Roof Top Tent orientation ??

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 23, 2017 at 18:52
ThreadID: 134530 Views:7582 Replies:6 FollowUps:2
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Hi, Having seen that most seem to have the tent opening to the drivers side of the vehicle. Wondering if there is any particular reason to open to drivers side, or to open to passengers side. Would like thoughts on either particularly from RTT users.
Many thanks.
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Reply By: Member - ACD 1 - Thursday, Mar 23, 2017 at 18:59

Thursday, Mar 23, 2017 at 18:59
Hi Michael

Mine opens to the rear of my Landcruiser.

The reason I chose this way was to allow acces to the rear of the LC whilst open with some cover/shade if needed. I also have a tent skirt which encloses the area if raining. And still allows access to the rear.

My rollout awning opens to the drivers side. This is because the snorkel is on that side, when off road, I also tend to drive a little tighter on that side and can see where I am placing th vehicle.


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Follow Up By: catmandoo - Thursday, Mar 23, 2017 at 19:33

Thursday, Mar 23, 2017 at 19:33

Mine too opens to the rear of my GQ patrol. I have an awning which is on the drivers side only because the fitting of my roof rack demands that the shovel brackets etc be on the passenger side.

I like the tent to open to the rear as it provides shade and shelter over the rear access to the vehicle, particularly with the tent awning fitted.

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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Friday, Mar 24, 2017 at 16:37

Friday, Mar 24, 2017 at 16:37
Me too. me too.

Our Hannibal opens over the rear door of our landcruiser with a zippered opening in the annex that matches the rear door profile. The tailgate then gives us a "kitchen bench" in the annex and a floor area big enough for four grandkids to sleep on. Bed area "upstairs" is 2.4mt x 1.6mt.


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Reply By: Hoyks - Thursday, Mar 23, 2017 at 19:44

Thursday, Mar 23, 2017 at 19:44
Mine is rear opening too.
I set it up that way for a number of reasons, mainly concerning National Park camp site design.
If there are the dreaded coppers logs separating the car park from the camping area, I can back up until the back of the ute is level with the logs, then open the ladder into the camping area without the front of the ute sticking too far out of the parking slot.
The the site is set up for trailers or vans and is basically single lane, no problem, tent opens into the trailer foot print.

If putting it on a wagon and you want to use the lower room that a lot of the tents come with, then again it is probably better over the back of the vehicle so you can access the back of the wagon. Having vehicle side doors sticking into the living area would be most inconvenient.

I can see why the drivers side is probably used though.
A normal awning is generally mounted on the passengers side, but if the vehicle isn't tall enough and you aren't using the tent lower room, then ducking under the tent floor to get into the back of the wagon could get old really quickly. Foxwing awnings will wrap around the rear of the vehicle and block that option as well.

If traveling alone, then up and down the ladder and into the drivers seat would probably be you most common routes, so it makes sense to put it that side. It isn't like you will be setting it so it opens into traffic, so probably not an issue really, other than giving your camp a wider foot print..
AnswerID: 609638

Reply By: gbc - Thursday, Mar 23, 2017 at 20:36

Thursday, Mar 23, 2017 at 20:36
Mine was driver's side for the tent, off side for the awning. I had a slide out kitchen in one of the ute drawers so didn't want to cook under the tent. I also slept under the tent on a stretcher - wife and babies up top. As stated it is a fairly wide setup. So many ways to do something so simple.
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Reply By: GarryR - Friday, Mar 24, 2017 at 07:10

Friday, Mar 24, 2017 at 07:10
mine opens to the rear. it helps keep the sun and rain out of the back whilst I access the draws, the fridge, and if necessary place the little cooker on the tailgate should needs be. As both of us being vertically challenged, I can stand on the tailgate to final closure of zippers, and the cook can stand on the board on the roof rack to help tuck in the tent and do up tie downs. Hope that helps
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Reply By: tim_c - Friday, Mar 24, 2017 at 11:06

Friday, Mar 24, 2017 at 11:06
I had mine opening over the back initially, for the reasons outlined by others (shelter when access the back of the car) but the horrible track-mount roof rack arrangement meant I couldn't have the tent as far back as I'd have liked. I ended up changing to sideways mount and just instinctively had it opening to the left side of the vehicle, so not on the traffic side if stopped on the side of the road - I'm one of those old-fashioned people who still thinks you should park your vehicle facing in the direction of the traffic, and should minimise openings and time spent on the traffic side of the vehicle (though as Hoyks pointed out, you wouldn't generally be opening your rooftop tent where there's traffic around, except perhaps at a roadside rest area).

Something to think about: when installing the tent for side opening, we were able to move it forward to about the centre of the roof (rather than right at the back as required for rear opening) and we noted this made the handling a lot more stable. It makes sense after reading the article on about caravan stability - esp. the bit about heavy loads mounted at high level at the rear of the vehicle.
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Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 19:46

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 19:46
I realise this thread is a month old but if you open a standard roof tent to the rear, it is 1400 mm wide pushing into the wind across the front, if you open to one side, its 1200 wide, something to think about. Mine opens to the drivers side and the awning is on the passenger side so it can open safely if you have to park close to the edge of the road. Fairly logical i think. If you do open to the rear of the vehicle, the tent looks cumbersome even on the bigger vehicles but its a matter of choice but whichever way, there are always positives and negatives to your choice. Regards, Michael
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