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3 Ways To Prevent Your Hard Top Roof Top Tent From Being Stolen

Securing a hard top rooftop tent, or any other type of vehicle tent does not have to cause anxiety or stress.  Preventing theft requires both attention to detail during tent installation as well as implementation of security measures once it is on your vehicle. Read on for some solid steps on how to protect your rooftop tent from theft and any forms of intrusion.

3 Steps To Making Your Tent Theft Proof

Correctly Installing Your Rooftop Tent

Preparing for Your Hard Shell Rooftop Tent Installation

1. Gather Your Tools

Before unboxing your tent, its accessories, all installation hardware/parts, and the product manual, you will need to gather the following tools:

  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Box cutter
  • 13 mm ratcheting wrench
  • 10 mm ratcheting wrench
  • Hacksaw
  • 2. Thoroughly Read the Roof Tent Manual

    Whether you have a 5 person rooftop tent, or one that caters to 3 people, while all tents have similar installation methods, there will always be some things that are different. So, to avoid any assumptions that can lead to mistakes, the best first step is to read your roof top tent’s owner manual carefully and thoroughly. This will save you a lot of time and potential frustration, and it also eliminates unnecessary guesswork.

    3. Properly Position Your Tent 

    It is important to consider where exactly you will position your tent because this will have an impact on your vehicle’s wear and tear while carrying added weight. If possible, centering your roof tent in the middle of your car top will help distribute its weight more evenly. 

    How To Put Your Rooftop Tent Together  

    Properly securing your rooftop tent starts with a properly put together and installed tent. Make sure to use the hardware that came with your tent, and avoid the temptation to skip steps. Doing this right the first time is the only way to guarantee a hassle-free, secure installation.

    1. Review the Included Accessories, Tools, and Hardware 

    Most roof top tents will include the following tools and mounting hardware listed below, so open up your tent, review what you have, and compare that to your manual. For most tents, you should find:

    • Tent cover 
    • Ladder
    • Ladder brackets
    • Bungees
    • Aluminum channel sliders with bolts and nuts
    • Bolts with washers
    • End caps 
    • Steel mounting plates
    • Medium sized bolts with washers 
    • Wrenches

         2. Aligning Nuts and Mounting Tracks

        • Carefully set the mounting tracks parallel to the hinges on the tent base, taking great care to align all holes for easy attachment  
        • Then, remove the nuts from the medium sized bolts and place them into the mounting channels, lining it all up with the holes in the base. 

         3. Securing the Mounting Tracks and Cover the Roof Tent

        • Slide the bolts with washers between the mattress and the tent base.
        • Carefully screw the bolts through the holes (pre-drilled) and attach to the nuts that you already fitted to the tracks

         4. Install the Ladder

        • You will now need to turn the roof tent upside down to install the ladder, unscrew the ladder bracket bolts, and match up each bracket over the pre-drilled holes you find along the edge of the tent.
        • Along with a washer, slide the longer bolts between the base of the tent and mattress into the pre-drilled holes and  through the ladder bracket. When you attach the nuts and bolts, make sure not to tighten everything completely
        • Make sure the entire length of the bolt is through the holes and then use the nut to tighten everything into place. You’ll find it best to rotate the ladder a few times to make sure it works well and only then should you tighten the bracket bolts to the base.
        • Re-secure the tent side straps and attach the travel cover using the C Channel located on the side of the tent.

        How To Mount Your Tent To The Vehicle Roof

        You can try and lift a large rooftop tent by yourself to mount it, but having an extra pair of hands truly makes the task easier. Deciding on how to attach the mounting tracks depends on whether your roof rack has side rails and cross bars. As well, another factor to consider is if you want your roof tent opening to point toward the side of your vehicle or toward the back. For this example, we’ll explore how to install it with a side mounting on a rack with cross bars.

        Here’s how to securely install your roof-mounted tent:

        1. First, place the mounting racks in the tent base and in a perpendicular direction to your roof rack bars.
        2. Next, you will need to align the bolts and the aluminum channel sliders with the mounting track ends. This will leave you with a bolt on both sides of the roof rack. You will repeat this process at all four points where the roof rack crosses paths with the mounting racks. 
        3. Once the crossbar is aligned with the channel sliders you can raise the tent and attach one bolt on each side of the crossbar.
        4. Next, you can attach the bolts to one of the mounting plates under the roof rack, taking care to secure them with their corresponding nuts.
        5. Lastly, you will fit the end caps firmly into the mounting tracks. 

        You may need to use a rubber mallet to gently, but effectively, get the caps in.

        Keep Your Rooftop Tent Secure Moving Forward

        After all of your hard work and effort (and possibly some trial and error) to get your hard shell tent safely mounted onto your vehicle’s roof, you’ll want to make sure that it, and everything within, stays put at your campsite. Sadly, when someone is determined enough, they will do what it takes to try to steal your belongings from inside of your tent, and even take the entire tent itself. The key is to make it hard for anyone to try to do so by setting up as many barriers as possible. Here are some options to deter a thief from considering taking anything related to your roof tent. 

        Roof Top Tent Locking Systems

        Imagine for a moment that you have a high-end car tent, like the BunduTop Hardshell Roof Top Tent, for example, and you want to make sure everything about that tent, including what is on the inside and on top, stays secure. No matter what type of roof tent and accessories you own, you will need to take steps to protect them, and a great  first step is to buy a security locking system.

        One excellent system to invest in would be a set of reinforced stainless steel tie down straps. With these, you bind and lock them around your folded roof top tent or slide them through your car rack’s crossbars. Regardless of where you place these sturdy straps, they are difficult to cut, which decreases the likelihood of a thief taking off with your tent.

        You can also purchase security nuts, which act as an added layer of theft protection. Your tent manufacturer’s nuts and bolts will secure it to your truck’s roof, but they can just as easily be unscrewed to remove it. Investing in security nuts offer you a tamper-proof/anti-theft option that actually replaces the less secure nuts that are solely meant to keep your tent fastened on your roof rack. 

        One additional locking system involves keeping your tent door safe from unlawful entry. Some of the best choices out there when it comes to protecting your valuables include  to protect your car heavy duty combination padlocks or wire loops. Keep in mind that exposed or obvious locks may tell a would-be thief that you have something valuable on the inside, so if you choose to lock your roof-mounted tent door, try your best to find a way to keep it discreet and hidden.

        Securing Your Valuables

        The truth is, leaving anything of value inside of  your roof top tent when you are not at your camping site is risky. One thing you can do is stash your items inside of your trunk or inside of your locked vehicle. An added layer of security would be to cover everything with a solid, dark colored blanket. This way, passers-by will not be able to see exactly what’s in your car.

        Additionally, if your campsite comes with a bear box or food locker, then this gives you  one place to store your valuables and keep them out of your hard top tent. All you have to do is bring a lock to secure the box’s latch when you are away. Keeping your goods locked away, not in obvious sight, and out of your roof tent will help better keep them secure. 

        Safe Campground and Your Neighbors

        For many people, one of the reasons for getting away and out into the open is to escape the hustle and bustle and crowdedness of the city. This of course, is ideal for many reasons including the security of your roof top tent. If no one else is camping where you are, then, clearly, your tent and belongings are safe. But, if you will be staying in a more populated campground, then it would be good to choose one that is secure and even better, one with security patrol persons or park rangers openly available. 

        Another measure to consider to keep your roof tent and what’s inside of it safe and secure is to get to know your neighbors, which fosters a sense of community and trust. This way, when you’re away from your car  tent and gear, your camping counterparts can always keep an eye out for anything unusual or for any suspicious activity. 

        Insuring Your Roof Tent

        Many people wonder if there is insurance available for roof tents. While there technically is not a direct policy for them, in the way you would get a vehicle or home covered, there is still a way to insure them.  If you rent your home, for example, your rooftop tent may be able to be covered by your renter’s personal property policy. Or if you own your home, then your tent might fall under your homeowners insurance. Both of these policies cover your personal belongings if they end up stolen, no matter where in the world they may be. 

        How exactly would this insurance process work? Here is an example: If a thief broke into your home and stole your tablet, then you could make a claim for it on your insurance because it is personal property you own. The same is true for your rooftop tent; if theft occurs and you happened to have kept  your things inside of the tent, then you could also make a claim for those items. For good measure, always be sure to verify everything with your insurance provider and directly ask them if your rooftop tent qualifies in the event it gets stolen.

        In Summary

        Preventing your hard top roof top tent from being stolen is not as difficult as it may seem. The first step is to purchase a high-quality, affordable tent that is made using secure, durable materials. Make sure to begin by properly mounting your tent on your vehicle using the provided hardware. Be wise, and invest in one or more anti-theft tools such as reinforced stainless steel tie down straps or security nuts and bolts. You can also go the extra mile and see if your tent and belongings can be covered under an existing personal property insurance plan.