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How to Fit Your Roof Top Tent

  • 29 January 2016
  • Product News, Community
  • Harry Patchett
  • 3 Comments
Rhino-Rack, Roof Top Tent, Camping, Campsite, Home is where you park it, Adventure, explore, jeep, toyota, nissan, mitsubishi, land rover, off road
(photo by @glendale_dcj)

Roof Top Tents are all the rage right now but everyone is asking;

“How do I secure the tent to my vehicle’s roof when the crossbar’s load capacities is only a bit more than what I weigh?”

The straightforward answer is that there are two types of weight loading capacities for roof racks. These are the Static Weight Loading Capacity and Dynamic Weight Loading Capacity.

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Static: when your vehicle is parked ----------||---------Dynamic: when your vehicle is in motion

The load rating that Rhino-Rack publishes on our products is the dynamic load rating. This is required for Australian standards and because our customers are generally travelling or exploring and need to know what weight their Rhino-Racks can handle on the move. The load rating of a roof system is less when your vehicle is dynamic compared to when you’re still, or static.

Now when it comes to roof top tents the load rating you need to be aware of is both.

1. First off don’t buy a heavy roof top tent that the dynamic weight of your roof or roof system can’t handle.
2. Know that when your vehicle is parked and you’re ready to climb into your roof top bed you are static and as such Rhino-Rack’s capability to handle weight becomes a lot more.

More important tips for buying the right Rhino-Racks and Roof Top Tent.
Rhino-Rack are experts in vehicle roof systems and we, in case you didn’t know, make the world’s most useful roof racks. So here is the guide you need to setting your roof top tent up safely and securely.

1.    Know your vehicle’s roof type and how much weight it can handle

Look at your vehicle manual and the weight of the tent you aim to put on it. The weight of roof top tents on the market ranges from 40kg-60kg. Each vehicle manufacturer has a weight limit their roof can handle so first make sure the weight is within the loading capacity of your roof.

2.    Get the right Rhino-Racks

The variations of roof racks we produce differ in the amount of crossbars and the mounting style. Our Fixed Mounting Point, Trackmounts, Backbones and Gutter Mount systems can all handle the load rating of a roof top tent. We do not recommend the 2500 systems for a roof top tent as extreme weight increases can alter the engineering of the product. Think of it this way – would you try to drive a 2WD vehicle across the Simpson Desert just because it might make it or would you choose a 4WD that will get the job done comfortably? The same applies for selecting Rhino-Rack Roof Racks

Backbone System
The Rhino-Rack Backbone range is developing load support technology that creates the strongest possible roof rack system. Currently available in select vehicles we are producing a range that will revolutionise roof top carrying capabilities and strength. The Backbone system is your number one option for Roof Top Tenting as they are specifically designed for an increased static load rating to accommodate static roof applications such as the Roof Top Tent.

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Trackmount
The Rhino-Rack Trackmount systems are either drilled into your roof or they utilise the captive nut holes the manufacturer provides. This and allows for heavier load ratings. These systems are tailor designed for your vehicle’s roof and available in a large range.

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Fixed Mounting Points
The Rhino-Rack Fixed Mounting Point legs are custom designed pads to perfectly contour the vehicle mounting points. These are screwed into the roof structure providing immense strength. They are available in 2, 3 or 4 bar systems depending on the vehicle.

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Gutter Mounts
The Rhino-Rack Gutter Mount systems grip the side gutters available on certain vehicles. The side gutters have an effective attachment method and provide excellent strength.

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Now that you’ve selected your mounting system it is time to sort out how many crossbars go on top of them, and under your roof top tent. Your options are; a two bar system that works best for small roof top tents, a three bar system (engineer recommended) that distributes the load even better for your regular sized roof top tents with dimensions 1400mm by 2400mm or a four bar system if you have chosen a particularly long roof top tent.

Pioneer Platform
The Pioneer range comes in several sizes that will suit any Roof Top Tent style. The solid base of the Pioneer allows for more comfort particularly with standard overhanging roof top tents. These tend to have a thinner base plate than the self contained versions. If you were to get a smaller tent with a large pioneer platform then there is room for storage outside of the tent in the form of a Rhino-Rack Luggage Bag or Box, again ensure your roof top capacity.

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3.    Know the way your roof top tent fixes to the roof rack type and accommodate wisely with universal clamps or U-bolts

Rhino-Rack, rhino rack, roof top tent, adventure, camping, campsite, exploring, home is where you park it, how to

The majority of roof top tents are fitted to the roof rack system with a U-Bolt or Universal Clamp. We recommend you check with your roof top tent supplier before purchasing to ensure that these are the correct measurements for your Rhino-Racks. If the supplied bolts or clamps are too small then it is a simple procedure to get the appropriate fit. The Rhino-Rack Heavy Duty crossbar is 40mm wide and the Vortex bar is 80mm wide for when you’re checking the fit. If you’re using the Pioneer Platform as your base then the fitment will be similar. Some brands of roof top tents will require holes drilled into the Pioneer Platform. Due to the reinforced nylon and aluminium materials of the Pioneer Platform there is no risk of corrosion issues or structural weakening. Remember to regularly check your fitting system and tighten where necessary after long or corrugated drives.

4.    Set up your roof top tent properly

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The majority of the roof top tents on the market come with a support ladder. This is used as structural support for the overhanging section of your roof top tent not just a means of entering. The biggest error we see is the incorrect set up of this ladder and structural problems are always the result. Remember that it is not just a way for you to get onto the roof so when setting it up make sure it is on hard ground and evenly placed.

5.    Know your accessories so you’re not spending all your time in the roof top tent


Rhino-Rack, rhino rack, roof top tent, adventure, camping, campsite, exploring, home is where you park it, how to

Our range of shade awnings is the ultimate adventure accessory. The Foxwing Awning gives you a 270 degree shade area pulled directly from your vehicle. Waking up in a sun heated tent can be the worst thing about roof top tenting but when you can climb down from the roof and settle into the comfort of a large shaded area then your ability to enjoy any weather condition sky rockets.

The same applies for our Sunseeker Awning and Dome 1300 Awning. These accessories set up in minutes and make the most of your camping space. As biting insects and annoying flies become more of an issue there is the simple solution of adding fly screen walls to your awning. This creates a protected annexe for your vehicle. With Rhino-Rack on your roof there is no environment you can’t feel comfortable in.

Now get out there and enjoy your next adventure with Rhino-Rack.

Find the right fitment for your vehicle at www.rhinorack.com.au/fit-my-car

18 Comments

  1. Drew

    Hey, I'v got a pioneer platform on the cab of my triton MQ and am looking at putting a Darche hi view 2 on top. Will I have to drill through the platform if so where should I do so the out side track or middle ones? If not will it suffice with me getting larger plates that fit around the out side track?

    26/09/2016 10:30:44 PM Reply Report Abuse
  2. Dan Brinkley

    How could I fit a roof top box to my pioneer tradie rack. Can it lock into the channels on top or do I need another roof rack on top for clamps to connect to?

    23/08/2016 08:20:19 PM Reply Report Abuse
  3. Dan Brinkley

    How could i fot a roof top box to my pioneer tradie rack. Can it lock into the channels on top or do i meed another roof rack on top for clamps to connect to?

    23/08/2016 04:24:18 PM Reply Report Abuse
  4. Mitchell

    Hi I have a Nissan navara d22 08 model and am looking at getting an Arb Simpson 3 put on what roof racks will I need to make this work with the Mrs and I weighing 130 total

    15/08/2016 10:50:55 AM Reply Report Abuse
  5. Karen Johnson

    I have an uptop rooftop camper and would like advise on attaching it to a BMW X5 2002 model. Things like, do I need extra roof racks or would the car rails be strong enough? Etc.. Thanks in advance.. Karen.

    18/07/2016 11:49:45 PM Reply Report Abuse
  6. John

    I have a new BT50 with your track mount fitted and want to put a roof top tent on the tent is 60kg combined my wife and I are 190. Will this work?

    06/06/2016 09:59:42 AM Reply Report Abuse
  7. John

    I have a new BT50 with your track mount fitted and want to put a roof top tent on the tent is 60kg combined my wife and I are 190. Will this work?

    06/06/2016 09:59:37 AM Reply Report Abuse
  8. William Greig

    So after spending good money on a pioneer rack system to suit my vehicle, I find out that I couldn't actually fix the rooftop tent to it, rails on tent drop through the rack and clamp to the crossbars, could have saved heaps by just purchasing the crossbars I guess, Or have Rhino actually come up with a mount system for the pioneer?

    05/06/2016 07:01:08 AM Reply Report Abuse
  9. Denny

    I have the same tepui RTT and have a backbone/pioneer platform on the way. Did it require drilling of the pioneer platform to attach or will it fit with the provided tepui hardware?

    02/06/2016 05:49:29 AM Reply Report Abuse
  10. Geoffrey Harling

    Would like to fit my Howling Moon stargazer tent, awning and annex to my 2015 Prado GX. Is it possible to estimate when the product JA8244 will be available for purchase.Thanks

    28/05/2016 02:53:08 PM Reply Report Abuse
  11. Rhino-Rack

    Hi Jon, we wouldn't advise a RTT to be installed on the 2500 systems. See your local authorised Rhino-Rack dealer, they might be able to set up a track mount system that may support a RTT.

    18/04/2016 08:59:25 AM Reply Report Abuse
  12. Rhino-Rack

    Hi Jon, we wouldn't advise a RTT to be installed on the 2500 systems. See your local authorised Rhino-Rack dealer, they might be able to set up a track mount system that may support a RTT.

    18/04/2016 08:56:17 AM Reply Report Abuse
  13. Paul

    Rhino-Rack makes lots of awnings but why no roof top tent? Are you planning to at some point?

    16/04/2016 06:43:13 AM Reply Report Abuse
  14. Rhino-Rack

    Unfortunately not. Please visit an authorised specialist Rhino-Rack dealer to see if they can customise a track mount system for your Rav4.

    13/04/2016 10:43:10 AM Reply Report Abuse
  15. Jon Fannin

    would the 2500 heavy duty be sufficient for a roof tent with a weight of 113 pounds? The Rhino Heavy duty 2500 is the only rack system I can find for my 1999 Rav4 suv.

    13/04/2016 08:02:22 AM Reply Report Abuse
  16. Geoffrey Harling

    Great tips there for mounting a RTT. Ordered a Pioneer platform and backbone mounting to fit a Howling Moon stargazer to my new Prado back in 1st week of January. Still waiting and local ARB dealer advised me it may not arrive until April. Any advance on that date? Leaving for camping east coast Tasmania on May 14, would really like to take the RTT and awning.

    26/02/2016 10:35:23 PM Reply Report Abuse
  17. 1

    ererer

    20/02/2016 08:56:51 PM Reply Report Abuse
  18. Jose

    Would the Pioneer Platform suit the James Baroud roof top tents? I have a 2 dr 2015 JK Wrangler and understand that drilling of the hard top is required to install the rack. Are there any possible issues of damage to the hard top with the lateral movement that would occur when people were in the roof top tent?

    12/02/2016 10:09:24 AM Reply Report Abuse

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