Are Roof Top Tents Any Good? Pros and Cons of Roof Top Tents

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Jay Elliott

Chief Camping Officer

Rooftop Tent Pros

Rooftop Tents are an increasingly popular type of camping equipment. The car needs to have roof rails installed so that we have a place to attach the roof tent too, but that is the only major requirement for you to be able to install a roof tent.

This post will explore the pros and cons of having a car Roof Top tent. Other frequently asked questions about rooftop tents are discussed in this article.

Rooftop Tent Pros


Being able to camp high off the ground reduces the risk of being attacked by snakes, crocodiles, and other animals roaming about a campsite.

Add to this list the insects that creep and crawl, and potentially bite you like ants, spiders, scorpions, and the like.


Roof Top Tents are classified as 3-Season or 4-Season tents which are the most durable of their kind. The canvas is made of strong, waterproof material that could resist rains, strong winds, and even snow.

The aluminum frames are pretty solid and durable and could last for decades if properly cared for.

Camp Anywhere

With a Roof Top Tent, you have the luxury of being able to camp practically anywhere. There is no risk of camping in unfavorable ground conditions like water or mud.

You don’t ever have to worry if you can’t find a suitable place to camp, you have one right on top of your vehicle.


Roof Top Tents usually come with a double mattress made of high-density foam for optimum sleeping comfort while camping.

They are also equipped with mesh-covered windows for ventilation, while others have sky-view windows, which are perfect for stargazing at night right before you doze off.


The great thing about Roof Top Tents is that you can take them along with you on every trip you can think of. Roof Top Tents are the next best thing to having a trailer or an RV, on a lower budget.

You can go from the hiking trail to the beach if you have your Roof Top Tent with you. No need for separate equipment for two different outdoor activities.

Extra Storage Space

If your camping gear, tents and all, are on top of your vehicle, that means you have more room in your car for all your other stuff. You don’t need to allocate extra space in your trunk to store all your camping gear because they are all kept in your Roof Top Tent.

Cheaper Than an RV

As mentioned before, having a Roof Top Tent is a great alternative to buying a trailer or an RV. You get the convenience of a “mobile” camp like an RV can offer, without breaking the bank.

Fits on Almost Any Vehicle

Whatever type of vehicle you drive, the chances are that they can be mounted with a Roof Top Tent. Whether you have a 4×4, a sedan, an SUV, a pickup, or a truck, you can easily set up a Roof Top Tent on top of it. You just need to have railings on your roof.


There are two kinds of Roof Top Tent materials available to choose from. There are the hard shell and the soft shell options. Both types are made of heavy-duty material that could withstand severe weather conditions like rain, wind, and snow.

Rooftop Tent Cons


As mentioned earlier, Roof Top Tents are more budget-friendly compared to having a trailer camper or an RV, but they are a lot more expensive than ground tents, which are the usual camping and hiking gear for most outdoors people.

This is especially true if you are new to camping and trying to figure out which camping gear you should invest your cash on.

Limited Sleeping Space

Roof Top Tents are designed to fit 1 to 2 persons at the most because it is designed to match the size of a vehicle’s roof.

Also, you can not put more than 2 persons in a tent fixed on top of a vehicle because it can only carry a certain amount of weight. Although some Roof Top Tents offer options for expansion by way of tent annexes and awnings, the usable space is still small compared to a ground tent.

Mounting on Top of Your Vehicle

Roof Top Tents are not light. Lifting this much weight to the height of your car’s roof is no easy feat. It takes at least two persons to lift a Roof Top Tent on top of a vehicle and secure it.

Removing the tent from the vehicle after your camping trip is just as challenging.

Nighttime Bathroom Trips

If you need a toilet at night and you’re sleeping in your Roof Top Tent, you will have to get up, navigate the ladder, and then go. After you’re done, you have to go right back up the ladder to resume sleeping.

Fuel Consumption

The added weight of the tent on top of your car will dramatically increase the drag while you’re driving. This will mean higher fuel consumption and fewer kilometers to the liter.

Performance and Handling Hit

Because of the added weight of a Roof Top Tent, it is more difficult to maneuver your vehicle. The extra weight also causes the suspension of your vehicle to sag, further dampening your car’s performance on the road.

Low Headroom

In some ground-level tents, you have the ability to stand full height and not touch the roof. In most, if not all car tents, it is quite impossible to stand up because they tend to have a low roof configuration.

Add to that the risk of wobbling the vehicle and possibly falling down the car in an attempt to stand.

Hard To Access for Children and Pets

If you take your kids or your pets along on your camping trips, they may find difficulty in getting up and down that ladder. If you have to carry children or pets up that ladder, you run the risk of falling over, as these ladders are not equipped with safety features suitable for children and pets.

Difficult to Clean

A typical Roof Top Tent is much bigger than a typical ground tent. It is naturally more difficult to clean because it is so high up the ground.

You can take the mattress cover and wash it separately. The outside of the tent can be washed with a hose. Another option is to take down the tent and clean it on the ground.


Although it is designed to resist wind, the height of the tent added to the height of your vehicle gives it a tendency to wobble in case a gust of wind comes your way.

It may bother you a little bit, but on the other hand, the rocking motion could lull you to sleep even more. In case a storm is predicted in your camping area, it is safer to pack up and leave for a safer campsite, or maybe go home for a while.