How to use a roof top tent

Learn the basics on how to operate, open and close a roof top tent. It's easy as pie!

How to use a roof top tent?

Although being far from complicated in use, some instructions are always good to have when heading out on your own in the magnificent wilderness that Iceland has to offer. Knowledge is power, so soldier on to your journey with confidence.

Locking hinge clips. 

On most roof top tents there are two locking clips, one on each side. Just like the ones you see in the pictures here below. Clamp together the locking spring and pull open the lock on each side.

 Roof top tent locking clips Iceland

Push the lid open.

The upper half of the roof tent is connected to a hydraulic piston raising system so by just giving the lid a gentle push it will automatically pop open.


Place the ladder. 

A strong extendable ladder is kept and stored inside the roof top tent during driving and while not in use. The ladder can be placed on either side of the roof top tent, but make sure to place the ladder with enough incline that the ladder is not too close to the car. If the ladder is placed too close to the car the ladder itself or your feet when climbing into the roof top tent can damage the exterior of the car. The is made out of strong aluminium and is very light, it is rated for a maximum of 150kg (330lbs).

 Roof top tent ladder Iceland Icerental 4x4

Keep it dry. 

Keeping the roof top tent dry is crucial, both humidity and perspiration from you during sleep can condense and collect to the bottom of the tent. Do your best to air out the tent as often as you can. Placing the ladder underneath the mattress while the tent is camped and not in use can also help substantially to get rid of moisture as it makes room for air to flow under the mattress to aerate it. In many roof top tent models, there is a solar-powered fan, which also can reduce the build-up of humidity inside the tent while being slept in.

Closing it.

When you have finished your overnight stay and woken up with chirping birds with the smooth sound of a waterfall in the background you will need to close your tent and head onwards to your next experience.

First, place the ladder back inside the tent and close the door flaps. There is no need to close them completely with the zipper, it is enough just to attach the Velcro on the bottom of the door to the bottom of the tent itself. Closing the tent with the doors completely shut can be hard as the air inside the tent will have to struggle to get out while you close it so have the doors slightly open.

It always works the best when two people work together to close the roof top tent where one person can pull down the closing strap while the other one tucks in the tent material itself.

Finally, tuck the pulling strap inside the tent and snap the locking clips back in their place.

Now you are ready to head out to your next destination!

Man closing a roof top tent Iceland

P.S. Remember to leave your camping area in the same condition as when you arrived there.

-A responsible traveller is a welcomed traveller.

-And remember when nature calls, don’t answer the call on nature!

You can also find 10 tips on camping in a roof tent HERE

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