10 Reasons Not To Buy a Rooftop Tent

10 Reasons Not To Buy a Rooftop Tent

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Have you heard the buzz of rooftop tents?  Maybe your friends can’t stop talking about how they enjoy camping in a rooftop tent.  Or it might be your neighbor who is always sharing pictures of their adventures with the tent. Has this made you think of breaking your piggy bank and buying one?

Hold on a bit!

Before you decide to join the bandwagon of rooftop owners, you need to ask yourself a simple question.  Is a rooftop tent right for me?

 There are a lot of reasons to own a rooftop tent and that’s all good. However, today we are going to share with you the opposite of that.  

Here are the reasons not to buy a rooftop tent

1.   Putting the Tent Up and Down

Although putting up a rooftop tent might take fewer minutes when compared to a ground tent, one of the biggest complaints rooftop campers have is the process of putting up and taking apart the tent.  

No matter how easy the rooftop tent is to install, the issue is the sleeping bag and other camping gear inside the tent. They have to be folded or removed with some arrangement which might be tiring.

Also, another hassle is when you are in a hurry to get from place to place or have forgotten something.  If you have only one vehicle, you will need to put your tent down again to drive to the store.  This becomes frustrating thus one of the reasons to not buy a rooftop tent.

2.   The Climbing Situation is Not ideal

Though it enables one to enjoy beautiful views and stay away from the ground, a rooftop tent is not ideal for some people.  These are mostly people with physical restrictions such as certain diseases like issues with your joints or blindness.  What about if you are camping with an elderly, pregnant woman or have small children?

Getting in and out of the tent to sleep, eat, and change clothes will require climbing up and down the ladder. It will be difficult for the elderly to go up and down all the time as well as tiring and risky to carry small children.

 Don’t even get us started with the bathroom trips, especially at night.  Apart from being tiring, it is also unsafe to climb down the ladder while sleepy as you or your loved ones might slip and injure yourselves.

3.   Privacy and Small Space

It is true camping comes with giving up on a lot of luxury. Nonetheless, Rooftop tents might be a bit uncomfortable when it comes to privacy and space. For instance, if you need to change clothes or sleep, you will be doing both in a small space, whether it’s a tent or your car.

When it comes to privacy, unfortunately, someone might look in through the car window. It might also be unsettling for people walking outside the tent when you are changing even if you have zip up your tent tightly.  This usually happens In case you are camping in a parking lot or a densely populated area as compared to designated campsites.

4.   You Own a Smaller Vehicle

Despite how much you want to own a rooftop tent, you need to have the right car for it.  Generally, a strong rooftop rack and a sturdy vehicle are what make a rooftop tent work.  Most rooftop tents run between 100 and 200 pounds thus making smaller cars is not ideal for this as you may end up with an unstable setting which isn’t good for sleeping.

Furthermore, the rooftop tent and roof rack add weight to your roof which affects your suspension, the speed of your car, how it accelerates, and fuel consumption. With the tent usually being stored on top of your car the entire camping trip, it is better to have a big car like a truck or SUV.

5.   The Tents Are Usually Very Dark Inside

Rooftop tents are usually very dark inside compared to ground tents. This can bring some discomfort during the day when using the tent or at night if you don’t like sleeping in total darkness.

Although it’s not a big deal as one may use a flashlight, headlamp, or lantern, it might feel a bit odd. If you love reading books or like natural light, the rooftop tent may not be as cozy as some people perceive it to be. Therefore think twice before purchasing one if you like a lot of light.  

6.   You Require Amenities at All Times

Do you love to camp but require amenities at all times? Then having a rooftop tent isn’t really for you.  Some tent campers want to go and enjoy remote and beautiful sceneries such as mountains, oceans, forests, and so on.  However, others prefer designated areas with amenities such as bathrooms, showers, and laundry facilities among others.

Even it is possible to park your rooftop tent in designated areas with amenities, it doesn’t make sense to use a lot of money to purchase one yet you aren’t exploring the country.

 So, if you aren’t someone who likes the rough outdoors and can’t be far from people or amenities don’t invest in a rooftop tent. The best options are either a regular tent or a camp with an RV.

7.   You are Not an Overlanding Camper

No matter how much you love the outdoors, rough or Overlanding camping isn’t for everyone.  With regular camping, you can camp in designated spots, private or public places. However, with rough/ Overlanding, you tend to camp in remote places away from people and amenities.

With most roads and trails being rough or technically challenging, it does take a strong-willed person to enjoy camping with a rooftop tent. Keep in mind; you are required to survive with the bare essentials for the duration of the trip. 

The essentials are a few clothes, one or two pots, and pans, materials to start a fire, some biodegradable toilet paper, and a first aid kit among others.  Although most people prefer a rooftop tent since it has enough storage for your valuables, it is not worth investing in it if you aren’t into rough/ Overlanding camping. 

8.   You are Not a Planner

From the above point, you have learned that camping in remote areas isn’t a walk in the park. Apart from the rough terrains, you are required to do a lot of planning before heading out. Sacrificing certain things for the time you are out camping is required but you also need to be keen on what you are carrying.

For instance, how much cooking equipment do you need?  Which clothes to carry?  How much water do you need to carry?  You also need to find ways to pack your veggies, clothes, and other equipment to save space. So, if you are not a planner, but spur of a moment person, rooftop camping isn’t ideal for you.

9.   Easy Camping is Your Thing

There are different kinds of campers. Some like to rough it out while carrying only basic necessities while others like the easy camping.  This is usually called glamorous camping where you combine camping with luxury. You get to enjoy an unlimited water supply, electricity hookups, laundry, and bathroom/shower amenities.  

Some of the locations also have community areas to eat, playgrounds for the little ones recreational areas as well as places to hold events. What’s more, the camping areas come with panoramic views of mountaintops, lakes, oceans, and so on.  

Although rooftop tent camping can also provide beautiful views and provide some sleeping comfort, it is best suited for off-the-road camping which might not be your thing.

10.   It is Expensive

Despite their fancy look especially the hard shell rooftop tents, the cost of the tent is worth thinking twice before buying.  When compared to a standard tent which costs start at $50, you get to spend a lot on a rooftop tent which is from $1, 000 to $2,000 for a soft-shell tent, and 2,000 to $5,000 for a hard-shell tent. This huge difference is worth considering if the rooftop tent is worth purchasing.

 Additionally, if you need a roof rack you will spend even more. You will also require to buy a sturdy ladder, an annex among other things. This not only puts a dent in your wallet but might not be ideal for people who don’t camp a lot.

Don’t forget that though the rooftop tent is designed to provide the ultimate comfort and convenience, some believe it is not worth the price.


It is true rooftop tents are getting popular among campers, and yes, they do have their advantages.  From sleeping off the ground to beautiful scenarios, it is a great way to explore and camp.

However, not everyone is meant to own one thus why we are sharing the reasons not to buy the rooftop tent. If you are not a fan of small spaces, less privacy, fewer amenities as well don’t like planning you better go with another type of camping.

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