Inspired Overland Light Weight Rooftop Tent – Review & Overview

Inspired Overland Light Weight Rooftop Tent

Inspired Overland Makes a Big Push into the RTT Market

We recently wrote a post on the sub-100lb class rooftop tents, which covered lightweight tents in general.

In that post, we discussed how heavy tents can severely affect driver comfort, and general driveability factors such as body roll, nose dive, and MPGs. We also discussed the 4Runner’s GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating), general payload ratings, and weight on the roof overall. If you don’t have time to read the post on Sub-100lb Class clamshell rooftop tents, no sweat, the consensus is that excessive weight on the roof of your 4Runner is not a good idea for most drivers.

Heavy rooftop tents are for those who camp very often, not daily drivers. After owning four 5th Gen 4Runners, a long travel 2nd Gen Tacoma, a 2022 Badlands Edition 6th Gen Bronco, and a 1988 4Runner, I can tell you that weight is always a battle.

For any off-road or overland build, you should aim for the lightest possible solution all the way around. Yes, all the way down to the jack options, recovery boards, and available accessories.

Your options for lightweight rooftop tents are slim, no pun intended, but the Inspired Overland Rooftop Tent checks many of the much-needed boxes although it still needs quite a bit of work to become a polished product. I have run this tent for 2 full seasons now and have made several updates to the post. At first, the tent was great, however, it’s slowly starting to show intense signs of wear.

Video Overview & Review

1. Cover & Construction

It only weighs 87 lbs. Okay, so what is made of?

The lightweight cover is built from a soft PVC (similar to soft tonneau covers) with a zipper that connects the top cover to the bottom. 

After two full seasons of running the tent, we have had quite a few problems getting the tent to close due to the cheap zippers. The zippers are challenging to close and seem to get caught consistently. After pulling on them for a while, they will break, and after reaching out to Inspired Overland, they recommended purchasing Step 22 upgraded zipper pulls if this happens. In addition to the zipper failure, the zippers continue to catch on the material and will not close easily. It takes a lot of work to get this tent to close which is why you see how much the zipper pulls have buckled.

The PVC material is held together by aluminum crossbars which are covered by thick black stretched fabric on the underside as well. Both materials wrap tightly around the side extrusions to create a very tight fit. Around the outside edge of the top of the tent, there is a rigid piece of plastic that is stitched into the PVC material and underneath material making for a solid top frame. 

The floor is a well-manufactured design that features a handful of extrusions under a stout ABS black plastic coated floor with L-brackets that sandwich the leather material ton more aluminum extrusions. 

2. Windows & Doors

Windows and Doors

The windows feature two layers; the mosquito net and the waterproof 600D polyester oxford fabric. Both windows provide full-length zippers all the way around the opening, although again, the zippers seem to snag and get caught consistently on the material when opening or closing windows. 

The waterproof 600D polyester oxford fabric features UV protection and when zipped down, after waking up in the morning, it was plenty dark – which I like. There are some tents on the market that naturally let in a lot of light. Not this tent. It’s dark inside, even when it’s light.

Each window features air ventilation windows that can be held open using a strong plastic cord within the tent fabric. You’re not going to feel a breeze through these windows but it’s nice to have to prevent moisture build-up in the morning and to generally have a bit of fresh air circulating. The tent also features electrical pass-through openings for the passenger and driver side, definitely a nice touch for constant power, aux lighting, and/or strip lights for camp vibes. 

For running the windows open, both the mosquito net and the main window feature at least 3 bungee eyelets and hooks. In total, this tent has almost 20 bungee eyelets and hook points for whatever configuration you want to run.

3. Memory Foam Mattress

This is one comfy mattress, for what it’s worth.

They feature a 1.5″ memory foam mattress with an anti-condensation pad underneath. The memory foam mattress is firm, like most mattresses you will find on an RTT but this one is actually comfortable. I think what really helps this mattress over the other options I’ve slept on is the anti-condensation pad underneath. The anti-condensation pad is a honey-comb-like sub-mattress that prevents moisture build-up and adds another layer of comfort under the memory foam. 

4. Gas Struts

Light Weight Rooftop Tent

The gas struts are located on the inside of the tent, which is nice as they are protected from the elements, unlike other tents with struts on the outside. The tent opens quickly and the struts are mounted in place using reinforced hardware with multiple anchor points.

5. Main Storage Organizer

The main organizer is attached to four corners using bungees and plastic clips. It’s not under extreme tension so the organizer does sag a bit with extra weight. Simple items like socks, t-shirts, and maybe a hoodie are great candidates for this spot while heavy items are not. The organizer pockets can be removed if you want, just unhook all four corners and store the organizer wherever you want.

Secondary Storage Organizer

The smaller organizer at the top of the window/door is nice for smaller heavy items like an iPhone, or something with a similar weight. This organizer attaches using short bungees and hooks under extreme tension. This smaller pocket can also be removed using the same method; just unhook the plastic clips, remove the bungees and store the organizer wherever you want.

6. Ladder

The tent comes with a telescoping ladder.

What makes the ladder cool though, is its mounting system. The ladder features a latching system that locks the ladder into place using a tubular bar on the ladder that slots into plastic U-shaped brackets on the inside of the tent. This is a very cool mounting system that keeps your ladder in place securely when climbing in and out.

7. Telescoping Poles

The telescoping poles on the inside of the tent can be used for two methods.

First, you can use them as they are truly intended, to add structure and support to the tent when it’s open. The telescoping poles extend out of their housing and latch into place at the top of the tent opening. I think it’s a cool concept but the tent is already pretty stout as it is and I don’t think it’s needed for most occasions. Other than super windy and stormy nights, I wouldn’t find myself using them.

Second, you can use them as a secondary support option for your rain fly. The IO tent front door has two eyelets for the rain fly. You can either use the provided rainfly or the permanently fixed telescoping poles.

Note: In order to lock your ladder into place, you will need to lift one of these telescoping poles out of its plastic u-shaped bracket as that is where the ladder will mount.

8. Rain Fly

The rain fly does not work.

It’s cool to have a rainfly but this one will need some modification if you want the front door/window to stay positioned with tight tension. The challenge with the rain fly on this tent is that the poles come straight out the back and do not sit at an angle. The solution here is to drill new angled holes at 45 degrees or even wider so that the provided rain fly rods put extreme tension on the fabric holding the door/window in place securely.

Final Thoughts

It’s only 87lbs, has a ton of features, and only sets you back $1500 – although the material quality is not the highest.
 
If you’re on a budget and looking for a nice tent, this is an option, however, over a few seasons, expect tears, bent zippers, and a non-working rain fly.
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Jeffrey De Leon
Jeffrey De Leon
4 months ago

I have a toyota highlander 2016 with a factory installed cross bars .. will this work?

Billy Sullivan
Billy Sullivan
7 months ago

Anyone know what wheels/tire setup this one is rocking?

Hong, Sun
Hong, Sun
7 months ago

I got 2023 Honda Odyssey. I better not put your light roof top tent in my minivan?

Tony Roberts
Tony Roberts
9 months ago

Thanks for this honest review. I really wanted this tent to work out over the long term but I think after reading this I am holding out for another light RTT. What other options do you recommend that might be in the $2000 range with maybe higher quality materials? Is there anything out there like that? Other than the GFC Superlite which appears to be out of stock again? thanks

Richard
Richard
11 months ago

So……….how do you buy one? What is the website?

Norm
Norm
1 year ago

I believe the material was stated to be a thicker 1500D and not 600D.

jason
jason
1 year ago

Awesome, they’re sold out. Any idea when they will be back in stock?

Inspiredoverland
Inspiredoverland
1 year ago
Reply to  jason

Saturday March 18th. Will be the last Hot Drop

Andy Thomas
Andy Thomas
1 year ago

The local shop I use has one in their showroom. After I upgrade to a more sturdy roof rack that will be the next purchase! Great video and writeup!

Brenan
Brenan
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Thomas

Thanks Andy!

Memo
Memo
1 year ago

I took it to Baja from the PNW (2500 miles each way), mostly drove on paved roads and 300 miles of offroading. Can’t even tell is on top when driving, paved or offlroading. Light light and slim looking. A little tight inside but for less than $1500 a screaming deal.

Tyler Malmsten
Tyler Malmsten
1 year ago

Just ordered mine can’t wait to take it out there!

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