For most outdoor adventurers and overlanders, getting a comfortable bed and place to shelter means everything. While camping tents remain the best way for persons to sleep outdoors, innovations in tent technologies are changing everything. Nowadays, rooftop tents or car tents are becoming common as people avoid the cold ground. Also known as a roof rack tent, this is a new genre of a tent that sets up on car racks and top.
Deciding on a roof top tent is not something easy and one must consider several factors. This is also because roof top tents cost way too much more than usually camp tents.
The appeal of roof top tents
Roof top tents are not new in the market but have only become popular in the United States a few years ago. These tents have been in use in Australia for years as campers seek to stay away from crawling insects and the cold ground. The tents are nowadays highly recognized in the USA as a genius idea.
This might be due to the love of treehouses when most Americans look back to their childhood. Sleeping high gives campers a good vantage point to survey their territory. Sleeping in a roof top tent is always appealing and comes with many benefits. Most roof top tents feature pretty solid construction and can withstand stormy weathers. The tents are also easy to pitch and come with super-plush mattresses for added comfort.
However, choosing the best roof top tent is the tricky part. Do you need a 2 person roof top tent or just a single person roof top tent? There are several factors one must consider when choosing a roof top tent. These include the following:
Factors to consider when choosing a roof top tent
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The materials used in the construction of roof top tents go a long way in determining their quality and durability. You need to consider the frame material, fabric, and mattress. In most cases, aluminum metal is considered the best since it is both durable and lightweight. As for the fabric, you can choose tents made of cotton ripstop or polyester canvas since they are strong and durable. However, make sure the fabric is also waterproof and breathable.
A GSM unit which stands for gram per square meter is usually used to describe the density of the fabric. A higher GSM value means denser and thicker fabric. Apart from the fabric quality, you also have to consider the fabric weight and cost. Nylon is not the strongest but is very lightweight and very affordable. Overall, make sure you select a fabric with a PU coating to withstand strong rain and winds. This is crucial especially for roof tents that are prone to strong winds.
The tent hinges need to feature stainless steel metal since the metal is non-corrosive and can withstand harsh weather elements. You also need to consider strong door zippers that will not break easily.
Design of the tent
Next, you have to consider the design of the tent and choose one that matches your needs. We have roof top tents that feature an extending awning while others just fit over your car roof. Some designs pop up while others open manually. We also have custom-built designs that fit on the roof top while open to the rear or both sides.
You need to perform some research and choose a design that best works for your needs and car type.
Total tent weight vs car and rack weight capacity
The total weight of the tent is usually shown in the specifics of the tent. However, you also have to check your car rack weight capacity. Both the vehicle and roof rack must support the tent weight when driving.
You need to choose a roof top tent that matches with your rack design. Make sure you check the tent manual and see which roof racks it works with best. In fact, some roof top tents are specially designed to work with specific roof tops.
This is a simple and obvious consideration that one must not assume. You need to know the number of people that will be sleeping in a tent. Most roof top tents feature 2 person, 3 person, and 4 person models.
Ladder and vehicle height
If your roof top tent comes with a ladder, then go ahead and make sure it fits your vehicle height. There are usually two pieces of aluminum ladders that extend with ease. You need to measure your car height from the roof top to the ground and make sure the ladder fits perfectly.
Lastly, you can consider extra features that make the tent more comfortable and friendly. Consider things like travel covers, LED lights, color combos, remote controls, and cozy mattresses.