Outdoors

Roofnest Sandpiper roof-top tent carries bikes and shelter atop your car roof

A telescoping ladder and ground mat are included with the Sandpiper
A telescoping ladder and ground mat are included with the Sandpiper
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Roofnest's latest hardshell tent, the Sandpiper includes built-in rails so that you don't lose the gear-hauling potential of your roof
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Roofnest's latest hardshell tent, the Sandpiper includes built-in rails so that you don't lose the gear-hauling potential of your roof
Haul surfboards, bikes, skis and other gear atop the Roofnest Sandpiper
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Haul surfboards, bikes, skis and other gear atop the Roofnest Sandpiper
The Sandpiper features a cozy interior with ventilation screens on all sides, a high-density foam mattress, an anti-condensation mat and quilted roof lining
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The Sandpiper features a cozy interior with ventilation screens on all sides, a high-density foam mattress, an anti-condensation mat and quilted roof lining
Roofnest keeps things simple with an awning/door flap design on the sides
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Roofnest keeps things simple with an awning/door flap design on the sides
The Roofnest Sandpiper is an affordable way of turning your car into a gear-hauling RV, perfect for a weekend or extended biking/camping trip
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The Roofnest Sandpiper is an affordable way of turning your car into a gear-hauling RV, perfect for a weekend or extended biking/camping trip
A telescoping ladder and ground mat are included with the Sandpiper
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A telescoping ladder and ground mat are included with the Sandpiper
The Sandpiper can lift up with about 30 to 40 lb of gear weight on top, and can hold up to 100 lb during driving
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The Sandpiper can lift up with about 30 to 40 lb of gear weight on top, and can hold up to 100 lb during driving
Sandpiper has created a low-profile fiberglass-reinforced ABS case that's just under 1 foot tall
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Sandpiper has created a low-profile fiberglass-reinforced ABS case that's just under 1 foot tall
Roofnest launched the Sandpiper earlier this year
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Roofnest launched the Sandpiper earlier this year
With the latest roof-top tent designs, there's no reason you have to choose between roof tent camping or carrying gear on your car roof
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With the latest roof-top tent designs, there's no reason you have to choose between roof tent camping or carrying gear on your car roof
Roofnest Sandpiper 
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Roofnest Sandpiper 
Beyond the Sandpiper, Roofnest offers a full lineup of hardshell roof-top tents
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Beyond the Sandpiper, Roofnest offers a full lineup of hardshell roof-top tents
The Sandpiper closes via four simple latches
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The Sandpiper closes via four simple latches
The Sandpiper has polyurethane-coated weatherproof canvas walls made from a polyester-cotton blend
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The Sandpiper has polyurethane-coated weatherproof canvas walls made from a polyester-cotton blend
The four mesh-lined doors provide flexibility in managing ventilation and weatherproofing
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The four mesh-lined doors provide flexibility in managing ventilation and weatherproofing
The Roofnest Sandpiper is a cozy penthouse for two
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The Roofnest Sandpiper is a cozy penthouse for two
Roofnest Sandpiper 
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Roofnest Sandpiper 
Roofnest Sandpiper 
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Roofnest Sandpiper 
The included storage pockets can be used inside or out; a handy use is to hang your shoes outside so that you can access them easily in the morning without dirtying up the inside of the tent
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The included storage pockets can be used inside or out; a handy use is to hang your shoes outside so that you can access them easily in the morning without dirtying up the inside of the tent

If one thing was crystal-clear at the recent RVX show, it was that the RV industry is pushing hard to attract young, adventurous buyers, from full-time van-lifers to hard-charging weekend warriors. Those folks need off-grid shelter, and they need a way of carrying bikes to the trailhead, or SUPs to the shoreline. But they don't always have the budget for a $150,000 4x4 camper van with convertible garage or a $60,000 toy-hauler trailer. The new Roofnest Sandpiper is a simpler alternative for turning an Outback or 4Runner into a gear-hauling mini-RV for two. A roof-top tent with factory-mounted roof rails, the Sandpiper offers flexibility in carrying shelter and gear deep into the wild.

While bikes and skis are compact enough to ride in various places in and outside the vehicle, long, single-piece vessels like canoes and stand-up paddleboards tend to demand roof space ... or a hitched-up trailer. And if your vehicle roof is already gobbled up by a roof-top tent (RTT), your options get limited fast.

Haul surfboards, bikes, skis and other gear atop the Roofnest Sandpiper
Haul surfboards, bikes, skis and other gear atop the Roofnest Sandpiper

More and more, though, roof-top tent makers are integrating gear-carry solutions into their hard-topped tents. Roofnest enters the fray with the Sandpiper, giving the Tepui White Lightning (now simply called Lightning) and iKamper X-Cover some competition in offering outdoor adventurers the chance to have their cakes and eat them too.

The Sandpiper is a low-profile, two-person RTT with a fiberglass-reinforced ABS shell. It sets up in seconds by simply unclipping four latches and lifting swiftly with the help of inner struts. After climbing up the telescoping ladder and inside the polyurethane-coated poly-cotton walls, campers will enjoy the comfort of a 2.8-inch-thick (7-cm) high-density foam mattress. The shell itself is insulated with quilted padding for added comfort, and included storage pockets can be clipped inside or out to hold anything from shoes to personal carry like phones and wallets.

The Sandpiper features a cozy interior with ventilation screens on all sides, a high-density foam mattress, an anti-condensation mat and quilted roof lining
The Sandpiper features a cozy interior with ventilation screens on all sides, a high-density foam mattress, an anti-condensation mat and quilted roof lining

The Sandpiper is equipped for deep, reliable breathing thanks to doorways on all four sides, each with its own zippered mesh screen. The included anti-condensation mattress helps the screens keep air moving and condensation retreating. The four-door set-up also provides some flexibility in entering and exiting, and the standard mesh ground mat waiting below puts a buffer between chilly bare toes and cold, dank dirt.

Unlike the average roof tent, the 150-lb (68-kg) Sandpiper has integrated tubular aluminum rails for mounting up racks for bicycles, skis, kayaks, paddleboards and other equipment. The rails can carry up to 100 lb (45 kg) when closed, and the tent can pop open with up to 35 lb (16 kg) or so mounted up top.

Roofnest's latest hardshell tent, the Sandpiper includes built-in rails so that you don't lose the gear-hauling potential of your roof
Roofnest's latest hardshell tent, the Sandpiper includes built-in rails so that you don't lose the gear-hauling potential of your roof

As compared to the very similar Tepui Lightning, the Sandpiper weighs 45 lb (20 kg) less but also carries 50 lb (23 kg) less on its roof. Floor dimensions are comparable, but the Sandpiper shell is about 3 in (7.6 cm) thicker, at just under 12 in (30 cm), when packed up for the ride. The Sandpiper lacks some of the Lightning's more technical features, like the ventilation fan and interchangeable fabric and struts, but it also promises plenty of natural ventilation with the four-door design and costs significantly less at US$2,795, compared to the Lightning's $4,200 sticker. Roofnest ships all over North America, and Sandpiper shipping starts at a $249 flat rate for any destination in the US Lower 48.

Given the mix of pros and cons, both the Tepui Lightning and Roofnest Sandpiper seem worth a hard look if you're shopping for a gear-hauling RTT. The $2,999 iKamper X-Cover is one to consider for more interior space, as it folds out to sleep three adults or a family of four. After taking more than 600 X-Cover preorders earlier in 2019, iKamper plans to launch regular online ordering in June.

Roofnest started Sandpiper sales earlier this year and is preparing to get its second round of deliveries rolling in mid April.

Source: Roofnest

2 comments
PAV
I'm curious what the weight of this is. My roof racks only handle 100 lbs.
D[]
Why are they mounted sideways? No serious gearhead would use that sort of strapping set up. I have never understood why car/gear manufacturers put racks on this way.