Roof Top Tent FAQ’s – Everything You Needed To Know About Roof Top Tents

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Jay Elliott

Chief Camping Officer

Roof Top Tent FAQ's

Rooftop tents have become increasingly popular over the past few years. Here are some answers to the Frequently Asked Questions about Rooftop Tents. This serves as a general guide for campers and hikers, and for others who are interested in learning more about and maybe even purchasing a Roof Top Tent. Further discussions about the pros and cons of roottop tents can be found in this article.

How Comfortable Are Roof Top Tents?

Roof Top Tents are known to be comfortable because of the high-density memory foam that comes with most standard models.

Roof Top Tents are also equipped with windows covered with a mesh material, perfect for ventilation, and for taking in the nice view outside.

How Much Do Roof Top Tents Weigh?

Roof Top Tents usually weigh anywhere from 60-100kg (100-200lbs) and are obviously much heavier than any other ground tents. Much of the extra weight comes from the substantial aluminum base for stability and for securely mounting the tent on top of your vehicle.

How Long Do Roof Top Tents Last?

Roof Top Tents are made from very durable materials like a thick canvass, and heavy-duty aluminum frames.

These materials are so durable that they can last for decades, with normal wear and tear, coupled with proper maintenance and upkeep.

Do I Need a Roof Rack for a Roof Top Tent?

Yes, you do need a Roof Rack on your car to be able to install a Roof Top Tent.

This roof rack is where the Roof Top Tent is attached to hold it in place securely at all times. WIthout the Roof Rack, your Roof Top Tent would absolutely fall off the moment you start driving.

How Much Weight Does a Roof Top Tent Hold?

A 2-person Roof Top Tent could handle about 200 kgs (400lbs) of weight. The aluminum frame support carries all that weight, but check with your car’s manufacturers first regarding their roof racks weight allowance as well. 

How Do Roof Top Tents Mount?

Your Roof Top Tent mounts on your car’s roof rack rails. First, you attach the mounting channels to the base of the tent, attach the ladder, attach the tent cover, and then mount the tent assembly to your car’s roof rack.

Can You Put a Roof Top Tent on a Trailer?

Yes, you can mount your Roof Top Tent on a trailer by using the mounting tracks and roof rack rails provided by the manufacturer. Make sure the mounting tracks are perpendicular to the roof rails for a secure installation.

Where Can You Camp With a Roof Top Tent?

If you are camping in a Roof Top Tent, you can camp pretty much any level place you can park your car. Be sure to check a campsite’s website ahead of time where the designated area for your tent type is.

Can You Leave Bedding in a Roof Top Tent?

Yes, in most Roof Top Tents, you can leave bedding inside and go to your next destination or head home. Just collapse the tent and secure it with the included latches, and you’re good to go.

Can You Use a Roof Top Tent on the Ground?

Technically, you can use a Roof Top Tent on the ground, but it would be totally impractical and defeat its main purpose. Also, doing so could damage your Roof Top Tent, as this was not the way the manufacturers designed them to be used.

Does a Roof Top Tent Affect Gas/Fuel Mileage?

Yes, having a Roof Top Tent means a heavier load for your vehicle to carry, which results in requiring more engine power, and ultimately increased fuel consumption.

When driving with a Roof Top Tent erect, the wind resistance will add to the drag of the vehicle also, increasing gas mileage negatively.

How Long Does It Take To Set Up a Roof Top Tent?

Setting up a Roof Top Tent takes anywhere from 1 to 2 minutes for a hard shell type, and about 5 to 10 minutes for a softshell variety, depending on the complexity of the design.

It doesn’t take long to set up the tent, but installing it on your roof rack takes a lot longer to accomplish.

What Size Mattress Is in a Roof Top Tent?

For a 2-person tent, a Roof Rack Tent takes on a mattress that is equivalent to a double bed. For a 3-person tent, it can fit a queen-size mattress.

What Size Sheets Do I Need for a Roof Top Tent?

The size of sheet needed for a Roof Top Tent mattress depends on the size of your mattress. A 2-person mattress requires a double sheet, while a 3-person mattress requires a queen fitted sheet.

Are Roof Top Tents Waterproof?

Roof Top Tents are made from quality canvass that is durable as well as waterproof. They are considered a 3-Season or 4-Season tent, meaning they can withstand harsh weather conditions like rain, wind, and even snow.

How Do Roof Top Tents Go in the Wind?

Roof Top Tents are pretty dependable in any weather condition, including wind. They can hold up pretty well against winds up to 50-60 kph gustiness, but it will not be pleasant.