Upgrading Your Roof Top Tent - A Buyer's Guide

 

After you've purchased your new roof top tent and have been camping in it multiple times, you know how awesome the adventure is! By now, you've realized that you love this method of camping and the experience it provides, but maybe you've also noticed that there are some adjustments you'd like to make for even more comfort and convenience. Of course, we love to get out in nature to enjoy the fresh air and to fall asleep under the stars, but car camping also allows for bringing more comforts from home with you on your adventure.


For example, many RTT owners ask themselves, "How can I make my roof top tent more comfortable?" You may want somewhere to store your muddy boots when you take them off before entering the tent, or you may want a way to secure your tent when you're off hiking and leave it unattended. Many iKamper roof top tent owners have faced these issues before and often search for the best solutions. Luckily, there are quite a few easy upgrade options available to you.


SECURITY


Because of the price point, some people ask the question, "Do roof top tents get stolen often?" While we do know that this sometimes happens, it's not known to be a frequent occurrence. Given the weight of the tent and time needed to unmount it, it generally isn't something that will happen in a flash. However, if you leave your

vehicle unattended overnight or in a sketchy area, you are running the risk of having your valuable tent stolen. Because theft does happen from time to time, we recommend taking additional security measures to protect your roof top tent.


The quickest and most convenient solution is to add locks to your mounting brackets, which provide peace of mind and the confidence that your roof top tent isn't going to be unmounted by someone else. In addition, you can also look into locks for your crossbars or rack system itself. Many crossbar mounts, such as the ones by Thule, come with the option to add a lock system for the crossbars.



STORAGE


When camping, there are many items to remember to bring: sunscreen, water, toiletries, cooking supplies, and bug repellent, just to name a few. Although car camping allows for extensive storage inside your vehicle, hard shell roof top tents don't offer much storage space when closed. Many campers want added storage space that is located comfortably within reach without going in and out of their vehicle to retrieve them, and we've got just the solution. The storage shelf provides storage space in the form of four large pockets. Located conveniently next to the ladder, the shelf hangs from the front of your iKamper RTT for maximum ease.



Each time you climb the ladder to your roof top tent, it has a tendency to get dirty from your boots or shoes. Once at the top, you have to remove your footwear and store them somewhere that won't get your tent dirty. Putting dirty shoes inside your tent will mean that you need to spend more time spent cleaning out your tent, so it's not something we recommend. Luckily there's the shoe rack, which holds up to six pairs of shoes. The shoe rack is located next to the ladder and hangs from the front of your iKamper RTT, just like the storage shelf. In addition, the shoe rack also has a rainproof cover so you don't have to worry about putting on wet shoes!



Lighting


While iKamper roof top tents have plenty of windows and Skyviews to allow sufficient light inside, you are guaranteed to sometimes find yourself in need of light inside your tent on a dark night. There are plenty of great solutions to this problem, such as string lights which add ambiance in addition to lighting. String lights are generally inexpensive and can also be used outside of your tent, such as in an annex.



A similar but more modern solution are LED strips. Some advantages that LED strips have over string lights are that they don't use bulbs, have customizable color, brightness, and patterns which can be controlled from your phone, and often have an adhesive back for ease of installation.


Photo courtesy of Boun Voraboud


There are also heavy-duty lights which often double as charging stations for your phone or other devices, like the ones made by Claymore. These kinds of lights can also be used when cooking with the Aioks, and hang conveniently from the accessory stand.



Living space


While full size iKamper roof top tents are very spacious inside, there is often the need for more living space outside of the tent. Although your campsite probably has plenty of room to spread out, cook, entertain, play games, and spend time with your friends and family, the possibility of inclement weather or a high UV index means that you might need a covered area. There are two common solutions to this problem, awnings and annexes.


The awning provides a large shaded area to shelter you from the rain and sun. It is very easy to set up and zips right onto your tent entrance for ease of use. The spacious awning is supported by four canopy poles and six ropes, and is 100% waterproof.



The annex provides even more protection from the elements because it is a fully enclosed room; this is ideal for when you need privacy, such as when changing clothes or when using it as a sleeping area. This also means that you don't have to worry about rain or snow blowing in from the sides, and provides protection against insects thanks to mosquito netting on each door. The three large doors can be converted to canopies when the weather permits so you can still get the most out of those cool breezes.



Insulation


Although roof top tent canvases are thicker than those of traditional tents, you'll likely need to supplement the warmth that your sleeping bag can provide you with on frigid nights and in cold weather months. In addition to properly rated sleeping bags, some campers employ small heaters to keep the wintry weather out. If you choose to go with this method, ensure that you follow the manufacturer's instructions and warnings.



For a simpler solution, iKamper offers the quilted, double-layered insulation tent. The insulation tent keeps you warm at night by blocking out cold air and adding a warm inner layer to your roof top tent. It attaches to your tent's interior and setup takes less than five minutes. You can even leave it inside your tent when it's closed simply by unclipping it. In addition, the insulation tent allows for all windows and the main entrance to be rolled up for easy access.



Mattresses


iKamper roof top tent mattress thickness varies from model to model. Mattress thickness starts at 1.6" / 4 cm in the Skycamp 2.0 and Skycamp Mini, and goes up to 2.3" / 6 cm in the X-Cover. While these may be suitable for some, other campers prefer to sleep on a thicker mattress than what is currently offered by iKamper. In the iKamper Community, some campers have shared their enhancements to the standard mattresses which include self-inflating mattresses, such as the ones offered by Exped.



Cooking


One of the best parts of camping is cooking meals together with your friends and family. After a long day of hiking or climbing, those meals feel hard-earned and extra rewarding. Unless you are in an RV, your cooking setup can be limited and inconvenient when you camp. For a more convenient cooking experience, iKamper offers the Aioks (All-In-One Outdoor Kitchen System), which has everything you need for outdoor cooking in a single box.



When unfolded, the Aioks has an adjustable table that can seat up to four people. It also features two burners engineered by Kovea, a leader in their field, and are compatible with screw-on butane canisters. For campers who prefer propane, there are adapters available for the Aioks as well. At only 20 lbs / 9 kg, the Aioks can be easily rolled or carried when you're on the go, making it the perfect camping companion.



Although there's ample room inside the Aioks for all of your cooking gear, there are some great accessories for a better cooking experience. The utensil rack has 6 pockets to hold all of your utensils conveniently within reach and folds right into the storage box when done. The detachable aluminum accessory stand solves the problem of cooking in the dark, having your hands full, and dealing with a cluttered table. You can hang a light for visibility, a Bluetooth speaker for the perfect vibe, or even your car keys so that they're prominently displayed and not forgotten.



Solar Power


When out in the elements and off the grid, campers still need to power their devices they use on their adventures. Whether it's to power a fridge / freezer, lights for the tent, a laptop, a water pump, a heater, or even a TV, campers need a power source that can won't drain their vehicle's battery. Getting this power from renewable source is a way to respectfully enjoy nature, and solar power is a great option. Many iKamper owners install solar panels on the top of their RTT, such as on top of a hardshell, to collect power while overlanding and be able to stay off the grid longer.



One of iKamper's very first authorized dealers, Rhino Adventure Gear, has a product specially designed to fit the Skycamp 2.0. The SolarHawk Roof Top Tent Solar Panel is manufactured to precisely fit the Skycamp 2.0 and can withstand all the physical and thermal extremes that overlanders experience while off the grid.



 iKamper Community


As always, we hope this article has been helpful and informative. For more ideas and inspiration, we encourage you to check out the iKamper Community on Facebook. Here, iKamper owners across the globe share their setups, tips, modifications, enhancements, and ideas for all sorts of ways to get the most out of their camping experience. For questions, please write to us at support@ikamper.com.



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