HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT ROOF-TOP TENT
We'd love to share with you, first of all, the pro's and con's of roof-top tents and secondly, how to choose the right one for YOU.
Roof-top tents have been around for decades in Australia. Probably because of the myriad insects, snakes, even crocs that grace our shores. They are only just becoming more prominent in the US.
Roof-Top tents are a whole different experience. We love them because they can take you back to your childhood days of that dreamy tree house feeling and also their ease-of use, especially when you're a keen adventure traveller and want to clock up some miles without the dreaded "camp-site set-up blues". (those with kids will understand even more!)
// PROS OF A ROOF-TOP TENT: //
Ease Of Use: Designed for quick set-up (well most are!). Park up, undo some straps or zip open, pop it up, open ladder. Done! (we find that we can make up the bed with sheets, pillows etc. already in there so when it's opened, it's ready.)
Strong: With the floor clicked into place, the tent fabric and poles are generally robust and able to withstand most weather conditions.
Comfort: Most come with a thick-ish comfortable mattress (even better if it's memory foam)
Location Free: Camp anywhere! It's literally roll up in your car, whether its a carpark, remote track, out bush, on the beach, WHEREVER!
// CONS OF A ROOF-TOP TENT: // (yes, there are some)
Cost: More expensive than a regular camping tent (though, cheaper than an RV!)
Must stay on your roof: Great for a quick setup, however, bulky roof-top tents can effect your vehicle's aerodynamic drag on the highway. Also, you can't just drive to the shops for supplies without packing up your tent.
// HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT ONE FOR YOU //
Things to consider:
Total tent weight: Most tents weigh from around 50-80kg. This weight is going on your roof racks, which need to be able to support your tent while driving. Also, you will need to lift the tent ONTO your vehicle.
Roof Racks: Make sure your roof racks can hold the weight of tent and are compatible! You need to verify with the tent manufacture AND refer to your vehicle's handbook before installation. If your roof-top tent does not come with roof racks, there are a few recommended brands including Rhino Rack, Yakima and Thule. Roof-top tents can be installed on flat racks, cross bars or a canopy.
Static Weight Capacity: The ability of the vehicle and racks to support the weight of the tent, the people and all the sleep gear. Most car roofs are designed to withstand loads relating to a rollover accident. Most roof-top tents are built with a sturdy floor, plus the extra support from the ladder, equalling quite a robust structure. However, it is still a great idea to consider the static weight capacity on your vehicle and rack in order to support all of the extra weight.
Fold Out vs. Pop Up: Fold outs are more compact, however, consider which way they fold out! Does it suit your vehicle? Pop-ups are like big fibreglass cargo boxes that extend vertically when it's time to camp. Fold-outs are more popular and more affordable.
Weather: Consider which season you are most going to camp in. Does your roof-top tent provide different options for different seasons? And how does it stand up in the rain/rough weather? We recommend going with a model that can handle ALL of the above so that you aren't governed by when and where you go camping.
Security, Privacy & Space : It is definitely wise to purchase some tent locks - if they come with tent - even better! Best way to test for privacy & space is to see the tent for yourself. Those with little window awnings are great. We also recommend going for a roof-top tent that has the option of attaching extra annexes/awnings to maximise privacy & space!
// CONCLUSION //
When looking at Roof-Top Tents, it is extremely important to look into every detail listed above. We definitely recommend actually SEEING the tent, being able to climb into it and see how it feels is so much different to just seeing it online. You will also be able to see how easy it is to open/close for yourself. With everything in life, you get what you pay for! So if you are able to, definitely go with a something mid to high range in price comparison. You'll notice a massive difference in everything from canvas material to ease of use.
If you have any questions, we are here to help. Otherwise.... ADVENTURE AWAITS!!!