Adding a roof top tent to my camping arsenal is on my bucket list. Often, it’s nice to pull over next to a gorgeous alpine mountain lake or endless desert vista and sleep for the night without having to set up a tent.
Tents are great for extended stays. Taking them down is a pain in the rear. I break camp early in the morning. Hard to do with a soggy wet tent. Van campers like to stop when we see the perfect unplanned campsite.
The Convenience Of Sleeping In Roof Top Tents
If you sleep in your van like our family, it takes a some time to rearrange the furniture for sleeping. We stow away fresh fruit and veggies, books, lap top computers, and other trinkets that accumulates on the sleeping area. Often times, we throw junk on the roof!
The term roof top tent hardly describes the new high tech varieties available today. Portable vehicle sleeping quarters paints a better picture. It’s like having a loft on the roof of your vehicle.
Meet Tim Nickles Founder Of Roofnest Roof Top Tents
Tim Nickles, creator of Roofnest roof top tents contacted me and asked if I would like to look at the Roofnest and review it. Roof top tents fascinate me.
The Roofnest as described by owner Tim Nickles is similar to many hard shell roof top tents on the market except for price. You can land a Roofnest for under $2000. Most RTTs start at $2500.
Roofnest is a start up one-man company. They piggy back off proven manufacturing technology for hard shell roof top tents. Industry leaders like REI, Nemo, Big Agnes, etc. follow similar manufacturing models. They design products in the US and manufacture over seas to cut costs.
Tim and I bantered back and forth over email and talked in length on the phone. We discussed van camping adventures more than roof top tent camping. The guy is the real deal. He sleeps above his van.
A good nights sleep without the hassles of finding and paying for a campground is why we connected in the first place. Van campers are not cheap skates. We prefer quieter private camping without generators bleating like sick sheep 24/7. Places like Yellowstone and Yosemite parks are awesome places for visiting, but not for sleeping. Roof top tents provide all the advantages of regular car camping while eliminating the hassles.
Interview With Roofnest Founder Tim Nickles:
Mark (me): So, Tim, why buy a Roofnest when it’s a “me too product”?
Tim: Our tents are simple so there is less to go wrong when you are camping on the road – we build them to be “everything you need and nothing you don’t”
Me: I hate setting up tents. The canvas roof top tents look scarier than a ground tent to set up. How easy is the Roofnest to set up?
Tim: We use the pneumatic strut system for raising and lowering the tent – better functionality and more dependable than the crank system for raising/lowering the tent.
Me: Is your tent inexpensive because you use cheap parts?
Tim: We keep our company lean (one-man shop with some contractors to help with different parts of the business) so that our overhead is low and we can keep our prices low – more tent for less money!
3 Obstacles To Overcome Before Buying A Roof Top Tent
Obstacle #1 The High Price Tag
Let’s attack the first barrier to owning a roof top tent. RTTs are expensive. Hard shell roof top tents are even pricier. Most people reading this post are probably guys in their 30’s to 50’s. Here’s the deal, how are you going to explain to your beautiful wife or girl friend that you plan on spending north of $2500 for a tent? Premium models run over $4,000. Even if you are single, this is some serious coin to pay for a tent.
Obstacle #2 Buying an Expensive Roof Rack
Even if you scrape up enough cash for the roof top tent, you still need an expensive rack system to secure the tent to. Add another $500.
If I could bolt a piece of plywood to the roof rack and sleep under the stars with a $5 Harbor Freight blue tarp, I would. My wife will not. She wants a roof top tent with a bathroom. Can someone help me out of this predictament?
Obstacle #3 How Do I Pee in the Middle of the Night?
The third obstacle is deciding how you are going to pee in the middle of the night. The old pee in the Gatorade wide mouth bottle trick is not gonna work in most RTTs. Most guys may imagine taking aim and firing out the door. This is not a practical solution. What if the wind is blowing?
It’s only a few steps down the ladder to ground. Practically speaking, it’s a shorter trip to the ground than most folks bathrooms. Figure it for yourself.
If you cannot afford spending $2500 for a roof top tent, Click here to build your own roof top tent for under $600.
The Roofnest Advantage
The only reason you want a roof top tent is because they are so convenient. A night in a comfortable hotel sets you back $125 and change. Campgrounds gouge you $35 or more per night. 3 weeks on the road sleeping in a Roofnest roof top tent is free if you know where to park legally. The savings is enough to pay cash for a new RTT.
I do not yet own a roof top tent. However, I have seen dozens of them set up at various places across the United States and Canada. I have never heard a bad thing said about any of them.
Do I recommend Roofnest? No, I recommend Tim Nickles and the products his company promotes. Not only does he stand by his products, he sleeps in them. He is an entrepreneur and outdoor enthusiast. Tim built the Roofnest for convenience. Other people started asking him to build for them. Before he knew it, he was in in the roof top tent business. The Roofnest is built for functionality and comfort.
Tim is a local Boulder Colorado businessman. Roofnest is just one of his many passions.
Click here to find Roofnest on the web. Or do the unusual and talk to a Tim live on the phone at (720) 324-4005. Expect a real human to answer!
How To Build Your Own Roof Top Tent For Under $600
Step 1, get a six pack of craft beer at your local Trader Joes or Wally World. Don’t start drinking yet. Go home and get online.
Open your first beer. Start with Campsaver.com or REI Garage Sale and find an awesome car camping tent on sale and use the first time buyers 20% off coupon. The Big Agnes Big House 4 person tent was on sale for $299. There are 4 person tents selling under $200.
Have another beer and search the web for the cheapest price on the Exped MegaMat. This is most comfortable mat on the planet. Heavy too! After you find a tent and Exped sleeping mat, have another beer.
Save the remaining beer for your camping trip.
Strap or load the tent and mat on the roof of your vehicle. Roof rack is optional.
Pull over at any flat place free of trash and throw the tent and the mat on ground. Set it up and go to bed.