Are Roof-Top Tents Waterproof? (What You Need to Know)

As an avid camper, nothing is more uncomfortable than sleeping in a tent that is not waterproof.

If you are looking into a rooftop tent, you want to make sure that you and your bedding stay dry throughout the night.

Here’s the Rundown on Waterproof Rooftop Tents:

As long as there is no damage, every rooftop tent that you purchase should be waterproof. This is because the fabric used is made of a waterproof material that consists of a polyester and cotton blend. Not only this, most rooftop tents come with a thick waterproof cover.

If you are unsure about the particular tent you are purchasing, you can look at the waterproof rating.

To be waterproof, a tent must have a waterproof rating of at least 1,000mm HH. This is the minimal rating a tent must achieve to be considered waterproof.

How Waterproof are Rooftop Tents?

Unfortunately, when you are camping in a traditional tent, the first place water can get in is from the ground, instead of from above.

Rooftop tents are even more waterproof than the average tent because they benefit from not resting on the ground.

However, just because a roof-top tent or even a traditional tent is labeled as waterproof, this does not mean that it will be 100% waterproof in all conditions.

There are a few reasons your tent might not be completely waterproof:

1. Damage:

It goes without saying that a tent that is damage could be vulnerable to water and other weather conditions.

Damage that causes a tent to no longer be waterproof is most often found in the seams or the fabric.

2. Wear:

Even the most waterproof tent can get worn down over time.

This will decrease the tent’s ability to continue to be waterproof.

This might necessitate replacing some of the tent components, utilizing waterproofing methods, or replacing the tent.

Using things like Fabric Guard or other outdoor waterproofing solutions can help maintain your tent’s waterproof-effectiveness.

3. Extreme Weather Conditions:

No matter how waterproof your tent is, it could still be penetrated by extreme or harsh conditions.

Extreme rain, wind, or other harsh conditions could cause damage to your tent or leak through the undamaged seams with enough pressure.

What is the Most Waterproof Rooftop Tent Type?

There are a few things to consider when buying a rooftop tent that will help you select a better and more waterproof rooftop tent.

Things to look for include:

1. Waterproof Rating:

Tents are required to follow a rating system to indicate how waterproof they are.

Most tents will state they are waterproof when you purchase them, but there is a range to consider:

  1. 1,000mm HH: this is the smallest number your tent can have to be considered waterproof. This will only help you against light rain, even though the tent will say it is waterproof.
  2. 1,500mm HH: this is slightly higher than the previous category but will still only last in light rain and can begin to leak if you are in heavy or extreme rainfall.
  3. 2,000mm HH: this is the most common type. This is very common in 3-Season tents. This type will be able to handle wind and heavy rain.
  4. 3,000mm HH: anything 3,000mm or above can make it through extreme conditions. This will keep you dry against downpours and heavy winds. These tents are also good when camping in high altitudes.

Even though these tents will withstand water and other weather conditions, it can still be a good idea to waterproof them.

2. Shape of the Tent:

The tent’s shape is not something that you might consider when looking into whether or not the tent is waterproof, but it can be important.

If the roof is shaped to allow water to roll off, this can be better than anything that might collect a pool of water on top.

If too much water collects on your tent, the pressure can cause damage, and the water can come through.

3. Canopy:

You will want to make sure you have a canopy or other covering in front of the door to your tent.

If your door is exposed to the elements, you can get rain in your tent every time you open the door without a cover.

You can find some great canopy accessories for the windows and doors of your rooftop tent by checking out iKamper HERE!

4. Weather hood:

A weather hood can help you when you get the rain that is coming in sideways.

Your tent should allow you to purchase a weather hood for your specific model, which will give you another layer of protection against the rain.

5. Hard-Shell Top:

Hard-shelled tents are more water-repellant than soft-shelled tents.

Hard-shell tents are made with either fiberglass or aluminum, which are more waterproof and stable than polyester/cotton blends.

Tents with a hard-shell also have less fabric exposed, so there is less chance of entry for rain or water.

What Can You Do to Make a Rooftop Tent More Water Repellant?

Just because your tent is not the most waterproof doesn’t mean there aren’t steps you can take to increase the waterproof ability of your tent.

Some waterproofing methods include:

1. Checking the Rainfly:

Make sure you properly implement your rainfly. Make sure your ties are tight when setting up your rainfly.

It is advised that you place your rainfly when it is not raining, as doing it while it is already raining can cause it to be more difficult to install.

2. Sealing your Seams:

The seals on your tent can be one of the most common areas that rain or water will cut through.

While most tents seal the seams before you buy, you can also do this yourself to make sure they are secure.

You can accomplish this using a seam sealer on a dry day. Apply the sealant, and then when dry, you can clean your tent with a dry cloth and rubbing alcohol.

You can apply this tactic when you get your tent and reapply as the years go on. This is also an effective method when you notice that your seals are starting to wear down.

3. Apply a Urethane Coat:

If you notice that you have some material flaking away from your tent, you can apply a new urethane coat.

This will help you seal up your tent and prevent further wear.

4. Separate Tarp:

If you are concerned about your tent’s waterproof abilities, you can always add a separate tarp over your tent.

This offers additional protection for a low cost. As long as you secure it properly, this can always be something you can implement against rain and other weather conditions.

These Models are the Most Waterproof Rooftop Tents:

If you are looking for a rooftop tent that is one of the most waterproof, consider the following models:

1. Skycamp 2.0 – Hard-Shell

The Skycamp 2.0 has a premium build, fits 4 people, and most of all is waterproof.

Even though it can be costly, this tent is worth the money that you would spend based on high-quality, durability, as well as features, and available accessories.

This is one of the most popular rooftop tents on the market and is very high-quality.

Furthermore, it is on the expensive side, but it should last you a very long time!

2. Thule Tepui Explorer Kukenam 3 – Soft-Shell

This tent is high in quality, livability, and durability. It can hold up to 3 people and features great canopy options.

This tent offers a better price point than the Skycamp 2.0 because this tent features a soft-shell.

3. Roofnest Falcon – Clamshell

The Roofnest Falcon features a clamshell design that sleeps 2.

This tent is ideal for those who want a rooftop tent but leaves plenty of room left on the top of your vehicle for additional cargo.

This unique shape is also ideal for diverting rain and helping to increase water-resistance.

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