As part of our multipart “No Pavement Needed” series we’re driving our Mopar-modified 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, 2020 Ford F-250 Super Tremor with its Carli lift, and our stock 2020 Chevy Trail Boss over Colorado’s most epic, high-altitude mountain passes. The trucks prove themselves more than capable in going up and over the Rockies, but that’s only half of the overlanding equation. The other part: How comfortable does each truck make living and sleeping for days and nights on the trail.
This video shows off the Roofnest Condor tent that we mounted on a burly Rackstarz Javelina bed rack. The Condor sleeps up to three people comfortably on a 3-inch thick foam mattress, features an insulated hard shell roof, and uses the ladder to prop up half the tent, effectively doubling the size of it. For two people, the Condor’s nearly 7×6 feet of surface area inside feels more like a bedroom than a cramped tent. The 50-inch high ceiling allows everyone to sit up right inside, a nice feature when a group is waiting out a rainstorm. Set-up takes less than 5 minutes. Stowing the tent away takes less than 10 minutes. In all the most difficult aspect to the Roofnest — and any rooftop tent, really — is finding a level place to park your vehicle, or leveling it with rocks or leveling blocks.
Roofnest Support System
In the Rockies, rooftop tents appear like weeds every summer. We see them mounted on countless SUVs and a lot of Subarus around our hq. And why not? They’re easy to store in a garage during the winter, and when installed on a vehicle, they make an impromptu camping trip easy to consider. One issue: Many OEM roof rails and racks cannot support the weight of a tent (our Condor weighs 135 pounds) AND more than 400 pounds of people sleeping inside. Hence our Rackstarz Javelina rack. It uses three cross bar struts and a center beam to support the tent instead of two pillars/crossbars. The molle panels do double-duty, further securing the crossbars and allowing us to carry extra water and gasoline jugs that screw onto them. The entire system supports north of 1,000 pounds with no issues.
The bed of the truck contains a Mopar-sourced, locking Decked drawer system to stow our recovery gear and provide a durable, flat surface across the truck’s bed to hold more gear, such a kayaks, spare tires, or serve as an easy-to-reach staging area for camera gear or other equipment. We spec’d the Gladiator to be rugged and nimble enough to go anywhere, opting not to look into campers like we did for the F-250 with its Four Wheel Camper Hawk, or an off-road camping trailer. So far, the Gladiator and Roofnest set-up leaves us very pleased. No one has had a bad night’s sleep yet. Stay tuned to more “No Pavement Needed” adventures