Rooftop tent camping tips and 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.
Hard shell or soft shell
First up, it's worth taking a quick look at the two different types of rooftop tent as they differ a bit in their design.
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.
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.
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 camp. You can even leave a few small essentials like a torch or headlamp in there as well.
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.
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 damp
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 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.
There's a reason rooftop tents are getting more and more popular — they're one of the most versatile, comfortable camping options out there. An Anaconda rooftop tent can offer a level of freedom unmatched by any other mode of camping. It enables you to camp just about anywhere and in all kinds of weather and environments and once you get it set up the way you like it, it's unlikely you'll ever look back.
Anaconda's range of rooftop tents offers both soft top and hardtop options and feature affordable, high-quality models. Once you get your rooftop tent set up, all that's left to do is choose your destination, and hit the road. Happy adventuring!