How To Mount a Roof Top Tent (Complete Guide) | CampingWorld

Are you a DIY person who loves tangling with simple to extreme daily tasks?

Especially when you are all alone at the camping site, do not expect the helping hands available around yourself. There, you are alone and all by yourself where you need to fixate even simpler to extreme tasks.

Out of many, here we come with how to mount a roof top tent like a pro.

Seems not a critical task to many, but for the first-timers, that is like an alien thing. So, learn to mount it and never pray not to have you deal with it at the time of camping.

Camping is purely a simple experience until and unless you know the basic things to employ.

So, we keep it super simple and tell you how exactly to mount a roof top tent in no time.

Things to Ponder Before Mounting a Roof Top Tent

Take it as pure fun. Playing with the tent is as entertaining as it could be.

But yes, some pieces need to be unriddled before starting to find how to mount a roof top tent in any professional way.

Why Do You Need a Roof Rack System?

Most of the folks would be taking it; the roop top tent is kinda the simple-at-looking tent but in the pure reality, it is not.

The roof top tent sits well over the vehicle, so you do not need to then rent a motel for the overnight stay, camp close to the lake or river shores, and when the ground is too wet to settle the camping tent.

Not just three of them but there are numerous reasons the roof top tent converses you from running into the issues.

Before mounting a roof top tent upon the vehicle, we need the roof racks exclusively produced for cars of various sizes.

What Type of Roof Rack Works for the Roof Top Tent?

It depends solely on your vehicle size and the tent.

If you know what you want, your issues are halfway solved.

Let’s get rolling with the racking systems that we have available to purchase.

Rack Systems

And we got the three best options in the line.

  1. Full Roof Rack
  2. Crossbars
  3. Bed Rack

Now, let’s evaluate a little detail about each one of these three rack systems that are ready to go sit over your vehicle’s roof top.

1.Full Roof Rack

What do you need for the vehicle’s roof top? For nothing? Then, how about if we leave the tent up there forever, how does that sound?

For the ultimate avid travelers that know nothing stopping them to explore nature countrywide?

The full roof rack is the right rack system for them when you plan an unplanned road trip and are not interested in renting the motel overnight or taking some good rest in the comfy bed.

Most of the campers have postponed their plans during this COVID-19 era just because of lockdowns, no place available to rent during the trip, or to keep yourself safe and away from the mob; then, this kinda full roof rack is the right solution to hang the roof top tent on.

Full rock rack sits forever, can hold the heavier and bigger tent without impacting your car roof top, and the panels (let it sit over the SUV and trucks due to their sturdy and heavier build and not over the sedans and mini cars.)

It may easily accommodate over 2 to 4 folks with a weight limit of up to 500 lbs to 600 lbs.


The crossbars roof system is ultimately lightweight and accommodates only the lightest tent to go with.

Unlike a full roof rack system, this one is kinda lightweight and not that reliable to mount for an extended period.

Pretty accurate for the seasonal usage, and remove it after the camping season is over or you are already done with the outing and do not plan to go for the next.

Thus, its lightweight build allows you to remove, and mount it back whenever you feel the need to hit the road again.

Best for a maximum of two folks with the average bodyweight limit, and it sits well over the sedans, but do not have the two folks entering into the tent when you have crossbars as the rack system.

3.Bed Rack

Bed rack is the rack system exclusively designed for the trucks that occupy the whole of the back deck to mount the roof top tent over.

Its robust and reliable build can hold over the weight limit of up to 2 to 6 folks. So, this does not fit over the normal cars due to the sizing issue, and we advise not to do so to avoid making the holes, and alterations were done to your vehicle.

How to Mount a Roof Top Tent

That involves the series of portions to follow.

Tools Required:

First off, we need to have the required tools to get started with the roof top tent’s mounting.

  • Ratcheting wrench (13mm)
  • Ratcheting wrench (10mm)
  • Box cutter
  • Hacksaw
  • Ladder
  • Bolts and nuts along with channel slides
  • Bolts with washers
  • Ladder brackets
  • Steel mounting plates
  • Tent cover

Installation Of Roof Racks

Depending on which roof rack you opted for, the installation will stay simple and DIY-capable.

The first step is the roof rack installation.

We expect your car to have the naked roof and we advise using the roof racks that come with the clamps that go inside the door jams for the perfect grip.

There are other roof racks available (rales and tracks) that may cause the holes to be done to your car for installation. Going that route, expect to void the car insurance because of the cosmetic modification.

Whichever roof rack system you pick, make sure it can at least hold the minimum of 165 lbs which is enough for the single person to camp along.

Installation Of Roof Top Tent

For the side mounting, we get the roof racks installed in the form of crossbars of side rails where the mounting tracks go parallel to the hinge, or perpendicular to the hinge when you choose side rails.

  • The nylock nuts go into the inner slot of the mounting tracks to slide towards the holes made between the mounting tracks, and the base.
  • Get two steel washers added to each bolt, and then slide the bolts along with washers through the pre-drilled holes, and tighten them with a wrench.
  • Time to attach the ladder. Flip the tent now, and attach the ladder brackets to the holes made to the tent base for the ladder brackets.
  • Slide the bolts from the inside of the mattress through the base and pass the steel washers on both bolts then let them through the holes made for the tent base to secure the ladder bracket with the help of a nylock nut.
  • To downsize the wobbling and vibrations, it is best to pierce the jointing bolt through the rubber washer to both ladder brackets and the other side with the steel washer for the secured setup by locking it up with the nylock nut.
  • Get the tent cover and slide its fabric through its rounded C-channel from the hinge through the tent base.
  • Once done, fasten the velcro straps that securely hold the tent within the cover.
  • Now, zip the cover through all four sides, so that it is ready to mount up on the roof rack.
  • Get the tent to sit over the rack system by sliding the bolts, and the channel sliders through the mounting tracks.
  • Then life one side and get the bolts, and the channel sliders setup. Repeat the same for all four corners to attach the tent up on the rack system.
  • Once done, get the steel mounting plate and the nylock nuts to tightly secure the bolts of all sides of the rack bars. Ensure its safety by further tightening and fastening them up from time to time to ensure they do not come loose.
  • Insert rubber end caps on the mounting tracks to ensure these sharp ends should not hurt your fingers.

Now, your roof top tent is successfully mounted on the top of your vehicle and is ready to roll!

Do I Really Need The Roof Rack To Mount A Roof Top Tent?

Puzzled with this question being thrown at this time? Of course, everyone would turn puzzled because we had been stressing about the use of the roof rack to get the roof top tent mounted upon the vehicle.

Not necessarily — not all the roof top tents require the roof racks to mount.

It was a twist to keep you going with the details, but in the end, we do not require the possibility of having to first install the roof rack of any kind depending on the type of roof top tent that simply mounts over the car’s roof without much hassle.

Conclusion time!

Thus, this meets the conclusion part of how to mount a roof top tent revealing every single detail in a comprehensive way to ease down your hassle.

These easy-to-follow guides would never let you face any hurdle at the time of mounting the roof top tent all by yourself.

LOVED by the DIY-ers, this is fun done professionally!

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