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How To Store Your Car Rooftop Tent

Jul. 09, 2024

One of the best parts of owning a rooftop tent is the incredible convenience it offers, allowing you to camp anywhere, anytime, even in winter. However, not everyone enjoys camping in cold weather. For those who prefer to swap their rooftop tent for a ski rack during the winter months, here are some tips on properly caring for and storing your rooftop tent.


Prep and Care


Proper care and maintenance are essential when storing your car rooftop tent for any length of time. Moisture is the enemy, so ensure your tent is completely dry before storage. After each trip, open your tent at home to let it dry out and clean any dirt or dust. Before long-term storage, pop it open for a few hours to check for moisture, clean the tent walls, and remove any bugs.


This is also a great time to clean your mattress cover, especially if you camp with pets. While your mattress might smell fine now, a few months in storage can intensify odors. For those living in particularly humid areas, consider removing the mattress from the tent and storing it inside your home to prevent mold and mildew.


Car Rooftop Tent

Storage Methods


Car rooftop tents are durable and can be stored in various ways, such as hanging from the ceiling, laying flat, or tipping on their side. To maximize the longevity of your tent, follow these tips:


First, consider getting a large mattress bag from your local moving and storage company. Placing your rooftop tent inside a mattress bag before storage provides extra protection against moisture and bugs and keeps it dust-free, so you won’t have to clean it when the next season begins.


Once your tent is protected, it's time to store it. One popular method is a hanging system, which keeps garage space open and makes reinstallation at the start of the season easier. Ensure your tent is fully supported underneath and that all pulleys and straps are securely mounted. You can build a pulley storage system yourself using a few sets of bike pulleys and some extra webbing.


1. Place each pulley from one set horizontally on the ceiling of your garage, spaced approximately 51-59 inches apart, depending on the size of your rooftop tent.

2. Mount the second set of pulleys 40 inches away from the first in the same fashion (51-59 inches apart), so that when you hoist your tent, there is approximately 20 inches on either side of the pulleys.

3. Create a basic webbing loop from hook to hook that can slide under your rooftop tent and hoist it up to your garage roof.


This setup ensures your tent is securely stored and easily accessible when you’re ready to hit the road again.


Flat Storage


If you have extra garage space, flat storage is a great option. Just be sure to never place your rooftop tent directly on the ground or concrete. Lay down some 2x4 lumber every 18 inches or so to keep your tent off the ground and allow for good airflow underneath, reducing the risk of condensation.


Side Storage


If you want to store your rooftop tent on its side, many of the same rules apply. First, place the tent in a protective bag to keep it clean and dry. Ensure the area where you lean the tent is stable and secure. Set up a series of 2x4s to keep the tent from touching the ground. For extra protection, place a moving blanket or thick cardboard under the tent to prevent the edges from resting directly against the wood.


Important Tips


- Never rest your tent on its latches or hinges, as this can cause damage and make them difficult or impossible to operate.

- Periodically check on your stored tent. Inspect the storage bag every few weeks for signs of condensation buildup, cuts, or tears that could indicate a pest issue.


Following these guidelines will help ensure your rooftop tent remains in good condition during storage.


Tips for year-round RTT mounters


Of course, another great storage option is on top of your vehicle! Leaving your tent mounted all year long is a great option if you can swing it. All of our hard-sided tents are waterproof rated and can withstand heavy amounts of snowfall. With a little due diligence, your car rooftop tent will easily survive a winter mounted on your vehicle. Just like with storage and use, our biggest enemy is moisture buildup. While your tents are waterproof, they are not airtight. Rapid freezing and thawing cycles can cause condensation issues. Every couple of weeks, be sure to open and set up your tent to ensure it stays dry throughout winter. If you find mildew or mold on the walls, clean it immediately. A quick scrub with a damp rag and white vinegar or a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution will take care of most issues. For particularly stubborn mildew spots, you can use a diluted bleach and water solution, but keep the bleach content to an absolute minimum to prevent damaging or discoloring your tent.


For seasonal campers, one of the biggest challenges with rooftop tents is figuring out a storage solution during the off-season. Keep these tips in mind to ensure your tent remains in tip-top shape when spring rolls around and adventure calls!

Car Rooftop Tent

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