After showing the Hardtop One roof-top tent and Room in Room indoor bed tent, South Korea's iKamper is back with yet another innovation in canvas-walled sheltering. Much like the Hardtop One, the new Skycamp is an expandable hard-shell rooftop tent. Its unique design allows it to set up and drop into place ready to sleep a family of four in under 60 seconds. Effectively combining the aerodynamic and toughness advantages of the hard-shell roof-top tent with the added space of a fold-out tent, it provides a clear view of the sky to boot.
Before going any further, we need to make a confession. When we first reported on the Hardtop One, we misunderstood the expansion mechanism it used to increase its floor size, mistakenly believing it used a folding mechanism. But as we learned when we got a firsthand look at Overland Expo West 2016, that model actually uses a slide-out floor panel to increase in size.
The Skycamp, which we also saw previewed at Overland Expo, is the iKamper model that uses a fold-out expansion. Both expansion mechanisms look smooth and easy to use, and both tents' hard shell cases are designed to improve aerodynamics and durability during the ride, while offering super-easy set-up and takedown at camp. iKamper is now making an official Skycamp introduction on Kickstarter.
The problem with hard-shell roof-top tents in general is that their floor space is typically limited to what can fit between the sides of the vehicle, whereas fabric fold-out tents expand at camp. With the Skycamp's expansion system, iKamper gets around this hard-shell tent limitation, offering a rugged, aerodynamic box that folds out into a family-size tent for three adults, or two adults and two children.
iKamper says the tent takes less than a minute to set up. You start by unlatching it and popping the clamshell top open, before pulling the telescoping ladder out and dropping the fold-out extension down. Then, well, that's it. You can get to relaxing around the campsite.
The Skycamp features a clamshell design in which the hard roof folds to the side and acts as a tent wall. This differs from the Hardtop One's top, which pops straight up and serves as a roof. The Skycamp's configuration allows for a bonus feature: a transparent "skyview" panel in the roof canvas, providing a view of the stars as you lie in bed.