CVT Pioneer Series Bachelor Review
Cons: Lacking space, extra installation steps
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CVT Pioneer Series Bachelor
|Price||$1,575 List||$1,499 at Amazon|
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$1,899 at Backcountry
|$1,500 List||$1,300 List|
$1,475 at Amazon
|Pros||Compact, light, thick cover||Durable canopy, telescoping ladder, versatile, quick conversion||Tool-free mounting system, locks to rack, decently light||Light, more affordable, breathable||Wide and sturdy ladder, boot bag, LED light strip, spacious|
|Cons||Lacking space, extra installation steps||No entrance awning, no added extras||Mounting system is limited, large gap between tent and rack||Questionable durability, bulky for a two-person model||Ladder may require drilling, velcro cover not the most efficient cover system, heavy|
|Bottom Line||A light and compact rooftop tent that doesn’t have any special accolades to speak of||Our top soft-top recommendation for most people provides excellent quality and comfort across all four seasons||A quality rooftop tent that doesn't require a handyman or a toolbox to install||A decent two-person rooftop tent with a breathable canopy great for warmer nights||With a durable design and many handy features, this model competes with the top models while costing significantly less|
|Rating Categories||CVT Pioneer Series...||Thule Tepui Kukenam 3||Yakima SkyRise Medium||Thule Tepui Explore...||Smittybilt Overlander|
|Space and Comfort (30%)|
|Ease of Conversion (20%)|
|Ease of Assembly and Installation (15%)|
|Cover Convenience (10%)|
|Specs||CVT Pioneer Series...||Thule Tepui Kukenam 3||Yakima SkyRise Medium||Thule Tepui Explore...||Smittybilt Overlander|
|Weight||98 lbs||130 lbs||115 lbs||106 lbs||144 lbs|
|Max Inside Height||45 in||52 in||48 in||38 in||51 in|
|Windows||3 side 2 roof||3 side, 2 roof||3 side, 2 roof||3 side, 2 roof||3 side, 2 roof|
|Floor Dimensions||96 in x 48 in||56 in x 96 in||56 in x 96 in||84 in x 48 in||56 in x 96 in|
|Floor Area||32 sq ft||38 sq ft||38 sq ft||28 sq ft||38 sq ft|
|Vestibule Area Dimensions||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Packed Size||48 in x 48 in x 15 in||12 in x 48 in x 56 in||12 in x 48 in x 56 in||11 in x 42 in x 48 in||12 in x 48 in x 56 in|
|Main Tent Materials||280G poly-cotton Rip-stop||420 D||210 D nylon||260g polyester cotton||420 D|
|Rainfly Materials||420D||600 D||600 D||600 D||600 D|
|Number of Poles||8||8||8||8||8|
|Pole Material||Aluminum/spring steel||Aluminum/spring steel||Aluminum/spring steel||Aluminum/spring steel||Aluminum/spring steel|
|Pole Diameter||1/4 in||1/4 in||1/4 in||1/4 in||1/4 in|
|Extras||n/a||n/a||Locks, quick release, clear sky windows in rain fly||n/a||Interior LED, extension cords, boot bag|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The CVT Bachelor was not designed to be a top-tier state-of-the-art rooftop tent. As shown by our analysis below, it doesn't compete with the award-winning models. That said, it does have some admirable and attractive traits. It is super light, which makes installation and removal substantially easier on your back, and is ideal for smaller vehicles. Additionally, converting the tent from travel to sleep mode and back is faster and easier than many other softshell models.
Space and Comfort
For our most heavily weighted metric, we looked at how spacious and comfortable the tents were compared to one another. For the testing process, we carefully measured the dimensions of each tent's floor area, then sent our team out into the wilderness to camp and subjectively assess the comfort factor for each model.
The Bachelor was one of the least spacious tents that we've reviewed. With two people inside the tent, we felt pretty cramped. The main interior hinge where the frame poles converge is right where your hips are when you sleep –- and right where you would hope there would be extra room. Although it's a bit small, we think this model would be wonderful for one person and their gear. Also, it should be noted that, while in travel mode, it hardly takes up any room on your rack compared to three-person softshell tents or hardshell tents.
Our team did not find that the Bachelor has any glaring durability flaws. Still, based on the manufacturer's technical specifications and our own comparisons, it is clear that the canopy material is not quite top-tier. If you're worried about wear and tear over years of abuse, we suggest going with a model with a tent material that's rated higher.
Ease of Conversion
Every rooftop tent in our review is much faster to pitch than most standard ground tents when you get to camp. However, within our review, the time each takes to convert from travel mode to camping mode and back can significantly vary from model to model. This evaluation section showed strong results for the CVT Bachelor. The tent cover is easily removed by undoing two straps and unzipping the bottom. This model's ladder effortlessly extends, then there is plenty of leverage to use the ladder to unfold this relatively light tent. At this point, the tent is ready to sleep in.
If you'd like to utilize any of the awnings or set the rain fly up, this will add a minute or two to the setup process. It's also, as you might imagine, more challenging on taller vehicles.
Ease of Assembly and Installation
Installing a rooftop tent on your vehicle is never a simple task. Most softshell versions require around an hour of unboxing and assembly before you're ready to put it on a rack and the CVT Bachelor is right about in the middle of the pack for this metric. It comes packaged like most softshell models we've seen — tightly wrapped up in cardboard and plastic straps with the cover, ladder, hardware, and mounting rails inside of the tent. All of the necessary tools are included, and so long as you have a buddy to lend you a hand, it really isn't that difficult to get everything bolted into place. At only 98 pounds, the Bachelor is one of the lightest models we've ever tested, making a big difference in the installation process. We had to dock some points because the straps used to roll up the cover and stow it out of the way while you're camping do not come installed. This is a task that would be simple at the factory but might be a pain for somebody without the right tools.
The cover for the CVT Bachelor is just as easy to use as other models in our review that have similar construction. It has two straps secured with large metal D-rings and a heavy-duty zipper that goes around three sides of the tent floor.
The Bachelor is a fairly affordable model, but it doesn't offer much in the way of space or comfort. If you're willing to drop this much money on a tent, we think it's either worth it to spend a little more for higher performance or save more and go with a cheaper model. The person who should purchase the Bachelor is somebody that is very concerned about overall weight, wants a fairly easy conversion process, and doesn't mind limited space. Otherwise, other options cost less and offer more room and luxuries.
The CVT Pioneer Series Bachelor didn't bomb in any of our evaluations, but it didn't shine either. The strongest element that it offers is that it is super light and relatively compact while in travel mode. It's great that it's fairly easy to convert from camping to travel mode and back, but other models still performed better.
— Ross Patton
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