Know What You Have
One of the most important parts of a good adventure is the preparation. New gear in a new place presents an opportunity for a disastrous night out. Thus, it’s really important to know what you have in advance when it comes to a rooftop tent. Different models may be more complex or time consuming to set up, to differing results. If you’re coming from square zero, here are our recommended rooftop tents. Furthermore, if you don’t own a SPACE trailer yet, read our guide on how to set it up for rooftop tent compatibility.
Read The Instructions
This is hugely important. Once you’ve set your rooftop tent up several times, it will feel like a second home, but to start it’s important to learn how to do so right. Most rooftop tent manufacturers also have YouTube videos demonstrating setup.
Try It Out… Inside
It may seem like a waste of time to try setting up your tent on the ground. I promise you it will not when it’s dark, rainy and you want to go to sleep. Seeing how everything works from above, rather than straining to reach it on top of your car is invaluable.
Before You Set Up Outside:
Make Sure the Ground Is Even
There’s nothing worse than setting up a rooftop tent only to realize the entire sleeping surface is slanted and you have to do it all over again. Avoid this by using a level, level app, or a water bottle with volume markings to ensure a flat space. Some overlanders will carry additional skids to park on and even things out.
Think it Through
Before you pitch the tent, consider the layout of your campsite. Will you constantly be tripping over guylines? Will your neighbors be able to see into your tent? Do you want distance between your camp kitchen and tent?
Pitch the Tent
This will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but after following the previous steps, it should be easy. Hard shell tents tend to be faster to set up due to their latch and hinge system. Soft shell tents may require more time due to the tension and pole setups commonly used.
Stake out Your Territory
This will again, differ based upon brand, but most rooftop tents use stakes. Make sure your guylines are tight. consider using a knot like a taught line hitch to adjust and readjust them at will. In areas with loose soil you can also tie off to heavy items or static objects like picnic table corners or trees.