Offroad Trailblazers and Envoys

Homemade Roof Top Tent

Any special projects involving a decent amount of fab work (bumpers, sliders, roof racks, etc)

by Trail X » Thu May 12, 2011 9:08 am

I got it all mounted up and tested it out a bit. It seems to work as planned.

First I had to get the ladder mounted up. I was just trying to get it done, so it's not the prettiest mount.
Image

Here's a detail of the mount (unfinished but in working order). Hard to really see what's going on, but basically I notched a 1x1 steel tube so the full cross section would be resting on the inner rail of the roof rack, but then becomes a thin tab that functions as the hold down. The trick is reaching your fingers in there to get the nut on the stud with only 1" of room. Not too bad though. I'm thinking about adding a small 1/4" spacer to the bottom of the tab, just to lower the mounting stud a bit more. A ratcheting box wrench helped a good bit. (I wrapped electrical tape around the end so it wouldn't scratch the roof as I put it all together, so that's the thin plastic you see.)
Image

Here it is all mounted. It was a bigger challenge to get it up there than I thought. I figured 80 lbs, no problem to lift that by myself. Wrong. It wouldn't have been too hard with two people, but my wife pulled something in her shoulder, and wasn't able to lift it. So I ended up disassembling the main hinge and lifting it up in halves. Surprisingly it wasn't that bad doing it in pieces and the assembly wasn't too hard since I could rest the cantilever section on the support lip while reassembling the hinge. As for the ladder leash, it probably isn't necessary in softer ground, but on pavement I felt better with it there.

Anyways, here it is:
Image

Supporting my weight, no problem.
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by Gordinho80 » Thu May 12, 2011 9:11 am

SWEET! Awesome work so far, James.
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by djthumper » Thu May 12, 2011 9:31 am

Looks like it is coming a long nicely.
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by dlcsjoyce » Thu May 12, 2011 9:40 am

Looks good,nice work.
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by dirty anton » Thu May 12, 2011 10:14 am

very cool james!
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by fishsticks » Thu May 12, 2011 10:43 am

Looks good! Did you jump on it at all? I use the "jump test" for everything I'm going to stand/lay on.
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by Trail X » Thu May 12, 2011 11:23 am

Eh, no jumping, but I did hop and shake around a good bit.

The wife still isn't completely comfortable with the heights so I was trying to show her there was nothing to fear (Although a little voice in the back of my head said "if this did fail somehow, that's a long fall").
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by bgwolfpack » Thu May 12, 2011 11:27 am

fishsticks wrote:Looks good! Did you jump on it at all? I use the "jump test" for everything I'm going to stand/lay on.
Two straps from side-to-side over the top of the poles and under the tent and it would taunt it up for sure. Would be a good use of a cheap tow strap.


Impressive James!
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by Gordinho80 » Thu May 12, 2011 11:41 am

bgwolfpack wrote:Two straps from side-to-side over the top of the poles and under the tent and it would taunt it up for sure. Would be a good use of a cheap tow strap.

Even if you just use a smaller strap, something like an old ratchet strap. Wherever it travels over the poles, get someone to weld in little support hoops so they won't slide around.

Please excuse the crude MS Paint sketch.
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by Trail X » Thu May 12, 2011 12:15 pm

The support ropes serve that same purpose, although they are really a secondary support, the primary is the ladder and the aluminum lip.

I had originally (a few months ago) planned to run straps as you suggested. However because the tops of all of the support hoops are now adjustable, I don't think they could take that amount of load. The support hoop tops are adjustable in order to tighten the tent material to prevent flapping... also the outer ones will extend about 1.5 feet to give more interior space, similar to the Technitop:
Image
Which apparently was a very welcome feature per the review in the OJ.
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by Blackout » Thu May 12, 2011 1:15 pm

Either way, looks great
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by Zero » Fri May 13, 2011 1:49 am

Amazing work buddy
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by navigator » Fri May 13, 2011 7:53 am

all right man, get that inner seamstress in you to work and start sewing some fabric!
We need to see some curtains on that thing!
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by Trail X » Fri May 13, 2011 8:55 am

navigator wrote:all right man, get that inner seamstress in you to work and start sewing some fabric!
We need to see some curtains on that thing!


Yeah that's going to be the fun part... We'll see how it goes. I'm hoping to get a good start on that next weekend. A bit of a layover in progress as work takes over my life for the next 7 days. :angry whip:
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by BSalty » Fri May 20, 2011 6:04 pm

Dude James that looks awesome. I may be robbing some of those plans for my RTT off road trailer project. :thumright:
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by high-voltage » Sat May 21, 2011 3:20 pm

Amazing! Love projects like this! Very well thought out and put together!
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by Trail X » Mon May 23, 2011 11:07 am

A little progress. Work sorta got in the way for a while there.

First I had to introduce a new tool to the garage... a sewing machine...

Image

After playing with thread type and stitch tension etc etc, I got two panels roughed into place. It's slow going, but at least my seams were somewhat straight!

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Getting there.
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by Gordinho80 » Mon May 23, 2011 11:11 am

Nice work! It's coming together nicely! Wish I could say the same for my current projects... lol
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by fishsticks » Mon May 23, 2011 11:12 am

Add sewing to your list of talents James...
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by navigator » Mon May 23, 2011 11:55 am

the really cool part is once you finish you won't have to worry about how much a replacement tent will cost in a few years, you can make your own. When thinking about the whole RTT thing I was thinking that I bet a replacement tent for those things would be pricey. I also expect they are much more durable than the $100 disposable tents that you get at retail stores.
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