Ultimate Overland Sleep Systems: Tents, Campers, and Bed Racks for Full-Size Trucks by GODZ MFG
Full-Size Friday Blog Week 9
This post will cover:
This week is all about Tents, Campers and Bed Racks, which can be more easily summed up into sleep systems. Sleeping arrangements in your build can range anywhere from a ground tent with an inflatable mattress all the way up to slide in campers with fiberglass or aluminum walls that come equipped with a king size mattress and sometimes even a toilet. Now, obviously, there is a massive range in price when it comes to the different systems, but we will break down what to expect and ultimately try to help you decide what option will best suit your needs and budget.
On the low end of the spectrum (price wise) we have ground shelters. Ground shelters can be super simple. You can get a very budget friendly tent like an Ozark Trail from Walmart, toss in a cheap blow-up mattress and just go. Now, that may not be very ‘overlandy’, but if it gets you out exploring and fits your budget, then do it! Ground tents really are pretty simple, however, the main things you are going to want to look for are size, weatherproof ratings, assembly, and price. Starting with size, most ground tents are rated by people. So a 2 person tent will be suitable for 2 people, pretty simple. Now, if you are traveling with dogs or kids, you will want to account for that too. Most 4 person tents are very spacious when open, but still pack up to be a reasonable size so they won’t waste too much trunk or bed space. With weatherproofing, you want to buy a tent that has both a ground tarp and also a rainfly. The ground tarp helps prevent water from seeping up, and the rainfly keeps the moisture falling from the sky off of you. Assembly is pretty straight forward on most ground tents, but lighter aluminum poles are preferred over the old, clunky fiberglass ones. Lastly, price. We recommend you buy the nicest item you can afford, good gear lasts a long time. Our motto at GODZ MFG is ‘buy once, cry once’.
Roof Top Tents (RTT)
When it comes to Roof Top Tents (RTT) there are many options, shapes, sizes, and styles. Buying a RTT is definitely one of the hardest and most costly decisions you will make when building out your rig. There are a few main points I would like to highlight for making this decision. The first decision you must make can be broken down into two parts.
Part one, should I buy a hard shell or soft shell roof top tent?
Hardshell tents are generally constructed with either a hardened plastic shell or some sort of poly/metal shell. From an operational standpoint the ‘lid’ will either open like a clam, often referred to as a ‘clamshell’ style tent, or all four corners will pop straight up, allowing for more headroom, although this style is not as common in hardshells. Hardshell tents excel in ease of setup since they generally only have two clamps and will automatically pop up with the assistance of gas struts, however they do have their pitfalls. Hardshell tents tend to be much more costly than soft shells and they also weigh significantly more.
Softshell tents are not new, but they are tried and trued. Soft shell tents, just like hardshells have their pros and cons. Pros, they are generally lighter, more readily available, more spacious, and much better priced. Most soft shell tents weigh between 120-140lbs with some weighing in as light as 80lbs. Because these tents have been around so long, you can find them, meaning there is almost always inventory. Soft shell tents can be found in a pinch at 4 Wheel Parts or REI, or if you want expert help, you can shop our selection right here at godzmfg.com. Additionally, because of their design soft shell tents are much more spacious than their hardshell cousins. And the last pro, their price. Because of the materials used and their construction, these tents can be found as low as $1,000, but will go up from there depending on brand, features, and size. Just like hardshell tents, it’s not all good news, soft shell tents often take much longer to set up and tear down and have more wearable parts than a hardshell. Items like the tents cover sometimes need to be replaced as often as every year.
Part two, how many people do you need to sleep?
If sleeping more than two people is needed then soft sided tents are more than likely the better option. However, hardshell tents like the iKamper Skycamp open in a way that allows for up to 4 people to sleep in one tent while still maintaining the ease of setup that hardshell tents are known for. If hard shell tents are the style you gravitate towards, then check out iKamper, CVT Tents, and 23Zero. They each have their own style of a hard shell tent and will also have different price points.
As we stated previously, soft shell tents are a little more complicated, but will offer more size for families or those that camp with their dogs. I sleep in a 23Zero Breezeway 72” with my girlfriend and our two medium sized dogs and we still have room for our duffle bags packed full of clothes and room to stretch our legs. These tents are going to range in sizes from two people (think of it as a full size bed) and will go all the way up to a 4+ person tent that can sleep large adults comfortably, these tents can be thought of as oversized king sized bed. As far as some brands that make an awesome tent I would tell you to check out 23Zero, ROAM, and Overland Vehicle Systems. These companies have really nailed down the soft shell tents and have really designed these with the user in mind.
One last point that needs to be made in the hard vs soft tent is the size of the tent when closed. If you are trying to park your truck in the garage, and only have a 7ft garage door, then a hard shell would more than likely be your best option. The packed height of a hardshell tent tends to be much lower allowing for a better fit in tight squeeze situations.
GODZ MFG Bed Rack
Alrighty, so you decided you want a roof top tent, but you still need something to put it on. Maybe you have a cool canopy or camper like an RSi, but if you don’t you should 100% buy the end all, be all bed rack from GODZ MFG. Our bed rack is packed with features and was designed specifically to fit full size trucks. Not only does our rack install easier and fit better, but it also looks great and has a ton of available accessories with plenty more to come!
Truck Bed Campers
Not sold on rooftop tents? How about a truck bed camper? The options here are almost just as expansive, if not more expansive than roof top tent options. So yet again, we are going to break this into two categories.
Category one, bed canopy campers.
Bed canopy campers include systems like Go Fast Campers, Super Pacific Campers, Lone Peak Campers, Tune Outdoor Campers, and the Four Wheel Campers Project M. Essentially, your bed canopy campers sit on your truck beds bed rails and generally will overhang the cab from one to five feet and offer a pop-up sleeping area very similar to what you might see in a hardshell roof top tent.
Bed canopy campers are going to have a few main differences between each other. Sticker shock is a little real when it comes to these, but you also have to look at what you are getting. Lone Peak Campers are the new kids on the block and have hit the ground running! Lone Peak is going to be the most affordable in this segment, but don't let that deter you from this camper and its industry leading bed size. Go Fast are the forefathers in this industry and have lots of years of experience and know-how knowledge. Go Fast is priced in the middle, but also gives you options to customize your camper. Go Fast is also going to offer five different locations to have your camper shipped to for an install. This is big and definitely a selling point for GFC. Next in the lineup will be Super Pacific. They are going to be the most expensive out of the last two we talked about, but will also come with customization features the other two don't. Super Pacific is now also offering installations in Colorado and California and will also have a different molle panel and power option for the truck bed compared to the Lone Peak. As far as a wedge style tent in the bed canopy segment those three are going to be very similar.
Tune Outdoor is a brand new company and has just released a camper that is very similar in style to the Four Wheel Camper Project M Series. These two campers are going to pop up in all four corners and not a clamshell or wedge. This is going to give you much more room in the actual bedroom area, but these are going to be a little more expensive. These two campers are going to have the most options and can get pretty pricey.
Outside of the bed canopy campers there are full on slide-in campers. Most popular in the offroad world is by far the Four Wheel Campers which can come equipped with insulation packages, air conditioning, heat and even a toilet if optioned. These are by far the top dog and can top out at prices over $45,000. If you need more amenities, then a larger Lance camper may work, but they are not very suited for offroad use and should really be reserved for highway miles and developed campsites.
As you can see options are plentiful, do your research and pick the best option for your overland goals. And if you have questions, contact us, we are always ready to help!