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Video | Here’s a Tour of the Rooftop Tent Mansion I’ve Attached to My Cheap Land Cruiser

I have a confession to make: I HATE camping. I haven’t slept outdoors voluntarily since the Boy Scouts over 20 years ago — but I’m hoping my newly purchased roof tent mansion changes things. Keeping to the Boy Scout motto of always being prepared, I did a little practice run in my home driveway — and then I went shopping for supplies. Things didn’t go well.

I purchased this tent for $1,300, which is fairly expensive considering a similarly sized tent that sits on the ground costs only few hundred dollars. Still, I like the idea of being elevated so I’m not sharing my sleeping space with bugs or snakes — and as high as my modified Land Cruiser is, I should also be safe from other dangerous predators. I know the risk is very low that I’ll be eaten by a bear — but I feel like sleeping on the ground would make me easier to feast upon than peeling off the wrapper on a TV dinner.

The real risk comes with what I’ve attached my tent to: my 1999 Lexus LX470. I purchased this luxury version of the 100-series Land Cruiser for only $2,100 with 350,000 miles on it — and I’ve since spent over $7,000 fixing things, as well as modifying it to be the ultimate expedition rig. I’m confident that it’s fully sorted — but given its ridiculously high mileage, there’s a much higher chance for a mechanical failure as I drive this rig from Kansas to Colorado.

Before hitting the road, I wanted to practice setting up my campsite in my driveway for the first time — and while I did struggle with simple tasks in my usual moronic fashion, it wasn’t too challenging. The tent neatly unfolds when the weather-proof cover is removed, and zipping up the attached room was fairly simple as well. Other than the mattress for the upstairs bedroom, the tent came with zero furniture — and since I was leaving the following day for Colorado, I didn’t have time to buy the supplies that I needed online. So I went to one of those giant outdoor adventure stores to stock up — and I couldn’t believe the prices of things.

I had grandiose plans of having a lavish rooftop mansion with electricity, furniture, running water — but the sticker shock sent me reeling. A simple portable toilet was $100, which is only slightly cheaper than a normal toilet you can install in your home. Every item I looked at seemed to be in this $100 to $200 range, which I couldn’t justify spending, as each item equals the cost of a night in a hotel room. Totaling up all the supplies I wanted, along with the cost of my giant roof top tent, I could stay in a really nice hotel for a month — and then I wouldn’t have to worry about getting eaten.

So I ended up spending only $300 on a basic sleeping bag, a cooktop stove, a lantern that’s supposed to repel bugs, along with some food. Even with my meager supplies, I’m trying to go into this with a positive attitude. Maybe it will be fun, or maybe you’ll be seeing a lightly used rooftop tent listed for sale soon. But either way, I’m going to give this a try …

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  1. You haven’t lived unless you slept on the hood of an armored vehicle while in the field in Korea, Funny enough the engine kept me warm and the tarp that goes over the grill kept the rain off of me, The good old days.

  2. I honestly thought these were a fad, until I slept in one. Now I’m watching Craigslist waiting for someone like Tyler to sell theirs after one camping trip…

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