automobile camping: from collapsible A-frame tents to hard-sided carbon fiber campers

automobile camping: from collapsible A-frame tents to hard-sided carbon fiber campers

roof tents made their first appearance in the 1930s, as conventional ridge-pole structures fastened on the roof of automobiles, spreading out into comfortable sleeping spots, or collapsing into compact packages when not in use. one classic example of this camping device is featured on the converted 1949 willys jeep station wagon camper that was auctioned off by RM sotheby’s auction house in may 2021. since its appearance on the iconic van model, the rooftop tent accessory has now evolved into a durable, waterproof structure, erected and taken down quickly using a simple crank-operated cantilevers or automatic control systems. one of the most advanced iterations of this camping add-on can be observed on the redtail overland RT camper, showcasing a high-tech, carbon fiber, hard-sided rooftop tent with a full electrical system and heater. 

automobile camping: from collapsible A-frame tents to the world's first hard-sided carbon fiber camper
the 1949 willys ‘jeep’ station wagon
image courtesy of RM sotheby’s

 

 

the 1949 willys jeep station wagon camper that was recently auctioned off by RM sotheby’s is an old-school classic camper van with a collapsible roof-mounted A-frame tent at its top. besides the tent, the vehicle incorporates a series of period-accurate accessories, such as roof rack water tanks and storage space, making camping more practical and enjoyable for its users. in addition, the model has a three-speed column-shift manual transmission and an inline four-cylinder with RWD. the 1949 willys ‘jeep’ was the world’s first mass-produced all-steel station wagon, complete with a metallic green exterior, green vinyl interior, and white walls, and it proved an instant success – with over 300,000 manufactured between 1946 and 1964.

automobile camping: from collapsible A-frame tents to the world's first hard-sided carbon fiber camper
the redtail RTC
image courtesy of redtail overland

 

 

taking rooftop camping to the next level, the redtail overland RT is the world’s first hard-sided rooftop camper, with a featherlight yet incredibly durable carbon fiber construction. the device integrates a series of high-tech features, with a complete electrical system and heater. ‘we took everything that is great about rooftop camping and enhanced it — adding heat, power, lighting, security, and next-level comfort,’ the brand says. ‘we simplified the setup and breakdown process, making it easier to blaze more trail, and packaged everything in an elegant design we’re proud to keep on our vehicle year-round.’ 

 

the winning bid for the 1949 willys ‘jeep’ station wagon camper reaching $25,300, while redtail will offer two camper models, the RT 90 and RT 110, which will cost $20,000 and $25,000, respectively. 

automobile camping: from collapsible A-frame tents to the world's first hard-sided carbon fiber camper
the 1949 willys ‘jeep’ station wagon
image courtesy of RM sotheby’s

automobile-camping-collapsible-frame-tents-first-hard-sided-carbon-fiber-camper-designboom-full-width-001

the 1949 willys ‘jeep’ station wagon

image courtesy of RM sotheby’s

automobile camping: from collapsible A-frame tents to the world's first hard-sided carbon fiber camper
the 1949 willys ‘jeep’ station wagon
image courtesy of RM sotheby’s

automobile camping: from collapsible A-frame tents to hard-sided carbon fiber campers
the 1949 willys ‘jeep’ station wagon
image courtesy of RM sotheby’s

automobile camping: from collapsible A-frame tents to hard-sided carbon fiber campers
the redtail RTC
image courtesy of redtail overland

automobile camping: from collapsible A-frame tents to hard-sided carbon fiber campers
the redtail RTC
image courtesy of redtail overland

automobile camping: from collapsible A-frame tents to hard-sided carbon fiber campers

the redtail RTC
image courtesy of redtail overland

 

automobile camping: from collapsible A-frame tents to hard-sided carbon fiber campers   

the redtail RTC
image courtesy of redtail overland

 

 

project info: 

 

name: willys jeep station wagon
brand: jeep

 

name: RT 90 and RT 110
brand: redtail overland

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