Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: West Bountiful, UT
I've seen a lot of this stuff in use. RTT's more than anything, but quite a few offroad trailers with RTT's on them too. Everything from home fabricated versions to the Tentrax to the ones costing $25K+.
I have never understood the appeal of a roof top tent. I mean, I thought they looked pretty cool until the first time I actually saw one in use on an offroad trip. Compared to a good ground tent, RTT's take longer to setup and take down, weigh a heckuva lot more, costs a heckuva lot more, don't offer as much room or comfort aren't as weatherproof, most of them make a ton of noise inside when it's windy, you can't go anywhere with them deployed, they are a nightmare in thick trees, do make the rig noticeably more tippy and they are just generally an expensive PITA from all I've ever seen. The only advantages I have ever seen to them are that you can camp literally anywhere - but, in all my extensive wanderings I have never had much trouble finding a spot for a ground tent, so this isn't really a big deal to me. And, they do free up cargo and/or passenger space, which, for some people and some rigs, makes them worth all the hassle and expense and I do get that. I kind of pity them for having to go that route, but it makes sense at least.
But I have seen a lot of people get all excited about a RTT, use it for one year (or less) and then want to get rid of it. Have had several RTT owners after a few days travel offroad start picking my brain about my ground tent and talking about how the RTT sure sounded sexy but after a bit of real use the shine was gone and they want to get something easier to deploy like a good ground tent. But not everyone, I know people that do genuinely like their RTT's and wouldn't have it any other way. To each his own for sure. And I've never met a kid that didn't love the treehouse aspect of them. I know a guy that has kept his purely to make his kids happy. I think that's pretty cool.
Offroad trailers, different beast. Most everyone I know who has one, really needs the cargo room to be able to take families out in Wranglers or Cruisers. Or, has a spouse that wouldn't go on these trips without that little bit of extra luxury the trailer allows. They aren't for me, but, they do make a lot more sense to me than RTT's do, for the majority of people I see using them. They are obviously even way more expensive and even way more of a PITA than a RTT, but, they offer way more potential advantage too.
The best ones I've seen are home fabricated and using trailing arm suspensions. Can't remember what the Tentrax uses, but I'd stay away from basic leaf spring setups. They end up on their sides a lot more often that the ones with good articulation. They all end up on their sides once in awhile in real offroad use though. Hitch seems to be an important ingredient to happy offroad trailering too. Again, have seen mostly a lot of home brew hitches of various designs and expense in construction but the best ones all allow full rotation.
Have seen some of these trailers be taken pretty much anywhere I'd ever be willing to try and take my LJ. They can follow your Jeep wherever you want them to I think. I haven't been with them but have two friends that have taken their home fab trailers over the Rubicon without any problems. Just have to get out and tip them back over once in awhile.
'06 Silver Rubi Unlimited, 6 spd, Currie arms, Nth springs, AEV Highline, 35" KM2's.