When it came to adding a rooftop tent to my camper trailer, a hardtop tent was the only way I was going to go. Having dealt with Quick Pitch in Western Australia a couple of times over the years, I was excited to be able to purchase their rooftop tent, which had only just hit the market.
The sleek design of the Quick Pitch now sits perfectly atop the camper trailer and the speed in which I can now set up camp is awesome. Within a couple of minutes, with the tent set up, I’m enjoying a cold beverage under the 20-second Weathershade awning.
This could have become challenging, as the installation notes were missing, but thankfully I was able to phone Quick Pitch and the manager talked me through the process. The first job was to bolt three load bars evenly along the camper roof and because this meant drilling 12 holes through the roof, I measured each hole 15 times and drilled once. Although not required, I siliconed a piece of rubber between the roof and each of the brackets so that it wasn’t stainless steel mounted onto painted steel. It’s these load bars that the rooftop tent is bolted to using M8 stainless bolts and nyloc nuts.
As I was installing the tent so the rear end lined up with the back of the camper, I had to measure the distance between the back of the trailer and the middle of the first load bar to fix the first of the tent brackets to the load bar. The second bracket was then loosely fitted to the middle load bar. With the help of my wife and a mate, we then lifted the tent onto the roof and bolted it to the brackets. Once lined up and seated evenly, the front L brackets were bolted to the third load bar and the rooftop tent was finally secured. In the end, the installation was quite straightforward, but I sense that most of the time the rooftop tents are installed by Quick Pitch or their distributors.
ADDING THE AWNING AND ENSUITE TENT
As Quick Pitch also supply a 270-degree awning and a foldaway ensuite tent, I decided to add these to my purchase and install them onto the rooftop tent using stainless steel brackets supplied by Quick Pitch. In order to mount the largest bracket for the awning, once seated correctly and bolted to the extrusion rail, I had to drill six 4.5mm holes into the base of the tent and use Sikaflex and stainless rivets to secure it solidly. The second, smaller bracket was then loosely bolted onto the extrusion rail towards the front of the camper.
One thing I don’t understand is the use of M8 hex bolts to secure brackets to the tent and load bars, but then M8 carriage bolts to fit the brackets to the extrusion rails down the side of the tent and along the roof. With M8 stainless carriage bolts difficult for a DIYer to source, this may be something Quick Pitch need to rethink.
Using 25mm M8 stainless bolts to mount the awning to the brackets, firstly holes needed to be made through the ripstop canvas cover for the bolts to pass through. I used a soldering iron to make the initial hole, then placed some gaffer tape over the holes and used an 8mm drill bit to enlarge them, before removing the tape. Doing it this way removes the risk of damaging the awning cover by mistake. Once loosely mounted, the awning needs to be opened up to tighten all the nuts securely.
The ensuite brackets required some rubber to be added to the feet to push it out a little and prevent rubbing on the tent base. I also needed to add an extension bracket so that the ensuite bag didn’t foul with the camper door when it was open. For this, I picked up a powder-coated L bracket from Bunnings and cut off the side where the bolt holes didn’t match the stainless bracket. Again, holes needed to be made in the ripstop canvas cover of the ensuite bag for the bolts to go through and I used the same process as the awning cover. A mix of 22mm and 25mm stainless bolts and nyloc nuts secured the ensuite to the tent.
The final task was to run 12V power to connect to the tent via a 50A Anderson plug, something I had already prepared when rewiring the camper trailer previously.
SO SIMPLE TO SET UP AND PACK UP
After a long day on an outback track, my preference is for simple and quick set up and pack down times, and the Quick Pitch rooftop tent certainly fits these criteria. It’s as simple as releasing the two latches on the end of the RTT and lifting the lid using the attached handle.
With gas struts on each side providing assistance, the lid lifts easily, even with a load on top. After pulling the paracord, used to hold the canvas awning, down to the tent base, slot the two spring poles into their holes and attach to the 13mm stainless steel grommet eyelets on the awning and the job is done. Attach the 2.6m telescopic ladder to its bracket and you can be lying relaxed in bed within a minute.
The canvas awning is riveted to an internal roof frame and covers the three sides of the tent preventing rain and dew shelter from dripping onto the tent.
Packing up is the reverse of setting up, unhook the spring poles, move the paracord up to hold the awning and tent sides tight and then close the lid and remove the ladder. It’s better to leave the windows unzipped a little to make opening and closing of the tent easier as it is almost impossible to perform this function with all the windows zipped up.
The Quick Pitch tent uses 420gsm UV-resistant ripstop waterproof canvas with sealed seams. With windows that zip down so that they can be rolled up at the bottom when open, adding privacy and making it easier to unzip the canvas window a little at the top to let the air flow through. The quality mesh screens are midge proof, perfect for Australian beach camping. The heavy-duty YKK zippers make it easy to open and close the windows and they are large enough to allow maximum airflow when opened fully, perfect for capturing that evening sea breeze.
The internal space of the tent is cavernous for a clamshell design, measuring up at 215cm long by 128cm at the shoulders wide and 160cm height at the tallest point, providing loads of room to change clothes. The insulated roof holds six storage pockets for your books, pj’s or even to hang your tablet to watch Foxtel. A shade cloth bag can be zipped to the external wall to hold your boots, preventing mud and sand from entering the internals of the tent.
It’s a real bonus being able to keep your bedding in the tent, including pillows, when packing up as it makes it so much easier to set up. With a volume of 4.4 cubic metres, the tent is extremely spacious with plenty of room for getting dressed, sitting up to read a book or just relaxing. Tucked away nicely you’ll find 2 x 12V power points and a dual USB power point, but sadly only one LED directional stork lights for reading although it does have a red-light option, the best colour that doesn’t attract bugs.
Both the roof and the floor are well insulated with the roof being 25mm high-density isolation foam covered in canvas and the flooring 12mm high-density isolation foam and light carpet. This helps keep the tent warmer in cold climates and cooler in hotter climates.
The mattress is 75mm high-density foam, a good start for most people. There is room enough to add a mattress topper to increase the comfort level for those who prefer it. All the stitching is first class, and the internal pop-riveting is neat.
THE OUTER SPECTRUM
The Quick Pitch rooftop tent certainly has one standout design feature that I’m sure others will soon copy. The two pieces of the shell aren’t connected using traditional hinges, instead, it has two aluminium extrusions that fit snuggly within each other. As they swivel within one another, the weight of the lid is evenly distributed across the width of the tent.
The shell is manufactured using top quality extruded aluminium that is welded together instead of using bolts and rivets, making it a good long-term investment and weather resistant. The roof and base are 1.6mm thick with 3mm reinforcing ribs while the sides are 2.6mm.
The front section of the lid tapers and is 70mm lower than the rear of the shell, improving its aerodynamics and a providing a sleeker look. At 2300mm the tent base will fit neatly on most 4WDs and even though it is a little longer and wider than the roof of my camper trailer, even with the awning and ensuite attached it isn’t larger than the overall footprint.
The rubber seals perform an admirable task in keeping dust and water out when travelling, even in the harshest of conditions. Installing the gas struts inside the lip of the lids is a good move, meaning they can’t get damaged by a tree branch.
The roof of the tent is rated to carry an additional 40kg, and by installing a couple of load bars onto the rails that run the length of the lid, you can easily carry recovery tracks or install solar panels. I’ve installed a 200W semi-flexible solar panel stuck to the lid using Ultra High Bond double-sided tape; it will be interesting to see how it performs.
It’s important to know what roof weight limits your vehicle has. The Quick Pitch weighs approximately 85kg (including the mattress) and each load bar weighs 4.1kg. Add your bedding, gear loaded on the lid of the rooftop tent, Weathershade awning and Ensuite and you may exceed that limit.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Quick Pitch rooftop tent is a great example of a top-quality rooftop tent and is well priced, starting at $4800. It does have a couple of minor flaws, but nothing that makes me regret my purchase. What I like is that the tent is well-constructed, brilliantly designed with its unique front extrusions and suitable for conditions found in Australia. This rooftop tent is also extremely popular in the USA, South Africa and parts of Europe.
The comfortable interior offers excellent insulation, functional storage and ample room to move, everything that you want in a popup bedroom. If you’re a weekend camper, someone who loves extended touring or enjoys being parked up beside a beautiful river, this rooftop tent is certainly one that will fit what you’re after.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
Shell Material Aluminium
Canvas Material 400gm UV-resistant rib-lock waterproof canvas with sealed seams
Ladder 2.6m telescopic ladder with a canvas bag
Mattress 75mm high-density comfort foam with a removable heavy-duty cotton canvas zipped cover
Roof Cargo Area Carrying Capacity 40kg
Travel size 2300mm (L) x 1425mm (W) x Front 210mm (H), Rear 260mm (H)
Sleeping area dimensions 2150mm (L) x 1280m at the shoulders (W) x 1600mm (H)
Internal volume 4.4 cubic metres approx.
White/red LED stalk bed light; internal 12V plug point and dual USB points; ladder; storage pockets; boot bag
Quick Pitch Weathershade 270 degree awning ($1790); Load bars ($100 each); Quick Pitch Ensuite ($550 soft bag or $640 box unit)
$4800 plus fitting and freight if required
Quick Pitch Australia
Phone (08) 9409 1959