Topper or Bed Rack for RTT?

#1
I am considering a roof top tent for my F150. I've seen a few different ways of mounting them and the following is what I've observed so far. Looking for insight from those who have used one on a truck bed.

Mount it to a bed rack like RCI Manufacturing. Pro's - Lower center of gravity, less wind resistance, less height to climb to tent. Con's - rest of gear is exposed to the elements and those with sticky fingers. May not be as easy to mount a awning. What is your experience with mounting an awning on this setup? It doesn't seem like the awning would be high enough, is there a way to increase the height without interfering with the tent?

Mount it on a fiberglass, cab height topper. Pro's - gear is more secure inside the topper. Con's - less wind resistant, higher climb, top heavy

Any experience with either way of mounting it will be appreciated. I am not planning to take any real overland routes with it, but there will be plenty of forest service roads. Not sure if the high center of gravity makes a difference or not. I've always liked my tent on the ground, but I've been planning a few longer trips for me and the kids and think a RTT may be a better solution for frequent set up and take down. Something like two weeks in Utah traveling to the National Parks, or driving around British Columbia for a few weeks. Thought about a camper for a few seconds, but I don't like towing something for 3,000 miles unless I absolutely have to.
 
#2
I have mine mounted on a rack over my softopper, similar set up to a fiberglass topper. I went this route to have more space for dogs and gear in the bed and under the topper/tent. The awning is also at a height were we don't need to crouch at all. I don't notice much of a difference in mileage but am driving a Tundra so mileage is out the window to begin with. The height isn't an issue for us (I did need a ladder extension though). If I were to do it again, or on my next truck I'll have the tent mounted on a fiberglass topper instead of the softopper. My .02
 
#3
I have mine mounted on bed racks on top of a tonneau cover- secure and dry storage with low height to minimize windage. I have a topper but not interested in mounting it up there! Cheers
 

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#4
Thanks for all the input.

I wasn't thinking about dogs because we don't currently have one. That may change if my son gets his way. Then the topper would be the way to go.

Climberclimb, does the cover lift up on the bed or does it just stay stationary when the RTT is in place?
 
#5
Thanks for all the input.

I wasn't thinking about dogs because we don't currently have one. That may change if my son gets his way. Then the topper would be the way to go.

Climberclimb, does the cover lift up on the bed or does it just stay stationary when the RTT is in place?
Hi. The cover stays in place and does not lift when the tent is mounted as the bed racks are attached to the bed rails. I wanted the truck bed to support the tent weight not the cover. When I take the tent off the cover lifts up. Cheers
 
#6
Mine is mounted on a bed rack, over my softtopper.

I would have gone with a ARE topper, if I could have gotten one that would hold an RTT, have side access and be as usefull as my combo for less than $3,000.

BIG ADVANTAGE!!

Other than ideally having help to dismount/mount the RTT, I can remove the Softtopper and bed rack in about 5 minutes by myself.
 
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#7
There are some tonneau/rack combos out there that would let you mount it fairly low whilst still being able to close up the bed and secure cargo, keep it out of the elements.

I recently had to make a similar choice, went the rack/tonneau route bit the cap/topper with a set of drawers or bedslide was a really tough concept to turn away from.
 
#8
I have an F150 with a RTT on a topper, so I'll chime in for the fiberglass topper side. I got a Leer with side opening windows and built in Thule rack with aerobars. Mounted a Blackfin hard-top RTT that pops straight up. I like that it just looks like a large Thule box up there and doesn't draw as much attention.

I've been very happy with the setup after one summer's use.

My gas mileage actually went down somehow after I installed the tent. So there goes the wind resistance theory.

I keep skis, snowboards, and my dog in the back all the time. Also haul a lot of valuable equipment for work as well so a topper was a must. When we camp, I can carry all kinds of gear back there and everything stays dry and locked up. The side opening windows are awesome, I just line the coolers and food boxes along one side, and clothing/gear boxes along the other. Stuff that I don't need as often goes down the middle. The platform with slide out drawers would be nice, but the stuff I keep back there for work prevents me from using one. Plus I usually have a bike rack on.

I don't mind being higher off the ground, makes no difference to me.

I've also done a fair amount of 4 wheeling around the mountains of CO in the truck, bounced around a lot, and it didn't move or damage the topper at all.
 
#12
Had a bed rack with my soft tent and now have topper with my hard tent plus awning. I would never want to wrestle with the cover and closing up a soft tent on top of a canopy rather have a ground tent but the downside to a lower bed rack set up is loss of annex and no good awning solution. The awning and set up time were very important to me so that's why I switched.
 
#13
I had my hard shell RTT mounted on top of a fiberglass shell and hated it. I could definitely feel the weight in body roll, sway, and tippy-ness in off camber situations on my 3/4 ton. The truck was also too tall for garages, drive-thru's, branches, etc and it was annoying to climb in and out of, and pack up. I'm in the process of moving to a bed rack that will lower the tent to about cab-height. I sold the shell and temporarily mounted the tent at bedrail height to hold me over until the rack arrives and the truck feels a hundred times better. Driving at highway speeds was miserable before.

Keep in mind, the new dodges are coil sprung rear, and the Power Wagon has softer coils and rear sway bar than normal 2500, I do not know how that compares to the F150 but payload is similar.

I live in a travel trailer full time and really wanted to retain the cap for safe/dry storage but hated driving the truck. I'll let you know once the rack is mounted in a couple weeks how it compares.
 
#14
Carry it lowered, use it raised... See build thread, Lots of 'lost' photobucket links, page 5 (post #73) has link to short video (facebook) of rack in 'action'. The photobucket video link NFG, but you can scroll through asstd build pics.

Maybe get others creative juices flowing...
 
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