DIY Hardshell Rooftop Tent : overlanding

Hey everyone! Still hasn’t seen any adventures yet, but figured y’all would appreciate this project of mine. I am nearly done with my homemade rooftop tent I designed and built for my 2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport. Had a brutal non stop weekend (literally, we slept 5 hours over the 2 days) of stitching with my mother. I have zero sewing experience, but she has years of it so I flew her into town and she brought her sewing machine. This was the only time that worked for her work schedule so we had 2 days to try to get the entire thing done, and we came pretty close!

The tent features 3 double layer doors, with individual zippers to either open the whole door (to enter and exit), or just the tent canvas (to let in air while leaving the mesh closed to keep bugs out). It is made from Ottertex Waterproof Canvas which is 600×600 denier polyester with a PVC backing and waterproof coating.

The highlight of the tent in my opinion, is the massive awning/rainfly that is completely removable and held up with just 2 spring rods. One continuous zipper runs along the entire top edge, and the awning provides tons of coverage over all 3 doors. My intent with this was to be able to have big vents in the windows while still getting complete coverage from the rain.

The frame of the tent is built using T slot aluminum extrusions, with ACM panels for the roof and floor. The roof is insulated and covered with an awesome plaid canvas that is an exact match to my favorite shirt! It is sized to perfectly fit a 3in thick full XL (80”x54”) mattress. All in, it will be about $2300-$2500 worth of materials. I knew I could buy a used Roofnest or something for that price, but that didn’t seem much fun and I love how custom and unique this is. Don’t have a way to measure final weight, but CAD has it around 150lbs, so I’d bet it is 160-170lbs or so total

Overall, I am so dang stoked with how it is turning out! Still a few things to figure out or correct, but the goal is to get it installed on the jeep by mid week next week, for a maiden voyage that following weekend! It has been such a fun project, but challenging as I live in a 1 bed 1 bath condo with no garage and space has been cramped! I’ll be sure to post more pics once it’s completely wrapped up!

I’m also thinking of making a detailed build walkthrough for others who want to give this a shot, so if I do follow through with that, I’ll post it here as well. For now, I’ve been documenting the build process in this saved story on my Instagram page if you are interested. Thanks!

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