Are rooftop tents bad for your car?

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Every season, the popularity of rooftop tents is rising and it definitely speaks a lot about them being a great addition to your vehicle. Rooftop tents are quite like regular ground tents in terms of function and structure. But apart from these two aspects, they are completely different pieces of equipment.

These tents, which come in two distinct styles are attached to the top of the automotive. The ones with soft tops open up from the sides. While the ones with hard shells open up in a way similar to that of the old VW campers. With that being said, the real concern is whether these tents can have a negative impact on your car? Let’s find out.

Will your car support the rooftop tent?

The first thing you need to find out us that whether your car can bear the weight of the rooftop tent. And for this, you should consider the make and model of the car, along with the weight of the rooftop tent.

The general rule of thumb is that your car will be able to support it when the load limit is more than 165 pounds. This implies that automobiles like trucks, SUVs, and larger vehicles could ideally equip themselves with the tent.

But if you own a small car or even a sedan, installing rooftop tents over them can bring about unwanted damage to your car. After all, you should take into account the structural capacity of these small cars. They will not only have to hold the tent, but also the rack system, campers, and people as well.

Will your car be damaged by installing the rooftop tent?

The answer to this question again boils down to the car you own. If you load more than its capacity, you will run the risk of changing the center of gravity of your car. This, in turn, will negatively impact the stability of the car.

Rooftop tents generally weigh around 200 pounds or even more at times if you factor in the metal rack that offers the bottom support. Now, if you consider 200 pounds of weight per person you have to multiple this weight by the number of individuals you want your go camping with.

With the rooftop tent installed on the top of your car, you will certainly feel the alterations in your ability to control the car while driving. In other words, you are likely to feel that your car is leaning sideways or pulling towards a side that needs to be controlled by the steering wheel.

This shows that if you are endowing more load to your car than what it can handle, it will do bad to your car. If your car’s rooftop loaf limit is less than 165 pounds, you should rule out the idea of getting a rooftop tent. Otherwise, you will bring about the increased wearing of the suspension system, speedy acceleration, reduced gas mileage, and most importantly, permanently damaging the roof of your car.

What to look for when shopping for rooftop tents?

When it comes to choosing the rooftop tent that will match your lifestyle without harming your car’s roof, you should be wary of certain aspects. First of all, you must take into account the capacity of the rooftop for carrying weight.

Next, the total weight you want you to carry including the tent, the ladder, metal rack, and the people camping. Together, they are termed as the combined static weight. Moreover, you should allow some room for cushioning. This means, if the total weight supported by the rooftop is 300 pounds, you should not push it to bear all of it. This way, the roof may become dented into a down slump.


Rooftop tents originated in the continents of Australia and Africa where they were needed to offer people safe protection from every entanglement. These included lions to snakes to creepers and everything in between. But such issues are not rampant in the camping experience of America.

Still, they have become highly popular in the last few years, thanks to social sites like Instagram where the influencers can lure people to this investment with their jaw-dropping rooftop tent images. So if you are willing to enjoy this convenience, just make sure your automotive can afford to bear it.