My First Experience With A Wedge-Style Rooftop Tent & Why I Chose The Ironman 4×4 Swift RTT – Initial Impressions & Review
Picking a rooftop tent for your 4Runner typically requires a ton of research.
For one, it’s where you’ll sleep on camping trips. In addition to that, they’re not cheap. Most other mods can easily be researched and picked based solely on reviews. However, if you’re like me, seeing an item in person is a must. So, picking an RTT based solely on pictures and advertising is difficult, to say the least!
I’m 6’4″ and 240 lbs, so it is incredibly difficult to cram myself into an RTT, let alone sleep comfortably for 12 hours. I had my heart set on a wedge-style tent because of the option to put more gear on top of it and its small footprint when closed. This is usually achieved with cross-members for lighter gear that doesn’t need to be frequently accessed.
When my local shop posted the Ironman 4×4 Swift 1400 RTT, I immediately knew that was the one I wanted. I messaged the team over at Talus Expedition Gear and haven’t looked back since.
Find It Online:
- Ironman 4×4 Swift 1400: Check Price
Choosing My RTT
As I mentioned earlier, I’m 6’4″ and 240lbs, so I need an RTT with plenty of space. Sleeping, changing, and other activities require space, especially for larger people like myself.
Having a full-size mattress is super nice considering my wife and I go camping regularly and I’m somewhat of a bed hog. The Ironman Swift 1400 RTT checked all the boxes for us as a traveling couple.
The Ironman Swift 1400 has a 7’2″ L X 4′ 6″ W mattress inside (roughly the size of a full-size mattress). It is also just over 5 feet tall when opened, providing ample headroom.
The closed height is about 6 inches tall without the cross-members installed. There is enough space in the tent for a blanket or some sleeping bags to be left in.
There are larger tents that can accommodate 4 to 6 (smaller) people. However, their footprint is massive and you have to deal with sloppy coverings and a much taller profile when driving. Let’s face it, the 4Runner isn’t the most aerodynamic, so adding a gargantuan brick on top of an already lumbering rig doesn’t help.
Wedge-style tents like the Swift 1400 are about as slim and low-profile as they come. While other hard shell tents can fit more people/have more room, they don’t offer extra storage on top as most higher-end wedge-style tents do. That feature was a must for me, so I knew that I would need to stick with the ladder option.
With all that being said, the Swift 1400 comes in at 215 lbs. It’s definitely not lightweight like some of the other hardshell tents. A suspension upgrade and a heavy-duty, full-length roof rack are suggested before installing it on your 4Runner.
What’s in the box
I wanted something that came with everything included and ready to go out of the box. I didn’t want to piece-meal anything together. The Swift 1400 came with everything needed to slap it on my roof rack and go. Here’s a list of everything included in the box:
- All tools needed to install
- The hard shell of the tent assembled with the soft shell of the tent inside
- An anti-condensation pad under the mattress
- 2x Aluminum awning poles for the vestibule
- 1x Collapsable ladder and storage bag
- 2x Brackets to secure the ladder to the side of the tent
- 4x Tie-down eyelets with t-slot nuts
- 2x Latches to secure the lid to the base
- 2x Crossmembers and hardware to secure to the roof rack of your choosing
- 1x Collapsable pole on the interior of the tent to keep the top from falling shut on you as you sleep (as a safety precaution)
- 2x Load bearing cross members for smaller/lighter gear (Maxtraxx and a shovel or high lift jack)
- 2x Gas tube shocks to assist in lifting and closing the roof
- 1x Bright orange shock cord for the interior of the tent to assist in keeping the tent material pulled in while closing
- 1x Shock cord for external use (already installed)
- 1x Pull strap attached to the roof of the tent to help pull the top down when closing up
What’s not included
- A sense of adventure
- Pillows and blankets
Installing the Swift 1400
With a suspension lift and larger tires, my 4Runner is sitting about 4″ taller than stock. That means getting a couple of buddies to help lift and install the Swift 1400 was out of the question.
Luckily the team over at Talus has a forklift and is skilled enough to maneuver it over very expensive vehicles.
To save you time and effort, all of the hardware that secures the tent to the rack needs to be installed beforehand. I would also advise installing the tent struts and latches before placing it on top of your vehicle. The guys over at Ironman 4×4 were generous enough to provide all the tools needed to get you on the road, but I found that a nice ratcheting wrench works best.
Once we got the tent off the pallet and unpacked, we scooted the Swift onto the extended forks and hoisted it high above my 4Runner. This is when I stood back trying to swallow my anxiety thinking about the worst. Fortunately, there were no issues sliding this behemoth onto my Westcott Designs roof rack. After getting the tent centered on the vehicle, everything was tightened down and secured in place.
My roof rack has very little clearance between its crossbars and the bottom bars of the tent and caused noticeable vibration at speed. To remedy this, I loosened the brackets and slid some 1/8″ thick high-density rubber between the cross members.
Finding a location for the ladder brackets was easier than I thought. With my 23Zero awning mounted on the driver’s side of the vehicle, the only spot left was over the passenger back door centered with the entrance of the tent.
The Actual Tent
This tent is stout! Even though the shell is made of aluminum, the overall weight of the tent is still 215 lbs.
The tent material is a very thick and robust ripstop fabric. The seams have been sewn and glued and are very well put together. The zippers are satisfyingly smooth and easy to use and have a very wonderful tactile noise and feel when operating them. There is not much light that gets through into the tent when everything is sealed up which is nice if you are someone who likes to sleep past the break of the day.
The locks and external components are extremely easy to use and overbuilt. The two latches that secure the top lid to the base of the tent are stout and fairly easy. However, they can be kind of a pain to install if you don’t read the instructions first. Installing the cross members is easy and their quality is top-notch. I will talk about my load out on the cross members later.
Basically, this tent is a bolt-on-and-go unit that is all-inclusive. The only thing you need to figure out is lighting on the inside.
After climbing up into the tent and laying down, I can tell you that I was super excited! The leg room was sublime and the headroom was second to none! I had my feet down at the narrowest part of the wedge and head towards the rear of the vehicle. The roof of the tent is covered with a soft felt-type material and a giant panel with 6 large pouches for storage.
Windows & Zippers
Opening the windows and setting up the awning allows for a nice cross-breeze. When the windows are closed, it is like a cave of darkness which is great for anyone that has trouble sleeping with ambient light. Granted, there shouldn’t be any light when camping until the sun comes up. The seams all appear to be well taped and the zippers tight. Time will tell how well we’re protected from the elements.
Take-down is just as simple as the setup process. There is an orange shock cord tethering the two walls together to help with keeping things in place. A larger shock cord wraps around the tent (stored at the base when opened) and a large strap with a rubber handle is attached to the roof portion of the tent.
Here is a rundown of the take-down procedure:
- Pull the shock cord up around the midsection.
- Pull the strap down, making sure that all of the extra material is folded into the body.
- Latch the two heavy-duty locks and climb down.
- Collapse the ladder and either store it inside the tent or inside the vehicle. I choose inside the vehicle so I can keep more blankets in the tent.
I also opted to install the cross members for my shovel and recovery boards on top of the tent. Initially, I had a huge Pelican case and a Waterport Weekender installed, but the tent struts couldn’t handle the weight. That made it incredibly difficult to open and close the tent, so I removed them in favor of lighter gear.
Camping With The Swift 1400
As any enthusiast with a new piece of kit, I was elated to head to the mountains here in Idaho to try out my new tent! With my wife and gear all packed up, food chilling in the Dometic fridge, and the mountains calling, we headed out.
Setting up the tent was just as flawless as I practiced in my driveway about 53 times and just as fun as the first time. As daylight dwindled and the stars crept out, I eagerly awaited to call it a night and climb into the tent. With lots of blankets, pillows, and the hushing sound of the Boise National Forrest lulling us to sleep, I couldn’t help but think about how awesome my RTT was.
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, however, and I slept horribly.
Mattress & Initial Comfort Level
It was very cold that night and I could hardly sleep. The mattress was so hard that I woke up with my shoulder hurting. This mattress isn’t very accommodating for side sleepers like me. This problem is easily solved with more blankets and a memory foam mattress topper for the time being.
As for the cold, the frame of the tent is made of aluminum which makes it ice-cold to the touch. I would suggest a sleeping bag or extra blankets in order to prevent contact with the frame while sleeping. A diesel heater also would have been nice because it got down close to 30º Fahrenheit that night.
Then, the rain came, and while the noise was soothing and the tent was dry inside I couldn’t help but wonder if I had made the right decision. Here I was a couple of hours from home freezing my butt off with my wife shivering, wondering if I should have gone a different route! The next night, we were better prepared and nature decided to play nice by being a tad bit warmer and dry.
Despite freezing that cold first night, I have still come to the conclusion that I 100% made the right choice.
The inclement weather and lack of preparedness were no fault of the tent. The Swift 1400’s price point, ease of use, durability, design, and customer reviews had all steered me in the right direction.
This is a lifestyle that I have sought after for years and have finally achieved. The tent does need some refining to make it perfect for me and my personal preference, but that’s the point of modifications. I also bought a brand new 4Runner and tweaked it to meet my needs and that’s way more expensive!
All in all, I feel that I bought the best RTT for my needs because it checked all the boxes:
- Long enough for me to lay down and wide enough that my wife and I can sleep in it together.
- A small profile that does not take away from its robustness and capability.
- Great design & aesthetics!
- Immediately available (I’m an instant gratification kind of guy).
In conclusion, I will tell you that for the price (especially with Ironman 4×4’s frequent sales), it is 100% the tent for me and one that you should definitely check out!