Trading a RTT for a high quality ground tent?

Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
#1
I've had a couple RTT's, last one was a Camping Labs tent which we spent plenty of time in. It was a nice quality RTT and I liked it, but IMO a RTT isn't without it's drawbacks. They have a lot of things going for them, but at times the drawbacks make it hard to overlook. The added weight sitting up high, the amount of wind resistance they add when on the freeway (and drop in MPG's), climbing down the ladder at night for a pee, etc. I also never had a RTT with a good mattress, the one in the Camping Labs was very hard, making good sleep difficult to get and I'd often wake up in the morning sore or even not sleep much at all. I think we all know what the pro's to a RTT are, so no need to list them here.

I'm considering going back to a ground tent, but want something high-quality and decent sized, built for car camping. I don't mind a bigger tent that weighs more than a backpacking tent, if the tradeoff is comfort, room and ease of setup. I have a small 2 man tent for lighter trips, but want a car-camping tent that's big enough that I can stand up in to change, has room for a couple mattresses and room in between, etc. I also would like something that goes up and down quickly, for easy of setting up and breaking down camp. I like the idea of the OzTent's with their quick setup time, but the length of the OzTent RV series is a bit of a turnoff. OzTent also makes the JetTent, which is what I'm considering. It also has a quick setup time, the poles are built into the tent and simply lock into place. Setting up the initial structure takes about 45 seconds, then you move onto the awning, support ropes and pegs. The roof height is 7' tall, which is great. It packs down into bag that's less than 4' long x 1' x 1' and weighs 50 pounds.

I'm considering the Jet-Tent F25 - http://www.oztent.us/jet-tent-range/jet-tent-f-25#.VeHTd5erF6I






Anyone else gone from a RTT back to a ground tent? I know there are other car-camping tent options out there like Springbar/Kodiak, etc but I'm really digging the OzTent setup.
 
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TRD270

Web Wheeler
Location
SaSa Sandy
#2
I know the setup time isn't ideal, but when I'm not in my little backpacking tent I love my Kodiak. Been in some bad storms, always kept me dry, never failed from wind and I can stand up with ease, I think we are the same height.
 

Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
#4
I know the setup time isn't ideal, but when I'm not in my little backpacking tent I love my Kodiak. Been in some bad storms, always kept me dry, never failed from wind and I can stand up with ease, I think we are the same height.
Ease of setup is a big deal for me, I really dislike struggling with poles after a long day on the trail. I want a quick and easy setup! I know everyone that owns a Kodiak or Springbar LOVES them, but I want something that goes up quick and easy. Owning a RTT spoiled me with a quick setup and it's hard to let that go.


Looks like a nice tent.
They seem very well built, plus the US OzTent distributor is in SLC!
 

Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
#6
Looks nice, but an extra $500 to save a few seconds setting up seems like overkill. What about a Turbo Tent, or one of these guys? http://www.top-tent.com/tentunits/groundtent
There's more to it than that, but setup/breakdown time is a big part of it. Having a tent that is roomy, built from high quality material is important. I'm not backpacking with it, so the size and weight isn't nearly as important.

The Top Tent you linked to is interesting, looks like a copy of the smallest OzTent! I'd be curious of the quality of materials. The thing about that style is the limited headroom.

I've been looking at the Turbo Tent, seems like they're a good option too. There's a similar tent built by Black Pine called the 'Pine Deluxe' that uses a canvas/cotton blend fabric that sounds like it would holdup well over time. The 4 person tent has a 8' x 8' floor with a 7' roof, which seems like a good size for us. It's also rated for winds up to 60 MPH and gusts up to 70! :eek:

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Pine-Sp...sbs_468_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0HA0A629D4M05RHCFS8D
 

DAA

Premium Member
Premium Member
#7
I'm on mobile so breif. More later. But I've been on trips with a number of RTTS and I usually have my Springbar setup faster. Without trying to make a race. Just my normal pace. They seem to pack back down faster though. But overall I haven't seen enough difference in setup and takedown time and effort to make much of a difference.

- DAA
 

Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
#9
I'm on mobile so breif. More later. But I've been on trips with a number of RTTS and I usually have my Springbar setup faster. Without trying to make a race. Just my normal pace. They seem to pack back down faster though. But overall I haven't seen enough difference in setup and takedown time and effort to make much of a difference.

- DAA
I know you love your Springbar and spend many nights in it, I wish I would have paid more attention to your setup and take down on our HITR trip! My concerns with the Springbar is that most say they take 2 people to set them up and the overall weight is pretty high. Not a huge concern with car camping or in this comparison. I really dislike fiddling with poles and running them thru their loops, but honestly don't know much about how the Springbar goes together. I'll have to do some more research.


Other than cargo space what are the pros of a RTT over a ground tent?

- DAA
Quick setup time, no poles to connect, no tent stakes to pound in, leaving your bedding inside the RTT so it's ready to go when opened, 4" thick mattress (which seem to suck in my experience), being able to setup on any surface, setting up camp just about anywhere you can park a vehicle, being off the ground and out of reach of rabid bunnies, etc.
 

Kevin B.

OLAF
Premium Member
Location
Stinkwater
#10
The Top Tent you linked to is interesting, looks like a copy of the smallest OzTent! I'd be curious of the quality of materials.
That looks like a Tepui badge on the side, but I don't see it on the Tepui site so I don't know. I'm curious too because I'm a big fan of that price. :)

I thought the Black Pine was the Turbo Tent?
 

Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
#11
That looks like a Tepui badge on the side, but I don't see it on the Tepui site so I don't know. I'm curious too because I'm a big fan of that price. :)

I thought the Black Pine was the Turbo Tent?
You're right, I see the logo now. Makes you wonder! $300 is cheap in comparison to the OzTent, looks like their similar tent is $750! I was reading about that style tent and someone mentioned that the amount of usable space was reduced by the slopping roof line. If you can live with that and the over 6' length when packed away, the $300 option is pretty good.

From what I've seen the Turbo Tent is sold under a bunch of different brand names... but I may be wrong?
 

DAA

Premium Member
Premium Member
#13
My concerns with the Springbar is that most say they take 2 people to set them up and the overall weight is pretty high. Not a huge concern with car camping or in this comparison.
Not at all. I setup Springbar's by myself more often than not. Not just the smaller one I use a lot on Jeep trips, but my big family size one too - I've almost never had any help setting that big one up. And, as far as that goes, when I have help, it mostly consists of my buddy standing there smoking a cigarette watching me do it by myself. He does get the poles out of the bag and sets up one pole at the very end though :D.

Size and weight, a Springbar of comparable size to the Oz tent you posted above isn't any heavier or larger. My 7' Springbar is about 30"x1' diameter for the tent, the poles go in a separate long skinny bag that is about 5'. I don't think the weight of the tent and poles is over 40 pounds, but not positive.

Note - I have zero experience with the Oz tents. Or Turbos. Have never seen either one in person. That Oz tent looks pretty sweet though.


Quick setup time, no poles to connect, no tent stakes to pound in, leaving your bedding inside the RTT so it's ready to go when opened, 4" thick mattress (which seem to suck in my experience), being able to setup on any surface, setting up camp just about anywhere you can park a vehicle, being off the ground and out of reach of rabid bunnies, etc.
All valid. But most, not very relevant, to me, most of the time. Setup time, I just haven't seen the RTT's going up much if any faster, in my experience. Even if they do though, we're not talking a lot of time. Takes me less than 15 minutes from getting out of the Jeep to having camp all setup - tent, bedding, cook station, chair, everything. Takes a bit longer to put it all away in the morning.

Bedding ready to go, that would be nice. There are cons to it too though. If the weather is nice and I just don't feel like dicking with a tent at all, my cot and sleeping bag aren't trapped inside the tent and they deploy instantly. I do that a lot. Other people, might never do that though. Thick mattress... I use a 3" foam pad with my cot. Very comfy. High R factor - nice and warm underneath. From what I hear, and my experience using pads on the ground or other hard surfaces, I'd rate the bedding comfort of the typical RTT as no better than a pad on the ground and not as good as a pad on a nice cot.

Being able to use the RTT on any surface and not needing tent stakes would probably be the big positives for me. I often have to do a bit of searching for a suitable tent site. And some areas, I leave the Springbar home and take a freestanding dome tent, if it's somewhere I think it might be hard to find enough dirt for a tent stake.

Being off the ground, for me, huge negative. My prostate is bigger than my bladder. Going to bed after too much whiskey, getting up to piss a couple hours later and having to negotiate the height, only a matter of when, not if, I fall out and hurt myself :D. For others though, non-issue, I do get that. But, honestly, no joke, I'd friggin' hate dealing with that, myself.

I don't base camp very often, so no disadvantage to the RTT for me there. The few times I do though, it would suck to have to take the tent down every time I want to go putt up the road to look at deer or something.

Anyhoo... What works for someone, works for them and I wouldn't try and talk anyone into doing things my way. For my money, there just isn't much appeal to a RTT vs. a ground tent though. It's just a matter of which ground tent best serves your needs and budget. Wish I knew more about the Oz tents, they do look cool. The two things I simply do not know, that I'd want to find out about before buying one, are how well they handle high winds and wind driven rain and snow, and how quickly easily they come down and pack up. If they are good to go in those two areas, and you can afford it, they look pretty dang nice to me. I haven't watched the video yet, guess I should, it probably answers those two questions.

- DAA
 

DAA

Premium Member
Premium Member
#14
Watched the video. Very cool tent! Looks like it would take about five minutes less to setup than a Springbar. He didn't show the pegging out, which is what takes the most time setting up the Springbar - and I'm sure what takes the most time with the Jet as well. The poles take a few minutes with the Springbar but took only seconds with the Oz. The Oz definitely packs up a lot faster. Pulling the pegs and rolling up the tent is what takes time with a Springbar - the poles only take about one minute to take down and put in the bag. He didn't show putting it in the bag, which I was curious about. Let alone putting it in the bag when the whole thing is stiff with frozen moisture. I also wonder how well those sliding poles and locks will function when it rained the night before and it's frozen cold in the morning? Probably just fine? Can't imagine it doesn't get used in such conditions.

I might be willing to roll the dice on one, if I needed a tent.

- DAA
 

nnnnnate

Well-Known Member
Location
WVC, UT
#15
I have a 6 man black pines turbo tent. I paid $250 for it at the warehouse which is in SLC as it was a return from a Costco roadshow. I like it a lot for family trips. I've used it solo with my great dane a few times as well. Its about 4' long when packed up which was too long for my 2 door JK but I made it work.

The canvas is ripstop which is pretty great. I can fit two full size cots in it with plenty of room for a big dog bed at the end of the aisle.

20150322_085209.jpg

I have a ton of pics from when I set it up the first time in my yard if you want to see anything in particular.

Edit: looks like that dude on ExPo has all the pics that I've got. I'll just add that I had this at FYTO this last year and with the buckets and buckets of rain and mud that we saw I didn't get any inside (other than what we tracked in.) Its a good solid tent.
 
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sixstringsteve

Well-Known Member
Location
UT
#16
I've gone from a RTT to a ground tent. I'm so glad I did. Tons more room in the rig, tons less weight, and with the cost of a RTT, I was able to buy a top of the line tent, pad, and bag. For me, it was one of the best decisions I've made. The only thing I miss (and I only miss it when I read threads like this) is the treehouse feeling.

Personally, I'm a fan of small, lightweight tents. I'm a small guy though, so you probably wouldn't like my setup.

I absolutely love my REI tents. I pack up and have a new camp site every night, so I prefer something that isn't a huge ordeal to set up or take down. Typically, if I'm using a tent, I roll in to camp, set up the tent, then only use it for sleeping in. I don't hang out in it, I don't read in it, I don't play games in it. For me, it's just for sleeping, so i don't need room to do jumping jacks in. That means less weight, less cost, and less work to set up. I really like freestanding tents that don't require stakes. If the weather gets bad, I can stake it out. We have over 300 nights on our REI tent and the zippers just barely started going out. We were so happy with it that we went out and replaced it with the exact same model for $300. Keep in mind I get tents for free with my gear review job, and I still paid $300 for my REI tent. I like it that much. I have the quarter dome T3. I don't like the new versions, I prefer the old ones.

If your'e basecamping a ton and staying in the same spot for multiple nights, or spending a lot of time in the tent, you'll probably want something bigger than what I have. A Kodiak or springbar is tough to beat for this style. The oztents look cool, I'd love to see one in person. The biggest downside in my mind is how huge they are packed up. That's a lot of precious cargo space, especially in a JK.

90% of the time when we go camping we don't use a tent. We sleep in either our military gore tex bivvys (even in the snow), or we use our Titanium Goat bug net bivvys. Just throw our pad and bag in the bivvy and go to sleep. It's great. Lightweight, quick, packs small, and I'm more in touch with my surroundings when I sleep. I really enjoy sleeping under the starts. Waking up in the early morning to see the stars above me is awesome. It's amazing how we can get set up to go to sleep in less than a minute, including inflating the pad. Plus the gore-tex bivvys were fantastic at keeping gear dry when we had them in the back of the tacoma.
 
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Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
#17
Not at all. I setup Springbar's by myself more often than not. Not just the smaller one I use a lot on Jeep trips, but my big family size one too - I've almost never had any help setting that big one up. And, as far as that goes, when I have help, it mostly consists of my buddy standing there smoking a cigarette watching me do it by myself. He does get the poles out of the bag and sets up one pole at the very end though :D.

Size and weight, a Springbar of comparable size to the Oz tent you posted above isn't any heavier or larger. My 7' Springbar is about 30"x1' diameter for the tent, the poles go in a separate long skinny bag that is about 5'. I don't think the weight of the tent and poles is over 40 pounds, but not positive.

Note - I have zero experience with the Oz tents. Or Turbos. Have never seen either one in person. That Oz tent looks pretty sweet though.




All valid. But most, not very relevant, to me, most of the time. Setup time, I just haven't seen the RTT's going up much if any faster, in my experience. Even if they do though, we're not talking a lot of time. Takes me less than 15 minutes from getting out of the Jeep to having camp all setup - tent, bedding, cook station, chair, everything. Takes a bit longer to put it all away in the morning.

Bedding ready to go, that would be nice. There are cons to it too though. If the weather is nice and I just don't feel like dicking with a tent at all, my cot and sleeping bag aren't trapped inside the tent and they deploy instantly. I do that a lot. Other people, might never do that though. Thick mattress... I use a 3" foam pad with my cot. Very comfy. High R factor - nice and warm underneath. From what I hear, and my experience using pads on the ground or other hard surfaces, I'd rate the bedding comfort of the typical RTT as no better than a pad on the ground and not as good as a pad on a nice cot.

Being able to use the RTT on any surface and not needing tent stakes would probably be the big positives for me. I often have to do a bit of searching for a suitable tent site. And some areas, I leave the Springbar home and take a freestanding dome tent, if it's somewhere I think it might be hard to find enough dirt for a tent stake.

Being off the ground, for me, huge negative. My prostate is bigger than my bladder. Going to bed after too much whiskey, getting up to piss a couple hours later and having to negotiate the height, only a matter of when, not if, I fall out and hurt myself :D. For others though, non-issue, I do get that. But, honestly, no joke, I'd friggin' hate dealing with that, myself.

I don't base camp very often, so no disadvantage to the RTT for me there. The few times I do though, it would suck to have to take the tent down every time I want to go putt up the road to look at deer or something.

Anyhoo... What works for someone, works for them and I wouldn't try and talk anyone into doing things my way. For my money, there just isn't much appeal to a RTT vs. a ground tent though. It's just a matter of which ground tent best serves your needs and budget. Wish I knew more about the Oz tents, they do look cool. The two things I simply do not know, that I'd want to find out about before buying one, are how well they handle high winds and wind driven rain and snow, and how quickly easily they come down and pack up. If they are good to go in those two areas, and you can afford it, they look pretty dang nice to me. I haven't watched the video yet, guess I should, it probably answers those two questions.

- DAA
Great info as always Dave! At this point I sold my last RTT (it went with the GMC) and I was seriously considering buying another, but got to thinking about the downsides and other options. I've base-camped a couple times and it SUCKS having to pack up the tent to drive somewhere, another downfall to the RTT. I know the Springbar is a great tent, there's no doubt about that... I just don't know that it's for me.



Watched the video. Very cool tent! Looks like it would take about five minutes less to setup than a Springbar. He didn't show the pegging out, which is what takes the most time setting up the Springbar - and I'm sure what takes the most time with the Jet as well. The poles take a few minutes with the Springbar but took only seconds with the Oz. The Oz definitely packs up a lot faster. Pulling the pegs and rolling up the tent is what takes time with a Springbar - the poles only take about one minute to take down and put in the bag. He didn't show putting it in the bag, which I was curious about. Let alone putting it in the bag when the whole thing is stiff with frozen moisture. I also wonder how well those sliding poles and locks will function when it rained the night before and it's frozen cold in the morning? Probably just fine? Can't imagine it doesn't get used in such conditions.

I might be willing to roll the dice on one, if I needed a tent.

- DAA
I agree about pegs and guide-lines, all that stuff will add to the setup/take down time.
 

Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
#19
I have a 6 man black pines turbo tent. I paid $250 for it at the warehouse which is in SLC as it was a return from a Costco roadshow. I like it a lot for family trips. I've used it solo with my great dane a few times as well. Its about 4' long when packed up which was too long for my 2 door JK but I made it work.

The canvas is ripstop which is pretty great. I can fit two full size cots in it with plenty of room for a big dog bed at the end of the aisle.

View attachment 100919

I have a ton of pics from when I set it up the first time in my yard if you want to see anything in particular.

Edit: looks like that dude on ExPo has all the pics that I've got. I'll just add that I had this at FYTO this last year and with the buckets and buckets of rain and mud that we saw I didn't get any inside (other than what we tracked in.) Its a good solid tent.
That's a good deal! Sounds like you're pleased with the Turbo Tent, always good to hear that from someone you trust. With the packed size of 4' long and 1' around, it'll probably end up mounted on the roof rack. Save some space in the cabin for other stuff.


I've gone from a RTT to a ground tent. I'm so glad I did. Tons more room in the rig, tons less weight, and with the cost of a RTT, I was able to buy a top of the line tent, pad, and bag. For me, it was one of the best decisions I've made. The only thing I miss (and I only miss it when I read threads like this) is the treehouse feeling.

Personally, I'm a fan of small, lightweight tents. I'm a small guy though, so you probably wouldn't like my setup.

I absolutely love my REI tents. I pack up and have a new camp site every night, so I prefer something that isn't a huge ordeal to set up or take down. Typically, if I'm using a tent, I roll in to camp, set up the tent, then only use it for sleeping in. I don't hang out in it, I don't read in it, I don't play games in it. For me, it's just for sleeping, so i don't need room to do jumping jacks in. That means less weight, less cost, and less work to set up. I really like freestanding tents that don't require stakes. If the weather gets bad, I can stake it out. We have over 300 nights on our REI tent and the zippers just barely started going out. We were so happy with it that we went out and replaced it with the exact same model for $300. Keep in mind I get tents for free with my gear review job, and I still paid $300 for my REI tent. I like it that much. I have the quarter dome T3. I don't like the new versions, I prefer the old ones.

If your'e basecamping a ton and staying in the same spot for multiple nights, or spending a lot of time in the tent, you'll probably want something bigger. A Kodiak or springbar is tough to beat for this style. The oztents look cool, I'd love to see one up close.

90% of the time when we go camping we don't use a tent. We sleep in either our military gore tex bivvys (even in the snow), or we use our Titanium Goat bug net bivvys. Just throw our pad and bag in the bivvy and go to sleep. It's great. Lightweight, quick, packs small, and I'm more in touch with my surroundings when I sleep. I really enjoy sleeping under the starts. Waking up in the early morning to see the stars above me is awesome. It's amazing how we can get set up to go to sleep in less than a minute, including inflating the pad. Plus the gore-tex bivvys were fantastic at keeping gear dry when we had them in the back of the tacoma.

I have a small, lightweight tent from Alps Mountaineering... it's great, but for the kind of camping we're doing I need something bigger. Being able to stand up inside to change clothes is huge for me. I also want a tent that's roomy enough that I can setup 2 Exped Mega Mats inside, for a good nights sleep, (learned about them from TRD270). My wife wants a bigger tent so she doesn't have to touch the sides when they have condensation on them. For my needs and having already planned on spending $1200-1600 on a RTT I don't mind springing for a $600 tent that's bulky when packed, but sets up and breaks down quickly and doesn't have the drawbacks of a RTT.
 
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