An Argument FOR Root-TopTents

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Rank V

Advocate I

I am of two minds on the matter, but having had some experience with Roof-Top tents this last summer, I have some conclusions about the places where they are better. Note: That my opinions are as a dad who has to set up camp for 4 people, two of whom are not helping, or getting in the way.

#10 Out of the dirt
Being out of the dirt is usually the number 1 reason for getting a RTT. I have no problem with dirt. I don't mind sleeping on the ground at all even without a tent. But many times if you might not find a suitably flat or smooth place for a tent and the RTT can solve that problem. Also what happens a lot of times it you find a flat spot, but it's a dirty loose turnout on a dirt road and you don't really want to set up a tent there.

#9 Small footprint
A Roof Top Tent camp has a smaller overall footprint than a ground tent camp. Whatever tent you use whether it's a big 6 person like ours or even if you're using a small backpacker tent, your footprint includes the vehicle and the tent. If you're sleeping in a RTT you'll take up a lot less space, particularly if you have a big 6 person tent like ours. This can be good if you find a camp site without a lot of space for a tent, or if you're in a group with limited space for everyone's tent.

#8 Convenience
Overlanding generally means you're staying some place new every night. As such, the Roof Top Tent's quick setup and takedown makes it preferable to a ground tent, at least for a family of 4 like us. Unpacking sleeping bags, and pads for 4 every night and morning can be a real time sink.

#7 Moon Roof
I have two Roof Top Tents and both have integrated clear panel moon roofs. With those zipped open, you get starlight and moon light all night. It seemed like a gimmick at first, but it's become one of our favorite features.

#6 Breeze and Ventilation
Regular ground tents, particularly technical mountaineering or backpacking tents, don't have great ventilation. Roof Top Tents however usually have 4 mesh windows, and most also have an awning integrated in the design that provides shade from the sun and shelter from rain while the windows are open. This makes cool summer nights really comfortable in a Roof Top Tent.

The best part of waking up in one of these tents is the sunrise views. Because of the awnings integrated into the windows, and the fact that you're 6 feet off the ground, the sage, or truck or other camps aren't blocking the view and you can watch the sunrise coming up over the mountains.

#4 It's FUN!
It's a tree house! Honestly, if you don't think that sleeping up high like this is at least a little bit fun then you should probably be sleeping in a pine box.

#3 Shade Included
A lot of overlanders add an awning to their setup, because having shade on the trail is a huge benefit in the summer. However, a Roof Top Tent casts a lot of shade when it's set up all by itself. I try to park mine so that it casts afternoon shade on the kitchen side. That way I can get away without an awning because we don't need shade in the morning. At mid day we can shelter under the tent's overhang and in the afternoon the kitchen side has plenty of shade.

#2 Fully Contained
Most Roof Top Tents, particularly the cantilever type like these, will hold all your bedding including pillows. So you don't have to devote any space inside the vehicle to sleeping bags, pads, pillows or the tent. And you don't have to put anything away either. You just open it up, take off your pants and go to bed.

#1 Fast Setup
Because you basically only have to set up a tent and all your gear is already inside, you can be done setting up camp in 5 minutes.