How To Install A Roof Top Tent

How to Install a Roof Top Tent

Roof rack tents are typically compatible with the majority of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) car roof racks. Manufacturers claim, on the other hand, that an aftermarket rack is easier to put your tent to, is more durable, and provides you with extra attachment points for additional gear than a factory rack.

Know Your Roof Rack Weight Ratings

A Dynamic Weight Capacityrating should be specified by the roof top tent manufacturerTepui Tents, which indicates the maximum amount of weight that the roof rack can support when in motion (or while stationary). Based on the use, roof top tents can weigh anywhere from 100 pounds to 220 pounds. A static weight capacity, which is the weight of the tent plus its occupants, is also specified. Most roof rack tents have a weight capacity ranging from 400 to 600 pounds or more, depending on the size.

They will know what you need.

Standard Roof Rack Installation

Installation and setup of a Tepui Kukenam tent with Yakima roof racks are demonstrated in this video.

Heavy Duty Roof Rack Installation

Check out this fantastic video that depicts the installation of a high-end aftermarket basket-styleARB roof rack, which is the most durable version available for a car of this type:

Roof Top Tent Installation

I’m not going to go into detail on how to erect a roof top tent because there are numerous excellent videos available that do it for you. This is an excellent illustration of what is required in constructing a roof top tent:

Single Person Roof Rack Installation

When there are no other choices for more assistance, here is a fantastic how-to for constructing a roof rack tent by yourself (with caution!).

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In the field of vehicle-based camping, there is some justification for considering rooftop tents to be a paradigm-shifting innovation. Rooftop tents, which were once popularized by outdoorsy types in South Africa and Australia, have recently gained traction in North America as a result of their versatility. It appears that more individuals desire access to the outdoors but are uncomfortable with the thought of sleeping on the ground directly. Rooftop tents are attractive because they minimize the amount of time it takes to put up and take down camp, with some structures being able to be raised or lowered in less than five minutes.

If you have a large groundtent, you will be the first and last person to set up your campsite.

This type of driving is extremely expensive and requires specialized cars and equipment.

Before choosing a rooftop tent, take into consideration the size of the box.

The editors of The Car Bibles want to assist you in determining whether or not a rooftop tent is appropriate for your planned trips, and for those who do purchase a rooftop tent, we want to guide you through the process of installing the tent on your car. Let’s get this party started!

Pros of Rooftop Tents

Making the decision to purchase a rooftop tent is not an easy one. Take into account both the advantages and disadvantages, as well as your financial situation, to determine if this is the best course of action.

  • Convenience. The installation of the rooftop tent is simple, and the process of setting it up and getting it ready for usage is quick and painless. The ability to quickly set up camp is especially beneficial when you get late to the campsite and it is already dark outside, or when you are racing to go out to the trails. Sleeping on a mattress raised above the ground. It is understandable that some individuals are uncomfortable with the thought of sleeping on the ground. When you sleep in this tent, you’re on top of dirt and bugs. Depending on the environment, it might have a major impact on your sleeping temperature. Also, it’s more accessible to wildlife
  • Even the most inaccessible bugs and woodland creatures, such as raccoons, may still find their way up ladders and into your rooftop tent
  • It’s very cool. When was the last time you saw someone with a tent on their rooftop? Exactly. Because these sorts of tents are rather uncommon, they are considered to be quite cool due to their uniqueness. Apart from that, if you’re serious about upgrading your rig for overlanding, it significantly improves the whole visual package
  • Tent protection and durability are also much improved. One of the most advantageous qualities of a rooftop tent is that it never comes into contact with the ground, so avoiding all of the wear and tear caused by dirt, pebbles, sand, sticks, and bugs. The item is usually housed in a soft or hard case as well.

Cons of Rooftop Tents

  • It is necessary to have a proper car. Not every vehicle will have the suitable form, size, or be equipped with the appropriate equipment to accommodate rooftop tents
  • Nevertheless, most will be. It is necessary to have a roof rack and/or cross bars that are appropriate for the vehicle. Depending on whether or not you currently have the appropriate roof rack or crossbars, you may need to purchase them. Price. There’s no doubting that most roofs are pricey, especially when compared to a standard ground tent
  • But, there are some exceptions. Increases the height of the vehicle. Adding a rooftop tent increases the overall size and height of your vehicle, making it less suitable for maneuvering through tight spots. Weight has been added. Depending on the size of the tent, it may significantly increase the amount of weight that your vehicle must transport. If the vehicle is undersized or underpowered, this might have an impact on its performance, as well as. Fuel mileage is subject to a penalty. It will also have a negative impact on your fuel economy. Only campsites that are easily accessible by automobile are permitted. There are some of the greatest campsites that are inaccessible by automobile and require you to backpack or carry all of your camping equipment to the location. That is impossible to accomplish with a rooftop tent.

Crossbars or Roof Racks?

Before you can begin installing your new rooftop tent, you’ll need to be certain that you have the right foundation in place. Moreover, guess what? For this, you will need a solid pair of crossbars or a full-on roof rack, as opposed to merely using your vehicle’s roof. You’ll need to examine the weight capacities and capabilities of any crossbars that are already installed on your car if it has them. Remember to examine the load capabilities for both static (parked) and dynamic (moving) loads.

It may be necessary to replace the old crossbars with new ones, or to install a roof rack that is completely caged, if yours does not have adequate strength.

The Job: How To Install a Rooftop Tent

Make use of these advice and recommendations to ensure that your new rooftop tent is installed safely and correctly. In this particular scenario, we’re talking about mounting the tent on the roof of a car using crossbars to hold it up.

The Safety Brief

If you want to build your rooftop tent safely, Car Bibles recommends that you do it in a safe manner. It is recommended that you use safety glasses and gloves to ensure that no stray metal spikes graze your skin or shoot into your eyes. Apart from that, when using an awrench, be careful not to slap a knuckle on something. If you are placing your tent inside a garage, double-check that your car will be able to depart the garage while the tent is still attached to the vehicle before proceeding.

Each tent will have somewhat different requirements for the specific components you will need to assemble it.

Tool kits are included with structures manufactured by Tepui, Cascadia Vehicle Tents, and Free Spirit Recreation, to name a few.


  • An allen wrench set, a ratchetingwrench, and a metalfile are all useful tools to have.


The length of some rooftop tents extends beyond the automobile, but others are self-contained structures. Front Runner captured this image.

Step-By-Step Installation

Although setting up your tent is not difficult, it is important not to hurry the process. Correct installation ensures that your tent will not be blown off the top of your car while it is in motion. Caution should be exercised.

  1. Open the box containing your rooftop tent using a box cutter, remove the tent, and set it level on a flat surface. Mounting hardware, a ladder, a tent cover, ladder brackets, channel sliders with bolts and nuts, steel mounting plates, and bolts with washers are all included with your tent. Install the channel slides in a manner that is parallel to the tent hinge. Make sure the track is aligned with the pre-drilled holes in the tent’s foundation
  2. Otherwise, the tent may collapse. The bolts with washers should be able to slide between the mattress and the tent foundation. These bolts should be screwed into the nuts on the channel slides. This holds the mounting tracks to the tent in place. To assemble the ladder brackets, flip the tent over and attach them on the other side. This is identical to installing the mounting tracks, except that the bolts go between the mattress and the tent foundation instead of through the mattress. Use the nuts to hold the bolts in place, but do not tighten them yet. The ladder should be attached to the ladder brackets using the appropriate hardware. Make sure you read and follow the directions that came with your tent. Once the ladder and brackets are all in place, tighten the bolts according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The next step is to attach the tent cover to the C-channel that the cover slips into, as described in the manufacturer’s instructions. This is the point at which metal spurs on the end of the C-channel may cause harm. Make use of the metal file if there are spurs
  3. Zip the tent cover closed
  4. You will want assistance with this step. Lifting your tent onto the roof of your car should be done by two individuals. Make certain that the mounting tracks are perpendicular to the crossbars of your roof-rack system. Place the tent in such a way that it will open in the direction that you want it to. The majority of people like to have them open to the passenger side, however you may choose which way to open them. Insert the channel sliders and bolts into the mounting tracks using the channel sliders as guides. Slide them across until they are straddling a crossbar on a roof rack. In order to move one bolt to the opposite side of the crossbar, you’ll have to elevate the entire tent. This procedure should be repeated for each of the four mounting tracks. Attach the steel mounting plates to the underside of each mounting track by screwing them on from the bottom. They should be secured using the bolts provided and tightened with a tool. Install the plastic end caps into the ends of the mounting tracks to complete the installation. Fill up the gas tank, pack up the car, check your tire pressures, and head off camping.

The use of a second person might make the installation process smoother and faster. Thule took this photograph.

TheCar BiblesQuestionnaire

All of your burning questions will be answered by the Car Bible!

Q:Can you mount a tent to an aftermarket roof rack?

A:This question is a little more difficult to answer. The short answer is yes, but you should double-check with the tent manufacturer before making your final decision on which tent to purchase.

Some racks will require minor adjustments in order to accommodate specific tents, so double-check with the tent or rack maker before making a final decision on which to purchase. Return shipping is quite expensive, and getting these tents to you is even more expensive.

Q:Can you mount a tent without crossbars?

As a result, we do not encourage it because there aren’t many manufacturers who recommend or provide that form of installation. It is possible to sandwich the side rails of your roof rack between the mounting tracks and steel mounting plates. But proceed with caution. If there isn’t a track lock on the rails, the tent may roll about on them. The crossbars guarantee that the tent does not move forward and backward while being transported in your car.

Q:Can you mount a tent on a trailer?

The answer is yes, as long as the trailer is equipped with the proper sort of crossbars. Because the tent will not be supported by crossbars, some custom fabrication will be required to attach it. There are a variety of crossbars that are designed expressly for use with trailers and are available for purchase.

Video Tutorials on Installing Your Rooftop Tent

So that you may have a better understanding of how things work, we’ve compiled a collection of installation films that demonstrate how different companies attach their rooftop tents to various car types. TepuiiKamperYakima ThuleSmittybuiltRoofnest Please be advised that is also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Programs, which is an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for web sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to (hereinafter, “” or “ Associates Programs”).


Rooftop tent camping is one of the most enjoyable and unusual ways to spend a night in the great outdoors—but it does, on average, need a little more preparation and study than regular ground camping. Some of the most commonly asked questions regarding rooftop camping are included here to aid in your decision about whether or not this is suitable for you:

How much does it cost?

The fact that rooftop tents are more durable than ground tents also implies that they are often more expensive than ground tents. In most cases, a decent ground tent will cost you a couple hundred dollars, although rooftop tents might cost as much as several thousand dollars. That does not imply that it is not worthwhile! However, when putting up your camping itinerary, it is necessary to consider your budget.

Are they easy to transport?

Tents are heavy—and that’s exactly what they’re designed to be! Don’t let yourself get carried away in a storm. It is possible that the added weight and lack of aerodynamics associated with roof top tent camping, in example, will result in lower miles per gallon on occasion. Most rooftop tents will also necessitate the purchase of an updated car rack to accommodate the additional weight. Because this is typically an added expense for first-time tent campers, it is vital to keep this in mind when creating a budget for your roof top tent.

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Where do I put it when I’m not camping?

You mean to tell me that you don’t want to sleep under the stars on the roof of your car every night?! The purpose of your rooftop tent should be considered when deciding when to put it away for the winter or for the summer. Will you wish to use it on a regular basis, on a seasonal basis, or perhaps a few times each year? The ideal place to store your tent should be determined ahead of time since you will not want to be continuously removing and replacing it, especially given the weight of the tent.

Planning ahead will assist you in determining the best place to store your tent. However, although the installation and removal are not difficult (there are only 8 bolts), the removal requires the assistance of a friend and some muscle.

What’s the difference between soft shell and hard shell roof top tents?

Rooftop tents are available in two different types: soft shell and hard shell. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of each option, as well as the differences, will provide you with the information you need to make the best decision for you and your family.

Soft Shell

Soft shell tents are those that have walls and are what we think of when we think of camping in a tent in the classic sense. Thin and lightweight, they’re constructed from durable yet breathable materials like as nylon, cotton canvas, or polyester to keep you cool in hot weather. These tents are less costly, feature larger sleeping spaces and provide more shade than hard shell tents. They also have windows throughout (including stargazer windows) and may contain an annex room for more accommodation.

In addition, you’ll need a larger campground to accommodate the footprint of your car, which doubles the width of your vehicle.

Hard Shell

Hard shell tents, on the other hand, are extremely simple to set up and take down; both tasks can generally be completed in under a minute each. It has an incredibly low profile, is aerodynamic, is robust, and is more storm-resistant than the competition. Additionally, because it only takes a little amount of room to set up and camp, it is more environmentally friendly. A disadvantage of hard shell tents is that they might be more expensive and smaller than soft shell tents, and stargazer windows are not always included, as they are with soft shell tents.

How to Install: Thule Rooftop Tent

Thule’s rooftop tent is ideal for those occasions when you want to camp for a night or two but don’t want to carry the whole rig. It is lightweight and easy to transport. In this video, you can see how simple it is to set up the system. A high-quality cotton mix canopy protects the tent from the elements, making Thule rooftop tents ideal for trips throughout the year. It is constructed of high-quality, UV- and mold-resistant materials and finishes (namely, a coated 600 denier 260G poly cotton blend).

Furthermore, the bag’s four huge inside pockets are ideal for carrying camping gear and other essentials.

ABOUT Thule ®

When it comes to Thule, we understand your desire to spend more time enjoying our interests and less time stressing about how to bring everything we need along with us. Thule has been innovating solutions to make life’s journeys more manageable for more than seven decades.

Our efforts have been entirely devoted to the development of innovative, fashionable items that are ecologically friendly, of high quality, safe, and simple to use. All of this is done in order for you to bring the things that are most important to you.


Installing a roof top tent may be time-consuming, and it may take you a while to figure out just where you want it to be mounted on your car, trailer, or truck bed, depending on your preference. It was my intention to compile the material I had gathered from numerous pages of forums into a single, easily digestible post rather than wasting hours browsing through them. We’ll go through some of the numerous mounting options for your roof top tent (RTT), as well as the ideal locations to put them!

Where can you mount your roof top tent?

It should come as no surprise to you that the most frequent and straightforward method of installing an RTT is to attach it to the roof of your car. By attaching it to an aftermarket crossbar system as well as a permanent roof rack system, you may accomplish your goal. If you’re in the market for a roof rack, opting for a low-profile design will lessen the amount of wind resistance and fuel loss experienced when operating an RTT. Not only will the rack be positioned closer to the car, but so will the RTT as a whole.

By reducing drag while driving, you can enhance your fuel economy while also providing a much smoother ride for passengers.

If you have a tent that weighs 200 pounds, you will be better off investing in a permanent roof rack system that is capable of supporting that amount of weight.

There are several instances, as well as my own personal advice in it!


The next alternative for attaching an RTT is to purchase a trailer, preferably an overlanding trailer, which may be customized to your specifications. CVT overlapping trailers or FSR overlapping trailers are examples of trailers that I would suggest because they come with crossbars for the RTT already installed.

I have listed all of my favorite and must-have roof top tent essentialshereif you’re interested in shopping around!

When an RTT is mounted on a trailer, there are several advantages. First and foremost, it is simple to mount and unmount as necessary. If you want to put it on top of a vehicle’s roof, you don’t have to lift it quite as high. Next, you won’t have to be concerned about losing gas mileage or causing your car to wear out prematurely. Many RTT owners leave it turned on all year, which puts additional strain on the drive train over time. Instead of worrying about the mounting procedure, you may just unhitch the trailer and move on with your life.

Truck options

The last option is intended for commercial vehicles in general. This item may be mounted on your truck’s bed, canopy, or even the cab itself. Each has its own set of advantages and justifications. Personally, I would invest in a truck bed rack so that your RTT may be mounted flush with the cab and not create any more wind resistance. Many individuals, on the other hand, want the truck bed space and choose to get a bed rack that is extremely high in order to be able to carry a large amount of equipment into the truck bed.

With the use of a canopy rack, you may attach an RTT to it.

It is merely a matter of installing two tracks in the appropriate locations so that the roof rack’s towers can hold them in place. There are no complicated steps in the installation, and you may choose between crossbars or a more durable rack such as the Slimline II.

Positioning your roof top tent

The location of your RTT has a significant impact on the overall wear and tear of your vehicle. When putting your RTT on the roof of your car, you should strive to position the tent such that it is directly in the center of the vehicle’s interior. This contributes to the preservation of the normal weight distribution. This is by no means required, because with trucks or particular racks, this isn’t even a viable choice at all. Furthermore, some individuals just like to put the tent closer to the front so they can stow their belongings behind the RTT.

Several factors contribute to why many people prefer this configuration rather than opening it to either the passenger or driving side of the vehicle.

Mounting Systems for your roof top tent

The procedure of installing an RTT can be quite time-consuming. Not only do you require additional assistance, but ratcheting down all of the bolts is also time-consuming. By purchasing a fast release mounting system, you may reduce the setup time to a fraction of what it would otherwise be. For example, the Front Runner Slimline rapid release mechanism is an excellent illustration of this. After installing the clamps, you will never have to use any tools again to mount your RTT since they will be permanently secured in place.

This method is applicable to all RTT kinds.

Reduces the amount of bolt tightening required, and secures your tent to your rack for further security.

Not only will it save you a great deal of time, but they are also extremely safe and contain locking capabilities to protect your information.

Best practices for mounting a roof top tent

When installing an RTT, there are a number of critical parameters to be aware of. When it comes to a properly secured tent, knowing things like the dynamic weight limit and the width between crossbars are critical parameters to know. That’s why I wrote a really brief essay on how to set up a roof top tent in the first place. It’s a really concise and to-the-point tutorial that walks you through the process step by step. Things to know before, during, and after the installation are all covered in this straightforward mounting guide, which includes photographs taken by me.

Wrapping up

The location and method of mounting your RTT might differ significantly. It all comes down to how much convenience you want, how much weight it can handle, how wind resistant it is, and a slew of other considerations. These are by far the most prevalent methods of mounting an RTT, and each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to determining which mounting method is the finest because it will differ from person to person depending on their own preferences.

If you’ve spent any time browsing through numerous pages of disconnected material, I hope this post has saved you some time. These are the most popular and safest methods of mounting a roof top tent on a house or building.

Roof Top Tent – by Front Runner

The shop will not function properly if cookies are deactivated on your computer or device. $1,169.00 (excluding of tax and shipping) Currently in stock When fully assembled, this roof top tent is 1.3 meters wide by 2.4 meters long. The super-low 330mm profile decreases wind resistance while driving and lowers the vehicle’s overall height by almost one meter. The Front Runner Roof Top Tent has the lowest profile of any roof top tent currently available on the market! In order to purchase Roof Top Tent by Front Runner, you must purchase it in multiples of 1.

  • Equipment and guidance that has been tested and proven You may put your faith in us. Money refund guarantee for 30 days Guarantee
  • Off-road construction was used. Tough
  • Easily attaches to the top of your Front Runner Roof Rack to provide quick, easy, and comfortable shelter wherever you go
  • Sleeps 2+ people in comfort
  • An immediate bedroom is created with a single seamless motion. Weighing only 43kg, it is far lighter than all other comparable roof top sleeping options now available on the market. The body of the tent is made of 260g poly-cotton ripstop fabric, which is water-resistant and durable. Full-coverage rainfly made of waterproof, UV-resistant 400d polyester oxford fabric for maximum protection. With the help of convenient side-release buckles, you may simply remove or install the item as needed. A solid, insulated foundation is provided by a durable base consisting of an aluminum frame, sheeting, and dense foam core. High-density foam mattress (6cm / 2.25″ thick) with a machine-washable, moisture- and mildew-resistant polyester oxford fabric cover for added comfort
  • It is possible to unzip skylight vent windows in the roof to allow for fresh air, sunshine, and starry views, or they can be sealed to trap heat and keep out the weather
  • The side window privacy panels zip up to close, allowing the size of the aperture to be modified according to privacy requirements or weather circumstances
  • The side window privacy panels zip up to close
  • A total of two hanging pockets give enough storage space for personal belongings (34cm by 22cm / 13.5″ by 8.5″)
  • The heavy-duty 650g nylon tent cover is made of durable PVC coating and will protect your tent when it is packed and in transportation. Tracks for mounting (included) can be installed either from the front to the back or from side to side, depending on your requirements. Included are universal mounting plates as well as all essential hardware. Upgrade to our Quick Release Tent Mount Kit for faster and simpler installation and disassembly. Incorporate a handy shelter below with ourRoof Top Tent Annex, which slides simply into the channel of the tent foundation
  • It comes with an integrated sliding aluminum ladder. The weight limit for the ladder is 180kg/400lbs.

It should be noted that if the tent installation height is greater than 2 meters, you will want a Tent Extension Ladder. NOTE: Front Runner Tent Mounts:Tent Mount Kit,Tent Mount Kit / TallorQuick Release Tent Mount,Tent Mount Kit/ TallorQuick Release Tent Mount The following are the recommended mounting techniques for this Tent. The set includes:1 x Tent 1 piece of flysheet 1 × Bed (mattress) 1 × Tent with a cover 1 x Sliding stairwell 1 × Rod & Reel Kit Mounting studs are included with this package.

Rainfly made of 400d polyester oxford that is waterproof and UV resistant.

Padding for Mattresses: 60mm ” (2.25″) thick polyurethane foam with a high density 650g heavy-duty PVC for the tent cover; aluminum sheeting and side rails with foam core for the tent base.

Dimensions of the tent: 1330mm when closed (including cover and ladder) ” (52.4″) Dimensions: 1245mm (49″) L x 330mm (13″) W (13″) Height with cover and ladder: 1295mm Height without cover and ladder: ” (51″) 1220mm L x 1220mm W ” (48″) 216mm W x 216mm H ” (8.5″) Dimensions of the HOpen: 3330mm for the outside with a rainfly ” (131″) 1330mm (48″) L x 2290mm (90″) W x 1330mm (48″) (52.4″) Interior Dimensions: 2438mm ” (96″) 1295mm L x 1295mm W ” (51″) 1168mm W x 1168mm H ” (46″) L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L (A Peak) Dimensions of the mattress:1990mm ” (78.4″) 1210mm (47.2″) L x 1210mm (47.2″) W x 60mm (2.4″) HWeight:43 kilograms (93lbs) Load Capacity: 270kg (600lbs) In order to access the fitting instructions, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed.

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The Best Roof Rack for a Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

Nick Jaynes’s /InCamping/ is a work of fiction. So you’ve made the decision to purchase a hard shell roof top tent. As a result, you’ll need to figure out what type of roof rack you’ll need to accommodate your swanky new system. This may appear to be a difficult task because there are so many different designs and brands available on the market. However, we’ve put together this brief guide to assist you in making an informed decision. If you don’t know what sort of car you have, it might be difficult to choose which roof rack is the most appropriate for your roof top tent setup.

Additionally, you must ensure that your RTT has the proper cross bars to support the weight of the vehicle – both with campers inside (static load) and while the vehicle is closed and driving down the highway (dynamic load).

Do I Need a Platform Rack for My Roof Top Tent?

Many people believe that, in order to place their roof top tent, they must purchase a huge and expensive platform roof rack, which is based on the example established by the overlanders. However, this is not the case. A roof top tent does not need the use of a slatted roof platform, despite the fact that they offer several advantages for transporting large and heavy items such as water cans, fuel cans, and firewood, among other things. This is due to the fact that the roof top tent is already a platform in and of itself.

It’s sturdy enough to sustain itself as well as a couple of inhabitants without the need for extra platform support beneath the surface of the platform.

Having said that, if you want to install a roof top tent as well as a few pieces of additional equipment on your vehicle’s roof, a platform rack may be a viable solution.

Examples include an outside channel system that can accommodate lighter-weight attachments, as well as optional crossbars that can be used to attach your favorite gear to the Falcon and Falcon XL.

Choosing the Right Crossbars for a Roof Top Tent

For those of you who aren’t intending on hauling around a lot of additional gear, all you really need is a nice pair of crossbars – and the ones you currently have could just suffice! However, there are a few factors to keep in mind before relying on the original crossbars on your car. In terms of design, many of these are thin and arched across the roof of the car as a result of concerns about aerodynamics during construction. As you might guess, an arched surface (albeit reasonably durable and undoubtedly aerodynamic) does not provide a level mounting platform for a flat-bottomed rooftop tent, despite its relative strength and aerodynamics.

Crossbars must be at least 30 inches apart, longitudinally, to support a hard shell roof top tent.

Weight capacity is the icing on the cake for the stock-crossbar-coffin design. Many off-the-shelf crossbars aren’t meant to support loads greater than 100 pounds, which is significantly less than the combined weight of a roof top tent plus a couple of individuals. In a nutshell, while stock crossbars are acceptable for a pair of skis, they are not necessarily the best choice for a hard shell roof top tent such as the Roofnest. In light of the fact that an overlanding-style platform rack may be excessive and that standard crossbars may be insufficient, what do you require to attach an RTT to your vehicle?

We prefer Malone bars because they’re just as durable as those from Thule or Yakima — at a fraction of the cost — and they operate with the largest range of cars without the need for any specific gear or mounting hardware.

However, we recommend that you choose a Malone or another well-known brand rather than a low-cost pair from eBay or Amazon since they will last longer.

The websites of well-known companies can assist you in determining if your vehicle can accommodate crossbars that are sufficient for properly installing a roof top tent and all of the other items necessary.

Compatibility with Your RTT Rig

The unfortunate reality is that some automobiles are just not equipped to accommodate crossbars. The Chevrolet Cruze, which debuted in the last generation, is an excellent example. There are just no safe roof rack crossbar choices available for the Cruze due to the fact that its roof structure was not built to hold any type of roof top weight in the first instance. You’ll have a tough time figuring it out from a random eBay auction! To reiterate the point made above, established roof rack accessory brands can assist you in determining whether your vehicle has raised side rails to which crossbars like those from Malone can easily mount — or whether you’ll have to rely on often-hidden threaded holes buried in the roof of your vehicle.

There is no difference between the brand of crossbars you choose as long as they have a dynamic load rating of at least the weight of your Roofnest (dynamic refers to “moving” weight).

Still Got Questions? Talk to an Expert

The process of selecting solid aftermarket crossbars versus just slapping your roof top tent onto the factory crossbars that came with your vehicle may seem more overwhelming at first, but taking the time to ensure that you have a sturdy and safe crossbar arrangement will pay benefits in the long run. You wouldn’t simply toss a $3,500 mountain bike on any ordinary roof rack, would you? No. You’d want to be certain that it would be able to reliably support your investment. The same may be said about your Roofnest as well.

Having trouble figuring out which roof rack layout is ideal for your particular vehicle and hard shell roof top tent type?

Get in touch with a Roofnest professional immediately.

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Before it was deemed necessary to maintain social distance, many of us often tried to go away from society. Overlanding and off-grid camping, two methods of accomplishing this, have seen tremendous growth in popularity over the last decade. While it’s good to be away from home for a while, going off-grid doesn’t have to entail giving up all of the pleasures that come with it. An appropriate rooftop tent allows you to have access to a pleasant, portable sleeping place that is virtually as comfy as your own home’s bedroom while on the road.

Related Reading

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  • Overlanding
  • How to Begin Overlanding
  • Car Camping Gear
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Pros and Cons of Rooftop Tents

Every drool-worthy overlanding rig you see on YouTube appears to include an expensive rooftop tent, no matter how long you spend watching videos. Because of their widespread use, they appear to be a need for anyone who is serious about overlanding. If you’re looking for one, it’s critical to grasp their advantages and disadvantages in order to assess if they’re a good fit for you. Stefan Widua is a writer and musician from the Czech Republic. The simplicity and comfort of a rooftop tent are the two most compelling reasons for most vehicle campers to choose this type of shelter.

  1. Finding a decently level parking area, unlocking or latching a few straps or latches, and raising the roof are usually all that’s necessary in most circumstances (literally).
  2. The majority of versions are resilient and robust enough to withstand even the most intense storms, making them far more weather-resistant than standard tents of the same size.
  3. Rooftop tents, on the other hand, have two major disadvantages.
  4. It will cost you roughly a thousand dollars to get even the most basic model.
  5. Even after factoring in the vehicle or SUV to which you’ll be connecting the tent, the overall cost is likely to be less than that of an RV.

There isn’t much that can be done to get around this difficulty. To put it another way, it is what it is. Just be aware that the added weight will have a negative impact on your fuel efficiency.


If you’ve concluded that a rooftop tent is the best option for you, the next step is determining which type is most suited to your vehicle. The first step is to consult your vehicle’s owner’s handbook (if it came with a factory-installed roof rack) or the owner’s manual for an aftermarket roof rack. The majority of them will expressly state whether or not they are compatible with a rooftop tent. Each roof rack is capable of supporting a maximum static and a maximum dynamic load at the same time, respectively.

  1. This is rarely a problem because most automobile roofs are built to withstand the forces of a rollover accident.
  2. courtesy of simonapilolla/Getty Images The weight that the rack can sustain when the vehicle is in motion is referred to as dynamic weight.
  3. If the tent turns into a fatal missile while traveling down the highway, finding out that it can’t is not a pleasant discovery.
  4. If you discover that you want something more durable, there are several solutions available from Thule and Yakima.

Installing a Rooftop Tent

Typically, setting up a rooftop tent is a basic process. The fact that they are so heavy makes having a strong companion to assist with the installation absolutely necessary. It should just take a few bolts, clips, latches, and the like to secure your new tent to your old roof rack arrangement, assuming you’ve double-checked its compatibility with your existing roof rack configuration. From the time the box is opened to the time the installation is completed, it should take no more than 20 to 30 minutes.

Other Things to Consider

When looking for a new rooftop tent, it may seem apparent to double-check delivery prices, but it is important to do so. Because their clients are already paying a premium for their items, several high-end manufacturers provide “free” delivery on their products. However, because most tents weigh between 100 and 200 pounds on average, shipping expenses might be prohibitively expensive in many instances. Perhaps it is more cost effective to purchase your tent in-store. It’s also important to choose whether you want a hardtop tent or a softtop tent.

Maintaining and caring for fabric models is more difficult, since they need to be allowed to dry properly.

Some high-end versions have luxurious extras like as built-in awnings and separate covered living areas, which are a great touch. It is also possible to purchase modular pieces, which allow purchasers to expand their tent arrangement in the future.

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  • In 2022, here are the top six motorcycle tents for camping on two wheels.

How do rooftop tents work A complete guide

What are the benefits of purchasing a rooftop tent? There are several advantages to using a rooftop tent, including the following: The thrill of the chase. Rooftop tents provide a unique opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors, no matter what the weather conditions are like. These tents are made to last a long time. They can withstand harsh weather better than ground tents and, unlike RVs, may be utilized in difficult terrain without compromising performance. There’s a view. As a result of rising above the ground, you will have a better perspective of the breathtaking nature that surrounds you and your tent.

  1. Simple to assemble.
  2. You don’t have to assemble a slew of poles and stake them into the ground, as you would with a ground tent.
  3. This means that you’ll be able to spend more time exploring and less time setting up camp.
  4. Most roof top tents are equipped with built-in mattresses, which are more comfortable than inflatable beds (particularly if they are deflated!).
  5. In addition, the tent’s level floor means that you won’t have to worry about knobby stones poking you in the back at night.
  6. These tents keep you up and out of the mud, snow, sand, and creatures that may be lurking about.
  7. Most of the time, the materials used to construct rooftop tents are specifically intended to survive extreme weather conditions better than those used to construct ground tents.

The rooftop tent is less expensive than a trailer, camper van, or recreational vehicle (RV), but it is still considered a mobile home because it is moved by automobile.

Additionally, they are capable of handling uneven terrain, making them ideal for off-road expeditions.

Because they are bigger, they are typically less adaptable than rooftop tents in terms of design.

What is the best way to set up a roof top tent?

Various types of rooftop tents are available, each with its own design and installation procedure.

  1. Placing the tent on the roof rack of your vehicle and sliding it into position
  2. The tent should be secured by bolting down the mounting gear that has been provided.

Remember to always refer to the documentation that came with your individual tent if you need more detailed instructions. What is the best way to utilize the rooftop tent? Once you’ve arrived at your location, how do you go about erecting your rooftop tent? There are two types of ground tents available: fold-out and pop-up, both of which are far faster to set up than regular ground tents. Fold-out: Soft-shell roof top tents are the most prevalent type of roof top tent. Simply remove the travel cover from the tent, extend the ladder, and unfold the structure.

  1. Pop-up: Roof top tents with a sturdy shell are the most prevalent type.
  2. That is all there is to it!
  3. A number of people who are interested in roof top tents have inquired about this specific subject.
  4. When setting up the tent, it can take anything from 4-6 minutes to open the tent, set up the windows, and attach the rainfly poles.
  5. Where can you set up a roof top tent for camping?
  6. Camping may be permitted in specified parking spaces, campgrounds, national parks, and other locations.
  7. Apps such as iOverlander and Allstays can assist you in locating camping spots in your region that are permitted.

As soon as you’ve worked out how to utilize a rooftop tent, the next logical inquiry is: which rooftop tent is the most appropriate for me?

See also:  What Are Tent Footprints For

Hard shell versus soft shell roof top tents are two different types of roof top tents.

It is for this reason that they are even more convenient to set up and take down than soft shell roof top tents.

All of these qualities contribute to their popularity as overlanding and off-roading vehicles.

Tents with a soft shell for the roof: Tents with a soft shell are the most frequent form.

To open it, all you have to do is pull the ladder down and the tent will unfold.

Additionally, soft-shell tents can be equipped with an annex, which provides additional room beneath the tent.

For the benefit of families The largest roof top tents typically have a maximum weight capacity of roughly 650 lbs.

A roof top tent annex also provides you with more space for getting the kids ready in the morning, or even a separate sleeping area for the kids to sleep in.

Weekends and short getaways are ideal.

A tent like theThule Tepui Foothillfrees up room on the top of your car, making it more convenient to travel.

For those who like to take risks.

TheThule Tepui Ruggedizedseries is designed to withstand the test of time.

A tent like this is ideal for towing a 4X4 trailer or off-roading with a rig.

Hard-shell rooftop tents are also suitable for use on the beds of pickup trucks and jeeps. Because of the hardness of the material, they are particularly resistant to rain and wind. Accessories and features for a roof top tent

  • What is the best way to heat a roof top tent? Make use of aquilted insulator, which is a rooftop tent insulation that is fitted to your tent and attaches to the inside frame for additional protection from the elements. Because its material is thicker than that of ground tents, vehicle top tents are often warmer than ground tents. Not to mention the additional benefit of being elevated above the freezing ground
  • What is the benefit of using a roof top tent with an annex? Some roof top tents are equipped with an annex that may be detached. This provides you with more protected room to get dressed before heading out on an adventure or additional storage space for your things. Bedding: One of the advantages of a roof top tent is the fitted mattress that helps you to get a good night’s sleep after a long day of exploring. The mattress is already set up in the tent, so all you have to do is open the tent and get in. It is important to use an anti-condensation mat while setting up a tent since it will prevent the interior from becoming musty and wet. Outside your tent, hang a boot bag to collect your muddy shoes in order to keep the interior of your tent as clean and dry as possible (a difficult task while camping).

What is the best way to determine whether a roof top tent will fit your vehicle? As a result, we understand how critical it is to ensure that your rooftop tent is secure and safe. That is why it is critical that your tent be suitably sized for your vehicle. When determining whether or not a tent will fit in your vehicle, there are several factors to consider. Capacity for carrying a lot of weight

  • The dynamic weight capacity of your vehicle is the amount of weight it can bear when driving. This is the maximum weight capacity that has been established by the car manufacturer for your vehicle. To put it simply, it is the weight capacity required to support your rooftop tent. However, when your car is parked, your tent is set up, and a ladder is installed, its static weight capacity measures how much weight it can support at that point. Because of the additional support provided by the ladder, the static weight capacity is typically three times more than the dynamic weight capacity. This informs you how much weight is required to support the tent and the individuals sleeping within it.

Requirement for travel distance

  • Aluminum bars are located at the bottom of the tent, which are used to secure the tent to the roof of your car. You can’t have bars that are too wide for your vehicle. Please double-check the suggested distance needed in the tent’s handbook to ensure that it is compatible with your specific vehicle, or use our instructions to calculate it for you.

Roof Rack Compatibility

  • You will want to get an aftermarket roof rack since they have a larger weight capability than the majority of factory fitted roof racks that come with your vehicle. In order to support the tent’s dynamic weight, your rack must be capable of supporting it. Roof top tents are compatible with the majority of Thule roof racks. It is possible to determine whether or not your rack will work with our rooftop tents by consulting our buyer’s guide.
  • Roof top tents are compatible with all roof types, with the exception of bare roofs that lack tracks or rails (as illustrated below). It is perfectly OK to drive in a car with a sunroof, but not with a glass roof

(From left to right, the following roof types: fixed-point, elevated railing, rain gutters, flush railing, and tracks.) Make the procedure easier by following our fit guide! All of the math are done for you, so you don’t have to. Simply enter your car’s make, model, and year of production into our directory, and we’ll recommend some of our rooftop tents that are compatible with your vehicle. Do you require a roof rack in order to use a roof top tent? Yes! Rooftop tents are mounted to the vehicle’s rack system, which might be a truck, an SUV, or a van.

  1. Yes!
  2. Mounting your roof top tent on truck and van racks that are designed to accommodate pickup trucks or truck beds is a simple and effective solution.
  3. What about boats or bicycles, for example?
  4. Some roof top tents provide enough space for you to additionally transport a kayak, canoe, or bicycle on the side of the tent.
  5. Just make sure that the weight capacity of your roof rack and vehicle is adequate for the task at hand.

How to Install a Roof Top Tent

“Home is where the car is parked.” This statement appears to be a suitable way to express modern-day overlanding in its entirety. Every adventurer can undoubtedly make any site their home if they have the proper equipment and tools, as well as the bare essentials. And, as technology advances and new items enter the market, every experience becomes better: more convenient, more comfortable, and more pleasurable. A good example of this is a roof top tent. Among regular campers, roof top tents (also known as vehicle top tents) are a popular must-have item to have on hand.

  1. Not to mention the fact that they are quite simple to install and keep up to date.
  2. Most roof top tents are also equipped with luxurious beds that can accommodate up to 5 people, making camping a comfortable and peaceful experience for everyone.
  3. As we progress through this post, we’ll cover more advantages of utilizing a roof top tent, as well as things you should know about it and how to properly construct it.
  4. Tents on the Ground While many people like to camp in roof top tents, there are still a large number of overlanders who prefer to utilize the more typical ground tents while they are out camping.

Consequently, you can wonder, “which is preferable: roof top tents or ground tents?” Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing a roof top tent vs a ground tent. Pros:

  • Increased durability
  • Quicker and easier to assemble a better perspective
  • A cleaner environment with fewer pests or insects
  • It is less difficult to locate a camping location. Enhanced protection against possible predators or wild animals More comfortable in general, with improved ventilation
  • It appears to be colder
  • Sleeping in a more comfy bed
  • Expensive
  • Large, thick, and heavy
  • Large, big, and heavy It’s not possible to utilize your car while the camp is put up
  • Installation necessitates the use of a rack or crossbars. The car will experience increased aerodynamic drag, which will result in decreased fuel economy. a reduction in available living space
  • To go into the tent, you’ll need to climb a ladder. When your vehicle need a car wash, it is a hassle to remove. Cleaning is more difficult.

Tents with a hard shell versus tents with a soft shell After learning about the advantages and drawbacks of utilizing a roof top tent as opposed to a ground tent, you may have already made the decision to acquire the former over the latter. Consequently, your next inquiry is, “What sort of tent should I buy?” Roof top tents may be divided into two types: hard shell and soft shell. Hard shell roof top tents are more durable than soft shell roof top tents. Hard shell tents (also known as hard-top tents) are distinguished by the presence of two stiff outer shells that serve as both the ceiling and the foundation of the structure.

With a few simple latch releases and the use of automated or gas-strut systems, most hard shell tents can be quickly and readily opened.

They are also composed of water-resistant textiles like as canvas, nylon, or polyester for their body and walls.

Hard shell roof top tents are more sturdy and long-lasting, but soft shell roof top tents are lighter and less expensive to purchase and maintain.

Hard Shell Soft Shell
Faster and easier to set up Cheaper
More durable and long-lasting Lighter weight
Warmer and more weatherproof Accessible for stargazing
Can serve as a cargo box for extra storage Pack down smaller
More comfortable Larger space or sleeping area
More aerodynamic; better gas mileage More customizable
You can leave your bedding set-up More accessories available
Quieter (since it’s not easily blown out by the wind)
Higher headroom
Better looks

Things to Keep in Mind When Purchasing a Rooftop Tent Aside from the obvious considerations of capacity, comfort, and appearance, there are a number of other variables to consider when purchasing a roof top tent. Consider some of these helpful suggestions when you’re ready to make a purchase to ensure that you’re receiving the best value possible on your roof top tent. First and foremost, consider durability. When you go camping, look at the material, construction, and other specifications to determine if it can survive any weather conditions.

Second, don’t be fooled by soaring delivery rates while placing an online item.

As a result, you will be charged additional shipping fees.

In addition to the previous two considerations, it is critical to ensure that your roof top tent is compatible with your car.

Installing a Roof Top Tent on Your CarThe compatibility of your car with a roof top tent accounts for half of the decision-making process when choosing a roof top tent.

In order to be certain that your tent will fit in your car, follow these steps: Capacity for Bearing Loads If your vehicle is equipped with a set of crossbars, one of the first and most straightforward things you should consider is the weight capability of the crossbars.

Because you know this very fundamental data, you may make an educated guess about the size and weight of the roof top tent you’re considering purchasing.

In addition to the people and their gears, other structures (such as roof racks) should be taken into consideration when calculating the vehicle’s load capacity.

This is due to the fact that you must take into account two different types of weight loading capabilities for a vehicle: dynamic and static.

A common difference between the two is that the latter can generally carry three times as much as the former.

As soon as you’ve calculated how much weight your vehicle is capable of supporting, you’ll need to put together everything you’ll need to set up the roof top tent.

Even if a set of crossbars can do the task, roof racks or truckbed racks are still the most reliable solutions due to their heavy-duty construction.

Then your answer is an unequivocal YES!

You will also need to consult the owner’s handbook to see how much weight your roof rack or crossbars are capable of supporting.

Adaptability of the installation Roof top tents are already widely available on the market, and a large number of universal or one-size-fits-all roof racks are available.

Nonetheless, when it comes to customized and branded racks, it’s advisable to always review their instructions to ensure that it will work with your roof top tent before purchasing it.

Now that you understand the fundamentals of roof top tents, including how they operate, what to look for, what they require, and so on, you are ready to put it all together.

A step-by-step guide on erecting your roof top tent is provided below to aid you in your endeavor.

Next, remove the tent’s latches and completely empty it of all of the supplies and tools that came with it.

You’ll need these items when you’re ready to set up and use the tent, so put them away for the time being while you inspect the tent for any damage or holes.

Installing As soon as you have determined that the roof top tent is in good shape and that all of the necessary components have been obtained, you can begin the installation process.

The general installation procedures, on the other hand, are essentially the same.

Once again, it is critical that you ensure that your supporting platform is capable of bearing the weight of your roof top tent (static and dynamic).

Bolts, screws, and plates were installed in accordance with the manual’s directions.

Bolt it down with the mounting hardware that comes with it.

When you’re comfortable with the location of your tent, you can secure it by tightening the bolts and latching the latches on the doors and windows.

Testing The final step in effectively installing a roof top tent to your car is to test it to ensure that it functions properly.

This will also provide you with an excellent chance to become acquainted with and completely check the entire tent, including its hardware materials and mechanics.

Check out ourroof top tentandroof racksections if you’re looking for overlanding supplies and camping equipment.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions at (252) 680-3070 (Call or Text) or [email protected] (email). We are here to assist you!

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