I can’t assist however replicate on the development that our tenting adventures have taken through the years. From our preliminary tenting journey in a small tent, sleeping on the bottom in borrowed sleeping baggage and cooking all our meals over a campfire in 40-degree climate; to a bigger tent with room to face and match the added consolation of an air mattress, and benefit from the ease of a cooking on a conveyable camp range; to the preparations now we have now.
It has been slightly over one yr since we upgraded our tenting lodging and after months of tenting retreats and weekend getaways, as we head into a brand new season, I really feel it’s about time to share an entire evaluation of the iKamper Skycamp setup.
Once we first began discussing upgrading our tenting setup, we had a couple of specs we wished to make sure had been met:
1. Simple Setup — The primary was that we wished to ensure the setup supplied a simple and ideally fast setup and tear-down possibility.
2. Lengthy-Time period Use — Subsequent, we wished to ensure that if we had been investing in a brand new setup that it could be one thing that might final long-term and be an possibility for multi-season use. The last word purpose of the improve: alternative for extra tenting!
3. Portability — Along with a simple setup, we wished to ensure that regardless of the setup, it was simply moveable. This was one thing that wanted to be thought-about as a result of going into our improve search, we knew we wished to get our sleeping preparations off the bottom…which brings us to the fourth requirement;
4. Elevated Sleeping Preparations — as welcoming as our air mattress seemed, our mission was to get off the bottom when it got here to sleeping lodging.
5. Lastly, as a lot as we might completely love a campervan, and we did look into a couple of, we wished to ensure we weren’t spending a ton of cash to improve.
The Gear Choice:
After a number of analysis (and full disclosure; Jason did many of the analysis) on tent setups, rooftop setups, trailers, campervans, and truck mattress choices, we selected the rooftop tents from iKamper. There have been quite a lot of choices that iKamper provided with reference to measurement. Since this was our first main tenting improve funding, and the truth that we’re not huge folks, we opted for the iKamper Skycamp mini. Since our preliminary buy, the iKamper model has rolled out quite a lot of further RTTs and equipment, however on the time, for our choice, we opted with the obtainable 2.0 mini sequence.
Whereas the iKamper got here in at a better value level than different rooftop tent choices in the marketplace, after quite a lot of months spent researching all of the rivals, we had been swayed with among the manufacturing particulars iKamper needed to provide and determined that we’d relatively spend more cash upfront if it meant greater high quality, extra comfort, and better reliability in the long term.
Along with measurement choices, iKamper additionally supplies a choice of finishes for the laborious shell of the tent and since I’m not one for shiny finishes, the rugged Rocky Black possibility with a scratch-resistant, matte black end was the popular selection.
iKamper Skycamp Specs:
Flooring dimensions/space: 83” x 51” / 29.4 sq. ft.
Top (Closed/Open): 13” / 48”
Weight: 125 lbs (57 kg)
Rainfly: Waterproof polyester 150D (PU 3000mm)
Tent Material: Breathable 300gsm poly-cotton canvas
Mattress: 1.6″ excessive density polyfoam with an R-Worth of 6.4
As a facet be aware; When it got here to deciding the way to mount the iKamper on our Tacoma, a.ok.a. Roxie, we seemed into the mounting choices that iKamper offered, in addition to others in the marketplace. After additional analysis (on Jason’s half), we opted to go together with BillieBars. This selection supplied the comfort of having the ability to proceed to make use of the Tonneau cover on the mattress of the truck for lined storage, whereas holding the peak of the RTT under the truck cab’s full peak, for higher aerodynamics when driving. As well as, we appreciated the standard and lightweight weight possibility that BillieBars supplied in addition to the bigger static load functionality.
Supply, Set up and Setup:
Supply and Set up
When the iKamper was delivered, it was positioned in our storage by pallet jack. This big field was an thrilling sight and to be fairly sincere I used to be afraid of how Jason and I had been supposed to choose it up and place it onto the truck mattress by ourselves. (Once I say terrified, this isn’t an understatement, I had visions of myself dropping my facet of it, the tent breaking earlier than even one use and all the cash down the drain.) Fortunately, at solely 125 kilos, the tent was comparatively simple to elevate. Weight-wise the iKamper isn’t any subject to elevate, the problem merely presents itself as a consequence of its measurement and with simply Jason and I lifting it we are able to get the job carried out…and with an additional third particular person, it’s not even a priority. Over the course of the yr we’ve had it now we have taken it on and off the truck a handful of occasions with no points (except after all I’m hangry after we attempt to elevate it wherein case all coordination goes out the window and I request a name for backup — thanks Ryan).
On the subject of campsite setup, the method couldn’t get a lot easier. After unlocking two exterior latches by key, the tent folds out towards the passenger facet of the truck with ease and an connected telescoping ladder extends to offer entry to the massive canvas door. The entrance entrance to the tent contains rainfly safety that extends to the highest of the ladder and each facet home windows have prolonged rainfly awnings as nicely, though in our case we solely lengthen one window for the reason that different is angled to the again of the truck. The mattress is a two-part polyfoam base, so after opening the tent you merely slide one piece towards the door and into place. That’s it – tent setup full.
The benefit of setup and tear down is so good that we discover gentle leisure in watching ourselves full our total camp setup and start enjoyable with a contented hour whereas watching different campers nonetheless juggling with their tent stakes or making an attempt to get their RV connections full.
Plus, it has an enormous world map design on the within of the laborious shell, what higher solution to really feel like an adventurer than falling asleep to the sight of an enormous map!?
Consolation and Sleep High quality:
After switching from an air mattress on the bottom, the 1.6” polyfoam mattress that comes with the iKamper felt wonderful! It’s simply sufficient cushion that being within the Skycamp mini, whether or not simply sitting and hanging out or sleeping, is comfy. That being stated, as soon as we added our chilly climate sleeping pads to the setup, after we did take away them and slept simply on the mattress, it was evening and day distinction and felt actually agency and was not on the consolation stage we had been having with the added assist of the additional sleeping pads. Nonetheless, it’s nonetheless an enormous enchancment from the bottom and from conventional air mattresses.
That being stated, iKamper now affords the RTT Comfort sleep system which is a self-inflating mattress designed particularly to suit the footprint of the Skycamp to offer 4″ of further consolation and warmth retention, so with that add-on as an possibility, it’s one accent we’re discussing including to our setup.
So far as house is anxious, at evening our Skycamp usually holds us, two sleeping pads, a double sleeping bag, pillows, spare garments, water bottles, a pair books and a medium 25-pound poodle. Aside from our canine, Tahoe, feeling the necessity to initially take up all of the leg house by stretching out in the midst of the tent, as soon as we place him to the facet of the tent or between us, there’s loads of sleeping room for all three of us.
In the beginning of our iKamper outings, we’d usually carry our duffle bag of additional garments and jackets up with us into the tent. With all that further gear within the tent at evening, the foot house turned a bit cramped for my liking, so extra time we’ve discovered an ideal setup with what comes up and what stays within the truck.
Sleep High quality
On the subject of highway journeys and tenting adventures, sleep high quality is essential, particularly when it’s wanted after an extended drive, a strenuous hike, or in preparation for an extended day forward. An outdated routine with tent tenting was rising with the solar, no matter our agenda. The very first thing we observed with having an iKamper is that the canvas tent is such high quality that it filters out most mild when all zipped up, permitting us to sleep in at any time when crucial. We even slept in too lengthy on one tenting journey because of the high quality of sleep we’re capable of get…that and never taking Daylight Saving or a time distinction into consideration.
Temperature and Climate Resistance:
After a yr of use and 15 tenting journeys, we’ve skilled a wide range of climate circumstances and are glad to report that we’ve gotten a very good evening’s sleep in all of them. We’ve saved the rainfly on for all our journeys, and have camped in nighttime temperatures that vary from low 90-degree climate to low 30-degree climate.
Tenting within the Warmth
For the warmer tenting journeys, we had been capable of go away the 2 facet cover home windows, the door and the skylight open with the mesh window screens and we did have a fan contained in the tent for intermittent use when wanted for elevated airflow, however temperatures had been by no means too sizzling to get some sleep. That being stated, we can be seeking to spend money on one or two moveable tenting followers (versus our Ryobi Hybrid fan) to take with us within the hotter months.
Tenting within the Chilly
Throughout the colder nights, we hold all of the home windows and the door canvas zipped down for added insulation and the within of the tent has by no means felt too chilly to endure. That being stated, we did sleep with further cold-weather sleeping pads and sleeping bag liners which had been very a lot wanted for at evening, however on chilly mornings, after stepping exterior the tent we’d climb again inside and remark that the inside of the tent was surprisingly comfy. The one chill that I persistently have in colder climate is a slight draft under the window the place the sting of the canvas material is, nevertheless I normally lay a sweatshirt alongside the sting and that does the trick with blocking the chilly. Within the warmth, condensation did construct up under the sleeping pad and on the within of the rainfly however we had been capable of towel dry all the things earlier than folding it up after which as an additional precaution, opened the tent again as much as let it air dry additional as soon as we bought dwelling.
One further add on that iKamper affords is a double-layered RTT insulation, which attaches to the tent’s inside for added heat within the chilly climate. Whereas we don’t really feel that is fairly a necessity for the areas we’ve at the moment camped at, I do really feel that if we camped in evening temperatures under 30-degrees, it’s one thing that I’d wish to check out.
On the subject of wind, now we have had a couple of windy nights, together with a very windy evening in Joshua Tree Nationwide Park the place winds had been regular at about 25 mph and gusts reached upwards of 55 mph. We had been capable of place the truck so the wind was hitting the again nook of the laborious shell and, full disclosure, we did spend greater than an hour anxiously staring on the shell, each inside and outdoors of the tent. Though the rainfly and canvas of the tent was loud, the shell by no means wavered and we felt protected by the wind and all of the mud that got here with it.
So far as precipitation goes, we’ve managed to plan tenting journeys on the peak of monsoon season, and have camped in mild rain in addition to robust downpours surrounded by lightning. Whereas the lightning was a bit shut for consolation at occasions, so far as the rain was involved, the tent held up nice. The rainfly saved the canvas and inside of the tent dry and we had no points with moisture. The small areas of canvas that had been uncovered to the rain, despite the fact that it did get moist, didn’t leak or drip and the canvas dried comparatively rapidly as soon as the solar got here out.
Defaults, Put on and Tear Points:
For a yr of use in a wide range of components and temperatures, the iKamper has held up very well. There actually isn’t a lot to complain about with the iKamper on the subject of performance or construct, however a pair issues have come up over the previous yr with reference to put on and tear.
The primary and doubtless most vital is with the straps used to shut the tent. There are three straps (one on both sides, and one on the highest of the tent that are pulled when closing the laborious shell of the tent that assist pull the canvas and rainfly collectively to simply tuck into the shell for storage and transport. These straps are fed by way of small steel rings which are connected to the canvas and sadly the steel ring on the right-hand facet of our tent is now not connected, which suggests it now not serves its operate and pulls the canvas into the laborious shell, and now we have to spend slightly bit extra time climbing on the truck and hand tucking the material in.
Except for that mildly important subject, we’ve solely observed a couple of further issues which have worn out. First are the 2 rubber ft covers on the ladder, which have gotten fairly beat up and torn in some areas from strain on the bottom.
Second, there’s a protecting foam strip that rests between the ladder and the bottom of the foldout flooring when folded up and the glue for the froth piece refuses to stay anymore, so we find yourself taking the froth piece out when the tent is open (when it’s not wanted) and easily laying it in place after we fold the tent up — not the tip of the world, however one thing that didn’t maintain.
The final bit of damage and tear and doubtless essentially the most important are little snags and tiny rips over a small part of the doorway on the rainfly from opening and shutting the tent over time. Whereas that is annoying, it’s considerably minor and at the moment doesn’t have an effect on safety from the weather contained in the tent itself, so for the second we’re okay with it, though now that I do know it’s there I discover myself at all times noticing it.
With regard to points with the RTT from the beginning, the one criticism is with the principle door zipper, which places up a combat every now and then at one of many corners, however with two zipper choices, we’re capable of relocate the zippers to the opposite facet and haven’t had any subject with not having the ability to open or shut the tent door.
UPDATE: After contacting iKamper’s buyer assist staff, our tent was nonetheless inside the two yr guarantee and iKamper provided to ship us new rubber ft for our ladder and a brand new tent pores and skin and rainfly to unravel all the problems, no questions requested. Which, goes to indicate that one other advantage of iKamper, is the nice customer support and guarantee.
Downfalls and What We Want Was Totally different:
So far as modifications, there aren’t a ton of adjustments we’re make to the iKamper, however now we have discovered ourselves commenting on additions we predict would add much more comfort, and that’s extra inside pockets. There may be one respectable sized mesh pocket under each facet home windows which is nice, however maybe two extra mesh pockets or bungee pockets for storing fragile gadgets, reminiscent of glasses or keys, the place they gained’t be accidently bumped through the evening can be good.
I’ve had some inquiries concerning the ladder course of, particularly with a canine, and whereas climbing a ladder doesn’t appear supreme, the ladder setup is designed with extra angled steps than a conventional ladder which makes it really feel a lot sturdier when stepping up and down. We even have our iKamper mounted to the mattress of our truck as a substitute of the roof, so it actually isn’t that huge of climb to really feel like a activity. Now, if the tent had been mounted on the roof of the truck and we had a 75-pound Australian Shepard, which may be a unique story, however with our expertise thus far, we’ve not had a difficulty.
It is troublesome to say that house is a downfall, as an RTT affords rather more professionals than cons to a conventional tent, however the one step backward in comparison with our conventional tent is which you could’t rise up in it, which makes getting dressed within the morning slightly little bit of a chore…no less than on the subject of yoga pants, however that’s undoubtedly not a deal breaker on the subject of tenting, and if we wished so as to add some further house, iKamper now affords the Annex Plus, which supplies further house and enclosed standing room, nevertheless with our tent mounted on the mattress of the truck and never the roof, it is probably not a viable possibility.
One of many greatest issues we’ve beloved concerning the simplicity of the iKamper setup is that it has allowed us to extend our tenting journeys from just one or two journeys per yr, to 1 to 2 journeys virtually each month, as we are able to simply do easy in a single day journeys with out time issues, and it permits us to take pleasure in extra of our locations.
All-in-all we’re having fun with extra restful and comfy nights with out the added work of laying a basis, threading tent stakes by way of canvas or staking a rainfly, and the good thing about a greater evening’s sleep and feeling extra shielded from the weather has made an enormous distinction.
Moreover, there has not been a single tenting journey that somebody hasn’t walked by our setup and stopped to speak concerning the tent, its setup or simply how cool it’s; and truthfully, I couldn’t agree extra.
In case you have any questions concerning the iKamper or our expertise with the setup, be happy to depart a remark, I’d be glad to assist. Now to proceed to plan further add-on choices to our tenting rig to make our adventures even higher!