Do You Need a Roof Rack for a Rooftop Tent?

Rooftop tents already come at a relatively high price when compared to other ground camping options, so when campers are met with other expenses to secure their equipment. When it comes to rooftop tents, do you absolutely have to have a roof rack? 

You need a roof rack to secure a rooftop tent, as this piece of equipment works to distribute the weight of the tent, the weight of the tent with occupants in it, and allows for you to safely install the tent on your vehicle. Without a roof rack, the installation of a rooftop tent is not possible. 

Rooftop tents are made to sustain heavy amounts of weight when in use, as these systems are not installed on the ground, which works as a ground tents support system, but are secured above the roof of your vehicle. When you see a rooftop tent, you may be wondering if and why a roof rack is encouraged. If you are looking to buy a rooftop tent, take a look below to find out why having a roof rack is such an essential piece of equipment to keep your camping going. 

Why Do You Need a Roof Rack for a Rooftop Tent? 

Roof top tents are durable, can go anywhere your vehicle can take you, offer room for campers who prefer to adventure solo or with larger groups, are easy to set up and take down, and give users the ability to camp with a little more peace when it comes to safety. With all of these advantages, rooftop tents can come at a hefty price, making any additional gear rather burdensome when it comes to having to pay even more. So, why do you need a roof rack? 

For a rooftop tent, you need a roof rack to help support the weight of the tent as well as the weight which will be in the tent when in use. The roof rack also works as the installation base for your vehicle. Therefore, if you do not have one, there is no way to install a rooftop tent. 

First and foremost, although the base of a rooftop tent is thick, sturdy, and level, when there is a tremendous amount of weight inside of it (outside of the tent itself) this base will become unsturdy if not properly supported. When this happens, damage can occur to the tent which could render it useless if it is bent in any way, sacrificing the integrity of the structure. Without a solid structure, not only is your tent compromised, but the roof of your vehicle could be as well. 

If you were to simply load the tent onto the roof of your car, the main weight absorption would be placed on the base and roof of your vehicle. Although many vehicles are designed to be able to carry a heavy load, they are not designed for this load to be placed directly on the surface. If too much weight is placed on the roof, it can cause the roof to dent and cave. When this happens, the levelness of your tent is hindered and your vehicle’s roof follows suit with the same pattern. 

Another reason roof racks are so important is that they are essential to being able to safely install a rooftop tent. By being placed on rails or other factory-installed support systems, the roof rack is where your tent will render its structural security so that you can safely travel with the equipment without having to worry about it moving or coming off. Without a roof rack, you simply have rails on your vehicle, which are not designed to disperse such large amounts of weight. 

The rails of your vehicle, then, work as the necessary support system to install a roof rack and thus, support your rooftop tent. By placing the roof rack on top of your vehicle, you will be able to install the tent while also having the proper system to allow for safe weight distribution. This means you can get into the tent without having to worry about the base of the tent bending or collapsing or the roof of your car sustaining damage due to a lack of support. 

Knowing all of this, you can easily come to the conclusion that a roof rack is an absolute must when it comes to using a rooftop tent. Even though the extra cost may be difficult to swallow, this system allows for you to safely travel and use your rooftop tent without thinking twice about installation. Now that you know why you need a roof rack with a rooftop tent, take a below to find out what you need to consider before purchasing and installing a roof rack. 

Things To Consider Before Buying a Roof Rack 

When it comes to roof racks, there are so many available options that may leave new campers wondering what features are necessary, what features are rather unnecessary, and what the features are that make the difference between a great product and one that causes more trouble than needed. Before you buy a roof rack to support your rooftop tent, read the list below to find out the things you need to consider before making your decision. 

Consider How Much Weight the Roof Rack Can Support

Every rooftop tent is going to have a different weight to it and the same goes for roof racks. With every vehicle as well, there is a dynamic weight limit that it can hold, but if gone over, can compromise the safety of your vehicle when traveling. The dynamic weight load is how much your car’s roof can handle when it is in motion, and this is what you need to base your decision on when purchasing a roof rack as well as a rooftop tent. 

Before buying a roof rack, know the dynamic weight limit of your vehicle, the weight of the tent you either own or plan to purchase, see how much the roof rack you plan to buy weighs, check to make sure the rack can support the weight of the tent, then verify that the dynamic weight is not exceeded.

Find a Roof Rack With Square Bars 

When it comes to the design of roof racks, some racks are supplied with square bars and some come with oval shaped whisp bars. This may seem irrelevant to some at first glance, as either are sturdy designs to hold your tent, however, the design of a roof rack with square bars is more universal and will typically offer an easier installation for the rooftop tent you own or plan to purchase. With that being said, what specifically makes the difference between these two? 

When finding a roof rack to install with your rooftop tent, by purchasing a rack with square bars, you are given equipment that fits the majority of mounting plates out there, making the fit of your tent easier when it comes to installation. Round whisp bars are wider and will not always fit. 

Consider the Length of Your Rooftop Tents Ladder 

With rooftop tents being installed at the roof of your vehicle, there has to be a way to safely get in and out of the tent – this comes in the form of a ladder. Many rooftop tent ladders are easy to bring down and put away, which may leave you wondering how this piece of equipment is relevant to a roof rack. Roof racks put even more height to your vehicle, which may not be an issue for some ladders, but for others, a high-mounted rack could be a problem. 

Before purchasing a roof rack, be sure to consider the length of the ladder that comes with your rooftop tent. If you purchase a roof rack that adds too much height to your vehicle, it could cause your ladder to not reach to the ground. Therefore, measure the height of the rack on your vehicle then confirm that your ladder can make up the difference in height. 

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