Setting up a tent on the roof of a car may not sound like the most comfortable camping experience at first, but it does have advantages.
In roof tents, campers are protected from mud and uneven ground. But does every tent fit on every car? Here a few things to consider before your first trip.
In principle, campers can mount a roof tent on any model that allows a roof load, according to German motoring organisation ADAC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club). The vehicle specifications should outline the maximum load permitted.
Anyone who wants to mount a roof tent on their car should calculate the roof load in advance. Expect five to 10kg for the basic frame, the ADAC says.
If your car’s total allowed roof load is 75kg, for example, then the roof tent and roof crossbar together must not exceed this value when you are driving. The so-called “static load” for when the car is parked is much higher.
For some models, a roof railing – a strut that is attached along the entire length of the roof – or at least a screw-on point for roof crossbars is necessary. The tent is then attached with four clamps.
Those who already have roof racks for a roof box or a bicycle rack can also use these to set up the roof tent.
Hard shell or folding?
If your car is suitable for mounting a tent, the next question is whether to get a model with a hard shell or one that folds up.
Hard-shell models resemble a very large roof box. They are more weather-resistant and can be set up within seconds, the ADAC says.
Folding tents, on the other hand, usually offer more sleeping space and interior height, are lighter and, when folded, are generally smaller. In addition, these models are usually cheaper.
The most expensive model may not necessarily be the best. However, you should expect to spend much more than you would on a conventional tent.
The ADAC has tested seven models costing between €2,000 (RM8,939) and €3,000 (RM13,408), rating six as good and one as very good. The testers’ advice is that before buying a roof tent you should borrow one and try it out.
You should also keep in mind that it takes two to four people to assemble a roof tent as they’re quite heavy. – dpa
Where to go locally
Wolfland Touring Park in Hulu Selangor, Selangor
Car camping is becoming a big deal today, especially among city folks who prefer to rough it out and spend time away from the concrete jungle every weekend. Wolfland Touring Park is a secluded and rugged private park that is suitable for caravan camping and car camping (but you can also pitch a lone tent if you wish). The campsite is near a river, and there are basic amenities available like toilets and showers, but there is no electricity provided.
You need to have your own full camping gear and equipment to spend the night here, or at least have enough essentials to survive a night or two. The place is safe, but be prepared to "meet" some squirrels and perhaps even a monkey or two. – Melody L. Goh