The Story of Storing our Tent

A few years ago, I owned a 2014 Hydro Blue Jeep Wrangler Sahara Unlimited Altitude Edition. The Sahara has the option for dual tops, with the hardtop being color matched. I loved this Jeep and while owning it decided that I enjoyed taking the hard top on and off more than I enjoyed dealing with the insecurity of a soft top, and the frustration involved with raising and lowering it. While owning this vehicle, I installed a Harken hard top hoist system in my garage. A few years later, the Jeep left us, and as you all know, we now own a Toyota 4Runner Limited, and our Tacoma TRD Off Road.

Perfect amount of lift to raise the Jeep Hardtop off the Wrangler and drive out with the no cares.

The CVT Tent we own is a Mount Rainier. It’s shipping weight is around 236 pounds. Part of that weight is the annex, which I keep stored in a bag on the garage floor. The tent however, is just too heavy for one person to maneuver, and frankly, it’s even heavy with two men trying to raise it over our heads onto the 18″ tall bed rack I have (a KBVooDoo rack that is no longer in production). To combat this, I wanted to re-purpose my lift to accommodate lifting the tent off the truck.

I only have about 1″ of clearance coming into my garage currently when I have the tent on board. Future plans involve a shorter bed rack, but for now I wanted to get this tent off the truck as it kills my gas mileage. I currently have a 110 mile round trip commute for work, so those MPG’s are important to me. I started to think about lifting the tent off, and how easy that would be, but if you’ve ever seen a Tacoma with a barren bed rack, you know it’s not the most impressive sight…that bed rack needs to come off also.

The short distance from the Pulley to the Wall is the culprit

After borrowing a 10 foot ladder from my neighbor, I took down all the hardware for my existing hoist. The hooks could remain, as I was basically flipping the system 180* the other direction so that I’d have more distance for the pulley’s to work in my favor. My goal was to be able to lift the tent and rack off the truck by 8-10″ and then be able to lower the whole unit safely to the ground after moving the truck. My first attempt at this was comical, as I missed a joist in the ceiling and the whole thing failed (good thing was, I was only putting the weight on the system, and not actually lifting it more than an inch above the bed).

I needed the bed empty so I just “threw” the stuff in the garage.

Once I addressed the issue with the pulleys, it was time to dial in the straps. My second attempt made me realize that I could lift the tent all the way to the ceiling, but could only lower it a few inches. Some readjustment was done, and my next attempt (3rd time?) got me to within a few inches of the ground (face-palm).

Trial number 432 however, was what it took, and like a pro I lifted the tent and rack off the truck and safely to the garage floor. For what it is worth, I currently weigh about 195 lbs fully dressed and with a nice heavy lunch. I hung off the straps and did some pull ups (those were SO hard) to make sure that the hoist system could accommodate the weight and strain I would be putting on them. Feeling comfortable with the setup, I proceeded to start the endeavor I just shared with you all.

If I were to share some pointers:

  • Have safety glasses when drilling into your ceiling. Drywall dust does amazing things for clear eyes, like making them not clear anymore.
  • Make sure you know where the ceiling joists are located when screwing things into the ceiling. Nothing is sexier than making your garage ceiling look like a cheese grater.
  • Always start a project like this when you are rushed, have 16 other things going on, and it’s 98% humidity outside.
  • Never, ever, listen to that last tip I just gave you. Start this early before it’s humid and when you can pay attention to what you’re doing without distraction.
  • Be PATIENT! This process took a lot of pulling the truck in, pulling the truck out, measuring once, measuring 14 more times, adjusting knots, tightening things and loosening them seconds later. Patience is a virtue they say.

Get your Harken Hoist here:

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