Not many inexperienced campers consider theft a danger when they go camping, and if they do, it usually means that they will pack valuables away in their cars and lock them at night.
Whether or not your tent gets stolen is actually a great concern for many rooftop tent campers, and here’s why:
Reasons Why Rooftop Tents get Stolen:
Rooftop tents are expensive and therefore valuable. They have pretty easy mechanisms to attach and detach them from your car, making them somewhat simple to steal. Special nuts and bolts, applicators, and mounting bracket locks are available to keep your tent safe from theft when you aren’t around.
Can You Lock a Rooftop Tent?
Locking your rooftop tent is not only possible but highly recommended.
The traditional way to lock your rooftop tent is through the use of security nuts and bolts. These hardware pieces are designed to require a specific adapter or tool to unscrew any bolts that keep your rooftop tent attached to your vehicle.
This means that anyone trying to steal your tent would find it impossible to use a regular wrench or tool to get it off. They most likely will grow frustrated by being unable to turn or even grasp at the bolts keeping your tent attached.
There are also mounting bracket locks for rooftop tents that essentially are locked with a small key that you keep with you. These prevent anything from being removed from the rooftop, even if you unscrew every bolt!
Locks like this are sold separately by the manufacturer or are sometimes included in your purchase of a rooftop tent.
Why they don’t come standard with every purchase is anyone’s guess.
How Easy is it to Steal a Rooftop Tent?
Most tents weigh around 100-200lbs depending on the size of tent you get and the accessories that you put with it.
This means that it is not exactly easy to steal your rooftop tent, but it is quite possible.
Rooftop tents pride themselves on being easy to set up and take down within minutes – sometimes less than fifteen minutes!
This means that if someone was going to burgle your campsite while you’re down at the lake or canoeing on the river, they may arrive and leave with your rooftop tent in no time at all.
A burglar can easily unscrew whatever nuts and bolts you used to screw in your rooftop tent if you don’t purchase anything specific – such as the security locks and bolts we talked about before.
Furthermore, some rooftop tents are built to be easy to handle between one or two people. Without needing a small group of people to detach the tent from your car, it is easy for an individual or a pair to steal your tent before you even knew it was gone.
Finally, because most rooftop tent campers don’t stay in actual campsites but rather on the open road or in national parks, it is harder for your camping neighbors to keep an eye on your stuff for you when you go hiking or leave for dinner.
Always, always, always lock your rooftop tent, and do not leave it unattended!
Do they Often get Stolen?
It is quite rare that a rooftop tent gets stolen, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen.
Just like it is rare for a bear to enter your campsite, campers will still take precautions to prevent the worst from happening. It only takes one theft to ruin rooftop tent camping for a user forever.
Many hikers and campers will park their car and leave it in a small parking lot or on the side of the road once they reach their destination. These areas usually include other hikers, hunters, park rangers, or sight-seers.
As soon as you leave and head off to the woods or the beach to hiking, take photos, swim, or have a picnic, you are leaving your rooftop tent unaccompanied with plenty of people who could easily snatch it from the top of your truck.
Again, while it is rare that rooftop tents are reported stolen, they are a highly valuable item, and you should protect them with mechanisms, locks, and other methods to keep them safe.
Locking Mechanisms You Can Purchase Today!
Prevention starts with buying the proper gear.
There are plenty of options out there for rooftop tent campers to protect their assets.
1. The Tepui Security Nut System:
This amazing security system from Tepui includes a sloped tool design that screws in your bolts without using a traditional wrench.
This package includes 8 security nuts and 1 Spanner Driver tool. The Tepui Security Nut System meets available bolt length and roof clearance requirements.
Not only will your bolts be strong and secured to the top of your vehicle to prevent damage or injury, but they will deter and prevent theft as well!
2. iKamper Anti-Theft Mounting Bracket Lock:
The iKamper Anti-Theft Mounting Bracket Locks are perfect for your iKamper tent needs.
While these are compatible only with iKamper mounting brackets, they are a great resource to have to prevent your costly rooftop tent from being stolen.
This set comes with two locks and two keys. They are straightforward to install and are small enough to fit in your glove box!
How Do you Prevent your Rooftop Tent from Getting Stolen?
Preventing your rooftop tent from getting stolen is best done with the proper hardware, but if you want to take added precautions, you should consider a few more steps:
Park in a Safe Area:
While it can be tempting to rough it in the great outdoors, there are always going to be people around who are just as interested in rooftop camping as you are.
Even if you are in the middle of nowhere, you’d be surprised how many people show up to look at the view, hike the hills, or swim in the ocean. Therefore, it is crucial that you know if there are other people around you when you are camping but do research ahead of time and make sure that it is a safe area to park in.
Furthermore, if you are in a crowded campground, it is even more important to lock your tent, as there are many more people to be potentially wary of.
Always Zip and Lock your Tent:
While the safest place for your valuables is in your locked car, some users will store their items in tents.
Many tent users will install small padlocks or even bike locks on their tent zippers to prevent someone from getting inside their tent when it is not in use.
If you leave your tent unzipped, half-zipped, or even zipped all the way but without a lock, you never know who might go poking around in there.
If you don’t store anything in your rooftop tent, consider collapsing it when it is not in use.
Install Security Lights in your Campsite:
If you have a traditional campsite that you are using when rooftop tent camping, consider installing bright lights with motion sensors or other triggers to help keep people away.
Most theft occurs either at night or in the open when there is no one around to see the thieves.
If you aren’t at your tent during the daytime, ask a camping neighbor to keep an eye on your site for you, and install locks. If it is the middle of the night, floodlights will deter and scare off any thief who might come sneaking around.
Either way, having extra light when camping is never a bad thing.
Consider Buying Insurance:
You can insure your rooftop tent because it is considered an item that you own.
Rooftop tents aren’t an RV, they aren’t your car, and they aren’t your home. Therefore, they fall under a Homeowners or Renters Personal Property policy.
As someone who loves her renter’s insurance, let me explain:
My renter’s insurance protects items that I own, even if I do not own the home they reside in. If someone broke into my house or car and stole my laptop, I could claim that on my insurance.
The same goes for my costly rooftop tent.
However, make sure you call ahead to your insurance provider and ask them if your rooftop tent qualifies or if you have adequate insurance coverage to replace your tent upon being stolen.
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.