If you are a regular reader of this magazine, you might remember our haulers story where I introduced you to my version of a dirt bike hauling truck. Well, a year-and-a-half later and my truck is largely the same, just with more miles, and the tent still has not been removed. Most of the time it looks like I have a giant pizza delivery box atop the cab of my Dodge. But it really has turned my regular truck into a mini-motor home of sorts. I don’t even have to think about where I will camp or stay when I go riding or to races that might involve overnighting. Even drives that can be long are no worries. Just pull over, find a safe spot and pop up the tent.
Opening it takes me about five minutes now, since I’ve learned the exact procedure, and it took a few times to get that dialed in. You have to loosen the securing strap, unhook six clasps, toss the cover off and extend the ladder, then you unfold the tent (it opens like an accordion) and climb in, the mattress is waiting. If you want windows, venting or to be sealed up tight in the rain, it is just a matter of opening or closing zippers or installing small poles to prop up shades. The mattress pad is just thick enough to be comfortable, and the tent has survived snow, high (40 mph) winds and rain without interrupting my sleep. The door and windows can be completely shut or sealed with a mosquito mesh screen. The ladder flexes under weight when at an angle but has not whimpered, though I did need the $50 extension because the tent is so high up in the air. The inside of my middle-sized 1400 model is easily big enough for two people, and three to four if the kids are small. And kids think this is a big play tent, they all want to go inside.The build quality is high, and materials are military tough-heavy-duty ripstop canvas, double-stitched throughout and stretched onto aluminum bows, which are fixed to top-quality polyurethane-coated plywood supports with anodized-aluminum hardware and stainless steel hinges. After a year of nonstop California and Nevada sun beating on it, even the cover seems to be surviving. Some of the black nylon straps are fading but are not showing signs of deteriorating. Everything inside the cover is like new.
The best things about the tent are that it takes up zero truck bed space, and you don’t have to unload to use it. Since it is up so high, opening and closing can be tricky, but I actually just climb on top of it or stand in the doors of the truck to reach stuff. At $1,865 the price is steep, but there isn’t much out there to compare. It solves all the issues I have with trailer towing, hotel confusion and space constraint problems. I’m sure it affects the mileage of the truck, but if it does, it has not been enough for me to remove it, and it is pretty quick to take off the Thule racks it is attached to. Removal is a two-person job for sure, as the tent weighs 121 pounds. I really like to be prepared to go and ride at any time, and this makes that decision that much easier. I’m ready right now. -Jimmy Lewis