Why We Chose the Hatchet Overland camper
As you see in the video above, we've had several camping solutions in the past while we continued to look for what would fit our needs as our style of camping has changed. We recently sold our trailer with rooftop tent because we realized that pulling a trailer limited us more than we wanted. We liked the idea of a rooftop tent mounted on the Jeep, but we didn't want to add such significant weight and height to the Jeep that could negatively impact us in our travels. David found the Ursa Minor solution at Overland Expo 2021, so in January 2022 we put down our $1,000 nonrefundable deposit and began the anticipated wait for ours to be built. It was the best we had found at that time; however, to meet our goals we knew there would still need to be workarounds.
In March of 2022, David attended the MOORE Expo in Springfield, MO and spent a lot of time at Hatchet Overland booth realizing that their camper top checked off even more boxes than the Ursa Minor eliminating most of our need for workarounds - so much so that we chose to lose our $1,000 deposit on Ursa Minor and placed our order for the Hatchet Overland Camper Top.
In addition to really liking the owners of Hatchet Overland, here are just some of the features that won us over to purchase their camper top for our Jeep:
Designed & manufactured in the USA for the Jeep® Wrangler JLU, & installed in Denver, CO
Made from light weight composite materials weighing less than 200 pounds for the main roof and bed platform. It sits lower on top of the Jeep (adding only 10 inches) therefore keeping a lower center of gravity than any comparable roof rack & rooftop tent making trail riding easier & safer. The low profile helps to maintain fuel efficiency while providing a quiet ride.
Camper setup takes about 1 minute using 4 easy steps:
1. Release 2 internal latches on the inside rear of camper that provide additional security for the front of the camper. They are yellow levers and just a quick flip of each loosens the binding security wire.
2. Release the 2 external latches that provide rear security. Once released push up on the rear of the camper and let the gas struts take over from there. Although these are external latches, the camper can not be opened without having first released the internal security latches.
3. In the rear cargo area release the latches securing the patented smooth slide mechanism to allow the sleeping loft to slide forward 20" over the windshield by pushing the frame forward until it locks into position.
4. Flip the folded arms into place to provide additional headroom. That's it! How nice is that when you pull into camp hours later than planned - in the dark! (You know that happens way more often than you want it to!)
Packing up the camper is just the reverse of set up and takes about 2 minutes. Our bedding can be left in the sleeping loft saving room in the Jeep for our other gear.
Entrance to the sleeping loft is from INSIDE the rear of Jeep eliminating the need for a ladder or having to dismantle sleeping area as in the Ursa Minor while providing privacy, shelter from inclement weather and security from questionable surroundings - i.e. bear country. There's room for a 6'5" person to stand in the rear of the Jeep without hitting their head on the tent!
Roomy enough for 2 adults on the 4" thick mattress with air-filled foam technology thus providing the most comfortable camping experience - even for side sleeper, because you can adjust the firmness to your liking. And the mattress boasts a 9.5 R-value making cold-night camping trips much warmer!
The camper contains 4 windows with screens to provide ventilation without bugs. The front window (at your feet) can be fully open in all but the windiest rainstorms and the top 6" of the side windows are sheltered by the roof in most rainstorms. The rear window is slanted outward allowing it to be protected in light rainstorms.
The sleeping loft provides 2 "nightstand" trays as a safe place to store your glasses, flashlight, phone, water bottle - the little things you want to have close by. Also provided in the sleeping loft are LED lights and his & her USB C and B jacks to keep phones and other USB devices charged.
The exterior top of the camper is white preventing retention of heat buildup a black roof can cause. It features a recessed center to mount 1 or 2 low profile 100-watt solar panels to keep your accessories powered, as well as a back recessed area for mounting traction boards & a shovel.
Be sure to follow our YouTube channel, by clicking the link below, and click the notification bell on our channel so you will be notified of new videos as our Hatchet Overland camper build continues. We are excited to show you all of the features as well as a full review of the first travel and camping experiences as David travels from Denver to Flagstaff for the Overland Expo West and then back home to Tennessee, camping all the way!