Lightweight Terrapod Solo roof tent shelters explorers who go it alone
As brilliantly affirmed by Edward Abbey's classic novel Desert Solitaire, there's something deeply refreshing and profoundly inspiring about spending time alone in nature. There are plenty of solo ground tents ready to support soloists in such endeavors but not many solo rooftop tents for the purpose, even as RTTs have enjoyed very rapid growth. Terrapod has answered with the RTTx Solo, a one-person design that lets solo anglers, hunters, explorers and general outdoorsy folk save roof space and payload while enjoying rock-solid vehicle-top shelter.
Georgia-based Terrapod Adventure Systems started life as an off-road trailer designer with the very distinctive teardrop-like micro-camper pictured below. At that point, it relied on other manufacturers' rooftop tents (RTTs), but it eventually decided to switch gears and build its own RTT. That journey started with a more traditional two-person hardshell roof tent, before the company grew the RTTx Extreme Series to include the half-size single-sleeper RTTx Solo.
We've seen a few single-person camper vans and camper-in-a-box (or bag) kits before, but the Solo is the first single-person rooftop tent we've come across. It's designed to cut unnecessary weight and bulk for those who regularly adventure and camp on their own. It's the same length as the larger two-/three-sleeper RTTx XL but saves nearly 2 ft (61 cm) of width, leaving some of the roof rack open for carrying other gear. Throw a mountain bike on one side and the RTTx Solo on the other, and you have the perfect setup for escaping on solitary mountain bike weekends.
Inside, the Solo offers a sleeping area of 86.8 x 30 inches (220 x 76 cm). Instead of the integrated foam mattress that RTT makers usually include, Terrapod has packaged in a 3-inch-thick (7.6-cm) Exped DeepSleep 7.5-MW inflatable pad that offers a 72 x 25.6-in (183 x 65-cm) sleeping area.
Terrapod's hard shell uses a heavy-duty aluminum and composite-panel construction that the company thrashed around the US in testing for 14 months, prior to bringing the tents to market. The walls are made from 600D UV- and puncture-resistant polyester with a waterproof PU coating, while the awning/rainfly is crafted from waterproof PU-coated 300D polyester ripstop.
Other features include medium-duty tent-top crossbars, a battery-powered LED touch light, mini storage pocket, integrated bubble levels, heavy duty pad-lockable latches, and side and bottom T-track for mounting accessories. An 8.5-ft (2.6-m) telescopic ladder is also included.
The empty Solo tent weighs in around 87 lb (39.5 kg), well lighter than the average two-person hardshell tent. At 6.5 inches (16.5 cm) in height, including the upper crossbars, the RTTx Solo is also one of the lowest profile rooftop tents out there.
After a successful late-2020 Kickstarter campaign, Terrapod has been working through the pronounced manufacturing and shipping hiccups that have been an inescapable part of the current business environment. It announced full availability this month. The RTTx Solo retails for US$3,699, and as a way of skirting any potential shipping delays, Terrapod is currently offer $200 off to anyone who picks their tent up at its HQ in Gainsville, Georgia. The company builds each tent to order in the US, and current estimated lead time falls between three and four months.
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