Travelling with a roof tent on your car

Tips for safe and successful roof tent camping

If you’re planning a camping trip and you’re taking your adventure to the next level with a roof tent. But what must you consider when travelling with a roof tent on your car? Roof tents are a popular choice because they offer a comfortable, elevated sleeping space and can be easily transported on the roof of your car. However, travelling with a roof tent requires some preparation and careful driving to ensure a safe and successful camping experience. In this article, we’ll provide tips for travelling with a roof tent on your car.

Tent & Trail roof tent mounted to a roof rack packed away with cover on.

1. Choose the correct roof rack or roof bars

The first step to travelling with a roof tent is to choose the correct roof rack for your car. Ensure your roof rack or bars are rated to carry the weight of your roof tent and securely attached to your car. A sturdy and properly installed roof rack is essential for safe and successful roof tent camping. For help choosing the correct roof bars for your vehicle, you can use a handy lookup tool on the Halfords or Roof Box Company websites.

2. Check the weight limit

Before loading your roof tent and gear onto the roof rack, be sure to check the weight limit of your roof rack. Make sure that the total weight of the roof tent and any gear you plan to store inside it does not exceed the maximum capacity. Overloading your roof rack can cause damage to your car and compromise your safety on the road. For more information on this, check out our page on fitting a roof tent to my car.

Close up of some scales with the pointer nearing 500kg.
Tent & Trail Explore Series roof tent with a man inside opening a skylight in the UK.

3. Practice setting up and packing away the roof tent

Before heading out on your trip, practice setting up and taking down the roof tent a few times. This will help you become familiar with the process and ensure that you can do it safely and efficiently. Make sure you know how to properly secure the tent to the roof rack and that you have all the necessary tools and equipment. See how our roof tents are set up and packed down here.

4. Drive Carefully

A roof tent can affect the handling and balance of your car, so it’s important to drive carefully and adjust your driving style accordingly. Avoid sudden movements and sharp turns, and take corners at a slower speed than usual. Keep in mind that the added height of the roof tent can also affect your car’s clearance, so be mindful of low-clearance obstacles. Accidents can happen so add your roof tent to your car insurance or get specialise roof tent insurance just in case. 

Land rover off road in a rocky dessert in Morrocco with roof tent.
Road with a low wooden bridge over it with a stone statue next to it.

5. Check Clearance

Be extra cautious when driving under overhangs or through narrow spaces. Make sure your roof tent is not taller than the clearance height, and be mindful of low-clearance obstacles such as multi-storey car parks and tree branches. You don’t want to damage your roof tent or your car!

6. Secure Your Gear

When packing your roof tent and your car, make sure that all loose items are properly secured to prevent them from shifting or flying off while you’re driving. Use straps or bungee cords to keep everything in place. This will not only keep your gear safe but also prevent any damage to your car or other vehicles on the road.

A couple packing things into their while traveling with a roof tent in the uk.
A Land Rover driving through deep water with undergrowth each side.

7. Check Weather Conditions

It’s important to be prepared for changing weather conditions when camping in a roof tent. Make sure your tent is waterproof and can withstand wind and rain. Be prepared for temperature changes by bringing appropriate clothing and bedding. It’s also a good idea to check weather forecasts before your trip so you can plan accordingly. A great app that we always use to check the weather is the Windy app, it’s free and very accurate. 

In conclusion, travelling with a roof tent on your car can be a fun and adventurous way to explore the great outdoors. By following these tips, you can ensure a safe and successful roof tent camping experience. Remember to choose the right roof rack, check the weight limit, practice installing and removing the tent, drive carefully, check clearance, secure your gear, and check weather conditions. You can have a luxurious and memorable camping trip in a roof tent with proper preparation and caution. Once you have made a few trips, all this advice will become second nature and you’ll be focused on finding the next exciting location to visit.

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