A Guide for Roof Top Tent Storage: Tips and Ideas | Roof Tent Insider (2022)

You may be considering buying a roof top tent and wonder to yourself, “where and how would I store the dang thing?”. Or you already own one and are looking for a better option than you currently have.

Due to the high cost associated with these tents you want to be sure you’re not damaging it in any way. On top of that, they have a huge footprint! This article will provide you with different storage ideas for your roof top tent (RTT) and even a way to do it all by yourself with no help!

Why store your RTT?

If you fail to take the proper steps when storing your tent for the off season, you could unintentionally damage it. The orientation of the tent when stored, getting it wet, and dropping heavy objects on it are all easy ways to ruin the integrity of your RTT.

Roof top tents are extremely fun toys but they don’t come cheap. There are some very simple and complex options to prolong the life of your tent when being stored.

Having your tent mounted to your roof all year will take a toll on your vehicle. Consuming more fuel and slowly putting more stress on your vehicle to haul it around. It’s not a big deal if you leave it on for months at a time, but after a few years you would expect to see some repercussions. I wrote another article detailing the effects RTTs have on your fuel economy if you care to learn a deeper understanding on the topic as well.


(Video) Boost The Comfort of Your Roof Top Tent With These Small Additions!

One overarching concern that doesn’t depend on the style of your tent (hard top or soft shell) is theft. In rare and unfortunate cases this can happen. There are security locks, safety bolts, and insurance plans you can buy to fend against this threat. But to me, nothing is as secure as storing it in your home or a secondary location you feel is secure.

Two person job

First things first, if you plan on loading and unloading your tent you will need a friend. They weigh more than a hundred pounds and are awkward to carry alone. Plus, it’s really not safe to do this solo. One drop and you could ruin the integrity of the whole tent.

However, depending on your vehicle and living situation, you could have your cake and eat it too. Being able to mount your tent able to do it on your own with no assistance.

Precautionary steps

Two key factors for storing your RTT are simple, yet necessary. When packing up your RTT for the off season, ensure that it is dry and clean. It may be worth the time to quickly open the tent so you clean and air it out. This will help maintain your tent and avoid any unexpected surprises when you go to use it after a long off season.

If you’re going to keep it on the ground make sure no water pools up in that area. A simple step to ensure it won’t get wet is placing it on a couple of cinder blocks or sheets of plywood to elevate it off the ground. When it’s on the floor you’re asking for it to get bumped into by miscellaneous items around the garage. Try putting it in a location where foot traffic is minimal.

Depending on where you live you may have to worry about rodents nesting in the tent. You can buy a sealable cover to keep them out. Or just simply lay animal traps around the tent if you feel that will be an adequate deterrent.


Pulley system

Pulley systems can be used for a variety of equipment and gear. They’re used for storing kayaks, cargo boxes, and even roof top tents! Pulley systems are great because they don’t take up floor space and prevent any accidental damage while roaming around the garage.

The best part is, if your vehicle can fit in your garage you can mount and unmount your RTT with no help once it is all set up. Having to phone a friend to assist in loading your tent onto your rack is one of the biggest gripes RTT users have. If you have a truck bed rack, you’ll surely have the clearance to fit into the garage. I would take measurements just to be safe, especially on SUV’s where the tent sits on top.

Yet, achieving the solo load and unload won’t be plausible for everyone. Our lifted FJ cruiser won’t even fit in the garage as is, let alone with a tent sitting on top of it. Even then, it offers a safe and out site storage space for your large and precious RTT.

You can find a wide selection of pulley systems online that vary in quality and price. The installation is quite simple and you can simply follow the instructions on the manual or watch a how to video. When searching for different pulleys to purchase you want to be sure your system will be rated for a minimum of 150 pounds. Most RTT’s weigh anywhere from 90-130 pounds but can be even heavier.

The pulley below built by Racor can hold up to 125 pounds. This top of the line pulley is highly regarded and will last you forever. Below is a picture courtesy of amazon affiliates. If you’re interested in seeing more pictures and reading the specs, just click on the picture. Compare your tents specs with the pulleys to see if your tent will fit.

A Guide for Roof Top Tent Storage: Tips and Ideas | Roof Tent Insider (1)A Guide for Roof Top Tent Storage: Tips and Ideas | Roof Tent Insider (2)

(Video) Storing Your Roof Top Tent Onto the Ceiling

This guy shows how he set the pulley up and used it in practice with his RTT. You can find a bunch of these videos on youtube and even more finite ones detailing exactly how to install the pulley!

If you prefer a DIY project, there are plenty of videos and articles on pulleys. This is a great way to save money while creating a fun and obtainable project for yourself.

Position of RTT

A question commonly asked is, “can I store my roof top tent on its side?” Yes you can! Storing your tent on its side is ergonomically friendly and shrinks the footprint. You can store a RTT in the orientation of your choice, but give some thought to where all of the weight will be resting. Avoid putting pressure on the hinges of your RTT as well as placing heavy objects on top of it.

Keep it as is

If you don’t have a garage or extra space to store your RTT, then just keep it on your roof. As I explained before this isn’t ideal, but it works! I would recommend calling your homeowners and auto insurance to verify which would cover it in the unlikely event it’s stolen. You might be surprised which party will or will not pay for the expenses.

You can buy safety nuts at tufnut.com that requires a special tool. At least this will give you some peace of mind when you leave it in a parking lot or outside your home.

(Video) Roof Top Tent Safety (Taking The Proper Steps)

This link will take you to their website and shows how the security feature works.


Storage unit

I am not recommending you go and rent out a storage unit just to keep your RTT in. This may be a good option for someone that finds themself in a bigger city with no garage and not much space. If you already have a storage unit, sell some of those dusty items! If not, this may be an option for you to consider.


I get it, it’s easy to be lazy and keep your RTT mounted to your roof. However, there are many reasons to be proactive and make arrangements to store your it when it’s not being used. Roof top tents aren’t a cheap toy and you want to preserve the life of them for as long as possible.

Whether you prefer to simply keep your tent in the corner of the garage on some plywood or install a heavy duty pulley system, there’s an option for everyone. At the end of the day the goal is to get the most out of your roof top tent and proper storage will prolong its life more than any other.


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