Guide To Weather For Roof Top Tents
This page includes everything you need to know about our products and the weather conditions they are exposed to.
Check out the most frequently asked questions below.
Q. Are Roof top tents weatherproof?
A. This is a good question; we get asked it all the time. Yes, Mako56 tents are weatherproof. But all roof tent manufacturers and retails will answer in the same way or make the same claim. However, the reality can be somewhat different.
A lower costing hard shell tent will use cheaper materials in the manufacturing process. This may mean – thinner canvas with a less durable coating of Polyurethane and lower quality zips and taped seams. Over time, such materials can become worn and prone to moisture ingress.
Badly designed tents will let in rain and wind from the get-go. In our opinion, one should spend the maximum amount they can when purchasing a roof top tent. You will not regret it.
Q. Are roof top tents safe?
A. This depends on what aspect of safety you are referring to. See our list of 7 steps to safety in roof top tents.
Most roof top tents are lockable when closed. Be sure to buy a tent that you can lock up when it is closed and on the roof of your car. This is the best protection against thieves. When sleeping in your tent, our advice would be to retract your ladder and keep it in the tent with you when sleeping. This makes it much more difficult for someone to access your tent (with you inside it) when you are sleeping. Remember, you will be sleeping at a height and most likely with either the doors or mosquito nets zipped closed making it very unlikely that a thief will try and steal anything from your tent with you inside it.
- Animals or insects:
In North America, campers must be vigilant against bears raiding campsites at night. In Europe, where we sell our tents, bears are much less of a problem and in Ireland, where our Mako56 brand is from, bears went extinct centuries ago. However, smaller animals, snakes and insects can still be a nuisance to European outdoor enthusiasts, and this is where roof top tents come into their own. Sleeping off the ground, on top of your vehicle means you are much less likely to encounter any animal making a roof tent very safe. Added protection of exceptionally fine nets in front of doorways and windows means that you should not get bitten by nocturnal flying insects such as mosquitos.
- Falling out of when sleeping or falling off the ladder when climbing in:
Our advice is to always close either the door or mosquito net when sleeping. This will prevent any thing, including you, your child, or possessions from falling out of your tent, however unlikely this may be. When climbing the ladder, treat this ladder like any other ladder – with the upmost care, as you can injure yourself falling, even from a short height.
- Falling off when driving:
Make sure that you install the correct roof bar or rack system on your vehicle, paying close attention to your car’s roof weight limits. Be sure to only use the mounting brackets supplied with the tent when attaching it to your roof rack, and follow the instructions given. Following these guidelines will prevent your tent from falling off when driving and ensuring safety.
- Flooding or getting wet:
Roof tents by their very nature are not likely to get flooded, as they are off the ground, unless you park your car on a riverbed or get hit by a tsunami. But seriously, park safely and this will not be a problem. Buy a tent that is designed well, with good quality canvas, waterproofing and taped seams and you should not get wet. Leave a door or window open and get caught in a windy rainstorm and you may have to dry your sleeping bag the following day though 😊!
- Overheating / exposure to cold?
A black rooftop tent will be warmer than a white tent and visa versa. Most of us will understand from science class that black absorbs heat, while white reflect it. The same applies to tents. Most people want the tent to look good on their vehicle and choose the colour accordingly. However, serious roof top campers will spec their purchase as to how they plan on using the tent. Climate, terrain, annual usage should play a part in the decision process too. Additional equipment purchases such as sleeping bag tog rating and clothing types will all help you overcome excess heat or cold. Where you park your car can have a major impact on night-time temperatures too – always pick a sheltered place.
My last point applies here, always pick a sheltered place to park your car, preferable out of the wind as this will prevent overexposure and buffeting that it causes. If camping in a clamshell tent, park the car facing into the wind as this will limit buffeting. Never pop your tent up in winds greater that 38 KPH as roof top tents are not designed to be used in such strong sustained winds.
Follow these 7 steps to safety in roof tents and you will be safe from most mishaps.
Q. How do roof top tents stay warm?
A. A well-designed roof tent will help keep in the heat generated by the occupants when fully closed. Premium quality materials such as thicker canvas with the appropriate PU coating will aid this. A black hard-shell tent will be warmer than a white tent as dark colours attract heat from the sun and lighter colours reflect. Insulation can be bought that the occupants can place around the windows and doors when tucked up for the night which will keep the tent even warmer. We strongly advise using sleeping bags and clothing that is appropriate for the season and climate you are camping in.
Q. How do you keep a tent warm without electricity?
A. It is all very well if one cannot keep the tent warm after you have gotten it to a comfortable temperature. Following on from the previous question and answer and following its instructions, it is important not to open windows and doors in the tent unnecessarily as these actions will allow heat to escape, thus cooling down the occupants.
Q. How can I make my rooftop tent more comfortable?
A. Remember, comfort is subjective. Some people like a hard bed and others prefer it soft. There are a variety of options to make a tent more comfortable. One could increase the thickness of the mattress or tog quality of the sleeping bag they use. Mako56 tents are available with solar panels and battery packs which allow occupants to run a lighting system or charge mobiles and tablets, while a solar panel does not increase physical comfort, it does improve the quality of the camping experience.