How Are Roof Top Tents Supported W

How Are Roof Top Tents Supported?

In comparison to traditional tents, roof top tents are a fun and convenient way to enhance your camping experience! If you are a newbie looking into purchasing your own, chances are you are probably super excited to learn and research more on the subject. An important question should come to mind when considering buying a roof top tent, and that is how are roof top tents supported? 

To put it plain and simple, roof top tents are supported by a roof rack. To provide adequate support, the roof rack must include crossbars. The reason for this is because most vehicles factory manufactured crossbars are NOT built to handle the pressure and weight from a roof top tent. 

As you continue reading this article, we will be discussing how to support your roof top tent as well as answering the most common questions asked by newbies in the roof top camping space! Keep reading to find out all the information there is to know about this subject. 

What Is A Roof Rack?

Using a roof rack during travel can decrease clutter and free up space inside your vehicle while allowing you to enjoy the benefits of rooftop camping. Roof racks are essential to having the proper support for your roof top tent.

Roof racks are made up of several bars which are secured to the roof of a car. They can support not only roof top tents, but also bicycles, canoes, kayaks, skis, luggage, and a variety of other large objects. 

It is important to know that the factory crossbars built onto your vehicle shell are most likely not made to handle the load from your roof top tent. 

Do I Need A Roof Rack For My Vehicle?

You may be wondering if you can skip the whole ‘buying a roof rack ordeal’, and the simple answer is no, you cannot. Most vehicles lack the structure to sustain and support a roof top tent unless you are using an aftermarket roof rack. 

Your roof rack will need to have the ability to support the dynamic and static weight capacity. Dynamic weight capacity is the total load placed on any object while in motion, while static weight refers to how much the object can hold safely while idle.

Note – if your vehicle roof is bare (meaning no tracks or rails) then a roof top tent has no way of being supported.

Can My Vehicle Support Roof Top Tents?

Roof racks are not the only important thing to consider when it comes to supporting your tent. You also need to ensure that your vehicle can actually handle the structural capacity which includes a rack system, a roof top tent and the campers themselves.

If you own a larger vehicle like an SUV or truck, odds are it can support a roof top tent! However, if your vehicle’s load capacity is under 165 lbs, you may want to reconsider if roof top camping will work for you in the future.

Your car’s ability to support your roof top tent will fully depend on the year, make and model that you own. 

Also keep in mind that any additions added to your roof can alter the center of gravity and affect the stability of the vehicle.

What Should I Take Into Consideration?

When shopping around for your roof top tent, there are lots of factors you want to take into consideration. Think about how many people you plan to be sleeping with, how much the roof top tent weighs, what is the weight of your rack and lastly what is your vehicle’s structural weight limit?

If you don’t account for all the weight capacity being put on your roof, you could have negative consequences and added stress. If these thing are not taken into consideration, it can:

  • Reduce overall control of the vehicle
  • Increase wear and tear on the cars suspension system
  • Possibly reduce gas mileage
  • Increase risks of roof damage
  • Negatively impact overall stability
  • Make it more difficult to accelerate

How Do You Install A Roof Top Tent?

Roof top tents aren’t rocket science to figure out, in fact they are made pretty easy to install! Here are a few steps you can take to make the process of installing your roof top tent a little smoother:

  1. Do the math to find out your static and dynamic weight totals.
  2. Buy a roof top tent that is compatible with your vehicle type. 
  3. Double check that your base can support your tent and belongings,
  4. Build your base by installing it on flat racks, crossbars, or a canopy.
  5. Determining if you have side-railing or crossbars.
  6. Attach your tent to your base. Learn how by this video below:

Always refer back to your vehicle, roof rack, and roof top tents instruction manual as each individual roof top tent and base installation will vary.

Why Should I Have A Roof Top Tent?

Avid roof top camp-goers will tell you one of the best reasons for owning a roof top tent is the freedom it brings. People in this community tend to indulge in activities like hiking, swimming, kayaking, biking, camping and more! 

Simply put, having the advantage of being able to take down a camp site within minutes and freely go about your trip is something that traditional camping experiences just don’t offer

Roof top tents have given a new level of convenience when it comes to camping. There are other perks to think about of course like eliminating pest disturbances by being elevated off the ground, time saved from not building an entire tent, camping in comfort despite climate fluctuations, and so much more. 

How Safe Are Roof Top Tents?

I know it might seem unsafe to go camping in a roof top tent, considering the fact that it’s mounted to the roof of your car (that’s something you don’t see everyday). The unique experience of roof top camping is more rare, so going into it you may not know what to expect.

Thankfully, roof top tents are very safe. In fact, some people would say it is safer than traditional ground camping. This is because roof top tents help keep intruders away like snakes, bears, raccoons and scorpions.

To give yourself peace of mind, read reviews thoroughly before purchasing. Watching youtube videos as well, may help you visualize which roof top tent would be most ideal for your wants and needs.


In conclusion, roof top tents are oftentimes very well supported and safe for your camping trips. They are designed to withstand various climates, support weight and pressure and give you the camping experience you deserve! 

Whether it’s just you on an adventure or the whole family, just remember that roof top tents are an experience that many people don’t even realize they are missing out on. Soak in all the beautiful sceneries that roof top tents have to offer and take time to enjoy the little things, after all that is what life is all about. 

To reiterate once more, never hesitate to refer back to your owners instruction manual if you are having concerns with your roof top tents support. Safety and proper installation is always the most important. If you make sure to follow proper directions and installation guidance, there should be no trouble enjoying your one of a kind space. 

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