enough areas that I really don't want to add a trailer to the mix too... Plus that means I can't take the other toys with me as well. There were a couple stops I made on that trip that made me wish I had taken the boat with me too...
 

Lemsteraak

Adventurer
Folding tents are designed to expand and have more room but are a pain on tall vehicles. They were originally designed when off road trucks went really slow, about as aerodynamic as a church, not a good choice for roadtrips. Hardshell tents were pretty much the same but have been redesigned to be quite aerodynamic so they can handle high speeds without much of a fuel penalty.

Some of the new ones, in the past 15 years come with internal bungie cords. All you have to do is hook them up on your way out and lower the top and they suck the fabric in. Your fuel savings will pay for the added cost
 

Airmapper

Inactive Member
Well don't take me wrong RTTs have their place, it's still my primary camping setup so while they can be a pain in the rear I still like them. I mean I've been using mine for oh I forget, like 7 years now, maybe more...and I've replaced bits, patched bits, sewed rips back together and waterproofed it every few years, I've probably gotten more nights out of an RTT than anyone I know who has one. I've gotten my money out of it that's for sure. I still shop for it's replacement and never find anything I can quite say is better.

But no setup is perfect so it's a trade off between pros and cons. For me sleeping up off the ground in comfort that rivals my bed at home is a pretty big pro. And I've had to make adjustments to get it where I like it, but that doesn't come without drawbacks. I'd really like to use an annex room but mounted low it just won't work out. Sometimes I'd rather not tow my trailer.

Ultimately you think about it really hard, what you actually do and want, then pull the trigger and buy something. I have so many camping setups it's not funny, but for each trip I may pick something different depending on where I'm going, what kind of camp it is, what else I'm taking, etc. I've got everything from a hammock to a Coleman Pop-up trailer. And to you may come up with different ways to use the same gear.

It can work 7ft off the ground, I did it for a few years. But, I'm over 6ft tall and I found it to be annoying. To secure some parts for travel I ended up climbing on top my tires and opening doors and stepping up. Putting the travel cover on was the worst bit.
 

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