June 27, 2021 3 min read

Sleeping in a rooftop tent is pretty dreamy; it takes the best things about tent camping but adds the magic of a tree fort perched above it all. Immediate perks include maximum cross breeze ventilation and waking up to gorgeous views. We were interested in learning more about this new camping trend, so we got the lowdown on sleeping up high from the car top tent experts themselves:  Doghouse Tents. 

Why use a rooftop tent?

There are many benefits to a sleeping in a RTT (roof top tent): 

  • You are sleeping off of the ground, away from insects, critters, and nosy camp neighbors and closer to the stars.
  •  You are on a perfectly flat surface every time you set up camp. No need to move rocks or avoid roots & ruts. 
  • Rooftop tents are fast and easy to set up and break down, only about 5 minutes!


What are some things you should know before you purchase a rooftop tent?

You are still camping! One misconception I think people have is that a car top tent with a stock 3" mattress will be like sleeping in a bed at home... Test it out before that long trip and maybe you want some additional padding or to upgrade the mattress to something like the  HEST Dually. ;)

Which fits perfectly in our tents… Pictured on this page is the Dually Wide in the Doghouse  Summit Tent!


What kind of cross bars/roof rack will you need to get to support a rooftop tent on top of your vehicle?

Although many cars have good stock roof racks we recommend having aftermarket crossbars. Due to the wide variety of vehicles & rack options you would need to check with the manufacturer for the specs on the rack & how much weight they can hold.  Read more here for details on racks & vehicles!


Any other accessories/things you'll need to prepare your car before you buy a Rooftop Tent?

Besides a roof rack, I think the only other thing you might want is a mat to put at the bottom of the ladder. There are many accessories to consider as well like an  annex(an enclosure that attaches to the bottom of the tent creating a ladder room). Lighting is another nice thing to have! You can get elaborate with wire LEDs or go simple like I do and just have a battery powered lantern. Lights are lovely!


Any downsides/cons of car top tent camping?

The only con with a roof top tent is that it is literally on top of your car. If you need to run somewhere for supplies, you’ll need to break down your tent. This is why it’s nice to camp with a friend with a second errand & day trip vehicle. Makes popping into town for extra ice an easier task. 

Also, that your tent needs to be where the car is. No pitching a tent in a spot for a view, but then again you’re up high so the view is guaranteed no matter where you set up. 


Any setting up/putting away tricks or tips?

  • Make sure you keep the mattress from pinching in the joint where the two halves of the floor lock into each other. Failure to do this can damage the tent. 
  • Double check the straps before you leave. If the tent isn’t properly secured it can be very dangerous to drive. 
  • Also use the ladder to leverage opening and closing your tent!