The Toyota Tacomas are built for off-roading. Toyota offers plenty of trim levels dedicated to the off-road sport and lifestyle. What do you do when you want to spend the night out in the wild? From weekend camping to serious overlanding, a rooftop tent will make your trip even better.
Why a rooftop tent? Tents that you can put on the ground can take up very little space and can be pretty inexpensive, but rooftop tents offer so many benefits. While more expensive, the size you get is leaps and bounds over most ground tents. When camping, it is always best to stay off the ground if possible to help avoid unwanted critters and weather from joining you. A rooftop tent keeps you high off the ground and safe. They are also very fast to set up compared to ground tents as they normally “pop up.”
Types of Roof Top Tents
There are a few different types of rooftop tents, and they have a few different mounting options too. First, despite the name, some can be either mounted on your roof or over your bed. They usually need a specific mount/roof rack that the base of the tent must attach to. Sometimes you can get these mounts directly from the tent’s manufacturer, and other manufacturers offer mounting options that work with aftermarket racks.
The most basic of the rooftop tents pop up to form one single sized room around the size of the bed or cab of the truck. They generally have a few windows and one entry, similar to a normal single person or smaller two-person tent. These can either pop straight up to a rectangular shape or pivot up on one side to form a wedge.
Larger models have about double the surface area that hangs over the side of your truck. They are supported by a ladder that climbs up to the entry point of the tent. These are similar in size to a large ground tent, but since they are folded up on the back/top of the truck, assembly is as easy as opening it up, and it unfolds and pops up. They can generally be up and ready in less than three minutes.
There are some that are basically mansions. While similar to the larger model described above, these offer different levels and rooms. For example, you can find these with a tall room that surrounds the ladder section. It’s great for a living room to set up some chairs and relax before heading up to the main tent. Since the ground is your floor, you don’t have to worry about weight limits, and the fact it leads up to the main section, you can stand up fully without worrying about hitting your head.
Mounting A Roof Top Tent To Your Tacoma
When it comes to mounting these, you need a rooftop tent rack. Sometimes you can get these with your tent through your tent’s manufacturer, but I would suggest probably getting one you like from outside the tent manufacturer. I did a whole post on Toyota Tacoma bed racks, but in short, they are extremely versatile additions to your truck. Not only can you mount a tent on top, but there are so many storage, lighting, and hauling options. If you get one from the tent’s manufacturer, there is a chance that it may be useful for just the tent, and that’s it.
Bed racks can be found from around $500 to $1000 depending on modular attachment points, finish and color, material, and size.
Roof racks are around $200 to $700. These can be a little trickier to make sure they work with your tent. A common reason people get a roof rack is to have an area to tie down equipment to. For that reason, they don’t have to be level or support excessive weight. Take a look online to make sure the rack you choose supports or can work with rooftop tents if that’s how you plan to mount your tent.
A quick word of advice: the bed of your truck is far more capable of supporting weight. While the A, B, and C pillars can handle the extra weight on the roof, the roof itself is not entirely designed for it. There is a chance the metal can flex and dent. Be careful with your selections.
Popular Brands Of Roof Top Tents
While there are many brands of tents, two of the biggest that are most popular with Taco drivers are Cascadia Vehicle Tents (CVT) and Tapui. They both offer many different sizes and options.
One tent that will pop up (no pun intended) over and over again in your searches is Cascadia Vehicle Tents (CVT). They make units from $1000 to close to $3000, but they are a favorite for sure. From two-person to four-plus person tents, if you have a tent need, they can cover it. You can also rent their tents as well.
Another popular full-sized tent is from Tapui. For around the same price as a CVT, they offer hard shell and soft tents. They have plenty of different models to fit your needs. Compared to CVT, they offer plenty of tents that don’t hand over the size of the truck.
From $1,700 to $2,500, Big Foot Tents offers a wide selection of models that claim you’ll have the “best night sleep you’ve ever had.” That’s a pretty large claim. They mostly offer hardshell pop-up tents, but do offer some larger, soft ones as well.
All for around $1,600, Smittybilt offers some “universal-fit” options in the event you have more than just your Tacoma. Make sure the measurements fit your truck. You take a gamble with universal fits when it comes to anything, but sometimes they can be more versatile.
Full-Sized CVT - Tacoma World User trevordavis14
Full-Sized Tepui - Tacoma World User MJonaGS32
Hard Shell Pivot - Courtesy of Gear Junkie
Full Tent - Courtesy of Low Range Off Road