Overlanding doesn’t always lead you to smooth terrain. After a day of off-roading, sleeping on the rocky ground can ruin a good night’s rest. Fortunately, a roof top tent is the overland adventurer’s answer to comfort in the wilderness. If you’re already a believer in the benefits of a car top tent, then learning proper care and maintenance will increase your tent’s longevity.

How To Clean a Car Top Tent

Rooftop tents don’t collect dust and mud as quickly as traditional tents, but you should still clean yours every couple of trips. We recommend cleaning it more often if you find yourself in an area prone to wind, rain or dust storms.

The Basics of Cleaning Your Roof Top Tent

Offroaders know the importance of keeping general provisions handy. Include a vacuum, clean cloths, a soft-bristle brush and mild detergent in your arsenal to clean on the road. Get into the habit of frequently wiping down the interior and exterior of your tent with mild detergent and warm water. A quick wipe-down every morning can make a big difference in the time you take to do a more thorough cleaning.

Softshell Tents

Your choice of cleanser is critical with softshell tents because abrasive cleaners can eat away the fibers of a car top tent. There are cleansers designed specifically for softshell tents, but some campers swear by mild dish soap.

Before deep cleaning, vacuum the interior to remove loose dirt. Hose or wipe down the exterior, including the rain fly. Scrub the zippers with a small brush and apply beeswax or your preferred form of lubrication to maintain their function.

If left wet, softshell tents are prone to mold and mildew. Let your tent air dry before you pack it up.

Hardshell Tents

Common materials for hard-shell tents include fiberglass and aluminum, which benefit from the same cleaning process as soft-shell tents. The major difference is that hard shells don’t gather dirt as easily. You can also apply marine wax to fiberglass and aluminum shells after cleaning to repel dirt and provide UV protection.

How To Prevent Premature Wear and Tear

A car top tent is designed to withstand windy conditions and rough terrain atop your off-roader. However, if you want to get more years out of your tent, follow these tips.

Secure Your Tent

Follow your manufacturer’s guide to the letter when attaching the tent to your vehicle. Manufacturers have instructions on properly securing your tent and what speed limits to stay below for optimal safety. Driving with an unsecured tent can cause serious wear on the tent’s fibers, resulting in fabric thinning and tearing.

Inspect Aluminum Poles

Dirty or wet aluminum poles can develop rust and corrosion. If your tent is exposed to saltwater or becomes dirty, clean the poles in fresh water and thoroughly dry them. Regularly apply lubrication and minimal silicone spray to the ferrules for further protection.

Read On for Car Top Tent Tips and Tricks

At the Nomadist, we understand your passion for off-roading. We strive to help you keep the mud on your tires but out of your car top tent. Read on for more lifestyle tips and tricks.