Katerina Hrnová Sitting with Dog in a Green Landscape under a Falcon Awning 270 and an Open Rooftop Tent, Setup on Car

Rooftop Tent Camping Guide: 7 Tips for Beginners

30 Jul, 2023

Ok, you want to embrace the overlanding way and start your rooftop tent adventures, now what? As you venture into the world of rooftop tent camping, there are several crucial factors to consider, ensuring your outdoor journey is as comfortable, safe, and enjoyable as possible.

Whether you are a day/casual camper, an overland enthusiast exploring diverse terrains, or an extreme overlander seeking to immerse yourself in remote environments for extended periods, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s dive into 7 tips to take into account when considering Rooftop Tent Camping.

Plan Your Camping Setup: Know Your Overland Level

Baltic Overlander with Multiple Rooftop Tents in a Green Field During Their Expedition to Romania
@balticoverlanders Crew Expedition to Romania

First and foremost, take the time to identify your overland level. Are you a day/casual camper, an overland enthusiast seeking extended trips, or an extreme overlander ready to spend days living in your vehicle in remote environments? Understanding where you fit will help you tailor your camping setup to your specific needs and preferences. So, let’s find your spot on the overland scale and craft an unforgettable rooftop tent camping experience tailored just for you:

Overland LevelDescriptionCamping Setup
Day/Casual CamperEnjoy day trips and occasional overnight staysCompact rooftop tent with basic essentials
Overland EnthusiastExperience extended trips, including snowy terrainVersatile rooftop tent with additional storage options
Extreme OverlanderFully embrace the overlanding lifestyle, camping for days in remote environmentsDurable, all-weather rooftop tent with all the necessary gear for extended stays in challenging environments
Family AdventurersSeek comfortable and spacious setups for the whole familyLarge rooftop tent
Solo ExplorersPrefer compact and lightweight setups for solo expeditionsRooftop tent for easy setup and mobility
Off-Road EnthusiastsTackle challenging terrains and rough trails with specialized gearRugged rooftop tent
Weekend WarriorsOpt for quick getaways and short camping tripsQuick-setup rooftop tent for easy weekend adventures
Overland PhotographersFocus on capturing stunning landscapes and wildlifeRooftop tent with panoramic views
Digital NomadsCombine work and travel, requiring efficient setups for remote workSpacious Rooftop tent
Music Festival GoersNeed convenient and cozy setups for festival adventuresRooftop tent with fun and vibrant designs for festival vibes

Understanding your overland level will help you determine the gear, tent size, and amenities that best suit your camping style and goals. Think about your future plans as well; whether it’s growing your family, exploring different terrains, or considering an upgrade to a camper trailer, planning ahead will save you time and money in the long run.

Choose the Right Vehicle: Your Overland Companion

Three Distinct Car Models with Colorful Rooftop Tents Displayed Outdoors
The James Baroud Rooftop Tents are suitable for any car

Selecting the right vehicle for your overland adventures is paramount. Consider factors like weight, traction, tire durability, and road handling to ensure your vehicle can handle the challenges of various terrains. A reliable and capable vehicle will be your trusted companion throughout your camping journey.

Choose the Right Tent: A Comprehensive Guide

Selecting the perfect rooftop tent is a crucial step in creating a comfortable and hassle-free camping experience. To find your ideal tent, check out our comprehensive guide on How to Choose Your Perfect Rooftop Tent. This guide covers everything from tent types and sizes to materials, setup, and additional features.

With all this helpful knowledge, you’ll have the tools to make a smart choice that fits your overland level and camping style like a glove.

Plan Your Trip: Destination and Activities

As an overlander, you have the freedom to explore vast territories. Plan your trip by considering the destinations you wish to visit and the activities you want to indulge in.

To make the most of your rooftop tent camping adventure, take some time to research and choose the perfect destination and activities that align with your interests and preferences.

1. Destination Exploration: First, think about the landscapes and environments that inspire you the most. Are you drawn to green forests, picturesque beaches, rugged mountains, or expansive deserts? Each place offers unique experiences and challenges, so choose the scenery that speaks to your soul and matches your overland skills.

2. Activity Planning: Once you’ve decided on your destination, think about the activities you’d like to enjoy during your trip. Are you an avid hiker, mountain biker, or water sports enthusiast? Or maybe you prefer birdwatching, stargazing, or photography. Tailor your itinerary to include activities you’re passionate about to make your journey full of exciting and unforgettable moments

3. Season and Weather Considerations: Be mindful of the season you’ll be traveling in and the weather conditions you might encounter. For example, if you’re planning a winter camping trip in snowy regions, ensure that you pack appropriate winter gear. On the other hand, if you’re camping in hot and sunny climates, consider a good ventilation and bring along sun protection.

4. Camping Permits and Regulations: If you’re new to camping, it’s a good idea to start at beginner-friendly locations and camp with others to gain valuable experience. Before hitting the road, familiarize yourself with the camping permits and regulations for your chosen destinations. Some places may require advance booking or have specific rules for camping and vehicle access. Respecting these guidelines helps protect the environment and ensures a smooth and hassle-free camping experience.

By thoroughly planning your trip, you’ll be able to fully immerse yourself in the wonders of nature, explore new horizons, and create unforgettable memories. So, buckle up, set your GPS to “adventure mode,” and let the overlanding journey begin!

Properly Equip Yourself for Camping: The Essentials

Katerina Hrnová Sitting with Dog in a Green Landscape under a Falcon Awning 270 and an Open Rooftop Tent, Setup on Car
Katerina Hrnová embracing nature’s tranquility in style with our Rooftop Tent and James Baroud Falcon Awning 270º

Properly equipping yourself for camping is essential to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable rooftop tent experience. Having the right gear and equipment not only enhances your safety but also adds convenience to your camping journey.

Here are some key essentials to consider:

1. Rooftop Tent Gear: Of course, the first item on the list is your rooftop tent and its accessories. As we highlighted before in our blog post on 9 Essential Outdoor Accessories to Improve Your Car Camping Setup, having the right add-ons can significantly enhance your camping experience. Also, familiarize yourself with the setup and takedown process to streamline your camping routine.

2. Sleeping Gear: Our rooftop tents are already equipped with a cozy and comfortable mattress, perfect for most seasons. However, for those chilly winter adventures, consider snuggling up in warm sleeping bags or blankets. With the right sleeping gear, you’ll wake up refreshed and ready to embrace your next adventure.

3. Camping Furniture: Depending on your camping style and overland level, consider bringing along camping furniture to add comfort and functionality to your setup. Folding chairs, portable tables, and a compact camp kitchen can significantly improve your camping experience.

4. Cooking Essentials: Plan your meals and bring the necessary cooking essentials to prepare delicious campsite dishes. Portable stoves, cookware, utensils, and a cooler to store perishables are essential for any camping kitchen. Don’t forget to pack your favorite spices and condiments to add flavor to your meals!

5. Lighting: Once the sun sets, proper lighting becomes essential. Headlamps, lanterns, and campsite lights will not only brighten up your evenings but also provide safety and visibility around your camping area.

6. First Aid Kit: Accidents can happen anywhere, so always carry a well-stocked first aid kit. Include items like bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, tweezers, and any personal medications you might need.

7. Hydration: Stay hydrated throughout your trip by bringing an ample supply of drinking water. You can also invest in a portable water filtration system to ensure access to clean drinking water while on the road.

8. Clothing: Pack appropriate clothing for the climate and weather conditions you’ll encounter during your camping adventure. Layering is key, especially for varying temperatures throughout the day and night.

9. Navigation Tools: While digital navigation is convenient, it’s also wise to carry physical maps, a compass, and a GPS device as backup in case of any technology failure.

10. Camping Safety: Prioritize safety by bringing along essential items such as a fire extinguisher, a multi-tool, and a basic repair kit for your vehicle and gear.

Plan Your Meals: Good Food, Good Times

Marco Hernandez @ovrlndx Preparing a Meal Outdoors in His Camping Setup at the Campsite
Marco Hernandez @ovrlndx shows us that eating good and tasty food is totally possible while camping.

On your overlanding odyssey, food becomes an essential part of the experience. Get ready for a delightful journey of delicious meals under the open sky. Before you hit the road, take some time to plan your meals in advance and ensure you have all the necessary cooking equipment and food storage options.

Whether you’re a campfire cooking pro or prefer the convenience of portable stoves, having the right tools at your disposal ensures you can enjoy a wide range of flavors while immersing yourself in nature’s beauty.

Hygiene on the Go: Stay Fresh and Clean

Falcon Shower and Rooftop Tent Seamlessly Attached on a Trailer Amidst the Forest
Simon Valero @simon4runner is a frequent user of the James Baroud Falcon Shower during his camping trips.

One of the challenges many outdoor enthusiasts face while camping is the struggle of maintaining personal hygiene and ensuring a refreshing shower experience. Planning for showering, toileting, and laundry needs is crucial to ensure you stay refreshed and ready to embrace the adventures each day brings.

Consider our practical solution, the James Baroud Falcon Shower, for on-the-go hygiene. This portable shower system was designed as a fully enclosed cabin, providing campers with a private space, allowing you to enjoy invigorating showers in even the most remote and rugged environments.

Get Out There

Remember, rooftop tent camping is about embracing the freedom of the open road and the simplicity of minimalism style. As you embark on your rooftop tent adventures, managing your expectations and adapting to the unique challenges that come your way will enhance your overall experience.

Embrace your individual camping style and set out on a journey filled with cherished memories, inspiring landscapes, and a deeper connection to the natural world. With the right planning and gear, your rooftop tent adventures are bound to be extraordinary!