How to install the Explore & Compact Series roof tents

Find out how to set up and install your Explore or Compact Series roof tent. Your roof tent will come with instructions but we wanted to show customers how simple the setup really is. For the purposes of this guide and the majority of our customers, the setup will be on roof bars. If you have a roof rack you will need to drill mounting holes, see our how does a roof tent attach page for more information. Read on for our roof tent installation step-by-step.

Step 1

Unbox your roof top tent

To start the roof tent installation, carefully unbox your roof tent from the protective cardboard box. If using a knife to cut the box open, be careful not to cut the actual tent itself when opening.

Cut open the top, fold back the box flaps and flip the box so the open side is pointing down. You should be able to slide the box straight up and off the tent.

Tent and Trail roof tent boxed up.
Metal fittings, fixings, pegs and tools on a wooden worktop in the Tent & Trail workshop.
Step 2

What comes with your roof tent?

Once you have the roof tent out of its box, release the Velcro straps and open the tent. Within the roof tent, you will find the following contents.

Roof tent accessories:

  • Ladder
  • 2 x Shoe bags
  • Storage net
  • LED strip light and bag
  • Zip-in annex room with carry bag
  • Guy ropes and pegs
  • 6 x Rainfly/window awning poles
  • Roof tent cover

 

Roof tent fixings:

  • 2 x Roof tent base mounting channel
  • 4 x M6 Allen cap bolts, washers and nuts
  • 2 x Ladder brackets
  • 4 x M8 40mm stainless steel bolts, washers and nuts
  • 4 x Mounting plates
  • 8 x Aluminium sliding plates
  • 4 x Mounting channel end caps
  • 8 x M8 50mm stainless steel bolts, washers and nuts
 

Tools:

  • 2 x 13/15mm spanners
  • 6mm Allen Key
Step 3

Install roof tent base mounting channels

Take the 2 x aluminium mounting channels and 4 x 6mm Allen key bolts with nuts. Position the roof tent on its end so you can reach under the mattress and anti-condensation mat.

Find the pre-drilled holes covered by black round stickers. Remove stickers and push the bolts through the holes with the bolt thread protruding out the bottom of the tent base.

Next, slide 2 nuts into the small channel on the mounting channel. You can then position the nuts to line up with the protruding bolt threads. Once they are lined up, take the provided M6 Allen key tool and tighten the bolts until they are secure. Finally, reposition the roof tent on its opposite end and repeat the process with the other mounting channel.

NOTE: Make sure to add some grease to the threads to help with tightening and undoing.

Roof tent base with a mounting bar attached.
Close up of ladder bracket attached to the base of a Tent & Trail roof tent.
Step 4

Install ladder brackets and ladder

Position the roof tent on its base. Find the 2 x ladder brackets with 8mm bolts, washers, nuts and the ladder. On the edge of the base, 4 pre-drilled holes will be covered with black round stickers, remove stickers and position brackets. Push the bolts through from the outside so they protrude inside the tent, and tighten the nuts with spanners until secure.

Once you have secured both brackets, position the ladder inside the brackets. Place the nylon washer between the bracket and ladder. Tighten the nut and bolt with provider spanners but make sure not to overtighten and crush the nylon washer.

NOTE: Make sure to add some grease to the threads to help with tightening and undoing.

Step 5

Thread roof tent cover zip into 'C' channel

Lay the roof tent cover out on the floor and unzip the attachment strip from the cover. One side of the cover will have an attachment strip retained to the cover, thread this into the hinge side ‘C’ channel of the tent roof.

With the cover over the roof tent in place, you can now thread the zip attachment strip into the ‘C’ channel around the roof tent.

Make sure to thread the strip in the correct direction to match the zip ends with the cover. Finally, zip up the cover and secure it with the two external buckles and Velcro straps.

Threading the Tent & Trail roof tent cover into the attachment slot.
Closed roof tent mounted to the top of a car in the UK.
Step 6

Decide opening direction and lift onto your car's roof

Before lifting it onto your car’s roof, decide the direction you want the tent to open. The hinged side is the direction the tent will open and overhang.

Once you have decided your position, grab a friend and carefully lift the tent into place. Be sure not to hurt yourself, your friend, your car or your new roof tent!

Step 7

Clamp roof tent to your roof bars

Slide the 8 x aluminium brackets into the mounting channels, 4 brackets in each channel. Next, position them with the M8 threads on either side of your roof bars.

Place the stainless steel clamping plate up against the underneath of your roof bar and screw on an M8 washer and nut. Tighten with a spanner until secure but do not overtighten. Once all bolts have been tightened, check that the roof tent doesn’t move and is secure.

Check all the mounting bolts and brackets periodically during the use of your roof tent to ensure they are securely fastened to your rack system.

NOTE: Make sure to add some grease to the threads to help with tightening and undoing.

Roof tent clamped to roof bars on a car in the UK.
Two people camping with a fire and a roof tent in the UK.
Step 8

Enjoy your roof tent!

The roof tent installation is complete. With your roof tent now secure to your car, you are ready to start your adventures!

After your first use, check the nuts and bolts for tightness. A general good maintenance tip is checking nuts and bolts periodically while the roof tent is mounted on your car.

Need your roof tent fitted?

We can set up and install your roof tent at our workshop in Hampshire, UK.

Roof tent FAQs

You’ve got questions, we got the answers. If you can’t find the specific answer you’re looking for then contact us at support@tentandtrail.com and we will be happy to talk through any questions you may have.

Yes. As long as you can fit roof bars or a roof rack to your car, then a roof tent can be mounted to your car. You will need to check in your vehicle’s handbook to make sure your vehicle’s roof is capable of carrying 50kg+ of dynamic weight.

See our can I fit a roof tent to my car page for more information.

All our roof tents come equipped with a full vehicle fitting kits (bolts, brackets, even tools) and detailed instructions. All our fixings are made from premium stainless steel 304-grade metal. This is to prevent weather corrosion/rust and add strength.

See our helpful fitting my roof tent guide page.

Yes. All roof top tents come with 100% waterproof heavy duty 420D Polyester Oxford canvas. The canvas used for the roof tents is UV and mould resistant, making your tent cooler and longer lasting in any kind of weather. 

The 420D Polyester Oxford canvas has a hydrostatic head rating of 2500mm. This means the material can withstand 2500mm of water across a day before water will start to penetrate.

Our free delivery service is available to the vast majority of UK customers. However, certain UK postcodes do not qualify for our free delivery service and customers in these areas may be required to pay a supplementary delivery fee.

Our current free shipping exclusion zones include postcodes in the following areas (and which are subject to updates from time to time): Channel Islands, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Isles of Scilly, Scottish Highlands & Islands.

If your postcode falls within one of the free delivery exclusion zone(s), please email support@tentandtrail.com confirming your full address details and we will be in touch with a quote for delivery. We can also arrange delivery all over Europe – please contact us for a quotation.

When gaining access to your property vehicle access restrictions may apply which could mean additional cost or delivery failure. If you are concerned this may apply to you, then please be sure to email us before you complete your order at checkout.

See our delivery and returns page for more information.

All of your products, roof tents and awnings have a 2-year warranty, for any manufacturing defects that might occur, (these are very unlikely). Just contact us at support@tentandtrail.com for any issue and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Please see our warranty policy page for more details.

We’ve got you covered.

We know that accidents can happen but there’s no need to worry that your roof tent is ruined. We hold a number of spares for all our products, ranging from travel covers to window rods and brackets/fixings to help keep you on the road.

Simply get in contact with us with what you require and we will be in touch. 

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