Best Rooftop Tents for Car Camping 2021

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A few years ago, we only saw rooftop tents on rugged-looking overland vehicles designed for expedition travel. Flipping through National Geographic, there were fascinating images of four-wheel-drive trucks setting up camp in remote, wilderness of the Namib desert or Andean foothills.

Camping with cartop tents are now easily accessible, since it no longer requires a Range Rover or a safari guide to go camping! They can now be mounted on many different types of vehicles and used on relaxing family holiday to extreme expeditions. Below are how to choose the best rooftop tents for car camping 2021.

At-a-Glance:

Best Value
Smittybilt Overlander Tent
Raptor Series 100000-126800 Offgrid Voyager Truck SUV Camping Rooftop Tent with Ladder
Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3 Extended Rooftop Tent RTT - Dark Gray Base with Green Rain Fly &...
Top Pick
Thule Tepui Autana Rooftop Tent with Annex
Budget Friendly
Napier Backroadz Truck Tent
YAKIMA SkyRise HD Tent - Small - 8007436
Sleeps
3
2
3
3
2
2
Rating
-
-
-
-
-
-
Season
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
B08L7PML22
Spring, Summer, Fall
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Weight (lbs)
48
159
165
165
8 lbs
101.4
Warranty
1 year
1 year
4 year limited
2 years
1 year limited
2 year limited
Best Value
Smittybilt Overlander Tent
Price
Sleeps
3
Rating
-
Season
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Weight (lbs)
48
Warranty
1 year
Raptor Series 100000-126800 Offgrid Voyager Truck SUV Camping Rooftop Tent with Ladder
Price
Sleeps
2
Rating
-
Season
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Weight (lbs)
159
Warranty
1 year
Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3 Extended Rooftop Tent RTT - Dark Gray Base with Green Rain Fly &...
Rooftop Tent
Price
Sleeps
3
Rating
-
Season
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Weight (lbs)
165
Warranty
4 year limited
Top Pick
Thule Tepui Autana Rooftop Tent with Annex
Rooftop Tent
Sleeps
3
Rating
-
Season
B08L7PML22
Weight (lbs)
165
Warranty
2 years
Budget Friendly
Napier Backroadz Truck Tent
Price
Sleeps
2
Rating
-
Season
Spring, Summer, Fall
Weight (lbs)
8 lbs
Warranty
1 year limited
YAKIMA SkyRise HD Tent - Small - 8007436
Rooftop Tent
Price
Sleeps
2
Rating
-
Season
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Weight (lbs)
101.4
Warranty
2 year limited

Best Value Rooftop Tent: Smittybilt Overlander Tent

Smittybilt Overlander Tent
  • Use: All Seasons
  • Sleeps: 3
  • Warranty: 1 Year
  • Weight: 48 lbs.
  • Base: 2.5cm aluminum/polyurethane sandwich base with 660lb load capacity
  • Material: 600D Heavy-duty ripstop polyester, waterproof and polyurethane-impregnated
  • Tent Poles: Anodized aluminum 
  • Flysheet: 420D Oxford 
  • Mattress: High-density fire-retardant foam with removable cover 
  • Installation: Dual aluminum track for universal installation using U-clamps 
  • Annex: purchased separately

The waterproof properties of this rooftop camping tent are excellent. The rainfly is perfect for keeping out even the most aggressive rainfall, and the inner tent is treated, making sure no water enters the living space. 

The opening within the roof of the tent allows for decent airflow and ventilation. It is a nice touch for those dry, starlit nights. 

If you want extra space and your car roof is taller, an annex can be added. You’ll need to purchase the Smittybilt 2788 annex separately

Smittybilt 2788 Tent Annex by Smittybilt

This Smittybilt Overlander Tent stretches your dollar even more by including a few extras. It comes with a comfortable mattress and plenty of space for two adults and a child. The other extra, is rubber boot bag to hang your grubby, dirty shoes outside. No more complaints about crusty dirt inside your rooftop tent. 

The tent comes with integrated, LED lights that are bright enough to read books during the darkest of nights. 

Smittybilt 2788 Standard Size Tent Annex

If your Jeep Wrangler has a suspension lift, chances are you’re going to need one of these Smittybilt Overlander tent ladder extensions.

What We Like:

  • Good quality durable material
  • High waterproof properties
  • Comfortable mattress
  • Integrated LED lighting strip

What We Don’t Like

  • Zippers are not the best quality we have seen
  • Not as well insulated during cold weather
  • Installation a bit challenging
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Rooftop Camping Tent: Raptor Series 100000-126800 Offgrid Voyager Rooftop Tent with Ladder

  • Use: All Seasons
  • Sleeps: 2-3
  • Weight: 150 lbs
  • Warranty: 1 Year
  • Dimensions: (Open) L: 83.5 inches, W: 52 inches, H:48.5 inches. (Closed): L: 83.5 inches, W: 52 inches, H: 11 inches.
  • Base: 750lb max load
  • Material: Waterproof cloth
  • Tent Poles/Ladder: Aluminum
  • Flysheet: Waterproof cloth
  • Mattress: High-Density “84 x 54” Foam Double/Full Mattress 
  • Installation: All hardware included to fit to roof bars

This is the lightest tent on our list. It’s also the easiest and quickest to set up and dismantle. The Raptor Series company makes products for the SUV and truck enthusiasts in mind which is seen in their Voyager Rooftop Camping Tent, which is designed to easily mount on your stock roof rack or aftermarket system.

The tent’s waterproof is designed to eliminate water pooling and encourage rain to flow off quickly. It has a built-in awning/porch for panoramic views and a door that rolls top-down, also providing increased weather protection, while allowing air flow.

Inside the tent, are built-in pockets to hang your gear, electronics and essentials. No more feeling around the tent for your headlamp, multitool, or phone.

The product’s low-profile design helps minimally affects the fuel consumptionwhen driving. Closed, the Voyager Raptor Rooftop truck tent is 85 inches long, beware of overhang on your vehicle.

best rooftop tents for camping Raptor Series
Raptor Series Voyager Rooftop Tent low profile

Tip: Always check with the manufacturer of your vehicle and your roof rack system to determine the applicable weight limitations as they vary from vehicle to vehicle. Truck bed racks will need to be taller than the cab in order for the tent to fit properly.

What We Like

  • Feels and looks very high-quality
  • Very easy to set up and tear down
  • Lower profile design when closed
  • Copes well in high wind/rain conditions
  • Good value for money

What We Don’t Like

  • The instruction leaflet is not the easiest to understand
  • Realistically sleeps 1-2 adults comfortably, not 2-3
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Best Softshell Fast Set Up & Tear Down- Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3 Extended Roof

Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3 Extended Rooftop Tent RTT - Dark Gray Base with Green Rain Fly &...
  • Use: All Seasons
  • Sleeps: 3
  • Dimensions (inches): ClosedW:63″ x L: 47″ x H: 14″; OpenW:63″ x L: 122″ x H: 51″
  • Warranty: 4 Year Limited
  • Base: Heavy-duty reinforced diamond plate base
  • Material: 600D premium double ripstop polyester-cotton canvas
  • Tent Poles: Anodized aluminum
  • Flysheet: 420D Heavy duty rain fly
  • Mattress: High density 3 -inch memory foam mattress with removable cover
  • Installation: Requires no drilling or modification to your vehicle if equipped with factory or aftermarket roof rack

The fold-and-go design of this rooftop tent ensures that set up and tear down is quick and easy. You’ll appreciate not having to bring extra tools to assemble this.

The tent’s shape makes it feel very spacious. Overland Vehicle Systems goes above and beyond with their Nomadic 3 tent by providing extras such as memory foam pillows, additional storage pockets, dustpan with a brush, and laptop table. to give the space a homey feel.

There is plenty of storage within the tent, including 6 internal pockets for shoes and clothing. This OVS Nomadic 3 Extended Rooftop Ten comes with 2 ground stakes, 2 paracords, power bank pouch with the tent purchase.

The lighting is fantastic, secured by a Velcro fastening LED strip. Included is a handheld LED torch with clip and magnet.

The Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3 Extended Roof Top Tent comes in 2 colors: Artic and Grey. Keep in mind that the awning, awning wall, car side shower, and annex are sold separately.

Best rooftop tents car Camping
Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3 Rooftop Tent in Artic White

What We Like

  • The double-insulated floor and memory foam mattress create excellent insulation
  • Excellent internal storage
  • High-quality materials used throughout
  • Easy to set up / dismantle
  • The extras pack is a nice touch

What We Don’t Like

  • Rainfly can become a little noisy during heavy weather
  • Condensation can occur at low temperatures
BUY ON AMAZON

Best Value RoofTop Camping Tent: Thule Tepui Autana Rooftop Tent with Annex

Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3 Extended Rooftop Tent RTT - Dark Gray Base with Green Rain Fly &...
  • Use: All Seasons
  • Sleeps: Up to 4
  • Dimensions (inches): Closed- 72 x 48 x 12; Floor- 96 x 72 x 56 (W x L x H)
  • Weight: 190 pounds
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Base: Welded aluminum tube with insulated aluminum cap plate
  • Material: Coated 600d ripstop and 260g polyester cotton blend
  • Tent Poles: Aluminum
  • Flysheet: Breathable treated fabric
  • Mattress: High-density foam mattress
  • Installation: Recommended for aftermarket roof racks
  • Included: Annex

One of the larger tents on our list, with plenty of room for two adults and two small children. The removable annex is a great addition because it creates a perfect space for eating, storing equipment, and removing wet clothing before entering your tent.

If you decide to snooze during the day or want to get a good night’s sleep, the high-density foam mattress will keep you comfortable.

A few tech specs to factor in: The ladder provided with the Thule Tepui Explorer Autana 4 Rooftop Camping Tent extends to 8.5 feet. This tent has a static weight capacity of 650 lbs for camping and gear using Thule branded racks.

The whole tent is treated with a UV and mold-resistant coating to prolong the life of the fabric. It’s very well ventilated with the inclusion of plenty of mesh panels. These panels can also be opened entirely for even more airflow.

The Autana Floor, weighs in at 30 pounds, is held in place by a zipper and can be removed.

As always, you’ll want to check the weight capacity of your roof rack.

What We Like

  • Lots of space and lots of storage
  • High-quality materials and fabric coatings
  • The annex is large and very functional
  • Ventilation is fantastic
  • The tent feels very well insulated from the cold

What We Don’t Like

  • The size of the tent and the annex make it one of the heavier options
  • Recommended for aftermarket racks not factory fitted
  • The annex is not adjustable, which means it does not fit lower vehicles

Best Rooftop Tent for Truck Bed Camping: Napier Backroadz Truck Tent

Napier Backroadz Truck Tent
  • Use: Spring, summer, fall
  • Sleeps: 2
  • Weight: 8 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1 year limited
  • Base: Polyethylene flooring
  • Material: 68d polyester taffeta
  • Tent Poles: Fiberglass
  • Flysheet: Full rainfly
  • Mattress: none
  • Installation: Stores in the truck bed

One of the best rooftop tents for trucks, and top on our list, is a Napier Backroadz Truck Bed Tent 19 series, rather than a rooftop tent, limiting the usage to owners of pickup trucks. The truck tent is a viable option if you own any size bed pick up truck. Napier sells camping truck tens in 5 bed sizes; compact short bed, full size short, compact full regular, full size regular, and full size long.

The tent is relatively quick and easy to set up. You get for what you pay. The price difference between a $1,000 tent and one that is around $200, is seen in the material and the standard features. You can immediately feel that the materials are not as high quality as the other tents on this list. These look and feels more like a decent quality conventional tent as opposed to the other heavy-duty products, which is reflected in the price. 

The tent does sit on the truck bed, with the sides offering a bit of protection from the elements. Additional features are the waterproof construction, gull tent floor keeps you clean from your truck and dry bed.

Napier Backroadz Truck Tent

What We Like

  • Very lightweight and transports in the bed of the truck without taking up much room
  • Makes the most of the space available in the back of a truck
  • The tent does feel secure and strong
  • Good weather protection
  • Decent ventilation

What We Don’t Like

  • Limited to pickups only
  • It takes 30-40 minutes to set up
  • No floor insulation means a very thin barrier between the metal truck bed
  • Fiberglass poles do not feel hugely strong
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Rightline Gear Truck Bed Tent

Napier Backroadz Truck Tent
  • Use: Spring, summer, fall
  • Sleeps: 2
  • Weight: 7.35 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Base: None
  • Material: Water-resistant fabric with taped seams
  • Tent Poles: Fiberglass
  • Flysheet: n/a
  • Mattress: none
  • Installation: Stores in the truck bed

The second truck bed tent on our list, this tent is very much the budget option. 

There are no fancy materials or proprietary fabric coatings, which keeps the cost down. The manufacturers market the fact that they do not include a floor on this model. Although this may have practical benefits for some scenarios, such as pitching the tent without removing items from the bed, it dramatically reduces the insulation properties. 

Although the tent is “waterproof,” it has a rating of 2000mm, which makes it at the lower end of waterproofing properties on this list. It will stand up to low-level rainfall, but don’t expect it to withstand torrential or sustained rain. 

This tent suffers from the highest condensation levels of any product on this list. 

If you are looking for a pickup-specific, low-budget option for fine weather camping, this is a viable choice. 

What We Like

  • Lightweight and easily transportable
  • Low cost 
  • It fits different truck models

What We Don’t Like

  • Feels cheaply made
  • Parts feel low quality
  • Condensation is an issue 
  • It can be tricky to set up and takes well over 30 minutes
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Best Rooftop Tent for Smaller Cars: Thule Tepui Low-Pro 2 Tent

Thule Tepui Low-Pro Rooftop Tent
  • Use: Spring, summer, fall
  • Sleeps: 2
  • Warranty: 2 year manufacturer
  • Dimensions: Closed– 50 x 43 x 8.5 inches, Open: 84 x 50 x 44 inches
  • Weight: 105 lbs.
  • Base: Cellulized thermoplastic honeycomb fiberglass
  • Footprint included: No
  • Material: 3000wp breathable ripstop polyester
  • Tent Poles: Wrapped aluminum
  • Flysheet: 3000wp PU coated polyester
  • Mattress: 2.5 inch high-density foam
  • Installation: Easily fits most standard roof bars

This tent’s low profile and compact design make it appropriate for most vehicles with standard roof bars.  If you have small SUV or car, the Thule Tepui Low Pro is designed to fit these and larger vehicles.

The No-see-um mosquito mesh, which provides excellent bug protection and enables you to thoroughly ventilate the tent while keeping out unwanted visitors. 

The Low Pro is under nine inches high when packed, which is up to 7 inches thinner than other manufacturers. Despite the lightweight nature of this tent, it still has impressive weather-proof properties. There is an optional thermal lining that would improve the weather comfort.

Wellness Trufood Baked Blends Natural Grain Free Dry Raw Dog Food, Salmon, Turkey & Flaxseed,...

The base is made of a recyclable material which is an excellent step towards encouraging the sustainability of rooftop tents.

What We Like

  • Suitable for many different types of vehicle
  • Lightweight, low profile, and aerodynamic design minimizes the changes to handling and fuel economy.
  • Excellent weather protection and optional thermal liner
  • Customizable with extensive spares and accessories catalog 
  • Easy to install 

What We Don’t Like

  • Taller people may have to lay diagonally, otherwise you might touch the walls
  • D-ring straps are a little bit fiddly when unpacking or packing
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Yakima SkyRise 2 Tent Rooftop Tent

YAKIMA SkyRise HD Tent - Small - 8007436
  • Use: All seasons
  • Sleeps: 2
  • Dimensions (inches): L 58.00 x W 48.00 x H 17.00
  • Weight: 114.64 lbs
  • Warranty: 2 year limited
  • Base: Abrasion resistant with textured finish
  • Material: 600D ripstop polyester fabric with 3000mm wpc
  • Tent Poles: Aluminum
  • Flysheet: 210D ripstop rainfly with 3000mm wpc
  • Mattress: 2.5 inch foam mattress
  • Installation: Easily fits most factory fit and aftermarket roof systems

The previous version of this tent suffered from water leakage issues. The brand listened ot its customers and made updates. The Yakima Skyrise 2 rooftop tent has a PU waterproof coating with a water shedding rainfly to ensure that even the harshest rain shower, is dealt with comfortably. This rooftop car camping tent feels reliable and weather-proof.

The windows are excellent and zip down to create a very well insulated space while opening them creates plenty of ventilation. The large rainfly also enables ventilation windows to remain open, even if there is a risk of precipitation, ensuring condensation is minimized. 

The tent feels solid in strong winds. Noise and movement are minimal, filling you with confidence when the weather takes a turn for the worse. 

Set up and tear down is quick and efficient.

What We Like

  • Warm and weather-proof tent
  • Bug nets are very effective
  • Lightweight and easy to install/remove
  • Quality materials and design

What We Don’t Like

  • Mattress is a bit too firm for some people
  • Installation connections are not universal
  • Sky window could be a bit clearer for stargazing
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Roofnest Sparrow XL

From the Roofnest customer image gallery
  • Use: All seasons
  • Sleeps: 2+
  • Weight: 145 lbs
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Base: ABS fiberglass
  • Material: ABS fiberglass shell/polyurethane-coated polyester walls
  • Tent Poles: N/A
  • Flysheet: N/A
  • Mattress: 2.75 inch custom shape foam mattress
  • Installation: Roofnest mounting kit attaches to most roof bars

A very high-quality rooftop tent which is reflected in it’s price.

The hard-shell design comes with a multitude of benefits. It is possible to leave your bedding in the tent during transportation and storage, if you’re too lazy to take it down. There are rumors of users running their vehicles through car washes with no water entering the hard shell.

The hard floor and ceiling have an insulating layer and are finished in a quilted material for added protection from the elements. Besides impressive insulation, the base includes a condensation mat that prevents moisture from being absorbed by the mattress.

Three awnings can be opened at various levels to act as windows or ventilation openings, creating outstanding airflow throughout the tent. 

The vertical walls allow for more room when compared to the tapered walls of non-popup versions.

There are nice touches such as designated areas for solar panels, mesh storage, and a mat for the base of the ladder

What We Like

  • The most comfortable space of any rooftop tent on our list
  • Quality design and materials throughout
  • Warm and dry in all weather conditions
  • Safe and secure mounting
  • Multiple awnings allow for customization of openings and ventilation according to wind direction
  • Very stable in windy weather

What We Don’t Like

  • The high cost could be off-putting
  • Quite a large, heavy box to handle when it is delivered

Best Hardshell Rooftop Tent: iKamper Skycamp 2.0

iKamper hardshell rooftop tent
iKamper Skycamp 2.0 Hardshell Rooftop Tent
  • Use: All seasons
  • Sleeps: Up to 3 (adults)
  • Weight: 155 lbs
  • Warranty: 2 years (extended 3 years with reduced parts costs)
  • Base: Honeycomb Aluminum
  • Material: 300gsm polycotton canvas
  • Tent Poles: N/A
  • Flysheet: Waterproof 150d rainfly
  • Mattress: King size 1.8 inch memory foam mattress
  • Installation: Universal mounting system

Everything about the Ikamper Skycamp 2.0 suggests quality. From your initial experience with their beautifully designed website when ordering the product, all the way to the first night under the stars. 

These guys have been in the game for a while. They took the original Skycamp, a hugely successful and popular rooftop tent, and improved it. 

The heavy-duty and breathable canvas material is waterproof to a very high level, offering protection from heavy rain and condensation. The rainfly and inclusion of waterproof zippers make for dry and comfortable conditions regardless of the weather. 

The tent can be set up in less than one minute, and tear down takes no time at all. 

The accessories catalog is fantastic. You can purchase all sorts of extra storage options, add an annex, but the most impressive is the internal insulation option. You can also replace the tent skin in years to come without the significant expense of buying a whole new rooftop tent.

Keep warm in the winter with iKamper tent insulation. Sold separately

What We Like

  • Very high-quality product
  • Spacious and comfortable
  • Performs very well in rain and high winds
  • For the size of the tent, the rooftop storage is relatively small and aerodynamic
  • Sets Up in 1-minute

What We Don’t Like

  • The universal mount can be slightly fiddly to install
  • Expensive

Advantages of a Rooftop Tent

Mobility

Rooftop tents are the ultimate road trip accommodation. They are perfect for touring and (subject to permission and regulations) can be set up wherever you can drive your vehicle. Weekend trips are easy and fun. Longer adventures are even more appealing as you can quickly move from site to site. 

If you struggle with overpacking on gear, a rooftop tent may be in ideal solution for you. Backpackers can have a panic attack over the thought of a couple of extra pounds, and the weight debate has been the defining factor in whether to bring or leave gear at home.

camping and hiking adventures by car
Mobility of Rooftop Tent Camping | McKayla Crump

Comfort

For many people, the thought of sleeping in a tent is quite off-putting. Tent camping has long been synonymous with uncomfortable, cramped, and often damp conditions. The rooftop option goes a long way to eliminating these issues. Most manufacturers include a comfortable and insulated mattress as part of the base package.

The designs also include excellent ventilation to ensure airflow. As we know, condensation is the tent camper's worst nightmare, and the only answer to this problem is high-quality materials (which we are about to discuss) and adequate airflow. 

Durability

Using the most suitable materials means the tents are built to last. Rooftop tents are generally made with long-lasting, weather-proof materials, focusing firmly on function and durability rather than weight and transportability.  With car tents, manufacturers can ensure they use the very best materials for the job.  

Traveling Space

Removing the bulk of the camping equipment from the car, and placing it on the roof, frees up space in the vehicle, making a journey safer and more comfortable, as well as creating space for equipment you may otherwise leave at home.

Security

The elevation of being located on the car roof makes for increased security, especially if you are camping alone. The retractable ladder pulls up at night and adding a motion detection sensor system is very reassuring in the protection of personal belongings. 

woman camping safety rooftop tent

Disadvantages of a Roof Top Tent

Fixed location when set up

When the rooftop tent is set-up, it is impossible to drive the vehicle, restricting your movements more than a conventional tent or camper van. 

Removal

Rooftop tents are large and heavy. If you are looking to install and remove your tent every time you go on a camping trip, you will need assistance and a suitable storage area. Most users will fit their rooftop tent at the start of the camping season and remove it after their final trip of the year.

Vehicle performance 

Having a rooftop tent installed on your car could potentially affect handling and fuel efficiency, depending on your vehicle's nature. You'll want to check your vehicle's manufacturer rooftop load limit before purchasing a roof rack and tent. A top-heavy load will affect the its center of balance and its suspension.

The heavier your load, the more fuel your vehicle consume. You'll want to factor in the weight of your roof rack, gear, and bedding into your vehicle's load limit.

Weight

Even the best rooftop tents are still bulky and heavy. The lightest of the rooftop tents (we aren't counting the truck bed tents) above, starts at 45 pounds to a whopping 155 pounds. These tents easily require two people to install and remove, due to their size.

Height

Although most models are straightforward to set up, the fact that you are working off the ground can be slightly hazardous. It is essential to make sure you have assistance when setting up the tent and not rush through any of the instructions.

Large families or groups

The largest rooftop tents accommodate up to five people. There are minimal options for the largest of families or groups of people. While it is easy to find 8-10 person conventional tents, you will not be able to find a rooftop tents of this size. Even the best rooptop tents will only accommodate 5 people.

Cost

Rooftop tents are far more expensive to buy than conventional tents. However, they're cheaper than buying or even renting an RV. 

Take your time to review the advantages and disadvantages. There are many factors to consider, cost is just a part of it. Hopefully, the points listed above will give you an insight into topics to consider.

Accessories, Awnings, and Annexes

Tepui Insulator for Rooftop Tents

Most rooftop tents base model package will come with a standard set of accessories, such as awnings, aluminum ladders and mattresses. Premium models will include bonus accessories. Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3 offers memory foam pillows, lap table, & mini-broom and dust pan.

As for annexes, you'll want to check whether an annex comes with your rooftop tent base model.

Other rooftop tent brands, like iKamper, Overland Vehicle Systems, and Yakima can offer insulation lining, shoe bags, sheet sets, hammocks, LED light strips, 3-wall enclosures, and shower enclosures to add onto your base model.

Installation and Tools Required

The manufacturer or supplier you purchase your rooftop tent from will potentially offer an initial fitting service. There may be additional fees charged for this. Despite the extra cost, we highly recommended using this service. If the service is not provided, it is sensible to seek the advice of a professional who has experience of fitting roof racks and tents.

Remember that the demands placed on the fixtures and fittings are both camping but also when driving. You will need to make sure the roof bars are adequate to support the weight of your rooftop tent.  Do your research before choosing a roof rack or truck that will support the weight of your rooftop tent and YOU (and loved ones)!

If you are knowledgeable and experienced with the fitting of rooftop tents, most of these require just a few tools for installation, including wrenches and Allen keys. Manufactures supply each tent wit comprehensive instructions and safety procedures.

Setting up and tearing down

One of the appealing things about rooftop tents is how easy they are to set up. It only takes a few minutes of work once you arrive at your destination to have the tent ready to go. Setting up an awning and annex will take approximately 20 minutes. Is is time for that beer?

Although the process varies slightly according to the manufacturer, the set-up usually involves the following steps.

  1. Releasing the straps connecting the travel cover and removing it completely.
  2. Releasing any straps that connect the tent and ladder.
  3. Levering the tent open and correctly securing the ladder to the frame and floor.
  4. Inserting and securing any poles, rods, and lines.

Dismantling is relatively straightforward. However, it is well worth practicing tear down, in order to return everything to its original place. 

The following is a fantastic instructional video on the set-up and tear down of rooftop tents.

Beginners Guide to Set Up & Tear Down of Rooftop Tents

Seasons for Car Tent Camping

Although seasonal weather is a factor in any type of camping, car tent camping has its unique benefits that make coping with adverse conditions a little easier. There are also situations where a rooftop tent could be slightly less advantageous. 

There is nothing worse than arriving at your campsite, looking to set up your conventional tent, only to be greeted with wet, muddy ground. Even the most robust of tent liners / groundsheets will only create a barrier for a limited amount of time. Despite the best of intentions, mud gets walked into the living/sleeping space, and comfort levels are heavily compromised.

Rooftop Tent camping Muddy boots Outside of Tent

Rooftop tents eliminate this issue because they are set up a long way off the ground and not affected by surface conditions. Equally, it is possible to set up the rooftop system when the ground is baked hard or a bit rough. Wet and muddy gear can be removed at the bottom of the ladder and easily stored in or under the car to dry out. 

Although there are reports of the Expeditions West guys comfortably sleeping in their rooftop tents in 40 below zero temperatures during an Arctic trip, it is sensible for most people considering buying one to think about conditions they are usually happy to camp under. 

Even though a rooftop tent will eliminate some of the discomforts of traditional camping in adverse weather, it won't make winter camping feel like a summer vacation. If you enjoy winter camping and are suitably equipped with high-quality sleeping and cooking equipment, you'll undoubtedly enjoy the added benefits of the rooftop tent.

Rooftop camping, with the right accessories, can be enjoyable through all the seasons.

A quality rooftop tent will enable you to extend your camping season. but won't necessarily change your opinion of winter camping , if you weren't already a fan.

Last update on 2021-03-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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