Rooftop Tent Wind Noise – Is There a Way to Prevent It?

A rooftop tent mounted on a vehicle. Rooftop tent wind noise is a common disturbance campers like to point out.

Ah, there’s probably nothing like enjoying a good night’s sleep out in the open, away from the tumultuous big-city streets. Also, it’s the first time you’re going to use your brand new rooftop tent. You’ve been looking forward to this moment for a while now (a camping trip to Scotland was a fine idea, you may add). You tuck yourself into your sleeping bag and fall asleep without much trouble, only to be woken up half an hour later by an unpleasant noise.

Camping enthusiasts all around the country encounter issues with rooftop wind noise disturbing their sense of comfort. Luckily, this problem is preventable! You can try taking off the rainfly, putting on pair of earplugs, or obtaining a solid hard shell rooftop tent. If you’re experiencing noise issues while driving, wrap a bungee cord around your roof rack rail.

It’s not just the rooftop tent owners that deal with wind-related problems. Some of the info we’ll share below might concern a broader camper audience, so stick around!

Table of Contents

What exactly is a rooftop tent?

There’s a small chance some of you don’t know this, but rooftop tents are an alternative to ground-based tents and a fresh innovation that campers find pretty useful. For example, by camping inside a rooftop tent, you’re safe from snakes or other vermins lurking around while you’re enjoying your trip.

Pros and cons of sporting a rooftop tent

Like everything else, rooftop tents have their pros and cons. Other than being safe from all sorts of pests, folks like to point out other advantages of owning a rooftop tent:

  • They’re more than easy to set up (especially the hard shell type).
  • They tend to be more comfortable than their ground-based siblings.
  • You’re able to enjoy the so-called van life, without owning a van.
  • Some are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions.
  • Rooftop tents free up space in your car’s luggage area.
  • It’s much easier to find a campsite (although some camps forbid them).

Now, let’s see some disadvantages:

  • They’re more expensive than ground-based tents (now, would’ve thought of that?).
  • Rooftop tents offer less space to their occupants.
  • They’re pretty heavy, which can cause some safety issues concerning your vehicle.
  • Going to the bathroom at night – first, you’ll have to climb down a ladder.

Which ones are safer? Rooftop tents or ground-based ones?

Well, it depends on the viewpoint. Some would argue rooftop tents aren’t as safe as they seem to be. Probably the biggest issue folks like to point out concerning the safety of rooftop tents is the risk of falling. We don’t say it’s impossible, but it’s very much not likely to happen.

Also, while rooftop tents shield you from flooding or similar problems you might have with ground-based tents, you’ll feel more exposed to harsh temperatures and wind. On the other hand, they offer better insulation than ground-based tents. Still, it might be best that you always look for a cover, when camping inside a rooftop tent.

All in all: rooftop tents are probably just as safe, or unsafe, as ground-based tents. When you put everything into perspective, it’s very hard to tell which option is safer.

Are there different types of rooftop tents?

It’s good you asked, because – there are. You have two options to choose from:

  • Soft-shell rooftop tents – as their name suggests, they’re made out of soft waterproof fabric (mostly nylon or canvas). If you’ve ever opened a children’s pop-up book, you’ll know how to set up this kind of rooftop tent, since they open up like one.
  • Hard-shell rooftop tents – the bottom and the ceiling are made out of fiberglass, aluminum, or plastic, while the other walls are made out of nylon or canvas. They mostly have a box-like shape, as one can imagine, and they’re so easy to set up.

Your experience will most likely differ if you were to choose the first option instead of the second, or the other way around (more about that below).

Alright, now that we’ve provided you with everything you need to know about rooftop tents, let’s consider the main issue of this article.

The curious case of rooftop tent wind noise

While most wind-related camping issues are concerned with the famous so-called flapping (which is also quite noisy), this one’s not so unpopular either. As we’ve mentioned in the beginning, rooftop tent wind noise is something that most campers describe as very unpleasant. So, is there a way of preventing it?

If you’ve had this problem before, it’s safe to assume you’re very familiar with the noise. Maybe you’ve even worn earplugs to prevent this from ruining your good night’s sleep? That’s also a solution (not a very pleasant one, though), but more about it in the text below.

A couple sitting by the fire, in front of their jeep with a rooftop tent on the top. Rooftop tent wind noise can ruin a perfect night.

Although they are a fresh alternative to ground-based tents, some folks have trouble dealing with rooftop tent wind noise. There might be some ways you can prevent it.

First and foremost, are you sure it’s doable?

If you’ve checked out the posts concerning rooftop wind noise on internet message boards (and there’s a good chance you did), you’ve surely noticed some pretty pessimistic views on preventing the mentioned wind noise. Don’t let them get you down. Sure, you don’t have numberless options on your hands, but still… it’s better than nothing.

Find a cover

Okay, that sounds way too easy. Find a cover? Really? Still, it might be best to look for shelter from the wind before setting up camp somewhere. As always, it’s very important (and just as hard) to find an ideal spot to set up camp.

Earplugs, anyone?

By putting on earplugs before going to bed in your rooftop tent, you’ll ensure that your sleep will be unharmed during the night. For some – this may be off-putting because while earplugs cancel out the outside noises, they raise the volume of your inner noises, so to speak. One message board member said that it’s better to enjoy wind noises than to fall asleep to the sound of the famous Star Wars villain.

Pull the rainfly off

This is a very simple, yet very functional solution. As we’ve mentioned earlier, the famous flapping sound can also irritate outdoor lovers. If your weather forecast suggests the absence of rain, you might wanna pull the rainfly/awning off. That way, you’ll enjoy a more peaceful night.

The wind noise while driving with the mounted rooftop tent

To hear a rooftop tent owner complaining about the sound the mounted rooftop tent makes while the car’s on the highway isn’t something very unusual. Some say that the sound can become so irritating that they have to pull up every once in a while. You can wrap a bungee cord around your roof rack rails or use a wind deflector to take care of this problem.

Hard-shell rooftop tents are the way to go

If you’re wondering whether a hard-shell rooftop tent will suit you better in this case – well, it will. Some hard-shell rooftop tents come with a wildlife-friendly, aerodynamic design. One camper told us that he just needed to turn the back of his tent to the wind, and that was it.

Now, you might want to know what model did this guy own? It was something from the FSR’s Adventure series. With that kind of a setup, you’re bound to have an enjoyable time camping outdoors, without wind stirring up some noise issues.

Shall we do a quick walkthrough?

We’re getting near the end of this article, so it might be good to repeat some of the crucial points. Here’s what we’ve learned about rooftop tents in general:

  • Campers all around the USA are experiencing (fairly preventable) wind-related issues – unpleasant sound being one of them (whether it’s the flapping sound or the whistle).
  • Rooftop tents are a smart alternative to ground-based tents – when compared, rooftop tents have more advantages (check the list above).
  • When it comes to safety, both the rooftop type and the ground-based one offer pretty much the same level of protection.
  • There are two different types of rooftop tents: soft-shell and hard-shell ones.

Okay, now let’s see how to prevent wind-related noise issues:

  • Finding shelter from the wind to set up camp might be the best prevention (even though it sounds too obvious).
  • If you’re not scared of putting yourself to sleep to the sound of your heavy breathing, earplugs might just do the trick for you.
  • Take off the rainfly if the forecast assured you rain isn’t expected that night.
  • To minimize the noise while driving on the highway, wrap a bungee cord over your roof rack rail, or use a wind deflector.
  • Consider buying a hard-shell rooftop tent since they seem to act better in worse weather conditions.

Final words

That’s about it, fellow camping lovers. Hopefully, the solutions concerning rooftop tent wind noise we’ve given you in the text above will turn out to be quite helpful. As we all know, a prepared camper is a good camper. We wish you nothing but the best in your (unpolluted by noise) outdoor endeavors!

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