Hard Side or Soft Side Rooftop Tent? - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old March 13th, 2015, 11:02 PM
javelinadave
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Hard Side or Soft Side Rooftop Tent?

I'm at a crossroads and would love some real world opinions. I am building up a M416 adventure trailer and want to mount a RTT on it. I have convinced myself that a hard side tent is what I need but my adult daughter (camping buddy) says that a soft side tent would be better. I have it narrowed down to with an Autohome hard top or a Tepui soft top. Opinions?
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  #2  
Old March 13th, 2015, 11:19 PM
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hard top is so much more convenient. soft side only if you want a smaller stowed package
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Old March 14th, 2015, 06:29 AM
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Gtt...
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Old March 14th, 2015, 12:38 PM
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Gtt?
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Old March 14th, 2015, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javelinadave View Post
Gtt?
"ground top tent" aka ground tent
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Old March 14th, 2015, 12:45 PM
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I guess nobody here owns a RTT tent.
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Old March 14th, 2015, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by javelinadave View Post
Gtt?
Ask Pedro.
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  #8  
Old March 14th, 2015, 04:20 PM
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Hard top is clearly superior, especially on the trailer setup. I have the big James Baroud, which is great, and the only drawback is the space it requires on a car roof. On a trailer, no brainier...
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Old March 14th, 2015, 04:47 PM
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Hard top is clearly superior, especially on the trailer setup. I have the big James Baroud, which is great, and the only drawback is the space it requires on a car roof. On a trailer, no brainier...
this. The other shortcoming of a hard top though is the lack of an annex room, and all the ones i see don't offer any protection from the elements when getting in/out.

The annex room can be overcome with an awning that has sidewalls, but then the setup is about the same amount of time as a soft RTT. You didn't actually provide any discriminating criteria in your initial post. What are your criteria?
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Old March 14th, 2015, 06:30 PM
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I would say my criterias would include durability, functionality and being big enough to get dressed.
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Old March 14th, 2015, 06:58 PM
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well both types are very durable so there shouldn't be any concern there. And the space inside will be relatively close if you match size type, if you are referring to sitting inside and changing.

what do you mean by functionality?
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Old March 14th, 2015, 07:54 PM
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Functionality as in easy of deployment, stowage and other things that have been addressed above. I'm guessing that standing up in a hard side isn't possible unless you are really height challenged.
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Old March 14th, 2015, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javelinadave View Post
Functionality as in easy of deployment, stowage and other things that have been addressed above. I'm guessing that standing up in a hard side isn't possible unless you are really height challenged.
the key advantage that hard tops have over soft tops is easy of deployment/stowage. that's their angle. You won't be standing in any RTT of any make.

In 90% of cases, the hard top RTT is the better on a trailer. it's just so damn easy. But if you are base camping for more than a weekend, you'll probably wish you had one of the larger soft RTT with the full annex.

are you weekending, or overlanding?
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Old March 14th, 2015, 08:38 PM
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I'll throw in this feedback too. I have an Eezi-Awn 1400 T top. That has an annex. When it's just me, I never use the annex. stowed away unless in future trips I'll be doing arctic trips. However when I camp with my wife and 2 daughters, they demand the annex. At least all my women prefer the privacy of the annex.

In N. America however, unless you are doing a lot of primitive and/or base camp style camping, the Oztent is really hard to beat. With the extension room you have all the speed and benefits of the RTT, but you have standing room as well.

There's a reason why RTT's really took off in Africa. When I was there, it only took a few days to realize I had no interest in being on the ground.
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Old March 14th, 2015, 08:38 PM
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I'm a weekender 90% of the time and thinking that my daughter may be right and a bigger tent is better.
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Old March 14th, 2015, 08:40 PM
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We love our Autohome and would get another one in a heartbeat! Both the soft tents and the hard one's have their advantages, but the hard one has been great for us! You can easily sit up in it and change clothes and such, but standing wouldn't work. I love how quickly and easily it goes up/down, and it's great in weather and wind! I've also noticed that it has a tendency to stay nice and cool when the temps start to heat up outside since it has a white top and there's a bit of insulation in the headliner material. You can't beat its durability and road worthiness!
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Old March 14th, 2015, 08:46 PM
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If you are not mounting the RTT too high which I assume not on an M416, then there is a marginal difference in speed of deployment between hard and soft.
hard: maybe 2-3 minutes.
Soft: maybe 5 minute.
Soft with all the window covers deployed: 10 minutes.
Soft with windows covers and annex: 15 minutes

if you are alone setting it up, the simpler the RTT the better. with a helper, not so bad. and with everything in easy arms reach, not hard at all.

now on mine, when I had my RTT opening over the back with a 3" lift, I grew to dread using the RTT. it was a PITA reaching everything. Now with a side deployment, it's not bad at all. I can stand on my rock sliders.

when you pull in to a campsite at 10pm, you'll be wishing you had a hard top rtt.

that's a brain dump of my experiences on this matter.
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  #18  
Old March 14th, 2015, 09:09 PM
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Oh one more thing, if it's raining, you'll be wishing you had an RTT with entrance extension like the EA T-top (most of the good brands have a version like that).

I can tell you that RTT's with the extensions can get hot quickly until they are full opened up front and back with all the window poles in place all around. that takes time. If I were to buy a tent again, the Howing moon sky gazer would probably be my top choice, as you can remove the fly and have the screened roof windows open letting all that heat out. Since most of your weekend will likely be in AZ, I think the Tepui Autana Sky model would be ideal for you. It's like the sky gazer, and you can add the annex when you want. Trying to sleep when it's too hot sux.
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  #19  
Old March 14th, 2015, 11:08 PM
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I can tell you that RTT's with the extensions can get hot quickly until they are full opened up front and back with all the window poles in place all around. that takes time. If I were to buy a tent again, the Howing moon sky gazer would probably be my top choice, as you can remove the fly and have the screened roof windows open letting all that heat out. Since most of your weekend will likely be in AZ, I think the Tepui Autana Sky model would be ideal for you.
Thank you again for all your valuable input Mark. By house vote it looks like the Tepui Autana Sky is the winner. The girls like the annex for a changing room and port-a-loo area. We will probably hit the Expo in May before we make any purchase just to be sure.
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Old March 15th, 2015, 01:39 AM
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CVT Tents

Here is another option. They have both types of tents!

The Best Roof Top Tents -RTT's for Truck's-Car's-SUV's and Off-Road Trailers-Cascadia Vehicle Tents | Cascadia Vehicle Roof Top Tents
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