There’s an enormous number of reasons the iKamper Skycamp was the most successful tent in Kickstarter history, raising over 2.3 million dollars.
From the start, it should be noted I am not selling roof top tents. This is an independent review of the iKamper Skycamp: Rocky Black Edition.
Spoiler alert: the iKamper Skycamp is incredible. It’s everything we hoped for in a roof top tent, and more. If you’re one of those people who just wants to get to the bottom of it quickly…go out and get one. You won’t regret it.
We purchased our Rocky Black Edition iKamper Skycamp through Lee Hoffman at Altitude Industries on Sept. 18, 2018. Since that time, we’ve traveled all over the United States, a bit through Canada, and even deep into the interior of Mexico and all throughout the Baja Peninsula of Mexico.
I wanted to wait until we had sufficient use of our iKamper Skycamp to offer a thoughtful review. Please don’t hesitate to comment at the end of the article with any questions you have.
Why We Chose the iKamper Skycamp
We knew we wanted a family-friendly roof top tent that would be used frequently, but we sat down to intentionally make a full list of requirements. Here’s what we came up with:
- Fast deployment time
- Fast stowage time
- Sleeping capacity for at least three
- Reasonable price
- Extended durability
- Suitability for off-roading
- High level of comfort
- Available accessories
- Shipping and installation
We looked at a myriad of roof top tents online and quite a few in person, as we narrowed down our decision. Though the iKamper Skycamp wasn’t the best across all our requirements, it was the clear stand-out that scored highest overall on the priority list we created.
So we pulled the trigger, and are we ever glad we did.
Note: If you’re still in the process of searching for a roof top tent, I highly recommend you read this article I wrote on How to Choose an Overlanding Roof Top Tent Setup. if you follow my instructions in the above article, you’ll create your own priority list for what your needs are in a roof top tent. This will help you make an informed decision you’ll be happy with for years to come.
If you’re just interested in the iKamper Skycamp, then read on.
What to Expect: Specs
The Rocky Black edition iKamper Skycamp is one of the best, if not the best, family-friendly roof top tents on the market as of this writing.
The Rocky Black Edition iKamper Skycamp:
- Deploys in 45 seconds – This is unreal, but true.
- Stows in under two minutes – Also incredible, but true.
- Sleeps up to four people – three adults comfortably, or two adults and two children.
- Features a king-sized mattress.
- Has a protective texture-lined hardshell designed for overlanding.
- Locks for security.
- Has four openings (main, two windows, Skyview window).
- Openings feature a canvas cover, vinyl cover, and mesh cover.
Unless you’ve done it already, buyers often don’t realize the importance of setup and breakdown times. Believe me when I tell you this consideration is critical to a fun camping experience overall.
More practically, setup and stowage are important for those times when you need to run into town for something. Because your tent is on your vehicle, the ability to move when needed is something to be cognizant of as you make your decision about which roof top tent is right for your family.
Also note the entire iKamper Skycamp can be set up and stowed by one person. This is critical in case of an emergency. Both my wife and I have deployed and stowed our tent by ourselves before.
More interesting facts about the iKamper Skycamp:
- It will fit on most vehicles (see note below).
- The normal iKamper Skycamp weighs in at 160 pounds (72 kg). Our Rocky Black Edition adds an additional 10-15 pounds (4.5-6.8 kg). However, the newer versions of the Rocky Black now weigh the same as the gloss tents at 160 pounds (72 kg). The newer version skips the fiberglass gelcoat and applies the bedliner straight to the fiberglass. So they basically trade the weight of the gelcoat for the liner coating, which in effect allows you to have your cake and eat it, too.
- The rain fly can be rolled up when not in use, which allows for extra ventilation. This makes the Skyview window wide open, perfect for stargazing.
- The hardshell is made of fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) and has a double layer which gives it extra insulation and strength. (Most roof top tents only have one layer on their shell.) Not only that, but the double layer has about one inch of air between the shells. This means you get insulation value built right in. Also, less heat will build up while driving with the tent on, with nearly no chance of condensation on the inside of the shell. This is why the iKamper doesn’t need a ventilation fan like so many other competitors on the market. They pretty much thought of everything in the design.
- The iKamper Skycamp floor is made of honeycomb aluminum, giving it extra strength and durability while keeping the weight of the tent down.
- The tent portion itself is made of breathable, water-resistant poly-cotton canvas. In English that means it’s more breathable, and will keep you warmer and dry. And because it’s thick, it’ll be quieter in general.
- The tent “skin” is detachable. This is important because if you are a hardcore camper like us, you can replace just the skin after a few years of abuse on the trails. Or it can be removed, serviced, and put back on. No need to get a new roof top tent. Read: thousands in savings.
- Okay, a note on “It will fit on most vehicles.” The truth is, it will. However, you’ll want to double-check before you place your order. It is more about the rack than the vehicle. This is where Lee Hoffman at Altitude Industries comes in. I cannot recommend him highly enough. He’s installed these tents on practically every type of vehicle they can be installed on. If you have a question, just call him. He’s not salesy and will shoot you straight. He can be reached at 303-847-1109 via talk/text or via email at email@example.com.
Lee is the one we went through for our purchase. He was so good that we drove to Colorado just to have him install our tent and roof rack.
➡️ Keep reading: Neverending Story: Our Overlanding Jeep Build
From the mountains of Colorado, to the bayous of Louisiana, to canyons deep in the interior of Mexico, to remote beaches on the Baja Peninsula, we’ve put our iKamper Skycamp to the test–and then some.
We’ve scratched it on off-road trails, scraped it on tree branches, bumped it over huge boulders and rocky terrain, and let it bake in the scorching sun.
We’ve seriously abused it.
When it comes to weather, we’ve enjoyed sublime days, as well as endured high winds, rains, hail, and sub-freezing temperatures.
The iKamper has not let us down. Not once.
Coming in at around $4,000, the iKamper Skycamp Rocky Black Edition was a significant investment in our overlanding arsenal. But it’s one of those purchases we look back and smile about, knowing we made the right call.
When we arrive at a campsite or some off-grid location, we’re completely set up with our iKamper Skycamp in 45 seconds. If we’re using our Rhino-Rack Batwing awning, then we’re completely set up in 2.5 minutes.
Think about your current adventures and how long it takes you to set up and break down camp.
To give you an idea, at Overland Expo East 2018, we arrived in a convoy of 38 other overlanding vehicles at the campground–all at the same time. We were completely set up in about 2.5 minutes, while wrangling our one-year-old son. Others, who had high-end overlanding set ups, were still taking the covers off the tent when we were already finished, sitting in our chairs.
We opted for a few accessories, some exclusive to Altitude Industries. But we’re extremely pleased with all the items we ended up with.
We chose the following accessories:
- iKamper Skycamp annex: It only takes six minutes to set up, on average. Attaches to the iKamper Skycamp with the use of a zipper, poles, and guy ropes ($690).*
- iKamper vinyl rain canopy: Allows us to keep the front of the tent open for views and ventilation when it is raining, while keeping the interior of the tent dry ($59).
- iKamper shoe rack: Allows for the storage of shoes on your way up the ladder to the tent. This way you aren’t tracking dirt and mud into the tent on days when the weather isn’t cooperating, and your shoes are away from creepy-crawlies on the ground ($59).
- Anti-theft mounting brackets: Keeps your iKamper Skycamp locked onto your roof rack ($110).
- Altitude Industries exclusive bedding net kit: Allows you to store your bedding and pillows in the iKamper Skycamp when you are closing your tent. Yep, you don’t need to store those in the vehicle. We keep two sleeping bags (double and single) in our iKamper Skycamp at all times ($60).
- Altitude Industries exclusive LED lighting and power kit: A simple cord plugs into a 12V outlet in your vehicle and allows you to have LED lighting on the inside and outside of the iKamper Skycamp. It provides USB power as well as 12V power inside the tent ($125).
*In 2020, we sold our iKamper Skycamp annex and opted instead for the tapered extensions with doors from Rhino Rack. There were several reasons for this change.
- The iKamper Annex was awesome, but it took up a huge footprint in our load-out and was heavier than the Rhino Rack option.
- We found because we move so frequently, we weren’t using the annex as much as we thought we would.
- The Rhino Rack option is more configurable, faster to set up and take down, and we had more storage options in the Jeep rather than one big annex bag.
- Rhino Rack became one of our gear sponsors.
We’ve used every one of these accessories and they’ve all held up well to the abuse we throw at our equipment. Remember, we travel full-time. So this isn’t weekend camping we’re talking about. This is constant use and abuse.
Final Thoughts on the iKamper Skycamp
As you can tell, we love our iKamper Skycamp. We’ve enjoyed many nights in it with astounding views, in locations all over North America.
The iKamper Skycamp is comfortable and spacious. I’m a side sleeper and the mattress pad has never given me any pain. As a matter of fact, some of my best nights of sleep have been in this tent.
I mentioned this earlier, but if you’re seriously considering picking up one of these units, then do yourself a favor and contact Lee at Altitude Industries. It’s worth the drive to Colorado to have your equipment installed by someone who knows what they’re doing. Also, it’s a great part of the country to test a tent after you have it installed.
Adventure awaits! We know; we live this life on the daily.
It’s refreshing to be able to recommend a product without any “cons.” Some people might say that yes, there are “cons.” The price and the storing of the tent are the two we’ve heard most from others who’ve considered the iKamper Skycamp.
But my belief is the following:
1. You get what you pay for. Buy once, cry once. Yes, it’s more expensive than other roof top tents on the market. But find me a hardshell roof top tent that does everything the iKamper Skycamp does at a more affordable price, with the same quality build, and we’ll talk. Also when you divide the number of nights we’ve spent in our iKamper by the amount we paid, we’ve clearly made the most of our investment.
2. Storing isn’t an issue for us, as it hasn’t left the roof of our Jeep since it was installed. Having said that, I can see this would be a consideration for those not intending to leave the tent on the vehicle. In this case, at least it weighs under 175 pounds (80kg), and can be moved on and off the vehicle fairly easily. With that said, if you don’t want to offload the tent, then you don’t really need to.
We highly recommend this tent for your consideration, without reservation. Let us know if you end up getting one!