This February I got the chance to try out a rooftop tent, also known as RTT. You probably have seen this kind of tent before on social media. Rooftop tents (to mount on top of your car) come in many different shapes and sizes. From large versions for your 4WD, to small pop-up tents in a Hard Shell. The best part of this concept, in any variant, is that it can even fit the tiniest car.
Now we didn’t drive a Mini or a Ford Ka, but I can imagine it feels super cool to cruise around with a rooftop tent on your tiny vehicle. We bumped into the rooftop tents of Opjeautoslapen.nl, which is a Dutch company that offers 2 types of rooftop tents. A square shaped version (called Miles) and a triangle shaped version (called Hopper). Both types are personally designed by Femke and Tim, and thoroughly tested before taken into production. Their story sounds promising: using a rooftop tent of Opjeautoslapen.nl is a comfortable way to camp and setting it up takes only minutes. Freedom is out there! I also liked their ideas about building on a recyclable product and them trying to re-use old tent canvas for their own rooftop tents.
First bump in the road: how to fix this RTT onto our car?!
Oops.. Never really thought about how to actually fix this rooftop tent on top of our car. There were no items or technique to assemble anything on top of our roof. Still, this shouldn’t be a problem. And how about the weight?! I read on the website of Opjeautoslapen.nl:
“An average car can carry approx. 75 kg on the (Thule) roof rack. On top of this, the RTT can carry 2 persons. Due to the fact that there is a difference in the car in motion or being parked, the roof rack can carry 2,5 -3 times as much weight when not in motion. So you can sleep on the roof.”
So, we really should be fine with the two of us on top of the car. But… how to even get it on our car roof?!?! This turned out to be suuuuuper easy. The company called Topspace, with over 80 service locations all over The Netherlands, was able to mount a roof rack on top of our not-prepared car. They simply check out the kind of car you drive, based on the license plate you have and apply the fitting rooftop carriers based on the preps already being there (or none being there). Making an appointment took me around 5 minutes, applying the carriers was done in 10 and removing them just as fast. Really impressive! So now we were all set and ready for the rooftop tent to be installed.
Welcome to the roof
After picking up the rooftop tent in Weesp (Femke and Tim mounted the tent on top of my car), my first drive home was rather exciting. I felt a bit unsure about how fast I could drive with this new big thing on top of the car, feeling all the wind and rain way more intense. In the end, of course this was peanuts! The rooftop tent didn’t come with many instructions, the cargo is easy to place on top of the carriers and we experienced that setting up the tent was really done within minutes. During our first drive to Bretagne (Northern France), we had to check and tighten the bolts and straps a few times, but this is normal when driving 100-s of KM’s with the tent cargo on top of the car. Hmmm…. during our trip, I realized we had more stuff inside the car than we had on top of it. Camping like a minimalist might be my next challenge. Mission 1 was accomplished when we arrived at our destination (with the tent still on top of our car!) and we were able to set up the tent in less than 10 minutes. It only took:
- 4 straps to open the RTT
- and placing 1 small ladder to climb into the tent.
If needed, you could really do this all by yourself. Preferably with 2 persons, but in case of emergency it’s as easy as pie for only 1 person to fix it. We didn’t really need a tarp this weekend, so that’s why we didn’t use it. But this was also the part we thought could be a challenge. Setting up a tarp suddenly seemed to be kind of a mission compared to ‘setting up’ this innovative tent in a few minutes. Thinking of the experience of setting up a tent in the 90’s, a rooftop tent really comes as a life saver: no poles to be messed up and no endless puzzling anymore.
Totally wind, rain and snow proof
We could have picked a better weekend of February for this first Winter camping trip and were really happy not to be camping in a ‘normal’ tent. We were well prepared for cold and snow, but not for wind speeds of 40 knots/ 8 Beaufort! In the middle of the night, we drove to safer places very slowly with the rooftop tent popped up. Can you imagine the stress you’d have when sleeping in a standard tent? Still we weren’t able to sleep of course. Not the tent, but this storm kept us awake. In the early morning we successfully folded back the tent in minutes again and the super stormy weather forced us to take a hotel for the following night. During our Winter camping adventure a week later, we ended up in other challenging weather conditions again! Snow and temperatures way below zero :-/ Not a situation in which we would like to chill outside with the small and perfect camping stove we brought (also for sale with opjeautoslapen.nl). But sleeping inside the tent on top of our car was really a bliss! We stayed warm and with our self inflatable mattress on top of the small mattress that comes with the tent, we slept like babies for freezing nights in a row. Check out the campsite where we stayed. It was super great!
All in all about the rooftop tent
Conclusion about my experience with a rooftop tent is that it indeed comes with speedy setups and a lot of comfort. Even for tall persons, this is a great camping solution. There was really enough space inside the tent for two adults (204x124x92 cm). Also, it’s surprisingly easy to install on almost every type of car. Rooftop carriers were super fast to mount, the tent itself is super easy and fast to set-up, expanding the ‘camping space’ around your car with a special tarp is very well thought through and you can just fold back the tent in minutes to head to your next destination. The concept of Opjeautoslapen.nl is really thought through and a wonderful solution for people who like car camping! Considering to buy one of these beauties? I can only recommend it since it gives you so much freedom. Having kids? Maybe just pitch an extra tent next to your car. Perfect equipment to spend a holiday camping in the wild in Scandinavia where you have to pitch your tent almost every day! Pick the ‘Miles’ for a more tent-like experience and the ‘Hopper’ if you happen to drive a van. When necessary, you can keep the tent on top of your car for 365 days a year, but be sure though to have some space to store the tent cargo in times you don’t use it…
Disclaimer: The reviewed rooftop tent and rooftop carriers were respectively sponsored by Opjeautoslapen.nl and Topspace. I wrote about my personal experience with this equipment and being sponsored didn’t change my opinion.