When you decide to purchase a rooftop tent, you’ll also need to make sure you have the right roof rack to mount it. The amount of options you have can be overwhelming, or just the opposite if you can’t immediately find a rack that suits your car.
To help jumpstart your search, we put together a best practices guide to help you find the right rack for your vehicle.
Is your car designed to support crossbars and racks?
Believe it or not, there are modern cars out there that still don't support crossbars and potentially aren't designed to be weight bearing. First things first, you should double check with the manufacturer to make sure your vehicle can support the weight of a tent/rack, as well as check out what companies are making product for your specific make and model.
Don't be fooled by the factory racks included with your car.
Shockingly, most factory racks will not support the weight of a rooftop tent. Again, we recommend checking manufacturer information, but most of the time, you'll need to purchase an aftermarket rack or crossbar system. You’ll need to make sure these weight ratings are compatible with your set up.
Two terms you’ll need to know are Static weight capacity and Dynamic weight capacity.
Dynamic Weight capacity: This weight capacity is what is supported while your vehicle is in motion. It is likely that this capacity will be different because your car is moving and other forces are applied to your crossbars. This is the primary weight rating to consider when researching your vehicle.
Static weight capacity: This weight capacity is what your crossbars will support while the vehicle is stationary. This weight should include your tents weight, your occupant’s weight, and your gear’s weight (if you decide to mount equipment on top). This rating is much higher than the dynamic weight capacity.
Choosing your Rack System
There are tons of different options for racks out there that you can use for your vehicle. Here are a few options for you to consider:
The shells of our tents are made of honeycomb aluminum, and are designed to mount easily to crossbars using the mounting hardware included with your tent. Crossbars are not only the most cost-effective option, but also the most widely supported option for vehicles out there, especially for smaller vehicles.
There are many ways that crossbars are mounted. Your attachment method will depend on your car make and model, and how its rack system is designed. We recommend spacing crossbars between 46” and 80” apart for maximum stability while driving.
For those who are looking for a rack specifically for their rooftop tent, it is a perfect, cost-effective option for mounting.
A few brands we recommend: Thule, Yakima, Rhino, Malone, Sportrack.
While our tents are designed for mounting on crossbars, platform racks can also be used if desired. Platform racks are a great option if you want to carry bulkier gear, like roof boxes or storage for water or gas. Please keep in mind if you do choose a platform rack for your rooftop tent, mounting hardware specific to your system’s brand may be required.
A few brands we recommended: Yakima, Rhino, Front Runner, Sherpa, Prinsu.
If you have a truck or a bed on your vehicle, this might be a good option for you as well. Some bed racks allow you to set your height, which can help with fuel efficiency if you install your tent flush with your roof. This can also lower your center of gravity when off-roading. Bed racks also allow you to mount gear on the side of your rack, which is a nice to have if you are looking for a system that will allow you more storage options.
A few brands we recommend: Prinsu, Yakima, Front Runner, C4 Fabrication, upTop
For vehicle specific advice, we strongly recommend reaching out to a trusted rack company such as Rack Attack or Rackstarz to help with your specific vehicle fitment!