After countless hours of research, owning three different rooftop tents from three different companies, spending some 60+ nights camping in our rooftop tents as a family and answering hundreds of questions about them at campgrounds and on social media, I have compiled all our information and experience into this blog post! This is the complete guide to finding the right rooftop tent for your family where we answer all the questions you might have about rooftop tents. If it is possible to still have questions after you read this article, please leave them in the comments so we can both answer them and add that information into the post.
Every time we stay at a campground, I end up with an audience as I open up or pack away our rooftop tent. If you are one of those people who has thinking about getting one for your family, keep reading! This guide will go over all the ins and outs of rooftop tent camping along with everything you need to think about when selecting the perfect rooftop tent for your family and adventure style. Let’s start at the beginning!
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Table of Contents
- What is a rooftop tent?
- Rooftop Tent vs Ground Tent
- Rooftop Tent vs Trailer
- Types of Rooftop Tents
- Evaluating Your Roof Rack
- Rooftop Tent Installation
- Comparison Chart
- The 3 Rooftop Tents We Have Tested
- Level Your Car at Camp
- Rooftop Tent Accessories
What is a rooftop tent?
A rooftop tent is a tent that attaches to your roof rack on top of your vehicle. It can look like a storage pod that is flatter and covers the entire roof. It folds open to reveal a tent with a sturdy bottom and canvas-like dome. It has windows or vents to help control air flow and temperature and long stakes to help prop open the door and windows. They have a rain fly for added protection that can be removed and reinstalled as needed or stay on the tent when you pack it up.
Rooftop tents have a collapsible ladder so you can climb in and out of the tent. The ladder helps support the tent floor that hangs over the car. It is adjustable and most ladders open to 7 feet so it will serve the same function if your tent is on a smaller wagon or a lifted truck. Double check that your ladder is locked open before climbing into your tent.
Rooftop tents have a mattress inside that stays put as you fold away the tent. They can be set up and stashed away quickly and make a camping or off-roading adventure convenient and comfortable. They range in size, style, durability and price
All rooftop tents will have a 2-3 inch foam mattress pad, some with a durable removable waterproof covering, that will stay in your tent all the time. The rest of your bedding choices are a personal preference. Inflatable pillows take up less space in your car but take time to set up. We prefer to camp with our comfy pillows from home and simply wash them when we return from a trip. If you are looking for a way to keep your pillows out of the way in the car, check out this handy cargo net that attaches to the handles to create extra overhead storage in your car.
Sleeping bags are an easy way to keep everyone warm and cozy and make sure there are enough blankets to go around. Because my kids are still very little we use one or two sleeping bags opened like a quilt over us but will likely switch to personal sleeping bags as they get bigger. We love blankets like this Rumple that are water resistant, warm and stash away small but you can set up your tent bedding any way that works for you!
When you fold away your tent as you pack up camp, you pull out your pillows and blankets but leave the mattress in the tent. There might be enough space in your tent to leave your blanket or open sleeping bag/quilt flattened out over the mattress when you fold up the tent but make sure the tent closes completely and is properly latched shut before driving away.
Rooftop Tent vs Ground Tent
What are the advantages of a rooftop tent over a ground tent?
Comfort: You have every right to be worried that a rooftop tent will ruin sleeping in a ground tent for you because it just might. A rooftop tent mattress might be as close as you can get to a real bed while car camping. Because the tent is elevated on a solid platform, you don’t have to worry about clearing all the rocks from your tent site to find the best possible tent position for comfort. That random root under your back that you didn’t notice when you pitched the tent won’t bother you when you are sleeping on a memory foam mattress on top of a steel plated base.
Set Up Ease: Rooftop tents are designed to set up quickly. Once you find camp, you can release a few straps or unzip the cover and pop the tent open with ease. No more unfolding multiple tent poles and figuring out which one is only slightly shorter and goes in front. No struggling to roll up your tent and rainfly to get it back in the stuff sack that never seems to fold back the same way it came out. As someone who has regularly set up ground tents and rooftop tents while camping alone with two small kids, I can confirm how much quicker and easier it is to set up and break down our Roofnest compared to our ground tents.
Protection from the elements: Rooftop tents use a heavier materials than ground tents. The floor of a rooftop tent isn’t just one sheet of plastic, it is reinforced steel and you are feet off the ground so there is no risk of waking up to find water rushing into your tent because you didn’t realize you were sleeping directly in the path of rushing water. You can ask my kids about that time I woke them up in the middle of the night to sleep inside the car because there was a puddle in our tent another time. Rooftop tents offer more protection from rain and wind than ground tents. We have slept in our RTT on some insanely windy nights in the open desert of New Mexico and the plains of Oklahoma. While the noise of the tent rustling kept me awake at night the tent held up great and the poles never moved. If I know there is severe weather, I will not prop our windows or door open and make sure all the flaps are secured before going to sleep.
Sleeping well off the ground means that critters aren’t getting in your tent. You should still practice leave no trace principals and pack out all your trash. Avoid eating in your tent to make sure there is no incentive for critters large or small to try breaking in.
Durability: The durability of the solid frame and thick canvas like walls means that your children are less likely to destroy the tent when they are wrestling, I mean getting ready for bed. We have had our fair share of collapsed ground tents as little bodies run into them full speed but haven’t had that issue with our rooftop tent yet (knock on wood).
Space: The rooftop tent frees up precious trunk space you can now use to pack some of the more luxurious car camping items. Set up time. Most rooftop tents can be set up by one person in a few minute and some boast a 1-minute set up time. No more futzing around with collapsible tent poles like that infomercial lady who drops her spaghetti in the sink.
What are the disadvantages of a rooftop tent compared to a ground tent?
Price: There is no way around it. Rooftop tents are more expensive than ground tents. I find it easier to swallow the cost of a rooftop tent if you compare it to the nightly rate of a cabin or hotel across however many nights you plan on camping in the rooftop tent for the next few years instead of comparing it to the one time cost of the ground tent. You can find decent deals on roof top tents on Facebook marketplace. Many people think that the comfort of a rooftop tent will turn them (or their spouse) into a camper and decide to sell after only a few uses. If you have the patience to wait for the right tent to pop up or no preference on which tent you purchase, shop used first.
Roof Space: While you are freeing up precious space inside your car by moving the tent to the roof, you are losing your roof rack space. This is a big adjustment for those who are used to storing excess gear in a storage pod or attaching bikes or kayaks to your roof rack. Some tents have capacity to add crossbars on top of the tent to alleviate extra hauling concerns. We talk about it more in the accessories section.
Initial Attachment: The first time you install the rooftop tent to the car is a pain. It takes two people to lift the tent onto you vehicle and it takes some effort to get all the brackets in the right place and screwed down. Once you do it, you’ll get the hang of it and you won’t need to move it frequently. Depending on where you live you might keep it on your car year round. We live in New England and take the tent off of my car for the Winter from November until the spring or our first planned camping trip of the year.
Impact on gas milage: You are going to lose some efficiency on your gas milage. The heavier the tent, the greater the impact on your gas mileage. The negative impact on your gas milage is exacerbated the faster you drive so keep that in mind if you have a heavy foot.
Climbing the ladder: I don’t personally think climbing the ladder in and out of the tent is enough to negatively impact our enjoyment of the tent. It might be for those campers who take frequent bathroom trips or if your child needs assistance going to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
It Complicates Quick Trips: Because it is attached to your car, you can’t just leave your set up at camp for a day trip and come back at dinner time without having to pack up and unpack the tent. Each time you need to drive away from camp, you have to pack up the rooftop tent. This can be a real pain depending on your camping style. If you like to camp in one place for multiple days and drive to hikes or activities beyond camp, setting up and breaking down your tent everyday can get tiresome.
Rooftop Tent vs Trailer
What are the advantages of a rooftop tent compared with a trailer?
Price: A rooftop tent can seem wildly pricey when compared to a ground tent, but compare it to a tow behind trailer and all of a sudden the cost starts to look pretty reasonable.
Weight: Have you looked at how much travel trailers weigh? Towing a trailer requires a bigger car or truck and can seriously impact your gas milage. Sure there are some lightweight compact trailers on the market around 2500 pounds (before you put all your possessions and water in there) that can be towed with a premium engine Subaru Outback but you could buy 5+ rooftop tents for the same money. The lighter the trailer, the more expensive they get.
Driving Ease: Driving with a tow behind trailer is challenging. People do it all the time, but it takes practice, skill and lots of spacial reasoning to get in and out of parking spots. The only time you might need to worry about your rooftop tent is when you are pulling through a garage or low overhang, but you would also need to worry about your trailer in the same situations. Make sure to measure the new hight of your vehicle with the rooftop tent before you enter any parking garages with low ceilings just in case.
Small Camp Footprint: You can set up camp in just about any space you can fit your car. If you have a pop up tent, you only need a little extra room for the ladder. If you have a fold out tent, you will need a few feet of space to one side for the tent to open up, then another foot for the ladder.
Set Up Time: Getting a trailer fully set up at camp can be a chore. Getting all the feet level, detaching it from the vehicle, reestablishing all the inside items that were stowed away during driving takes far more time than popping open a rooftop tent. Aren’t we camping to get away from things like chores?
Durability: Thinking of buying a used trailer to save on price? They can easily have hidden water and mold damage so inspect your used model very carefully. They are prone to deteriorating. One of the reasons they are as light as they are (you are basically towing a small house) is that they are made with lightweight (read: cheap) materials that can suffer from the wear and tear of even occasional family camping trips. I purchased our first rooftop tent used off Facebook marketplace. Another family used it for a few years, camping every chance they could get and it still felt brand new.
What are the disadvantages of a rooftop tent compared with a trailer?
Living Space: Sure, you can change your clothes in your rooftop tent or play a card game but it can start to feel cramped if you are stuck at camp on a rainy day or seeking safety from swarms of mosquitos. Adding an annex or separate screen room pop up shelter like this one to your camp set up can help create a protected hang out space that you are missing with a rooftop tent but it doesn’t have the same indoor space that you get with a trailer.
Kitchen and Bathroom: While you get the comfort of a real bed with a rooftop tent, you are missing the kitchen and bathroom amenities that you get with a trailer. We have a pretty solid simple camp kitchen set up that has served us well. A full blog post about it is coming soon but in the meantime you can check out our camp kitchen in this video. If you need a camp bathroom experience that more closely mimics a trailer or established campground than a squat in the woods, consider picking up one of these pop up privacy tents to and a collapsible toilet that can be used with a trowel cat hole or double doggie bags. You can also go for a portable toilet but be prepared to dump it when it gets full.
You Can Leave Trailers Set Up At Camp: You don’t need to pack up your trailer every time you want to go for a quick drive. This is especially helpful is you are boondocking at a dispersed campsite (camping off grid outside of an established campground) where you don’t want to lose your spot if you leave.
Types of Rooftop Tents
Soft Shell Rooftop Tent
Soft shell tents have a, you guessed it, soft shell covering the inside of the tent. The cover materials are heavy duty that protect your tent from the elements while it is closed. Some covers separate entirely from the tent as you open them up, like the Smittybilt. Some covers separate from the tent on 3 sides but stay attached to the tent frame and you can roll then up with straps to stay out of the way at camp, like the Yakima Skyrise 3. Some covers secure to the tent frame with heavy duty velcro and some with zippers.
Personally I found the detachable cover annoying. While it was easier to get back on over the tent because it was bigger and has wiggle room, you have to find a secure place stash the cover if there is wind or rain. Our cover got covered in dead bugs as we drove then hung out in the car overnight, which is less than ideal.
Hard Shell Rooftop Tents
Hard shell roof top tents have hydraulic arms that help the tent open with ease. Hardshell tents tend to have a handful of latches to snap open instead of zippers or velcro around the entirety of the tent. There are fewer pieces to mess with to get your tent open or closed to that can be difficult to secure with cold hands on brisk morning packing up camp. They take a fraction of time to set up and pack away. If you are traveling with out kids, the difference between 2 minutes and 5 minutes might not seem like a lot but you parents know a 5 minute task can actually take 20 minutes if you answer all the “mommy, I need a snack” calls.
Hard shell tents tend to be much heavier because of the . . . hard shell, surprise surprise. The heavier the tent, the more it will impact your gas milage which can add up on a long road trip.
Evaluating Your Roof Rack
Before you buy your rooftop tent, make sure you vehicle can handle the tent weight. You don’t want to get attached to one specific tent or even buy one only to find out that you can’t attach it to your car safely.
Does your car already have a roof rack? Some vehicles have a full roof rack integrated into the car already. If so, that’s great! Some vehicles might only have roof rails that run north south along the length of your car right above the door frames. In that case, you would need to buy roof bars that would run perpendicular to your roof rails in order to install your tent. Without roof bars across your vehicle, anything that you try to attach to the roof of your car would sit directly on the roof and dent and scratch your vehicle. It would not be safe or secure.
What if my car doesn’t have any roof rack system at all? Don’t fret just yet. You might still be able to find a universal bare roof system that can attach roof bars to your car with a set of clamps that secure to the doorjambs. The clamps need to match specifically with your make and model vehicle.
Roof Rack Weight Limits: There are two ratings to be aware of for your roof rack, the dynamic weight rating and the static weight rating.
The dynamic weight rating is how much weight your roof rack can support when the car is in motion, meaning the weight of the tent while the car is driving.
The static weight rating is how much weight your roof rack can support when your car is parked, meaning the weight of the tent, people and any other items in the tent while you are camping. You can typically find that information by checking on the vehicle’s website if the roof rack came installed on the car, the product info for the roof rack manufacturer if you added an after market rack or trusty old google. Call a dealership that sells your car and ask them about the weight limits for your car’s roof rack if you can’t find the information online. If you can’t find a clear weight rating, err on the side of caution and assume it is low.
Front Runner Outfitters has the most comprehensive selection of roof racks. You can shop for a roof rack based on your car make, model and year. If you only need to purchase roof rails, they have that covered for you too!
Rooftop Tent Installation
How easy is it to install a rooftop tent on your car? The first time you install a rooftop tent will be the hardest. Almost all rooftop tents will take two people to lift up onto the roof rack of your vehicle. Position the tent such that it is centered front to back and side to side of your car. Double check to make sure you can still open the trunk of your car before tightening down the brackets, especially or king size tents that tend to be longer. I know from personal experience on this one when I fully installed my tent only to realize that my trunk couldn’t open enough to get my 45L cooler in and our of the car and had to loosen all the bolts, adjust the position and retighten before taking off.
Each tent is slightly different but most have a similar installation process. On the under side of the tent there are two mounting tracks/channels that run from front to back. Position those perpendicular to the crossbars of your roof rack. You should have 4 mounting brackets and 4 pairs of mounting plates and bolts. Slide one mounting plate bolted to the mounting bracket to the inside of the crossbar, slide the second mounting plate down the track and attach the blot to the mounting plate such that the bracket is under the crossbar. Do not tighten the bolts down until all four are attached and you have double checked the position of the tent. Check out this video for the installation of the Roofnest.
Can you move your rooftop tent to another car if you need to? You can certainly move the tent to another car if you change your vehicle. You could install the rooftop tent on top of a teardrop trailer with crossbars or off-road trailer if you need to sleep more people than can fit in the tent alone or if you want your tent to have a permanent home not attached to your vehicle. If you want to build your own off-roading teardrop trailer, check out my friend’s step by step how-to guide!
When do you need to take the rooftop tent off of your car? That is up to you. If you know you won’t go camping for long stretches of time, it makes sense to take the rooftop tent off your vehicle. We generally don’t camp in the winter so take tent off my car after our last trip out in the fall and put it back on as soon as we make camping plans in the spring. If you absolutely must take your vehicle through a car wash, you should remove your rooftop tent first. You can clean your car and tent with warm soapy water by hand at home or using a self-clean station but a drive through soft-touch car wash can do some serious damage to your tent or roof rack.
What is the right roof top tent for me and my family? I have pulled together the basic data on the top 11 rooftop tents brands so you don’t have to search all over the place to compare different tents. Things to think about as you search for your rooftop tent: how big is your family? Will you camp year round or in colder temperatures? How much weight can your roof rack hold? Is a very quick camp set up important to you? Do you want to add an annex or awning to your set up at camp? Most of the tent brands listed below have other tent models that only fit 2 adults. Those were intentionally left out because this post is geared towards families who likely need more sleeping space.
How big is your family? Does your family like to be super cozy or need lots of space? If you have little kids but think you’ll be rooftop tent camping for years to come, you can buy a bigger tent now or try a smaller tent and resell when you are ready to upgrade. If you plan on overlanding with your tent you might want something lighter weight and more rugged than your run of the mill rooftop tent. If you plan on camping frequently 3 or 4 seasons, you will need a tent with thicker walls or added insulation. If you are a single parent or someone who typically road trips with out your co-parent, you might value set up speed and ease above all else.
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|Rooftop Tent||Category||Price||Weight||Capacity||Floor |
|Roofnest Condor||Hard top||$3195||135lbs||2-3 people||60×83″||50″||4 season||sold separately|
|Roofnest Condor XL||Hard top||$3495||160lbs||4||74×93″||50″||4 season||sold separately|
|Roofnest Falcon XL||Hard top||$3795||160lbs||2-3||58×88″||60″||4 season||not compatible|
|Roofnest Sparrow XL||Hard top||$3495||155lbs||2-3||58×84″||40″||4 season||not compatible|
|iKamper Skycamp 2.0||Hard top||$3899||160lbs||4||77×83″||48”||4 season||sold separately|
|iKamper X-Cover||Soft shell||$3199||120lbs||4||69×90″||49”||3 season||sold separately|
|Tepui Ruggedized |
|Soft shell||$2799||195lbs||3||56×96″||52″||4 season||included|
|Tepui Explorer Autana 4||Soft shell||$2999||180lbs||4||72×96″||52″||4 season||included|
|CVT Pioneer Denali||Soft shel||$3095||225lbs||4+||87×96″||44″||4 season||included|
|Smittybilt Overlander||Soft shell||$1160||117lbs||2-3||55×92″||51″||4 season||sold separately|
|Smittybilt Overlander XL||Soft shell||$1330||168lbs||4||76×122″||51″||4 season||sold separately|
|ARB III Simpson||Soft shell||$1789||171lbs||3||55×94″||51″||3 season||included|
|GoFast||Hard top||$3999||135lbs||2-3||50×90″||60″||4 season||not compatible|
|Front Runner Outfitters||Soft shell||$1169||93lbs||2-3||51×96″||46″||3 season||sold separately|
|Yakima Skyrise HD 3||Soft shell||$2399||115lbs||3||56×96″||4 season||not compatible|
|Yakima Skyrise 3||Soft shell||$1899||115lbs||3||56×96″||3 season||not compatible|
|23Zero Walkabout 62||Soft shell||$1999||152lbs||3+||62×96”||49″||4 season||sold separately|
|23Zero Walkabout 72||Soft shell||$2149||165lbs||4||72×96”||49″||4 season||sold separately|
|23Zero Walkabout 87||Soft shell||$2399||198lbs||5+||87×96”||49″||4 season||sold separately|
|Tuff Stuff Ranger 3||Soft shell||$1799||164lbs||3||65×92″||52″||3 season||sold separately|
|Tuff Stuff Alpha 4||Hard top||$2699||176||4||87×71″||52″||4 season||sold separately|
|Treeline Outdoors |
|231lbs||4-5||88×95″||50″||3 season||sold separately|
The 3 Rooftop Tents We Have Tested
Yakima Skyrise 3
We bought our first rooftop tent, the Yakima Skyrise 3, from Facebook marketplace. I wasn’t sure if a rooftop tent would be worth the cost to our family as we were just getting back into camping and road trips as a family of 4 and I was planning a 12 day solo road trip with my kids. I figured we would be able to resell the tent if it turned out we didn’t love it. I stalked marketplace for weeks within a 200 mile radius of our house before finding one that was under $2000, would sleep the 4 of us for at least a year or two and was light enough for our Subaru Outback roof rack. Turns out we LOVED roof top tent camping! This tent works really well for 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 kids under 4. It would have been really cramped as my kids got bigger.
Things I love about this tent: It is reasonably priced, it is lightweight, it is well made and comfortable. Yakima has been in the roof rack business for over 40 years so they know what’s up.
Things that could be better: The cover is snug so there is not a lot of wiggle room when you are pulling it back over the tent to close it up. The cover also closes with zippers which was kind of a pain to line up and
If our Yakima tent wasn’t destroyed in a car accident, we would have kept using it until our kids were too big for the 4 of us to fit comfortably. We picked up the Smittybilt Overlander tent just before I went on an April road trip with my kids while I was still shopping for our long term perfect tent that I planned to purchase b
efore our summer adventures. I was able to sell this tent for close to retail price on Facebook marketplace at the beginning of the summer when we ordered our forever tent.
Things I love about this tent: It is the least expensive tent on the market. It is exactly what it says it is. There are no frills. It comfortable and it holds up to the elements.
Things that could be better: I found it annoying that the entire cover comes off and needs to. The ladder only has two locking positions compared to the telescoping ladders on other tents that allow you adjust the height of the ladder depending on ground slope. It was harder to pull the knob out to open and close the ladder than I would have liked.
Roofnest Condor XL
I hadn’t planned on buying a hard top tent but the Roofnest Condor XL met our hard-line criteria of weight limit, sleeping capacity, and no extended shipping wait times.
Things I love about this tent: The set up and breakdown is so easy! It really does take a minute to set up and two minutes to pack away. We can very easily sleep 4 of us and it will stay that way as my kids get bigger. There is even room to stash our clothes bag at our feet. It comes with 2 detachable bags for shoes or gear that hangs next to the ladder, a ground mat and an LED light strip that hangs out above the tent entrance. They thought about the details like adding a flap to cover the gap around the hinges that velcros to the tent floor where there would otherwise be a small hole letting cold air or bugs into your tent. Did I mention how quickly it sets up?
Things that could be better: My only complaint about this tent is the hefty price tag. I knew we were going to get good use out of it for years to come and that we can likely sell it if our life or camping style changes.
Honorable mention goes to the XCover from iKamper. I would have bought this tent if it was available when I was shopping but it was backordered until at least a few months. It is the lightest tent that folds out to king size bed I have come across (if you know of something lighter that can sleep 4-5 people, LET ME KNOW).
Level Your Car at Camp
No one wants to sleep on an angle and roll down your bed in the middle of the night. One of the major advantages of a rooftop tent compared to a ground tent is how comfortable they are. You don’t have to diligently clear debris from a ground site in order to set up your tent. But what if you can’t find a level parking spot for your vehicle? If there is a very minor slope, you might not notice the tilt with your head positioned on the uphill side. If you are slanted side to side, you run the risk of rolling into each other in the tent overnight. If your feet are uphill, blood will flow to your head and can leave you feeling dizzy. Fortunately there are a few simple solutions to level your car if you are camping at a dispersed site without a level concrete pad underneath.
Leveling Blocks: These leveling blocks by Camco work like Legos. Stack the bricks in a pyramid under the wheels that need to be raised and drive onto them.
Traction boards: Traction boards are used for self-recovery if your vehicle gets stuck in sand, snow or mud while driving off-road. They are wider than your tire and a few feet long with grippy features on one side so you can place them in front or behind your stuck tires to drive over, freeing your car. They are super handy to have if you plan on off-road adventuring and can be used to level your car at camp too.
Camp Shovel: If you are camping on sandy terrain, use a camp shovel to help bring the higher side down a little. It is also handy to have a shovel around camp.
Chock Your Wheels: It doesn’t hurt to chock your wheels after you level your car to help keep it in place if you are camping on an incline.
Rooftop Tent Accessories
Awning: Want guaranteed shade at camp? An awning like these from Front Runner Outfitters might be just the ticket. The awning can attach to the roof rack of your vehicle on the opposite side of the ladder. They range in size, materials and price but they all serve the same function of providing a shaded area for cooking, eating and relaxing at camp.
Annex: An annex is like a bonus tent that attaches to the floor or rainfly of your rooftop tent providing a protected entry way to get in and out of your tent on the ladder. Use it as a changing area or stash gear there overnight that you don’t want to load back into your car. I have even heard of families setting up an additional travel cot or sleeping set ups in the annex to accommodate more people!
Insulation: Many tent makers have created insulation systems to line the walls of your rooftop tent during the colder months for those extreme adventurers who still want to get out and camp. These insulations systems will keep the tent much warmer than just adding an extra blanket and should be considered if you plan to camp in below 0 temps regularly. Check out iKamper’s extra insulation liner here. Tepui has this insulation system that is compatible with a few of their tents. CVT insulation system will only run you $175.
Shoe Holder: No one wants to get the inside of their tent dirty with debris from their shoes. Some tents, like out Roofnest Condor, include a shoe bag that attaches to the outside of the tent near the ladder to provide a convenient place to stash your shoes as you are gettin in and out of the tent. Don’t worry about your shoes getting wet overnight in the rain or dew because this one has a velcro cover that keeps the shoes protected and it hang under the tent itself.
Cross Bars: A few brands offer additional cross bars that attach to the top of the tent so you are still able to attach adventure gear to the top of the tent that you would have attached to the roof rack if the tent wasn’t there. Roofnest has cross bars available that fit most of their rooftop tents.
Extra Parts: Almost all tent manufacturers make replacement components for the parts of the tent that see the most wear and tear. Anything from tent poles, replacement brackets to a new ladder. Consider purchasing bracket locks if they are available from the manufacturer. While it is unlikely, it is possible for someone to try and steal your tent by removing it from your car if you are parked in a secluded place for extended periods of time like a trailhead while you are out for a long hike. Some tents like the Yakima Skyrise 3 already have the locking mechanism integrated into the brackets.
Tinkle Lights: Last but not least, make your camp set up feel extra special with a string or two of twinkle lights. Pick up some battery operated twinkle lights like these or use a power station like the one we use to charge all our devices on camping road trips.
Who’s ready to go camping right now? If you found this post helpful, spread the news by sharing with friends and family through social media and IRL. You can download our complete itinerary from our 5 week cross country road trip complete with every campsite we found and alternate hikes!