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. For the purpose of providing a useful checklist to first time RTT buyers, we’ve classified our accessories list into Essential, Useful and Nice-to-Have, so feel free to prioritize accordingly based on your budget.
Essential Roof Top Tent Accessories
(1) Roof Top Tent Compatible Roof Rack
A surprising number of first time buyers of roof top tents don’t think about what roof rack they’ll need to properly mount their new overland home, but…it’s not something you can go without and you shouldn’t count on any factory installed solution. Check out the article below to figure out what roof rack you need, what weight considerations to take into account and how to make sure you’re purchasing the right roof rack for both your tent and vehicle.
Do I need a roof rack for a roof top tent?
Yes, for any roof top that that you plan on mounting to your vehicle, a roof rack (or cross bars) is required to be able to do so. Furthermore, you need to ensure that the roof rack you’re mounting your tent on is designed to support the static and dynamic load of the roof top tent in order to drive safely and use the tent without potentially damaging your car.
» Read More: Do I need a roof rack for a roof top tent?
(2) Roof Top Tent Anti-Condensation Mats
We really can’t recommend this strongly enough. Moisture is always a problem with roof top tents and in case your preferred roof top tent doesn’t come with one – buy one and save yourself a lot of headaches related to mold / mildew down the line. Keep in mind that an anti-condensation mat can be found pretty cheap and it’s a good investment – if your tent starts getting moldy, you won’t enjoy and for sure you’ll have a lot of trouble trying to sell it for a reasonable price down the line.
(3) Roof Top Tent Security Nuts / Bolts
While roof top tent theft is not that common, it’s unfortunately a reality and you can buy peace of mind with some nifty security nuts / bolts for your roof top tent. While this might not be a 100% guaranteed solution, it’s still better than nothing and the cost is minimal compared to what you’re paying for the tent.
(4) Roof Top Tent All Weather Covers
There are companies like Tuff Stuff Overland which sell all sorts of extra-durable covers for all weather conditions and they’re surprisingly affordable. Considering that wear and tear is inevitable for roof top tents, why not protect your investment with some high quality covers, while getting an extra layer of protection, insulation and warmth?
(5) Roof Top Tent Telescoping Ladder
We were surprised that a few roof top tents don’t come with included ladders, but luckily there are quite a few high quality solutions from brands such as Alu-Cab, Frontrunner Outfitters and more that work with basically any tent.
(6) Roof Top Tent Aerodynamic Wind Deflector
While it might seem like a strange accessory at first glance, a wind deflector basically pays for itself because it reduces drag / makes your vehicle with the mounted RTT much more aerodynamic. While it’s not something that pays off in one trip, the reduced gas consumption over a few thousand miles will definitely offset its price.
Arguably, you could live without the anti-condensation mat, security bolts, wind deflectors and covers but considering the low cost of these accessories and the downsides of not buying them – we really feel they’re a must-have.
Useful Roof Top Tent Accessories
(1) Quick Release Mounting Kit
If you plan on mount and dismounting your roof top tent multiple times a year, a quick release mounting system will save you a lot of hassle and reduce wear and tear as well. There are several options , but by far the most popular one is from Front Runner, since it has a good price / quality ratio.
(2) Roof Top Tent Matching Awning
While drinking a nice cup of coffee in your roof top tent is fine and dandy, you’ll still want some extra covered space for other activities, including cooking and whatnot, so a matching awning always comes in handy to expand your usable space.
(3) Roof Top Tent Annex Room
RTT annex rooms offer a lot of utility and greatly expand your usable living space at a fraction of the cost, so from our point of view it’s a no-brainer to get a compatible annex room as long as your budget allows it.
(4) Roof Top Tent Gear Lofts
A gear loft is a lightweight mesh gear holder that hooks at the top of your roof top tent and it’s a very useful organization and storage solution that’s worth the money. Gear lofts basically inspired all sorts of niche accessories such as boot bags, device bags, tool bags etc. that can be easily attached in various areas of your roof top tent – both inside and outside.
(5) Spare Roof Top Tent Latch Kit
A roof top tent’s latch kit is generally the most prone to breaking element, due to the constant wear and tear and it’s not something that you want to be driving without unless you’re planning on losing your roof top tent and potentially causing an accident. While there are many third parties producing latch kits, it’s best to ask your RTT manufacturer directly to sell you a spare one.
(6) Heavy Duty Roof Top Tent Driving Cover
If you’re not particularly happy with the cover your RTT came with, you can get a heavy-duty / premium cover from brands like Tuff Stuff for example.
(7) Extra Insulation Systems
While it may cost you a couple hundred dollars (or more, depending on the brand), if you plan on camping out in cold climates, you’ll be happy you’ve spent that money. While you can DIY, we generally recommend buying specific insulation systems such as The Ptarmigan Tent Insulation System which is compatible with a range of tents and can be easily “repurposed” for a different RTT brand if you’re a bit on the crafty side.
(8) Roof Top Tent Track Hangers
Roof top tent track hangers are secondary storage solutions in the form of tracks mounted to the sides of your roof top tent, greatly expanding the storage solutions at your disposal. If you’re an avid overlander, you know how valuable every extra storage solution can be.
(9) Roof Top Tent Shoe Racks / Bags
Similar to gear lofts, there are quite a few options in terms of shoe racks and bags that are really useful from our point of view. You won’t want to bring in dirt and mud into your roof top tent and the option to keep your shoes secured outside (without exposing them to rain for example) is a must have for extra comfort.
(10) Roof Top Tent Rain Canopy
Wet roof top tent ladders are one of our mild nightmares and a rain canopy that can be mounted to the RTT’s entrance is pretty cheap (generally under $100).
Nice to Have Roof Top Tent Accessories
(1) Premium Mattress & Bedding
While most roof top tents come with high-quality mattresses, you can always do better. If you’re the kind of person who values a good night’s sleep, you know much of a difference a premium mattress and high-quality bedding can make. If your mattress is “good enough”, you can always consider a good topper for extra comfort and just a little bit of extra insulation as well.
(2) Lighting Strips / Lanterns & Other Camping Lights
Good lighting is a must for camping nowadays. There are lots of cool lighting strips, string lights and even multi-function lanterns that double as chargers at affordable prices nowadays.
This wouldn’t be a complete list if we wouldn’t address the need for climate control with the following:
(3) Air Conditioner
(4) Ventilation Fans
(5) Tent Heater
Yes, everyone recommends Mr. Heater and for good reasons.
Cool Top Tent Accessories
While these accessories might not apply to your specific needs, they are nonetheless pretty cool.
(1) Dog Ramps
…list to be updated soon – we’re working on a fun surprise for you!
Awesome Overland Camping Gadgets & Accessories
Now that we’ve covered most roof top tent specific accessories, we can go a bit further and look into an amazing variety of useful gadgets and cool gear that can take your adventures to the next level of comfort & enjoyment:
…list to be updated soon – we’re working on a fun surprise for you!