Hard Shell Rooftop Tents: Aspen vs Odyssey

Hard Shell Rooftop Tents: Aspen vs Odyssey - Freespirit Recreation

Over the years, camping has evolved immensely. From relying solely on whatever we can carry on our backs, and going only where we can get on our feet; we now have whole markets, specific vehicles and a variety of equipment that make these adventures more accessible, and a bit more luxurious. We all know campers on each side of the spectrum: the ones that only need a backpack and a jug of water, or the glamper with a portable bathroom and solar powered coolers. At the end of the day, however you're adventuring is ultimately up to you. However, we strongly believe that preference matters and in efforts to accommodate any type of (hard shell) RTT camper, we created

the Aspen

and the Odyssey. 

With similar features, nearly identical measurements, and sleek designs, it’s small, intentional details that differentiate these two low profile, hard shell tents. 

The Aspen is our spin on the traditional clamshell rooftop tent. The Odyssey is an unproblematic, two step, laterally opened tent. Revealing some of these differentiating details and determining which tent is right for you, can be done by answering a few questions:

  1. Are you tall? 
  2. Do you want big windows?
  3. What type of car do you drive?
  4. How do you get in your tent/Do you prefer to get in your tent from the side of your vehicle or the back?
  5. Are you seeking a low profile tent or do you want to be able to store bedding?

#1 Both the Aspen and the Odyssey come in 49’ and 55’. Because the Odyssey opens sidewards, campers sleep parallel to the hinges and therefore, are able to take full advantage of every inch without any hindrance. In the Aspen, campers sleep perpendicular to the hinge point, minimizing the portion of the mattress that is along the hinge point. With this in mind, a taller camper may be more comfortable in the Odyssey. 

#2 Views. Views. Views. 
While we realize, for some, our tents merely serve as a necessary, exceptionally comfy resting space for adventures and sights to come; however, those night skies and early morning sunrises are deeply treasured by others. 
The Odyssey offers a huge front window with smaller side windows.
The Aspen offers large side windows with a smaller front window. 

Aspen tent - large side windows

#3 When closed, the Aspen and Odyssey are the same tent. Their virtually identical sizing allows them to fit on nearly any vehicle. So why does the type of vehicle you drive matter? That can be answered by jumping to question #4: Do you prefer to get in your tent from the side of your vehicle or the back? Those that prefer frequent access to the back of the vehicle/trunk/bed might do better with a tent that opens from the side (the Odyssey). However, if you’re storing a majority of your gear in your vehicle, and need access to your back doors without obstruction from a ladder on one side, a tent that opens from the rear (the Aspen) is probably the way to go.

Odyssey - laterally opened with ladder along side of truck bed

#5 A low profile tent comes with a number of benefits, such as:

  • Increased gas mileage over what the vehicle would get with a heavier tent
  • No trouble fitting into your garage or other height restricted areas
  • The ability to pack gear on top of the tent with additional crossbars or brackets 

Bike mounted on top of hardshell tent

Seeking the added benefit of being able to store bedding (pillows, blankets, etc.) in your tent? Our Evo tents are designed for rapid deployment and tear down–one way we accomplish this is by allowing you to store your bedding inside!

Shop Evolution:

The Set Up

You’ve climbed the mountain or made your way through the canyon. The pavement turns from gravel to dirt. It’s that moment in time when the rattling stops, no more car horns or telephone poles, the conversations pause. Stillness. And you’ve arrived, reminded of why you take all these rough roads and the long ways around. The lock on your door pops open and your left foot touches the dense earth beneath you. A quick stretch turns into a few reaches up above your car to release the 4 latches on the tent. The final click of the ladder and it’s at full extension—


Now where do you see yourself setting the ladder to get into your tent? At the side of your vehicle or the back?

If it's to the side, you’re an Odyssey all the way.

If you’re making your way to the bed of your truck or rear of your car, welcome, Aspen camper!

Reading next

How to Set Up Your Truck for Hunting - Freespirit Recreation
EVO V2: Why Did We Make A Short Option? - Freespirit Recreation

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