When night falls and the sun disappears in the sky, it can quickly get very dark on the campsite and in the tent. Now of course it would be practical to have the right lighting. The right lighting is especially important if you lie in the roof rack tent in the evening and maybe want to read a book to relax. In this article, I would like to give you my experiences and recommendations for the right lighting.
There are different ways to supply the roof top tent with light. Most roof tents have a simple loop on the ceiling that you can use to hang a camping lamp. There are of course various designs. The lanterns for the tent roof are available with different luminous intensities and different battery or rechargeable battery capacities.
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The best way to have light in the roof tent in the evening
A good and very simple option is of course to buy a camping lantern. Most roof tents are equipped with a device on the ceiling that allows you to hang a lantern on the roof of the tent.
So all you have to do is decide on the right or suitable power for the camping lanterns, which are mostly equipped with LED lamps. We recommend that you do not opt for the cheapest model, as there is usually a saving on the components, such as the LEDs or the battery, and inferior components are used. Usually, the better decision is to opt for a medium-priced item.
Another alternative is a headlamp
Headlamps are also a good alternative to camping lanterns. You always wear the headlamp on your head and then always shine exactly where you are looking. Headlamps have the advantage that you can also use these lamps for other purposes. You can also use a headlamp, for example, for the nightly way to the camping toilet.
If you still want to read a book in the roof tent in the evening, the headlamp is also ideal. The disadvantage of the headlamp, however, is that it does not scatter the light over a wide area, but always only illuminates the area where you are looking.
The professional variant
If you plan to spend a long time in one place with your roof top tent, or if you are often out and about in nature with your vehicle and roof rack tent, it is of course worthwhile to invest in a slightly better and more sophisticated lighting variant.
I can recommend lighting using solar energy to the professional campers among my readers. The great advantage of working with solar power is that you no longer have to worry about batteries or the next battery charge.
All you need to supply yourself with electricity are a solar panel, a charge controller, a voltage converter, and one (or more, depending on requirements) battery that can store the electricity generated.
So when you have bought all the things, all you need to do is connect them to each other and you have unlimited power with which you can charge the batteries of your camping lamp, for example. Of course, you can also operate many more devices, depending on your needs.
In the meantime, the solar cells can already be bought very cheaply, or you can get such a charging unit as a complete set, which includes everything you need. You can best place the additional battery in your trunk. Since the roof top tent is installed a short distance from the trunk of your car, you don’t need a lot of cables to lay a power connection in the roof tent.
You can, for example, place the solar panel on the hood of your car or fasten it there with screws. But remember to remove the solar panels before driving, otherwise, they may come loose due to the air resistance and fall onto the road at higher speeds.
There are also possibilities to place the solar panels on the ground with special angle brackets and to always orient them towards the sun.
Not to be recommended at all
Please do not try to light your roof top tent or any other tent with an open fire or a candle. A candle can be very romantic, but it can also become very dangerous very quickly. If, for example, the candle falls over, in the best case scenario it can only damage the tent, but in the worst case, it can even lead to a fire if the candle falls on flammable camping equipment such as a blanket or a sleeping bag.
You should generally refrain from using a gas lantern or gas heater in the tent. On the one hand, parts of the gas lantern or gas heater can get very hot; on the other hand, a gas lantern or gas oven can be very dangerous, as oxygen is extracted when the air is burned and the air is also enriched with toxic carbon monoxide. In the worst case, this can even end fatally.
If you are out and about with your roof top tent only a few weeks a year and you want to camp in places where you do not have an external power source, we can advise you to use a camping lantern or tent lantern. These are mostly operated with a battery that you have to charge at home beforehand.
But if you are a professional camper and are often out and about with your roof tent, we can recommend you invest in your own solar power supply.
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!