Now that you’ve decided to join the rooftop tent gang, are you confident that you’ve chosen the right one? With so many options, Tuff Stuff Overland wants to provide you with valuable insight to make the right decision the 1 st time.With all of the options out there, which style roof top tent is right for you? Hard shell, clamshell or soft side? The first thing you should consider is, how you plan to mount the tent, where it will be used and how many people will be inside. Most tents mount to standard cross bars (the bars that go left to right) and all use similar variations of nut/bolt & plates to secure them to the rack. First, be sure that your rack can support 150+ Lbs. of weight per cross bar. Most tents mounting rails are 32” apart, so most vehicles will accommodate this width without any issue. Next, consider how many occupants will be sleeping inside of the tent. If it is normally just you and 1 other person, then our standard 56” wide delta or ranger will do just fine. If you have 1-2 children, dogs, or just want some added space, then the Ranger may be the best fit due to the lower annex room. However, for those looking for lots of real estate, a larger annex room, separate entry doors & windows, the Elite model may be the best fit due to the ability to spread out and facilitate up to 5 people comfortably. The elite roof top tents measure 78”wide, giving as much space as a king size bed up top! Soft sided roof top tents are the lightest weight and most commonly found tents out there. They can be set up within 3-5 minutes (add 10-15 for the annex) whereas the hard shells and clamshells can be open in just seconds. Most hard shells use assisted hydraulic rams to assist in the lifting and also provide superior aero dynamics while on the road due to their rounded edges. They also look better when mounted too. Size restrictions can be a killer when you’re choosing the right tent. If you plan to use the tent on top of a car or mid-size crossover, you may want to limit the weight of the tent. It’s always good to consider the height of the tent will be below head height in most cases too, so the overhanging feature may not be the best option. If this is you, we recommend shying away from the use of an annex room as well, as you will have to duck every time you get in/out. The annex room will also not lay properly or provide the waterproofing it was intended for as the length will be too long. Our delta, alpha or hard shell may be the best option for you in these cases as they are more contained into a smaller space. Always be sure to check your vehicles weight limits. Things to look for when choosing a tent:
1. Does the tent use a UV stable material that will not deteriorate over the years in sunlight & inclimate weather? Is it an all season tent? Tuff Stuffs tents can withstand any type of weather you can throw at it. Rain, snow, hail and even up to 70MPH winds.
2. Does your tent use double stitched & tape sealed seams to provide the maximum waterproofing? Anyone can spray waterproofing spray on a material, but how long will that spray last until it starts to rub off and UV starts to eat it away? Tuff Stuff uses waterproofed cotton/canvas rip stop with all seams being double stitched and seam taped.
3. Do I need an annex room? Annex rooms provide an additional space for pets, kids, guests, and clothing changes, securing gear, keeping coolers in the shade, adding a heater/AC and keeping valuables inside. If any of these options are of value to you, then an annex room may be something you want to consider.
4. Compare the quality of the material: canvas cotton with impregnated PE waterproofing vs. Waterproofed polyester. By using an impregnated cotton canvas rip stop, that has been soaked in polyurethane will keep you dry inside for years. Spray on spray eventually will wad up and peel away, leaving you with the task of having to respray every year, if not twice a year.
5. What weight cotton canvas does your tent use? Be sure you select the correct material. Too heavy cotton/canvas will just add weight and take longer to dry when it gets wet. Too thin, will not retain heat inside of the tent. All Tuff Stuff soft side tents use a 280G material to provide great insulation, waterproofing and is not excessive in weight.
6. Travel cover: Thicker is better if you want your travel cover to last for years. Our tuff stuff tents all use a 100D PVC cover that zips to the tent vs attaching by Velcro. At high speeds, high winds and heavy rain, the Velcro can separate, allowing air to come under the cover, causing wind drag and damaging your driving cover.
7. Window size: How large are your windows? All Tuff Stuff soft side rooftop tents include 3 windows, plus a door to allow a more than adequate breezeway to keep the tent cool on those hot summer nights.
8. Mattress: What is your mattress thickness & density? Tuff Stuff Ranger, Delta & Elites use a #24 density memory foam for a good night’s rest, while the clamshell hybrid & hard shells use a 3” closed cell memory foam for the ultimate in comfort.
9. Annex floor: Does your tent use a waterproof annex floor? Tuff Stuff rangers, elites & Alphas all use a 1000D PVC waterproof tub style floor to protect your valuables inside of the annex room from the elements.
Do your research and compare facts about each tent you are considering before making your decision. You won’t regret it!
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