Do You Need a Rooftop Tent? (Pros+Cons+3 Key Considerations)

 Pros, Cons, and 3 Key Considerations

Clam Shell Roof top tent

Rooftop tents (RTTs) have become increasingly popular among outdoor enthusiasts and overlanders for their practicality, safety, and ease of use. Having been involved in the design, production, and sales of rooftop tents for over a decade, I've encountered many questions about their suitability for different vehicles and camping needs. Here, I’ll address the pros and cons of rooftop tents and highlight three critical considerations before making a purchase.

The Pros of Rooftop Tents

  1. Easy to Open and Close:

  2. Sturdy Construction:

    • Most RTTs feature metal bases, durable polyester-cotton or canvas fabrics, and aluminum or iron poles, making them robust enough to withstand typical stormy weather.
  3. Comfort:

    • Models like those from Centori Outdoors come with at least a 5cm high-density foam mattress, offering comfort similar to sleeping at home. They also include heavy-duty telescopic ladders that can support up to 330 lbs.
    • And Adventurer XL can hold up up to 4 person in tent. 
  4. Versatile Camping Locations:

    • You can camp virtually anywhere you can park safely, whether it's a campsite, parking lot, or remote dirt road.
  5. Elevation from Ground:

    • Being off the ground keeps you safe from ground-dwelling insects, snakes, and small animals, providing an extra layer of security.
  6. Stable and Level Setup:

    • As long as your vehicle is on level ground, your rooftop tent will be too, ensuring a comfortable and stable sleeping surface.
  7. Cost-Saving:

    • Although rooftop tents come with a higher initial price tag, they can save you money in the long run by eliminating hotel accommodation costs. This not only reduces your travel expenses but is also more eco-friendly, helping to protect the environment.
Adventurer Roof top tent

The Cons of Rooftop Tents

  1. Higher Cost:

    • Rooftop tents are more expensive than traditional camping tents, often costing over five times more. However, when you consider the long-term savings on accommodation, the investment quickly pays for itself.
  2. Increased Fuel Consumption:

    • Installing an RTT can increase wind resistance, especially at higher speeds, leading to greater fuel consumption. Centori Outdoors addresses this by using hard-shell RTTs, which are way more aerodynamic.
  3. Installation Effort:

    • With most RTTs weighing at least 140 lbs, installing them can be challenging without the proper equipment or assistance. You also need to ensure compatibility with your vehicle’s roof rack and secure installation.
Clam Shell Roof top tent

Key Considerations for Choosing a Rooftop Tent

  1. Vehicle Weight Capacity:

    • Most rooftop tents weigh over 50kg. Ensure your vehicle’s roof can support the static weight of the tent plus the occupants. Check the roof rack’s dynamic and static load ratings to ensure it can handle the tent’s weight.
  2. Roof Rack Compatibility:

    • There are various roof rack sizes and materials available. Ensure your roof rack can support the weight and is compatible with the tent’s mounting system. Vehicles with robust factory-installed roof racks, like the FJ Cruiser, usually handle RTTs well. Otherwise, invest in heavy-duty crossbars.
  3. Vehicle Size:

    • For very small vehicles with roof dimensions less than 150x120cm, you might need to find ultra-light and compact RTTs. Centori Outdoors offers a range of sizes, but even their smallest models require a minimum roof size of 150x120cm.
clam shell roof top tent

Conclusion

Rooftop tents have revolutionized camping, offering unparalleled convenience, comfort, and versatility. While they come with a higher price tag and require careful consideration of your vehicle’s specifications, the benefits often outweigh the cons for avid campers and overlanders. By understanding the key features and ensuring compatibility with your vehicle, you can make an informed decision and enjoy countless adventures with your rooftop tent.

Explore our range of rooftop tents at Centori Outdoors to find the perfect fit for your camping needs.

Clam Shell Rooftop Tent
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