The Benefits of a Rooftop Tent

Whether you’re overlanding or simply camping out with your truck on the road, a roof top tent can make your next adventure much more comfortable. But it’s a pretty big investment, so you’ll need to choose carefully.

A rooftop tent, as the name suggests, packs neatly onto your car or truck’s roof rack for easy setup (but requires a ladder to get it up). But that’s not all it does.


One of the coolest things about a roof top tent is that they are essentially freestanding, meaning you can set them up just about anywhere and still get some decent headroom. A roof top tent can also double as a rooftop storage and recharging station, which is especially useful if you’re an RVer with a boatload of gear or a parent with kids in tow.

The roof top tent is one of the most versatile and functional camping options available today, so it’s no surprise that manufacturers have been churning out more than their fair share of high-tech, low-tech, and even mid-tech solutions. The most popular of these include the tent itself, a roof top carrier, an optional awning, and various accessories such as a solar panel and lighting system.

In addition to the obvious weight saving advantages of a roof top tent, some models have even been built to fit vehicles with as little as two occupants. The most impressive of these is the new Rev roof top tent, which weighs in at a mere 87 lbs, the lowest of any roof top tent we’ve tested so far.

If you’re in the market for a roof top tent, take some time to consider your specific needs and preferences before committing to anything. You’ll be happy you did! For more information, check out our roof top tent buying guide. Then be sure to give our customer service team a call and see how they can help you get the most out of your next trip!


A roof top tent offers a number of conveniences. It saves time in setup and tear down, lets you leave your bedding in place, and provides access to gear storage without sacrificing space.

You’ll also save money. The cost of a rooftop tent is much less than an RV or camper van, which can be hundreds or thousands of dollars more.

Some rooftop tents are available with annex options, which extend out from the tent platform and offer a shaded area to stand up, change clothes, cook, get away from bugs, set up a shower or toilet, and hang out in. These are often referred to as vestibules or awnings and are a great addition to any roof top tent.

They also provide extra living space and protect your gear from rain, snow, and sun. Many annex models also include a ladder, giving you an elevated living area that’s accessible from the ground.

It’s important to remember that rooftop tents are usually heavier than ground tents. They’re also more expensive to ship, which can make it hard for people on a tight budget to afford one.

The main disadvantage of a roof top tent is the difficulty of entering and exiting the tent. This can be particularly difficult for people with disabilities, elderly people, or those who have a reduced mobility level. Small children may also find it challenging to climb up and down the ladder.

Aside from these disadvantages, a roof top tent can also be more expensive to maintain than a ground tent. The materials used to build a roof top tent roof top tent can become dirty and need to be cleaned frequently. Dirt can build up on the roof and walls, as can tree sap.

Another drawback is the cost of fuel. Depending on the model, the wind resistance of a roof top tent can reduce your gas mileage by 2-10 mpg. Over the lifetime of a rooftop tent, you can spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars more on gas than with a ground tent.

Overall, rooftop tents are a convenient option for some people who want to experience the outdoors in a way that’s less expensive and less hassle than staying in a hotel or RV. They’re also a great choice for people who don’t have the extra cash to buy an RV or camper van but still want to live a more remote life on the road.


Roof top tents offer an added level of comfort to camping, whether you’re an overlander who travels frequently or a solo camper. In addition to the comfort factor of sleeping on a mattress that’s higher off the ground, rooftop tents are typically easier to set up and tear down, reducing time and hassle.

They are also often designed with high-density mattresses that are incredibly comfortable to sleep on, especially if you’re a heavy sleeper. Having a comfortable mattress in your tent makes you feel more secure, which can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Some tents, such as the Smittybilt Overlander and Yakima SkyRise Medium, have an optional annex that hangs down from the main tent to create more space inside. This extra room can make a significant difference on long trips where you’re likely to be in camp several nights.

However, the annex can add weight to the overall tent and might not be a good fit for lightweight hikers or overlanders looking to get up and down quickly. In these cases, you might want to consider a softshell option that doesn’t require an additional annex.

The majority of rooftop tents use a telescoping ladder to access the interior. This makes them a bit more difficult to enter for people with physical disabilities, small children or those with reduced mobility.

While it’s not a big deal for most people, this is something to keep in mind if you plan to travel with someone who has trouble climbing up a ladder or if you regularly need to access your tent in the night. For these reasons, we recommend choosing a tent with a low peak height (usually listed on the product page) or one that slopes down from the peak to the floor.

Another factor to consider is the mattress, which can vary from relatively thin 1.8-inch pads to plush 3.5-inch memory foam-topped beds. You’ll want to choose the mattress that’s right for you, taking into account how deep it is along with any other comfort features like a waterproof/breathable cover and an anti-condensation mat.


Rooftop tents offer more security than ground tents and are commonly used by overlanders traveling in Africa to keep them away from predators like lions and hyenas. They can also be safer for young children and people with physical disabilities or reduced mobility.

While rooftop tents are a good idea, there are some issues that can make them unsafe to use. First, they can be difficult to enter and exit. In addition, they add 100-200 pounds to your vehicle and raise its center of gravity, which can increase the chances that it will tip over on uneven terrain or steep slopes.

Second, they can become very loud when wind buffets them. This can be especially irritating for light sleepers.

Finally, they can be difficult to clean. Tree sap roof top tent can drip on the outside walls, bugs can get stuck to them and mud can splash onto them during rainstorms.

Some of these problems can be overcome by cleaning your tent after every trip. You can wipe the tent down with a sponge and soapy water. Alternatively, you can set up a doormat to prevent sand and dirt from tracking into the tent.

Another issue with rooftop tents is that they can be difficult to store. They are large and bulky and take up a lot of space when you’re not using them.

They’re also expensive, so it’s a good idea to shop around for the best value. Some models come with annexes that allow you to extend your living space or awnings for added shade when the sun is out.

One drawback to rooftop tents is that they often have narrow ladders that are difficult for small children and the elderly to climb up and down. This can be particularly frustrating for anyone who needs to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

A roof top tent can be a great option for campers who want to enjoy the benefits of camping above ground but aren’t ready to invest in an RV or trailer. They’re also a good choice for people who like to travel light and are willing to compromise on comfort and convenience.