Our first experience camping with a rooftop tent.
What we learned about using and sleeping in a iKamper SkyCamp Mini 3.0. The good and the bad, so far.
So far I have to say we’ve been pretty impressed with our choice of tent. The options are endless and rooftops can easily cost upwards of $5,000; so we took our time, reads the reviews, and watched countless hours of videos on YouTube before jumping in.
The price is up there, I’m not kidding, but for a road trip from Toronto to the Rockies to Baja a piece of shit won’t do. So we splurged on what we believe is the best two person rooftop tent on the market, the iKamper Skycamp Mini 3.0 – it’s $5,000 Cdn and sleeps two people.
The tent is made and shipped from South Korea by iKamper, and the 3.0 version is the newest. The company took feedback from 12,000 user’s of the 2.0 Skycamp Mini and made improvements, like a better mattress and a little more room for storing sleeping bags inside (a welcome feature for a packed car).
One of the nights we spent in Algonquin Park came with a heavy rain that lasted into the night and, the exception of a little water getting in from a partially open rain flap, inside we were dry and warm. We found your body heat keeps the temperature up if it gets cool overnight, in fact we were actually warm. The tent dealt pretty good with the wet thanks to the well designed built in rainfly.
The room inside is about the size of a double bed, not a lot of room and it takes a little getting used too, but after roughly fifteen days inside (out of three weeks) we’re adjusting well. Yesterday I picked up a 2″ self-inflating mattress for added comfort (we’re not in our twenties). Originally we used a couple air mattresses but I can’t stand them, they squeak and move around all night, so changed up.
Our pug Alice sleeps down by our feet and she’s getting used to her new digs. Her first couple nights were restless and now she sleeps through the night and has even started sleeping in after we get up. She’s family so it’s important to us that’s she feels safe and calm. It’s cute how quickly she got used to walking towards me at the entrance when she needs to come out.
Getting in and out takes a little getting used too. The telescopic ladder opens and closes fairly easily and the height depends on the vehicle you use. Our Subaru Outback puts the tent at about six feet so it’s only a few steps up to get in. We learned to place a solar light string around the entrance so getting out to pee during a dark night is safer. The best way is to put one foot down until you feel a rung and put your weight on it. Up and down is only three steps.
Setting up the tent literally takes about a minute and that’s a huge bonus compared to a ground tent with poles, stakes, and a ground mat. Seriously you can be inside in under a minute – Opening the iKamper Skycamp: 1 Minute Setup.
I’ve struggled a bit with taking it down and I know it’s because I’m not setting up the inside right. The mattress comes in two pieces and one slides over the other for folding. My problem is getting the sleeping bags arranged right so it closes without any pressure. Without them (we have a double bag) the tent comes down and closes easily, so with some experience will eventually come an easy take down. I just need to get used to it and have practiced in motel parking lots. Without the bags inside one person can close the tent in a couple minutes, so it’s a minute to set up and a couple minutes to take it down. It matters on an extended trip. The less hassle the better and the iKamper is about as hassle free as a tent can be.
We have struggled to sleep in the iKamper with our dog, Alice. She’s a nervous dog anyway so having her up in the tent with us peaked her anxiety the first few times but she is settling into the routine quickly. She only weighs about 13 kilos so it’s easy getting her in and out.
OUR VERDICT SO FAR
So far we’ve found it to be well made, well designed, and the coolest tent in any campground by a longshot. We’ve had people stare in wonder (disbelief) and ask questions about what it is and how we like it. Definitely this tent is a head turner and with the exception of seeing a rooftop in Marathon, Ontario, I haven’t seen any.
Despite having some trouble getting used to sleeping in the iKamper, we still headed to camp in Grassland National Park for three days under the prairie sky and look forward to the next campground. Along the way we found the view of the sky at night and the views out the windows provide you with a wonderful way to fall asleep or relax mid-day.
All that said we are planning to enhance our journey with a teardrop trailer for a couple reasons. We need the space and we need a home away from home. As much as we like the iKamper, you can’t really made it a ‘home’ anymore than you can make a sleeping bag home. We need a place to hang our photos, a place for Alice (our dog) to sleep in during the day, and a place to make ours.
Well designed and made
Easy to put up and take down
Even in a heavy rain the inside remains dry
Off the ground is better than on the ground
Sleeping can be a challenge in the Mini if you have a dog, but that’s not the tent itself. iKamper has larger versions if you need the space and have a vehicle that can hold a larger rooftop.