Roof Top Tent – An Elevated Camping Experience
If you’re looking for an elevated camping experience, a roof top tent might be your ticket. They’re a popular option for overlanding and car camping, and they can make any trip more convenient and secure.
They’re also an excellent option for families or couples who don’t want to sacrifice convenience and comfort. But there are pros and cons to rooftop tents, so you’ll need to decide which one is right for your needs.
It’s easier to set up
Roof top tents are easier to set up and take down than ground tents, and they can often be put up by one person in less than a minute. Hardshell rooftop tents, which don’t require covers, usually only require a few minutes of set-up and pack-down time (clamshell models, like the Roofnest Sparrow EYE or Roofnest Falcon 2, have no covers to deal with).
For those who pack up and move camp every day, hardshell tents also tend to be easier to repack, since they don’t have to fold to close them up. That’s a big bonus for those who want to maximize their space on the road, especially if you’re traveling with your dog.
When it comes to durability, hardshell tents typically have better overall strength and lifespan than softshell tents. They often have thick UV- and mold-resistant fabric, sealed seams, and a secure waterproof shell to stand up to the elements.
On the other hand, softshell tents aren’t always as durable, as the canvas or nylon covering isn’t as strong and can be damaged by rain or sun exposure. Look for a tough-wearing, water-resistant material that’s at least 600 denier to stand up to the elements and prevent moisture damage.
The weight of a roof top tent is also a factor to consider, as a heavy one can be difficult to mount or remove from your vehicle. It’s important to note that all vehicles have static and dynamic load ratings, which limit the amount of weight a roof top tent can carry.
Aside from that, the size and height of a rooftop tent is another factor to consider. It’s important to keep the tent’s footprint and height within the dimensions of your roof.
If you’re looking for a lightweight option, the Front Runner Roof Top Tent (formerly the Featherlight) is a good choice, weighing in at just 93 pounds and designed for small cars and solo travelers. This model also offers a quick-release tent mounting kit, making it easy to take the tent off your car and reload it between trips.
It’s more secure
If you’re looking for a tent that you can easily set up and tear down, a roof top tent is a great option. They are also more convenient and cheaper than other types of tents.
In addition to being easy to setup, rooftop tents are often much more comfortable than ground tents. This is because the inside of a rooftop tent tends to stay cleaner than ground tents do. That means less mud and dirt tracked into the tent, which can lead to skin rashes or other problems.
Another benefit is that many roof top tents come with an anti-condensation mat under the mattress, which helps prevent mold and condensation buildup. That can make a big difference if you sleep in an area with a lot of rain or fog.
There are a few important things to keep in mind when shopping for a rooftop tent: the tent’s capacity (the number of people it can comfortably sleep), the roof height, and the size of the mattress. While the majority of these tents are sized to fit two people, some tents are designed to sleep four and feature larger mattresses than their footprint suggests.
For example, the iKamper Blue Dot Voyager Duo measures 47 by 84 inches, which is narrower than most double-size mattresses. However, it features a peak height of 55 inches.
As for the iKamper’s telescoping ladder, it’s one of the most comfortable and safe to climb on roof top tent because the rungs run parallel to the ground. This isn’t the case with other rooftop tent ladders, which have rungs that are angled when they lean against the tent.
Lastly, the iKamper has a dedicated spot on the roof to mount a solar panel, so you can use it to power your electronics or charge up your phone. This is especially helpful if you’re camping in an area with low wattage and want to save money on your electric bill.
While the iKamper isn’t the most affordable option, it’s a great choice for anyone who’s on a budget or wants to pack a lot of gear into a small space. Its ease of set up and comfort make it a popular choice among overlanders, car campers, and RVers alike.
It’s more convenient
Roof top tents are great for camping, especially for those who don’t want to deal with the hassle of setting up and packing up a tent on the ground. Instead, they let you sleep on a thick, memory foam mattress while being elevated off the forest floor, making it as comfortable as sleeping in your bed.
The biggest advantage of rooftop tents is that they don’t require a ladder or a roof rack to attach them to your vehicle, which saves you both roof top tent time and money. However, you’ll still need to keep a few things in mind when buying one.
First and foremost, you’ll need to figure out what size tent is right for your vehicle and camping needs. Many vehicles have static and dynamic load ratings, which put a limit on the weight of rooftop tents that can be mounted on them. Unless you plan to carry a lot of gear, you’ll probably want to stick with a lightweight design that will fit under your roof (the Thule Basin Tent is a good example), while heavy-duty designs that can accommodate more gear are better for those with larger vehicles or trucks.
Another important factor to consider is whether you’re looking for a soft shell or hardshell model. While hardshell models are generally more expensive than softshells, they also offer several key advantages:
Firstly, they’re more convenient to set up. Unlike softshells, which fold out beyond your vehicle’s roof, hardshells can be opened on all sides by opening either a hinge (clamshells) or by popping up on all four sides (like a box).
In addition to their convenience, hardshells are also more resistant to vibration and rattling from driving. This is a big plus for those who pack up and move camp often.
If you’re a beginner looking for a simple, reliable, and budget-friendly rooftop tent, the Roofnest Sparrow EYE is a good option. It has a quick setup, is easy to convert from travel mode to camping mode, and doesn’t require the use of a ladder or roof rack. It also comes with a removable rain fly, so you can keep it clean when the weather is nice.
It’s more affordable
Compared to tents that live on the ground, roof top tents are much more affordable and easier to set up. This is because they don’t need to be affixed to a vehicle during travel mode, so you can save space in your car or truck and leave the rack free for other equipment.
The price tag of a rooftop tent can be a bit intimidating, but these products are generally made to last a long time and come with a lifetime warranty. That’s why it’s important to shop around and find a design that fits your needs and budget.
Most rooftop tents are designed to sleep two people comfortably, but some models are meant for larger families or groups of three. Some are even built for overlanding, with tough materials like 600-denier ripstop polyester and 420-denier ripstop rainfly.
These designs are usually a bit more expensive than their softshell counterparts, but they also offer more conveniences and a better overall user experience. You can also expect a more durable construction and less hassle with things like rain fly replacements.
Another benefit of rooftop tents is that they allow campers to sleep above their vehicles without having to climb up a ladder, which adds an element of comfort to the experience. This is a luxury that many people don’t get to enjoy when they’re camping on the ground.
If you want the convenience of sleeping on your roof but don’t want to shell out a lot of cash, we suggest checking out Bend, Oregon-based Freespirit Recreation, which has a lineup of both clamshell and pop-up softshell models that are well worth a look. Their High Country 55″ is an excellent option for two people, with 4 inches of padding between the floor and mattress, oversized windows, and an incredibly fast setup time.
Thule Tepui’s Kukenham 3 is another great choice, with a four-season canopy that can be fully converted from open-air to weather lock-down and a large entrance awning. It’s also compatible with an annex, which can be added for extra space. The company also offers a number of other features that make it easier to use and maintain, including an internal bungee system for folding the canopy and button-free ladders.