Expert Review

Off-Road Consulting recently had the opportunity to try out the Smittybilt Overlander Tent and, as overland enthusiasts ourselves, we were excited to test the product. But would that excitement last?

There is nothing more relaxing than jumping into your Jeep and getting away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. However, this does not mean you have to rough it out in the woods during this "Relaxation time".

Smittybilt recognizes you don’t have to leave all of your creature comforts at home when you head outdoors, and their new line of Overlander gear can make your outdoor experience even more enjoyable.

First, a few things from Smittybilt - The Overlander Tent weighs in at only 118 lbs and is the perfect weight to easily mount on your stock roof rack system or aftermarket rack/crossbar thanks to its dual-aluminum track and U-clamps.

Generally, most OE roof racks will have a capacity of 100-200 lbs while the vehicle is in motion (dynamic rating). However, when the vehicle is parked and you are utilizing your Smittybilt Overlander Tent, you are applying a static load which is easier to support.

Most rack systems can generally handle this static load with ease.  But definitely check with the manufacturer of your vehicle - and your roof rack system - to determine the applicable weight limitations as they vary from vehicle to vehicle.

Also, make sure to check local and state laws regarding roof-mounted load capacities. Many states have a limit of 165 lbs while vehicle is in motion, and therefore most vehicle manufactures will build roof racks to meet that limit.

So why a Smittybilt Overlander Tent and not some other tent?

Well, after a long day of ‘overlanding’ the last thing your tired body wants is to spend hours setting up a campsite.  With Smittybilt's Overlander Tent, get your area up and running in mere minutes and all with waterproof construction, mesh windows for ventilation, and a wide aluminum ladder as standard features.

We got our Overlander Tent at Quadratec and, for us, the vehicle application didn’t matter because we had other plans. A pull-behind custom-built off road trailer where the tent can be removed from location to location, is what we had in mind.

The traditional mounting is to have the Overlander Tent as an overhang off the roof rack, but with our custom build we wanted it to lay on our oak rail system.  The universal mounting set up bolted on nicely with the supplied parts.

After mounting the tent we could quickly open it up to check out the rest of the items.

Some of the things we noticed - the telescoping ladder was constructed from a quality, heavy-duty aluminum that extends up to 6.5' and hold up to 265 lbs. There is also a ladder extension available for those with lifted vehicles. The tent itself has four side windows with screens and awnings along a waterproof rainfly which, when removed, has two sunroofs to view the sky and let in more air.

Inside the tent, there is a 90" x 53" mattress made from two-inch thick, fire retardant high density foam with a removable cover. Another feature is the LED light strip inside the tent that is perfect for reading or reviewing your itinerary for the next day. There is just quality everywhere with the Smittybilt Overlander Tent.

Now for the real test.

We attached the Overlander Tent to our custom trailer and took it for a ride to see how it performed under certain conditions.  The trail we chose was very bumpy and rocky.  It shook everything that was part of our set up and there were even areas so rocky that some ¼-inch bolts broke off the wooden support system. But, the tent stayed together. Not even a loose nut. We then tested the same set up at 70 mph, and not one thing blew open or came loose.

Super nice.

Next, we wanted to get off the grid to a remote area, set up the Overlander Tent, and see how easy the install would be for us.

Ready, set, go.

From parking the jeep, getting the cover off, and fully-opening the tent – barely six minutes. Needless to say, we really like the speedy set up of this Smittybilt Overland Roof Top Tent.

Inside, the mattress is comfortable and the windows are placed nicely to allow airflow as well as allowing a great view of the surrounding environment.  The sunroof is nice for those cool days to help you relax in the shade while enjoying a fun activity like bird watching.

The tent’s LED lights not only are a nice feature, but they provide just the right amount of light, while the cigarette lighter extension gives you the ability to plug in your electrical devices. We were also impressed with the included shoe bag and individual bags for the supports.

We have taken our Smittybilt Overlander Tent through some pretty rough terrain and, for a tent on a custom built trailer, it certainly holds up great. While we had to beef up a few things on the trailer, no modifications to the tent were needed. 

We believe the same things would apply if mounted to the roof of your vehicle, as it makes remote camping easy and gives you a few comforts from home - all while treading lightly.

One word of caution. You will have to be careful going through tight areas with trees, but you won’t notice the tent's added weight very much.

After a long day bounding over trails and scraping against rocks,  it is certainly nice to know you can have a super-quick camp set-up and and enjoy a relaxing, comfortable night’s sleep without breaking much of a sweat.

Oh, and that family of bears you see down below snooping through your camping area - don’t worry.

You can rest easy as you are six-feet above the ground with no chance of becoming a snack for those curious bears.