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Old 06-13-2008, 10:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Anyone ever build/fab a rooftop tent

I'm looking for some ideas on building a rooftop tent for the top of my Nissan hardbody extra cab. I'd like to get a list of parts/ideas together to see if it's worth trying to build it myself. If you don't have any ideas post up what you have, what you paid (if you don't mind posting that), and how happy you are with what you have. Thanks in advance for any advice or help.
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Old 06-14-2008, 02:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I ponder this a lot. Should I try and go soft(canvas) or hard (pieces maybe hinged). I typically always have a pickup as my primary vehicle so I think around that. I have been toying with making the bed an easy removal and have a cube style camper shell with a little pop up camper style thrown in to mount on same points as factory bed.

This would allow me to design to my own needs, potable water, solar cells, battery placement, weight distribution. OK I know I just described in some way a miniature 4x4 Chinook, but I have thought making double walled canvas sides with insulation would be a bit lighter in weight.

I also think sometimes of getting a bed cap (tonnaeu sp?) and creating a four corner lift system that would have curtain sides.....I could achieve with pistons(air) or screw style like in cheap car jacks.


Plenty of ideas, just I am starting to think I will have to find what works best for me is trial and error.
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Old 06-14-2008, 03:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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i bought this about 15 years ago. the company went bankrupt but i believe there is someone making them now

it wieghs about 65# and folds in half for storage/travel. when open it has a soft foam mat/bed that is the size of a queen bed....

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Old 06-14-2008, 04:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
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i bought this about 15 years ago. the company went bankrupt but i believe there is someone making them now

it wieghs about 65# and folds in half for storage/travel. when open it has a soft foam mat/bed that is the size of a queen bed....


This is kind of what I need. I need to have a tent or sleeping area up high out of the bed of the truck. I need to store my ATV and other stuff in the bed. I would really like to make a platform that folds and mount it up on top of the truck. I have an area of about 55" X 55" that can fold out to come up with a plan. I may just end up getting a very small ATV trailer and put a truck tent in the bed. What ever I do Iíll post up when and IF I get it done. Letís keep the ideas coming. Thanks again.
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Old 06-14-2008, 05:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If it was me, I'd make a 4 or 6 post frame and build a platform above the bed with enough room under it to load the ATV and just add tie-downs for a tent that would fit the platform. If you wanted larger, you could have fold outsides that could be braced against the uprights to give you more room. Hell, you could even make it so you could raise the platform to load the ATV, then drop it back down to transport and camp to keep it a little lower. When traveling, the platform could carry gear and other stuff.
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Old 06-14-2008, 06:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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what about purchasing a small tent to meet your needs and then making a platform that can be disassembled into several large pieces (4-8 square feet each) and stored on a traditional roof rack or in the bed of the truck. When you want to setup you can snap, screw, tape, glue, velcro, whatever the panels together and set your tent up onto it. maybe with some anchor bolt or similar since you wont have tent stakes. Nida Core panels would be good for this but they arent cheap. Plywood is cheap, but heavy, several expandable aluminum canopy poles should do the trick for supporting an overhang. If you are willing to tow a small trailer of some kind, the same thing would apply and your truck would be free for other things without breaking your tent platform down. The platform could be setup onto a roof rack or over the bed of the truck, leaving the bed free for relatively weatherproof under platform/bed storage.

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Old 06-14-2008, 11:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Lot's of good idea's guys. Keep them coming and I'll do some thinking about it all day Sunday when I'm out on my ATV.
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Old 06-15-2008, 02:40 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Ever thought about a Flip Pac canopy ?
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Old 06-15-2008, 03:54 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Ever thought about a Flip Pac canopy ?
Wow. Just when I thought camper shells couldn't get any uglier.
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Old 06-15-2008, 03:57 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Wow. Just when I thought camper shells couldn't get any uglier.


He asked for tech, not for looks
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Old 06-15-2008, 08:59 AM   #11 (permalink)
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never seen it done before but what about a ladder rack on your truck then fab up a floor using the ladder rack as the legs?
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Old 06-15-2008, 11:43 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Ever thought about a Flip Pac canopy ?

Looks good but the ATV is kind of tall and I'm not sure if it'll fit in the shell. I think I'm going to build a rack over the roof and part of the bed. It'll fold out in both the DS and PS directions. This should give me a nice large place to put a tent. I'll try to draw something up later today and post my idea. Thanks for all the ideas keep them coming or show me what you already have.
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Old 06-15-2008, 07:51 PM   #13 (permalink)
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i was thinking about getting one for my commander. but at $1500-2000 its going to be awhile. this is my dream

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Old 06-15-2008, 08:28 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I looked at the ARB one's also. I liked them A LOT but I just can't see spending that much on someting I think I can try and make.
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Old 06-16-2008, 10:02 AM   #15 (permalink)
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We run the Expedition Series RTT from http://www.car-top-tent.com and love it.
We'll never go back to a ground tent. As far as building your own, i don't think it would be that hard if you had the proper equipment. The hard part would probably be getting the fabric to stretch properly and fold up when you need it too.
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Old 06-16-2008, 11:01 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Old 06-16-2008, 01:36 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Old 06-16-2008, 02:42 PM   #18 (permalink)
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found this

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Nice...that's similar to this one that Slee Offroad sells.



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Old 06-20-2008, 01:52 PM   #19 (permalink)
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HERE is a thread to give you some ideas on how to make your own version of campers including car tops.

sorry you will have to be a member of benzworld to see the pics and to be able to access the file on how to make your own. Its very old instructions on how to make your own roof top camper.

Oh wait.... found it, here is where the orginal PDF oh how to make your own is located. NO membership needed. There are others there to get ideas from too.
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Old 06-24-2008, 10:51 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I got this, here -- http://www.racktents.com/

Works great, just got back from 6 nights in the Steens and Alvord Desert in SE Oregon. For the price, I'd not bother building my own. And I'm so cheap I build everything, but for reliability and ease of use it is nice to have a warranty and some well thought out design.

That's an Eezi-Awn behind my truck to the right, and an Oasis to the left.
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Old 06-25-2008, 12:13 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Old 06-25-2008, 07:16 PM   #22 (permalink)
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If I had been taking a drink when I saw this I would need a new keyboard
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Old 06-25-2008, 10:35 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Heres one built on top of an XJ.

http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...ight=roof+tent
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Old 06-27-2008, 06:43 AM   #24 (permalink)
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This is the one I use on my Terrano:







It's about 100lbs and has enough space for 2 to sleep and

Other alternative could be the Oasis roof tent, 40lbs but smaller.



Both sell for less than 1k$ in Europe and should be the same price or lower in the US since it's all chinese anyway.
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Old 07-15-2008, 12:30 AM   #25 (permalink)
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If I had been taking a drink when I saw this I would need a new keyboard
haha, me too. i almost crapped myself laughing. you MUST be from ohio. haha.
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