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Roof Tents

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I am trying to get my head around these roof tents, especially having seen most of the leading ones available in UK at Billing and been massively underwhelmed.

If I want to sleep 2 adults and 2 children, off the ground, I seem to be in for about 100kg+ of tent and £1500+ of money.

This is not sane. And I am not that bothered about being able to put it up in 2 minutes.

But I would like to get off the ground if possible. Grassy meadow campsites in UK are fine for ground tents + thermarest, but stony rocky ones in the US were very uncomfortable. My experience with air-beds/camp beds has been poor (though ex-army camp beds are bearable)

4 person ground tents are clearly far cheaper (lots more made) and lighter (no base board, lighter weight material(?), no ladder).

If I can come up with a base board / roof rack arrangement, it may be possible to put up a tunnel format tent while standing on the ground, (being 6ft 2)

Has anyone successfully put a 4 person tunnel format ground tent on a 110's roof ? And then slept in it comfortably ?

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Firstly, in answer to your last question, no I haven't. I have done a lot of ground camping though, so I'll give you the benefit (??) of my opinion anyway!!

I'd have thought you would be able to get a reasonable sized tunnel tent up on a 110 without too much trouble. You could either tie it to the rack or modify it to have clips along the sides where the pegs would go that attach to the rack. Obviously you'd have to find a tent of the right size, I'd have thought that the majority would be too wide.

Where I think you'd get problems is with the stability of it. The poles on that sort of tent will be flxible by design to allow it to form the tunnel shape and guys on the tent are designed to provide stability, they do that by going out sideways and thus stopping it from being blown over/flat. You're going to make this worse by erecting the whole thing 2m up in the air where it's windier. I guess you could extend the guys and still attach them to the ground - would look a bit odd but that's not the end of the world, or maybe have some poles that stick out the side of the rack and attach the guys to them (maybe taking them from there straight down to the ground, rather than further out at a wide angle).

I can't remember what the weight limit of a rack is, but with 4 of you that's going to add up a bit. Having said that, as you're not moving then I guess you can exceed the normal limit to an extent without any problems.

If you got it all sorted then I'd have thought it would be quite comfy - remember to post back the photos!

Edit to say: you could always take the baseboard off the rack and erect the tent over it on the ground - would be flat at least then!

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I looked at such an option and decided a hinging baseboard with slide-out sideways rails and side 'flaps' to rest on them make it all wider would make the whole idea much more palatable for putting a tent up there. As Big John says, I looked at hooking the peg holes onto hooks but I think the guy ropes would need standoff brackets, or extending down to the floor. You'd need to stop the car moving on its suspension if you went for the latter.

Most commercial tents are too wide for a standard roofrack. My thoughts were that I could leave an inflated mattress up there, dismantle the tent around it and sheet it or strap it all down to stop it becoming a windsock on the motorway.

As with so many projects, the thinking is as far as I got...

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If you can hold out till the winter you can often pick secondhand roof tents up for about £350 (keep an eye on Horizons Unlimited forum) - Weight will still be an issue but use roof bars rather than a full size expedition rack to mount them on and you'll save a bit of weight. Would be easier to get them on and off as well.

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