The roof top tent game was not for us, at least not the $1000 roof top tents-the “cheap ones”. We have historically used a backpacking tent more than anything else in our off-road adventures and that worked fine. The backpacking tent is likely the best compromise between setup time, durability, cost, and storage requirements. As we have traveled and met others that camp a lot and are tough on their gear, we have come across an interesting tent and decided to give it a go- the Oztent RX5.
Oztent RX5 Canvas Touring Tent
The Oztent RX5 is a canvas tent designed in Australia to withstand the rigors of the outback while still setting up in only minutes. We got our hands on a second-hand RX5 to try out and see if it is the right tent for us and took it out on a weekend of camping in Arkansas. We opted for a campground weekend instead of a wild campsite in the woods as we haven’t dialed in this setup all too well. Our sleeping system is a simple and cheap air mattress.
Oztent claims that their RX5 will set up in thirty seconds and technically, they are correct. From the roof rack to a pitched tent is around thirty seconds, which is not bad at all. I mention removing it from the roof rack because the tent body is long, like six and a half feet long (~2 meters). Be careful when bringing the tent bag off of the roof as it weighs nearly sixty pounds (27.2 kg) and it is awkward the first couple of times. For this trip we hauled the Oztent on the stock crossbars of our GX470 and it worked, but not well. A full-length roof rack is needed to reliably and comfortably haul the Oztent off-road.
Once popped up, the Oztent can be guyed out in a number of ways with an impressive number of guy lines and attachment points. After the first setup, it is obvious that this tent pops up super quick for camping in pleasant conditions and can be further fortified for windy and rainy weather. Commit 15-30 minutes to completely set up the RX5 from the roof rack to completely up with the rainfly.
The front awning nearly doubles the living space and has all of the attachments for the RX5 attachment room, creating essentially two massive spaces that are fully enclosed. We obviously have no need for that, but we will enjoy the shade and weather cover of the front porch.
The inside is cavernous with plenty of room for 3-4 people on sleeping pads and two people to stay very comfortably on an air mattress or a set of cots. Each side of the tent has an internally closing window and the back wall and ceiling sport massive windows with mesh for insects. The front of the tent has plenty of standing room for shedding gear or bundling up for a cold day. The front door has a canvas door and a no see um mesh door for insects. The floor is a tough tub-style floor that looks incredibly durable.
Our weekend in the Oztent was pleasant and comfortable and we are already planning changes to make our next trip better including the addition of a couple of cots arranged with a center aisle in the middle of the tent. On the hot summer day that we tested the RX5, the windows were a game changer and provided a ton of cross breeze to keep things cool. We slept comfortably and had plenty of room for all of our gear.
My initial impression of the Oztent RX5 is that it will make a fantastic base camp tent if we plan to stay for a while. The jury is still out on if I will enjoy the heft of the packed tent, but time will tell. The overall build quality of the product is amazing. All of the guy lines, stakes, poles, and tent material are top-notch and exactly what you would expect from a top-of-the-line tent that retails for $1500 USD.