Most rooftop tents we’ve seen are designed to look like tents, with fabric walls, skeletal frames, and a generally outdoorsy feel. Suffice to say, seeing one deployed atop a car in the city just looks plain weird. The Redtail RTC, short for Rooftop Camper, ditches the classic tent aesthetic in favor of a hard-sided design that actually makes it look more like a natural part of the car, rather an aftermarket add-on for camping in the backcountry.
That’s right, it’s a rooftop tent that looks like it’s designed to be a permanent part of your car, so you can have a place to sleep in every time you’re too drunk to drive home from the bar or the wife won’t let you into the house because she caught you messing around with your secretary. Again. Seriously, it doesn’t look half as weird as a regular rooftop tent when you deploy it in the parking lot. Suffice to say, if you’re looking for a tent that’s aesthetically compatible with van life, this definitely fits the bill, all while still looking nice when you take it to the backcountry for a bit of car camping.
The Redtail RTC is made with a carbon fiber shell, ensuring it’s both durable and lightweight, complete with a waterproof construction that ensures the interior stays dry even when you encounter inclement weather. It uses hard-sided materials on every panel (carbon fiber for the shell and dual-pane polycarbonate windows), from the roof and walls to the door and windows, so it’s especially protective against the wind and the sun, apart from shrugging off any debris with ease. All doors and windows are lockable, too, so you can protect any gear stashed inside whenever you take off from the camp.
It comes in two sizes: Redtail 90 and Redtail 110. The former measures 110 x 56 x 60 inches (length x width x height) when opened while the latter takes up 110 x 60 x 65 inches. Like any rooftop tent, the whole thing folds down into a flat pile just 10 inches thick for both models, so the whole thing sits flush in the roof the whole time you’re in transit, with the gas struts and hinged walls allowing it to deploy and break down in just 30 seconds each.
The Redtail RTC has solar panels lining the roof of the tent (210 watts on the RT 90 and 330 watts on the RT 110), which are hooked up to a 250-watt inverter and an integrated battery (40-Amp on the RT 90 and 69 Amp on the RT 110). The battery powers the integrated LEDs both inside and outside the tent, a variable speed fan for cooling down on hot days, and built-in power outlets (both USB and 110-volt, so you can both charge devices and run appliances). They can also throw in a diesel heater that, they claim, operates pretty quietly. Everything is integrated into the tent, by the way, so there’s no need to mess with any wiring when taking the tent on and off your vehicle’s roof.
The catch? The Redtail RTC is priced starting at $20,000, so it’s almost as expensive as your car.