Ahh…sun, sand and surf. The dream of some to just have some R&R at the beach and listen to the sound of the waves, enjoy the smell of the sea and, during the day, the warmth of the sun. What an amazing camping spot. Pity you left your tent at home. But, hang on, there is a way that you can ensure that you never make that mistake again. In this article we will review some of the best roof top tents for beach camping.
Rooftop tents are becoming the vogue for a lot of campers as they attach to the roof of your vehicle, which means you always have you tent with you whenever you find that idyllic beach camping spot. It’s just a matter of parking up, popping open your tent and then enjoying all that the beach has to offer.
We will take you through the “do’s and don’ts” of beach camping, what to think about when choosing a rooftop tent for beach camping and then show you some of our recommendations. Which rooftop rent you decide to get is entirely up to you. So, chuck on your beach gear, settle into and let’s go!
What you can and can’t do when beach camping.
You are driving along the coastline admiring the view of the endless ocean stretching out towards the horizon. Oh, so beautiful and it makes you want to find a nice spot to park up for a couple of days just to celebrate the beauty of nature and the beach. Yet, before you pull over and pitch your tent there are things you need to be aware of. You want the time to be one remembered for the right reasons and not because you found out you just violated a law.
Are you allowed to camp here?
When it comes to beach camping you need to make sure that you are allowed to camp at the spot that you have chosen. The last thing you want after you have set up camp is to have some angry official or landowner coming to tell you to move on.
You can either check online about the location you are wanting to camp at or find the local city office or information centre and make inquiries there about the spot. If it isn’t publicly owned land, then find the owner of the property and ask them for permission. Once you have the okay either from the public officials or landowner then, you’re good to go. Just make sure that you act responsibly when camping there as it isn’t a right that you have, it’s a privilege.
Taking care of “business”
When the call of nature strikes you need to answer. It’s just a fact of life and that means that you need to consider being that “responsible camper”. After all your vehicle doesn’t have a toilet and you have to do your “business” somewhere. There are things that you can do to ensure that you cover up your “leavings”.
Find somewhere discrete and make sure that you have something with which you can dig a makeshift toilet. Also, ensure that you can cover up your “deposit” once you’re done. Imagine going to a beach that is covered with…oh, it doesn’t bear talking about! It’s all about retaining the beauty of the spot you have decided to stop at and show respect towards those who gave you permission to stay there.
What a lovely campfire
One of the most memorable parts of camping is the campfire. It’s mesmerising as you stare at the flames and watch the embers ascend towards the carpet of stars above. It’s also a great time of bonding as everyone sits around the fire and shares stories and engages in general chitchat.
But you can’t just curl up and go to sleep in your tent while the flames of the fire die down. That’s bad camping practice. Before crawling into your tent for the night you need to put the fire out. Damp it down with water, which you can collect from the beach, and check to make sure there are no smouldering embers that can reignite. You can also cover the remains of the fire with sand to suffocate it. Once the fire is well and truly out, it’s time for you to have lights out as well by snuggling into your sleeping bag.
Covering your tracks
Maybe you have found a nice isolated spot that is pristine in beauty. You want to leave it the way you found it and so that means minimising any trace that you were there. To do that means to make sure you don’t damage or ruin anything on the beach. Treat it with the respect that it deserves. Clean up any trash that you have with you. If you made a campfire, dispose of the ashes and debris. If visible, erase any footprints you have left in the sand. That may seem like a lot of work but just think about the next person that may spot this little spot of paradise.
Choosing your rooftop tent
Which one is more ideal for beach camping? It depends on you, as always. Here we give you a quick comparison of the two styles.
Hardtop rooftop tents
If you are wanting a hardy tent that will stand up to the elements and last you for years, then the hardtop tent is the best one for you. The outer shell is made from either fibreglass or aluminium and can withstand the hardest weather as well as minimising wind noise. That can be a plus if you’re on the beach and the weather decides to take a turn for the worst.
Hardtop rooftop tents are easier to set up than soft tops, so if you want to spend less time putting up your tent and more time enjoying the beach, then the hard top tent is the best choice for you.
Soft top tents
If you are after a tent that can accommodate several people, then your best choice is soft top tents. They have a bigger internal capacity than their hardtop equivalent and you can share the space with about 4 people. Great if you’re on a road trip with your buddies, or for a family outing.
They are also ideal for those new to the rooftop tent as they are the more affordable option to get you into this style of camping.
Which style is better for beach camping?
Because hardtop tents are the sturdier type of rooftop tent due to their tough exterior, they seem to be the better tent for beach camping. They can handle the toughest weather and, if the wind suddenly picks up from off the beach, they cut down its sound so you can enjoy camping in relative peace. However, they are the more expensive type of tent.
The best rooftop tents for beach camping
Now you know beach camping etiquette and the rooftop tent that is better suited for beach camping, here are our recommended rooftop tents for beach camping.
Alucab has been providing high-quality aluminium commercial and off-road products since 2002 and has become a respected brand in the industry. They have enhanced the current model of this rooftop rent by making it a little taller and more aerodynamic than the predecessors. The roof can be used as additional storage space or you can chuck in a solar panel.
Opening is a breeze as the tent is released by gas-pressured springs. The polythene foam insulated floor and roof will keep you cool in the summer when those nights by the beach get a bit too warm and there are a couple of preinstalled LED lights to give you some illumination when it gets dark outside. The tent is available in silver-grey or black
This tent comes with a universal fitting system that means it can fit on a wide range of vehicles, including boats! Made from fibreglass with non-corrosive metal parts makes this great for those days at the beach where you may want to camp up for a couple of days. It can accommodate up to 3 adults and the standard mattress is 2″ thick. If that’s not thick enough then you can get a 3″ mattress. Also, if you find that the ladder isn’t long enough at 8.6 feet, there is a 10.5-foot ladder available.
The fabric is dyed polyester with a water, UV and mildew resistant coating with two side doors and one rear door providing access into the tent.
If you want to spend less time setting up your tent and more time enjoying the beach, the Skycamp tent is ready to go in 60 seconds. It can sleep up to 4 people, but you may want to think about how to thicken up the supplied mattress as it’s only 1.8″ thick.
The hard outer shell will protect you from the wind and the breathable fabric ensures that you don’t get uncomfortable. If you want to have an even more breathable tent, you can customise the tent with mesh walls. Light into the tent is provided by the inbuilt skylight.
You can customise the tent with add ons such as a wind deflector, annexe room, awning and more,
Tepui is one of the most respected rooftop tent brands out there and its always striving for innovation and comfort through firsthand testing of its tents in the most extreme environments. The Hybox is no exception to the high standards that Tepui expects from its products, it is a hybrid model of tent, that can be turned into a 23 cubic foot cargo hold. The exterior is made from 5mm ABS that contain UV and colour fade resistance wrapped around a reinforced aluminium structure.
The interior is smaller than the other tents we have reviewed, allowing only 2 people to sleep inside the tent on a 3″ mattress. You c a new accessorise the tent with extra insulation, annexe, weather hood or anti-condensation mat.
The most popular tent in Tentbox’s family, this one is easy to set up and with the material is strong and waterproof, ensuring that you have many nights of beach camping adventures ahead of you without having to be concerned needing to replace the tent.
If you are worried about insects coming into your tent, the fine mesh netting eliminates that issue, so you are able to camp comfortably. Talking about comfort, the roof is insulated so you know you’ll be cool on those hot summer nights.
Bundutop has listened to the customers and now offer pre-installed wiring in all of their Electric tents as well a couple of roof-mounted fans to keep you cool.
Setting up the tent is a simple as pressing a button and the tent is ready, with awning, in 30 seconds! Wow, that’s fast! The windows can zip open from inside the tent and being extra large means more natural light streaming into the tent.
Inside the tent are a 12-volt power supply and an LED light to brighten up your interior when the sun goes down.
With the Falcon, you can choose the standard model which is 50″ wide or the 60″ XL tent. They both fold down to be 7″ in height and is made from aluminium making them rugged and great for overlanding.
The polyurethane-coated polyester and cotton blend walls are 3x more waterproof than a standard backpacking tent, and the metallic parts are constructed from either aluminium or stainless steel to enhance the tent’s longevity. The four accessory channels allow you to mount a variety of items to your tent and you can easily attach kayaks to your tent via the optional crossbars.
If you want to spend as little time as possible setting up a tent, then the Falcon is for you. Just unlatch the straps, give the tent a wee nudge and your tent magically pops open before you. The whole opening process takes less than a minute. Quick, convenient and more time for you to enjoy the surf.
Looking for a company with experience in the rooftop tent industry? Eeziawn has been in the game for 36 years, so you know that they are all about quality and great tents.
The Dart’s outer shell is constructed from aerodynamic fibreglass and the material of the tent is heavy-duty canvas. The walls have generously sized pockets where you can store your belongings. The windows, as well as the doors, have mosquito netting so you don’t wake up in the morning with an annoying bite mark.
Power into the tent is provided through a 12-volt socket and a cord that connects to your car’s cigarette lighter and an LED light provides you with illumination during the night. The ladder is only 7.5 feet long, which is the shortest in the tents we review here. So it may pay to get an extension which, for some reason, Eeziawn don’t offer as an accessory yet they do offer to manufacture parts that don’t appear in their accessory list.
Alucab is always looking at how to make hard shell rooftop tents more versatile and user friendly and with the Expedition tent now in its third incarnation, you can expect a quality tent that is not only aerodynamically designed but also spacious inside.
The aluminium outer shell can handle the toughest weather nature will throw at it and the insulation will keep you cool in the most blazing heat (Alucab is based in South Africa and the deserts get pretty hot there!) so you can enjoy your beach camping in comfort.
An inbuilt USB charger will ensure that your mobile phone or tablet computer has the power that it needs so you can brag to your friends about the great time you’re having. There is also a 12-volt power plug for your other electrical needs.
Optional extras available for the tent are an awning, roof rack (so you can attach a mountain bike, kayak or solar panel), ladder extension and more!
Enjoy the beach
The tents we have shown above are the more respected ones available on the market, yet our list is by no means exhaustive. You can go for the soft shell style of rooftop tent if you wish. As we mentioned, the hardtop tents are more durable and hardier due to the toughness of the outer material.
There are similarities in most of the rooftop tents we listed such as their aerodynamic design which is to reduce the wind drag while you’re on the move. Also, they all come with internal lightning (rooftop tents are notoriously dark by design) and a power supply. Additionally, they typically sleep two people, but wider models are available that can accommodate up to four beachgoers.
Whichever model you go with is all a matter of taste and your personal needs. So, choose your tent. Place it on to your vehicle, remember beach camping etiquette and…
Enjoy beach camping!