CVT Pioneer Series Rainier Review & Impressions

White 4Runner with CVT Pioneer Series Rainier Camping

Take Your Family Camping Experience To The Next Level

If you’ve got any form of social media, you probably already know the hot market trend of the ever-so-popular rooftop tent (RTT). Media outlets everywhere boast dozens of RTT brands, each enticing the outdoor community with a motto of where functionality, accessibility, and ruggedness collide. However, there is one brand in particular that leads the competition while playing nice with your wallet.

Cascadia Vehicle Tents (CVT) have been a staple in the overland and off-road industry for just about a decade. Over the past year, my wife, our 2 young sons, and I have owned the CVT Pioneer Series Rainier RTT. So far, it’s been a game-changer for us.

With recreational camping dating back to the early 1800s, this beloved pastime has been enjoyed by many. There’s nothing quite as enjoyable as camping out under the stars, roasting marshmallows over a hand-built fire, and falling asleep to the midnight chirps of crickets. Unless of course, you’re doing it 5 feet above the ground, in a fully secluded tent, while being cradled by a 3-inch high-density foam mattress.

Size & Weight

4Runner With CVT Pioneer Series Rainier

As mentioned previously, we are a family of 4. With 2 young boys, our highest priorities are functionality and space. The Rainier boasts a near king-sized mattress, allowing all 4 of us to fit comfortably with room to spare.

Full disclosure: the space comes at a cost, but the cost? Worth it.


The Rainier weighs approximately 170 pounds. Now, testosterone aside, the mounting of this tent takes two to hoist this bad boy onto your rack. The initial installation is time-consuming, as is the load/unload from your rig if you choose to not keep it permanently installed.

However, if your RTT does find a permanent spot atop your rack, R.I.P. to your MPG. The Rainier series comes with some significant wind drag due to its square-bodied dimensions. It adds approximately 1 foot 3 inches at its highest point to your roofline. In this economy, gas prices are not our friend, so you’re going to have to choose whether to keep it permanently mounted or not.

An additional consideration is your mounting option. The Rainier is approximately 6 feet long which consumes a fair amount of space, even on the largest, full-sized racks. Move over kayak racks and recovery boards, there’s a new sheriff in town.

Living With The CVT Rainier

CVT Pioneer Series Rainier Set Up With 4Runner

Throw everything you thought you hated about camping out the window. Long over are the days of sleeping on rock-punctured tent floors! RTTs offer a superior level of comfort and breathability while giving you an opportunity to partake in all the benefits of camping in the great outdoors.

The Rainier Series boasts windows on each side of the tent (4 total when including the exit/entrance) and 2 skylights. CVT takes it one step further and features double zippers on every single window: 1 for canvas, and 1 for mesh screens. The ability to control your airflow and natural lighting is infallible and makes camping in even extreme temperatures enjoyable.

Packing Up The CVT Rainier

CVT Pioneer Series Rainier Take Down Process

Has anyone had any experience setting up/taking down a toddler’s pack and play? After many failed attempts, you know there’s got to be a simple trick to it; meet the adult pack and play.

All jokes aside, the tent itself is extremely simple to set up and take down once you get the hang of it, but this takes practice. Fortunately, practice means new adventures and experiences with your tent, and there is no overly tired screaming baby involved (win-win).

Speaking from experience, after a few trips the set up/take down process can be completed by 1 person in about 5-10 minutes. It is important to remember that packing your tent neatly helps preserve the longevity of the canvas. Pay special attention during the packing process.

Additional Options

CVT Pioneer Series Rainier Additional Options

CVT’s creativity goes beyond the RTT itself and offers available showers, awnings, and annexes. Most soft-shell versions of CVT’s tents include an annex which is most easily compared to a ‘downstairs’ for your tent. The annex zips onto the bottom of your RTT and fully encloses the space between your tent and the ground.

Without getting too technical, your annex size correlates with either the standard or extended fly size of your RTT. For example, the extended fly on the Pioneer Series Rainier adds an additional 8×8 foot footprint to the lower level!

Your annex will surround the ladder giving you a chance to take off your shoes, change clothes, or serve as a second sleeping quarter for family/friends before heading upstairs to bed.

Much like the upper level, the annex also offers multiple windows/exits: 3 full-length, double zipped entrances/exits and a 4th full-length door to access the inside of your vehicle. The operation and layout of these mimic the upper ones. They can be zipped open to reveal the mesh screen only or zipped down to the canvas to better protect from moisture or bright light.

Final Thoughts

CVT Pioneer Series Rainier Final Thoughts

While you may not need a rooftop tent to enjoy the outdoors, it certainly doesn’t hurt.

If your budget allows, they are 100% worth the money! As a fellow adventure lover, I strongly recommend that you make this investment.

Gather your family, kids, friends, or whoever, and get out there!

5th Gen 4Runner With CVT RTT

Owning this tent has been such a game-changer, and as a family, we have never been more eager to get out and enjoy what mother nature has to offer. The experiences and memories will be invaluable!

So what are you waiting for, don’t miss out on the adventures that CVT can take you on!

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1 year ago

The write up that I needed to buy one, buddy of mine is selling his CVT Rainier Extended for $1400. Sounds like a great deal, only question I have is it’s on his wrangler and my wife’s rig is a 5th Gen T4R. What are our mounting options? Not looking to get a full rack, I was looking more into Yakima racks would these be suffice? Thanks again

1 year ago
Reply to  Beldon


There are many options for roof racks for the T4R. I believe it’s possible to mount one on the Yakima rack, However, I would look into the weight limit of the specific rack you’re wanting. I believe some have done multiple reviews of roof racks on this page.Best of Luck!

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