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Step-By-Step Guide on How To Mount/Install a Roof Top Tent

Step-By-Step Guide on How To Mount/Install a Roof Top Tent

All tents have a similar installation process, but they might vary a little, that is why we recommend you reading carefully THROUGH EACH PRODUCT MANUAL, as well as watching their videos (most are online, or you can ask us to send them to you).

Tools needed:

A Phillips head screwdriver, a box cutter, a second 13 mmm ratcheting wrench, a 10mm ratcheting wrench and a heck saw.

Before mounting them onto a roof rack, flat rack or crossbar, the first step is removing your newly bought RTT from the box, as well as all the bits and pieces included (all RTTs WILL include all the necessary installation parts and a manual).

How To Mount A Roof Top Tent:

Welcome to our concise yet comprehensive guide to understanding how to efficiently mount a roof top tent on your vehicle. This guide will serve as a resource for novice campers and experienced adventurers alike, demonstrating a systematic and practical approach to setting up a rooftop tent.

Acquiring a rooftop tent has become increasingly attractive to modern-day campers who prefer to keep off the ground tent experience. Step one in the installation process is to secure the tent to the roof rack or crossbars. This is where your vehicle's roof capacity and the weight of the tent become crucial. You must first confirm the dynamic weight capacity of your roof, ensuring that it can comfortably bear the weight of your rooftop tent.

After you’re satisfied with the capacity of your roof, begin the tent setup process by carefully placing the tent on top of your roof rack system. Be extra careful while mounting the hardware onto the roof since the roof of your car can easily get scratched if mishandled. Use brackets and bolts to attach the tent to the roof rack. Ensure that you tightly secure the tent onto the roof rack system to prevent any possible movements during a journey.

Once attached, the final step is to install the ladder for easy access inside the tent. Keep in mind that the specific installation process can vary depending on the type and model of the tent you have purchased. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for the best results. Be sure to check all mounting points regularly to ensure they remain secure throughout your adventure.

With these steps followed, you should now be confidently using a roof top tent on your vehicle. This guide on how to mount a roof top tent to your vehicle should provide an easy-to-follow direction, whether you're using a car top tent or looking to pitch on the bed of your truck.

Take the tent out of the box and place it on a clean surface with the straps faced DOWN. Set aside the mounting racks. Remove the protective plastic from the tent with the box cutter. Undo the straps from the sides of the tent and across the base.

Step-By-Step Guide:

Open the tent, and take from inside of it all the contents. Most brands will include a tent cover, rainfly, ladder, mattress, and a pouch with the hardware, tools and parts.

Most RTTs will include the following tools and hardware (see Image as an example): 2 bungees, 2 ladder brackets, 8 aluminum channel sliders with bolts and nuts, 4 end caps, four steel mounting plates, the needed wrenches, and four medium sized bolts with washers.

Then, time for the action. Grab the mounting tracks of the RTT; place them on the tent base parallel to the hinges, aligning the holes in the tracks with the holes in the base.

Grab the nuts, remove them from the four medium sized bolts and slide them into the mounting channels, as to align them to the holes in the base.

Then take the bolts each with two washers, and slide them between the mattress and the tent base.

Screw them into the pre drilled holes and the nuts you just put in the tracks.

Once the tracks are on, you need turn/flip the tent over to install the ladder.

Grab the Ladder Brackets and unscrew the bolts on each bracket, so that you can position over the pre-drilled holes at the edge of the tent base.

Take the longer bolts each with the washer, and slide them between the mattress and the tent base, into the pre-drilled holes and up through the ladder bracket.


Attach each one with a nut and leave them loose.


Then grab the ladder and through the holes at the end of it, join it to the by passing the remaining length of the bolt through the holes in the ladder end. Then add another nut and tighten it on both sides.


Then rotate the ladder a few times, before tightening the bolts of the brackets to the base.

Then secure the ladder with the straps (most tents should have them), and then reattach the side straps of the tent to secure it. 

Once all the parts have been installed, make sure you put the travel cover on top of the tent. It is a very easy process that barely needs explanation; just make sure you close the zippers carefully to prevent the tent fabric catching to the zipper.

Time to place the tent on top of the vehicle. Since they weigh over 120 lbs, you will want the help of someone to do it. 

Mounting the tent mounting tracks depends on whether you have side rails or cross bars, and if you want the tent to open towards the side of the car or towards the back. In this step-by-step guide we will use a side mounting as an example on top of cross bars.

Place the mounting racks in the base of the tent, PERPENDICULAR to your roof rack bars.

Then, fit two aluminum channel sliders and bolts into each end of the mounting track, so that there is a bolt on either side of the roof rack bar. Repeat this process at each of the 4 points where the racks and mounting racks cross.

Once this is done, fit a steel mounting plate on the bolts and under the roof rack bar, and secure them with nuts and tighten them with a wrench.

Insert the rubber end caps into the end of the mounting tracks to avoid water or other materials going in there. You might need to hammer them in, but don’t be too aggressive.


How To Open The Roof Top Tent:

Now, to open it, release the side straps, pull back the ladder until it locks out and use it as leverage to open the tent.


Make sure all rungs of the ladder are locked into the edge.


Before getting into the tent, make sure the hinges are properly engaged.


Then unclasp the awnings and find the predrilled holes for the rainfly rods.


Insert at a 45-degree angle and hook through the grommet.


You are READY!

Q: How do I install a rooftop tent?

A: Installing your rooftop tent can be a simple task when done right. It needs some steps to follow: firstly, you install the roof rack or cross bars on your vehicle. Refer to your car's guide book for this. Secondly, put the tent on top of the roof rack system and align it correctly. Afterwards, secure it using the mounting hardware that comes with the tent. Ensure everything is well tightened and secure. It is always a good practice to check its firmness before using it.

Q: Can any roof rack mount a roof top tent?

A: Not all roof rack systems are compatible with rooftop tents. The rack you use needs to have the load capacity to handle the weight of a rooftop tent plus the weight of the people who will be in it. Check the user manual of the roof rack to determine the capacity of your roof rack.

Q: What is the right roof rack system for my vehicle?

A: The right roof rack for your vehicle depends on various factors such as the existing roof setup of your vehicle and the tent you choose. You must also consider the load capacity of your roof rack system to ensure safety and prevent any damage to your vehicle.

Q: How long does it take to install a rooftop tent?

A: The time to install a rooftop tent varies depending on the type of tent and the vehicle that you’re mounting it to. With the right tools and following the step by step guide, it should typically take 2-3 hours.

Q: Does a rooftop tent damage the roof of your vehicle?

A: Not if installed correctly. If you follow the manufacturer's instruction and use appropriate rack systems, there should be no damage to your vehicle. Having an adequate weight-distribution system ensures that the weight of the tent is not too much for one section of the roof.

Q: Can you use a rooftop tent on a truck bed?

A: Yes, you can install a rooftop tent on a truck bed. However, this usually necessitates a different type of mounting system than traditional ground tents, like a bed rack. Ensure that the bed rack has sufficient load capacity to handle the weight of the tent and its occupants.

Q: Is there a guide on how to mount a rooftop tent?

A: Yes, most manufacturers include a step by step guide on installing your rooftop tent. It typically involves identifying the correct positions for the mounting brackets, attaching them, then lifting the tent onto the roof rack and securing it with the provided mounting hardware.

Q: Do all rooftop tents require a full roof rack?

A: Not necessarily. The type of roof rack you need depends on the type of tent and the specs of your vehicle. While some models may require a full roof rack, others can be mounted using cross bars. Always refer to the instruction manual or manufacturer's information.

Q: Can I use a rooftop tent without a roof rack?

A: No, you cannot install a rooftop tent without some kind of rack system. The rack provides the necessary support and attachment points for the tent. Ensure that you have a roof rack that fits well and has an adequate load capacity before purchasing a rooftop tent.

Q: How do I know if the rooftop tent fits my vehicle?

A: To verify that the rooftop tent fits and is safe for your vehicle, combine the weight of your tent with the weight of all people who will use it and check if this weight is under the load capacity of your roof rack. Moreover, it's crucial to check the size of the tent to ensure it's appropriate for your vehicle's roof.

Previous article The Ultimate Guide To Buying The Best Truck or Car Roof Rack
Next article The Ultimate Guide to Roof Top Tents

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