If you love living an active lifestyle that involves outdoor activities like camping, mountain biking, and more, then there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve heard of — or better yet, you’ve given some thought to — Rooftop tents (RTTs).
While there are many questions about RTTs, many campers (especially those keen on getting their hands on one) are curious about where and how they can use them.
This, therefore, begs the question: can RTTs be used on trailers?
RTT comes in various shapes and sizes, making them very easy to use on just about any trailer. It is important, however, that you know your trailer’s weight capacity.
This way, you’ll end up settling on an RTT that is not only good for your trailer but also one that your trailer can support.
Here’s an Idea of How to Mount your Rooftop Tent on your Trailer:
Mounting a rooftop trailer to your camper, utility trailer, or other system is similar to mounting it on top of your car. Most trailers can hold a capacity of up to 1,000 lbs, depending on the type that you have. Mount your rooftop tent to your trailer using installed roof racks and mounting tracks.
How Do You Mount A Roof Top Tent On A Trailer?
Mounting an RTT on a trailer is not as hard as it sounds.
In fact, you’ll be surprised by how easy it is. The trick with mounting rooftop tents correctly on top of a trailer is all about the tools that you use, particularly when using the right tools the right way.
The tools you’ll need when mounting RTT include a box cutter, 10-millimeter ratcheting wrench, 13 mm Ratcheting wrench, and hacksaw.
You’ll also need the following hardware accessories:
- Tent Cover
- Channel Slides (with Nuts and Bolts)
- Bolts with Washers
- Steel Mounting Plates
- Ladder Brackets
Equally important when mounting RTT on trailers is following the right steps, from pre-installation to the actual set up process of the tent on top of your trailer.
That said, these steps (if followed correctly) will see you set up your RTT on your trailer in no time.
Step 1: Prepare Your Trailer:
Once you’ve received your RTT, you’ll need to place it on a surface that is not only clean but also stable.
You can get such a surface by simply removing any debris present on your trailer. To make your surface stable, you’ll need stabilizers.
If you don’t already have stabilizers, try to find ones that fit your trailer’s dimensions and purchase them online.
Step 2: Installing Mounting Tracks:
When installing mounting tracks, make sure you install them perpendicular to the crossbars or rails on your roof rack system.
This way, they’ll easily attach to the sidebars.
You’ll also need to secure your mounting tracks. You can do these using washers.
Place them on each bolt and input them slowly until you pop each bolt into the hole.
Step 3: Use Your Ladder:
Once you’ve mounted your tracks on the trailer and placed your RTT on it, you’ll need to turn it over.
You can do this using the ladder your RTT came with.
If your ladder came separately, you’d need to attach it to the tent first. You can do this by taking the ladder brackets and aligning them over pre-drilled holes at the edges of your RTT.
Ensure that you remove the bolts from the brackets before you start attaching the ladder to your tent.
Step 4: Cover:
With your ladder working smoothly, you’ll then want to re-secure your RTT on your trailer.
Do this using the C-channel located on the side of your RTT.
Step 5: Positioning:
With the RTT on top of your trailer, it’s now time to re-position it if necessary.
You can do this by placing two channel sliders and the provided bolts into each end of the mounting tracks.
Once you are done, lift your RTT slightly, then move the slide/bolt combo to have one on every side.
Do these for each area of the mounting track, as well as where the crossbars meet.
Step 7: Secure Your Roof Rack:
To secure your roof rack, you’ll need steel mounting plates, four of them to be precise.
Place them under each pair of mounting channel sliders, then use the provided nuts to secure them in place before tightening them with a wrench.
How Much Weight Can A Trailer Carry On Top?
This tends to vary depending on the type of trailer you have.
There are currently three types of trailers that are very commonly used alongside RTTs:
- A-Frame Camper Trailer
- Small Open Utility Trailer
- Pop-Up Camper Trailer
With the a-frame camper trailer, you can carry on the top weight between 1,300 and 2,400 pounds. On the other hand, the pop-up camper trailer can carry a weight between 1,400 and 3,000 pounds.
This gives you a decent load capacity of 3,000 pounds.
With small open utility trailers, the total amount of weight you can carry depends on the type of open utility trailer you have. If you have a short aluminum utility trailer, you’ll be able to carry weight up to 1,000 lbs.
A wide, double-ax trailer, on the other hand, allows you to carry up to 3,000 pounds.
How Heavy Are Roof Top Tents?
While there is no definite answer to this question, RTTs typically weigh between 100 and 200 lbs.
This difference is usually a result of several factors, with the main ones being the size of your RTT, sleeping capacity, and materials used to build it.
If you are dealing with an RTT designed to occupy, let’s say, 3 or 4 people, expect it to weigh close to 200lbs. RTTs designed to occupy 1 or 2 people are typically not that heavy.
One or two-person rooftop tents will usually weigh around 100 to 120 lbs.
How Much Support Do These Roof Top Tents Need?
RTTs, provided you have the right roof rack system, can be mounted on just about any trailer.
However, it is important to know the amount of support they need as this helps with choosing the right support system for your rooftop system.
In general, RTTs weigh between 95 and 200 pounds.
So when looking for a roof rack system to support your RTT, you want to go for one that can handle such weight.
How Much Space Do These Tents Require?
RTTs, in general, do not require too much space.
This is one of the main reasons why they’ve become so big — not just in Australia but also in the US — in a concise period of time. Typical RTTs usually have closed dimensions of (WxLxH) 56 x 48 x 14 in and open dimensions of 56 x 96 x 52 in.
It’s worth noting, with regards to space, is that some are slightly larger.
We are talking about RTTs with a sleeping footprint of 10,586 square inches (79 x 134 inches) and 8,360 square inches (88 x 95 inches).
Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.