Are Rooftop Tents Worth It?

When it comes to camping, there are so many different options out there that can appeal to the tastes of just about any camper. However, some of these options are going to be easier or more beneficial than others, begging the question, are rooftop tents even worth it? 

If you are wondering if rooftop tents are worth the investment, consider the pros and cons of this type of camping. Cons include their minimal space, price, and dismounting and mounting inconvenience. Pros include their quick breakdown, amenities, and geographic accessibility. 

Rooftop tents offer explorers the ability to go wherever their vehicle can take them without ever having to worry about booking a hotel, hooking up their RV, reserving a popular camping spot, or finding an Airbnb in the right location. However, rooftop tents are costly, they require a very different type of camping from users, and they don’t offer a large amount of room. If you are wondering if rooftop tents are worth it, take a look below to find their pros and cons. 

What Are The Cons of Rooftop Tents? 

No matter how adventurous some camping options may seem, there are always going to be cons that you first need to consider before diving in. Keep in mind that the cons to a rooftop tent may be something that deters one individual, but has no effect on another. Take a look below to find the cons of rooftop tents and be sure to weigh these items up against what is important to you and what will make or break your camping experience. 

Rooftop Tents Offer Minimal Space 

One of the biggest complaints to rooftop tents is their lack of space. When traveling, many people want to be able to retreat to a comfortable space that they can stretch out in, lay about in, and have room to breathe after a busy day. However, with rooftop tents, only so much space is possible due to the nature of their build. They must be able to fit atop of your vehicle, making it difficult to have one that offers a ton of space. 

© Jorgen Hendriksen

Rooftop tents don’t host a large amount of space, making this something that deters those who like a bit of room. If rooftop tents were too large in their design, they would not be able to collapse properly on top of a vehicle while also not having enough structural support once expanded. 

Rooftop Tents are Pricey 

If you are someone who loves to camp and have spent plenty of days beneath a ground tent, you may be rather shocked when you see the price of a rooftop tent. These tents can go into the thousands, depending on their amenities, which can drive people to stick with what they already have, rather than splurging on a pricey product. For many campers, camping is a way to see the world without breaking the bank, making cost a major consideration.

Another con to rooftop tents is their price. They are considerably more expensive than ground tents which can leave those potentially interested, happy to stick with the equipment they already have or go for items that are not nearly as costly. 

Mounting and Dismounting Can be a Pain 

The beauty of having something like a ground tent, an RV, or a fifth wheel is that they are relatively easy to put together for camping and break down or detach when your excursion is over. Of course, time is going to go into all of these processes, but when it comes to mounting and dismounting a rooftop tent, things can be a bit more difficult and a tad heavier. If you are considering purchasing a rooftop tent, mounting and dismounting may be a con for you. 

The initial mounting process of a rooftop tent requires the proper tools and equipment to secure it to your rooftop. Once your trip is completed, you will then have to dismount the tent so that your car can be free of the extra weight. Rooftop tents are heavy and this can take quite a bit of time.

Rooftop Tents Only Go Where Your Vehicle Goes 

Now, this may be something that is a huge appeal to some, but a major can for others. With a rooftop tent, it is not possible to dismount the tent and carry it to an amazing hidden camping spot that you found by chance.

© Stefan Widua

If your car cannot get to the area, your tent cannot go there either, leaving you bound to the tent and where your vehicle resides. If you like to have the freedom to camp in any spot available, this may be a deterrent for you. 

Rooftop tents are designed to stay on the top of your vehicle, using the racks as the support and mount to keep them stable and functioning properly. If your vehicle is not able to fit into a specific spot, then you will not be able to camp there, making the freedom of camping sometimes restricted.

What Are The Pros of Rooftop Tents? 

It’s important to weigh the potential cons of an investment before going into the pros so that you are better able to weigh the benefits of that purchase with a well-informed state of mind. So, now that you know some of the cons that come along with a rooftop tent, let’s get into what makes this style of camping so great. Take a look below to find out why rooftop tents are considered to be such a great investment by so many. 

Rooftop Tents Are Quick to Break Down 

It was previously discussed that rooftop tents can be a bit of a pain when it comes to mounting and dismounting, however, this is only one very small component of the use of your rooftop tent. One of the greatest pros of rooftop tents is that, most of them, are very easy to break down. This means less time spent having to fuss with a dozen parts and more time spent getting to where you are going. 

Many rooftop tents are designed in a way that they are able to be opened and closed with absolute ease. For many, you will simply put up the ladder, bring in any extended spaces from the sides of the tent, and it will then fold down with ease. This makes rooftop tents incredibly time efficient. 

Rooftop Tents Have Everything You Need Within 

Now, as with any camping product, there are going to be those products that come with the most basic amenities and those that come with a slew of different things to keep you comfortable. When it comes to rooftop tents, this can also be true, but they tend to come with a bit more than their ground tent counterparts. This not only works in the favor of this type of tent, but aids in giving users a bit more bang for their buck. 

© Thule

Depending on the type of rooftop tent you purchase, some come with USB ports, storage spaces, and even lights within to help aid you in the middle of the night. All rooftop tents come with a mattress to sleep on, giving you even more ease when turning in for a good night’s sleep. 

Rooftop Tents Can Take You Anywhere 

As noted within a previous con, rooftop tents can seem rather restrictive when it comes to parking at camping sites that require you to walk to the site rather than park and camp. However, if off the beaten path is where you want to go, there are few options better than camping with a rooftop tent. Although you may miss out on more restrictive areas, a rooftop tent can take you to see some pretty incredible views. 

Especially when considering where RVs or fifth wheels are able to go due to their limited terrain ability, rooftop tents allow users to take their tent wherever their vehicle is capable of going. This means getting to views that you can’t pack your tent to or drive your RV to either. 

Rooftop Tents Allow Space in Your Vehicle 

One of the hardest parts of camping with a ground tent is having to use your car for storage. This not only takes up space in your truck, but can interfere with how many people you want to take along for the trip.

© Ian Dooley

Having space when camping allows people to breathe a bit easier and enjoy their trip in a way that clutter sometimes can put a damper on. If you are someone who likes a bit more leg room when traveling, the rooftop tent may be for you. 

By using a rooftop tent, you are able to store one of the biggest pieces of your equipment above your vehicle rather than within it. Even more, many rooftop tents can double as a secondary storage space, which allows individuals to store supplies within them, rather than in their vehicle. 

Rooftop Tents Offer Views Along With Safety 

One of the greatest pursuits of campers is to find views that make their trip one that they will never forget. Ground tents, RVs, and fifth wheels can have great views, but when you have the freedom to go where you want, there are few views that a rooftop tent can’t attain. Even more than this, by using a rooftop tent, you are able to keep yourself off of the floor of nature and keep you and your supplies safe from any curious critters. 

When using a rooftop tent, not only are you able to have a range of locations larger than other more standard types of camping, but you are also elevated to a level that will give you a more premier view of your surroundings. Just as important, through that elevation, you are able to stay off of the ground and keep safe.

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