sleeping in roof top tent vs car

Roof top tent vs sleeping in your car

We love all types of camping- and if you are here it is probably because you are thinking about spending the weekend away- exhausted from your 9-5 work routine, or even just a getaway plan with your friends. If you are confused and trying to win a debate with your friends whether to go for rooftop tent or sleeping in car, we are here to rescue you from all the confusions, and to help you decide which one to pick.

Few years ago, rooftop tents started to popup in the market but were out of most people’s reach because they were very expensive. Thanks to the countless brands that started to make these tents which are now in everyone’s reach.

With just a few modifications, you can now sleep in your car, and with the rooftop tent you can automatically transform your car into a bed- On Wheels- this way you can live in a car without even living in it. Awesome, isn’t it?

That being said, there are drawbacks as well. If you are one of those who prefer sleeping on the rooftop or in the car, this article will guide you with the pros and cons.

Sleeping in a car- Pros

  • Warmer: Every car has a built-in insulation which traps all the heat inside. This is helpful when the sun goes down because the interior of the car will still be warm enough for you to enjoy a comfortable stay as compared to the rooftop tent. Moreover, you are also safe from the wind chill as the car is made from a solid material so you do not have to worry about being cold while sleeping. Of course you can turn on the heater of your car anytime you feel cold.
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Whereas the tent on the other hand, gets fluttery and windy. With most tents that do not have the insulation, the inner and outer temperature remains the same.

  • Cheaper: If you are on a tight budget, chances are that you already have an old mattress and pillow sitting in your house. All you need is this and you are good to go. You do not need to spend any money on buying fancy camping gear.
  • Safer: Sleeping in a car is much safer as compared to sleeping in a tent. You can lock your car and you are already set. If you sense any danger, you can just climb on the driver’s seat and drive away from the area. You are also safe from the wild animals that may come out at night, you do not have to worry about them. Having said that, do keep in mind that you aren’t safe from the bears- they are known for opening car doors and breaking the windows. You must make sure to keep your food away in a locker so that the bears may not get the odor of the food and draw their attention towards your car. Apart from that, you are surely safe from the poisonous creatures like snakes, spiders, and mosquitos as long as you keep the windows locked and doors closed properly.
  • Easier to find a site to camp: It’s simple, where you can park, you can camp!

You don’t need a flat ground or worry about snow or muddy ground, you just need a flat surface and you are good.

Sleeping in Car- Cons

  • Less space: A car doesn’t have enough living space as compared to the tent. Once you set your mattress, you don’t have enough space. For this reason, it is not really a good option for a family.
  • Less Privacy: You can be seen through the windows of your car. It is recommended to cover the windows with shades or curtains- you can also purchase custom-made shades to cover the windows. If you are camping with someone, there is no privacy.
  • Not so adventurous: Those who are actually a diehard enthusiast camping won’t even consider this as camping if you are sleeping in a car- that would just be as sleeping indoor.
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Why are roof rack tents so popular with campers?

It is rare not to see a rooftop camp nowadays while you are out on a walk or just taking your dog out. That being said, rooftop tents have some awesome perks.

  • Easy to set up: After the initial installation, it is very easy to set up a rooftop tent. When you find a perfect camp spot, you are good to go. A ladder is available which can also be folded back, so you can easily climb up and down from the roof, away from puddles and everything else. Even without any prior knowledge, you will be able to set up a tent each time to stop for the night.
  • Hustle- free: Most tents include a solid mattress so you do not have to carry an extra mattress with you.
  • Made Solid: Their solid built-in poles are made to stand heavy winds and rains.
  • The view: Unlike camping on the ground, you can enjoy the view from up there.


  • Costly: These tents are expensive as compared to the standard tents, so you must think before buying. You better think carefully what’s worth your money.
  • They’re heavy: Most tents are a lot heavy than any other tents. Most of them weigh at least 100b pounds and other up to 200. So when you are mounting, you have to make sure that you have at least one other person with you to help you do that.

Whether you choose rooftop tent or sleeping in car, it is totally your choice, however, we love to help you decide by narrowing down the pros and cons for you. So, if you like what you read and you love camping, do check out our other articles on outdoor camping (link to the articles)

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We hope this information will help you pick a side.