Rooftop Tent Camping Tips & Tricks

Rooftop Tent Camping Tips & Tricks

For those who love to take their adventuring to the next level, it's hard to go past a rooftop tent. They're comfortable, make setting up and packing down a breeze and enable you to camp anywhere your 4WD will take you. What's more, sleeping in an elevated position gets you up off the cold ground and improves airflow - not to mention the view! Like anything though, it can take a little time to really get the feel for your rooftop tent and smooth out any small gripes that can get in the way of a good time. So to help out, we've put together a few tips and tricks to help you stay ahead of the game when it comes to sleeping comfortably in your rooftop tent.

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Hard Shell or Soft Shell Rooftop Tents?

First up, it is worth taking a quick look at the two different types of rooftop tents as they differ a bit in their design. The two main types of rooftop tents consist of either a hard shell or a soft shell design. As both types have their pros and cons depending on what you camping needs are, here is a breakdown of everything you need to know:

Soft Shell Rooftop Tents

Soft shell rooftop tents are made from waterproof fabric like canvas or nylon and fold open to the side with part of the tent extending past the edge of your vehicle. The tent is attached to a hinged platform and held up by a series of poles. Soft shell rooftop tents are folded, which means they are usually bigger than your car once they are fully extended and set up. They aren't the most aerodynamic in design though and will add drag to your car when driving. But apart from that, soft shell rooftop tents are a more affordable option for 4WD campers and offer plenty of living space for camping.

Hard Shell Rooftop Tents

Hard shell rooftop tents have a rigid floor and ceiling, usually made from plastic, fibreglass or aluminium and walls made from waterproof canvas or similar. These tents pop straight up in a box shape, or are hinged at one end to form a wedge shape. They generally have gas struts to help make setup easier. They're more expensive and often smaller than soft shells but are more robust and much easier to pack up and down. Apart from having a more aerodynamic design, hard shell rooftop tents are quicker to set up and are more durable than their soft shell counterparts.

Top Rooftop Tent Camping Tips

When you are focused on the journey and don't want to waste time setting up a full camping tent and campsite, rooftop camping tents are exactly what you need. They are quick to set up, compact and are perfect for hitting the road in a hurry. Whether you are a first time rooftop camper or have a few years of experience under your belt, here are the best tips to maximise your rooftop camping experience:

Store Your Bedding

One of the best things about rooftop tents is there's usually enough room to keep your bedding set up. So you can leave your sleeping bag (or duvet if that's your preference) and blanket set up and ready to go which will save you precious time when it comes to setting up the rooftop tent later. You can even leave a few small essentials such as a torch or headlamp inside the rooftop tent as well.

Ensure You Park Level

Parking level ensures a good nights sleep and no midnight injuries!

One of the great things about a rooftop tent is that it enables you to camp just about anywhere. That said, you do want your car to be level. The last thing you want is to be rolling out of bed at night - it's a fair way down! If the ground at your chosen campsite isn't level, you can use levelling blocks or even blocks of wood to get your vehicle level and ensure a secure night's sleep.

Upgrade Your Mattress

Most rooftop tents come with a good mattress as standard - it's part of what makes them great in the first place. But adding an extra mattress, or swapping out the existing mattress for a premium sleeping mat will not only provide next-level comfort with more padding and support, it can actually help keep you warmer by acting as an extra layer of insulation. Doubling up your mattress will obviously add an extra layer between you and the outside air, and it'll also provide more padding.

However, it will also reduce the space in the tent, and you may have to remove it when it comes time to pack up. Another option is to replace the mattress that came with your rooftop tent with a high-quality 4X4 sleeping mat. These mats are often made up of a high-density foam layer, a PVC layer and a layer of air (when inflated). These layers will help to keep you insulated and will up the comfort levels significantly. Just be sure to take note of the size of the mattress to make sure it fits properly.

Allow Ventilation

It may defy logic, but allowing cool air inside can reduce the risk of your rooftop tent getting wet overnight.

In warmer weather, it's a no-brainer to unzip your rooftop tent to allow for airflow but this can actually help you stay comfortable in cold weather too. Rooftop tents are often made from thick canvas, and while this is great for insulation, the difference in temperature between the inside and outside of the tent can cause condensation to form on the inside of your tent in certain conditions. Condensation forms when warm, moist air (like your breath) comes into contact with a cool surface (like the walls of your tent) and while a little condensation is nothing to worry about, if it builds up too much it can start to drip and make the inside of your tent wet.

By ventilating your tent, you enable the warmer, moist air to escape while helping to equalise the temperature inside and outside. It might take a bit of experimentation to find the perfect balance between warmth and ventilation, but as a rule, always allow for at least some airflow through your rooftop tent while you're sleeping.

Dealing With Dampness

There's no getting around it - your rooftop tent is going to get wet. And after all, one of the main purposes of a tent is to create a barrier between you and the elements outside. And while your rooftop tent may be designed to deal with rain and dew, packing it up wet should be avoided wherever possible. If you do have to pack your rooftop tent up while it's wet, make sure you set it up again once the weather improves to allow it to dry out thoroughly. Leaving your tent wet can cause it to mold, which not only looks pretty bad but will also degrade the fabric and reduce the life of your tent.

Use A Plastic Bag On The End Of Your Tent Ladder

Unlike having a fully set up campsite, camping on top of your 4WD or car can mean that you might have to go without a few amenities like a kitchen area or rubbish bin - and camping does tend to make quite a mess. However, a great tip is to tie a plastic bag around the end of your ladder instead. For example, it's great for storing rubbish or even your shoes to make sure you aren't dirting the inside of your rooftop tent.

Maximise Your Tent Lighting

Unlike regular camping at a campsite, when it is the middle of the night and nature calls, you have one extra obstacle to overcome: climbing up and down a ladder in the dark. To make this as safe and as easy as possible, maximising your tent lighting is a must. There are many options at Anaconda that help with this, such as a headlamp or a torch closeby, but check out our Top Camp Lighting Solutions for more help.

Versatile, straightforward and convenient. There’s a lot to love about rooftop tents.

Find The Best Rooftop Tents At Anaconda

When it comes to high-quality camping tents and rooftop tents, nowhere does it better than Anaconda. Whether you are going on a camping adventure solo or with a few mates or family, you will find everything you need right here at Anaconda. Also remember to check out our Adventure Centre for more exciting camping tips, exciting camping destinations and more, such as:

Find your local Anaconda store and check out our extensive range of camping gear for your next outdoor adventure.




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