Why Are Rooftop Tents So Expensive?

Rooftop tents have made a booming appearance in the camping world in the last few years, and with this popularity, people are starting to notice their price. Seeing how much rooftop tents cost leaves people wondering, why are rooftop tents so expensive? 

Rooftop tents are so expensive because they are designed to be easy to set up, typically require a third party rack, offer a level of comfort that ground tents are not able to provide, and are designed to have the ability to weather a multitude of different environmental variants. 

© Gear Patrol

Rooftop tents offer users the ability to camp wherever their vehicle is able to take them. This may sound rather constricting to some initially, but when it comes down to it, rooftop campers are able to find ground that ground campers and RVers are not able to find, due to the accessibility that vehicles have to offer. However, if you are wondering why rooftop tents are expensive, take a look below to find out what adds to their overall cost. 

Ease of Setup 

© OutdoorGearLab

When you think of a ground tent, what is the first thing that you envision? For those who have experience, many are going to be taken back immediately to having to handle a tent full of different parts that need to be installed in order to turn a flat piece of fabric into a functioning protection shelter. Ground camping may not be your preference, which may lead you to take on an RV, but even with this style of camping, are you really making things easy on yourself? 

First, let’s consider ground camping to its full extent. When ground camping, you have to pack the entire tent in the back of your vehicle. Once you unload it from your car, you have to take on the task of setting it up, getting every rod perfectly placed and secured on the ground, and even once it is completed, you have to either lay a sleeping bag on the ground floor or air up an air mattress that is able to offer you a bit more comfort than the ground is capable of. 

When it comes to RVs or Fifth Wheels, although they seem a bit more luxurious at first glance, they tend to be just as much trouble as a ground tent would be, simply offering a different type of discomfort. With RVs and Fifth Wheels, you have to book a site that has availability (which can be incredibly difficult to come by), once you get there, you have to hook up all of the lines of your RV or Fifth Wheel and make sure that all sewage and power are running as they should.

The beauty of rooftop camping is that you are able to, for the most part, unzip your tent on the top of your car, allow a hydraulic system to do some serious work, and in a matter of seconds you are looking at a completely assembled tent. The functionality and accessibility that rooftop tents offer a second to none, making them a product that appeals to a vast number of people, therefore, attributing to the high sticker price that many of them come with. 

Third Party Racks 

© MotorBiscuit

So, rooftop tents may be more accessible when it comes to being able to set them up and take them down, but when it comes to initial setup, the price may increase a bit more than you would have expected. As you know from the name, rooftop tents are installed on the roof of your vehicle, making them a sleeping system that can go anywhere your vehicle is able to meander through, but when it comes to installation, your vehicle may not be prepared for the equipment. 

A third party rack is a rack system that offers extra support to the racks that already exist on your vehicle or as a supplement for racks that don’t come with the model you drive. For those of you who already have racks on your car, you may be wondering why a third party rack is necessary when you already have the basic equipment that is needed for your tent. However, a third party tent works as a type of support, rather than a meaningless expense. 

Third party racks offer your rooftop tent the bottom support that it needs not only to travel well, but also to support the weight that is going to be put on it when campers are actively using the area as well as sleeping within the tent. This offers the tent support as well as the campers. 

When thinking of the support that a ground tent offers, you have the stability of the Earth beneath your sleeping bag or your mattress. When it comes to your rooftop tent, the only support you have is the roof of your car, which in comparison, is relatively frail. Therefore, the third party rack offers a different type of support system that takes the weight off of the roof of the car, and levels it between the two racks of your vehicle to create a solid support system. 

Comfort 

© Rooftop Tent Nomads

Of course, RVs and Fifth wheels are going to offer a different level of comfort than ground tents are able to offer, and even rooftop tents are able to provide. Many come with full kitchens, living areas, complete bathrooms, and plenty of room to be able to stretch out and lounge around before heading to a queen or king size bed for the evening. However, these items come with a hefty price – one that many are not willing or able to pay for. 

If you look at the opposite end of the spectrum with camping and take a second to consider the nature of ground camping, you are faced with an entirely different situation, With ground camping, you set up a tent that is made of (although typically sturdy) thin material that comes with nothing more than the walls around you and secure zippers to keep you in and keep critters out. The only physical comfort is the sleeping bag you bring along with anything more you want. 

With rooftop campers, one of the biggest things that contributes to their price is comfort. Many come with a standard mattress that varies in thickness (depending on the brand), but gives users the ability to have a comfortable spot without having to think twice about installation. 

As previously noted, the ease of setup is one of the biggest contributing factors to the price of rooftop tents, and a key factor that has a key part in this equation is the fact that many rooftop tents come with a built-in mattress. These mattresses are there and ready to go when it comes to popping up roooftop tents, and even better, they are many times able to be removed or come with a  removable cover that can be washed and recovered when surfaces get soiled over time. 

Ability to Weather 

© Trend Hunter

Whenever you are camping in a ground tent, in an RV, in a rooftop tent, or in Fifth Wheel, no matter what, you are going to be exposed to the great outdoors. With this being the reality, for many, there are times when weather processes through spring, summer, fall, and winter, making these camping items something that has to be able to withstand variant weather. When you put those campers in a situation where they are elevated and exposed, what can you do? 

When using a rooftop tent, you are going to potentially be exposed to a wide range of weather including rain, snow, wind, high heat, low temperatures, and the general wear and tear that the sun has on your tent. Therefore, when it comes to using a rooftop tent, many people desire, at the very most, a tent that is able to weather even the most variation of conditions without waver. So when it comes to rooftop tents, what does weather have to do with cost? 

Many rooftop tents are made to endure some of the harshest conditions out there – with the ability to withstand extreme heat, take on incredibly low temperatures, and can get through heavy bouts of wind and rain without budging, making them ready to fight Mother Nature’s heaviest blows.

Rooftop tents are elevated atop of your vehicle’s roof, which heights can vary depending on the type of vehicle that you own, but because of this, these devices have to be able to withstand a wide variety of weather without having too much variance between brand and what they can withstand. With this being the cause, rooftop tents must be made of sturdy material, which contributes to their relatively high overall price.

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