Back in 2017, Korean startup iKamper changed the rooftop tent (RTT) landscape with a tent that packs into a hard-shell case but still folds out into a four-person space at camp. Now, another Korean startup has a different idea on how to best create an expandable hard-top tent that brings space for the whole family. The new TEDpop tent packs dual fold-out wings to create a more balanced, symmetrical layout with two separate entries and windows all around.
IKamper has been the most visible expandable hardshell manufacturer we’ve seen, but several other companies, including Roofnest, Torro Offroad and Bushbuck Outdoors, have similar designs that combine the aerodynamics and ease of setup of a hardshell RTT with the added space of a folding expander.
The standard formula for fold-out hard-shell RTTs is to have a strut-assisted hard top that folds to the side, uncovering the folding expansion that drops down to hang over the side of the car, supported by the entry ladder. Such tents work quite similarly to a soft-sided fold-out RTT but end up with a smaller expansion and a single lean to-like hard wall, like so:
For its debut product, TEDS (The Expedition Dream Sustained) seeks to improve the hard-shell rooftop tent yet again. It calls the TEDpop the world’s first pop-up dual-expandable RTT, and while we’ve learned never to dub a camping or RV product a “world first,” we will say the TEDpop has the first layout of this kind we’ve come across.
Instead of opening to the side, the TEDpop roof lifts straight up via gas-strut-actuated lifts at each corner. The user simply begins to lift the hard cover, and the hardware takes over to raise the roof fully open. The user then folds out the left and right floor panels to complete the full RTT floor.
TEDS suggests its tent can sleep up to five people, which would rival even the largest, highest-capacity soft-sided folding rooftop tents, but the TEDpop’s 73 x 83-in (185 x 211-cm) sleeping area is actually slightly smaller than the 77 x 83-in (196 x 211-cm) sleeping area of the two-adult/two-child-sized iKamper Skycamp and well smaller than a soft-sided four-/five-sleeper like the 88 x 95-in (224 x 241-cm) floor of the Treeline Outdoors Redwood Constellation.
The lack of a hard-shell wall might free up some interior volume, but the five-person claim still seems like a stretch. It looks and specs like a three-/four-sleeper tent to us, but campers and families will ultimately have to decide for themselves if it’s large enough for their specific needs.
While TEDS dual-expansion design doesn’t increase overall floor space, it does create a more balanced tent that’s centered on the vehicle rather than hanging off one side. TEDS takes advantage of this symmetry by offering a handy feature you don’t see on the average hard-shell or soft-shell tent: dual entries with available left and right ladders. Ground tent manufacturers strive to add separate entries to make it easier for occupants to get in and out of the tent, and TEDS brings that convenience to the rooftop tent market.
TEDS also uses the four canvas sidewalls to create a 360-degree array of windows – and windows always make sleeping in a tent or camper better. We initially thought the hard-shell roof would eliminate any chance of a skylight, but TEDS adds a transparent panel to the fabric roof over the extended floor panel so campers don’t miss out on starry night views.
TEDS’ dual-wing design comes with some potential disadvantages. The four lifts at the corners take up more space than the more streamlined hardware of other expanding hard-shells and require the expansion panels to taper inward from the width of the main central floor so that they fit between the lifts when folded. This tapering cuts off two inches of width on the fold-out floor sections, which measure roughly 71 in (180 cm) wide. It looks like these factors might make bed positioning a little more particular and less comfortable, but that’d take some hands-on testing to know for sure.
The more complex lifts and dual hinged floor panels also create more moving components that will be subject to the wear and tear of regular setup and breakdown.
TEDS packs its poly-cotton canvas tent body between a composite/aluminum honeycomb-panel floor and ABS hardshell cover. It says that its canvas provides water-repellent, air-permeable performance that keeps the weather out while preventing inside condensation. The top of the aluminum base plate is covered in an insulating material to further prevent condensation. The rain flies over the entries, windows and corners are made from polyester.
The closed TEDpop tent measures 90 x 50 x 14 in (228 x 127 x 36 cm) and weighs roughly 176 lb (80 kg).
TEDS is hosting a Kickstarter campaign for the TEDpop RTT and has already sped past its US$20K goal to raise over $230,000. The lowest-priced early birds are all spoken for, but the TEDpop tent is still available for pledge levels starting at $3,290, a markdown from the planned $4,190 retail. The tent comes with a single ladder, and the second ladder is available as a $95 add-on. The campaign includes free shipping to the US, EU, Canada, Oceania and South Korea, and deliveries will start in September 2021 if all moves along as planned.