After braving 20 degree temperatures and enduring pucker moments drilling into my hard top, I’m happy to finally have my roof top tent set up for camping…err…overlanding.
Installing the Rhino-Rack Backbone was no walk in the park. They provide incredible documentation and videos, but it’s definitely a 4-6 hour job for one person. Drilling the first hole was one of the scariest experiences I ever had. The rest of the holes weren’t a big deal.
Once I finished with the base, next came the crossbars. I chose Vortex since they’re plenty strong and have a flat profile. For legs, I went with the quick release RLT600 kit. This way I can remove the tent without having to unbolt stuff. They have locks on them, so the tent won’t grow legs. Everything sits a bit higher, but the convenience is worth it.
When I was assembling the crossbars, I ended up with some strips that had millimeter markings on them. I had no idea what they were for. The shop told me they can be cut to cover the bottom slot while giving you a way to position the legs if you ever disassemble the kit.
What I found out on the way home was the bottom of the bars have an open groove, where those strips needed to be installed. So the rails whistled all the way home, even though I was only going 35mph. I’ll put some black duct tape over the slots for now. I’d have to take everything apart to slide those strips in. Maybe I’ll get around to installing them in the Summer.
EDIT: I found the instructions for those six strips on page 7 of the RLT600 guide
Great. Now I have the rack and crossbars installed. Main Line Overland has been patiently holding onto my tent for the past few days, while I get the rack installed. I gave them a call to let them know I’d be by in a bit pick up the tent. It was a really great experience. I highly recommend that shop, real professionals who’s priority is doing things right.
I gasped when they pulled the Jeep up to the front of the shop. It turned out exactly how I expected. The tent was small enough to mount on the two front crossbars, to take advantage of roll bar support. The shape is pretty aerodynamic, compared to many of the other roof top tents on the market. It isn’t a wedge, which is IMO a ridiculous waste of space.
I’ve had my eye on iKamper ever since their Kickstarter project. They were shooting for $100,000, but got well over $2,000,000. Why? Because an engineer decided the market was saturated with horribly designed roof top tents and this guy designed a better tent. Now most roof top tent companies sell an iKamper knockoff.
I’ll post some pictures of the opened tent when it warms up a bit.