Roof top tents have seen a surge in popularity over the past few years as a convenient, lightweight and portable solution for camping and overlanding. But for all the benefits of a roof top tent, there are still some potential drawbacks you should consider before splurging on one. Here are a few of the top reasons why you might want to consider other camping options before taking the plunge with a roof top tent.
Depending on the size and features of the tent prices can range from a thousand dollars to several thousand dollars. This can be a hefty price tag to pay considering other camping options can be much more affordable. Plus you’ll also likely need to purchase cross bars and other accessories to install the tent onto your roof rack. Don’t have a roof rack, you have yet another expense.
Not only are roof top tents heavier than other camping options, they can also put a tremendous amount of weight on the roof of your vehicle. Depending on the size of your vehicle this added weight could significantly decrease fuel efficiency or even put too much strain on the roof, possibly causing damage.
Assuming your tent is properly secured it’s still susceptible to the wind which can cause it to shake, creak and even blow off the roof of your vehicle if the conditions are strong enough. You also have to consider the wind forces being placed on your rack. You have to consider not only the static load of the weight, but also the dynamic load when driving down the highway.
Installing a roof top tent is a labor intensive process requiring you to make sure the tent is safely secured to the roof of your vehicle and that all of the hardware is properly fitted and secured. If you don’t have the skills or tools to make sure the tent is installed correctly you’ll need to enlist the help of a professional which can add to the overall cost. Want to wing it and attempt an installation you are not qualified for? Expect even more expenses for repairs, not to mention the liability if this tent were to become airborne while you are on the road.
Not only is the installation process of a roof top tent labor intensive but so is its removal. Depending on the size and weight of the tent it can take two people to take it down. Additionally, finding a place to store the tent when not in use can be difficult as the tent can take up a lot of room. Sure, you could just leave it on all the time, but this will cause additional wear to the tent itself.
When driving with a roof top tent installed on your vehicle you’ll likely experience some noise and vibration. This can be especially true when driving at higher speeds or over bumpy terrain. It might seem okay around town, but wait until you get to enjoy this noise on a 1000 mile road trip.
Depending on your vehicle you may need to access the roof of your vehicle from time to time. If you have a roof top tent installed you’ll need to remove it each time you need to access the roof which can be time consuming. Accessibility problems also occur when simply using the tent. RTT ladders are not the greatest and that 2 AM potty trip can become a little treacherous, especially in foul weather.
RTT’s are limited to 2 to 4 people. There is just so much room on the top of your rig. Compare this to the comfort of an 8 room cabin tent and you might choose the comfort of a more traditional ground tent.
These are just a few of the reasons why you might want to consider other camping options before investing in a roof top tent. While these tents can be a convenient and a cool portable solution for camping, their cost, weight and other factors may make them an impractical choice for some.
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