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Why Buy A Rooftop Tent?

Updated on September 16, 2012

Ah, the glorious out-of-doors.

There seems to be a rash of campers who enjoy the benefits of a recreational vehicle: take your bed with you anywhere, barely a need to set up camp, if you can fit your rig in a spot, it's yours. Sounds nice. The generator however, is not so nice. Large recreational vehicles require power for heat or cold, for the refrigerator, for the numerous lights inside...

Those are just the tip of the iceberg when you are dealing with an RV. So, how about a tent? Tent camping is much better, right? Haul the equipment out of your car, find the perfect spot; level, no rocks or branches, no ground water seeping in...

So perhaps tent camping isn't that much better than camping in an RV.

I was raised by parents who were enthusiastic about the outdoors and, as such, our family of five often went camping. The initial outings consisted of our family packed into a tent which was laid on the ground, our sleeping bags on the hard surface. As a child it was always an adventure; often we were allowed to bring pillows for comfort. It was rustic and memorable, sometimes due to the relative harsh sleeping conditions.

As the family grew older and larger, the single tent we all shared no longer served its purpose. We had outgrown it, and my parents sought another form of a sleeping unit.

My Dad was proud the day he brought home the tent trailer: half tent, half RV all conveniently pulled behind the family car. The tent trailer traveled to Mexico, it kept us warm and dry in Canada. It went from our home in Southern California with us to Colorado and back to California. It lasted for years, becoming our little home away from home for many an outdoor experience.

My parents sold the tent trailer, but they never bought an RV. They began traveling the world, staying in hotels and resorts. They hauled their belongings onto massive cruise ships that sailed away from local ports to exotic locations. The tent trailer was a thing of the past, the lowly tent far from their collected consciousness.

Fast forward twenty years.

I was still the kid that loved camping, and I owned a couple of different tents. However, finding a nice place to set up a tent, even on the most groomed site often left comfort to be desired. A nice sleeping pad, like a Thermarest was a necessity.

Now, I travel with my seasoned outdoorsman who owns a roof top tent. Originally constructed to rest atop a 4X4 vehicle during African Safaris, the roof top tent has evolved into a stylish, comfortable sleeping unit that fits all sized vehicles from Mini Coopers to large pickup trucks.

The benefits of sleeping above the ground are obvious: up and away from rodents, insects, dangerous nocturnal animals and protected from wet ground, one can find convenience and comfort within the confines of such a great invention.

Roof top tents are manufactured by several companies, although I am most familiar with Maggiolina. This nifty little unit rests atop the Toyota Tacoma nicely, offering only negligible wind resistance in its resting state. Just a few turns of the crank handle, and the top raises until the comfortable sleeping space is opened.

We are gearing up for our travels on the Baja, and the roof top tent will be our sacred space above the stinging scorpions. Well lit and ventilated, the roof top tent is a wonderful thing. And it has many admirers wondering what the heck it is!

Take your camp anywhere with your 4X4 vehicle!
Take your camp anywhere with your 4X4 vehicle!


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    • Jennifer D. profile image

      Jennifer D. 7 years ago from Canada

      Hi juneaukid!

      Funny you should mention windy Wyoming or High Country Colorado...I've been in Baja for three months now, and we have experienced some very significant wind. We have a wind deflector on the front aspect of the tent and park the truck facing the windy onslaught. As far as high country coolness, this tent has been to the Yukon and performed admirably. Just a nice down comforter or sleeping bag to keep warm. Now...about those kids! Pee bottles work well for not wanting to leave the warm confines, but I don't have kids so I wouldn't know how to deal with that issue!

      Here's hoping you enjoy,

      Jennifer D.

    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 8 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Very interesting hub--what if kids have a call to nature at 3 am? The rooftop would be ideal for the Everglades but not so sure about windy Wyoming or High Country Colorado.

    • Jennifer D. profile image

      Jennifer D. 8 years ago from Canada

      Himitsu, I am honoured to introduce you to the wonderful world of rooftops.

      Thank you for stopping by!

    • Himitsu Shugisha profile image

      Himitsu Shugisha 8 years ago

      I have never heard of a rooftop tent...very intersting HUB, and your trips sound like a lot of fun.

    • Jennifer D. profile image

      Jennifer D. 8 years ago from Canada

      Ah, Ben! I imagine that you are much younger than me and can still hang with the cold, hard earth! I, however, need a bit more comfort!

      Thanks for reading my Hub. Glad you like.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 8 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Interesting, but I prefer the cold hard earth! Nice perspective though, I enjoyed your writing style.


    • Jennifer D. profile image

      Jennifer D. 8 years ago from Canada

      LeonJane: too funny! Yes, when it's cold outside and you don't want to leave the comfy confines...although a pee bottle works just wonderfully!

    • LeonJane profile image

      LeonJane 8 years ago from Australia

      For going to the toilet that is!

    • LeonJane profile image

      LeonJane 8 years ago from Australia

      Yeah I was thinking of rigging up a funnel and hose!

    • Jennifer D. profile image

      Jennifer D. 8 years ago from Canada

      @Cally2: I imagine fitting a large family into even the largest of roof top tents might be a humourous challenge!

      @LeonJane: That is why we take our flask into the tent with us!

      Thanks for stopping by, glad you enjoyed!

    • LeonJane profile image

      LeonJane 8 years ago from Australia

      Rooftop tents are a great way from getting away from snakes, crocodiles and other nasties in the Australian bush. But after a few drinks it can be interesting getting up and down the ladder!

    • cally2 profile image

      Paul Callaghan 8 years ago from Paraparaumu, New Zealand

      Good hub. I have been threatening to buy a roof top for a while. However with three kids I'll have to stick with the bigger tent for while.