I’ve camped in a wide variety of setups in my life and my camping style has naturally evolved from the bare minimum to quite an elaborate set up these days. From sleeping in a hammock tent in my younger years with an esky and dry food, to buying my first camper trailer, until recently where I purchased my first roof top tent. I’ve seen roof top tents in camping stores for years beforehand but for some reason, I had no desire to buy one. That was until one of my good mates bought a roof top tent and started raving about how good it was. From then, It didn’t take me long before I purchased one for myself.
While the camper trailer is very comfortable, the roof top tent that’s fitted to my 4×4 is certainly more primitive. Sleeping above the ground in a soft, comfortable bed far away from the dangers below is an experience that’s hard to describe. With our ancestors sleeping in trees to survey the land and escape the dangerous creatures below, there must be something in our genetics that make the roof top tent very settling and comfortable. While the roof top tent is a bit bulky, the seamless setup makes for a terrific addition to my camping arsenal and it’s proved to be a worthwhile investment for anybody who spends a bit of time sleeping under the stars.
The roof top tent is robust and can withstand adverse weather conditions, and you can take it pretty much anywhere your 4×4 can travel. Despite this, there are a range of factors which must be considered, so to help you make the best decision when purchasing a roof top tent for your 4×4, we’ve compiled a list of factors which you should consider.
Roof Racks & Vehicle Load Capacity
To install a roof top tent on your 4×4, you’ll need to purchase roof racks if you don’t already own them. Keep in mind that the majority of roof top tents weigh more than 50kg, so you’ll need to purchase a roof top tent that is compatible with your roof racks. The weight of your roof top tent along with your vehicle’s load capacity and roof rack compatibility are vital factors which must considered in unison to ensure you don’t run into any problems.
It’s recommended to contact your vehicle manufacturer and your roof rack manufacturer to confirm that the weight of your roof top tent will be suitable for your vehicle. Typically, you’ll need to find out the load capacity and static weight capacity of your vehicle along with your roof racks dynamic weight capacity to ensure that the weight of your roof top tent (including those who sleep in it) can be adequately supported. Almost all 4×4 vehicles are designed to withstand the loads associated with a rollover, so generally the static weight capacity won’t be a problem. But, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Hard Shell or Soft Shell?
The weight of your roof top tent is influenced considerably by the type of tent you purchase. Soft shell tents are typically manufactured from poly/cotton fabric and weigh much less than hard shell tents. On the contrary, hard shell tents are made from fibreglass or aluminium and are more durable, easier to setup, and have a much longer lifespan. If you have a smaller 4×4 then you may find that a hard shell tent will be too heavy for your vehicle and/or roof racks. Additionally, if you’re about to purchase your first roof top tent, then it’s recommended that you start with a soft shell given that they’re much cheaper and can be detached from your 4×4 a lot easier than hard shell tents.
The installation of your tent on your 4×4 is another important factor which should be considered before purchase. When installing your roof top tent, you’ll need to bolt the tent to your roof racks, so generally getting a professional to do this for you is recommended. On the other hand, if you’re handy and feel that you can do this yourself, don’t forget to follow the instructions meticulously and ask a couple of friends to help you lift the tent on top of your roof.
If you’re looking for a wide variety of roof top tents for your 4×4, get in touch with the specialists at TJM Dandenong. We have tents that are both mould and waterproof, tents with fully screened windows and doors, and even tents that have a pull-out veranda and optional zip-on annexe for additional comfort. For more information, speak with one of our friendly staff by phoning 03 9792 1116.