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September 26, 2022
Review Roof Top Tent iKamper Skycamp 2.0Our experience of using the tent almost 2,5 years and having slept in it over 200 nights
In January 2020, we bought a rooftop tent at the Caravana in Leeuwarden (often there is an exhibition offer, so buying at an exhibition is good for your wallet – or you’ll get extra accessories with the rooftop tent). We had bought a caravan in 2019. And with a rooftop tent added, we had enough sleeping space to do a tour through Scandinavia with the kids in the summer. There was a long delivery time on it. We were supposed to get it in April. By then the world wasn’t the same. AND then we certainly didn’t know that we would be sleeping a large part of the nights in it. That’s why this experience gave us a very good idea of what works well and what doesn’t. Time to share our experiences.
An iKamper Skycamp is considered by many to be the RollsRoyce among rooftop tents. It is large and expensive. And therefore not for everyone. Because we were at a vacation fair and had a good opportunity to compare qualities, we decided it was well worth the money. No thin tent canvas, no soft storage cover. But a hardtop suitcase. It did come with a delivery time of several months. That was a bummer! But at least in time for summer vacation, although we wanted to enjoy it by the beginning of April at the latest. Unfortunately, it was not until the end of April.
Why did we choose the iKamper Skycamp 2.0?
- First of all, because of the size of the sleeping surface: 190x210cm!
- Blackout canvas
- Canvas canvas instead of a plastic plastic-feeling canvas (which also makes more noise in the wind)
- Side windows that open
- Mosquito netting everywhere
- Entrance is already well done, and relatively little light comes through there as well
- The stairs feel very sturdy and are also suitable for people who are not lightweight
We know that couples sleep in with 2 or 3 children. We can’t manage that. We enjoy a king-size bed. We also just use our own duvet etc. No camping gear. We think sleeping well is super important. Vacation or not. We ALWAYS want a good night’s sleep. And not being able to move around in sleeping bags for example does not suit us.
On April 24 the delivery was made. A GIGANTIC box arrived. OMG!
All findings in a row:
1. The extremely chemical smell of the rooftop tent feels very unhealthy
Then, when we finally get the rooftop tent delivered and lie down in it, I am almost intoxicated by a chemical smell. TERRIBLE! It feels like I am inhaling poison. Even after a year, the smell was still not completely gone. By now it is pretty much gone, but the rooftop tent still retains something of a distinct smell.
2. Supplied mattress is an absolute disaster
It comes with a mattress of I think 3 cm. This is rock hard. Totally unsuitable for sleeping on. So in addition to the already expensive purchase of the rooftop tent, we also invested in 2 EXPED mattresses. 1 duo and 1 single. Together, they fill the sleeping surface of the roof tent perfectly! BUT… Despite also the hefty price of the expeded mattresses, much travelling turns out to be unsuitable for these mattresses. We soon started getting leaks. In addition, making the bed every day was quite a chore. Inflate the mattresses harder, then put the mattress covers on. Then pillows, duvet and possibly bedspread. He was often working for more than 30 minutes. We wanted to change that. Nowadays, we have a topper. First we bought one 180×200 in Portugal, which we also used on the beds in the rental houses and in the caravan. Once in the Netherlands, we bought an EMMA topper. The advantage of a topper is that we roll it up with all our bedding (excluding pillows). Stretch a spider around it and throw it in the back of the van. Done.
3. The separate condensation mattress definitely makes sense!
One of the things that should have come as standard. Because with a mattress directly on the metal/aluminium, it gets damp at night. That doesn’t work, of course. Thanks to the condensation mat, which has all kinds of holes, the mattress stays dry! Strangely enough you have to pay extra for this (€149). It’s a necessity.
4. Rooftop tent is up and down quickly (15-20 minuten)
We have had the roof tent on the roof of our Opel Vivaro van non-stop since the end of August 2020. That means that as soon as we want to go somewhere, the roof tent has to be folded. In the beginning, we still did that together. Eventually, it became a ritual of hubby’s. Especially since we have the topper and roll everything up in the morning, and unroll it again in the evening when preparing the tent. This helps immensely in getting the tent ready. Packing by 1 person, takes a bit of dexterity. But after that, it works perfectly! But setting up and taking down is only fun if you don’t stay in the same place for several days . By the way, a rooftop tent with a hard case also wrapps up the tent more easily than one with a soft top. Also good to know. And to many, it just looks like a roof box. If they didn’t put their advertising on it, it would be almost unrecognisable.
5. Thick canvas tent fabric – choose quality
The Skycamp is one of the few that has really thick quality tent canvas. Canvas is also much more natural then polyester. It also feels a lot more sturdy.Some tents have very thin fabrik, or almost feel like plastic. I wouldn’t want to sleep in that. I would rather have good quality canvas.
6. Blackout tent fabric, perfect!
One of the reasons for choosing the Skycamp was its blackout fabric. Ideal for the short nights, which we really do have in the Netherlands and above. Since I am very responsive to daylight, I wake up really early in the summer. With this blackout fabric, I sleep several hours a night longer!
7. Stair extension, only if your car is very high
We still never missed the extension of the stairs. Not even now that we have a van (hight H1). And we still have half a step extra left. So with a regular car or low bus, you definitely don’t need it.
8. Not easy to handle
iKamper missed a big opportunity in their design. There are no handles on it AND the thing cannot roll. We had no back entrance in the Netherlands, making it almost impossible to get the thing through the house. With rugs underneath and dragging, we managed.
We also had a (fairly new) canoe in the Netherlands. And it weight 35 kilos. It was not possible to also attach it to the roof racks, or roof tent. In the end, we opted that when we took the canoe with us, we put the roof tent on our trailer in front of the house, because otherwise it wasn’t doable. I realise that handles can make it less aerodynamic. But, that’s up to the designer to have a clever solution for that. It should be possible to put the rooftop tent on the roof with 2 people. But since you have no grip and the box is very big and heavy, it is a big challenge. Once it’s on the roof, we leave it there. Especially now that we no longer have a house. But this costs considerably more fuel!
9. Mosquito netting, perfect for warmer nights!
There are two side windows and the entrance. Everything is fitted with mosquito netting. IDEAL!!! On warmer nights, we don’t close the entrance, just the mosquito net. Since that is at our foot end, and the entrance is well-built, little light comes in from outside. But it does give the fresh air that is needed. Because sometimes the tent can get stuffy when we have everything closed.
10. The Skylight is totally redundant
Be honest, how often do you lie in bed looking at stars? You still do that when you’re outside, right? Without a plastic window to look through? We only go to bed when we want to sleep. And then we have our eyes closed. During the day when the sun is shining, it is often too bright. We rarely lie in the rooftop tent during the day. And if, then it’s also for a nap and we don’t need a skylight either.
The skylight is made of plastic. Say that plastic from a window in an awning. Soon it discoloured yellow. By now, there is even a crack in it, which hubby has sealed with duck tape. In the roof tent group I recently saw a report of someone with the same problem. It sounds very romantic, but totally unnecessary and ultimately a weak link. It would have been better to just let the tent fabric through there.
11. Awning ideal when it rains, more difficult if you stay in one place for several days
We bought an awning with it, but precisely because we always use the vehicle, we never used it. Only more than two years later, when we were back in the Netherlands, did we put it up for the first time. Mainly because in the rooftop tent group I mentioned this as the second reason, and several people mentioned that this is really very simple. So we finally gave it a try a few months ago.
And it’s true! The awning is very nice with it! It is huge. Gives less visibility when getting out of the rooftop tent (with a nightshirt on and bare bottom, I find that I always find getting out most awkward. The awning is also VERY WELCOME when it rains at night. In fact, we always have a pee bucket outside and in the rain that’s not really fun :-). A tent you can leave up for several nights would be even nicer. But one that is high enough so you can get out dry. If you are really only travelling with a car/roof tent, without a caravan, then I can imagine that the matching tent (instead of just an awning) would be a godsend. That way you’re always comfortable even in worse weather. AND… you can cook out of the wind!
12. Inner tent not a luxury
One of the first nights in the rooftop tent, it was so cold that my nose was almost freezing. Under the blankets it was lovely and warm, but outside! BRRR…
And I can’t sleep with my head under the blankets. Only much later we discovered that an inner tent was available. We have bought it last summer. Helps with condensation in the tent and it keeps the temperature at least 5 degrees warmer! A nice addition. But also one with a price tag! (€299)
13. Anti-theft locks – pointless
Under the guise of ‘for your safety’, of course, a lot is put into the world. And of course you don’t want your expensive investment to be taken off the roof. However… the rooftop tent is super heavy, 75 kilos. Rooftop tents get stolen more frequently. Is that because a lot more people have rooftop tents now, too? In the summer holidays in Scandinavia, we didn’t want any hassle. We had the locks unused in a box and put them on now. We also bought two roof racks with locks. But, from the rooftop tent group, they say they can get it off in no time if they want. So you can save that money (€149).
14. Provide a (composting) toilet
If you travel without a campervan or van with a toilet, make sure you bring a compost toilet. Can be very simple, with sawdust. But make sure you do NOT defecate anywhere in nature. It is precisely this behaviour that makes you ruin it for others. Indeed, this is why wild camping on the coast is so strictly controlled in Portugal. Because surfers (sorry for generalising) have a habit of causing chaos. They may be out in nature a lot, but they are not one with nature, unfortunately. And there are also buckets for sale that you can use as composting toilets. Leave it neat…
There are some beautiful spots where we have stood (and yes, sometimes we get a visit from our cat):
We thought about buying a windbreak (€169) after we already had the roof tent on the car. But as there was a long delivery time on that too, we dropped it. I do think it is a good investment and reduces fuel consumption.
There is also a storm cover (€119), which should ensure less blowing in. BUT. you always position the roof tent correctly relative to the wind. That is, with the opening in the opposite direction to where the wind is coming from.
Especially in 2022, we used the rooftop tent intensively and slept in it for 168 days in a row. Expensive does not necessarily mean you are buying good quality.
Because we find that we notice wear and tear on many fronts. The stairs go in and out with increasing difficulty. The skylight has a crack. The canvas is less tight, which meant that water still stayed in the awning above the stairs with a rain shower. Also, the roof box has become all matt from the top. It is also a spot that is very difficult to reach, so scrubbing is actually impossible.
I must honestly say that I expected the roof tent to last longer. And we don’t leave it open for days. On the contrary. Comparatively speaking, that happens very rarely. Usually it’s packing every morning. And unpacking every evening.
But, so I have no comparison material. ALSO 2500 is a lot of money for a rooftop tent, and even with that, I would have expected it to easily last 2.5 years. Because this way, it is a rather expensive way to spend the night.
What we do notice is that straightening the bus, is getting easier and easier. We have these blocks and I prefer my head to be slightly higher, rather than too low. But we love sleeping in a rooftop tent. Getting out at night is the most irritating thing. We generally sleep naked, and then when getting out, we have to put something on first, then down the stairs, on the bucket. And back up again, undress and continue sleeping.
With wind, you also have to be careful. Always place the lid of the roof box in the wind direction and the entrance of the tent in the opposite direction. Not only does this prevent your tent from being blown to pieces, it also makes a big difference to the sound.
All in all, we sleep wonderfully in it. Is the interior space really MORE than enough. It feels spacious. We can sit in it easily. And now that we have 3 roof racks, it’s also better distributed and the ground is more stable. That benefits everything. In fact, with the Vauxhall Vivaro we cannot choose where to put a roof rack. As a result, it turned out that two was actually insufficient.
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