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Smittybilt Overlander XL One Year Review

Although my Smittybilt Overlander XL tent is gone, I had to make a review about it before it was picked up by the new owner! For the price, the Smittybilt Overlander XL is very hard to beat…but it isn’t perfect.

For my tent, I added lights underneath along with a dimmer switch. This was perfect for night time hang outs, as well as cooking! At full brightness, the whole area around the tent was lit up and we rarely used our lanterns (full brightness was only 1 amp of power too). The lights I added are were these on amazon, but I had to use a little silicone to help seal up the corner connections and super glue to keep them attached (the double sided tape on the led strips won’t hold very well). I did not want multi-color changing lights as they were usually not waterproof, and I tried using a warm colored led strip but it wasn’t bright at all…so just plain white leds were used.

The next thing I replaced on the tent were the buckles for the cover and keeping the tent “together” when closed up. The Smittybilt D-rings that come with the tent to hold the cover on work okay, but when you tighten them down too tight it makes it very difficult to loosen when you get to your camping spot which is no fun trying to wrestle at night. I replaced them with Sea To Summit Field Repair Buckles on Amazon, and they were a direct fit. You do need to bend the old D-rings off of the straps, but you’ll make quick work of it with two pliers.

There were a few issues with the tent however. Starting off brand new, the first tent I had featured holes for the ladder (which does not come attached) drilled in the wrong place. I don’t mean off by 1/8″ either, waaayyyy off.

I also tried using a memory foam mattress in the tent, but it made the tent too difficult to close with the sleeping bags inside, so I usually did not use the pad unless my wife was camping with me. This is the exact one I used on amazon: Linenspa 2-Inch Gel Swirl memory Foam Topper-California King. If you don’t keep your bedding (sleeping bags, pillows, or comforters) you should be able to close up the tent with the factory pad and this memory foam one. Use caution while sleeping though, they become pretty hard when it’s cold out.

The floors in the tent never gave me any problems, but I have serious longevity concerns about it. They are just aluminum honeycomb boards sandwiched together, and I’ve seen a handful of tents (various manufacturers too) that began to separate. When that happened, the tent floor would creak while moving around in the tent. Now I haven’t seen one fall apart, but it doesn’t sound great either.

The biggest tip I have about the tent when it’s new, is vacuum it! There is a ton of little metal shavings from holes they drill at the factory and it could cause tears in the tent or pad, or just hurt like heck if you happen to sit on one! Pull the mattress pad out and clean the whole inside, it will be worth it.

All things said, the Smittybilt Overlander Xl Gen 1 provided us many great nights camping, and a RTT always attracts attention at towns and gas stations! There is now a new version available as well, and it seems Smittybilt made a lot of useful improvements to the tent.

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