How to Fit Your Roof Top Tent
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How to Fit Your Roof Top Tent

  • 22 September 2017
  • Product News, Community
  • Rhino-Rack
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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 important 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

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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


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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.co.nz

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