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CVT Roof Top Tents: Review and Owner QnA

CVT Roof Top Tents: Review and Owner QnA

Cascadia Vehicle Tents (CVT) is a well-known brand in the overlanding and roof top tent (RTT) realm. They produce some of the best RTTs on the market, with products ranging in purpose from casual overnight camping to serious off-road expeditions.

RTTs lend themselves to camping anywhere you can park your vehicle, and imbue many benefits over traditional ground tents. CVT tents embody the spirit of adventure and provide a cozy and comfortable place to sleep, wherever your adventure might lead you.

Now, let’s take a look at the different types of tents that CVT offers…

Soft Shell CVT Tents

All of CVT’s roof top tents are fittingly named after mountains; the taller the mountain, the larger the tent. With the exception of the Mt. Bachelor RTT, each of the models in the soft shell category are available in two series, the Pioneer and the Summit. Both of the series have standard and extended sizes available.

Standard sized tents have a ladder that is outside of the annex, while extended size tents have ladders inside the annex, so you can enter and exit your tent while still being protected from rain or other elements.

The Pioneer Series tents come with 280-gram poly/cotton tent material, an insulated and lightweight aluminum framed floor, a 3-inch high-density foam mattress, and a sliding aluminum ladder.

The Summit Series tents offer more luxury and durability, with 380-gram poly/cotton ripstop tent material, a beefier rainfly, more heavily insulated flooring, and a sleeker telescoping aluminum ladder. Summit Series tents also come equipped with LED lights, built-in USB charging ports, shoe bags, and an anti-condensation mat built in under the mattress, among other luxurious perks.

Regardless of the tent size and style, it will come with a rain fly that is easy to use, simple to pack and unpack, and still provides clear views of your surroundings while keeping you nice and dry.

All of the soft shell RTTs come in three color options, which change slightly based on the tent model but are primarily earthy and natural tones.

Mt. Bachelor

The Mt. Bachelor tent sleeps two and weighs in at just 98 pounds, making it a practical fit for smaller cars or trailers. You can choose to add an optional annex for more space as well. It is a great option for traveling light, especially if you are covering large distances and gas mileage is a concern.

Maggie’s Mt. Bachelor tent looks so cozy! via – Maggie Bradshaw Says.

Mt. Shasta

The Mt. Shasta tent is designed for ‘two plus,’ meaning it can comfortably sleep two adults plus a dog or smaller child, especially if you opt for the extended version. It can still easily fit on all trucks, trailers, and SUVs, as well as most cars. An annex adds extra space beneath the tent for changing, cooking, storing gear, or sleeping.

Mt. Rainier

The Mt. Rainier tent features a California King mattress that can comfortably sleep ‘three plus’ people. Windows and doors are screened and protected by awnings, and the annex provides additional space.

Mt. Denali

Bring the whole family with the Mt. Denali tent, which is designed to sleep ‘four plus.’ This behemoth features the option to divide the tent into two halves, each with their own door and ladder. This way you can essentially have two tents in one, or keep the whole tent open and snuggle up.

A massive annex provides additional room below. Skylights allow for stargazing on nice nights, and, as always, windows and doors are screened and protected with awnings. This tent is quite heavy and large, so you will need a truck, SUV, or trailer to carry it.

Hard Shell CVT Tents

Mt. St. Helens

The only hard shell RTT currently offered by CVT, the Mt. St. Helens sleeps two people comfortably. It features a pop-up design that gives you ample head space throughout the box-shaped tent. You can opt for either an ABS or fiberglass tent construction and choose between manual and electric struts.

This tent has quite a low and streamlined profile when closed, which helps reduce the impact on gas mileage. All of the four windows and doors are screened and have awnings for shade.

Pricing and Wait Time

CVT tents start at $1,175 and range up to around $3,500, depending on the size and series you select. The Mt. St. Helens tent is currently out of stock on the CVT website, but all other tents are available without a wait time. According to one of the CVT tent owners I talked with, you can expect to receive your shipped tent within about a week if you order it online.

Where To Buy

CVT tents are not sold by any other retailers (such as REI or Amazon), so they must be purchased either online, at the Bend, Oregon or Chattanooga, Tennessee CVT stores, or at select offroad and overlanding expo events where CVT is represented.

Types of Vehicles Compatible With CVT Tents

It depends on which size of CVT tent you select. The smaller, lighter tents can be used with nearly any vehicle, from a sedan to a truck, while the larger tents must be mounted on a heavy-duty SUV or truck. Check the weight of the tent you are considering against the Dynamic Weight Capacity of your specific vehicle to determine if it will be suitable. 

The Dynamic Weight Capacity refers to the amount of weight your roof rack (and the roof of your car) can carry while in motion, which is significantly less than what it can carry while not in motion. Most vehicles have a maximum Dynamic Weight Capacity of about 165 pounds, but check with your vehicle’s manufacturer to be sure.

Rich’s Mt. Rainier Summit Series Extended tent. via – @richivey82

Owner Q&A: What 3 CVT Tent Owners Had To Say

I asked three CVT RTT owners – Maggie (@maggiebradshawsays), Rich (@richivey82), and Blaine (@blainestaah) – for some honest feedback on their tents. Here is what they had to say:

1. What model of CVT tent do you have?

Maggie: Mt. Bachelor

Rich: Mt. Rainier Summit Series Extended

Blaine: Mt. Shasta Pioneer Series

How incredible is Blaine’s Mt. Shasta tent?! Oh, and the sky looks pretty cool too 🙂 via – @blainestaah.

2. How/why did you choose this tent over all others?

Maggie: My husband and I wanted a small lightweight tent that wouldn’t look too out of place on our small Subaru Crosstrek. The Mt. Bachelor met that description and CVT seemed like a quality brand that would last us a long time.”

Rich: “My wife and I chose the Rainier due to the size of our family. It’s a king size bed and when both the kids and our two Dobermans go, we’ll add the annex and we have plenty of room.”

Blaine: “I have friends that own CVT tents and all I’ve heard were nothing but good things about them. From the material they use to the durability of the tents. They definitely do not take shortcuts when it comes to the quality of their products.”

3. Have you owned any other RTTs in the past and if so, how did they compare?

Maggie: This is our very first rooftop tent, but we have camped for years with ground tents all over the US. Rooftop tents fit our current travel style much better than ground tents or a small camper trailer or anything like that.”

Rich: “Previously, I’ve owned one of the hard shell CVTs, but it was just a little small for a family of four. That being said, I’ll be adding another hard shell to the collection soon enough. When it’s just myself camping at events or on longer trips that the whole family can’t come on, they really are the best. Between a quick setup and take down, you can’t beat them.”

When in doubt, bring alllll the CVT tents! via – @richivey82.

Blaine: “Yes, I have owned a Yakima SkyRise roof tent in the past. The SkyRise was a good tent but from my experience it was only best for warm weather camping. The CVT is much more comfortable allowing it to withstand an extreme change in weather/temperature like rain and snow.

Also with their durable material, little to no water seeps through the inside of the tent and the insulation in comparison to the Yakima made sleeping much more pleasant. Especially for those wanting to camp in colder seasons.”

4. What are some pros and cons of your CVT tent?

Maggie: Pros of the tent are the easy set up/take down. Being off the potentially wet and muddy or uneven ground is a big bonus as well. The foam mattress in the tent is more comfortable than sleeping pads, and we can leave most of our bedding gear in the tent when stored. Which frees up space inside of our car! 

Cons are that the tent is still pretty large on the roof of the car and affects gas mileage somewhat. Since the tent is attached to the car, we have to break camp every morning when leaving, even if we plan to return to the same site!”

Rich: “Pros: Plenty of room, super comfortable, and having the ladder covered is awesome when the weather sucks. 

Cons: It’s a little big for just one person and the setup time is a little long, especially when installing the annex.”

Blaine: “Some pros about my CVT tent is that it provides two vents on the inside to prevent condensation which I really love because we all know how much it sucks waking up in the morning with water dripping on your face whether you’re in a ground tent or roof tent. Also, the material is amazing! Woke up in snow and didn’t know it was snowing till I peeked outside. So that should explain itself about the material.

I don’t really have cons about my tent. If I had to pick one it would be the ladder that’s provided. I do wish it came with the telescoping ladder for easy and quicker adjustment, but it also isn’t a big deal. They do sell the upgraded ladders on their site so it’s not something that should stop people from purchasing these tents. Overall, I love my tent.”

Blaine has got the ultimate cold weather set up! via – @blainestaah.

5. Was there a wait time when you ordered your tent?

Maggie: There was no wait time for this tent at the time that we purchased it from CVT. It arrived in about a week!”

Rich: “There wasn’t a wait time when I picked mine up. We were at Expo East and they had several tents available.”

Blaine: “No, there was no wait time when I got my CVT tent. I live in Portland, Oregon and lucky for us we have a CVT store located three hours away in Bend, Oregon so that was a plus for me. I was able to drive down to the warehouse and pick it up the same day I decided I wanted my CVT tent.”

6. Do you have any other relevant details or advice you’d like to share?

Maggie: All things considered, the roof tent has been a great addition to our gear and has made our overland trips even more enjoyable! No matter what you drive, what tent or gear you have, get out there and just explore! Turn off the GPS and break out the paper maps, and just drive down some dirt roads. You’ll be so glad you did!”

You can take these bad boys anywhere. via – Maggie Bradshaw Says.

Rich: “I’ve never been a huge fan of the off-road trailers until just recently. Those with a tent on them, are BIG money for shows, events, and trips where you aren’t going to be doing a lot of moving around. I’ll definitely be adding a trailer to the fleet before it’s over with.”

Blaine: “Definitely do your research because we all have different things we like different or do differently with our vehicles. Just because this tent fits for me doesn’t mean it’ll fit for everyone else. Also don’t go cheap. When it comes to these tents you really do get what you pay for and I’ve learned that the hard way.”

Bottom Line: Is a CVT roof top tent worth the investment?

They certainly are. With overwhelming good reviews and positive feedback from the three owners I talked with, CVT tents are certainly some of the best on the market today and they are definitely worth the investment.

Featured image credit (top of post): Maggie Bradshaw Says


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Our 10 Favorite Soft Shell Roof Top Tents

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