While roof top tents are designed to be very comfortable out of the box, there’s nothing stopping us from taking a roof top tent camping / overlanding experience to the next level with some useful upgrades and accessories. In this post we’ll cover everything from the most useful upgrades to make the most and even expand your living space to some cool accessories that will help you control climate properly.

At the same time we’ll be covering some of the concerns around the disadvantages of roof top tents and the reasons why you shouldn’t buy a roof top tent to ensure that (if you’re a first time buyer) you’re getting the best experience possible. If these upgrades don’t solve your concerns, it’s always up to you to choose one of the most popular roof top tent alternatives for your sleep system.

The best way you can make your roof top tent more comfortable comes down to improving your sleep system (padding, bedding, pillows etc.), upgrade your living space (through awnings, annexes, a better ladder), get the right organization accessories for extra space (boot bags, gear lofts & more), improve lighting and climate control (heating / cooling / moisture control).

Now, let’s jump into the specific ways and solutions that will make your roof top tent much more comfortable!

Sleeping Comfortably in a Roof Top Tent

Being able to get a good night’s sleep is going to be the most important factor in making your roof top tent more comfortable and your camping trip a great experience. We’re of the opinion that you can’t really fully enjoy nature and overlanding if you’re constantly tired after a few nights of poor sleep. So, let’s figure out the steps you should take and the accessories you should consider to make overland sleeping as comfortable as possible.

#1. Increase Your Roof Top Tent’s Padding

Have a test run lying down in your roof top tent and if your back tells you “needs more padding”, then you clearly need more padding. The easiest workarounds  are getting a foam topper, buying an inflatable mattress which you can keep inside the tent at all times (saves time and it’s less of a hassle) or adding specialized paddings you can get from the roof top tent manufacturer or from Amazon.

#2. Upgrade Your Extra Padding with a Pad Sleeve

Pad sleeves are really useful to get an extra bit of insulation while maintaining a certain look and feel for your roof top tent. if you end up going with an inflatable mattress as extra padding. They’re basically a sleeve that holds the mattress and you can find lots of models that might be suitable based on your preferences.

#3. Get the Right Sleeping Gear

We recommend skipping the sleeping bag and investing in higher quality such as camping blankets (even thermal blankets for cold weather), camping cooling sheets (especially for warm climates) and decent camping pillows (no one likes waking up with a sore neck).

Further in the article we’ll discuss about lots of other accessories (don’t forget the anti-condensation mat!) and factors that will determine your comfort level, ranging from expanding your living space to getting the tools you need to level your vehicle at all times.

If you’re very concerned about getting it right in terms of sleep quality in a roof top tent, be sure to check our guide on how to sleep comfortably in a roof top tent.

Useful Roof Top Tent Accessories

Roof Top Tent Comfort Upgrades

Just like with any other shelter solution out there, from ground tents to camper vans, there are lots of useful overland camping accessories plus a handful of required / essential roof top tent accessories to make your next adventure safer, more comfortable and enjoyable. From our point of view, ensuring a comfortable overlanding trip with a roof top tent goes much further than lying down on a soft mattress, so we’ll cover some of the most useful accessories that improve comfort directly or indirectly (by saving you time or expanding your living space and so on):

  • (1) Roof Top Tent Matching Awning
  • (2) Roof Top Tent Annex Room
  • (3) Roof Top Tent Gear Lofts
  • (4) Roof Top Tent Anti-Condensation Mats
  • (5) Quick Release Mounting Kit
  • (6) Roof Top Tent All Weather Covers
  • (7) Roof Top Tent Telescoping Ladder
  • (8) Extra Insulation Kits for Cold Weather
  • (9) Cargo Rails for Hard Shell Roof Top Tents
  • (10) Roof Top Tent Aerodynamic Wind Deflector
  • (11) Roof Top Tent Security Nuts / Bolts
  • (12) Dog Ramps for Pet Owners

To avoid making this post way too long, we recommend checking out our individual post on how to upgrade your roof top tent and figure out the most useful roof top tent accessories for your specific needs.

As we’ve already covered sleeping system upgrades and general roof top tent upgrades, we can move on to some useful accessories to take your camping experience to the next level.

How to Upgrade Your RTT

How to Upgrade Your Roof Top Tent

Most roof top tents come equipped for year round camping, but that doesn’t mean you can’t allocate some of your overlanding budget to upgrade them in multiple ways for an epic adventure.

Stay tuned for our roof top tent upgrade guide – coming soon!

How to Customize Your RTT

How to Customize Your Roof Top Tent

If you’re spending the money on a roof top tent, why not invest in customizing it further and making it feel like it’s your own home away from home. Check out the most common customization accessories and techniques in our guide.

» Read more: How to Customize Your Roof Top Tent

Useful Roof Top Tent Lighting Gear

Camp lighting is one of those things you generally might not put too much thought into, but the first time you’re left stumbling in the dark will make you appreciate the usefulness of having a set of diverse lighting accessories. Lighting solutions for roof top tents vary from integrated lights (in premium roof top tents which may even support solar panels) to humble camping lantern.

A quick rundown of the most popular form factors of camp lighting gear would be:

  • Simple or multifunctional lanterns (highly versatile)
  • Torches & head torches
  • Spotlights & area lights
  • Light strings, discs & other creative form factors

For a breakdown of the most popular tent lighting solutions and a list of awesome multifunctional products, stay tuned for our guide on roof top tent lighting.

How to Cool Your Roof Top Tent

Keeping your roof top tent cool can be a pain, and there are a few ways to make it easier to keep the air in your tent cool. There are various products such as portable fans, evaporative coolers, small portable ACs and some creative or DIY solutions such as reflective tarps or pre-made AC boots. To sum up the best ways you can cool your roof top tent and avoid getting too hot in warm weather / climates, we can list:

  • Portable fans
  • Reflective tarps
  • Evaporative coolers
  • Portable AC units
  • Cooling bed sheets

Make sure to check out our complete guide on how to cool your roof top tent which includes tips & tricks on how to stay cool while camping with a roof top tent without spending anything.

How to Warm Up Your Roof Top Tent

Camping in winter and colder environments can still be a fun and comfortable experience even if you’re not particularly fond of the cold, mainly because there are lots of techniques and products designed to keep you warm even in near-arctic conditions.  There are two main approaches to keeping your roof top tent warm and they work best when combined.

The first approach is insulating and basically winterizing your roof top tent with the following upgrades:

  • Tent insulation kits (generic or brand-specific insulator kits)
  • All-weather / extreme-weather or winter-ready covers
  • Insulating sleeping mats and cold weather

The second approach si focused on actually heating you and your roof top tent (preferably now winterized) with one of these accessories:

  • Electric Fan Heaters / Electric Radiators /
  • Specialized Camping Heating Gear (ex. Mr. Heater)
  • Diesel-Powered Heat Exchangers
  • Heated Blankets and other Cold Weather Gear

Make sure to check out our complete guide on how to keep your roof top tent warm, which includes tips & tricks on how to stay warm while camping in a roof top tent without spending a fortune.

How to Stop Condensation in a Roof Top Tent

While it’s unlikely you’ll ever be able to completely stop condensation in a tent, there are several ways to prevent most of it and manage it so that it doesn’t become a problem or a huge discomfort. Of course, the go-to solutions are various specialized anti-condensation products we’ll list below, but we also have some best practices to keep in mind.

In terms of products aimed at preventing, reducing, managing and at times even stopping condensation in a roof top tent, we can list the following:

  • Roof Top Tent Anti-Condensation Mats
  • Reusable Dehumidifier Bags
  • Electric Dehumidifiers
  • Electric Ventilators

At the same time, make sure you follow best practices to keep your tent as dry as possible and stay healthy while camping:

  • Constantly ventilate your roof top tent and the anti-condensation mat.
  • Wipe existing condensation with a towel and store wet towels outside.
  • Avoid camping in very humid areas if the above solutions aren’t enough.
  • Balance between heating and ventilating through partially open windows.
  • Last but not least – avoid storing any wet gear or towels in your roof top tent.

While condensation can be an annoying issue to deal with and dampness in your roof top tent can make it very uncomfortable (and even lead to issues such as mold if it’s constant and not aired out properly), these aren’t unsurmountable issues. If you’re particularly concerned about this, however, make sure to check out our individual guide (which includes individual product recommendations) on how to prevent and manage condensation.

How to Organize Gear in a Roof Top Tent

If your roof top tent becomes cluttered on day one and your actual living space is reduced, your comfort level is going to be significantly reduced. With that in mind, we want to help you figure out what gear storage solutions and organizers are best used in conjunction with your roof top tent. With a few extra organizers you might be able to store everything you need AND find them when you actually need them.

In terms of accessories aimed at helping you store gear and organize it in your roof top tent, we should look at:

  • Gear Storage Lofts
  • Velcro Gear Organizers
  • Extra Roof Top Tent Storage Pockets
  • Essential Roof Top Tent Shoe Bags & Holders
  • Roof Top Tent Cargo Rails (mounted on the hard shell roof top tent)

We generally recommend limiting the amount of gear you keep in your roof top tent while it’s pitched, so it’s likely that you’ll want to have as many overlanding storage & organization solutions as possible in your vehicle:

  • Stackable Cargo Boxes (such as Front Runner Outfitters Wolf Pack)
  • Specialized Cargo Boxes (such as Pelican Cargo systems)
  • Specialized Drawer Kits (cooking, tools, recovery etc.)

Overland storage & organization is a massive topic and, while roof top tents somewhat limit your storage space, we look at multiple solutions in our guide on how to organize gear in a roof top tent.

How to Level Your Vehicle when Overlanding

Sleeping in a roof top tent that’s not flat is honestly unpleasant for a lot of reasons. We’re not going to patronize you by saying “Just find a flat surface, how hard can it be…”. Instead, we recommend that you find the flattest possible surface in the area you plan on setting up camp and we’ll point you to a couple cool solutions you can buy and add to your overlanding gear checklist.

The most common overland leveling solutions include:

  • Traction boards for slightly uneven ground.
  • Heavy duty leveling blocks (used for RVs mainly).
  • All-in-one traction mats / boards / blocks such as GoTreads.
  • You might find some rocks if you want to save the money.

If you’re the kind of camper who really hates uneven surfaces, make sure to check out our handy guide on leveling your overlanding vehicle and explore specific product recommendations.

How to Bug-Proof Your Roof Top Tent

Constantly fending off mosquitos and other bugs can ruin your camping trip and for that reason we recommend going prepared with multiple backup solutions which will ensure you have a “layered defense” against the most annoying pests. We really like the concept of a “layered defense” simply because there rarely is a 100% effective measure for annoyances such as mosquitos (regardless of advertising).

For the purpose of bug-proofing your roof top tent, we recommend considering the following:

  • Make sure you have mosquito nets installed on your roof top tent. If not, buy some.
  • Pack a higher-tech solution such as ThermaCell for an insect-protection dome.
  • Pack a DEET or No-DEET spray (depending on your preference and concerns).
  • Pack a handy insect repellent lotion for bug-heavy environments.
  • Treat clothing with an insect repellant such as Sawyer Permethrin.
  • Arm yourself with a mosquito repellent bracelet / band.
  • Research natural and DIY insect / mosquito repellants if you’re concerned about chemicals.
  • Enact vengeance upon mosquitos and other insects with a bug zapping electric camping lamp.

For more handy tips and useful products to stave off various bugs, pests and critters, make sure to stay tuned for out our roof top tent bug-proofing guide.

Bonus: Fun Activities in a Roof Top Tent

While you can make your roof top tent super comfortable with all the available customizations, upgrades and accessories, boredom can become a big factor if you’re stuck longer than you’d want in the tent (bad weather for example might keep you inside longer than you’d expect). That’s when you’ll wish you’ve packed more stuff to keep you occupied and not stuck to your phone screen.

While we’re not fans of being stuck in a roof top tent most of the time while camping, there are some fun activities that are worth trying out:

  • Watch movies and other media with a camping projector such as Pico Projector.
  • Watch movies comfortably with a tablet / phone movie stand from IKamper.
  • Pack some card games, board games and other portable camping games.
  • Spend some time with your favorite books, magazines and physical media.
  • Enjoy stargazing – for applicable roof top tents with a skylight.

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