What’s Better: Roof Tent, Ground Tent, or Sleeping in Your Truck?

You're basically looking at a $10,000 setup, a $5,000 setup, and a $150,000 setup here.

Last weekend I did one of my favorite SoCal off-road routes (Big Bear to Joshua Tree the back way) with some friends, we made camp at a little oasis in Twentynine Palms and as you can see there was good diversity of hardware.

  • Car(s): My Montero, Lance’s Suzuki Samurai, Nate’s Land Rover Defender 110
  • Location: Twentynine Palms, CA
  • Photog: It me (@andrewatlarge on IG, where you’ll find a lot more pictures of that Mitsubishi)
  • Camera: Canon Powershot G7X Mark III

Rooftop tents, like what you see on the Defender here, are very popular with overlanders because they look cool and offer some convenience when you want to quickly car camp. Just crank it open and you’ve got a bed. The setup in my Montero is meant to be similarly simple but more aero-friendly – I have a big folding platform in my cargo area that turns the inside into a bed. My buddy Lance, on the other hand, keeps it classic with a near-stock Samurai and a good ol’ ground tent. He’s in and out of everywhere quicker than anyone, using a whole lot less fuel to boot. But he also has a hard time keeping up on the highway and hits his head on the roof over big bumps pretty regularly!

If you’d like to see some more details on my Mitsubishi’s camping setup, I actually went into it with a little video when I was at Jalopnik. The truck looks a lot better with different stickers and paint now, but the bones are all the same. Take a peek:

What’s your car camping configuration of choice?

Andrew P. Collins

Andrew P. CollinsAndrew’s the Editor-In-Chief of Car Bibles and an experienced writer, amateur mechanic, and off-road expedition guide with just a little racing experience. He’s particularly fond of tuner cars and old trucks. Contact the author here.