How to roof tent: Correct roof load and suitable roof racks

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If you want to attach a roof tent to your car, there are two particularly important factors to find out: the maximum roof load capacity of your car and the possibility of attachment.

  1. You can find information about the roof load either in the owner's manual or you can ask the car dealer or a workshop for it (unfortunately, the roof load is not specified in the vehicle's registration certificate). Here you have to be careful not to exceed this, because this can lead to damage to your car.
    Once you know this number, you can start looking for the right roof tent for you. However, the payload still has to be taken into account. In other words: All objects that you want to transport on the roof should be below the maximum roof load. In addition to the roof tent, this includes, for example, bed linen, covers and tools. Whatever you're transporting on the roof needs to be securely and properly attached so nothing can slip or fall off while driving.

    Roof load is the maximum load that a car's roof can support and is usually expressed in kilograms.

  2. When the question of the roof load has been clarified, it is time to correctly assemble the roof tent. The basis is the matching roof rack . Depending on the vehicle, the roof rack is fixed to the roof rails, existing attachment points or the door frame. In the next step, you should determine your personal purpose and then determine the length and width of the payload as well as the size ratio of vehicle to payload.

Important: The load should not protrude over the rear of the vehicle and the tailgate should still be able to be opened. At the front, the load should not protrude beyond the windshield.

Typical roof rack / bar shapes are square steel tubes. They are very often galvanized, usually 32 x 22 mm thick and almost always suitable.

Aluminum rails with a T-slot often look a bit more stylish. They are often a bit stronger/thicker and have better aerodynamics, are a bit lighter but also a bit more expensive.

When making the right choice, the thickness of the roof rack (bar thickness) must also be taken into account, which should match the connecting screws of the roof box (although adapters can compensate for a lot). If necessary, you can use longer screws (e.g. M8 75mm from the hardware store) for assembly!

With square steel tubes, the load can only be fastened within the support feet; with aluminum profiles, this goes across the full width of the roof rack.

Section 22 of the Road Traffic Act regulates many details that also apply to additional loads such as roof tents.

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