Are you the proud owner of a root top tent? Then you definitely want the roof top tent to look nice for a very long time and always be ready for use when you need it, right? In this article I would like to show you the most important tips and tricks on how to keep your roof top tent in perfect condition. If you take good care of the roof top tent, it doesn’t matter how old it is, it will never let you down and is always ready for use when you want to leave for your next camping trip.
In order to maintain a roof top tent perfectly and to keep it in good condition for a long time, you have to thoroughly clean and wash the roof tent regularly. You also have to do any repairs quickly to prevent the spread of defects.
Since I/we have owned various roof top tents for many years, I would like to tell you about my experiences here. Due to the many mistakes I made, I was able to learn a lot about the correct care of a roof top tent. In this article I would like to explain to you how to do it correctly and how to properly care for and clean your roof tent so that you can have fun with the roof top tent for a long time and experience many great camping trips.
Table of Contents
Clean the roof top tent after every camping trip
It is very important that you clean the tent well and thoroughly after every camping trip. By cleaning, no dirt can form on the tent skin, which could attack and damage the tent skin. It is also very important that you clean all corners well and free them from dirt. The best way to do this is with a small vacuum cleaner.
If you don’t vacuum the tent regularly, small stones can also collect in the sides and pockets and when you fold the tent up, friction can arise which can damage the tent and the tent fabric.
The best way to wash the outer skin of the tent is with a warm water and ordinary soap. Get a soft cloth and a bucket of warm water into which you put a little soap. Under no circumstances use aggressive cleaning products! These aggressive cleaning products could permanently damage the fabric of the tent.
Completely erect the roof top tent and wash the outside and inside of the tent thoroughly with the soapy water. After that you have to dry the tent thoroughly with a dry cloth. It is particularly important that you dry the tent well inside. Now open all entrances so that air exchange is guaranteed. Let the tent air dry for at least two hours. If the humidity is high, you have to extend the time to four hours. It is important that all moisture and humidity escape from the inside. Otherwise there is a risk of mold forming inside the tent.
Oil all hinges and moving parts
It is very important that you oil all moving parts on your roof top tent from time to time. This can prevent rust from forming on the moving parts. Likewise, grease and oil keep the moving parts of your roof tent moving smoothly and easily. If there is strong friction on the moving parts, they can quickly break down. Replacing these parts is very difficult, so you should always pay attention to sufficient grease and corrosion protection. However, it is sufficient if you grease and oil the tent once a month if you use it regularly.
Repair cracks in the tent skin immediately
As soon as you notice cracks in the tent skin, you have to act immediately and repair the defective areas quickly. If you notice a small crack in the tent, the use of the tent can cause the crack to expand further. If the crack continues to expand, it becomes more and more difficult and time-consuming to repair the defective areas.
But how do I repair a defective roof top tent?
Let’s take the “Smittybilt Overlander Tent” as an example, this specific tent is made of 100% polyester. This means that if a crack forms on the outer skin of the tent, this can happen quickly, either due to aging due to UV radiation or due to mechanical stress. So you have to treat the tent skin with a polyester repair kit. You can buy these repair kits including glue and polyester strips. Then you have to clean the areas well beforehand and treat them with a grease remover. This allows the adhesive to adhere better to the substrate. Then you coat the damaged area generously with the adhesive and press the polyester repair patch firmly onto the area. We recommend that you apply a repair patch on both sides so that the area cannot tear any further and you no longer need to worry about the damage.
Of course, you can also get these repair kits made of other materials!
Repair damage to plastic parts quickly
It can quickly happen that larger parts of the roof top tent are also damaged. If the floor of your roof rack tent is made of plastic, for example, it can also cause cracks or other damage due to heavy loads.
There are, for example, special plastic repair adhesives. These adhesives consist of two components. These are then applied to the damaged area or the crack and then the area is repaired again.
But there is also the possibility of welding plastic parts. To do this, the plastic is heated at the damaged area and filled with a filler material. But this is the professional version and should only be done by people who can also handle plastic welding.
Impregnate against water and rain
If you are often out camping with your roof top tent and also often camp in rain or snow, the water protection can be impaired. But that’s not a big problem, you can treat the tent with various water protection sprays. Please inquire with the manufacturer of your roof top tent whether they recommend certain waterproofing sprays or agents.
However, you shouldn’t spray your tent too often with an impregnation spray, as the chemicals in too large quantities cannot be good for the fabric of the tent skin.
We impregnate our tents a maximum of once a year. It must be enough. Of course, you must not forget to thoroughly clean your tent and check it for damage before waterproofing. The spray only adheres to clean fabrics.
Prepare the tent in the cellar for a longer period of time
If you don’t go to camping with your roof top tent in winter, you should remove it from your car roof and store it in a clean, dry and cool place. Either you store your tent in the basement or in the garage in winter or when you didn’t use it for a long time. Place it in such a way that the roof tent is not in the way of anyone, that your children cannot come to the tent with their toys or sharp objects and that it could be damaged.
But before you put the tent in your garage or basement, you have to clean the tent thoroughly, both inside and out. To do this, use water and soap and a soft sponge or cloth. After washing, you have to leave the tent erected for some time and let the tent dry well, otherwise mold could form if you fold the tent up with moisture and put it away.
You should also treat all moving parts with machine grease. This prevents metal parts and hinges from corroding.
Also check your tent for damage to the tent skin. If you find a crack, of course you have to repair it beforehand.
If you are now putting your roof top tent in the garage or the basement, it is best to cover your roof tent with a tarpaulin or a bed sheet. This will prevent large amounts of dust from settling on the tent.
You also have to make sure that you never place the roof top tent directly on the ground. Always place the roof top tent in an elevated position. For example, place it on a box or a table. Garage floors or basement floors can always get wet, due to rain or moisture. Under no circumstances should the roof top tent come into contact with water or moisture over a long period of time. Otherwise there is a risk of mold growth or severe damage. Mice or other animals can also run around on the floor, they could also see your expensive roof top tent as a new sleeping place and make yourself comfortable in your roof tent and cause severe damage there.
So always play it safe and stow your tent as well as possible. Another very good option is to hang the roof tent from the ceiling. If you have a stable ceiling in your garage, you could also hang the roof top tent under the ceiling.
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!