Roof Top Tents are becoming increasingly popular, but they must only be carried on suitable vehicles, with suitable roof bars. This page explains the minimum vehicle requirements to carry a roof tent.
Minimum dynamic (driving) weight carrying capacity
Your vehicle AND your roof bars must have a minimum dynamic (driving) weight carrying capacity of 75kg.
If your tent weighs more than 75kg, the minimum weight capacity of both your vehicle AND your roof bars must be equal to or greater than the weight of the tent.
Vehicle Roof Type suitablility
Some roof top tent brands will suggest that you only need to worry about static and dynamic load weights, with no concern about the type of roof bar fixing. We take a different view, and think that the type of roof bar fixing really does matter, an opinion shared by for example Thule and Yakima, premium brands in the car racks sector who supply both roof bars and roof top tents, and would not reduce their own sales potential without very good reason.
Vehicles with a Plain Roof / Clamp on system:
Identifying if you have a plain roof:
If your car doesn't have any obvious fitting system on the roof the bars clamp around the bodywork.
You MUST NOT fit a roof tent to a vehicle with a plain roof fixing system.
The risk of damage is too high, and flexing roof bars might also loosen the fitting kit clamps, especially if the roof bars are not correctly fitted.
If your vehicle has Raised Rails:
Identifying if you have raised rails:
Raised rails run from front to back and you can usually push your hand under them.
Some raised roof rails are too weak; they are OK if there are more than two legs (center supported), or a two leg system is supported at each end (side supported). See the examples below:
Additionally, the cross bars must be positioned as close as possible to the side or centre rail legs.
Other vehicle roof types
All of the following roof types are suitable for roof tents, subject to the vehicle having a minimum dynamic (driving) weight carrying capacity of 75kg.