What Do You Need for a Roof-Top Tent? (13 Item Checklist)

If you are an avid camper, you have probably heard of roof-top tents.

Roof-top tents are a great option for people who do not want an RV or camper but want a step-up from the traditional camping tent.

We all know camping requires many items, and camping with a roof-top tent is no different!

Here is Our Rooftop Tent Checklist:

  1. Roof Rack
  2. Rooftop Tent Hardware
  3. Ladder
  4. Tent Cover
  5. Rooftop Tent Expansions
  6. Alternative Tents / Covers
  7. Bedding
  8. Storage Accessories
  9. Camp Furniture
  10. Lighting
  11. Food/Water
  12. First Aid Kits
  13. Other Items

1. Roof Rack:

The first thing you want to make sure you have when you get a roof-top tent is a proper roof rack.

The roof rack helps keep your tent stable and safe while driving and while using your tent.

When buying a roof rack,  you should keep in mind your car’s weight capacity, your rack, and the weight of the tent. You also need to know what type of roof rack is available for your specific vehicle.

Check out your roof rack options in our article: How Do Roof-Top Tents Work & Get Mounted? – for more information!

2. Roof-Top Tent Hardware:

It might seem obvious, but if you plan to set up a roof-top tent, you will want to make sure all the hardware is included to operate the tent properly.

Your tent should come with the necessary hardware, but you will want to be sure before starting your tent set-up.

Roof-top tent hardware includes brackets, nuts, bolts, and anything else required for tent set-up.

The complete list of what you need to set up your tent should be included in the instructions that came with your roof-top tent.

Furthermore, if you need more additions, consider purchasing mounting locks or other safety features to prevent the theft of your rooftop tent!

3. Ladder:

The ladder is essential for your roof-top tent.

It would be challenging to get in and out of your tent without it.

Almost all rooftop tents come included with a ladder!

You must use the ladder that is made specifically for your tent. This ladder will be the most stable and secure.

4. Tent Cover:

A tent cover is important to protect the lifespan of your tent.

You do not want anything to happen to your tent while driving, and a tent cover can be a major help to protect it.

Make sure your tent cover is properly secured and includes all the necessary straps.

5. Roof-Top Tent Expansions:

Some roof-top tents can also come with accessories such as awnings and extended coverings.

This can be helpful if you want to store things outside of your car or main tent areas, such as coolers and other items.

Some great roof-top tent accessories, such as annexes and awnings, either come with the tent or are sold separately.

Click here for more information:

  1. iKamper Awnings & Annex Rooms
  2. Thule X Tepui Awnings & Annex Rooms
  3. Roofnest Tents Awnings & Annex Rooms

6. Alternative Tents/Covers:

Because you cannot do much more than lay down and sleep in your roof-top tent, you will want to consider bringing other cover types for your camping experience.

Alternative tents can include canopies or screened-in rooms that will cover your dining area.

This will be incredibly beneficial if you have inclement weather and want to do activities such as games, eating, or anything else that won’t be comfortable in your roof-top tent.

7. Bedding:

Bedding is essential when it comes to camping in your roof-top tent.

Even though your roof-top tent will ensure that you are laying on a flat surface, this will not be comfortable if you do not have bedding.

One great feature about a roof-top tent is that you do not have to constantly remove the bedding to take the tent down like you would have to for a traditional tent.

Most root-top tents will fold down without issue with the bedding inside.

Most rooftop tents come with bedding, but if yours doesn’t, you can often find a small mattress made for your specific roof-top tent to know it will fit when it is constructed and compact!

Also, be sure you have blankets or sleeping bags for warmth, as well as pillows.

8. Storage Accessories:

Another great thing to consider is storage accessories.

Because you are limited in your tent’s space, it doesn’t hurt to get creative where storage is concerned.

Things such as hanging storage items or temporary shelves can be a great help to get some things out of your car for easy access and are not hard to put up or tear down.

You should also consider keeping clothes and food inside your locked car when not in use, to keep away from thieves and wild animals.

You can use coolers for food, vacuum space bags for clothes, and totes for kitchen utensils and supplies.

The benefit of having a roof-top tent is easily set up and tear down, so you want to make sure that you can set up your whole site easily and quickly, too.

9. Camp Furniture:

Another great consideration to make is bringing camp furniture.

Roof-top tents are really only ideal for sleeping in, so you will want to pack something else for when you do not intend to sleep.

The best option for this is to bring a camp chair so that you can be comfortable during the day, eat, and even sit by a fire.

You could also bring hammocks and small folding tables.

Furthermore, loveseat camp chairs are great to bring along to make space for large families, or for couples to sit in cozily by the fire.

10. Lighting:

Lighting can be crucial.

There is nothing worse than stumbling around in the dark, especially in the middle of nowhere or in an area with many wild animals.

Good things to have include: flashlights, lanterns, charged cellphones, headlamps, and pen lights to fit in your glove compartment.

11. Food/Water:

Food and water are essential no matter what type of camping you are doing.

In addition to the actual food and water, you want to make sure you bring a cooler and cooking necessities.

This could be as simple as campfire sticks for hotdogs or as elaborate as a propane cooking station or small grill.

12. First Aid Kit:

Often overlooked, having a first aid kit is incredibly important.

No one knows when an accident might happen, and you want to be prepared when it does.

This can be incredibly important if you are camping somewhere that is out of the way.

A first aid kit can help you temporarily take care of something while you are traveling to the nearest hospital, especially if the hospital is far away.

13. Other Items:

This list is by no means all-encompassing.

If you have gone camping in the past, you will have a good idea of what else you might need.

These additional items can include anything from books to games, clothing, toiletries, and anything else you think you might need.

Make sure you also include:

  • Firestarters
  • Paper towels/trash bags
  • Ziploc bags or storage for food
  • Tongs, grilling utensils, can openers, and potatoes peelers
  • Aluminum foil, bowls, plates, silverware
  • Etc.

Overall, you want to make sure you are prepared so that your camping experience is the very best that it can be!

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