The point of rooftop tent camping is to be elevated off the ground, but some users want to try it the opposite way.
If you’ve ever considered the possibilities of sleeping in a rooftop tent on solid earth, consider a few things first:
How is the Bottom of Rooftop Tents Constructed?
The bottom of a rooftop tent is made to be clipped into your vehicle using a rack placed on top of your car or truck.
Your rooftop tent might have a metal bottom, an undercarriage with clips or attachments, or it may be uneven on the ground if it has rungs or other features to help clip it to your car.
This means that the bottom of your rooftop tent is not only going to have that clipping system to attach to your vehicle but it also most likely won’t have the ability to stake into the ground.
Needless to say, your rooftop tent probably can’t detach its metal clips or rungs, so it would lay uneven or wobbly on the ground if you were to place it down.
It should be heavy enough to keep it steady, but it may not be very comfortable.
Can Rooftop Tents be Damaged When Used on the Ground?
Your rooftop tent has the potential to be damaged when it is on the ground.
As we’ve mentioned above, your rooftop tent will have clips, metal rungs, or even metal rings that are meant to help attach it to the top of a vehicle’s rack.
If you place your tent on the ground, you could potentially bend or damage the materials beneath that are meant to attach to your vehicle, making it impossible to change it back to a rooftop tent later.
Roof Top Tents are Made for Rooftops:
This may sound self-explanatory, but the point of rooftop tent camping is to have a place on top of your vehicle or trailer that you can call home for the night.
It isn’t supposed to be a long-term solution or a luxurious camping experience, but it gets the job done and keeps you warm and dry in the meantime.
Camping in a rooftop tent on the ground can open you up to the same problems that regular tent camping has: damp, animals, and cold conditions.
When it is dry and warm outside all night, camping on the ground is a great way to have a great adventure, but if the night gets cool and damp, you could end up with wet sleeping bags and a chill in your chest come morning.
Furthermore, most users will opt for a rooftop tent if they are in an area that may include much curious or even dangerous wildlife, so make sure you know where you’re going and how you want to camp when you get there.
Which Models Can be Used on the Ground?
There are a few models that both can be used on the ground or can be adapted as a rooftop tent and traditional ground tent combination.
1. Thule x Tepui Explorer Autana 4 + Annex
The Thule x Tepui is a classic adaptable truck bed camping tent which allows you to sleep both up top or on the ground.
This will both attach to your truck and stake into the ground. You can also decide only to use it as a rooftop tent by taking off the ground attachment.
It has an anti-condensation system in the tent’s base to prevent a damp mattress or sleeping bag, and it includes extra storage in the shape of pockets and gear anchor points.
Not only does this method of rooftop tent camping add extra space to your camping experience, but it makes it feel a little more traditional.
However, setup for this kind of tent takes a little bit of time, so ensure that you are prepared to take the extra time to do so.
1. Skycamp Mini Lo Annex Room from Ikamper.com:
The Skycamp Mini Lo Annex Room from Ikamper.com is an amazing attachment for your every need.
While this is a far more luxurious rooftop tent camping experience, the Ikamper Skycamp is great for larger families or campers who are ready to make camp for several days or even weeks.
If you like to camp in a traditional campground for a long period of time but can’t afford an RV, this is the tent for you.
The Skycamp Mini Lo Annex Room comes with plenty of stakes, poles, ropes, adjusters, and storage to keep in place for easy assembly and sturdy camping.
It also has three large doors that open up and can be converted into canopies, is 100% waterproof, and has an added mosquito net for all doors when closed.
This tent will make rooftop tent camping feel like luxurious glamping, for sure!
3. Roofnest Falcon XL
A little on the pricier side, the Roofnest Falcon XL is a great little A-Frame-looking rooftop tent that is less than great for easy rooftop camping.
However, as this rooftop tent has a pretty flat bottom at its base, it is conceivable that you could use it on the ground.
Again, it is important to note that placing a rooftop tent on the ground could damage any attachment parts that are at the base of the tent, so make sure to check your product before using it in a way that could be harmful to it.
The Roofnest Falcon XL has enough room for 2-3 people and weighs about 160 lbs. It comes included with a 7.5-foot ladder, an anti-condensation mat, added pocket storage, a padded ceiling, and LED lighting!
Not only is this great for the top of your vehicle, but it makes a great little sleeping compartment for any occasion!
Shelby Sullivan is our specialist when it comes to pontoon boats and recreational watercraft. She is often found sailing the freshwater lakes of Michigan. She is also a light-traveler who enjoys camping and traveling the world. Read more about Shelby here.