Is a Roof-Top Tent Right for Your Tacoma or Tundra?
One of the top leading entities in the Overlanding movement is the roof-top tent. Pitching a tent on the ground is still fun, however it can be a serious pain. Roof-top tents are more popular in the overland community due to their functionality and convenience. These types of tents securely attach to a rack positioned on the roof of your truck, and can instantly open or be put away effortlessly. All you have to do is merely unfold the tent and lower a ladder to access it. Most RTT’s a super comfortable, easy to set up, durable, and weather-proof. Because these tents can be setup so quickly, you can spend more time hiking, fishing, and of course, drinking beer with your buds.
Additionally, if you have a cap or tonneau cover on your truck, having a roof-top tent installed gives you the advantage of being able to utilize your bed for storage instead of having to pack stuff in the cab of your truck. This is also useful to keep the critters and bears out and keeps your property protected. Since nobody needs to sleep there, you can pack that cap full. If you have a smaller family, this is also the ideal way to camp as it is dramatically cheaper than owning an RV or large camper.
Cost of a Roof-Top Tent
The average cost of a decent roof-top tent ballparks anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000(+) depending on the style and materials. The most popular soft-top RTT’s by brands like ARB, Cascadia Vehicle Tents, Eezi-Awn, and Tepui resemble your average triangular shaped tent but are generally made from a much heavier canvas than normal ground tents. The more affordable soft-shell brands typically range from $1,000 to $2,800. Hard-shell brands like James Baroud and Auto Home, are generally made from fiberglass with synthetic siding and start around $2,6000. On top of the tent cost itself, you must purchase and install a third-party rack such as a Rhino-Rack, Thule, or Yakima so that your truck can properly withstand the additional weight on top of it.
There’s Ways to Make RTT’s Work for You
If root-top tents aren’t exactly right for you, there are various ways to setup your overlander. If you don’t have a cap, you can always install these tents on your bed by using a third-party rack, building a custom rack, and bolting the rack into the bed side pockets. You can still do this with a tonneau cover as well, that way you can still access your things under your cover while rocking your overland style rig. The possibilities are endless.
Truck-Bed Tents Are Still an Option
If the cost of a roof-top tent is just too far out of your budget, and you don’t have a cap to camp in, you can always opt to purchase a truck-bed tent. Like roof-top tents, truck-bed tents are compact, easily accessible, convenient, are easy to setup and take down, and are only a fraction of the price of a RTT. Some of the best reviewed truck-bed tents are as follows:
All Camping Stuff reviewed the Napier Backroadz Truck Tent as a number one selling bed tent. “At 6’5”, this full-size truck bed tent has some exceptional and exclusive features to keep you comfortable in your pick-up truck, day or night. The special sewn-in floor keeps you separate from the metal of your cold truck bed. You can easily store this lightweight tent behind the seat in your cab to keep you well prepared whenever you venture out in your pick-up truck. It’s also extremely roomy (the 5.5’ headroom is really huge). This truck bed tent comes with four shock-corded fiberglass poles to make installation a completely effortless affair. Through the handy flap you can also plug into the truck’s power to light up this tent cabin.”
Another popular bed-tent is the Rightline Gear (110730) 6.5′ Full-Size Truck Tent. It also comes in a 5.5’ short bed size (like most tents) and is one of the most popular tents for those with an extended crew cab. “With this standard truck bed tent in tow, you can now pull off the road whenever you wish to rest or sleep through the night. It’s remarkably easy to set up, with its floor-less design precluding the need to remove the gear from the bed. The color-coded poles and pole pockets further facilitate easy installation without tarps, stakes or guy lines to complicate the process. The tent is made of water resistant fabric, with sealed tape seams for additional protection. The sky view vent is great for letting in more light during the day, while providing a great experience of sleeping under the stars at night.”
The Kodiak Canvas Truck-Bed Tent is a “hydra-shield constructed short-sized canvas truck tent that has a unique tunnel-shaped design that has the effect of augmenting the ceiling height to increase the interior space. The tailgate down design also works to expand the usable space in the truck. Durable and sturdy the Kodiak is a complete watertight unit. You can even use your appliances in this tent by running a power cord from your cab. With the Kodiak Canvas, you can stay dry and comfortable even in a downpour if you’re caught in one on the road. With the canvas allowing the water vapor to escape, you’re assured of 100% comfort, with no humidity or mugginess to disturb your sleep. Wonderfully easy to set up and break down, it’s just the thing you want when you’re out driving.”This particular tent would be ideal for those who like camping in areas with high rainfall.
Pair any of these tents with an AirBedz truck mattress for under $100 and you can completely transform your TRD pro, SR5, or even Tacoma into the most comfortable Overland machine.
Whichever style tent works for you, just know it is possible to transform your rig so you too can live up to the Toyota motto: "Let's go places!"
Special thanks to Scott B. for letting me feature his photo.
What Overland truck have you transformed? Comment below!