What Is 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 genuine advantages to sleeping on a mattress instead on 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.

  1. She then got back into her car and nodded with pleasure.
  2. It took her only a few steps to hop onto the car’s floor, reach up for the RTT’s ladder, step down, and walk back around 10 feet until the tent was triumphantly unfurled and ready to be transported.
  3. With her feet dangling six feet above the ground and a cool drink in her palm, she was ready to go in five minutes.
  4. 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.
  5. Suddenly, everything made sense, and I was desperate for a copy.
  6. 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).
  7. Both tents have proven to be excellent investments, and I’ve become a convert to RTT camping.

They’re practically comparable in terms of functionality.

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

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.

When compared to ground camping, you just cannot beat the level of comfort provided by one of these RVs.

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.


9 Reasons You Should Buy a Roof Top Tent

/Roofnest TipsFeatures/ written by the Roofnest Team Those of us who have 9-5 jobs look forward to the weekends as a chance to get away from our desks and explore the world around us. We’re right there with you in every step. Getting away from it all and spending as many nights beneath the stars as we possibly can is what camping is all about for us. Making time to arrange a camping vacation, on the other hand, is more difficult than it appears when you have a hectic schedule. That is precisely why we are fans of roof top tents, and it is also why we founded Roofnest.

It is made of lightweight materials and can be transported easily.

Our tents can be set up in less than a minute, are robust and waterproof, and have a soft built-in mattress for added comfort.

However, there are several more benefits of having a Roofnest in addition to convenience, simplicity, and comfort.

1. You Can Live theVanLife Without Actually Living in a Van

The hashtag vanlife will bring up thousands of lovely photographs of individuals enjoying idyllic lifestyles in highly smart vans if you search for them on Instagram. They’ve parked their vehicles on a beach. There’s a bonfire, a surfboard, and a lovely puppy in this picture. Honestly, it’s a little too tempting not to indulge. But, let’s face it, not everyone has the luxury of driving across the world in a van and waking up in a different location every day. For some people, living in a van full-time is simply not an option.

2. Elevated Camping Keeps Pests Out

When it comes to camping, being elevated is key to having a successful trip. Staying off the ground reduces the likelihood of meeting a snake in your tent, waking up to a spider crawling on your body, or other unwelcome and occasionally downright dangerous interactions with creatures when camping.

By using a Roofnest roof top tent, you can sleep at a safe and raised height, away from the bugs that may make sleeping on the ground unpleasant at best, and perhaps hazardous at worst.

3. Roof Top Tents are More Comfortable

No matter how comfy a sleeping pad is that you purchase for your camping setup, it can never compare to the comfort of a genuine mattress. When it’s time to sleep in your Roofnest, you’ll appreciate the convenience of a high-density foam mattress that’s integrated into the structure of the tent. There is no setup required. When you combine this with the strong, waterproof walls of your tent, you’ll almost forget you’re camping. Even more importantly, resting off the ground will keep you significantly warmer as the temperatures drop throughout the nighttime hours.

4. Roofnest Hard Shell Roof Top Tents Set Up in Under 60 Seconds

Leaving work early on a Friday afternoon in order to get the perfect camping area before the weekend rush? No problem. In the case of a standard tent, the following scenario may be encountered: Coming at a campsite after dark, putting your headlamp on, finding a flat space, rolling out your tent, setting up the poles, staking down your tent, attaching the rain flap, unrolling your bedding, and praying you didn’t just lay your tent on top of a lot of rocks is a frustrating experience. A roof top tent is a far more appealing option than a traditional tent.

We’ll leave it up to you to determine which one sounds better.

5. No Wasted Time Packing a Tent

When you have a Roofnest, you are always prepared to embark on your next journey. You won’t have to pull out your tent and sleeping bags just to discover that you forgot to bring the poles until you’re 2 hours into your journey. During the camping season, your roof top tent can always be found on top of your vehicle, and most versions allow you to keep your sleeping bags tucked up securely within the tent itself. Forget about worrying about where you’ll sleep because your basecamp is always right next to you.

6. Camp in Comfort During Cold Weather

If you’re camping in the highlands or other colder climates, the camping season may be rather brief and inconsequential. This season might begin late due to rain and hail in May, or it can be cut short due to sudden snowstorms in September. Unless, of course, you’re camping in a Roofnest. A Roofnest roof top tent’s fiberglass shell and insulated, waterproof side walls allow you to camp comfortably in the rain or snow without having to worry about getting wet. With the addition of aRoofnest down blanket and ourPtarmigan insulation system, you’ll be able to keep extremely toasty no matter what Mother Nature throws at you.

More use equates to greater worth.

7. More Room for Your Gear

We are well aware that you could always use a little extra space for your equipment. Bikes, kayaks, crash pads, and skis are just a few of the options. Your outdoor activities may be hampered by the amount of space (or lack thereof) available in your vehicle at any one moment. Because a roof top tent is mounted on the roof of your vehicle, you won’t have to worry about it taking up valuable cargo room in your vehicle. Furthermore, with the majority of our tent styles, you can keep all of your bedding within your Roofnest, allowing you to free up even more room.

Not only will you have additional space inside your car, but you will also be able to place equipment on the roof. It’s the best of both worlds in a nutshell. Not only that, but you can also install solar panels on the roof of your Roofnest. Take a look at this:

8. Roofnests are Aerodynamic and Fuel-Efficient

When compared to other roof top tents, the Roofnest has a more streamlined and durable construction that allows for improved fuel economy. Roofnests are also built to be robust and waterproof, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to leave it on top of your car all year long. There is no way to predict when an unexpected camping opportunity may present itself. Continue to be prepared. If you don’t want to go winter camping, a Roofnest is simple to remove from your car and store. When you’re finished camping for the season, remove it from your vehicle and store it for the winter.

See also:  What Is The Best Truck Bed Tent

9. Become Part of the Roofnest Flock

In exchange for your money, you receive much more than a simple roof top tent. You will become a member of theRoofnest Flock, which is our online community of Roofnest users. As a result, you’ll have the opportunity to network with other outdoor enthusiasts who will be happy to answer your questions, share their fantastic trail experiences, and motivate you to keep exploring. On your next journey, you could even run meet a fellow member of the Flock. Do you have any new acquaintances? That’s something we’ll never say no to.

Take a Closer Look at Our Roof Top Tents

When comparing a roof top tent to a ground tent, there is just no comparison to be made. Setup was very fast. Design with a robust shell that is long-lasting. Built-in mattress that is really comfy. That is only a sampling of the features that distinguish a Roofnest as the best roof top tent available. In comparison to ordinary tents, each and every one of our roof top tent styles provides a more refined camping experience. In addition, each of our distinctive models has something unique to offer, from the extremely simple-to-useSparrow EYE to the extra space provided by ourCondor XL.

Rooftop tents are available for purchase from our online store.

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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.

  • Simple to assemble.
  • You don’t have to assemble a slew of poles and stake them into the ground, as you would with a ground tent.
  • This means that you’ll be able to spend more time exploring and less time setting up camp.
  • Most roof top tents are equipped with built-in mattresses, which are more comfortable than inflatable beds (particularly if they are deflated!).
  • 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.
  • These tents keep you up and out of the mud, snow, sand, and creatures that may be lurking about.
  • 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?

Before you can go camping, you must first attach the roof top tent to the roof of your car. Various types of rooftop tents are available, each with its own design and installation procedure. However, the general approach for the majority of tents is as follows:

  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.

  • Pop-up: Roof top tents with a sturdy shell are the most prevalent type.
  • That is all there is to it!
  • A number of people who are interested in roof top tents have inquired about this specific subject.
  • 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.
  • Where can you set up a roof top tent for camping?
  • Camping may be permitted in specified parking spaces, campgrounds, national parks, and other locations.
  • 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?

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.

  • Yes!
  • 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.
  • What about boats or bicycles, for example?
  • Some roof top tents provide enough space for you to additionally transport a kayak, canoe, or bicycle on the side of the tent.
  • Just make sure that the weight capacity of your roof rack and vehicle is adequate for the task at hand.
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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. With one of these beasts on your back, you’re not going to be trekking the Appalachian Trail, or even walking a mile, for the rest of time.

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.

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. Even for the most basic, budget-friendly model, you’ll be looking at a price in the vicinity of $1,000. 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.

How to Choose a Roof-Top Tent

With 279 customer reviews, the average rating is 4.5 stars. Given that camping has been around since Homo erectus came down from the trees, it would appear that we don’t have many new advancements in the art of sleeping beneath the stars to share with the rest of the world. As a result of their elevated positions, roof-top tents are drawing the attention of many campers who like to stay on the ground during their camping excursions. You should be aware of the following things if you are considering purchasing a roof-top tent:

  • Roof-top tents have their advantages and disadvantages. The trade-off between a quick setup and a higher cost is critical
  • How to determine which tent is compatible with your vehicle: Before you buy a tent, vehicle, or rack, double-check the specifications. They are attached to your car in the following ways: Because the floor is bolted to your roof rack, make sure you have a sturdy mounting system.

Additionally, you’ll want to examine things like annexes, the longevity of the tent, and shipping factors before making your final decision.

The Appeal of a Roof-Top Tent

Although roof-top tents have grown increasingly popular in the United States in recent years, they have been around for decades, originally garnering favor in locations such as Australia, where camping beyond the reach of creepy crawlies was immediately recognized as a brilliant concept. Several roof-top tent owners have expressed how having a lofty view point resonated with them on a primitive level in recent years. Perhaps it’s a throwback to our youth and a fondness for treehouses—or even further back in our psyches, to a time when humans slept in trees so that we could monitor our surroundings from a secure vantage point before falling off to sleep in a tree.

Pros of a Roof-Top Tent

  • Pitching comfort: It is designed to be simple to set up. Once you’ve arrived at camp, you just untie a few straps, pop the tent open, and set up the poles and ladder
  • A sturdy construction: Generally speaking, the floor, tent fabric, and pole materials are all very durable and capable of withstanding inclement weather conditions. Most come with a super-plush foam mattress
  • However, some do not. Anywhere is a good place to camp: Set up camp anywhere: at a campground, a parking lot, a rural gravel road, or somewhere else. When you camp above the ground, you can avoid rainfall runoff, crawling critters, pebbles and sticks from getting into your tent floor. Stay level when camping: Placing strategically placed bricks or boulders beneath your tires might help you maintain a level surface.

Cons of a Roof-Top Tent(yes, there are a few)

  • Cost: Significantly more expensive than a camping tent (albeit less expensive than an RV)
  • Driving at a high rate increases aerodynamic drag, which has an adverse effect on your gas consumption and battery life. The initial rooftop connection is time-consuming: Furthermore, you must consider whether or not you want to go to the hassle of removing it between camping excursions. Day travels become more complicated: You can’t leave it set up while driving away from your long-term camp in your automobile.

Fitting a Roof-Top Tent to Your Vehicle

Due to the fact that the majority of roof-top tents weigh more than a hundred pounds, you’ll want to be certain that your rack is equal to the work. If you don’t already have a roof rack, you’ll want to keep the weight of your tent in mind while you hunt for a rack to act as the foundation for your vehicle. Because the specifications you want are not always readily available, you may have to contact both your vehicle’s manufacturer and the rack manufacturer directly in order to obtain the information you require.

  • The total weight of the tent should be included in the product specifications. The dynamic weight capacity of your car and rack assesses your vehicle’s ability to carry the weight of your tent while you’re driving. You must double-check this specification for both the car and the roof rack. When mounting the tent on a separately purchased roof rack, you must first verify the dynamic weight capacity of your vehicle’s roof as well as the dynamic weight capacity of the rack you are using to ensure that both specifications are met. Factory racks are often less capable of supporting heavier loads than racks from third-party manufacturers like as Yakima, Thule, and others. Compatibility with racks: Check your rack’s owner’s handbook to make sure it is compatible with a roof-top tent before using it. It is noted that some racks and components are “not compatible.”
  • Capacity for static weight: The ability of the rack (and the car roof) to hold the required number of sleepers and their belongings is rarely a concern in these situations. The majority of automobile roofs are already designed to resist the forces associated with a rollover accident. When you combine this with the load distribution offered by the solid tent-floor platform and the additional support supplied by the ladder, you have a construction that is extremely durable. Having said that, you must still ensure that the static weight capacity of your vehicle and its rack is sufficient to hold the weight of your tent, as well as the weight of everyone within it and their sleeping gear.

Attaching the Tent to Your Roof Rack

Although the initial procedure of fastening the tent to the roof rack will take some time, after you have driven your car into camp, the rest of the process will be quite quick.

Read and carefully follow all of the installation instructions that have been supplied. A strong companion will also be required because you will require assistance in lifting the tent onto the roof rack of your vehicle.

Additional Shopping Considerations

There is one major consideration: identifying which tent types will be compatible with the weight capacity of your car rack or trailer. After that, there are a few things to think about, including:

  • Awnings and annexes: Some tent types have additional living space or covered areas, and some tents allow you to install one later on. Levels of durability: While all roof-top tents are quite durable, certain manufacturers produce really tough variants that are meant for lengthy excursions in harsh environments. Some manufacturers also provide all-mesh canopies as an alternative
  • However, they are more expensive. Hardtops: Fabric variants are significantly less expensive. In the car, hardtops provide greater protection for your belongings. Costs of shipping: Purchases made in-store are the most convenient option, while some models may only be available for purchase online. Because it is a large item that will be expensive to transport to your house, check for alternatives such as REI’s ability to ship to a store for no additional charge. Before you buy, give it a shot: Finding a place that rents roof-top tents will require some investigation, but it will be worthwhile in the long run—because the most important consideration is determining whether this elevated version of van life is right for you.
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Other Tents That Attach to Your Vehicle

As a result of advancements in the field of tents that attach to the roof of your car, businesses are also developing alternatives that attach to other elements of a vehicle, such as the tailgate of an SUV or the bed of a pickup truck. The advantage of some of these configurations is that they allow you to put up the tent and then drive away in the car for day outings or overnight stays. Roof-Top Tents are available for purchase.

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John Griffith worked as the Director of Marketing for Tepui Tents before Thule acquired the company, and he went on to develop Hitchfire Grills in the process. His roof-top tent expeditions span from weekend family camping vacations to lengthy surf trips in Baja California, among other destinations.

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!

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. With an RTT, you can be assured that your equipment will remain in place and safely locked away at all times.

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.
  • 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.

It is not possible to do so in a ground tent; instead, you would need to first inflate an air mattress or sleeping pad and then spread out your sleeping bag.

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.

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.

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