How Comfortable Are Rooftop Tents Really? (Explained)

Rooftop tents have been gaining in popularity over the past few years.

As a result, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about them.

One of the most popular questions is, are rooftop tents comfortable?

Rooftop tents are indeed comfortable.  They are made with materials that are durable, lightweight, and unlikely to develop mold. They also have mattresses built into them on most occasions, and they elevate campers off of the ground, which can be safer and more comfortable in bad weather.

Online Roof-Top Tent Stores:

Here are some of the most popular online stores to buy roof-top tents:

StoresPrice rangeModelsVisit
iKamper$$-$$$4Visit here
Thule$-$$$7Visit here
CampSaver$-$$$24Visit here
RoofNest$$-$$$7Visit here

How Is The Bottom of a Roof Top Tent Constructed

The bottom of a rooftop tent can be constructed from a multitude of materials.

DIY’ers will often use plywood, but this can make for a heavy and less-durable bottom.  It also leaves the tent bottom susceptible to mold as well as warping.

For this reason, professional rooftop tent companies like iKamper, Thule, and Roofnest will use materials like aluminum, fiberglass, or hard plastics in their rooftop tent bottom designs.

These materials are durable, lightweight, and unlikely to develop mold.  Also, if these materials do develop any sort of surface mold, it can easily be cleaned off.

Fiberglass and plastic rooftop tent bottoms also have the advantage of not being less sensitive to temperature changes.

The aluminum might hold the heat in the summer and the cold in the winter, while fiberglass and plastic will not.

On the flip side, aluminum rooftop tent bottoms can be more durable and less expensive than fiberglass and plastic rooftop tent bottoms. 

Aluminum won’t ever require any maintenance, and your aluminum rooftop tent bottom may end up outliving you.

Can You Actually Feel the Rails Below The Tent

It isn’t possible to feel the rails below a good rooftop tent.

This is mostly because of the aluminum, fiberglass, or hard plastics that we discussed earlier.

These platforms are thick and rigid enough that you shouldn’t have to worry about the rails poking through on you.

Even if the platform wasn’t enough to stop you from feeling the rails, you still wouldn’t have to worry about them.  The reason for this is that all rooftop tents come with some sort of bedding over top of the platform.

For example, the iKamper SkyCamp 2.0 comes with a 1.8″ high-density memory foam mattress.

Between this and your sleeping bag, you’ll have a good 2 inches of padding between you and the platform.

Can You Use a Regular Mattress in Roof Top Tents?

A standard home mattress isn’t going to fit inside of a rooftop tent.

For starters, it will be too thick to allow your rooftop tent to close correctly, and it will add too much bulk to the top of your roof.

These mattresses probably won’t be the right dimensions either.  Many rooftop tents have beds with custom dimensions, so a standard mattress just isn’t going to work without making modifications.

On top of all of this, many rooftop mattresses are designed so that they can fold out when the tent is opened up.  For this reason, the mattress must be made of a material that can easily fold up. 

You simply can’t cut a spring mattress up, and even if you could, it wouldn’t fold up properly.

This being said, it is possible to make your own mattress from a piece of foam.

Just be sure to measure the inside of the tent box so that you don’t buy foam that is too thick for your particular tent.

7 Ways to Make Your Roof Top Tent More Comfortable:

Rooftop tents are generally more comfortable than standard tents as is, but there are a few ways to make them even more comfortable.

Here are 7 ways to make your rooftop tent more comfortable:

1. Add Additional Padding

Rooftop tent beds are usually pretty comfortable, but you can make them even more comfortable by placing additional padding on top of them.

Some people use egg crate padding, while others will buy pillowtop mattress covers to bring into the tent with them.

2. Use a Quilt

You might also want to consider using a quilt on the side of your tent.

This can be used when it is cold outside, and it will act to help break some of the wind and to help trap additional heat inside of your tent.

3. Park in a Sheltered Area

Another thought to keep in mind is that where you park matters.

If it is cold and windy out, you might want to consider parking in a sheltered area where you’ll be less susceptible to the wind.

4. Park in an Open Area

On the other hand, if it’s hot out, you might be better off parking someplace where you’ll get a nice breeze.

Rooftop tents will naturally get more air, so if you park in the right area, you’ll be a lot cooler than people who are stuck tent camping on the ground.

5. Park on Level Ground

Sleeping on a level platform is much more comfortable than sleeping on an angle, so you’ll want to make sure your vehicle is parked on a level spot before you set your tent up.

6. Buy a Fan & Crack Windows

Once you’re parked and set up for the night, you might want to set a fan up in your tent.

You can buy small tent fans that hang from the top of your tent to help cool you off.

Not only this, but they can also help to reduce condensation, which can be a real problem in any tent. Consider cracking a window in your rooftop tent as well. 

This will also help to reduce condensation, so you won’t have to worry about waking up in a wet tent each morning.

Final Thoughts

Rooftop tents are generally more comfortable than traditional tents.

Buy one that suits your needs and consider taking advantage of the seven tips above, and you’ll end up having one of the most comfortable camping tents a person can own.

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