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We started our trip in Wyoming at a nearby state park. It was still summer at lower altitudes, but the fall colors were out in full force at Gowdy.
The first night’s sleep in a hard shell rooftop tent was significantly better than sleeping in your standard tent, and we instantly saw what the hype was about.
The next day we started our journey south and tried to find a campsite in Colorado on the way to Taos.
We tried to find a campsite, but this was peak season and everything in the area was completely booked. The greatest thing about having the roof tent was that we could pull off on a forest road and camp wherever overnight parking was allowed.
You just can’t beat the convenience of sleeping anywhere you can drive.
This was where we started to see a few problems with our tent:
- On our way back to our campsite, we saw the best spot in the park open up. If we were going to get it, we had to move quick.
- But when we tried to break down our tent, the fabric balooned out to the sides and it took two of us going around the sides and stuffing in the fabric while the other person held the roof up. The time consuming process almost cost us our campsite.
This was the problem that started our idea for a total tent redesign.
We left Taos and drove all night to get to Crystal Cove State Park in LA/Laguna Beach. We spent more time than anticipated exploring Taos and were meeting some friends in California, so we needed to stay on schedule.
Crystal Cove was the first time we camped in a humid location and the condensation was out of control.
This is where we got the idea for an air mesh layer to prevent condensation in our future hard shell rooftop tent design.
We drove along scenic Highway 1 and took in the beauty of the California coastline. We found a car camping spot near Big Sur to pop open our tents for the night.
We woke up in the morning and bumped our heads on the corner space of the rooftop tent. This made us think — what if there was a hinge that opened up the corner of the tent for more room?
We stopped in San Francisco to camp at a spot that overlooked the Golden Gate bridge. The next morning, we drove off into the forests of Northern California and into Oregon.
KG began to sketch out ideas for the hinge of our future RTT model. But fixing this issue is complicated — it’s not just a question of changing the angle so you have headspace. The fabric on a clamshell angle is easy. As soon as you change the angle, the fabric gets pulled, and it has to fit when it’s closed and opened.
To fix that, we decided we wanted to add a stretch panel to the fabric.
The further north we drove, the colder it got. Crater Lake National Park was covered in snow, and we realized another perk of RTT camping over ground tents— Insulation
We knew we had to maintain that the level of insulation with our future tent design, and got to work brainstorming materials.
For our penultimate stop, we camped near the river, took a hike to explore the area, and KG cooked up a gourmet campfire meal.
The tents are still a new sight for some, and we met a lot of people along the way that were interested in rooftop tents and the comfort and freedom they provide.
The trip made us realize RTT camping is the best way to camp. And we knew we could make them even better; we already had the plans drawn out. From then on Intrepid was born.