What Cars Can You Put a Rooftop Tent On? 

Rooftop tents are a great way to save space for those camping with smaller vehicles, but when it comes to considering their weight and the hardware needed to install a rooftop tent, some may be wondering if their vehicle can support it. What cars can you put a rooftop tent on? 

Any car that has factory installed rails, as well as a dynamic weight load over 165 pounds, can support a rooftop tent. If your car has both of these features, there is no reason that a rooftop tent cannot be easily supported, traveled with, and used without issue.

Camping with a car may seem like a different vehicle route compared to most rooftop campers, but this vehicle style is actually just as appropriate when it comes to rooftop camping. Cars are typically more fuel-efficient, they don’t have as much drag when going at high speed, and they sit a bit closer to the ground making rooftop tents more comfortable for some. Take a look below to find out which cars are best for putting a rooftop tent on. 

What Is Needed on a Car to Install a Rooftop Tent? 

© Thule | USA

Before revealing the best cars for rooftop tents, there are a few basic things that every car has to have in order to make this type of camping possible. If your car has these features, then you can start your search for the perfect rooftop tent. However, if your car does not have these features, you may need to either upgrade your vehicle, or throw in the towel for any rooftop tent dreams. What exactly does a car need to install a rooftop tent? 

To install a rooftop tent, your car must have factory installed rails (or something of the like) as well as a dynamic weight capacity that is 165 pounds or over. Without these two features, it would be impossible and potentially dangerous to install a rooftop tent on your car. 

The most essential hardware that your car needs before installing a rooftop tent are roof rails or something similar. These rails are put on your car during its assembly process and they work as the main support system for the roof rack that will go under your rooftop tent. Without these rails, there is nowhere for the roof rack to be installed, which means that there is nowhere for the rooftop tent to attach to and secure, making installation impossible. 

Another feature of your car that must pass the qualification test before installing a rooftop tent is the dynamic weight capacity of the vehicle. The dynamic weight capacity is the maximum weight your car can support when in motion. Every weight limit will vary, but for a general guideline, if the dynamic weight limit is under 165 pounds, your car cannot support a rooftop tent as the weight of the tent and the roof rack would exceed this weight, posing a danger while driving. 

You can find the dynamic weight capacity in the manufacturer’s manual for your car, which will tell you how much weight your vehicle can handle when in motion. If you see that the weight limit is over 165 pounds and you have rails present on the roof of your car, you can then move forward to finding the perfect rooftop tent to install. Now that you know what you have to have before installation, take a look below to find a few great cars for putting on a rooftop tent. 

What Cars Can You Put a Rooftop Tent On? 

There are so many different vehicles out there that fit the bill for successfully installing a rooftop tent. This is great for just about everyone, as you likely already own a car that can support a rooftop tent, and if you don’t there is certainly one out there that can fulfill your needs. Cars may seem like an unlikely choice when it comes to using a vehicle for rooftop camping, but if they fit the necessary requirements, there is no reason that a car can’t serve you well. 

The cars you can use for rooftop camping include any car that has a dynamic weight capacity over 165 pounds, has factory-installed roof rails, and has a roof rack that supports the weight of the tent without exceeding the dynamic weight capacity of the vehicle. 

When it comes down to it, there is no “one” car that is best for rooftop tents. Every individual is going to have different needs and different preferences when it comes to what their car is equipped with. This makes saying which is best rather futile, as every person is going to have a different preference. However, there are intrinsic qualities that give your car the ability to support a rooftop tent, even with its smaller overall size. 

As previously mentioned, the two most important features of your car that allow you to put rooftop tent on its roof are roof rails and a dynamic weight capacity that is not under 165 pounds. Along with this though, you have to take into account the weight of the roof rack you will install as well as the weight of the tent. Both of these items are heavy pieces, which many individuals tend to forget to combine, leaving room for serious error. 

Rooftop tents are not light pieces of equipment and often run to be well over 100 pounds. Just the same though, the roof rack that you install to secure your rooftop tent is heavy as well, adding even more weight to the roof of your car. Know both exact weights, combine them, and then compare it with the dynamic weight capacity of your vehicle. If these two items combined exceed this weight, you will need to decrease the weight in one or both areas. 

This does not mean that you can remove hardware from the roof rack or your rooftop tent, but to decrease the weight to allow for your car to safely support a rooftop tent, you will need to either find a lighter tent, a lighter roof rack, or go lighter in both areas to lighten the load your car has to drive with. This will allow for better fuel efficiency and will decrease the drag you notice on your car when driving at higher speeds. 

Advantages to Using a Car for a Rooftop Tent 

For many rooftop campers, SUVs and trucks are the go-to methods of traveling, as these vehicles offer a bit more freedom when it comes to off-road camping. However, just because these vehicles can get around a little easier does not mean they are necessarily the best option for those wanting to get into rooftop camping. If you have a car and want to install a rooftop tent, take a look below to find out the advantages of having this type of vehicle for rooftop tents. 

Better Fuel Efficiency 

When it comes to trucks, they are known for their gas-guzzling abilities. When you add weight to the top of that type of vehicle, fuel efficiency is decreased even more, making the trips between filling up the gas tank fall closer and closer together. Cars are lighter and have better fuel efficiency from the get-go, making them a much better option when trying to conserve gas even when weight sits atop their roofs. 

More Accessible Height 

© Go Fast Campers

One of the greatest advantages of rooftop tents is that they are up off of the ground, giving better airflow, allowing for more heat containment during cold days and nights, and giving a safe space away from animals out and about in the middle of the night. However, this height can be rather difficult when above a larger vehicle. With a car, you can set up and take down the tent without the need of a ladder, making the tent that much more accessible. 

Space Saving Abilities

By nature, cars are much smaller than trucks and SUVs. Some may think of this to be a disadvantage when rooftop camping, however, this can often work to users’ advantage when they find themselves in a tight spot. Cars allow rooftop campers a better ability to get their vehicle into tight spots where trucks or SUVs simply could not fit. 

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