We installed a Thule bed rack and a Roofnest tent on our Chevy Silverado 1500 Trail Boss several months ago. We wanted to keep the bed mostly useful and the tent well centered over the truck. To achieve this, we put the rack into its high position and the tent just over the cab of the truck. It seemed to work very well, but what we did not initially realize – we seriously decreased the fuel efficiency of the truck. It does not really have to do with the weight of the tent system. It’s all about aerodynamics.
When the time came for Alex and Kase to drive from Denver to Sandy Hollow, Utah – we decided to find out exactly how much efficiency are we losing with the tent mounted high. The guys drove there (about 600 miles) with the tent in the high position. The guys reviewed the new Yamaha Wolverine RMAX side-by-sides, then lowered the rack and the tent so they are just below the cab line. The crew drove the 600 miles back home and the fuel economy difference was eye opening.
They clocked 15.2 MPG on the way there. This is going at interstate speeds and crossing several major mountain ranges. They got 17.6 MPG on the way back! That is a savings of 2.4 MPG on the same route and with similar conditions! If you have a choice on how to mount your tent on your pickup truck, try to get it as low as possible.
Check out the video below for all the details.