Triple-threat tent camps comfily on ground, rooftop or pickup bed
We've seen a couple tents over the years built to camp atop a vehicle roof or on the ground, but by and large tents are made for one or the other. The all-new Rev tent from C6 Outdoor does both and also jumps into a truck bed to triple as a pickup tent. So whether your campground is on the soft sand of a beach, jagged rock of a high-mountain pass or somewhere in between, the Rev tent ensures you get the sound sleep you need for the next day's adventures.
The "C6" branding might have you thinking of carbon fiber construction, but the California startup explains that the name derives from the way nature's basic building block ties together humanity, wildlife and wild spaces. With that in mind, a more standard, affordable construction of dual-layer fabric and no-see-um doors held in place by 12-mm 7001 aluminum poles is what what stands this tent up. At 25 lb (11.3 kg), it's quite heavy for a ground tent, but it's lighter than air for a rooftop tent (RTT). RTTs tend to weigh over 100 lb (45 kg) and require multiple people to lift up onto the roof, so 25 lb does end up looking "carbon fiber-grade light" in comparison.
Outside of its dimensions and doors on all four sides, the Rev tent is not really pickup-specific as it does not include the type of tent-to-truck straps that pickup tents usually have. On the other hand, it's a fully enclosed tent and doesn't merely secure over the bare bed.
Campers simply set it up in a 48-in (122-cm)-plus-wide pickup bed and hop in.
On the ground, that basic setup is complemented by included guy lines and stakes. C6 claims it takes roughly three to five minutes to set up in either case, a matter of unzipping the 400D nylon weatherproof cover, unfolding the tent, assembling the poles, attaching the fly points, and staking it out if on the ground.
When it comes to hoisting the Rev on the roof, setup gets a little more particular. Since the Rev doesn't have the integrated solid base that most RTTs include, it requires either an existing 48 x 84-in (122 x 213-cm) platform rack from Front Runner, Rhino Rack or Yakima or C6's own solid, non-rack platform, which comes with a telescopic ladder. The Rev straps down using the rings around the edges and secures in open position to a third-party rack using brand-specific mounting bolts.
The 48-lb (22-kg) C6 platform kit gives the Rev more of a traditional RTT form by adding a solid aluminum base that folds out off the side of the vehicle, supported by an extendable ladder. The base secures to the roof rack and the Rev tent secures to the base.
On the downside, the Rev does not fold with the platform to sandwich between the two base panels when packed up for transport. It requires the user to detach and pack the tent separately, unhook the ladder and put it in its weather-resistant carry bag, fold the bare platform, and strap the tent and ladder on top (or store the tent and ladder in the vehicle or pickup bed).
Wherever you pitch it, the Rev tent includes a 4-in (10-cm)-thick quilt-top mattress for a comfortable night of sleep. Mesh doors on all four sides keep the interior ventilated, and a variety of gear pockets and hooks keep it organized.
We like C6's multifunctional thinking and the potential cost savings of the a la carte packaging, but we're not sure how much of an advantage it really offers. The Rev is too heavy to be a ground tent first, and at $799 seems only vaguely cost-competitive as a ground tent for buyers who plan to use the four-season capability liberally. Otherwise, the price is extremely high compared against the existing two-person three-season tent market, which includes innumerable models that also pack smaller and lighter. Some of that extra weight owes to the included Rev mattress, but it still seems very high compared to other options. The Rev is also much more expensive than pickup truck tents, including the rugged all-season canvas offerings from Kodiak.
So, based on pricing, we're left to consider the Rev a rooftop tent that can do some pickup bed or ground camping when desired. That's still a pretty cool combo, but the problem is, the Rev is not really designed as a rooftop tent first and doesn't offer the fold-out/fold-away convenience that makes other RTTs popular.
We think C6 would be wise to redesign the Rev so that it operates just like a traditional folding RTT when used with the Rev platform, keeping it detachable for ground and pickup camping, much like Crua Outdoors did earlier this year, just without the advertised pickup truck capability. That would allow the Rev to do one thing on par with the competition, with the other functions thrown in for versatility. It could still offer the non-base model for those who plan to camp atop a third-party platform rack.
But that's just us. People tend to love multitools in spite of their imperfections, and maybe there are some campers who regularly want to switch things up between ground, roof and pickup and don't mind the Rev layout.
In addition to the $799 tent package with the cover, guy lines and stakes, C6 sells the platform/ladder for $499 or brand-specific mounting kits for aftermarket platform rack use for under $30. So a full rooftop tent setup with hard base and ladder rings you out just under $1,300, which is a competitive price for a two-person rooftop tent, so long as you're happy trading some rooftop convenience for multifunctional design.
Source: C6 Outdoor