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The Importance of Iteration, as Illustrated by My Attempts to Get a Cartop Tent Off My Garage Floor

Posted July 06, 2020 12:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: maintenance trucks and SUVs

All my life I've seen the tasks ahead of me like a huge checklist, waiting to be completed. Hand in that assignment—done. Mow the lawn—done. Finish that engine swap—done. But after spending the better part of the last few weeks' worth of evenings trying to get our new cartop tent off the floor of my garage, I'm learning to see my task load not so much in terms of attainment but more as constant iterative improvement.

Curiously, while both Tepui and its parent company, Thule, seem more than happy to sell all sorts of accessories to light up, cover, or extend their highly regarded tents intended for mounting to a vehicle's roof rack, neither appear to have any interest in offering solutions to lift and install—and at the end of the season, uninstall—those tents. Which is a problem because, despite the lightweight appearance of the tents on its website (which lists a Tepui Autana 3 like ours at 150 pounds or so), as we found when we took delivery of ours, it's as heavy as a beef cow and twice as hard to move once it's off the delivery truck. Granted, developing a one-size-fits-all solution might be tricky, but there's no way anybody's going to lift a tent like this atop any vehicle without damaging that vehicle unless they have six friends who pound protein shakes on a daily basis.

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Re: The Importance of Iteration, as Illustrated by My Attempts to Get a Cartop Tent Off My Garage Floor

07/06/2020 1:34 AM

I just use one of these...

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Re: The Importance of Iteration, as Illustrated by My Attempts to Get a Cartop Tent Off My Garage Floor

07/07/2020 1:27 PM

Nice choices BUT:

You assume 3 things:

  1. He has rafters, preferably exposed, that are strong enough to take a 150# hanging load to attach either a traveling rail or hanging eyebolt.
  2. Having rafters that are well placed so the car(?) can drive under them with the tent hanging centered on both the longitudinal and horizontal axises of the car roof
  3. Having well placed rafters he has enough clearance between the car rooftop and rafters to fit both the traveling block and load.
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Re: The Importance of Iteration, as Illustrated by My Attempts to Get a Cartop Tent Off My Garage Floor

07/08/2020 11:39 AM

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#2

Re: The Importance of Iteration, as Illustrated by My Attempts to Get a Cartop Tent Off My Garage Floor

07/06/2020 5:28 PM

Try this... I suggest 2 units... but if that is the weight of a beef cow... You have a foundation support issue...

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Re: The Importance of Iteration, as Illustrated by My Attempts to Get a Cartop Tent Off My Garage Floor

07/06/2020 6:16 PM

I would create a four pulley lift system and suspend it from the ceiling...something like this...

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Re: The Importance of Iteration, as Illustrated by My Attempts to Get a Cartop Tent Off My Garage Floor

07/06/2020 10:39 PM

A couple of these should do the job nicely:

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Re: The Importance of Iteration, as Illustrated by My Attempts to Get a Cartop Tent Off My Garage Floor

07/06/2020 10:48 PM

http://images.esellerpro.com/106/I/114/93/gwc1200b_ud10.jpg

I've used four of these to lift a section of garden decking. The version with auto brake allows easy control of height.

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Re: The Importance of Iteration, as Illustrated by My Attempts to Get a Cartop Tent Off My Garage Floor

07/07/2020 4:25 AM

I saw a great device at a recent garage sale where the back end of a mobility scooter was screwed to the roof and a chain was used to drive a long lay shaft with a home made spool on each end as well as bearing blocks.

The spools used flat webbing and were attached to each end of the cartopper frame. The controller and 12volt supply were screwed to the wall. Just power up and control the speed of lifting. It had also been used to lift a tinny up into the roof rafters.

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Re: The Importance of Iteration, as Illustrated by My Attempts to Get a Cartop Tent Off My Garage Floor

07/07/2020 5:25 AM

The manufacturer of the trailer we tow behind our motorcycle offers a stand that allows you to raise the trailer straight up and roll around the garage to take up less floor space when not in use.

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Re: The Importance of Iteration, .... And Redundancy, And Commodity

07/07/2020 7:38 AM

Swiss Army Knife of Lifting and Translation at Height for One

Ratcheting tie-down straps are that Swiss Army Knife. I recently placed entirely by myself a DIY mini-split air conditioner compressor(>100 lbs. outdoor) and air handler(indoor) with lots of cheap tie down straps(HF 6.99 for 4) both at heights over six feet with tie-down straps from eye bolts. The compressor was over 100 lbs. mounted on a light-weight wall bracket to which I attached a 2x4 spreader bar frame much like your lower 2x4's under your tent torpedo. Multiple 3/8" eye bolts through 22-1/2" long 2x4's between carport roof rafters at about 15' high provided the lift points. Up to over my height and left another 8 feet placed the compressor with all the prescribed clearances out of the way of people and cars and direct sun exposure. I did it all myself from a ladder with me at the eye rings above the load for safety. The trick is to use redundancy and iteration. You have to use extra tie-downs on extra eye rings so that spare ones lift and move and release forces on other tie-downs to allow easy, safe release and repositioning. All my tightening handles were at the rafter eye bolts so I could constantly monitor the upper support means for deflections and easily tighten the right straps with a minimum of operator movement. Since I made the upper supports beefy there was never any visible deflection. Operator movement was only necessary as progress of the compressor into position was achieved. The operator can read any problems with the load snagging by reading the tensions on the straps. I was against a rough siding and experienced many hangs all of which could be released by small hand movements of the straps from the top to encourage the load over rough points in the siding. None of the movements required moving s-hooks at the load. Instead, all s-hook movement was at the top support eye rings. Once in final position, the spreader frame lag screwed directly into the same 22-1/2" 2x4's that the last eye-bolts used. I left all of the eye-bolts in place afterwards for ultimate removal since you can barely see them from the floor of the carport and I might hang bicycles or something from them at times.

For tents, if you take the tie-downs along you could even achieve tent removal at the campsite if the overhead tree limbs are good enough for support of the load. This should be considered an emergency option rather than a normal plan since limb access by an operator is probably dicey and operation from the load end is a safety issue. In all cases the operator should remain cognizant of every tension placed on these straps to remain well below the load rating on any one strap. Happily even the clueless will be protected to some extent since the short lever handles on cheap tie-down straps inherently limit the max tension one can easily apply. Tree limbs are unreliable and limb sounds and deflections should be watched like your life depends on them since it might. Sharp edges or unseen nails on limbs might easily cut straps.

For hunters there are lightweight spreader bar conduits. Even non-hunters might consider purchasing a couple of these for loading or unloading large containers or beasts from/to pickup truck beds.

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#11

Re: The Importance of Iteration, as Illustrated by My Attempts to Get a Cartop Tent Off My Garage Floor

07/09/2020 5:04 PM

Well if you had a winch mounted on the front of the vehicle, which you might, you just need a pulley mounted overhead...

....you could probably just lift it with the vehicle, a rope and a pulley...I used to just rent a genie lift when I needed to get something heavy up in the air...

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#12

Re: The Importance of Iteration, as Illustrated by My Attempts to Get a Cartop Tent Off My Garage Floor

07/14/2020 2:15 PM

I use 4 ropes and 6 pulleys joined to a 2:1 mechanical advantage pulley setup to lift my truck topper. it weighs ~150 lbs and I can lift it just by pulling on the main rope. Though as I get older I will probably attach the rope to a hand crank or winch.

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