Choosing the right roof tent is key to an unforgettable camping experience. In this guide, we'll explore essential tips to help you pick the perfect roof tent that suits your outdoor adventures. From seasoned campers to novice explorers, discover the ideal shelter for your nights under the stars.

Why a roof tent?

Choosing elevated camping has its perks, starting with a bug-free zone. High ground keeps insects and nocturnal visitors at bay, offering respite from unexpected company like foxes or raccoons. This advantage becomes even more apparent in regions with less friendly fauna. Additionally, sleeping aloft ensures a dry night during heavy rain, eliminating the need for makeshift trenches around your tent. Forget about uneven ground – with a roof tent, you enjoy a genuinely flat floor, avoiding discomfort caused by rocks or uneven terrain.

Beyond the practicalities, there's a surprising benefit to waking up in a roof tent. No more mumbled complaints about the lowly tent entrance; the elevated position makes getting up a breeze. The height and ladder provide a convenient bed edge, making the transition from lying down to standing up effortless. So, next time you rise from your roof tent, you'll appreciate how a little elevation can add a touch of comfort to your morning routine.

Another advantage of roof-tent camping is the freedom to camp wherever you want, or nearly so, with the best view. A similar advantage to van life, without having to fit out the interior of your van or truck, or simply without having to reinvest in a new vehicle.

The Criteria For Choosing A Roof Tent-

Determine the vehicle and the weight it can support-

To determine if a roof tent is suitable for your vehicle, having a roof rack is the primary requirement, except for specific van roof tents. Refer to the roof tent's data sheet for the minimum weight each roof rack bar should support and compare it with your vehicle's specifications. For instance, the Quechua MH500 2-person roof tent, weighing 52 kg, requires a roof rack that can support a minimum of 75 kg. Always consult your vehicle manufacturer's logbook for the specified maximum load capacity. Avoid using roof tents on vehicles with glass roofs, as it compromises roof strength. Additionally, consider the closed tent's size and design, as it can affect fuel consumption.

Determine the number of campers-

Roof tents come in various sizes to accommodate different bed capacities, ranging from 2 to 5 or 6 people. However, be cautious as tents claiming a high bed count often have small beds (50 cm or less per person). Check the tent's measurements for adequate space if you prefer some distance between tent mates. For family-style roof tents, the number and size of campers matter, accommodating either 3 adults or 2 adults and 3 kids. Consider the tent's interior volume for comfortable living space. When used with a van or truck, roof tents offer the advantage of expanding sleeping capacity by allowing some campers inside the vehicle and others in the roof tent.

Determine the comfort of the roof-tent mattress-

Every roof tent is equipped with a custom-sized mattress tailored to fit its dimensions precisely. While checking the mattress's thickness is essential, pay close attention to its density for optimal comfort. Certain models even feature an under-mattress to reduce condensation. When selecting bedding, especially with investment products, the recommended approach is to explore and test the available models on display for a firsthand experience.

Determine the material and technical nature of the tent fabric-

The fabric material significantly impacts the tent's quality and durability, with factors like weight, UV resistance, and breathability at play. Synthetic fabrics offer lighter alternatives, while cotton and polycotton excel against UV rays but are heavier. Ensure the tent undergoes laboratory testing for heavy rain, checking for a water column test expressed in Schmerbers, a measure of waterproofing under standards EN 208111 and ISO 81.

Opt for tents with flysheets for improved ventilation. Quechua's Fresh & Black fabric, ideal for summer camping, promises 99% darkness during daylight hours and helps regulate interior heat, a patented innovation.

Determine the pitch type and tent structure-

Setting up a roof tent is typically the most laborious part, but once installed, it often unfolds effortlessly, akin to a "pop-up" book. Shell-style tents, resembling oysters, offer quick pitching and disassembly, providing a compact living space. "Portfolio" tents rely on ladder support and require a securely locked ladder to prevent instability.

Some roof tents feature inflatable structures, like the MH900 Fresh & Black 2-person inflatable roof tent, inflating in 20 seconds. Despite their compactness, these tents still require a secured ladder. The inflatable design is advantageous for compactness, allowing space for additional sports equipment on the car roof, such as surfboards or kayaks, and is particularly suitable for smaller vehicles.

Determine the tent accessories and extensions available-

A roof tent primarily serves for sleeping, making small storage compartments essential for easy access to necessities. Since the entrance and exit are exterior, having at least one shoe pocket in the tent is advisable to avoid going outside in unfavorable conditions. For added comfort and a makeshift "terrace" extending from your car, choose a roof tent model with expandable features. For instance, the Quechua connected awning, compatible with the MH500 roof tent, offers protection from heat and rain while providing a cozy space to relax or enjoy a drink at ground level.


Choosing the ideal roof tent involves a careful balance between size, design, and innovative features. From the fabric material to waterproofing capabilities, each factor contributes to an enhanced camping experience. Prioritize practicality, comfort, and adaptability to various weather conditions as you navigate the diverse world of roof tents. With these considerations, you'll discover a rooftop shelter that perfectly aligns with your camping preferences, ensuring memorable outdoor adventures. Happy camping!

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