When looking to buy or just curiously searching about roof top tents, you may wonder what are the major advantages they have over ground tents or car camping.
The advantages of a roof top tent
are its ability to stay clean, dry, provide luxury, comfort, and stay off of the ground in a convenient and easy fashion.
These a just a few of the prominent advantages roof top tents (RTTs) offer to campers. There are many more to point out, some being obvious and some not so obvious to a beginner.
So let’s talk a bit more about the advantages of camping with a RTT!
For those that have camped in a ground tent, you know just how quickly the tent will get dirty. It gets covered in dirt the second you lay it down and once you walk inside the tent a couple of times you track in the dirt too. An even worse scenario is when it rains and the ground becomes muddy.
With a RTT you don’t have to worry about these issues since it doesn’t sit on the ground. When you enter the tent, you can place your shoes inside a waterproof shoe bag that sits just outside the entrance of your RTT. Taking your shoes on and off before getting in the tent is so much easier than doing it using a ground tent.
Camping on the beach is fun in theory, but the amount of sand that gets into your tent and gear is the worst part. Sand always seems to find a way to get into the tent but it will be far less when using a RTT.
Also, you won’t need to rinse off or clean the RTT after a muddy camping trip like you would for a ground tent.
The comfort in a RTT is second to none. The biggest difference-maker for me is simply having a flat surface to sleep on. When in a ground tent, even with a nice mattress pad, the bumpy and uneven surface makes it very uncomfortable.
This is especially true if you go on an extended camping trip for a few days at a time. The built-in mattress that RTTs have will usually be about 2-3.5 inches thick and are made of high-density foam. The mattress is plenty comfortable.
To have the most comfortable sleeping arrangement, owners will even add another mattress topper.
While on the topic of comfort, let’s talk about bedding. Being able to skip the process of blowing up an air mattress and making the bed is a huge time saver.
Most RTTs, especially hardshells, allow you to keep your bedding stored inside the tent when closed. This means pillows, sheets, and blankets can all be kept ready to use inside the tent without having to take them out after every use.
Besides the fact that this will save you huge amounts of time, just like knowing the fact that you won’t forget anything as you rush out of the house for your next camping trip!
This may be a debatable topic for some that RTTs are easier to setup. For one, I stay much cleaner since the tent never touches the ground.
But also, I don’t have to use those stupid poles, tie-downs, or stakes to secure the tent. Setting up a ground tent can vary a lot, but counting the time to do that as well as make the bed probably takes 15-20 minutes all together.
Some RTTs are faster to deploy than others. For example, foldout softshell RTTs require you to take off the PVC cover and undo multiple straps before use. Depending on the model, the set up should take roughly five minutes. I would argue closing the tent takes a few more minutes to tuck all of the fabric in as you close it too.
However, many hardshell RTTs only require a couple of clamps to be undone and then the gas struts will pop open the tent for you. This process takes only 60 seconds to do with little to no effort required!
We understand there are some pop-up ground tents that can be put up in minutes, but excluding the outliers, RTTs in my opinion do have the advantage here!
Packing less gear
As you head out for a camping trip and pack your vehicle with all of the necessities, you quickly realize how little space you have left for everything you need.
This is an area where the RTT shines since it sits on top of your vehicle. You also don’t need to worry about the space the air mattress would normally take up as well. Most if not all of the bedding can be stored inside the RTT when it’s closed too!
There is definitely a level of luxury that comes with a RTT. Making it a happy medium or step above a ground tent, but less luxurious than a teardrop trailer. RTTs are pricey, but not when comparing it to any trailer!
You can make your RTT fully electric with solar panels mounted directly to your tent. Some RTTs even have USB and 12V plugins inside the tent that are ready to be hooked up to a power source.
The best way to extend your camping season to later in the year or year-round is by having a well-equipped tent and the proper equipment. There are plenty of all-season RTTs which are fitted with extremely thick fabric, anti-condensation mats, insulated floors, and even more addons.
A natural advantage they have is being elevated in the air which will allow you to stay dry but also not sleep on the freezing cold ground.
Owning a RTT is just FUN! Don’t you love being 8 feet off the ground and having the best possible view as you relax in your tent?