What to Look For When Buying a Rooftop Tent?

If you have finally made the choice to get into the world of camping with rooftop tents, you may be rather intimidated by the number of products available to you. Which are the best, and what do you need to look for when buying a rooftop tent? 

The things to look for when buying a rooftop tent include finding one that fits your vehicle, considering where you are going to use the item, finding one that accommodates your personal needs, and considering your budget as well as how often you plan to use the rooftop tent.  

Rooftop tents offer users the ability to travel wherever their vehicle will take them while never having to leave the comfort and accessibility of that space. Simply climb up top, tuck yourself into your tent that sits atop your vehicle, and you have the perfect view of every sunrise and sunset, right from your mode of transport. If you are looking for a different rooftop tent or are brand new to the rooftop tent world, take a look below to find what you should look for. 

What to Look For When Buying a Rooftop Tent 

© Michael Aleo / Unsplash

Buying a rooftop tent to not only accommodate where you are going but perfectly fit the needs of you and others can be a rather daunting task. Each rooftop tent has different features, is made of various materials, is designed for certain types of environments, and offers different levels of comfort. If you are trying to decide which rooftop tent is best for you, take a look below to discover what you need to look for when buying such an item. 

Find a Rooftop Tent That Fits Your Vehicle 

Considering that rooftop tents are installed right on top of your vehicle, before going any further in other considerations, you need to first ensure that the tent will fit your vehicle model. Most vehicles are capable of fitting a rooftop tent, but there are different specifications with weight and size that will either allow you to install the one you have purchased or will cause you to have to fumble with sending it back, as it may not meet your vehicle’s criteria. 

When looking for a rooftop tent, you want to ensure that the tent is the appropriate size to not exceed your vehicle’s roof’s maximum static and maximum dynamic load. If either of these are exceeded by the weight of your rooftop tent, it could end in an unfitted tent or a potential accident. 

To see what your vehicle’s maximum static and maximum dynamic load is, refer to your owner’s manual to find the exact numbers. A roof’s maximum static load refers to its ability to hold weight when the vehicle is stationary. Much more weight is typically supported when stationary, but rooftop tents can weigh well over 150 pounds, therefore, you should calculate the weight of the tent, the people in it, and your gear, to ensure the rooftop is not overloaded. 

The maximum dynamic load is a bit tricker, as this is the weight that your vehicle can hold while in motion.

pexels-uriel-mont-6271668
© Uriel Mont / Pexels

If the rack of your car is not designed to hold heavyweight when it is in motion, this can result in disaster if the rack was to detach when driving with a rooftop tent. If you need a rack that is better able to support heavy weight or distribute weight better, consider a factory rack that will help to reinforce what your vehicle already has. 

Consider Where You Plan to Use Your Rooftop Tent 

For most, when purchasing a rooftop tent, they have some idea of where they plan to spend the majority of their time when traveling with such an item. Since it is likely that you won’t be hopping continents, but rather, will be in one region of the earth throughout your use, you know what type of climate you are going to encounter and how it may vary (or be alike) from place to place. Because of this, you need to find a rooftop tent that works for those climates.

Every rooftop tent is designed in a way that fits best in a particular climate or has certain features that will weather more optimally in that climate better than others. Know where you plan to go and either choose a tent that will fit the weather in that area, or get one that is more versatile. 

For example, if you plan to be in a desert setting for the majority of your travels or live in a region that is primarily very hot, you want to find a rooftop tent that is going to have a good amount of airflow, an interior that will allow for heat to escape easily by having materials that are lightweight and breathable, and a rooftop on that tent that will work to reflect heat rather than absorb it. 

© Peter Schulz / Unsplash

If you plan on being in regions where the days are cold, windy, or the nights tend to drop deeply in temperature, you need a tent that is going to be well insulated first and foremost. This means finding something that is going to have thick walls, a structure that is designed to not only block, but stands up against strong winds, and is strong enough to take on any snowfall while also keeping you comfortably warm inside. 

Consider Your Personal Needs 

Rooftop tents may look rather simplistic from the outside, but when it comes to the features they can come with, the possibilities are endless. This can leave new purchasers feeling a tad overwhelmed when trying to weigh the amenities of each tent, but when it comes down to it, you need to consider first what your own needs entail. Once you make a list of what is important to you, you will be better able to find a tent that hosts those items. 

Before buying a rooftop tent, you need to look for a model that is going to have all the amenities that you need, and none that you don’t. Make a list of what is important to you to have within your tent and the amenities that are going to make your experience more enjoyable, and choose from there. 

If you are someone who is more simplistic in personal needs, you may find it unnecessary to have a rooftop tent that is full of different storage nooks, has USB ports, and is equipped with LED lights.

© Tommy Lisbin / Unsplash

This may be more than you need and therefore, may cost you an unnecessary expense. With this in mind, you can then find yourself a tent that is strong and sturdy but does not come with a host of features that you simply will not use. 

On the other hand, if you want to be able to have a space that has all that you need without ever having to get into your vehicle once you have tucked in for the night, there are rooftop campers that have all the comforts of home right within them. A bigger space may be needed, a taller standing height may be wanted, or a thicker mattress could be exactly what you are looking for. Weigh these items against need and cost to find one that works perfectly for you. 

Consider Your Budget and How Often You Plan to Use Your Rooftop Tent 

Speaking of cost, purchasing a rooftop tent is no small purchase for many. These products can run up to be thousands of dollars, but for good reason. Price does not always indicate quality, but for the most part, the more expensive the rooftop camper, the better quality it will be, and the more amenities it will host. However, there are plenty of rooftop campers that are more affordable and will be just as durable as their high-end counterparts. 

Before buying a rooftop camper, consider your budget and how often you plan to use this equipment. If you plan to use this for long-term camping and want something that will hold up, you may want to splurge on a model that is going to leave no doubt that it will withstand heavy use. 

© Uriel Mont / Pexels

For many rooftop campers, they are on the road for quite some time, taking trips in areas where the weather differs greatly and the climate changes quickly. For these individuals, investing in a high-quality rooftop camper may be more ideal because it ensures that they will have a place that is reliable, functional, and is able to weather well, no matter how much they are using it. 

However, if you are someone who plans to only use your rooftop tent a few times a year for a couple of trips here and there, it may not be necessary to put down so much money for an item that will not be used prolifically. There are budget-friendly options available that are still solid and sturdy rooftop campers, they simply are designed for those who plan to use them a bit less or don’t need as many extra amenities as more expensive models. 

How to Mount Tepui Rooftop Tent - W

Previous Post

How to Mount Tepui Rooftop Tent

Next Post

Are Rooftop Tents Worth It?

Are Rooftop Tents Worth It - W