Test all limits in the Nissan Navara
Test all limits in the Nissan Navara

Rooftop or Ground tent?

In recent weeks, we have been inundated with queries around the best option between ground tents and rooftop tents. Given the high cost involved with a rooftop tent specifically, we turned to our online audience for their opinions. What was clear is that personal preference and your camping set-up plays a large role here. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons for both:

• Ground tents require a flat, smooth and level surface, whereas a rooftop tent can be levelled out by driving your 4×4’s tyre up and onto a rock, chock, or piece of wood. You can also dig a small hole for the tyre to drop into.

• Ground tents are available in a wide range of sizes, from single-man units to massive family tents. What’s more, they are often linkable, allowing you to add more tents to accommodate a growing family, or to incorporate a kitchen or bathroom area.

• Rooftop tents can be folded up with your bedding inside, which not only saves space, but also set up time when arriving at the campsite.

• When it’s cold, a lot of heat transfer takes place between you and the ice-cold ground beneath you, while rooftop tents are insulated and as such don’t present this problem.

• A ground tent will usually be much more affordable than a rooftop tent.

• A rooftop tent will keep you high and dry in adverse weather conditions.

• It’s easier to keep a rooftop tent clean on the inside, as dirt is generally knocked off as you climb the ladder.

• Although there are several quick (pop up) tents on the market that are very easy to erect, a rooftop tent is generally easier to set up and doesn’t require a second set of hands.

• Because a rooftop tent is permanently fixed to your 4×4’s roof rack, you generally don’t need to secure the tent in windy conditions. On the other hand, a ground tent often needs to be pegged down, which isn’t always easy to do on hard, rocky terrain.

• Most rooftop tents are relatively heavy, which means that you’ll be adding extra weight to your roof rack, thus raising your vehicle’s centre of gravity, which will lead to higher fuel consumption.

• In most cases, you’ll need a roof rack in order to mount your rooftop tent, which further adds to the expense.

• A rooftop tent takes up the majority of the roof rack space (often up to 80 percent).

• A rooftop tent can make late-night bathroom breaks slightly trickier.

• Ground tents generally live a hard, scuff-filled life, and may not last as long as a rooftop tent.

• Ground tents are often easier to sell second-hand, as more people have a use for them.

• Ground tents generally offer more versatility in terms of location and where you want to sleep as you can’t always park your vehicle in that nice shady spot.

• A rooftop tent can be an inconvenience when you have planned to go on a game drive as you have to take it down every time.

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