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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Sparks Overland Summit Hard-Sided Rooftop Cabin First Impressions

I recently took the Sparks Overland Summit hard-sided rooftop cabin out for the first time, and man, was I ever impressed.

There is so much to like about this tent, not the least of which is that it offers hard walls and double-pane windows. As someone who frequently camps in hot and cold temperatures, I’m excited to see how this insulated, hard-sided rooftop cabin performs. I’m also excited to use this tent in windy conditions – which always seems to be the case when I’m camping – as I suspect it will be whisper quiet instead of sounding like a hurricane in a traditional fabric tent.

Anyway, I digress…

As you can see in the video above, I give you a quick tour of the Sparks Overland Summit inside and out and highlight some of its features and amenities. Give that a quick watch, and then read on for more details about this innovative rooftop tent!

Table of Contents

Sparks Overland Summit Specs

sparks overland summit interior

The Summit hard-sided rooftop cabin is a generous 88.19″ x 54.72″ x 39.98″ when open. That means you get over 7 feet of length, 4 feet of width, and 3.5 feet of head space inside the tent.

When it’s time to pack up and head home, the tent folds down to just 2.68″, making it a highly aerodynamic rooftop tent option. Now, I appreciate the small form factor for another reason – my trailer barely clears the garage door, so having a traditional rooftop tent that’s five or six inches thick when closed simply wouldn’t work.

sparks overland summit front

The walls are made of high-quality aluminum-magnesium alloy, which is both strong and lightweight. Moreover, the walls are fully waterproof and insulated.

There are also four UV-resistant double-pane windows (one on each side), each of which comes with double-layer curtains and mosquito nets. The front and back windows measure 21.65″ x 21.65″, while the side windows are 29.53″ x 33.46″, which provide plenty of natural light inside the cabin.

The cabin includes a full-size three-inch memory foam mattress. I haven’t had a chance to sleep on the mattress yet, but from the short amount of time I’ve been crawling around in the tent, it seems to be very comfortable and supportive. Sparks Overland notes that the cabin is big enough for 3-4 adults, but I think it will be much more comfortable for my son, me, and no one else!

sparks overland summit rear down

Now, this is not a lightweight tent by any means. The hard-sided walls mean it tips the scales at a robust 215 pounds, so this isn’t something that you can hoist up on top of your vehicle or trailer by yourself. Fortunately, I just moved, so I had the movers get the tent on top of my trailer.

Of course, as I mention in the video, I need to turn the tent around so the side entrance is on the opposite side of the trailer as my awning. I’ll recruit some buddies to come over and help me reposition the tent to accomplish that task.

Sparks Overland Summit Features

sparks overland summit rear

The Sparks Overland Summit offers some excellent features beyond the basic specs I just outlined. For example, warm LED strip lighting on either side of the cabin’s interior gives you plenty of light for getting ready for bed, reading, or, if you’re like me, doing a little work before you hit the sack.

On one end of the cabin are two ports that accept ductwork for an air conditioner or a heater (above, bottom right of the tent). Unfortunately, the ports are too small to use with my current ducts, but I can make it work with some ingenuity. As I said earlier, with the hard walls and the double-pane windows, I expect the Sparks Overland Summit to be a rock star in windy, hot, and cold conditions.

sparks overland summit hard sided roof top cabin

This tent is designed to have two entrances for better functionality. If you’re like me and install it on your trailer, you’ll use the large side window and telescoping ladder for ingress and egress.

However, if you install this hard-sided rooftop cabin on your vehicle, and your vehicle happens to have a sunroof, you can use the bottom hatch entrance in the tent (which measures 30.71″ x 17.72″ to move directly between the tent and your car. Nice!

Sparks Overland Summit Unique Amenities

sparks overland summit on turtleback

I have to say that my favorite amenity on the Sparks Overland Summit hard-sided rooftop cabin is the electronic opening and closing feature…

The tent comes with two remotes, and with the push of a button, hydraulic lifts engage scissor jacks on the front and back of the cabin to raise the roof into place. In my initial test, it took about 90 seconds to raise the roof (though once the tent is hardwired into my trailer’s electrical system, this process will be faster). Once the electronic lift has done its job, it’s a simple matter of climbing up into the tent, locking things into place, and you’re ready to rumble.

sparks overland summit interior window 2

Another interesting perk of this tent is that one of the windows folds inward into the tent and can be used as a table. As I mentioned earlier, I often work when I’m camping, so having a built-in table to put my laptop on is a nice feature. The hard walls are also appreciated as they provide a built-in backrest while I work.

Lastly, I appreciate that this tent offers more usable interior space than a traditional clamshell tent. With a clamshell, you can only sit up on one end of the tent. But because the Sparks Overland Summit has a flat roof that lifts into place, you get so much more room to move around.

Having that extra air space makes it seem much bigger and airier when you’re in an enclosure like a tent. This tent truly is more like a small cabin and doesn’t give you the claustrophobic vibes like many rooftop tents.

First Impressions of the Sparks Overland Summit are Nothing But Good!

sparks overland summit on trailer

So, first impressions are certainly good. This tent is beautifully made, well designed, and has so many features and amenities. It offers loads of comfort and functionality between the hard-sided walls, the ample headroom inside, and the electronic opening and closing.

The small form factor when it’s closed down is another benefit. My Jeep Gladiator doesn’t get the best fuel mileage in the world, so having a rooftop tent with a thin profile reduces drag and helps my truck maintain better mileage – every little bit helps!

I’ll be interested to see how this tent works with multiple people inside. As I noted earlier, it is really spacious and should give my son and me plenty of room to move around. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes once we can take this tent for a weekend spin.

Until then, give Sparks Overland a visit to learn more about this absolutely incredible, innovative rooftop cabin!

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