When you hear the words Roof Top Tents, it’s hard not to associate them to Tepui Tents. Plain and simple, the guys from Tepui have been growing solidly, year after year, becoming probably the top selling and best-known brand in the American market.
They have had smart ideas and make excellent tents. They organize a yearly event, the Tepui Fest that has managed to integrate a community of overlanders, camping enthusiasts and families that come together to enjoy an incredible weekend on their Tepuis.
Then we think of the awesome Kukenam Ruggedized in Expedition Orange, a personal favorite for the looks and the vivid color.
And these are just two small things that we find great, but there are hundreds of others that have helped this company grow from a small idea into a benchmark of the RTT world. The question is where was all the success originated? Who’s working behind the scenes to bring to you guys the famous Tepui Tents?
Well, we decided to explore a little bit more, go off the beaten track if you know what we mean, and interview the responsible ones for the Tepui Tents birth and success.
Here’s what we learnt.
Interview With John Griffith, Director Of Sales & Marketing From Tepui Tents:
We started off with the basics, going to the very beginning: When was Tepui founded and where did the idea come from?
“Tepui was founded in 2010. Evan (the founder) was in Venezuela getting married and noticed everyone camping on top their cars because of so many creepers on the ground. There was one brand of roof top tents that most people had over there, and Evan thought the idea would go over well in the US, so he contacted the brand about importing into the US”, said John.
But what about the name? Well, it turns out that Tepui is an indigenous Venezuelan word for a tabletop mountain.
And so from Venezuela to the US, Tepui Tents was born and it has ever since had a huge success in the American market.
Part of the success recipe comes from the quality, the design and the innovation. We asked how exactly the design and choice of materials is made. We learnt that Evan took note of the original brand he had seen in Venezuela, but updated the materials as to better fit them to the American market and weather conditions.
On top of that, the components were improved for the same reasons, or just as John said: “We wanted to make the very best tents, not the cheapest”.
As to the colors, which have a great number of admirers, especially the Camo and Expedition Orange ones, John said they wanted traditional camping colors that could withstand the elements well, but also, something vivid, something that would appeal the overlanding and camping community.
What about the future?
As expected, Tepui has some interesting plans for the future. The RTT market has been growing considerably in the past two years, there are many new competitors, more demanding customers, a growing community, and it’s normal to seek improvements, innovation, and to be able to bring to the community better tents.
We asked about any new products for 2018, here’s what John said:
“We have several new items for 2018 and even more for 2019, it’s exciting. We have always pushed to evolve the RTT market, bringing the first skylights and ruggedized RTT to market. Our newest developments will be patented so they won’t be copied”.
That’s certainly exciting and we are looking forward for those new features and models. Certainly, innovation and differentiation are needed, as the rooftop tent community is seeing far too many similarities amongst the brands, so the patents could be a game changer.
The future also includes better and why not bigger Tepui Fests. Up until today the event has been a great success for Tepui and it’s community, so it’s no surprise they also plan to make better ones for the coming years. “The Tepui Fests have given us so many great trips, adventures and customer enthusiasm. It doesn’t get any better than that”, said an enthusiastic John.
As to the future of the industry he hopes it will keep growing and innovating, with new and better products that can improve the people camping experiences.
“Every customer’s enthusiasm about the RTT experience is a story of success. It’s only just getting started. There are going to be newer and more innovative models”.
What about competition?
At Tepui they don’t fear it, it actually excites them, it’s something that pushes them to improve. The patents for the new products are a demonstration of that.
“Knock offs are fine. We’re out to build the best product and create a strong brand”. When it comes to strength and innovation, that’s something they admire about competitors. “We strive to make the best RTT, and when we see companies who also strive for that, try to continue to evolve, it’s admirable”. Certainly is good for all the roof top tent community and enthusiasts, who can count on getting better and better models every year.
Other interesting stories?
Trying not to keep the interview too business related, we went ahead and asked about stories, experiences, fun facts, and we got some nice answers.
“The most exciting moment since joining this business has been the camping experiences. 80kt winds, overlanding, and then watching the business grow and the enjoyment of our customers”, said John.
As to what are some of their favorite camping and adventurous spots in the States, he mentioned Lost Coast, Death Valley, Blackrock, Bodie and Moab.
What about a funny and scary moment?
“We were at the King of Hammers event, and then there were 84kt winds. Scary. All the Tepui’s survived in our campground/booth. In the morning, people came around looking for carnage. They couldn’t believe we were intact with the rest of the desert littered with ground tents”.
Another proof not only of the quality of the Tepui Tents, but in particular of why the rooftop tents can be a much better choice.
John couldn’t agree more, and as such he had a closing message for all the community: “Get out there and keep it simple. Once you go RTT, you’ll never camp in a ground tent again”.