How do Rooftop Tents Work?

How do Rooftop Tents Work?

Tents have always been a common fixture in many campgrounds and campsites. For many years, ground type tents were the norm. Not everyone was eager to lug around heavy tents, nor are they enticing to setup. Save for spending on a camper van, an innovative solution came to be. Rooftop tents gained a following thanks to their unique features. But what differentiates these tents, and how do rooftop tents work?

What Are Rooftop Tents

Rooftop tents are shelters designed to fit the roof of a vehicle. The general idea of a rooftop tent is to provide users with a fairly safe and comfortable space to sleep atop their automobile. Historically, the first-ever rooftop tent was introduced in the 1930s in Western Europe.

Although rooftop tents were designed for expedition type motor vehicles like Land Rovers, they can be fitted on pretty much any type of vehicle. In general, they can easily be mounted on factory roof racks or aftermarket bars.

Major Benefits of Rooftop Tents

Demand for rooftop tents is high, owing to the fact that the design is not only unique but extremely convenient. Travelers who cannot afford a travel trailer or are uninterested in procuring one have found the rooftop tent to be one of the best alternatives. Aside from the obvious convenience, there are other benefits that have attracted people to this product.

Easy to Set Up

With an easy set-up rooftop tent, finding the perfect location can be done in minutes. Pop-up and folding rooftop tent options are easy and extremely quick to deploy. Compared to regular tents, a rooftop tent is ready to be enjoyed in a matter of minutes.

Overall Comfort

Lots of rooftop tents come equipped with top of the line memory foam mattresses. Get restful and comfortable sleep on a guaranteed flat surface. With ample room to store your gear and plenty of ventilation, the rooftop tent affords users a comfortable night of sleep.

Keeps You Off the Ground

Camping enthusiasts know that the best spot to call camp is an area that is safe from animals, critters, and outdoor elements. Rooftop tents pitched on roof racks ensure that you are safe, clean, and dry. You would also enjoy having an optimal vantage point of the camping ground courtesy of your rooftop tent.

Rooftop Tents vs. Regular Tents

For the most part, tents use a fairly standard shape, style, and material. A vast majority of tents are made of fabrics such as nylon and polyester. These materials are a favorite choice because they are light enough to pack and carry around. However, the creation of rooftop tents has provided campers and travelers with an innovative option that could easily take on the ground tent.

Setting Up

Regular tents are notoriously difficult to set up. These ground tents require additional poles and anchors for it to be a secure structure. When installed correctly on your vehicle’s roof, rooftop tents can simply be unfolded. Since it does not require much hardware, setting up the rooftop tent is a sure winner.

Ideal Location

The truth of the matter is, no one is stopping you from pitching your ground tent where ever you want. However, common sense should dictate that a flat surface is the best location for a ground tent. Comparably, rooftop tents are not dependent on terrain. A tent mounted on the roof of your vehicle offers both comfort and security.

Space Availability

When comparing a rooftop tent vs. regular tent, it is instantly obvious that a regular one provides more size options. Simply put, regular tents can comfortably accommodate one to twenty people depending on the size you choose. Rooftop tents, on the other hand, are usually limited to a maximum of two.


If you’ve ever owned a tent, you know how bothersome it is to put away a dirty, muddy, or wet tent. Rooftop tents do not possess this inconvenience. Granted, while the exterior of either shelter is bound to get dirty, regular tents get dirty far easier than one propped on top of a motor vehicle.

Mobility Concerns

Ground tents can prove superior to rooftop tents when it comes time to leave the camp to explore. Regular tents can be left where they are pitched. On the other hand, the rooftop model has to be folded away when the vehicle is needed for the exploration and then set up again for the night.

How to Set up Rooftop Tents

So you’ve finally gone ahead and gotten yourself a rooftop tent. You’re probably wondering: how do rooftop tents work? Lots of manufacturers offer free installation services, but lots of people opt to take on the installation themselves. An included user manual details how you can correctly install your new rooftop tent.

When it is time to set it up for actual use, the steps are quite simple

  1. Begin with removing its protective case or cover. Fold this up and keep it in a secure place so you know where to find it when it’s time to pack up.
  2. Next, unbuckle the straps that are holding the tent onto the rack.
  3. Now open up and unfold the tent. Don’t forget to properly set up your access ladder and securely position the tent’s support poles.
  4. Depending on the style and model, you can proceed to set up the window rods. These are designed to provide your tent with ample ventilation. You can also add an annex if this is part of your kit. Otherwise, your tent is ready for use.

How to Take Down Your Rooftop Tent

When it’s time to leave and head back home, packing the tent correctly is important. The rule of thumb is to avoid packing up a wet tent.

  1. Make sure that the tent is not only dry but is also clean before it is stored.
  2. As much as possible, sweep or vacuum the inside the tent.
  3. Use a mild detergent to clean the tent fabric. Rinse and then dry completely.
  4. Dirt can be removed with the aid of a small brush.
  5. Fold the tent back to its original position. Secure sides down with straps and cover with its protective case.