How to Set Up Roof Top Tent on a Tacoma

The use of truck tents quickly took off in popularity due to several reasons. For families with pick-up trucks like Tacoma, they have gravitated towards truck tents to get a quick, portable, and comfortable sleeping experience. Because these tents are incredibly easy to mount, one can save time mounting up as well as packing up. This allows for more time exploring and experiencing all the fun that comes with sleeping outdoors. The extra protective coverings, mattresses, rainfly, zippered windows are just a few of what adds additional comfort on the part of campers. To make sure that the tent is in good condition, the Tacoma roof top tent setup process should at least be done once at home.

tacoma roof top tent setup

Once you are familiar with the following processes, setting up a Tacoma roof top tent will only take a few minutes:

  • Find a parking spot
  • Identify all the components
  • Assemble the mounting rails
  • Attach the mounting rails
  • Place the tent body
  • Raise the tent

The overall Tacoma roof top tent setup process only takes a few minutes to complete. However, one should check if specific tools needed for installation are already included in the tent kit. If not, there is a need to purchase these additional tools in the market. Along with the features to consider when choosing a Tacoma roof top tent, this guide will help you through the setup process. 

Learning the Proper Precautions

For safe and proper assembly, study the following instructions:

  • Tacoma tents are flammable that it is crucial to keep all flame sources away from the fabric. If you use a stove, heater, etc. inside your tent, you will end up with serious burns if not death by carbon monoxide poisoning,
  • Aside from death by fire, death by suffocation is also possible. Thus, adequate ventilation should be maintained inside the Tacoma tent at all times.
  • Do not mount or use the tent when the engine is running. The Tacoma engine exhaust may enter the tent and poison you.
  • Do not drive your Tacoma with the tent erected as this can cause damage to your tent. Similarly
  • Do not drive while the mounting rails are attached as the vibration can cause the mountain rails to come loose.
  • Check for sharp edges on your Tacoma that can cut or damage the tent. If, for instance, there are sharp edges in the corners and tailgates, cover it down with duct tape.

Setting Up the Tacoma Roof Top Tent 

Step 1: Find a level parking spot

The first step in a Tacoma roof top tent setup is to find a parking spot. However, you do not just set the parking brake anywhere. The possibility of falling rocks, falling tree limbs, lightning strikes, and strong winds should be carefully considered. This is to ensure that the risk of injury and death is prevented.

Step 2: Identify all the components

Make sure that the Tacoma roof top tent has all the necessary components- tent body, mounting rails, clamps, poles main support, pole can awning, pole tailgate awning, pole bag, tent bag, and ladder. Failure to check if they are in good condition can yield unwanted results in the future.

Step 3: Assemble the mounting rails

The third step in a Tacoma roof top tent setup is applicable to 8 ft. version models only. To do this, place the ends of one long section of the mounting rail and one short section together. Then, place the connecting brace over the joint of the two sections. Bold these together and ensure that the connection is secure. Redo this assembly process for the second mounting rail.

Step 4: Attach the mounting rails

If your tent is not the 8 ft. version, skip step 3 and proceed directly to attaching the mountain rails. In this step, lay first the mountain rails along the top of the truck bed rails. Position the mountain rail in a way that it faces the vertical wall with the lock rings toward the outside of your Tacoma. Using the C-clamps, attach the mountain rails and tighten until they are secured.

Step 5: Place the tent body

For this step, lower the tailgate first before laying the tent body over the truck bed. The rear bottom flap of the tent should slip underneath the tailgate. Next, attach the side hooks to the bottom while leaving a couple of inches of play in the side straps.

Step 6: Raise the tent

Raising the tent is the final step in a Tacoma roof top tent set up. After you join the awning poles, slide the cab awning pole through the front awning sleeve. Also, slide the tailgate awning pole through the back awning sleeve. Then, join the main support poles. Unzip the door and make your way inside the tent. Mount the front main support pole by inserting its tip over the locking pin on the mountain rail. Grasp the pole firmly while you insert the opposite tip into the front locking pin on the other mountain rail. When you see that the pole creates an arc across the bed of the truck, slide it into place in the tent. Do this with caution, and do not force the poles. Should you need to increase the slack in the tent, loosen the side straps. For the middle support pole and the back support pole, follow the same instructions. To secure all the poles in place, use the Velcro tabs, which can be found on the tent ceiling and walls. Insert the tips of the cab awning poles and the tailgate into the grommet holes located just below the awning. After the insertion, connect the awning clips in the front and back as well as the back straps. To complete the Tacoma roof top tent set up, tighten all the straps for an even fit.

Choosing the Right Tacoma Roof Top Tent

The market has responded to the popularity of truck tents with a variety of options. Trying one option after the other can be financially demanding and tedious as well. To guarantee that there is no need for a trial and error in using Tacoma roof top tents, check for the features that make up the best models. These include:


Common sense should tell you that purchasing a tent for large SUVs and minivans is a stupid move. Since you are camping with a Tacoma, look for a tent that is specifically designed for trucks. There are also universal tents, but it is recommended that you get the model designed for trucks because it is much easier to set up.


Some roof top tents are not long enough to accommodate tall people. The average measurement of a roof top tent for tall campers and those who usually stretch all the way out during sleep is 90 inches.


Your roof top tent will not be able to remain standing if not for the support and stability that tent poles provide. While there are tent poles that are made of fiberglass, there are also those which are made of lightweight and durable aluminum. Some weather conditions, however, call for specific poles. For instance, the added stability of aluminum poles is ideal for windy camping sites.


The best Tacoma roof top tents have rain flies that come as part of the awning. This gives the advantage of proving the campers added storage space, which is great for keeping muddy gears and clothes. Essentially, the role of rain flies is to keep water out of the Tacoma roof top tent in full coverage. For camping sites that have high chances of heavy rainstorms, rain flies keep the campers warm and dry.


Another feature is the mesh panels. These are necessary for camping in warm weather conditions. Tahoma roof top tents with at least three mesh panels provide the ideal ventilation- allow cool air to flow and circulate freely around the tent. When there are mesh panels, you can enjoy your slumber and sleep even with the heat outside.

Related Questions

What is the right way of storing the Tacoma roof top tent?

Before you put away your Tacoma roof top tent, it is crucial that you completely dry it first. If you store a wet tent even just for a couple of days, its fabric will be ruined, and the warranty will be forfeited. For safe storing, store the tent in cool, dry storage with no exposure to direct sunlight.

How are rooftop tents preferable than ground tents when it comes to comfort?

Compared to ground tents, roof top tents are more comfortable to sleep in. The struggle with uneven ground surface is eliminated when you use roof top tents. Since roof top tents are mounted above the ground, you will also remain safe from bears and other wild animals. Furthermore, roof top tents have built-in foam mattress that allows you to sleep comfortably the same way that you sleep in your homes. 

Tria Cinchez

loves outdoor activities, especially when it involves camping. Also, she sees to it she doesn't miss her joyride schedule with friends.

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