How To Mount Roof Top Tent: 4 Effective Step By Step Methods

How To Mount Roof Top Tent: Easy Step by Step Installation Guide

Camping was popular for a long time.  Although there have not been many innovations in the art of sleeping under the stars. However, roof top tents which are set on top of their lofty perches, are getting double-takes from a large number of ground-based campers today.

In this article, you will find out what you need to know about how to mount roof top tent onto the roof of your car.

How to Mount Roof Top Tent: 4 different Step by Step Methods

How do you know whether a roof top tent fits your vehicle?

How heavy are roof top tents?

Roof top tents can be very heavy, therefore it is essential that your roof rack must be able to support the total weight of the tent when it is moving. That is what you call an indication of the dynamic transport capacity for the roof rack which often ranges between 50kg and 100kg. It’s good to know that a fully packed roof top tent (so without anyone else) is unlikely to weigh greater than 100 kilos. 

Weight capacity

Dynamic weight  for rooftop tents

The dynamic weight capacity is the weight your car will be able to handle while driving. It represents the highest weight capacity that is specified by the vehicle manufacturer. It’s the weight capacity required to support the weight of your rooftop tent.

Static weight for rooftop tents

The static weight capacity, on the other side, refers to what is the weight the car can carry at the time the car is in the garage, the tent is put up, before it is set up and the ladder can be added. Because the ladder provides additional support it means that this static weight capacity can be generally three times greater than the dynamic weight capacity. This is the weight needed to support the tent as well as the sleepers inside.

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Do you require the roof rack for you to mount a roof top tent?

Yes! Rooftop tents can be hung onto the rack system of your vehicle either a van, truck or SUV. While roof platforms with slats are useful for transporting bulky and large gear such as fuel cans, water cans firewood and more, they’re not permitted to use the installation of a roof top tent.

Crossbars Distance Requirement

Crossbars should be at minimum 30 inches from each other, in a longitudinal direction, to support a solid roof top tent. Again is weight capacity the most important point. The majority of existing crossbars aren’t built to handle load over 200 kg, which is much more than the weight that an average roof top tent and a pair of adult weights.

“In short: Standard crossbars while suitable for a pair of skis, are not suitable for a hard shell rooftop tent.”


The type of roof on your vehicle

Roof top tents are compatible with all roof types, with the exception of bare roofs without tracks and rails. A car equipped with a sunroof performs perfectly, however, not glass roofs.

The roof top tent works on vehicles equipped with crossbars or gutters, side rails racks and roofs that have fixed points. However, do not mount the tent on factory-installed crossbars and side rails which were included with your car because they will not be able to take on the load.

 There are four techniques to attach roof racks to your vehicle:

  1. Your vehicle includes roof rails and longitudinal bars. They run along with all the widths of your vehicle and are able to install the roof box as an example. The bars are attached to the vehicle’s roof according to the length of the vehicle and you will see these types of rails frequently f.e. on SUVs.
  2. The roof of your vehicle is equipped with four anchor points fixed to the bars. They are typically covered with plastic covers. You’ll need special support brackets for you to mount roof bars onto them.
  3. Your vehicle does not have rails and anchoring points. There are roof bars that can be fitted into the doors’ openings.
  4. Your vehicle is fitted with gutters so you can install them onto your roof rack.

Each one of these options will require a different approach. Therefore, study your vehicle’s owner’s manual to determine what you require prior to deciding to purchase anything online.

Tools you’ll need to install roof top tent

Every tent is a bit different in what you require for its installation. The majority of tent manufacturers provide the needed tools to aid in installation. 


  • Ratcheting wrench and socket set
  • Allen wrench set
  • Box cutter
  • Metal file


  • Rooftop tent
  • The crossbars are also a roof rack

How to install the roof top tent on your vehicle’s roof: Step-By-Step Installation

Installing a roof top tent with others Help

Setting up your roof top tent isn’t difficult. However, don’t make haste. Installing it correctly ensures that your tent will not blow out of your vehicle’s top of the vehicle when moving. Be cautious.

Step 1

Make use of the box cutter to open the rooftop tent box, remove the tent and place it on an even surface.

Step 2

Your tent package includes mounting hardware including a ladder, tent cover, ladder brackets and channel sliders, bolts and nuts as well as steel mounting plates as well as bolts equipped with washers

Step 3

The channel slides should be positioned on the same side as your tent hinge. Be sure to ensure that the track with the holes that have been pre-drilled at the bottom and the top of the tent.

Step 4

Move the bolts using washers, between the mattress as well as the tent base. Then, screw the bolts to the nuts on the slide channels. This will secure them to the mounting tracks against the tent.

Step 5

Then turn over the tent upside down to attach it to ladder brackets. Similar to the way you attach the mounting tracks since the bolts are placed between the mattress and the tent base. Use bolts for secure the bolts but don’t tighten them until you are ready.

Step 6

The ladder on the ladder brackets by using the correct hardware. Make sure you follow your tent’s directions. After you have the ladder along with the brackets are securely attached then make sure to tighten the bolts as per the directions in your manual.

Step 7

Next, attach the tent cover onto the C-channel the cover is able to slide into. The spurs of metal on the ends of the channel could cause injuries. Make use of the metal file if the C-channel has spurs.

Step 8

Close the cover shut.

Step 9

You’ll need assistance with this step. Two people must lift the tent onto your vehicle’s top of your vehicle. Be sure that you have mounting tracks are parallel to the roof rack crossbars.

Step 10

Set it in such a way that it opens in the direction you prefer it to open. Most people have them open towards the passenger side however the direction of opening is your choice.

Step 11

Install the channel sliders and bolts inside their mounting tracks. Slide them over until they are straddling the roof rack crossbar. You’ll need be able to lift your tent to move one bolt on the opposite part of the crossbar. Repeat this procedure for the four mounting tracks

Step 12

Install the metal mounting plates on the underneath of each mounting track. Attach them using the supplied nuts and tighten them using the wrench.

Step 13

Install the plastic cap on the ends of mounting tracks.

Step 14

Refuel, load up and check the tire pressure, then go camping.

How to mount roof top tent by yourself

Set Up Your Top Tent with a Hoist

Hoists are the most secure and most efficient method. It is possible to mount the rooftop tent by yourself by using it. Hoists are a common device that is easily found in our garages. Hoists bear the weight of roofs. It is able to lift and load the weight safely. The entire process functions as pulling system. Learn these tips to accomplish this task with clarity.

1. Before you use a hoist, examine the location that the tents are in first. Then, pull the tent beneath the lift. Then, secure the hinge of the heavy strap with a secure tie.

2. After securing on the straps lift your tent. The tent should be lifted as high as you can in order to create enough space to accommodate the vehicles.

3. Place the vehicle. It is important to do this job with care. Before putting the vehicle beneath the tent ensure the vehicle’s weight that it is not too much or too small.

4. Keep your tent more down. Connect it to the mounting components

Set Up Your Top Tent by putting it on Tracks

Tracks are inclined planes that give the user an advantage over the effort they’re putting into.

Tracks are a type of ramp that allows you to slide the tent up and onto the roof of Your vehicle.

Without the hoist, you must move the tent up the slope by hand and then back up to that roof that is on top of the vehicle.

  1. Place your tracks onto the roof rack (can be done from the side or rear of vehicle)
  2. Make sure to secure the tracks to and both ground or roof (the weight and pushing might cause the tracks to move)
  3. Slide the roof top tent up the tracks
  4. Once you’ve reached the edge, push to the top of roof racks or pivot the racks until they are in line to their counterparts on the vehicle roof and then begin to push.
  5. Be sure to securely mount your roof top tent

“This technique could be a bit hazy in the event that your tracks aren’t strong as well as secure enough. Make sure you choose an easy slope instead of an upward slope and it’s easier and more secure”

Set Up Your Top Tent with no Tools

If you’re not keen to install your roof using tools. There is a different option as well. You are able to install it by yourself without any tools. Each of the tools which we will mention below will make your work easier and faster readily available.

  1. Set the tent to make it lean over its roof racks at some stages as back or side to side.
  2. Set on the roof tent against the side. Because of this, it will not have enough space to be able to reach with the roof racks. Then, start with lift it. The tent might have sat on its way through the roof racks.
  3. In the last stages you will be able to turn the roof tent along the edges so that the tent gets close to the edges. Then, start it to go both up and down, similar to pivot motions.
  4. Then lift and place the tent onto top of the roof racks.

Risks of Putting Rooftop Tents by Yourself

There are plenty of hazards and risks that you should be aware of.

  • The risk of injury to oneself(mostly in the lower back) Be sure to wear gloves for work to avoid any cuts caused by brackets or exposed metal. Lift your legs correctly, not your back.
  • Damage to the car When putting up the tent, it is possible to slide and scratch, dent or harm the vehicle. Plan ahead, test the tent on grass first. Ask for help.
  • Tent’s Damage If you drop it at that height, the canvas is ripped or snapping components on collision and you’re in danger of damaging your gorgeous tent.
  • You’re putting your ego at risk Don’t be shy to seek assistance. These tents are heavy and difficult to carry. An additional pair of hands can aid in making the job easier.

How do you put up an roof top tent?

What is the time required to open the rooftop tent?

Roof top tents do not take an excessive amount of time to set up. Once you’ve reached the place you want to go, it takes usually between 6 to 10 minutes to open a tent. It is possible to leave your sleeping arrangements in the tent when it’s set up on the roof and not have to bring it in and out each trip.

What are the best ways to use your rooftop tent?

After you’ve arrived at the destination, how do you open the rooftop tent? You have two choices: pop-up or fold-out. Both are much quicker and more convenient than conventional ground tents.

Fold-out is a usual feature on softshell roof top tents. Just take off the travel cover, take out the ladder and unfold the tent. Make adjustments to the ladder to make sure it gets down to the floor.

Pop-up The most common type of hard shell roof top tents. Just unlatch the latches then the tent will be able to pop up to its place. 

Where can you camp using roof top tents?

You are able to use it anywhere where camping is allowed. Certain national parks, campsites or designated parking areas allow camping. Review the rules of the local authorities to determine whether they permit car camping.  Many Apps can help you to find the camping locations in your area.

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A roof top tent is a fantastic way to travel. But, you have to plan the installation carefully: Go through the instructions on your vehicle’s weight capacity and compare it with the weight of the tent, buy the right roof rack, install it by yourself or with help and have fun on your camping trip!

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Learn also how you can close Your tent properly.


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