So I've always said that our swags are a great alternative to a roof top tent, but now our customer Atsushi and his friend have literally turned two of our swags into roof top tents. I love the ingenuity that Atsuski has used to create a solution to his problem. After seeing his great work I asked him to do a quick write-up so that I could share it with our other customers if they wanted to do the same thing. Here's how he did it! -
I first stumbled upon photographs of the Outback Swags Pioneer Swag Tent while browsing through images that were taken at the latest Overland Expo. I was immediately intrigued by the design and wondered if this was something that could be used as a roof top tent on top of my 80-series (LX450). I was tossing around the idea of purchasing a roof top tent but I was a bit apprehensive due to the steep prices as well as the weight of the RTT at a very high center of gravity. After confirming the dimensions of the swag's foot print, I went ahead and ordered 2 of them (my buddy was also interested in doing the same thing).
The two swag tents arrived promptly after the order was placed. Upon inspection, I immediately noticed that Outback Swags was not kidding when they spoke of the quality construction. The thickness of the materials as well as the quality of the stitches were top notch. I set up the tent in the living room to double check the dimensions of the foot print (7'x3') and started sketching out dimension for the plywood platform. The dimensions of the Prinsu roof rack on my 80-series is 77"x51", but the tent required a minimum of 84"x36". I had an old friend at the local lumber yard cut down a piece of 4'x8' (5/8" thick) plywood to two pieces that measured 45"x44" each. 3 stainless steel hinges were used between the two pieces of plywood, which allows for the platform to fold and not overhang past the windshield while in transit. I drilled holes at the corners of the platform in which allows for the swag tent to be secured with zip ties. The platform was then coated with Man O'War marine spar varnish to protect the wood from the elements. Once the varnish was thoroughly dried, u-bolts were used to secure the plywood platform to the roof rack cross bars.
The swag tent requires 2 guidelines to be secured at each end. The front line was simply tied off to the front bumper hoop. The rear required some creativity as I did not want to lose access to the tailgate. I ended up securing a piece of 1/2" PVC pipe under the roof rack to act as a receptacle for a piece of 1/2" fiberglass rod (TAP Plastics). I used JB Weld to secure an eye at the end of the rod. The rear guideline was then tied to the end of the fiberglass rod. This worked perfectly to provide the necessary tension at the ends of the tent.
I purchased the telescoping ladder from Tepui. I went with their ladder because it comes with a nice stainless steel bracket for ease of attachment to the roof rack. I made brackets out of 2" angled aluminum to secure the ladder to the side of the roof rack while camping.
The "RTS" (roof top swag) was recently tested at a trip to the Stanislaus National Forest. We found a great location to camp near the Mokelumne River and setting up the swag on the roof was a quick and easy. It was incredibly comfortable to sleep in the swag. I particularly enjoyed sleeping with the canvas pulled back with just the mosquito netting. Waking up to all that fresh air was amazing!
Although the swag wasn't designed for use as a roof top tent, it has proven to work quite well!
Thank you Outback Swags for a great product!