What to pay attention to when choosing a roof top tent?
You may have seen cars driving around with what looks like an oddly shaped storage bag on top, however, these really are tents that fold up to become sweet ground shelters.
1. Sleeping degrees off the ground.
Given that you will be boarding a car, most roof tents can be accessed via a telescoping ladder. This suggests that if it rains, you certainly won't be sleeping in a pool or mud puddle. It's also easier to get wind when off the ground, so your tent will definitely be better ventilated and stay cooler in the summer. Plus, you'll have a better vantage point on the ground - it's practically like being in a tree house!
Getting off the ground will likewise help keep dust and debris out of your tent. For example, if you're camping on sandy or overgrown ground, you can climb up a ladder, sweep your shoes away, and get into the tent without tracking anything inside.
2. A comfortable sleeping platform/mat.
This may not be true if you have the trendiest ground tent and inflatable mattress ever, but in general, rooftop tents include high-density memory foam mattresses that are much more comfortable than inflatable mattresses. Especially if your partner or loved one is camping with you - they take off from the inflatable mattress almost every time various other personal relocation gets old quickly.
Rooftop tents also have a sturdy base (usually fiberglass, steel, aluminum or something similar) that is very smooth unlike the ground. Despite the inflatable mattress, sleeping on the rocky ground isn't fun. And if you ask me, the princess and the pea story isn't that dramatic. Sleeping overhead in a rooftop tent is more like sleeping in a bed at home as far as general comfort is concerned.
This is an included advantage of leaving the ground, but it deserves its own factor. If your tent is off the ground, pets are less likely to get into your tent, especially if you remove the ladder without being in the tent, so squirrels and the like can't climb up. Strange reptiles such as reptiles, scorpions or snakes are also more difficult to get into your tent.
It's also more intimidating for those who may be hoping to get some nice camping gear at a five-finger discount, as they will have a hard time removing your ~150-pound roof tent from the top of your car, especially without making a lot of noise or hurting themselves. The tent on the ground can be taken apart in a matter of minutes, or stolen.
In addition to your vehicle, there is your tent that allows you to hide expensive equipment inside a locked car while you sleep. Some hardy off-roaders sleep over in their beds with the roof over them, but that means all their gear has to be elsewhere when they're resting. With RTT, your equipment stays in place and securely locked at all times.
If you've ever put the night into a ground tent during a wind/rain/hail/blizzard, you'll realize that by tapping your tent product you may stay awake all night, may find yourself in a cold morning watering, and may find your tent irreparably damaged.
It would be especially frightening if you did somehow fall asleep and then woke up to find the worn side of your tent blown flush with the ground to the point that it essentially surrounds you. Or, worse, that your tent has had its stakes ripped out and you're surrounded by hamsters around your camping area.
The good news is that none of these issues are a concern for roof top tents. Many of them have sturdy fiberglass panels that either pop right out or pop up at an angle, which protects you from most aspects.
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