rooftop tent

How to Mount a Rooftop Tent to your Campervan

Planning to go on a campervan rental road trip? It might come in handy to understand how a rooftop tent works and how to mount it.

Having a rooftop tent on your campervan is an efficient use of space. Instead of renovating your campervan and putting your bedroom inside, you can choose to have it on top, what else would you put on top of your campervan anyway? 

rooftop tent

What to consider before buying a rooftop tent?

Before buying a rooftop tent, you must know if your car or van can handle the weight of the rooftop tent by looking at your over all load limit and the weight of the tent. You will see that your vehicle has a dynamic and a static load. A dynamic load is when your car is moving, and static is when your vehicle is stationary. 

The difference is quite big since when the car is moving, the breaking and accelerating power have a great impact on the load. This means that you should look if your car is able to handle the weight of the tent when it is moving (dynamic load) and the weight of the tent + people when it is stationary (static load). 

When you know the maximum rooftop load, you can start looking at the different rooftop tent models.

Hard-shell vs. Soft-shell rooftop tents:

The hard-shell rooftop tent refers to the robust shell which makes it weatherproof. The aerodynamics of the hard shell will also cause less mileage waste than the other models. You are also able to set this model up in a very quick and easy way! 

Unlike the hard-shell rooftops, the soft-shell rooftops are a bit more block like when you transport the tent and therefore affects the gas usage more than the hard shell. Another opposing feature from the hard shell is the longer setup time, which is similar to setting up a normal tent. A huge win for the soft shell is that it is bigger! This allows for more people to sleep in the tent compared to the hard shell. 

Of course, there are various brands and models for the hard shell and soft shell roof top tents which you can choose from. We also have a model that has the hard-shell tent on our jeeps

After choosing the rooftop tent that fits your vehicle and your needs, you will move on to mounting it on your campervan or car!

How to mount a rooftop tent on your vehicle

This easy step-by-step guide on how to mount a rooftop tent on your vehicle is not specifically for your rooftop tent, but more of an overview, so you can see what it takes to set it up!

1. Equipment: 

First, preparation is key! Make sure you have all the equipment necessary for your specific model, whether that be wrenches, screwdrivers or other tools. Have an extra one or two pairs of hands to help you lift the rooftop tent on your vehicle. Lastly, think about your workspace, preferably a larger space around for you to work with since the rooftop tent could be a bit bigger than you expect.

2. Roof rack: 

This is an important step, you have to have a roof rack on your car. The rooftop will be mounted on your roof rack, crossbars are also fine! 

3. Empty the tent:

Now when you have your rooftop tent you want to first open your box and then open the tent. Get instruction manual, tools, ladder and other additional equipment which is stored in the tent. Once you remove everything, you can close the tent again. 

4. Support rails:

Now for some models, you need to add the support rails while for others they will already be included in the delivery. 

5. Put the tent on top of the car:

Place your rooftop tent on top of your vehicle together with the extra pair of hands you had already reserved. After you put the tent on top of the car, you should test if you can still open the boot of your car before attaching it with bolts on the rack. 

6. Attach to the crossbars

Now attach the rooftop tent to the crossbars or the roof rack and make sure everything is secure. 

7. Secure some bolts 

Lastly, you might need to secure some bolts to the rooftop tent to attach your ladder, and then you are ready to go camping, enjoy!

Travelling with a rooftop tent:

Now you know the difference between hardshell and soft-shell rooftop tents and even how to mount one, there might be a question lingering of why not everyone has a rooftop tent because of how awesome it is! Well, like a lot of things, a rooftop tent is not for everyone. Some people don’t like the fact that when you want to travel to beautiful places, you might not have the amenities like bathrooms and showers. It can also be quite dark at night. Lastly, putting the tent up and off the car every season that you don’t use it, might be a hassle. If those things don’t bother you, a roof top tent might be the perfect purchase for you. It can be dark, but you can take your own light. Having to put up the tent repeatedly might be a hassle, but you don’t have to do it every day. 

Do you want to experience a rooftop tent trip before buying one, you can rent a camping car with a rooftop tent on our website. You can see where you want to go with a roof top tent and for how long!

About the Autor

Daniel with a horse in a field
Daniel Vujin

Daniel is fond of going on adventures. He loves connecting with people and listening to their stories. Daniel says “while traveling you get the first hand experience and information from the experts.” His messages are all based on different perspectives that he heard along his journey.