What a better time to post up a tent review than right before Labor day. Needless to say, our days of camping on the ground are going to be brought to a minimum now that we have a Cascadia Vehicle Tents (CVT) roof top tent.
As you may know we recently purchased a micro Dinoot trailer to pull behind our Suzuki Sidekick, “the Teal Terror.” Part of the reason for the purchase was so we could mount a roof top tent (RTT for short) onto the unit. Roof top tents are great for traveling, since they’re mounted to the rack on a vehicle or a small trailer. They’re quick and easy to setup and take down, good in foul weather, and let you camp off of the ground where you don’t have to worry as much about water, mud, or bumpy, uncomfortable ground.
As with most of our camping gear, we did quite a bit of research before buying a RTT. Since the tent would be going on our little trailer, size and weight were our two first priorities. Of course durability, quality, and price were important, and we wanted to buy from a company that was a known entity, and not a fly-by-night tent importer (nearly all tents are made overseas). All of these traits led us to Bend, Oregon-based Cascadia Vehicle Tents, also known as CVT. And while the company may not be as well-known as other tent names on the market, it is developing a strong following among campers, adventurers, and overlanders. The company’s new Mt. Bailey tent, which weighs 96 lbs. and is 48”x48”x11” when closed for transport, was just the right size for our Dinoot trailer, and could even be mounted to our Subaru or Suzuki’s roof racks. And since CVT is based in Oregon, we were able to drive down and pickup our tent, which saved us shipping.
Bobby Culpepper, the owner at CVT, was nice enough to let us install the tent at his facility so we could transport it back to Portland on the trailer—a three-hour drive. There is a bit of assembly required, and CVT actually includes 10mm and 13mm wrenches with the tent. You will need a drill with a Philips Head bit, however. Although the tents usually include instructions, ours was missing. No worries, though, Bobby provided us with a manual. We also found some on the Internet, too.
Next we affixed the included extendable ladder to the tent base and bolted it to the frame. The ladder has two functions: One is to create leverage to help open the tent. The other is to, of course, get into the tent. From here, we installed the zippered black PVC cover onto the tent and headed back to Portland.
Once we got home, we had to set the tent up and check it out. Setup is extremely simple. Remove the zippered cover, extend the aluminum ladder, then using the ladder as a lever, tilt the tent open. Think of it as a giant inhabitable pop-up book. You adjust the ladder to its correct height, make sure it’s at the correct angle to where it’ll support the tent base, and setup the window awnings.
The Mt. Bailey tent has four openings. The two side windows have zippered screens and zippered clear plastic windows, which allow the tent to do well in rainy or snowy conditions. However, you can also have the windows completely open, even without screens for a more open-air experience. The main entry by the ladder has a zippered screen and zippered canvas cover allowing for either good airflow or a nice bit of privacy. The opposite end has the same setup.
Most roof top tents end up on, well, roof tops. Since ours is so close to the ground on our small trailer, the ladder is actually a bit long—the opposite issue of most RTT users who have their tents on lifted SUVs. While the ladder still works, it needs to be adjusted and have new holes drilled at the most compressed position. We will likely upgrade to a telescoping ladder ($125 via CVT), which should remedy any issue.
We packed the tent away by taking the awning rods out, putting them into the included bag, and tossing said bag into the tent. We folded everything up and put the cover on, which was very easy and quick.
OUR FIRST NIGHT
We stayed on our friend’s property outside of Issaquah, Washington last weekend, where we were able to use the tent for the first time. Frankly, I can’t remember being this excited to sleep in a tent.
We used our sleeping bags in the tent and found the combination of sleeping bag and foam mattress to be comfortable, even though there is only 48” of width. For comparison’s sake, this width is in between a twin bed (39”) and a full bed (54”). I’m a side sleeper and Mercedes is a back sleeper, and we both had enough of room. Let’s put it this way: You’d better like the person you’re with in the tent because it is cozy.
We left the trailer attached to the Suzuki this night, as we weren’t sure how secure we’d feel with the tent mounted on our small trailer, but it proved to be stable. That being said, when your tentmate turns over, there is a little movement—nothing spooky, but just enough that it takes a bit of getting used to. Of course, you always want to have the vehicle or trailer mounted on level ground.
After getting home we decided to set the tent up to ensure it had dried out from the dewy morning. We decided to time how long it took to completely set the tent up. From start to finish, we clocked 3.5 minutes. Not bad! I’d bet that we could knock another 45 seconds off of that pretty easily.
We found the CVT Mt. Bailey tent is the perfect size for our compact camping adventures. It’s comfortable, durable, convenient, and easy to setup and take down. With an overall weight of only 96 lbs., it’s ideal for those looking for a light, small roof top tent option. We can’t wait to use it again, and look forward to seeing how it does in a variety of other weather conditions.
Cascadia Vehicle Tents Mt. Bailey
Size: 48"W x 96"L x 45"Ht. (Open) Actual sleeping footprint
Size: 48"W x 48"L x 11" Ht. (Closed)
Weight: 96lbs - Will hold up to 450 lbs
Base: Aluminum frame, joists, sheets and insulated foam
Internal frame: 3/4" aluminum
Ladder: Sliding adjustable aluminum ladder
Fabric: 280g Poly/Cotton Rip Stop Fabric. W/P PU coating, Breathable and Mold Resistant with UV Protection
Rain Fly: 420D Poly/Oxford PU
Mattress: High density foam 2.5" thick
Travel Cover: Heavy duty PVC
Cascadia Vehicle Tents
545 SE Bridgeford Blvd #140
Bend, Oregon 97702