Why is a roof top tent your best camping option?

If you are travelling and camping then one of the best ways you can do some wonderful travelling and camping together is travelling by four-wheel-drive. A four-wheel-drive will get you just about anywhere you want to go, with camping thrown along the way. And the best way to camp if you have a 4WD is to buy a rooftop tent.

The aim of this website is to tell you all about rooftop tents. The advantages and disadvantages, the in’s and out’s and everything in between.

And, over time, to examine the different makes and models of rooftop tents and tell you our views on which are better value and why.

Of course if you’re going 4WDing you have a lot of options available to you when it comes to camping. You can just buy a simple tent and in many circumstances this will work fine. However if you’re getting serious about going outback then a simple tent may not be sufficient.

Of course you can buy a camper trailer, but a camper trailer is an expensive option. They are certainly luxurious, and offer options and facilities that a tent does not. But camper trailers have some serious drawbacks apart from the obvious cost.

A vehicle towing a camper trailer uses a lot of fuel, particularly during hard-driving, for example on sand dunes.

Not only that but camper trailers can be a serious problem in some circumstances. We have personally seen vehicles with camper trailers jackknifed on the top of sand dunes in the Simpson Desert, unable to go forwards or backwards and blocking traffic.

Many trip leaders will refuse to take participants who wish to use a camping trailer, particularly on some of the harder outback trips.

roof top tent
Image via Wikipedia

A rooftop tent is the perfect compromise between a simple tent and a camper trailer. They are much cheaper than a camper trailer, though of course more expensive than a tent, but have many advantages.

Lets have a look at some of the advantages of a roof tent. Firstly of course the obvious advantage is that you do not need to dedicate space in the vehicle to your tent, though of course as they sit on the roof of the vehicle they do take up roof rack space if you would normally carry a rack.

Secondly you’ll notice a big difference in fuel costs between travelling with a tent on the roof and towing a camper trailer.

Thirdly you do not experience the problems of towing, for example you will not find yourself jackknifed on the top of a sand dune.

However if you do wish to tow, for example a small boat to take fishing, you can do so because carrying your accommodation on the roof frees up your towbar to allow you to tow other things.

Setting up a rooftop tent is simple and fast. Usually you can leave all your bedding inside meaning that once you pop it up everything is right there ready for you to go.

Not only that but unlike most tents a rooftop tent can be purchased with a side annex that extends out to provide you with a cooking and eating area out of the sun and rain.

And you don’t need to find somewhere smooth, and rock free, to erect your tent. Camp comfortably in the middle of a gibber plain.

And if you’re camping in an area with any nasty inhabitants, such as snakes or crocodiles, you can sleep comfortably in the knowledge that they aren’t going to get you on the roof.

So as you can see there are some significant advantages to a rooftop tent compared to most other camping methods. And hopefully here, over time, we can tell you more and more about those, and review some of the different models of tent available.

And here’s a video about one of the more simple but effective roof top tents. It’s a US tent, but still very good.

And here’s some resources for you to find out more about roof top tents. Overlander article about roof tents. Advantages of a roof tent. More about roof tents. Who needs one? Test results. Hotfrog results. Wikipedia definition. How to make your own tent.

Written by - Roof Top Tent Advice