Rooftop tents aren't anything new. Originating in Australia, this style of tent has grown in popularity. But, with all the advantages they have to offer, you may be wondering if getting one for your truck top is worth it.
Truck top tents provide a convenient way to camp while keeping you off the ground. If you tend to go camping with your truck, these tents may be worth considering. However, they can be weighty, which puts pressure on your roof.
Before you head out to grab a truck top tent, let's run you through the great (and not-so-great) reasons for having one.
Which style do you want?
Truck tents come in a couple of different styles. Each one offers its pros and cons. Which way you go is simply a matter of personal preference.
These tents utilize a gas system to pop them up. That makes them such a breeze to set up. Also, you are provided a barrier of protection against the harsher weather because of the tough exterior.
Yet, they are small, and you'll find that a couple of people can fit comfortably inside. More than two people, and you'll be cramped.
You will need to set this tent up yourself. Yet, that's not a big issue as it only takes a few minutes. Also, softshell tents are roomier than the hard shell option.
However, they take up more space on the top of your vehicle. That can affect the aerodynamics of your truck.
They aren't that waterproof. So, if the rain comes, prepare to feel a little uncomfortable in your tent.
Why truck top tents are worth it
Hard-shell and softshell rooftop tents have their unique good and bad qualities. Yet, there are distinct advantages that both styles share in common.
You're not on the ground.
If you're not a fan of bugs making their way into your tent or sleeping bag, a truck top tent will be a godsend. You will be camping from an elevated position on the roof of your vehicle.
Also, if there is a sudden surface flood while enjoying the outdoors, your tent and the contents inside will be safe and dry.
A comfortable surface
There's nothing worse than trying to sleep with a small rock or a tree root poking into your back. Truck top tents allow you to rest snugly thanks to the padding provided in the bedding.
Also, there is no need to cart around camp stretchers or bedrolls, thanks to that same bedding. That frees up space in your truck for you to carry other things.
Go outside and look at the ground. It's pretty dirty, huh? With a traditional camping tent, you place it in this dirt and grime. Then you're dragging it into your tent.
You don't have this issue with truck top tents. Sitting proudly on the roof of your vehicle, the tent avoids attracting the mud and muck from the ground. Also, before climbing into the tent, you can leave your shoes in the truck's bed.
You'll be ready to camp in a few minutes.
Yeah, we mentioned this earlier. You don't want to spend a frustrating time setting up camp. Truck top tents only take a few minutes to put up.
That gives you more time to relax, explore nature, go fishing, or hike through the wilderness.
The not-so-great things about truck top tents
There is no doubt that truck top tents are convenient. However, like other things in life, they have their bad points. So here we will take you through the issues with these tents.
Your truck has grown taller.
Though rooftop tents are made to be compact, they do add additional height to your truck. That means you have to be aware of the terrain around you where there are height restrictions.
Tree branches and other similar obstacles take on a whole new menacing dimension.
This isn't a problem if you love wide, open spaces.
Up and over the tailgate
To get to your tent, you have to clamber into the back of your truck. That might be easy for you, but it can be slightly more challenging for little kids. Also, if one of your family or friends enjoys camping but has a physical disability, getting to the tent isn't possible.
It's not family size.
If you have been blessed with a large family, you will be pressed for a room with a truck top tent. We mentioned how the hard-shell option can typically fit 2 people. Unfortunately, the softshell tents aren't that much bigger.
That's because the footprint of rooftop tents is made to fit the dimensions of a vehicle's roof.
For families of four or more people, the best way is to buy a standard camping tent.
You are limited in areas where you camp.
With truck top tents, you can only camp in areas your vehicle can get to. So if you want to spend a night or two in a location inaccessible by truck, then you have to forget about it.
Now your camping spots are determined by whether you can get there in your truck or not.
You need to mount them.
With camping tents, you just pick them up and slip them onto the back of your truck. However, it's not that straightforward with truck top tents. They require mounting on the roof of your vehicle.
That means having to purchase racks and mounting brackets. These additional accessories add to the cost of buying a truck top tent.
They are heavy
Rooftop tents can weigh anywhere from 130 to over 200 lbs. That's a lot of weight you are putting on the top of your vehicle.
So you need to check to see what the load-bearing rating of your truck's roof is. If it can't support a truck tent, your only option is a standard camp tent.
Also, removing a rooftop tent is a two-person job because of its weight.
They are expensive
The price of a rooftop tent is in the thousands of dollars. That can be a lot of cash to hand over for a tent.
Traditional camping tents cost a fraction of the price and still provide the same functionality (i.e., somewhere to camp out while spending time outdoors).
Storing the tent
Because of their size, you need some decent storage space. Also, if you only go camping seasonally, you need a place where the tent can be kept safe and dry.
If you have limited space in your garage, then storing away your tent can become a headache.
Truck top tents are a convenient way to camp. As they are permanently fixed to the roof of your vehicle, it makes it easy to camp where you decide to stop.
They can also be set up in several minutes. That allows you to have more time to enjoy your camping excursion.
When purchasing a truck top tent, check to see the load-bearing weight of your truck's roof. Rooftop tents are weighty, and you don't want to damage your vehicle.
They can also cost a pretty penny. However, if you are a regular camper, you could justify paying that little more for a tent.
In any case, because they are mounted on your roof, you are off the ground. That provides safety and security from insects, bugs, and other critters.