How To Modify An Engine Crane So You Can Easily Lift Your Roof Tent Onto Your Car/Vehicle By Yourself (UK Edition)

How To Lift Your Roof Tent Onto Your Car

So you’ve bought your roof tent and have now realised you can’t lift it onto your vehicle’s roof without getting help from someone else?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you! Here is the exact setup we use for lifting and installing roof tents for customers when they come to collect, which at the time (April 2021) cost us about £350 in total.

We feel this setup should suit most people better than others because it’s relatively affordable and it folds up, so the crane should be able to fit in most people’s garages!

How To Lift Your Roof Tent Onto Your Car

First of all, if you’re on your own and need to move your roof tent from your garage to your driveway, we recommend putting it on its side and wheeling it on a dolly trolley.

Here’s the exact one we got, but any that can hold at least 75kg should work:

Woodside 300kg Capacity Dolly Trolley

How To Lift Your Roof Tent Onto Your Car

So first on the actual build, we need to get an engine crane.

Most 2 tonne capacity ones should be okay, but this is the one we bought because they had good reviews online and we didn’t want to take any chances, since we knew we’d be using this frequently!

SGS Engineering 2 Tonne Engine Crane


Then we needed to extend the engine crane arm, so the roof tent can be lifted higher than with the shorter arm that comes with the crane.

For this, we went with our local metal store and made sure we picked a strong enough and long enough tube to lift the roof tents frequently.

The exact size and type we went for was the “S275 60mm x 60mm x 5mm x 3 Metres Mild Steel Square Tube”, which is long enough to lift the roof tents up to 2.6 metres high, as lots of our customers have vans.

You might be able to get one that’s around 2.5 metres long if your vehicle (including your roof bars) are under 2 metres high though!

Metal Supermarkets S275 Mild Steel Square Tube

After this, our setup looked something like this:

How To Lift Your Roof Tent Onto Your Car

Next, we needed to drill 2 holes at both ends of the tube. One to get the engine crane hook attached onto the extended lifting arm (like on the original engine crane arm) and the other to keep the new crane arm secured in place.

To do this, we hired the 18V drill from HSS Hire below, but if you have a powerful drill with a 13mm chuck in your toolbox already, then you won’t need to pay for this!

HSS Hire 18V Cordless Combi Drill

We also got this drill bits set from ScrewFix and used the 18mm drill bit on the hole nearer to the crane, which was so we could put a bolt through it and keep the arm secured in place. Then we used the 16mm drill bit on the hole needed to attach the crane hook on the end.

ScrewFix Blacksmiths Drill Bits Set

How To Lift Your Roof Tent Onto Your Car
How To Lift Your Roof Tent Onto Your Car

In order to actually lift the roof tent safely, we got 2 of the “Purple 1000kg 5m x 30mm #FS-E7DEE010-5M Flat Webbing Lifting Slings” as below:

Purple 1000kg 5m x 30mm Flat Webbing Lifting Slings

We’re extending the lifting slings lengthways to the hard shell roof tent we’re lifting, which is around 210cm long. So if you have a soft shell roof tent and it’s not as long as that, then you should be able to get slings that are 4 metres instead.

How To Lift Your Roof Tent Onto Your Car

Finally, to keep the slings together easier and more safely than just using the crane hook, we got the large 12cm x 14cm carabiner below:

SS8 12cm x 14cm Snap Hook Carabiner


So after all of this, you should have your completed build and you can now easily lift your roof tent onto your vehicle on your own. Happy camping!


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