Why spend THOUSANDS more and enjoy camping LESS?
“Overlanding” is the collective term for vehicle-supported travel. To some, this defines hard-core off-roading with expensively modified 4x4’s. Camping is secondary to rock crawling or trail rides. In many other cases, “overlanding” is a combination of on and off-road travel over many miles. The journey is the goal, and nightly camping is a big part of the experience. In both cases, a remote campsite is often intentionally far removed from motels or developed campgrounds.
Most of the time, overlanding has also assumed the reliance on a rooftop tent. But many overlanders are beginning to consider alternatives. Rooftop tents provide the bed at the end of the day but are not without their limitations and problems. In this series of articles, we will look at alternatives to rooftop tents. We will learn that these alternatives offer many advantages over the ubiquitous rooftop tent.
Comparing the advantages of the Haven Tent with rooftop tents for overlanding.
The Haven Tent is a complete sleeping shelter SYSTEM. That is why it can be directly compared to rooftop tents. The first and most obvious advantage of the Haven Tent is the cost. Don’t compare the Haven Tent to cheap parachute hammocks.
Like a rooftop tent (RTT), the Haven Tent includes the “floor and roof”, plus insect netting and the sleeping mattress. My XL Haven Tent currently retails for $335.00. I have owned several rooftop tents that cost over $3,000. I have also upgraded the RTT mattress and invested over $3,300 – not including the expense of the mounting rack on my truck. This means that the rooftop tent (which I disliked and ultimately sold) cost 10 TIMES MORE than my Haven XL Tent!
But wait, you say. The rooftop tent will sleep two people. Yes, that is true – but that leads us to the second reason why I prefer the Haven Tent. My rooftop tent had a mattress that was 50” wide by 76” long. The stock mattress was pathetic, so I upgraded to a more expensive replacement. But that didn’t enlarge the sleeping area, and most couples simply want more space.
Yes, to sleep two people you will need two Haven Tents. But then each person will have a larger 30” x 80” mattress with more total sleeping area. Camping is uncomfortable when you need to squeeze two people into a RTT. The average rooftop tent is much better for one person. If you are a solo camper, you save 90% with a Haven Tent. If you are a couple, you still save 80%.
Couples might voluntarily sacrifice comfort to squeeze into a rooftop tent. Two buddies on a cross-country adventure will likely require more personal space. It might be great for a father and son outing, but you still need to overcome the 400% cost differential. Then again, sometimes it is just too hot to pack two people in a rooftop tent. We recently ran into temperatures near 90-degrees on our Lake Superior Circle Tour. My Wife slept in the rooftop tent while I enjoyed a breezy night on the lakeshore in my Haven Tent!
As noted, many rooftop tent brands (and aftermarket suppliers) now offer “upgrades” to the stock foam mattresses. You can easily spend hundreds of dollars on these air mattresses. But the Haven Tent INCLUDES an insulated air mattress. Each mattress is independently adjustable for air pressure and firmness for each camper. In addition, each sleeping bag or quilt can also be customized for each person. The Haven mattress can also be used outside of the tent on the ground or a cot. I use mine year-round in multiple camping situations during the year. But it is especially luxurious suspended within the Haven Tent “air bed”. The Haven air mattress is literally floating on air!
Next, there is the weight limitation of the rooftop tent – plus the limitations of your vehicle rack.
Most rooftop tents have a weight limit of about 500 pounds. This includes everything in the RTT – that is, mattress, bedding, clothes, shoes, miscellaneous gear, and the occupants. The fact is that a large (no pun intended) segment of the American populace will exceed the space and weight limitations of many rooftop tents. You can also spend over $1,000 for a rack capable of transporting and supporting your rooftop tent.
After the space limitations, the next disadvantage of rooftop tents is the complication of leveling the vehicle each night.
A good night’s sleep depends on a level bed from front to back and side to side. I leveled my truck with a combination of blocks under the tires and holes that I drove a tire into. This wasn’t a terrible process, but a requirement at each campsite. (Probably about 10% of campsites offered a level parking surface that didn’t require any compensation). Add to your rooftop tent expenses a set of leveling blocks for the vehicle and a shovel. I also added a set of bubble levels along the sides of my RTT.
In contrast, The Haven Tent is essentially self-leveling. Side to side leveling is a non-issue. Lengthwise, you attach the hammock via tree straps at both ends. You may actually prefer to hang the Haven Tent with your feet slightly higher than your head. You can always adjust your sleeping position with slight movements back and forth along the length of the mattress.
One more point: Since the Haven Tent is disconnected from your vehicle, you are free to LEAVE the campsite without dismantling your shelter.
If you need to run into town or want to go four-wheeling in the surrounding area, the Haven Tent can remain at your campsite. With a rooftop tent you need to pack your gear, then close and pack the RTT. Your bed goes everywhere your vehicle goes, which may also be a limiting factor on the trails you can access due to the added height and top-heavy nature of the RTT.
Here is Derek, the inventor of the PATENTED Haven Tent to demonstrate the self-containing sleeping system:
In the following article we will continue this discussion of the many advantages of the Haven tent over the overlanding default standard: the rooftop tent. Would you like to SAVE 10% on a Haven Tent? Here is a complimentary link for The Great Out There readers: CLICK HERE.
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