Why You Need To Consider Getting A Rooftop Tent
If you click and purchase with one of our links, we earn a commission. Thanks.
Rooftop tents continue to gain popularity in the U.S. with every passing season, and in this post, we will be looking at why that is and why you should consider getting one. You probably have seen cars with odd-shaped bags fastened on their roofs and thought they were storage bags of some sort. Well, that’s not the case. In reality, they are camping tents that fold out to become unique, off-the-ground outdoor-living havens. If you love camping, then rooftop tents (RTTs) are a must-have. Read on to learn more.
Roof Top Tent Benefits
The fact that rooftop tents are installed on the roof of a vehicle means that you no longer have to worry about sleeping in a mud pit or a puddle should it rain while you are out camping. Their elevated position means that they are well situated to catch a breeze, which helps improve ventilation and makes it possible for you to stay cooler during hot summer days and nights. Apart from that, you also get a great vantage point that allows you to see/explore your surroundings from the comfort of your tent.
Another benefit of having an off-the-ground tent is that you never have to worry about dirt and debris entering your tent. If you’re camping on dusty ground or sand, all you need to do after you’ve climbed up the ladder is brush off your shoes before entering the tent to ensure you don’t track anything inside.
While rooftop tents have the added advantage of being off ground, this point still deserves a mention of its own. The good thing about camping off the ground is that the elevated position of the tent makes it hard for animals and critters to enter your outdoor shelter. Removing the telescopic ladder while you are not using the tent or even while inside the tent makes it hard for squirrels, snakes, spiders, and squirrels to gain access.
Rooftop tents aren’t that new. In places like Africa and Australia, where some of the nastiest critters crawl the ground, people have been using these tents to stay safe due to the ground clearance they offer. However, as more Americans learn about the benefits roof tents have to offer, more people are now investing in them.
One of the benefits of having a rooftop tent is that it allows you to store your gear and other personal effects inside your car while you sleep. This option, compared to sleeping in a truck bed with a truck topper, is much safer considering that you don’t have to store your belonging elsewhere every time you go to sleep. With RTTs, your things stay safely locked away in your vehicle at all times.
Comfortable Sleeping Pad/Platform
If you own the best ground tent and air mattress that money can be, then this probably doesn’t apply to you. Nevertheless, RTTs also do come with high-quality, high-density memory foam mattresses that are way more comfortable than air mattresses. While air mattresses are comfortable to sleep on, they can be a nuisance if you have to share them with someone else. Nearly getting launched off the mattress every time your significant other or spouse moves gets old really fast.
Another thing about RTTs is that they come with a hard bottom made of rigid materials like aluminum, steel, or fiberglass and which is perfectly flat, unlike the ground. While air mattresses are comfortable, they can be less fun to sleep on if set up on a rocky patch on the ground. But that’s not the case when it comes to rooftop tents – the experience of sleeping in an RTT is pretty similar to sleeping in your bed back at home when it comes to comfort.
If you have ever spent a night in a ground tent during a rainy, stormy, or windy day, you can attest to the fact that it can be hard to catch some sleep with all the tent material flapping around you. Apart from that, you also have to make do with sleeping in a puddle of cold water and might wake up to find your tent extensively damaged.
However, with rooftop tents, these are issues you’ll never have to worry about since most RTTs have solid fiberglass panels that pop at an angle or straight up, protecting you from the elements. While most rooftop tents still have canvas sides that could flap in the wind, the material used is a lot more durable and most RTTs have systems that allow users to crank their canvases extra tight on windy days.
A majority of ground tents on the market are designed to be light and portable while rooftop tents are designed to be durable and strong since all of the tent’s weight is carried by the vehicle. Rooftop tents are generally constructed with aluminum or steel and the canvas is far more rugged than the type that’s used to make ground tents.
Quick Set-Up and Convenience
The good thing about most rooftop tents is that they are designed for quick set up. All you have to do is park your car in a flat spot, undo the tent’s latches or locks, and unfold the tent or leave it to unfold itself. While RTTs with annexes typically take a bit longer to set up, these tents are generally much faster and a lot easier to set up than their counterparts since there are no stakes to drive into the ground or pole to put together.
Furthermore, most rooftop tents allow users to leave their bedding in place when packing down, which means everything you need is ready to go when they open the tent. However, that’s not possible with ground tents. And apart from that, you’d have to inflate your air mattress or unpack and lay down a sleeping pad before laying out your sleeping bag.
A vast majority of the people who use rooftop tents typically own 4x4 off-road vehicles. Since RTTs go wherever the vehicles go, they open up a world of camping possibilities especially in places where camping would have been impractical. Even if you’ve driven to a location where there aren’t wide flat places to set up a ground net, if you have blocks that you can use to level off your vehicle, your rooftop tent will still function well.
Furthermore, this option lowers your footprint since your vehicle and tent occupy the same space. It doesn’t matter where you are, be it amongst boulders or in a dense forest or a tight space, but as long as you have a good parking spot, setting up your tent won’t be an issue.
Rooftop tents are also perfect for excursions that involve moving about a lot since takedown and setup quick and easy. Setting up a ground tent, air mattress/sleeping pad, and sleeping bag every day then taking it all down the next day can become monotonous. Camping with rooftop tents is a lot more comparable to RV camping than it is to tent camping, especially when it comes to convenience. And that leads us to the next point.
Roof Top Tents are Way Cheaper than RVs
Hardshell rooftop tents range from about 2,000 USD to 5,000 USD, which is several times cheaper than the most basic RV. And while RTTs do not have kitchen facilities, running water, or a bathroom, they still provide some of the mobility and comforts RVs offer – and that’s something ground tent setups cannot offer.
With rooftop tents, you can camp on all types of terrain, in all types of weather much like with an RV. Ground tents, on the other hand, are generally only comfortable and practical on flat ground and in relatively warm weather.
Furthermore, it is easier to drive your car with a rooftop tent on the roof than it is to operate most RVs as they are bulky, large, and not very fast or responsive. Apart from that, roof tents do not have a major impact on your vehicle’s mileage, which means you get to save more by driving your vehicle with a rooftop tent as compared to towing a trailer or driving an RV.
Space and Time Saving
As mentioned earlier, this option allows you to safely store your gear and personal belongings inside your vehicle while you sleep. This saves you more time since you do not have to waste too much time rearranging your car or truck every time you want to set up camp and rest for the day.
Moreover, this eliminates the need to store your air mattress, tent, and sleeping bag inside your vehicle since all the things you need to sleep on are already inside your rooftop tent, freeing up room in your vehicle for other things.
Since rooftop tents are made using heavy-duty materials that offer better protection against the elements than ground tents, they can be used in nearly all kinds of weather conditions. If you’re an avid traveler or camper, a rooftop tent is what you need as it’ll allow you to camp in all types of locations and different seasons throughout the year.
Provided that your vehicle can get you to wherever you want to camp safely, your rooftop tent will keep you comfortable and protected from the elements. Some rooftop tents also come with optional gear like weather hoods, extra insulation, and other all-weather, all-season accessories.
If you are looking for camping gear that lasts, is easy to set up, protects you from the elements, and which allows you to go camping everywhere and anywhere imaginable, then rooftop tents are your best bet.