When we first encountered Santa Cruz, California, rooftop-tent company Tepui at Summer Outdoor Retailer a few years back, we were smitten. Having a tent fixed to the roof of your car that you can pop up and crash in at the end of the day—with several feet of separation from all those creepy-crawlies on the ground—gave new meaning to the term car camping. (Of course, sleeping on top of your rig has been around for years, but it’s really caught on of late with the U.S. overlanding crowd.)
In 2016, Tepui debuted the Zipper Gimp system, a closure that runs along the bottom of the fly and allows the canopy to be removed—for example, to ship back to Tepui for repairs or to install a different model while using the same base. At first that system was available only on the Baja Kukenam, Tepui’s most popular tent. Now, beginning with its 2018 line, the Zipper Gimp is a standard feature.
That means that, if you purchase any Tepui model, you can swap in a mesh Baja series canopy for road trips in hot, dry weather or the 600-denier, water-resistant Explorer canopy if storms are forecasted. We got to check out several of Tepui’s new tents at Outdoor Retailer Demo Day at Confluence and Commons Parks in Denver.
It’s a small addition, but one that should help overlanders and car campers get more enjoyment and versatility out of their tents. And it could draw more campers to rooftop shelters, making the $1,200-plus investment more approachable.
Tepui’s interchangeable canopies are available now.