A Beginner's Guide to Choosing A Ripper Rooftop Tent: What You Need to Know

A Beginner's Guide to Choosing A Ripper Rooftop Tent: What You Need to Know

Whether you’re new to the great outdoors or are a seasoned camper looking to upgrade your tent or swag setup, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when choosing the perfect roof top tent.

Here at DARCHE, we’ve got an impressive lineup of rooftop tents to suit all preferences, needs and experience levels. And with this handy guide, we’ll help you decide which ones right for you - Let’s get into it.

Confirming Your Car’s Weight Capacity

 Whether you’re buying a hard shell or soft shell rooftop tent, the first step is to check your vehicle’s manual and establish the dynamic (moving) and static (stationary) weight limits. Your car should also have a solid roof rack or roof bars capable of supporting the tent's weight plus the weight of the occupants.

Our car rooftop tents weigh between 48 and 110 kgs so make sure you account for this, along with any other gear, in your overall weight limit.

If you’re unsure about your vehicle’s roof load capacity, give your vehicle manufacturer or dealer a quick call for advice.

Understanding The Types of Rooftop Tents

Here at DARCHE, we specialise in two types of roof top tents: Soft shell and hard shell.

hard shell roof top tent

 Hard Shell Roof Top Tents

The perfect blend of convenience, comfort and innovation. The sleek aerodynamic design significantly reduces drag and noise during transit. 

The robust hard shell ensures protection against the harshest elements, while the easy-lift mechanism allows for rapid setup in minutes, providing more time to enjoy the great outdoors. Inside, the high-density memory foam mattress offers a comfortable nights sleep superior to other camping beds. 

Storage compartments keep your essentials handy and integrated lighting means no more fumbling for the torch in the dark.

Soft shell roof top tent

Soft Shell Roof Top Tents

These innovative tents combine the feel of classic camping with modern convenience. The intuitive design ensures easy setup, while large mesh windows offer panoramic views and superb ventilation ensuring you can enjoy the scenery and cool evening breeze.

Lightweight (yet tough), soft shell tents come in both smaller and larger models, so both solo and group travellers can enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep off the ground and away from the damp and creepy crawlers.

Determining Which Tent Suits You

In the classic camping or backpacking world, enjoying extra leg room means carrying extra weight on the trail. With rooftop tents all the heavy lifting is done for you, so determining the right size comes down to carload capacity and personal preference. 

For example, some of the larger hardshell roof top tents will only suit 4WD’s with a higher weight bearing capacity. 

Let’s say you’re in the market for a roof top tent in NZ to take the family on a getaway. The Basecamp model that sleeps 3-4 people is a great choice. It’s super quick to assemble and packdown, with tons of space for the wife, kids and the family dog. 

For those travelling solo who are after a hardshell design, the compact Streamliner that sleeps up to 2 people is and ideal lightweight roof top tent. The 2050L x 1200W x 1450H mm internal dimensions leave plenty of space to stretch out and get a good night’s rest, but at only 69kg it’s one of the lightest hardshells on the market.

Set Up and Pack Down

Step 1: To mount a rooftop tent, begin by securely mounting the base to your vehicle's roof rack according to the manufacturer's instructions, ensuring it is centred and the weight is evenly distributed. 

Step 2: Once fastened, you’re ready to go. Once you’ve arrived at your campspot, unfold the tent by removing the cover and extending the ladder if it’s a soft shell, or popping up the shell if it’s a hardtop model. Lock the tent's arms or struts in place for stability. 

Step 3: Before use, double-check your setup, and make sure the ladder is firmly grounded to support weight during entry and exit.

However, the set up and pack down process varies depending on the type of roof top tent you purchase, so make sure you read the assembly instructions carefully before you get started. 

Legendary Gear For Your Next Adventure

When you embark on a journey with the right gear and the right knowledge, you'll be set for experiences that are nothing short of legendary. Remember, the best stories are often told with a cold one in hand, under the stars. So what are you waiting for? Check out the DARCHE range of rooftop tents online today.

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