The Pros and Cons Of Buying A Rooftop Tent
The Pros and Cons Of Buying A Rooftop Tent

The Pros and Cons Of Buying A Rooftop Tent

So you’re thinking of buying a roof top tent because you love to travel and it seems like a good idea. Here are some pros and cons to help you decide if a roof top tent is the right choice for you!

PROS:

  • Other than a regular floor tent, a car tent is much cheaper than the alternative options such as a camper or RV.
  • A rooftop tent elevates you off of the cold ground or a rocky, uneven surface.
  • You can use the rooftop tent in most places such as campgrounds, BLM land, at trailheads (if allowed), or anywhere that it doesn’t say NO CAMPING. *We’ve even popped it up at some rest areas.
  • It’s super easy to set up and pretty quick to repack.
  • It serves as extra storage for your pillows/blankets. Just be careful not to overstuff!
  • It can last a long time, without costly repairs or maintenance.
  • You can change it from car to car, or take it off without much effort.
  • It’s easy to clean.
  • It’s not going to blow away!
  • You don’t have to worry about creepy crawlers or animals getting in. Well, except the ones that can fly and climb.

CONS

  • There are a lot of places that you can’t use it or it’s very uncomfortable to use it… MEANING, you’re worried all night that someone will notice, bother, or call the cops on you.
  • You can’t use it on the side of the road.
  • You may/may not choose to use it at Walmarts/Sams/etc.
  • You are not supposed to use it at most trailheads.
  • When you do sleep somewhere not ideal, it helps to set up late and leave early.
  • It’s annoying to try and pack up before heading out for a sunrise shoot/hike.
  • Condensation! On cold nights, condensation builds up on the inside of the tent. So much so, that it helps to take a towel (or two) to it in the morning before packing up – if you don’t have the luxury of leaving it open to dry.
  • It gets cold up there. Even though it will keep you warmer than if you were in just a normal tent, on cold nights… it’s still really cold.
  • It gets hot up there. Even though there are windows and vents for circulation and airflow… if the wind is not blowing. It’s hot.

We have been traveling around in our rooftop tent for 2 years now and it has worked like a charm. We love it for the convenience and freedom it gives us to move about without having to rely on accommodations. In saying this, we have also found that understanding the ins and outs of your tent may take a little time.

Here are my 5 tips to get you started:

  • Tip #1: Practice taking your shoes off before entering the tent. We found keeping our shoes in a bag tied to the outside of the car tent was the easiest way. You can also keep your shoes at the bottom of the ladder, but beware of little visitors. Also, if there is a lot of wind or rain, you will want to take that into account. Another option is to just leave your shoes at the bottom of the mattress. If you go this route, my next tip will be super helpful!
  • Tip #2: Get a handheld, cordless vacuum. TRUST ME, you do not want your tent to get full of rocks or dirt and when living out on the road, this is bound to happen. We have a Black & Decker purchased from Costco..
  • Tip #3: Leave your sleeping gear up there! Pillows, sheets, blankets, the whole lot! You don’t want to over stuff your tent, but there should be plenty
  • of room to leave some of your items up there. It will leave you more space in your car and stop you from making countless trips up and down the ladder with full hands.
  • Tip #4: Take up a towel. On colder nights, the tent will fill with condensation. Unless it’s really cold outside, this shouldn’t really affect your sleep, but before you close up the tent, you will want to wipe the sides and top-down to get off that first layer of moisture.
  • Tip #5: Silicone lubricant! Don’t forget to oil your zippers before and after a trip. This will keep you sliding nice and easy.

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