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My home made tailgate tent for a 5' bed

Discussion in '3rd Gen. Tacomas (2016+)' started by Johnny Cheese, Sep 9, 2021.

  1. Sep 9, 2021 at 1:13 PM
    #1
    Johnny Cheese

    Johnny Cheese [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I don't trust rooftop tents. I don't like the weight, price, wind vulnerability, impact on mph and the overall clumsiness of the setup. Did I mention price?

    So I researched tailgate tents and the only one that would work with my Softtopper is this one:

    https://www.amazon.com/DAC-Dac-Mid-...keywords=tailgate+tent&qid=1631215107&sr=8-10

    $180, will also flap in the breeze and doesn't wrap around the tailgate, so no mosquito protection.

    I am by no means a DIY type of guy, actually I suck at it. But I think what I came up with is superior. Also, total the cost, apart from some painful hours spent sewing, was somewhere between $30 and $40.

    I am sure that most folks could do a much better job than I did because I truly have more than 2 thumbs when it comes to this kind of stuff.

    Needed material:
    6'x8' tarp $12
    bunch of dirt cheap bungees $6
    heavy duty zipper $12 (got 2 left)
    a few feet of gorilla tape, outdoors thread, needle suited for sail work.

    this is what it looks like folded up (shoe for size reference)folded.jpg

    bungees needed (YMMV, this is the setup that worked for me)

    bungees.jpg

    ready for , eh, pitching
    ready.jpg

    draped and secured to the wheel well (It's super easy to set up in wind, much easier than a tent)
    draped.jpg

    sides made mosquito proof. Not sure it would work in Alaska; it did in the Sierras next to a lake.
    side.jpg

    secured underneath the tailgate - there's probably 27 ways to skin that cat. Just make sure it wraps around.
    under.jpg

    Voila!
    open.jpg

    Now there's room for 2 6' people to sleep. Set up takes less than 5 min, break down I'd guess about half of that.

    We inadvertently rain- tested it because during the one outing we had with it this summer (just one due to the fecking fires) we got the downpour from hell. Half the people left during that night and the zipper only let in a few sprinkles. The Softopper was actually worse, since I hadn't rain proofed the seams yet. But all the moisture collected in the profile of the bed liner, so our mats didn't even get wet.

    So - almost idiot proof assembly, $40 plus a few hours of work = something that beats the crap out of a RTT in terms of value per dollar. Here's hoping that I'll save some serious low-budget car camper some serious dollars.
     
  2. Sep 9, 2021 at 1:23 PM
    #2
    GOTSAND?18

    GOTSAND?18 Well-Known Member

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    stock
    U know softopper has one that attaches to the back of the softopper .
     
  3. Sep 9, 2021 at 1:29 PM
    #3
    Timmcc02

    Timmcc02 Well-Known Member

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    You could probably make this one from topper lift work also

    EA212259-3392-4BCC-87FF-1A19384FF4ED.jpg
     
  4. Sep 9, 2021 at 1:40 PM
    #4
    Johnny Cheese

    Johnny Cheese [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Yes, that's the one I mentioned. They just re-sell with a top extension and it costs more.
     
    .45 Calibear likes this.
  5. Sep 9, 2021 at 1:43 PM
    #5
    Johnny Cheese

    Johnny Cheese [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Looks like it might work for a Softopper, but what's the price? I also don't see any advantages - it sure wouldn't be as easy to get in an out.
    edit: is it mosquito proof?
     
  6. Sep 9, 2021 at 1:50 PM
    #6
    JeffRuz

    JeffRuz New Member

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    I like it! Simple, cheap as dirt, and does the job.
     
  7. Sep 9, 2021 at 1:58 PM
    #7
    MJTH

    MJTH PretenderLander

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    Hell yeah buddy! I like it
     
  8. Sep 9, 2021 at 2:08 PM
    #8
    slowpoke16taco

    slowpoke16taco Well-Known Member

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    Nice. You could've probably used one of these zippers too:

    upload_2021-9-9_14-7-47.jpg
     
    Malvolio likes this.
  9. Sep 9, 2021 at 2:10 PM
    #9
    bursthead

    bursthead Well-Known Member

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    That’s what I got for camping. It’s not waterproof
     
  10. Sep 9, 2021 at 2:11 PM
    #10
    Johnny Cheese

    Johnny Cheese [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I looked into that.
    2 problems:
    - zipper is way too long. It has to be around 4', or it wraps around the top bar so you won't be able to close it. Can't cut a zipper to size...
    - zipper is crap. You do want a high quality one.

    I need to clarify: I got a zipper that is used for boat tarps. It's waaaay strong. I secured that to the tarp (a grommeted one, kind of obvious) with gorilla tape. I stitched through that because the tape will slip when it gets hot. I put additional tape on top of the places that looked iffy.

    Mind - I really do suck at this. I can hardly drive a nail straight. This is probably the most successful DIY project of my life, and I am not young. There is probably tons of room for improvement. I am not particularly proud of my execution but I wanted to give people the idea.
    I hate the thought that some will spend $2000+ on a shitty RTT when something better can be done for virtually nothing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2021
  11. Sep 9, 2021 at 2:12 PM
    #11
    Lawfarin

    Lawfarin Who me?

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    .

     
  12. Sep 9, 2021 at 2:50 PM
    #12
    Timmcc02

    Timmcc02 Well-Known Member

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    I think when I got it it was 300. Mosquito proof only if there are no gaps in the Velcro when you put it up
     
  13. Sep 9, 2021 at 2:53 PM
    #13
    Johnny Cheese

    Johnny Cheese [OP] Well-Known Member

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    No, real life is a shit job, fat whiny wife and high blood pressure. Also car payments for a Tacoma you can't afford.
     
    auskip07 and Lawfarin[QUOTED] like this.
  14. Sep 9, 2021 at 2:55 PM
    #14
    Johnny Cheese

    Johnny Cheese [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I totally would have paid up for something of quality that works. Talk about freedom of choice...
     
  15. Sep 9, 2021 at 3:01 PM
    #15
    Backdoc

    Backdoc Well-Known Member

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    Looks like it will work. I bought a cheap tent from Napier. I like it because it has a fly and it has a floor in it. Probably not going to last for years but it is what it is for $150.64883075360__8AA36EB3-0672-4401-BC42-87C900ABB549.jpg IMG_5202 (1).jpg
     
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  16. Sep 9, 2021 at 3:09 PM
    #16
    Johnny Cheese

    Johnny Cheese [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Pretty good, Backdoc, but it wouldn't work for me because I do need the topper on most times.
    I usually got a lot of stuff in the back that needs to be be dust protected and dust is a way of life where I live. Also, it would not have protected us from the totally unplanned for storm the way the Softopper did.

    But yeah, it was a consideration. Believe me, I do not build when I can buy.
     
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  17. Sep 9, 2021 at 6:30 PM
    #17
    CT Yankee

    CT Yankee Well-Known Member

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    Only aesthetic mods so far Leer 180 cap & Clazzio covers on order.
    Love the creativity that went into this. Good job!
    But I'll take my Access Cab 6' bed with a Leer 180 over this. The 180 has a roof rack for long stuff when I need it.
    Have a 110v air pump that the bed outlet can handle. I throw my air mattress, a sleeping bag and pillow into the back and I'm all set.
    AND I can lock it from the inside with a creative bracket.
     
  18. Sep 10, 2021 at 4:15 AM
    #18
    grandpawmoses

    grandpawmoses Dirty Old Man

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    You guys are glamping with those.
    Here's my tent, my stove, my boat, and my bathroom:
    3bca03224e4e492efffe381dc344560b.jpg 1258248c049fb6abca23cd68009070e1.jpg ceb1d4f374829f81bf9e2f9e606fa89a.jpg f1c69a53003783fa3a53389bae59ca92.jpg
     
  19. Sep 10, 2021 at 4:45 AM
    #19
    Buck Henry

    Buck Henry Well-Known Member

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    Kudo's to OP for doing something creative and fun! Having said that; whatever happened to buying a tent that goes on the ground? I guess I don't understand this obsession with sleeping in the back of a very small truck bed?
     
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  20. Sep 10, 2021 at 9:25 AM
    #20
    Johnny Cheese

    Johnny Cheese [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Sure I got a tent, actually more than one, but those are for backpacking. As much as the truck bed may seem very small to you it is luxury compared to the lightweight tents. Neither one would have withstood the rainstorm I mentioned and you probably know what fun it is to pitch and break a tent in the rain.
    Also, there are a number of places I have spent the night at where a tent is much less convenient that the back of a truck or car. Parking lot, rocky trail head, soggy meadow, sand...
     

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