Why Buy A Rooftop Tent

What’s the Deal With Rooftop Tents?

“Seriously, though, these things are a little silly, don’t you think? Are there any real advantages to sleeping on a mattress instead of the ground?” It was I who did this. A few years back, I remarked this out loud to a Yakima representative while standing in front of a rooftop tent (RTT) fastened on a pickup truck that was studded with overlanding gear and parked next to a lovely faux camp setup. To be quite honest, I don’t even remember his answer, other than a bewildered chuckle in my direction.

I was completely mistaken.

Not too long after that embarrassing encounter with the Yakima representative, I was camping with a buddy in Big Sur, and my perspective began to alter dramatically.

I immediately went to investigate.

  • She then got back into her car and nodded with pleasure.
  • It took her only a few steps to step onto the car’s floor, reach up for the RTT’s ladder, step down, and walk back about ten feet before the tent was triumphantly unfolded and ready to be transported.
  • With her feet dangling six feet above the ground and a cool drink in her palm, she was ready to go in five minutes.
  • The next morning, as I shook out my groundcloth and flipped my tent upside down to shake the dirt and tiny sticks out of it, I observed her pack up her tent with the same ease and drive away from the campsite.
  • Suddenly, everything made sense, and I was desperate for a copy.
  • In the intervening years, I’ve experimented with two other brands: one from Yakima and one from Thule (Thule bought Tepui tents a couple years ago, and their RTT division is now Thule Tepui, confusingly).
  • Both tents have proven to be excellent investments, and I’ve become a convert to RTT camping.

Functionally, they’re practically similar.

The ladder serves as the unfolding mechanism for both tents, and once the ladder is in the proper position, the tents are effectively erected.

When the tent is folded up for driving, it is protected by a waterproof cover, and both the Yakima and Thule coverings operate in the same way, using a zipper and velcro system.

Yakima Skyrise HD 3 is a high-definition camera.

The Yakima’s pad is somewhat thicker, measuring 2.5 inches in thickness as opposed to the Thule’s 2-inch cushion.

In fact, it is exactly what you get when you use an RTT.

You really can’t top the comfort factor of one of these RTTs when compared with ground camping.

If you leave your shoes at the door, you won’t drag dirt inside your tent, which is a welcome relief after a few days of camping in the wilderness.

These poles are responsible for supporting the roof.

If I’m going to be traveling for a while, I’ll leave my sleeping bag or blankets in the RTT, and they’ll fold up with the tent when it’s closed.

Furthermore, camping availability varies on a regular basis.

If your car can fit on a spot of ground, you’ve got yourself a wonderful campground, regardless of whether or not the land is rough, uneven, or infested with bugs.

There’s simply something about sitting well up off the ground with your legs swinging freely while using an RTT that appeals to me.

There are, however, certain disadvantages.


The Yakima Skyrise HD weighs around 115 pounds, while the Thule weighs approximately 120 pounds.

In addition, you’ll need a place to keep the tent while it’s not in use.


When I install an RTT in my 2016 Subaru Outback, I see at least a 4mpg reduction in fuel economy, depending on the wind, height, and other factors.

They are prohibitively pricey.

Additionally, if you do not already have heavy-duty roof racks, it will cost you an additional $300 to $500.5.

I can set mine up in less than 10 minutes and take it down in less than five minutes, but that’s something to keep in mind while planning.

I have a place to keep one when it is not in use, as well as a companion who can assist me in putting it on and taking it off.

Even if I had the same circumstance, I’m not sure I’d prescribe an RTT to someone who didn’t have it.

So, who are these intended for?

RTTs, on the other hand, are increasingly being seen on wagons, compact SUVs, and even Priuses on occasion.

The original purpose of these tents, I believe, was to be used for extreme overlanding, when people would be driving far out into the desert and would be unable to forecast ground surface conditions.

If you spend a lot of time traveling deep into BLM territory, you’re probably already in possession of one of them.

Oh, that’s right, it’s my fave.

I and my wife (both of us are over six feet tall) and our two-year-old daughter can comfortably fit on the 95 by 58-inch floorspace, which is more than adequate for the three of us.

When packed closed, the maximum height is 10 inches, with the height on the non-hinged side tapering down to around 7 inches.

Even when there’s a lot of wind, you feel as solid as a rock up on the ridge.

Because it requires the use of nuts and bolts to secure it in place, the Thule system is somewhat more difficult to install than the Yakima system, which clamps on with no tools necessary.

There are, of course, hard-sided RTTs available as well, but they lack the roominess of the fabric RTTs I’ve tested, and they are thus not suitable for my requirements.

I never expected that I would fall in love with RTTs, and now I can’t image ever wanting to be without them. BUYThule Tepui Low-Pro 3 Yakima Skyrise HD 3 Thule Tepui Low-Pro 3

Other RTTs and accessories

Despite the fact that it has less frills than the Yakima or Thule, theSmittybuilt Overlander 2can be found for as low as $1,200 and has a respectable reputation. The Roofnest Sparrow EYE is a clam shell tent with a hard-sided roof. It’s long-lasting and can accommodate solar panels, but it costs $3,000 to purchase. The Yakima Sidekickattaches to the rail of an RTT and provides shoe storage. Because both Thule and Yakima utilize the same attachment method, this should work for both companies. Thule manufactures fitted sheets for its RTTs, which are excellent for keeping your mattress clean and free of stains.

That particular model is no longer available, but the Camp Chef Portable Fire Ring does the same thing without the metal ring that serves as a footrest.


Are Rooftop Tents Worth It?

Perhaps this is the first time you’ve heard of a rooftop tent if you’re from the United States. This is comprehensible given the fact that they initially gained popularity in the country of Australia. When it comes to creepy crawlies, Australia is famous for them, and a rooftop tent will keep you off the ground and far away from any four-legged visitors to your campsite. The use of these products has risen in popularity in other nations with high insect populations over the past couple of decades, and they’re finally making an appearance in the United States as well.

We’re going to speak about the advantages of owning a rooftop tent in a moment.

Where Are You Camping?

A rooftop tent gives you more flexibility in terms of placement than a standard tent. You may use it in places where a standard set would be problematic or simply prohibited due to the fact that it is mounted on your automobile. For example, a Walmart parking lot, an RV parking lot, or a highway rest stop are all examples of parking lots. After all, why pay to stay at a campground when you can sleep anywhere you want, whenever you want? Rooftop tents, on the other hand, are quite heavy. All but the smallest alternatives weigh roughly 100 pounds, which is almost 90 pounds more than even the heaviest camping tents on the market.

What Kind of Camping Are You Doing?

A rooftop tent may be either a marvelous convenience or a dreadful pain in the neck, depending on what you’re doing with it. The reason for this is the way they are put together. In order to support a rooftop tent, a roof rack is required. As soon as the roof rack is placed, the tent is secured to the top of it and will remain there for the duration of the trip to your destination. You fold the tent while traveling, and then you unzip it when you get at your location to set up your gear. Imagine having a tent that takes a large amount of work to place on your car but that can be opened in less than a minute when you need to use it.

If, on the other hand, you’re planning on staying at the same campsite for a number of nights, you might want to consider driving.

Such means you’ll have to take down the tent in that scenario. You’ll also need to leave something – or someone – behind to ensure that no one else takes over your campground.

What Kind of Vehicle Do You Own?

Rooftop tents of varying sizes and shapes will be accepted by different sorts of vehicles. For example, a large SUV or pickup truck with a bed lid may easily store a very large tent in the trunk. When traveling by vehicle, the carrying capacity is likely to be reduced, yet even a tiny car can often accommodate a two-person tent. There are also some interesting solutions available for pickup truck beds, some of which may even make use of the space above the cab to serve as a loft. Another significant factor to consider is the weight capacity of your vehicle’s roof.

That being said, it is essential to be safe, so check your vehicle’s cargo capacity and ensure that it is sufficient to handle the rack system, the tent, however many people will be sleeping inside, and all of your camping gear.

More information may be found by clicking on the image.

What’s Your Budget?

Tents made of traditional materials are reasonably priced. And yes, we are aware that some versions can be found for as much as $700, $800, or even more on the secondary market. There are a plethora of alternatives available, each with a slew of bells and whistles. The reality is that you can get inside a usable tent for less than $300. Rooftop tents require sturdy bottoms that provide a lot of support. They also feature ladders, which must be foldable and safe to drive with in the vehicle. As a result, they are a little on the expensive side.

With that much, you could purchase some of the most opulent hiking tents on the globe.


So, are rooftop tents a good investment? It all depends on what you’re searching for in the first place. There are better choices available if you want to camp in the woods or keep your tent set up while you travel about in your car to other destinations. They’re also not a good fit for automobiles that aren’t capable of supporting a roof rack. The contrary is true in that rooftop tents are less difficult to set up than regular tents. They keep you off the ground and away from pests, and they let you to camp in unusual places without being bothered by them.

We included one in our gift recommendations a few years ago, and we have to tell, the response was overwhelmingly positive.

More information may be found by clicking on the image.

Dear Wirecutter: Should I Buy a Rooftop Tent?

This summer, I’m planning to go camping a lot, and I’ve been seeing photographs of rooftop tents on social media that have piqued my interest. They appear to be of high quality, but they are also somewhat pricey. Is it worthwhile to purchase one? When it comes to structure and function, rooftop tents are similar in appearance to regular tents, but that’s where the similarities end. Roof tents, which have become more popular on social media, have prompted big outdoor firms such as Yakima to begin extending their product lines into the roof-tent market in response to the demand.

  • In general, soft-top tents open out to the side, whereas hard-shell tents pop up like the top of an old Volkswagen camper.
  • When we first started looking for a rooftop tent guide, we ran into a few problems straight from the bat: Typically, rooftop tents are excessively costly for the majority of individuals, costing anything from $1,000 to $5,000 per tent.
  • The conclusion we reached was that rooftop tents have minimal advantages over conventional tents when it comes to improving your car-camping experience, and we recommend that you avoid them if possible.
  • A rooftop tent’s historical roots may be traced back to the African wilderness and the Australian Outback, where they provided people with a secure haven in which to sleep in order to escape encounters with a variety of predators, from lions and tigers to deadly snakes and spiders.
  • Most national parks in the United States have few large predators, and if you’re a frequent camper, you’re undoubtedly familiar with how to keep yourself safe from bears.
  • Soft-top roof tents are more similar in appearance to a standard tent, having an interior pole system and a triangular form, but they are often constructed of a considerably thicker canvas than standard tents.
  • These tents are manufactured by firms such as ARB, Cascadia Vehicle Tents, Eezi-Awn, and Tepui, among others.
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Hard-shell roof tents, which are largely supplied by AutoHome and James Baroud, are typically constructed of fiberglass and covered with synthetic material.

All of the models we looked at featured shredded memory-foam mattresses on the interior as well.

First and foremost, most rooftop tents are too costly.

The expense of getting started with an inexpensive soft-shell tent and a simple roof-rack system, on the other hand, is likely to be at least $1,500.

For example, a less costly hard-top tent with a roof rack will set you back around $2,800 upfront.

Alternatively, you might spend some substantial money on some very great camping equipment.

For the second time, in order to effectively utilize a rooftop tent, you must have a third party roof-rack system installed on your vehicle (some popular ones include models from Rhino-Rack, Thule, or Yakima).

For example, roof tents weigh around 150 pounds, and most preinstalled roof bars are rated to support exactly 150 pounds, not more.

Even if you have a solid third-party rack put on your car, the weight of the tent can have a variety of negative consequences, the most obvious of which is a significant reduction in mileage (because of the added weight and increased drag).

Finally, a roof tent will boost the center of gravity of your vehicle, making it less safe and more susceptible to potentially toppling over.

You’ll also want to take into consideration the time it will take to install the system.

According to the model, clips and bolts are required for both installation and removal of a rooftop tent; as a result, once the tent is mounted to your vehicle, you probably won’t want to take it off for several months.

Driving your closed-up roof tent all around town on a daily basis, aside from making you look ridiculous, might also reduce your overall mileage.

Before you begin setting up camp, you must park your car on a fully level area, since driving on uneven terrain might result in a terrible night’s sleep for you and your family.

Aside from that, folks who own pets have told us that getting their dogs inside the tent can be difficult, especially if the dog is not used to climbing ladders or other obstacles.

Yes, that is true for some people: Rooftop tents allow you to sleep anywhere you want—in parking lots and on the side of the road, for example—while functioning more like RVs than tents in terms of functionality.

However, we recommend that you contact a reputable vendor in your region who can assist you in customizing your setup and providing some suggestions on an acceptable tent.

If you’re not an overlander but would like to experiment with a rooftop tent, we recommend spending a bit less than the list price on Yakima’s newest roof tentmodel, which is available for less than list price.

Although we haven’t heard many positive reviews for this one yet, it is the most cheap and entry-level rooftop tent choice available right now.

For the time being, heed Wes Siler’s words of wisdom: Instead of a rooftop tent, save money by purchasing a big tent that includes a luxurious air mattress.

Send us an email at [email protected], or connect with us on social media sites like as Twitter and Facebook. Questions that have been published have been modified for space and clarity. Continuation of Reading

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Are Rooftop Tents Worth It (Pros vs Cons)

You have to agree that when you see a well-equipped 4WD, complete with hefty off-road tires, aftermarket bumpers, LED lighting, and a Rooftop Tent, it looks quite formidable and like it’s ready to take on anything from mother nature to the end of the world. So, what are the advantages of a rooftop tent over a standard ground tent, and how do they differ? Today, we’ll go over the advantages and disadvantages of having a rooftop tent vs a ground tent, as well as which one is better for your particular purpose.

They keep ground-dwelling creatures and small wildlife from infiltrating your tent during the nighttime.

RTT’s also free up crucial interior space for other vital goods, which is a plus.

Let’s take a closer look at the distinctions between canvas and hard-shell rooftop tents, as well as some of the technical characteristics of each kind.

What Are The Advantages and Disadvantages Of A Roof Top Tent?

Rooftop tents provide a number of advantages over traditional ground tents, which are listed below. It is important to note that there are certain drawbacks to both alternatives, and I will go over them in further detail because I have extensive experience with both and am the proud owner of many different ground tents as well as a canvas rooftop tent. During a camping trip with family and friends last summer, I set up my rooftop tent in this manner.

Advantages Disadvantages
1.Safety– Even if this is aperceived safety, the RTTdoes offer a level of safetyfrom small game, snakes, scorpions, and other ground-dwelling insects. Don’t forget petty thieves. Weight– Rooftop tents weigh anything up from 132 LBS (60 Kg) to over 220LBS (100 kg) and can be difficult or near impossible to mount on your vehicle by yourself. The weight raises your vehicle’s center of gravity making it more top-heavy.
Comfort– The high-density mattress commonly found in RTT’s are fairly comfortable and will do just fine for a few days. No need to lug your stretcher beds, mattresses, and bedding along every time. All bedding can be stored inside the RTT. Storage– They can be bulky and can take up valuable storage space in your garage. A garage-mounted hoist would help a lot.
View– Waking up in a rooftop tent affords you a beautiful elevated view of the lake, sunrise, ocean, game, and the mountain range you are camping at. Mounting– This requires special brackets, bars, and roof mounting kits to secure to your vehicle.
Convenience– Setting up the RTT once you reach your destination is literally a matter of minutes. It can easily be done alone. The ground surface is not a concern. Home is where you park your vehicle. Just make sure it’s level. Closing– I found closing my rooftop tent in cold conditions to be a bit difficult after a few days as the canvas covers are a very tight fit which makes the folding up process a bit tricky. At times it can end up being a real struggle to fit everything back. Sometimes you pick up a few cuts and bruises in the process.
Weather-proof– They offer 100% protection from the elements and include an additional rain cover for those stormy nights on winter trips. No worry about your tent blowing away on windy days either. Decreased MPG– Your vehicle’s MPG will definitely decrease due to the extra bulk mounted above the roof of your vehicle. Also being bulky and high up allows crosswinds to play around with the stability of your vehicle while driving.
Space-saver– Frees up valuable space in the trunk of your vehicle for other essential items. Size– Most rooftop tents are designed for 2 adults and larger ones can accommodate 2 small kids, however, it can get a bit claustrophobic in there on warm summer nights.
Durable– Most modern RTT’s are made of a combination of water-proof rip-stop canvas and plastic covers. Pricey – Clamshell rooftop tents can cost a pretty penny. You will also need special mounting brackets and mounting bars to be installed by a professional before you can mount them.
Aesthetics – I am just going to leave this one here since we all know how awesome a RTT looks on a 4×4. Inconvenience– You have to pack up your rooftop tent if you want to leave base camp to explore the outdoors with your 4×4. This can be a hassle if you have a soft canvas-type RTT. Clam-shell ones are much quicker.

As a result, it is evident that there are as many advantages as there are negatives. I may not have covered all of them, and I’m confident that you can come up with a few more facts to support your position either way. Rooftop tents are intended to give you with the greatest amount of comfort, ease, and convenience possible when camping. As a result, getting to the most remote camping spots becomes much more convenient. RTTs may be mounted to practically any type of vehicle. If your vehicle does not come equipped with crossbars, these may be fitted on the majority of cars to securely attach your RTT.

For two people of average height and weight, there is more than enough sleeping room.

In addition, a big mattress, mat, folding cot, or a small dining table and chairs can be accommodated in the annex room.

How Much Weight Can A Roof Top Tent Hold?

The following are the maximum weight capacities of three notable rooftop tent manufacturers:

Rooftop Tent Brand Maximum Capacity
Ranger Roof Top Tent (3) 685 Lbs. (310 kg)
Smittybilt XL Overlander (3-4) 770 Lbs. (349 kg)
CVT Mount Ranier (3) 750 Lbs. (340 kg)

The FrontRunner rooftop tent weighs 132 pounds (45 kg), the Tepui weighs 125 pounds (56 kg), and the TuffStuff weighs 187 pounds (84 kg), but all of them are capable of comfortably supporting far greater weight. The risk does not lie in the tent collapsing under the weight, but rather in the mounting brackets or bars collapsing under the weight of the tent.

Because it is stretched across a broad surface area, the Rooftop tent can withstand a great deal of weight. Although it has not been confirmed, my prediction is that you will be able to cram enough people into a rooftop tent to cause it to fall apart.

How Much Does A Roof Top Tent Weigh?

The following is a list of several popular rooftop tent brands, along with the weights of their products. Take into consideration that they are not all the same size (2+ and 3-person), but they should give you a reasonable sense of the usual weight of a rooftop tent.

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Roof top Tent Brand Weight
Ranger Roof Top Tent 135 Lbs. (61 kg)
Smittybilt XL Overlander 148 Lbs. (67 kg)
CVT Mount Ranier 166 Lbs. (75.2 kg)
ARB Series III 154 Lbs. (69.8 kg)
Tepui Explorer Series Autana 3 150 Lbs. (68kg)
FrontRunner Featherlite 2+ 132 pounds (45 kg)

What Is The Best Roof Top Tent?

The best rooftop tent brand is difficult to determine since each one has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. However, you can identify a decent rooftop tent by looking at the construction quality, weight, size, and overall durability of a rooftop tent model. Determine which of those variables are the most relevant for your application and put them in the proper order based on the nature of your application and the information you need. However, the following is a guide to some of the most popular rooftop tent brands now available on the market, as well as what distinguishes each one from the rest.

1 Front Runner Feather-Lite Roof Top Tent
If saving weight is what you are after then look no further. This is the lightest RTT available and the low-profile rooftop tent weighs less than 100 pounds. This lightweight tent will not impact your gas mileage as much during those long treks. constructed from Oxford 400D tent fabric that is strong, breathable, mold-resistant, and waterproof.
2 Tepui Baja Series Kukenam Mesh Tent
The perfect option for all-year-round camp fanatics. This tent has a weather-proof canopy that connects the tent base. This allows you to interchange the canopy depending on the conditions: a mesh shade canopy for hot, humid weather, a lightweight nylon rip-stop canopy for springtime, or an aluminum canopy for inclement weather.
3 Yakima SkyRise Rooftop Tent
The durable tent made from 210D nylon which is light and breathable and includes mesh panels for ventilation and star gazing.
4 Smittybilt Overlander Tent
Smittybilt’s Overlander sleeps two and weighs only 118 pounds, which makes it ideal for cars and racks with lower weight capacities.
5 ARB Simpson Tent
A well known and established brand. The new ARB Simpson rooftop tent is easy to set up and provides maximum ventilation when needed, as well as a lighter high-density mattress which makes it easier to fold when packing up

That’s all there is to it. Whatever your requirements, there is a rooftop tent that meet both your requirements and your financial requirements.

Roof Top Tent Reviews and Feedback

Rooftop tents are expensive, so you want to be quite certain that you are making the right decision. Enter discussion boards and inquire about people’s thoughts on a certain brand. You will be doing yourself an enormous favor if you do so. Inquire as to what their advice would be if they were to acquire another one and why they would make them. When you visit 4×4 or camping establishments, ask the sales associate if they can put up the tent for you to check before purchasing it. Investigate what other people have said about specific brands of RTTs by searching for them on Google.

Feel free to approach a stranger who is wearing a hard shell and inquire as to whether they would suggest it and which brands to consider, among other things.

Hard Shell Roof Top Tents vs Canvas RTT

Rooftop tents have been around for a long time and are growing more and more popular every year. RTTs with hard shells, on the other hand, are becoming increasingly common these days. They have been on the market for quite some time, but they are unquestionably getting increasingly popular. For those contemplating purchasing a Rooftop tent but torn between a canvas or hard shell, you will want to continue reading as we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each type of rooftop tent.

Soft-Shell PROS

  • As the tent opens within seconds of reaching your location, it is rather straightforward to put up once you have arrived. Due to the fact that the space is doubled once the clamshell is opened, it has a bigger sleeping area than other clam-shell hard top RTTs and can accommodate two adults and two children rather comfortably. When compared to hardtop RTTs, the RTT is quite light in weight. RTTs with hardtops are less expensive.

Soft Shell CONS

  • The tent requires more time to set up and take down since it is more difficult to close and pack away — occasionally two persons are required to compress the tent while the other zips it shut
  • The vehicle is heavy and not particularly aerodynamic. Because of its enormous square hefty construction on the roof of your car, it has a negative impact on your MPG. Because of its square form and size, it generates more wind noise.

Hard-shell PROS

  • The tent requires more time to set up and take down since it is a little more difficult to close and pack away – occasionally two persons are required to compress the tent while the other zips it shut
  • Aerodynamically inefficient and clumsy The enormous square heavy structure on the roof of your car has a negative impact on your MPG. Due of its square form and size, it generates more wind noise.

Hard-shell CONS

  • The tent requires more time to set up and take down since it is more difficult to shut and pack away — occasionally two persons are required to compress the tent while the other zips it closed
  • The vehicle is heavy and not very aerodynamic
  • Because of its large square bulky structure on the roof of your vehicle, it has a negative impact on your fuel economy. Because of its square shape and size, it generates more wind noise


Rooftop tents are a brilliant addition to your camping armory, and they may make the difference between a decent camping vacation and a great camping experience for your family. When choosing a rooftop tent, always consider it from the standpoint of your application, rather than focusing on what the optimal RTT is. The most important considerations for a young family who camps 2-3 times a year should be space and weight as opposed to anything else. Trust me, I have two young children, both of whom are 75 years old, and room is at a premium when we go camping, so I pack light!

You will become bored of battling to put away a difficult canvas tent that did not fold neatly the first time around.

Whatever your requirements are, the ideal rooftop tent is waiting for you to discover it. That is, as long as you get out there and take in the splendor of our magnificent world! Keep safe while 4 wheeling and rooftop camping. Safety always comes first.

Rooftop Tent Buying Guide: Pick the Right Car Camper for You

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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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.
  6. There isn’t much that can be done to get around this difficulty.
  7. 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.

This is rarely a problem because most automobile roofs are built to withstand the forces of a rollover accident.

courtesy of simonapilolla/Getty Images The weight that the rack can sustain when the vehicle is in motion is referred to as dynamic weight.

If the tent turns into a fatal missile while traveling down the highway, finding out that it can’t is not a pleasant discovery.

Roof racks purchased aftermarket are often stronger than those purchased from the manufacturer. 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.

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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.

Editors’ Recommendations

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What is the Point of a Roof Top Tent?

Roof top tents (RTTs) are growing increasingly popular in the United States with each passing season, and in this article, we’ll examine why this is happening. The chances are that you’ve seen trucks driving about with what appears to be an odd-shaped storage bag on top, but they are actually tents that can be folded out to create lovely off-the-ground oasis when needed. If this list doesn’t persuade you that you need one in your life, nothing else will either. What is the purpose of a roof top tent, exactly?

1. Sleeping off ground level

Given the fact that you will be on top of your car, most rooftop tents have an access ladder that extends from the roof. You will not be sleeping in a puddle or a mud pit in the event that it rains on your wedding day! When you are elevated above the ground, it is easier to catch a breeze, which means your tent will be more aired and will keep cooler throughout the hot months. It also provides a greater perspective because you’ll be higher up in the air — it’s almost like being on top of a treehouse!

The fact that your tent is elevated above the ground also helps to keep dirt and trash out of your tent. So, if you are camping in sand or dust, you may climb the ladder and brush off your shoes before entering the tent without tracking anything in with your shoes and socks.

2. It’s more secure

This is an additional benefit of being above ground, but it ought to be mentioned on its own. Animals are less likely to get access to your tent if it is elevated above the ground, and this is especially true if you remove the ladder while you aren’t in the tent, preventing squirrels and other small animals from climbing up. It will also be much more difficult for creepy crawlies such as spiders, scorpions, and snakes to gain entry inside your tent as a result of this. RTTs have long been popular in Australia and Africa, where there are a variety of dangerous animals on the ground, but they have only just gained popularity in the United States, where they are becoming more common.

A tent set up on the ground may be dismantled and transported in a couple of minutes.

Some ardent offroaders sleep in their truck beds with a truck topper over them, but this means that all of their gear must be kept somewhere else while they are sleeping.

3. Comfortable sleeping platform/pad

Even if you have the most luxurious ground tent and air mattress ever created, this may not be the case for you; but, in general, rooftop tents are equipped with high-density memory foam mattresses, which are far more comfortable than air mattresses. Especially if your spouse or significant other is accompanying you on your camping trip, the prospect of being nearly thrown off your air mattress every time the other person moves at all becomes tedious quickly. Rooftop tents also have a hard bottom (often made of fiberglass, steel, aluminum, or something similar) that is absolutely smooth, in contrast to the roughness of the ground below them.

If you ask me, the fable of the Princess and the Pea wasn’t really all that overblown in the first place.

4. Durability

In the event that you’ve ever spent the night in a ground tent during a wind/rain/hail/snowstorm, you’re probably aware that you’ll be kept awake all night by the flapping of the tent material, that you’ll most likely wake up in a pool of cold water the next morning, and that your tent may even be damaged beyond repair. Particularly horrifying is if you manage to fall asleep only to be startled by the damaged side of your tent being blown so flat to the ground that it is suffocating you from the inside of the tent.

A rooftop tent, on the other hand, does not have any of these difficulties to worry about.

When it comes to canvas sides, most RTTs have them, but they are far more robust than they were in the past, and many of them have mechanisms that allow you to tighten the canvas even more if it is really windy.

Because your vehicle will be bearing all of the weight, most ground tents are designed to be lightweight and movable, but RTTS are designed to be sturdy and long-lasting.

RTTs are frequently made of steel or aluminum, and the canvas used to cover them is far more durable than the lightweight material used to cover ground tents. A RTT with a fold-out type bed more than doubles your sleeping area.

5. Convenient and quick to set up

To put up most RTTs, you just park your car in a sufficiently level location, unlock the locks or latches, and your tent will either spring up on its own or may be swiftly folded open. Because there are no poles to connect or stakes to drive into the ground, RTTs are often faster and easier to set up than ground tents. However, some RTTs feature annexes that need a few additional minutes of setup time. As an added bonus, you can leave your bedding in place even while the tent is packed down, ensuring that everything is ready to go the moment you open the tent.

6. Super mobile

Many people use RTTS on their offroad or 4×4 vehicles, and because the tent can be transported wherever the vehicle goes, it may open up a lot of new camping opportunities in regions where car camping would otherwise be prohibitively expensive or unfeasible. You can still use your RTT comfortably even if you have traveled to a location where there are no large flat spaces to set up a ground tent. If you can use blocks to level your car, your RTT will continue to operate properly. Because your tent and car will be sharing the same space, you will have a much smaller overall footprint, which will be especially beneficial if you are camping in a densely forested area or amid stones.

The daily routine of putting up and taking down a ground tent, an air mattress, and a sleeping bag becomes tedious quickly.

7. Cheaper than RVs

A hardshell RTT may be purchased for between $2,500 and $5,000, which is still much less expensive than even the most rudimentary RV. Even though an RTT will not give you with the amenities of an RV such as a bathroom, running water, or cooking facilities, it will provide you with some of the conveniences and mobility that an RV would provide, especially when compared to a ground tent setup. Camping with an RTT is similar to camping with an RV in that it can be done in all weather and on any terrain, but ground tents are really only pleasant and practicable in very mild weather and on flat ground, similar to camping with an RV.

In addition, because RTTs have a minimal influence on your gas mileage (around half a mile per gallon), driving your ordinary car with an RTT may save you a significant amount of money when compared to driving an RV or pulling a trailer, saving money is important.

8. Save space inside your vehicle

Due to the fact that you will not be using the truck bed area for sleeping, as I said in the security section, you can keep all of your pricey stuff locked away in your car even while you are sleeping. You won’t have to reorganize your entire car every time you want to sleep this way, though.

Aside from that, you won’t have to worry about having to stow a tent, sleeping bags, and air mattresses in your car because everything you need to sleep on is already prepared and ready to go up top in your RTT. This allows you to have more space in your car for additional supplies and toys.

9. Additional storage on top

Specifically for hardshell RTTs, a gear mounting mechanism on the hard top surface allows you to store in the neighborhood of 75 pounds of additional gear. This is a feature that is unique to these types of tents. When storing items such as skis or other equipment that won’t be used every day, this is the ideal solution. You can also install solar panels to power lighting and give charging capacity. When this function is enabled, the majority of hardshell RTTs may still be opened and used even when the gear is still kept on top.

10. Easy year-round use

Because RTTs are constructed of heavier-duty materials that provide far better insulation against the elements than a ground tent, they may be used in virtually every weather situation. This means that if you are a frequent camper or traveler, your RTT will allow you to camp throughout the year, in all seasons, and in any place you choose. As long as your car can safely transport you to the location where you wish to camp, the RTT will keep you warm and protected from the weather. Even optional four-seasons gear like as additional insulation, weather hoods and other accessories are available for certain RTTs.

Roof top Tent FAQs

Do you require a roof rack in order to use a rooftop tent? It is true that you will require a roof rack or crossbars that have a dynamic weight capacity (DWC) that is at least equal to or more than the weight of the tent. Because the DWC specifies the maximum amount of weight that the rack can support while the vehicle is in motion, you only need to consider the weight of the tent itself, not the weight of you and anybody else who will be sleeping in the tent, because the vehicle will not be in motion at that time.

Most roof racks will work with an RTT.

What is the maximum amount of weight that can be placed on the top of a car?

This implies that, while your vehicle is in motion, you should never go beyond the speed limit set for it.

Make careful to verify the weight capacity of your RTT before hauling all of your pals up into the tent, or you might wind up causing serious damage to the top of your car.

If you’re towing a large object, such as a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard, make sure you attach cam straps and guy lines to the front and rear tow hooks on your vehicle to secure your cargo and avoid turning your car into a convertible.

I’m wondering how much it would cost to convert a Sprinter van. Purchasing Our School Bus for Skoolie Conversion ($5K Budget Is Enough for This?) Under $7,500 was spent on an overland vehicle on a tight budget.

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