HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST ROOF TOP TENT

4WDrive - - CONTENTS - Words by Steve Fen­nell Pho­tos by Ryan Mc­Kee

Roof top tents are one of the most pop­u­lar af­ter­mar­ket sys­tems for wheel­ers. De­cid­ing what you re­quire, how much you need to spend, and what de­signs are avail­able are just some of the ques­tions we’re com­monly asked. So, we pro­vided those an­swers and more to help you choose the best model for your off-road ad­ven­tures.

K nown to have orig­i­nated in Western Europe as far back as the 1930s, roof top tents (RTTs) have evolved over the decades into one of the most pop­u­lar and con­ve­nient af­ter­mar­ket prod­ucts in off-road­ing. In ad­di­tion to pro­vid­ing added com­fort, they are easy to trans­port, aero­dy­namic-friendly, can ac­com­mo­date a va­ri­ety of off-road ve­hi­cles, and are avail­able with many fea­tures to ex­pand off-road ad­ven­tures with func­tion and style.

It’s no se­cret that all this con­ve­nience comes at a price. Whether you’re look­ing at a soft or hard shell RTT, both start in the $1,000 range, and can go as high as $3,000 to $4,000, de­pend­ing on the make, model, and op­tions. None­the­less, the many ben­e­fits of an RTT make for a good in­vest­ment, es­pe­cially if you find your­self off the grid more of­ten than not.

“The RTT has to de­liver in every as­pect for the type of off-road­ing you do,” says

Corey John­son, owner of Torro Of­froad of in An­nan­dale, VA., the man­u­fac­turer of its Hard Shell SkyLux RTT. “You need to be very thought­ful in your re­search and it’s about get­ting the best value right up front for what you need.”

With the many makes and mod­els avail­able, the fol­low­ing points will of­fer the all-im­por­tant cri­te­ria you need to get the best RTT for your next trip in the wilder­ness.

First Con­sid­er­a­tion: Weight Ca­pac­i­ties of Your Ve­hi­cle

Un­der­stand­ing the weight ca­pac­i­ties of what your rig and roof racks can han­dle is per­ti­nent to safety and func­tion. Gen­er­ally, off-road roof racks can han­dle ap­prox­i­mately 90 -135 kg (200-300 lb) of dy­namic weight (when the ve­hi­cle is in mo­tion) and ac­com­mo­date two or three times that amount in static weight (when the ve­hi­cle is sta­tion­ary). It's also al­ways best to re­sort to your owner's man­ual, or con­sult with your lo­cal dealer (or au­to­mo­tive ex­pert) to de­ter­mine your ve­hi­cle's ca­pac­ity. Un­der­stand­ing and not ex­ceed­ing these ca­pac­i­ties is es­sen­tial to avoid your ve­hi­cle from be­ing top heavy or worse, hav­ing your roof get dam­aged at a re­mote des­ti­na­tion.

Whether you have a stock model or want the lat­est and great­est, all roof racks for RTTs must in­di­cate dy­namic and static weight ca­pac­i­ties to safely ac­com­mo­date the over­all RTT load (whether the ve­hi­cle is sta­tion­ary or trav­el­ing). Most RTTs weigh from 41 to 91 kg (90 to 200 lb) and while the gen­eral rule of thumb is to have a rack with a ca­pac­ity of at least the weight of the RTT, al­ways opt for more. It will pro­vide a greater el­e­ment of safety and se­cu­rity, and al­low you to up­grade to a larger unit or ac­com­mo­date ad­di­tional pas­sen­gers.

It’s also im­por­tant to en­sure the dy­namic weight is high enough to pre­vent the RTT from

It’s im­por­tant to know the weight ca­pac­i­ties of your roof rack and rig when us­ing an RTT.

RTTS are easy to trans­port and set up.

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