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5 Ways To Lift Up Any Mounted or Pop Up Roof Top Tent

So you took the plunge, found yourself a high-quality pop up roof top tent, and are ready to head out on an adventure. Congratulations! Now it is time to get your tent off of the ground and onto your SUV or truck. The process for lifting a roof top tent onto your vehicle varies based on the style and weight of your tent, as well as on the tools and equipment you select. You may want to find a few friends to help you out, as this can be difficult - especially the first time.

Read on to get some great ideas for how to safely and efficiently get your tent lifted, whether it is a hard shell rooftop tent or a soft one.

DIY 4x4 For Your Pop Up Roof Top Tent 


Setting up a handcrafted ramp will help you elevate the tent on and off of your vehicle. This method is rather simple; you will need: 

  1. Two 4x4 boards 
  2. A pair of heavy-duty hooks to fashion a ramp that attaches to your roof rack. 
  3. A drill and screws

Step 1

Begin by screwing one hook onto the end of one of the boards and then attach the board to your roof rack on one side of your vehicle. 

Step 2

Repeat the process with the second board and hook by placing it a short space apart from the first board to form a ramp leading up to the roof of your vehicle. 

Step 3

Be sure to have someone help you as you slide your tent onto the ramp, then push it up along the boards and onto the roof rack. 

Step 4

Once you get the tent positioned around the midpoint of the ramp you can lift and hold the boards and tent into a horizontal position. Another pair of hands can help adjust step stools or ladders and can also push the tent along the ramp until it reaches the roof. 

Step 5

When the time comes to remove the tent, set up your ramp system and keep the notion of gravity in mind, knowing that it has the potential to take over if you do not proceed with caution. As always, have a friend (or four) in tow to help you guide your rooftop tent safely off of your vehicle and down the ramp.

DIY Pole and Hoist Frame 


This project might be best suited for those die-hard do-it-yourselfers who love to tinker with new ideas. With this, you'll construct a seemingly permanent yet removable hoist for your car rooftop tent installations and removals (and for anything else that needs hoisting). Now, before we get to how to lift your tent, let's get you settled with the tools and supplies you'll need to head towards DIY success:

  1. Shovel
  2. Cement
  3. A 12-foot high, 1.25-inch diameter galvanized steel post
  4. 2-foot high, 1.5-inch diameter galvanized steel sleeve
  5. Hoist frame arm to suit at least up to 1.89" pipe
  6. Electric hoist

Start by grabbing your shovel and dig a hole suitable to fit your post. You'll want to go two feet down, as the first couple of feet of the post as well as the sleeve will be settled in there. Then, cement in your 2-foot, 1.5" galvanized steel sleeve. Now, the top of the sleeve will be at grade, so it won't protrude much from the ground if it even does at all. Next, grab a buddy, spouse, or a neighbor and work together to slide in your steel pipe so it is secure against the sleeve. 

You should now have two feet of pipe in the ground and ten above. You now need to attach your hoist frame arm to the pole and then the hoist to the arm. Since you are not cementing in the actual 12-foot post and instead are first using a sleeve, the post becomes removable when it is not in use. Just be sure to appropriately cover and safeguard the sleeve hole in the ground so that no one has an accident. 

Now that you have considered the DIY approach to lifting and lowering your rooftop tent, it is time to consider other options.

Ceiling Hoist

If you have ample head clearance for both your roof tent and a vehicle in your garage, then mounting a ceiling hoist to your garage is the perfect solution. Not to mention, this can be a relatively affordable option to help you not only hoist your tent but anything else you may need to lift. Some ceiling hoists utilize electric lifts while others use manual pulleys; it all just depends on your budget and the options you find important. 

The procedure is simple:

  1. Lower the cables

  2. Attach your tent

  3. Lift it up above your vehicle and then lower it onto the roof 

As an added bonus, once you remove the tent from your vehicle, you can leave it cradled securely in the hoist. This is a great way to store your car rooftop tent up and out of the way when it is not in use.

Chain Fall Hoist

If you've got a strong tree branch or something similar, then a fantastic option to lift a car roof top tent would be a chain fall hoist. After you've securely fashioned the hoist to your tree branch, be sure to test out the pulley system in order to become familiar with how it operates. The last thing you want is to learn how it doesn’t work with a 200-pound tent in suspension mode. 

Once you are accustomed to its operation, attach your tent to the hoist, and use the pulley to lift it up. With a partner to guide you, properly align your vehicle underneath the lifted tent and lower it onto the roof. You can then properly fasten it onto your roof racks. Once you return from your trip, do the opposite to remove your roof tent quickly, safely, and easily.

Gantry Crane

For the long-term investor, acquiring a wheeled gantry crane can prove to be useful for your rooftop tent install and removal, as well as for anything else that requires heavy lifting. What is great about this type of overhead crane is that it is portable and makes proper alignment over your truck rooftop a breeze. 

  1. First, roll the crane over to where you will be working
  2. Next, attach your roof tent to the crane and hoist it up to the desired height 
  3. Position your vehicle to where the crane is straddling the roof (since it's on wheels, you can maneuver it around to make minor alignment adjustments if necessary)
  4. Finally, lower your tent into position and attach it to its proper place. 

In Summary

As you can see, there are a variety of options to help you lift your pop up roof top tent on and off of your vehicle. From investing in a ready-to-go hoist system to putting on your construction goggles and crafting your own lift, the choice is up to you. To help you make the best decision about which direction to pursue, a cost-benefit analysis that best suits your personal preference is of utmost consideration. 

Some hoists cost a decent amount of money and take less time during the installation and removal of your tent. Other lift systems cost more in terms of their DIY construction as well as mounting and removal time but will save you money overall. At the end of the day, however, a rooftop tent is an economical, space-saving option for anyone looking to try their hand at camping.