5 Pros to Rooftop Camping: What it is and Why Everyone Needs to Try it

Boy climbing ladder to rooftop tent

You’ve slept in a ground tent—now try it on top of your vehicle

Rooftop tents are camping tents that attach to the top of your vehicle. They were first popularized in Western Europe in the late 1930s, and have since become a beloved way to camp worldwide. And here in Colorado, we think they’re the perfect way to enjoy our state’s stunning environment.

So why choose a rooftop tent over a traditional ground tent? While both are good options, a rooftop tent can offer a few more advantages:

Safety and Comfort

Because they’re higher above ground, rooftop tents have an added benefit of security from some of the wildlife that may be interested in visiting you (or your cooler). In a typical ground tent, campers are at the same level as animals or insects. Using a rooftop tent helps campers be safer while also being respectful of the nature around them.

They’re also super comfortable! A soft shell rooftop tent in particular will often provide added space, like an annex, as well as windows and a stargazer panel—putting a fun spin on the classic camping experience.

Fits on Almost Any Vehicle

Rooftop tents are a four-wheel drive vehicle’s best friend, but they’ll fit on (almost) any car, SUV or truck! They’re heavier than ground tents, and therefore will require a rack to mount them on your vehicle, so your car needs to be able to accommodate and support that space—and most can.

More Space in Your Vehicle

Since your tent will be mounted to the top of your vehicle, that means you’ll have way more space in your car’s interior for the other essentials, like coolers, a toilet kit, hiking gear, and your pets and family.

Storm Shelter

Most ground tents are soft shell tents, meaning their sides are made from a lightweight material that doesn’t act as a great protector against storms, rain, wind and other inclement weather. Roof top tents offer a hard shell option, which means it’s sturdier and heavier, making it less likely you or your campsite will blow away or face damage.

Unique Experience

The best reason to choose a rooftop tent for camping is the unique experience it brings. Camping at a slight elevation offers amazing views that ground camping can’t—and who doesn’t want to sleep as close to the stars as possible? Whether you’re on a solo expedition, camping with friends, taking the family out or seeing the country’s natural splendor with your four-legged companion—rooftop tent camping is a one-of-a-kind experience everyone should try at least once

Is rooftop tent camping right for you? We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions in this article.


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Michael Gentile