So I belong to the group on Facebook called Pickup Truck Camping. It’s moderated by a guy named Ryan Shauers, author of a book called “Big Travel, Small Budget: How to Travel More, Spend Less, and See the World.”
I read the book a while back and I think it’s pretty cool. Ryan has traveled most of America, living in his pickup. When I first read the book Michael and I were also camping out of the truck – sleeping in the back with the dogs.
Recently on FB, Ryan put up a link to an article about RTTs and commented, essentially, that sleeping in the canopy (topper) was “so much better.”
I have to admit I bristled at that, and posted as much. I was then asked to post why I prefer my RTT to the canopy, in case others were on the fence with this type of decision.
Here’s what I wrote:
For us, it really is just a matter of space. For starters my husband is 6’4″ and our truck has a 6′ bed. He’s much happier stretching out in the RTT. I like being able to sit up, read, etc without hitting my head on the ceiling of the canopy.
We also travel with our dogs… and we found that 2 dogs and 2 adults in the canopy was too crowded. And while we debated long and hard about leaving the dogs with friends while we travel – ultimately we decided that the dogs travel with us.
I have not found that setting up the RTT takes any longer than getting ready to sleep in the canopy. In inclement weather, the RTT has an annex (complete with a bathtub floor) that allows us to go from the tent to the cab without having to go outside. This happened on our recent trip to Moab and was basically a “holy shit this thing is the best ever” moment for me.
The article mentioned that it’s a PITA to go down the ladder in the middle of the night to pee. Maybe that’s true, but I still find the ladder preferable to climbing over the husband and 2 dogs in the canopy. The husband prefers it too… the risk of me accidentally elbowing him in the balls is a lot lower in the RTT.
I’m no expert but I can’t say that I ever thought we’d tip over while off-roading because of our RTT.
Yes, RTTs are expensive. About the cost of a brand-new canopy, I’d say.
Does the RTT affect our gas mileage? Of course. Right along with lift and off-road tires. We’re actually looking to spend more time on dirt and jeep trails than in the highway, though.
Just so we’re clear, I’m not bagging on the canopy crowd. If I were traveling alone I would not go for the RTT – but that’s mostly because of my height. My husband can set the RTT up himself, but I’m too short. (Also, if I were traveling alone I wouldn’t need all that room….)
Here’s my one big complaint about the RTT: once it’s set up, you’re tied to the vehicle. If you want to move, you have to put the RTT away first. So it gets interesting if you can’t camp at your trailhead, for example. But on the whole I’m very happy with our decision to get the RTT. Like I said earlier, it works best for us, for our situation.
That was the end of my rant. Interesting…. I never thought I’d have to defend my decision to get a RTT. I thought we were all in this to have fun.