Roof Top Tent Camping Terms to Know

People have been camping for long and roof top tents have been existing for a long time to protect campers.  Therefore, camping isn’t a new thing and there are so many terms associated with it. It is not a bad idea to know about camping terminology, it helps you have more insight into camping.

What is camping terminology? A camping terminology is any word that is related to camping. If you are not familiar with camping, these terminologies will help you. Going camping is a nice experience that helps to create bonds and time with friends and family. It is, therefore, important that you understand words associated with camping.

In this guide, we will be defining some terminologies in camping, especially roof top tent camping. If you want to know more about camping, you should sit back and learn these terminologies.  You might have heard some of these terminologies one time or the other.

Camping Terminology: What you should know

We will be discussing very important terminologies in camping in this section. You will hear these terms if you are going camping. Therefore, get familiar with these words in order to gain more knowledge.

Ground stakes

A ground stake is a small anchor that is used to support a tent to stand firmly on the ground. This stake is always made of metal and has a ridge at the top. If you are camping in the wintertime, you can get a snow stake, it can be used for securing a tent in the snow.

Freestanding tent

Some tents need the support of guylines or stakes to maintain stability; however, freestanding tents don’t need any extra support. A freestanding tent’s pole usually connects into a peg at the tent’s base enabling it to stand firmly without the support of stakes or guylines.

Mummy bag

This is a sleeping bag that is made to fit around your body in order to conserve heat. This bag features a hood right at the top to make your head warm. The taper at the foot of the bag is made to prevent your toes from being cold.

Car Camping

Car Camping

When you park your car close to where you are tent camping, it is called car camping. This is a form of camping for people who don’t want to keep all their supplies in their backpack.

If you are camping with your families, car camping is really a great option since it allows everyone to bring more supplies and equipment needed for comfortable camping. You can also bring more cooking essentials that will help you feed properly.

Bear bag

A bear bag is a type of bag made of waterproof material. Campers make use of this bag to keep their food supplies safe from water and wild animals. You can attach this bag to a rope in order to keep it out of the bear’s reach. The act of hanging a bear bag is referred to as “treeing” and if you hang a bear bag, it is called “bear hang.”

Cowboy camping

This refers to camping without shelter. For people who love to experience a rugged lifestyle, you can decide to have a cowboy camping. All you just need is a sleeping bag and a sleeping bad.


This is a camping terminology that describes a tent that looks like the letter “A.” An A-frame tent is sometimes referred to as “ridge tents.” This style of tent is built with the use of a horizontal pole with a vertical one to support the end. This type of tent always uses guylines and tie-outs to improve its stability. However, the modern A-frame tent is designed with materials like nylon and utilizes aluminum poles for stability. This type of tent is only suitable for one or two persons.


These are cables that are meant for securing and improving a tent’s stability. You attach a guyline to the rain fly of the tent and stake it to the ground or a harder surface like rock and trees. This will make the tent stable even when there is wind. Some tents feature a built-in guyline while some guylines need to be attached to loops in the rain fly.

Rain fly

If you are using a double-walled tent, you can use a rain fly as an extra covering to protect the tent from wind and also keep it dry. A rain fly will cover just the tent’s top so that you can still see through the tent windows and also enjoy enough airflow. However, a full-coverage rain fly will cover the whole tent to ensure protection from the elements. Make sure you go with a rain fly especially when your campsite is located in the Pacific Northwest.


A dome is a very common style for modern camping. Dome tents usually have aluminum poles that link to the tent’s peak to make a curved structure. These lightweight poles run outside or inside the tent fabric and are attached with a strap, clip or peg to the tent’s base. Modern dome tents come in different sizes and shapes to make room for more people. However, classic dome tents can either be rectangular or square.


A carabiner is a metal clip having a threaded closure.  These tools come in different sizes, you can use them to attach anchors and ropes while climbing.


You will need to use many different sizes of wood to build a campfire and this wood will also help to keep the fire burning. Kindling is a very small material that is utilized to build a fire, this material includes thin woods or sticks. To get a better result, ensure your kindling is very dry or dead.

Potable water

This is a camping terminology that refers to drinking water that is safe to drink without the need to add extra water treatment. If you are adventuring outdoors or going camping, ensure the water you consume is potable or make use of a purification system.


A billy refers to a small cooking container that is used for cooking food or boiling water over a campfire. These containers usually have a handle that makes campfire cooking convenient. It can also be used for cooking for one to three persons.

Four-season tent

Tents are usually classified as three-season or four-season tents. Four-season tents can be used during any type of weather while a three-season tent can be used in fall, spring, and summer. Four-season tents provide better insulation and can withstand harsh weather. These tents are also made of durable materials.


Shell is a camping terminology that refers to the outer layer of outdoor clothing or a sleeping bag. If you are selecting a camping gear, it is advisable you get a shell material that suits your requirements. Some shell materials are durable, breathable, water-resistant, and insulated.

Double-wall construction

Dome tents typically have a single-wall or double-wall construction. Double-walled tents feature an inner wall that is referred to as a “canopy.” This inner wall is made of a material that is lightweight and breathable. A double-walled tent’s canopy is not waterproof. The outer layer is made of waterproof material that keeps the canopy safe from the elements. A single-walled tent is made of a material that is lightweight and waterproof. This type of tent features just a layer of fabric that provides insulation. However, the material used for this tent may not be breathable enough to enable much airflow in the tent.

Cross Bar

Camping terminology- Cross bar

If you own a roof top tent, you would be familiar with this camping terminology. Cross bars are used on a car roof when mounting a roof top tent.

Temperature rating

If you are buying a sleeping bag for camping, the temperature rating enables you to know the kind of sleeping bag that is suitable for your season and climate.

The temperature rating is a standard created by the International Organization for Standardization which states the maximum temperature, extreme temperature, comfort temperature, and limit temperature of a sleeping bag.

This rating indicates the temperature when an average individual can sleep well, may be at risk of hypothermia and may perspire slightly.

Pole sleeves

These are cloth tunnels that are along the outside or inside of a tent. Whenever you are pitching a tent, the tent poles fit inside the pole sleeves.

Gear loft

Some tents feature a gear loft that offers extra storage space for small equipment. This gear loft is usually designed with a small panel of fabric that hooks inside the tent’s roof to serve as an overhead shelf.

Some tents don’t feature a gear loft, if such is the case, you will have to purchase it individually and add to your tent.


This is a type of fuel campers use to create a campfire. Tinder is made of extremely combustible material that starts to smolder with just a spark. You use tinder to make a flame for a campfire that catches the kindling on fire.

Tent pad

Some campsites always have a tent pad. Tent pad is a camping terminology that refers to the areas of gravel, sand, or cement where your tent can be pitched on a level surface. If a campsite has no tent pad, you will have to search for an even and flat surface to pitch your tent.


S’mores are a camping dessert whose ingredients contain toasted marshmallows, chocolate bars, and graham crackers. This popular dessert can be made over a campfire or a stove. However, there are more ingredients and more creative methods of making this dessert. You can make it suit your taste.

Hip belt

The hip belt is a device that supports a backpack. This large belt is well padded and it can be adjusted to make it firm around the waist.


Woman drinks hot tea in camping tent and enjoy with autumn evening in mountain valley

A camper refers to someone that goes camping.

Leave no trace

This is a camping terminology that explains the strict rules of keeping everywhere clean and leaving no trash at the campsite. It is sometimes called pack in/ pack out.


This refers to a rock or log kept in the ground to offer a solid surface for pitching a tent in the ground that is too fragile for stakes.

White gas

When going camping, you will need a camp stove that will help you cook your meals. White gas is a distillate of petroleum that is used in backpacking stoves. This stove is fueled by white gas.


This is a style of stitching that runs via the lining and shell of a garment or sleeping bag to ensure the insulation doesn’t shift. Quilting is less expensive and lighter than baffle construction.

Roof racks

Camping terminology

Roof racks are majorly used for roof top tents and they come in various shapes and sizes. Make sure you check the weight ratings of roof racks. You can go for roof racks with that have a weight rating of 75kg and above.

A roof rack that will create enough gap between the racks and roofs is ideal since you need to use your hands to loosen/fasten the bolts.

Ground sheet

A groundsheet refers to a waterproof layer that is designed with canvas, plastic or a tarp that slides under your tent or sleeping bag to protect you from moisture or dew.


This is a lightweight jacket that keeps you warm in the wintertime. This jacket also dries quickly. They are available in different sizes.

Shock cord

A shock cord is an elastic cord that runs via tent poles loss or separation of the poles. These cords are available in various diameters and lengths. They are also used for securing camping tools.


 A rucksack is an important part of your camping gear since you keep every item you need in it. When going camping, you keep the essentials in your rucksack and then strap it to your back for easy movement. Get prepared for rainy days by waterproofing your rucksack. With a rucksack, you can have an endless adventure.

Baffle construction

This describes a design that prevents the filling in an outwear garment or sleeping bag from shifting. Baffles vary in shape, volume, and size.

External frame pack

This is a backpack that has the support of a rigid frame that is outside the pack. There are two different types of a backpack. The external frame packs have a framework outside, this is a perfect choice of you will be hiking.


Developed is a common kind of campsite. Developed campgrounds have bathrooms, a fire pit, and reservations. If you have never camped, it is advisable you stay in a developed campsite where campground managers are there to help you.


Remote areas are meant for experienced campers. In remote areas, you have little or no interaction with people that are outside your group. If you want a very peaceful area where there is no disturbance, you can go camping in remote areas.

Stake puller

A stake puller is used to get rid of tent stakes from the ground. When you are ready to leave your campsite, you can use a stake puller to remove the stakes buried in the ground.

Related Questions

How do I go camping? When camping, you will need to put a lot of things in place. if you don’t prepare well for your camping, you might end up having a bad camping experience. Ensure you practice how to set up the tent before you go camping. Getting familiar with how to set up the tent helps a lot. Choose a good campsite and make sure it is chosen ahead of time. Pack the camping essentials like footwear, clothes, toiletries, sleeping bags, enough food, waterproof wears, etc. Pack all these items in your backpack and ensure take the important things. If you are going camping you also need to plan for any kind of weather.

What are the most important camping essentials? Camping essentials are what you need when camping. These items make camping comfortable and easy for you.  Not all items are important, however, there are some very important camping items you can’t do away with. The most important camping items are your tent, canteen and water filter, rain jacket, navigation tool, first aid kit, fire starter, pocket knife, flashlight or headlamp, and toilet paper.


Many people go camping to have a retreat and create time and bond with family and friends. However, it is important that you know some camping terminologies to help you gain more knowledge about camping. There are lots of words related to camping and we have done well to discuss and explain what each of these words means.

If you are just camping for the first time, it is advisable you go through this camping terminology to stay on the right track. Before camping, it is also important that you know what you are required to do. You will only have a good camping experience when you do the needful. Now that we have explained the important camping terminology to you, it is high time you put this knowledge into action.

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Wilson Lawal

Wilson Lawal is a highly focused and detailed individual with vast experience in writing camping-related topics and reviews. He knows how significant the camping experience is, and so, offers assistance by giving helpful tips and reviewing the best products to ensure campers get the best.

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