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Why Winter Rooftop Tent Camping is the Best (and How to Make It Even Better)

Photo by ZargonDesign via iStock

Winter camping is the most fun type of camping for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, the trails get muddy and snowy, making great adventures on your way up to your campsite. Once there, the views of the snowy and misty mountains can offer images much prettier than those of summer.

 Also, the cold weather means camping temperatures will probably be more pleasing when compared to the insane heat of summer. However, we need to ensure that the correct gear is being used, as conditions can quickly get miserably cold in really cold areas. 

 This article discusses why winter tent camping is the best type of camping while also providing tips on making it even better.

Table Of Contents

Rooftop Tents are Warmer Than Normal Tents

smrt summit suite on toyota

A rooftop tent, especially a hard shell like the SMRT Summit Suite, is one of the best types of tents for staying warm during a winter camp.

Why? Well, it’s easy! You’re up off the cold ground while also being insulated by the hard-shell tent cover above you.

SMRT Summit Suite

The problem with normal tents during winter is that you place them on the ground; therefore, they come into contact with mud and, in many cases, snow. Think how cold a tent that is sitting in the snow will get! Not to mention the annoyance of having to pack a tent that is all wet and dirty. A rooftop tent eliminates this issue by being mounted on your truck’s roof.

Now, the hard-shell type also provides insulation on the roof. Instead of just fabric, you have fabric and a hard-shell cover. Therefore, heat more readily stays inside the tent. If it starts snowing while you are camping, that extra layer of protection from the hard-shell cover will be more than welcome! 

SMRT Summit Suite

Aside from the obvious heat retention benefits, we also have the fact that a product like this is incredibly easy to set up. A winter rooftop tent like the Summit Suite sets up in just a few seconds, thanks to gas struts. This means you will stand around in the cold and rain for less time. 

SMRT Tent Summit Suite

Other features of this incredible winter rooftop tent include a sleeping capacity of three people, three doors for easy ingress and egress, and it only weighs 160 pounds. The compact packed size is a bonus, too, at just 84.5 x 60 x 6.3 inches. 

To ensure you sleep comfortably while also staying warm in your winter rooftop tent, the Summit Suite offers a thick three-inch-high density EPS mattress that provides further insulation, comfort, and water resistance. 

As you can see, there are plenty of benefits of having a rooftop tent, especially a hard-shell one like the SMRT Summit Suite

Winter Rooftop Tent Camping – Use A Diesel Heater

Diesel Heater next to an SUV in the snow

Diesel heaters are getting more and more common in the camping world, and deservedly so. However, we believe they are still underappreciated as they can be useful for winter rooftop tent camping.

A diesel heater like this portable unit from Planar Heaters offers instant, dry heat for your rooftop tent. Just add diesel (or kerosene) and 12-volt power, and you can enjoy a toasty rooftop tent, even during harsh winter weather.

diesel heater contents

In addition to providing all the heat you need, this portable diesel heater minimizes the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning because the unit sits outside and away from the tent. As the unit runs (inside its crushproof and weatherproof case), it pumps the warm air through a duct and into the tent so you can enjoy warmth without worrying about carbon monoxide.

The portability of this heater is also a prime benefit. The case is relatively small and lightweight, so it isn’t a chore to move it around camp. Additionally, the diesel heater offers silent operation so you can actually sleep while it’s running!

diesel heater fuel tank

Speaking of running, the fuel-efficient motor allows you to run it for up to eight hours on half a gallon of fuel. So, set the heater up, let ‘er rip, and enjoy the heat all night long. You can even use the included remote to adjust the heater’s output from the warmth of your bed. Nice!

By using this product while winter rooftop tent camping, you won’t just be able to stay warm inside the tent, but you will also eliminate condensation and cold weather symptoms like a sore throat and runny nose. Heated blankets are great, but they do not increase the ambient temperature in a tent; therefore, the above issues remain. So, do yourself a favor and invest in a high-quality portable diesel heater like this one from Planar Heaters!

Of course, you can also choose to mount a diesel heater in your vehicle or trailer like I’ve done…

Check out the video above to see the differences between using a portable diesel heater and a heater installed in your trailer! 

Winter Rooftop Tent Camping: Have A Good Winter Sleeping Bag

Happy hiking couple on camping vacation with their car and roof top tent in the mountains

Photo by amriphoto via iStock

A diesel heater can certainly keep you warm; however, it is a good idea to also have a thick winter-rated sleeping bag with you just in case you run out of fuel.

When purchasing a sleeping bag for winter rooftop tent camping, make sure that the bag is rated for less than the lowest temperature that’s expected for your trip. So, if the temperature is projected to get down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, get a zero-degree bag.

Why? Well, these bags are rated for their specified temperature, so if it gets colder than predicted, you’ll still be nice and warm!

Have A Fire-Starting Kit With You

Have A Fire-Starting Kit

Photo by Sanna Hermansson via iStock

Camp without a fire is like a party without music. The crackle of the fire in nature is something that every camper cherishes. However, if we put the relaxing properties of a fire aside for a second, we can also appreciate the insane amount of warmth that it can provide. You would be surprised at how much warmer you can stay by sitting close to a big fire at camp. 

However, fires can be dangerous for our forests; therefore, we need to be very careful with them. Obviously, if the area you are camping in is full of snow or mud then the risk of a forest fire is insanely low.

However, if the ground is still dry, make sure to keep a good distance from surrounding vegetation while also paying attention to dry leaves on the ground. If you can, keep a fire extinguisher or a bucket of water next to you in case things get out of hand.

Of course, to start the fire, it’s worth having a fire-starting kit to get things going, too. When winter camping, it might be hard to find tinder to start the fire, so bringing your own will help you get that blazing fire going so you can warm up! 

Final Thoughts

Why Winter Rooftop Tent Camping is the Best

Photo by simonapilolla via iStock 

Winter rooftop tent camping is an amazing experience that every lover of adventure and nature should have. The correct setup and gear makes it much more comfortable than one would think.

Products like a rooftop tent and diesel heater make the whole experience much more comfortable. You can just climb into your tent and have a heated space where you can sleep and dry up your clothes. This is the difference that will ensure you stick to winter rooftop tent camping and enjoy it rather than having a miserable time.

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