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Camping in the Tesla Cybertruck sure seems overly complicated compared to a plain old rooftop tent on a Rivian R1T

Kelsey Vlamis   

Camping in the Tesla Cybertruck sure seems overly complicated compared to a plain old rooftop tent on a Rivian R1T
  • Tesla's Cybertruck Cybertent and other custom accessories turn the vehicle into a camp on wheels.
  • Top Gear tested the Cybertruck camping set up, which starts at nearly $3,000.

The Tesla Cybertruck isn't just a truck, according to Tesla's marketing, which shows the vehicle traversing deserts, mountain ridges, and water crossings: It's an ultra-durable, adventure-ready truck capable of tackling just about any terrain in the backcountry, and it's got the camping accessories to prove it.

Tesla sells a range of accessories specifically designed to turn the Cybertruck, which retails for up to six figures — if you can even get your hands on one — into a camp on wheels.

Top Gear, the British car magazine and TV show, borrowed a fully souped up Cybertruck and headed to Johnson Valley in Southern California to spend a night camping in the vehicle in the desert. They also brought along a Rivian R1T outfitted with a more standard rooftop tent to compare.

While both setups could make for a very cool backcountry camping experience, the more customized Cybertruck tent looked much more complicated and time-consuming to set up. Top Gear did not declare a winner between the two, but they did note setting up the tent on the Rivian was quicker.

In Top Gear's video, shared on YouTube Wednesday, editor in chief Jack Rix encounters some metaphorical road bumps while setting up the Cybertruck Cybertent, which fits neatly in the vehicle's trunk and costs $2,975.

"Nearly $3,000 for one of these, which is, let's face it, an obscene amount of money," Rix said, but noted the tent was designed and produced with Heimplanet, a high-end tent brand.

Setting up the tent involved folding out the base platform, which is elevated above the truck bed, attaching several straps to the roof of the Cybertruck, manually pumping the inflatable frame, and staking out an awning if desired.

At one point, Rix accidentally deflated the tent and had to re-inflate it all over again.

It's unclear in the video exactly how long it took him to set up the tent, but it was fairly light outside when he started. It was almost completely dark when he finished, and he relied on his headlamp and the camera crew's lighting.

"Couple of setbacks, not going to lie, but the tent is fully erected," he said.

As someone who has camped in a variety of settings — in a car, in a van, in a rooftop tent, in an RV, in a regular tent at a campsite, and in the backcountry — it sure seemed like an awful lot of work, especially considering that one of the benefits of a typical roof top tent is the easy setup.

To be fair, Rix noted that it was his first time setting up the tent and that he could probably cut the time in half on his second go.

However, if you plan to go off-roading on your camping trip — one of the bonuses of having a Cybertruck — it would be an absolute pain to take down that tent each morning just so you could drive the vehicle during the day only to have to set it up again each night.

Top Gear's head of car testing, Ollie Marriage, showed up with the Rivian R1T and a fairly standard rooftop tent.

Setting that tent up appeared to take just a few minutes and required unzipping and unbuckling the cover and then simply unfolding the tent, which popped right up. If you wanted to take the Rivian off-roading during the day, taking down and re-setting up this tent appeared to be much easier.

Marriage appeared to be using Yakima's Skyrise HD Medium Rooftop Tent, which was released in partnership with Rivian and retails for $2,800. Yakima's similar model, without the Rivian branding, costs $2,499. Other Rivian drivers online also appear to have outfitted their vehicles with rooftop tents that sell for well under $2,000.

Top Gear noted plenty of cool things about the Cybertruck camping setup, including how well-integrated the whole design was. The full setup included a Cybertruck cooler, Cybertruck storage bins, and Cybertruck crossbars that all fit perfectly into the vehicle to maximize space.

Tesla also recently announced upcoming updates to the Cybertruck that are intended to improve the off-road driving and camping experience.

While Marriage said it was good that some cars are being designed with camping in mind, Rix noted one potential issue with taking EVs into the wild could be the range.

"These cars could take you to the wilderness," he said, adding you've just got to make sure you can return to a charging station.

Tesla, Rivian, and Top Gear did not respond to requests for comment from Business Insider.