Several things come into play when planning for a vacation while driving with a mounted rooftop tent. One critical consideration is ferries. Ferries often regulate the size of vehicles, primarily determined by factors such as size or weight.
Ferries are a very convenient option when crossing large distances on the water and avoiding taking long trips by road. Thus, it can be an efficient option for saving time and overcoming huge and complicated distances covered by road. Waterway systems are also effective; therefore, you do not have to worry about your planned schedules and thus can be regarded as reliable.
However, you must ensure that before boarding either as an individual or with your car, you have met the proper criteria and paid the required amount. Factors such as the weight or height of the vehicle are essential aspects that are keenly looked into. The weight may be overwhelming and make it prone to submerging. Therefore, you must be prepared for extra charges if your car does not meet the standard procedures and measures.
At a glance
There are many different ferries in the US. All ferries have various regulations regarding size, weight, and price charts. Basically, it depends on how high your vehicle with a rooftop tent is.
For standard cars with rooftop tents installed, you will not have to pay extra for the rooftop tent.
But it is different with trucks or large/high SUVs, where the permitted height can quickly be exceeded by the mounted rooftop tent and so you end up in a different vehicle category and price range.
It is therefore important that you measure the height of your vehicle, including the mounted rooftop tent, and then ask for the price for the vehicle height on the website of the respective ferry company.
Here are a few examples of the most popular ferries in the United States
Of course, the different ferries in the USA all have different regulations and can change anytime. All ferries have different heights and costs. You should therefore find out more information on your ferries website before you travel!
Ferries rules and regulations differ according to state; thus, you must get enough details on what is expected of having a rooftop tent mounted on your car. Some of the ferries include:
Washington State Ferries
They offer specific precautions on what they expect from vehicles into the Washington state ferries. Clearance is essential before proceeding; the main aspects checked are the weight of your car and its size.
Height is also included and determined mainly by the vessel classes in the state. Therefore, depending on the height of your vehicle, it is likely that you will have to choose from different vessels. A clearance check will ensure that you have boarded the suitable vessel.
However, if your vehicle with the mounted roof tent is over 7’2″ is automatically charged for over-height. The additional fees result from travel approval and restrictions influenced by the routes taken.
Galveston-Port Bolivar Ferry
This is one of the busiest routes and has vessels responsible for servicing people between Port Bolivar and Galveston. The service is accessible to everyone; however, there are a few restrictions on the vehicle’s weight, size, and height.
The maximum height is 13.5 feet for all vehicles, which are practical limits considering your route. Thus, you can travel with your rooftop tent mounted in the car without any worries. If your vehicle meets the specifications set, you are good to go and do not have to pay extra money.
Alaska Marine Highway System
The system has defined policies that can be effective for you before boarding. The system allows a wide range of vehicles to pass through after paying vehicle fare, depending on the type and size of your car and the state in which it will be transported.
As for the height of your vehicle with the mounted rooftop tent, there is no defined restriction. However, the tidal range in Alaska can be very high, rising to 40 feet, and the Alaska Marine Highway System is not liable for any damage.
Thus, vehicles over 25 feet may experience some trouble. This means that you can travel on this system without paying any extra cost due to the height of your mounted rooftop tent. It is an efficient option for you if you are using this waterway.
Block Island Ferry
The system offers a range of prices for different types of vehicles like the standard size, full-size vehicles, oversized vehicles under 7′, large vehicles over 7′, and add-ons. Reservations are often made in advance for the efficiency and effectiveness of service.
Their rates are higher considering other routes and waterway systems that are in place. In this case, you will need to identify the type of car you are in, then consider the additional fee for the rooftop tent.
The rooftop tent is a top add-on which will attract an extra fee of $9.30. Thus, considering the route, you should be prepared for the prices and remember to reserve space. Booking in advance promotes efficient service.
Cape May-Lewes Ferry
The ferry can accommodate many vehicles, so you have nothing to worry about, especially in terms of space and size of your car. Standard vehicles range between smart cars, SUVs, and some pick-up trucks.
Therefore your car may fit under this category with fees ranging from $37 – $40. A reservation is essential for getting service, and you must show it before boarding. These charges, however, only apply to vehicles under 20′, and costs may vary depending on the height. Its large size means constant activity, and thus you have to ensure that you secure a reservation on time.
S.S. Badger Ferry
The Ferry system also highly recommends reservations and is efficient for all vehicle sizes. It has ample space for any vehicles though it may be hard to get a spot without a prior booking.
It is one of the largest ferries in Lake Michigan and probably the most reliable across the inland sea. You will have to check on the prices set first for vehicles and additional charges. Additional fees are set for extensions in vehicles and heights above 18′.
Therefore, before making your reservation, you must ensure the criteria fit to avoid an unnecessary brush with the authorities. The S.S. Badger Ferry, however, has been the most recommended due to the effectiveness it has offered even to trucking companies. Thus, you have nothing to worry about for your car’s case.
Waterway transportation can be a convenient option while traveling to different places and considering various routes. It is incredibly comfortable knowing that there is also assured security essential while traveling. It is one of the most convenient modes of travel. As such, if you need to travel via ferry using a car with a mounted rooftop, consider the specifications of each ferry service.
Unfortunately, I can’t definitively answer whether it costs more money if you have a rooftop tent mounted on the vehicle. But after my research, I can tell you that you don’t have to pay more for normal cars like BMW 3-series, Toyota Corolla, Tesla Model 3, etc. Most ferries calculate prices based on the weight and height of the vehicle.
Since a rooftop tent is usually not very heavy (150-300lbs) and does not add significantly to the weight of a vehicle, you don’t have to pay more. Even when folded, a rooftop tent is not very high, about 11-16 inches.
However, if you drive a very large truck or SUV, the extra height can put your vehicle in a more expensive vehicle category.
Most of these waterways also offer scenic views, adding to your adventure as you can relax for a while before hitting the road again. Always ensure you have the correct information regarding reservations and prices or additional fees for good planning. I would highly recommend boarding a ferry as an option for long-distance travel to save on cost and time, and you do not have to be worried about the mounted rooftop tent as it can still be accommodated.
Download Our Roof Top Tent Overview (PDF)
In this pdf file, we give you an overview of the most popular rooftop tents. You can download this PDF file for free and use it freely!