Car roof tents ! Info needed.....

Discussion in 'Other Gear' started by Diddi, Jul 30, 2020.

  1. Diddi

    Diddi Thru Hiker

    Chiseller likes this.
  2. MikeinDorset

    MikeinDorset Trail Blazer

    They are fun but a compromise. My son slept in a roof rack tent on a US holiday. He thought it was epic. We preferred life in the (very simple) van underneath.

    We did think they weren't a good UK choice due to many models not having good waterproofing from the side, but models like the one you link to seem to overcome that and I do seem them around now and then. If someone sleeps in the vehicle, any movement in the tent will make them feel like they're rolling about in a boat. You don't notice that up on top. You're also now a ladder away from a wee in the night unless you're a good aim into the pee bottle. There's usually no porch if you need to get into it in the pouring rain (they are adapted from safari tents, designed for good weather and the odd shower), although I've seen extra sides for the underneath so you get a sort of downstairs porch. You need to go to ground level to cook or for a brew unless you can safely balance a stove on the roof. You need to empty and collapse it to drive anywhere during the day.

    OTOH, you get a nice view and lots of conversations at the campsite. The foam mat in our rented one was quite comfy.

    The issue in my view is your permissible roof load, which is the combination of rack mass + tent mass (+ any other roof load). If adding the tent exceeds that, you might find that your insurers will tell you where to go in the event of an accident or damage. Plus, I suppose, you have the issue of any potential damage to your roof rails once you're in it. So it depends on your vehicle. Check the owner's manual and your roofrack specs.

    I have a transit custom. Max roof load is 130kg. Max rack load is 80kg with the two bars I have. Hence I can only weigh 30kg! More bars would add more load, so yes, they need beefed up.

    Having tried both, we opted for losing one car and converting a van into a day van/camper. Both so we don't overload a car roof, and because van life was worth the extra.
    The Cumbrian likes this.
  3. Diddi

    Diddi Thru Hiker

    Great Info thanks Mike.
    It is a filler in and something I really like the idea of for now.
    Sounds like I need to look into the roof rack some more.
    Wife wants a a decent sized van like yours and I want VW T4/T5 which I am willing to drive daily, anything bigger and I want/ will have to keep the second car for work runs, or maybe not, Decisions decisions :thumbsup:
  4. Robin

    Robin Moderator Staff Member

    High winds? :eek:
  5. Balagan

    Balagan Thru Hiker

    Saw one of these at a campsite once. All the kids around were impressed and you do get loads of questions. However, by the time the couple had set it up, I had set up our much bigger tent, blown up four mattresses and started on dinner. They must have been new owners.

    I think the problem with these is that they don't give you the versatility of a camper nor that of a separate tent. It's hardly discreet so you are mostly restricted to organised campsites and in some of these you'll have to stay in the parking area. It has no porch for cooking and you can't leave the tent pitched while you go shopping, day hiking or sightseeing.

    Me, I'd stick to car camping for a bit more and spend an extra £800 on pimping my future camper. But that's just me. ;)

    Wasn't a very big car:


    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020
  6. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Brilliant for overlanding in Africa with a 4x4 …….
  7. JKM

    JKM Thru Hiker

    im happy with mine



    Diddi and cathyjc like this.
  8. Balagan

    Balagan Thru Hiker

    Did you see any rhinos? ;)
  9. Diddi

    Diddi Thru Hiker

    She's a beast :wideyed::thumbsup:
  10. Davy

    Davy Thru Hiker

    Usually seen on top of very clean late Landrover Defenders in the home counties :D

    Hold out for a camper Diddi, I suspect the novelty wears off fast...
  11. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Not too many scorpions, camel spiders, snakes, lions etc. in the home counties tho' :hilarious:
  12. Henry

    Henry Ultralighter

    You can get badly mauled by the odd sheep...
  13. Lempo

    Lempo Thru Hiker

    and a fox steals the food bag.
  14. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Foxes not too good at climbing the ladder ;)
  15. Lempo

    Lempo Thru Hiker

    You clearly haven't seen London foxes.
    FOX160 and JimH like this.
  16. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Correct :o o:

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