Smittybilt Overlander Rooftop Tent Review
Let’s start with the initial thoughts;
“What’s this, a roof top tent? Are we camping out in safari? How much? Why??”
That was my initial thoughts on roof top tents. I just didn’t get it. Why would anyone spend over $1000 for one these tents while there’s perfectly good, MUCH cheaper tents available at local sporting goods store that do the same job – provide shelter in nature.
Thing is, I was looking at it all wrong. It’s not the shelter you are paying so much money for (it’s obviously a tent). What you are paying for is a convenience. You are paying nearly $1000 and up for a solution to a problem you may never had.
Our “problem” was what would be the most comfortable, convenient, and easy way to sleep at different campsite every night on our 3 weeks road trip through out American West and its National Parks. A sleeping platform inside our RAV4 was a no brainer except we were also cruising with a 70 lbs dog, 2 cats, and all of our stuff (clothing, food, camping/hiking/roadtrip gear, litter box (yea!), etc). That just spelled out misery for everyone. Buying and schlepping a camper behind was not an option for more reasons than I feel like writing up. So that left us with tenting.
We’ve done these sort of trips before while tenting for 5 – 6 days max. And by that 5th or 6th day, setting the tent up (especially after dealing with rains and mud) got very old quickly. Pitching the tent, airing up the mattresses, prepping the bed and doing the exact opposite following morning takes a good amount of time, not to mention a good chunk of space in your car.
Getting a roof top tent solved these issues for us. Setting up and setting down the tent takes 3 – 5 minutes. That is 3 – 5 minutes and you are in bed ready to sleep. After a 5 to 7 hr drives on daily basis for almost 20 days, you learn to appreciate not needing to pump your air mattress for the millionth time as you fall asleep from fatigue. You also learn to appreciate not dealing with clearing a foot print for the tent every night, cold ground, bugs, wet tent floor, inevitably giving up storing tent away in its designated container and just shoving it into the trunk because whats the point? …you’ll need it in a few hours again anyway.
The mattress (2″ foam the tent comes with), sleeping bags and clothing live in the roof top tent which means more space inside the car! That’s right.. all you gotta do is unfold your tent and climb in with a pillow. Like I’ve mentioned.. it’s the convenience you are playing for.. only little for the tent itself. A lot more details are covered in our Youtube video! We LOVE this tent and highly recommend it.