How Do Rooftop Tents Work? – A Complete Guide

How do you choose a rooftop tent? And how do you make sure it fits your car?
Roof top tents are made for campers who love adventure. Their quick set-up time means you can camp easily anywhere, and their durable construction makes them the perfect for the wilderness.
So is it time to ditch your tent on the cold, muddy ground and climb up among the treetops? Well, before you do, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. Our complete guide will help you answer any pressing questions.

Why buy a rooftop tent?

There are lots of benefits of a rooftop tent:

The adventure. Rooftop tents are a unique way to experience the great outdoors, no matter the conditions. These tents are built to last. They handle bad weather better than ground tents and can be used in tricky terrain unlike RVs.

The view. Getting up off the ground means that you have easy viewing of the beautiful scenery just outside your tent. Some roof top tents even have built-in sky panels, so you can drift off gazing at the stars.

Quick to set up. Rooftop tents can be opened and packed away within minutes. You don’t have to connect a bunch of poles and secure them in the ground like a ground tent. All you have to do is unfold the tent and you’re done. This means more time exploring and less time setting up camp.

Comfort. Most roof top tents have built-in mattresses which are comfier than blow-up mattresses (especially a deflated one!). The bedding remains inside the tent which means you can jump in as soon as the tent is opened. Also, the tent’s flat floor means no more knobby stones poking your back at night.

Helps you keep clean and dry. These tents keep you up and away from mud, snow, sand and critters.

Built for all kinds of weather. The materials used to make rooftop tents are often designed to withstand harsh weather conditions better than ground tents.

How to install a roof top tent?

Before you get camping, you have to first mount the roof top tent to your vehicle. Rooftop tents are designed differently and have different installation methods, but the general process for most tents is:
1. Place the tent on the roof rack of your car, slide it into place.
2. Secure the tent by bolting down the provided mounting hardware.

Of course, for more specific instructions always refer to the manual of your specific tent.

How to use the rooftop tent?

Once you’ve reached your destination, how do you set up the rooftop tent? There are two options, fold-out or pop-up, both are a lot quicker than traditional ground tents.

Fold-out: Most common with soft-shell roof top tents. Simply pull off the travel cover, pull out the ladder and unfold the tent. Adjust the ladder so that it reaches the floor and then you’re ready to enjoy!

Pop-up: Most common for hard-shell roof top tents. Simply unlatch the latches and the tent will pop up into place. It’s that simple!

How long does it take to open a rooftop tent?

Some roof top tent enthusiasts have been interested in this exact question. When timed, most rooftop tents can be opened and ready for use in about three to four minutes average.

The process of opening the tent, setting up the windows and rainfly rods can take a little longer, anywhere from 4-6 minutes. Hard-shell tents are usually quicker since there are no extra features like rain fly rods to set up.

Hard shell roof top tent vs soft shell roof top tent

Hard shell roof top tent: A hard shell tent is opened just by releasing a few latches. For this reason, they are even faster than soft shell roof top tents to set up and tear down. Also, since they tend to be made of sturdy material like aluminum or ABS plastic, they are great at withstanding wind and rain. All these factors make them popular for overlanding and off-roading trips. Also, some hard-shell tents double up as a cargo box for extra storage, or to use during the off-season.

Soft shell roof top tents: Soft shell tents are the most common type. One half is mounted to the roof rack of your car, and the other is supported a ladder. To open it you simply pull down the ladder and the tent folds open. Soft shell tents come in bigger sizes than hard shell and the largest roof top tent fits four people. Also, soft-shell tents can have an annex attached which allows for extra space below the tent.

Post time: Oct-03-2022