Before the days of “Mambo” the need for quick setup and tear down of camp during our overland trips was a necessity. We were unwilling to spend 30 minutes tearing down a basic camping tent, so the hunt for a solution ensued before landing on the OzTent RV5. First option, the very popular rooftop tent.
Rooftop tents have become increasingly popular in recent years, lowering the cost tremendously, as previously they had to be purchased from South African companies such as Howling Moon. Two very popular options in the U.S. include CVT and Tepui, both well-known companies within the overland community, so naturally this was the first option on the table. Unfortunately, the idea of sleeping on the roof of the vehicle, was not going to work for us as we have 2 dogs, and tend to store stuff in our tents during the day, not to mention that if we wanted to hit the trail, or leave camp for any reason we would be forced to put away the tent.
So, the search continued, and after countless hours watching reviews, and reading blogs such as this one, I landed on the OzTent RV5. I proceeded to order the tent via familytentcamping.com, as well as a few of the necessary accessories, such as the floor liner, and rain fly. All of the items shipped on time, and arrived with no damage, which is incredible because the box that housed the tent was incredibly awkward to handle, and heavy.
Initial thoughts on the OzTent RV5.
Build quality is incredible. In fact, I was highly impressed with the quality materials used for the tent, and the rugged design of the frame. The tent is truly Heavy-Duty in EVERY sense of the word.
Setup is truly a breeze, and can be completed single handed with very little time penalty. The tent itself sets up in a flash, often taking longer to stake it in place.
You can sleep past sunrise. One large negative of lightweight brightly colored tents, is the amplification of sunlight waking you up at the first peak of sunlight in the morning. You will not experience this in the OzTent, which is a nice break from the days of camping in my REI tent with white walls that would light up the tent.
You will get asked about it at camp sites. This piece of kit stands out like a sore thumb. Most campers will have Coleman, REI, or other bright colored dome tents, making the full-size RV5 truly stand out. I can tell you that I have had someone ask about the tent on every single site I have used it.
Would I recommend it? YES! If….the funds allow for it. It is VERY expensive for what it is. Yes, you can get a basic tent for 40 bucks at Wal-Mart. Yes, there are tons of other options out there. Yes, more than likely people will call you crazy for spending that much on a tent. In the end, the cost is comparable to a similar or smaller RTT. IF you were in the market for an RTT, I would recommend at least taking a look at the OzTent.
In total, the tent is amazing. But there are some glaring issues with the design that I must point out to any would be purchasers of the OzTent RV5. This thing is LARGE, even packed up. It will take up a good portion of your rooftop storage, albeit not the entire rooftop like an RTT.
The bag in my opinion is TOO SMALL. Malissa and I had a hell of a time getting ours back in the bag the first few times we used it. If it wasn’t for a fellow owner of an OzTent giving us a demonstration, we would have struggled with it for much longer making our experience of using the tent a tad less pleasant. Thanks again Will!
The sucker is HEAVY! If you have an issue lifting 55lbs over your head and placing in a roof basket, this may not be the tent for you. I could not imagine Malissa loading this onto the Land Cruiser alone, and this could be an issue on lifted vehicles.
The design makes this unit a wind sail! While on the White Rim Road last summer, we had the honor of experience gusts of 40+ mph winds inside the OzTent. We ended up having to move the Land Cruiser in front of the tent to act as a wind break. This would not have been a major issue had the wind come in the direction of the rear of the tent, but a strong wind against the flat face of the tent is not fun. I think I may have slept 3 hours that night because the flapping of the fabric, and creaking of the frame. The tent itself held up great, and only suffered minor damage when a guy line pulled out of the ground and forced the corner of the tent into the air bending a cross beam. Fortunately, I was able to bend the beam back into place, and it has worked perfectly since without any issue.
(Note: I do not blame any damage occurred during this trip on the quality of the tent, as it was performing as designed until a guy line failed.)
Lastly, due to the thickness of the canvas fabric, it collects moisture unlike any tent I have ever slept in. One morning we awoke with droplets of moisture dripping down from the top of the tent. We have found that cracking the vent windows above the door will help with this.
Overall, the tent is great, but it has its downfalls. This comes with any other tent on the market, as I have seen RTT’s fold up in strong winds, breaking ladders, and damaging themselves. I have seen the cheaper options fail in high winds breaking poles completely.
The benefits and design of this tent far outweigh the negatives. I would recommend this piece of kit to any serious outdoor enthusiast, the quick take down and setup are worth the investment itself. Everything else, like the built-in awning are icing on the cake.
Thanks for following. We will be posting further gear reviews of kit we have used before joining the Vanlife. Feel free to reach out or comment on your experiences with the OzTent.
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Photo Credit: Stock photo used from oztent.com.au