Lots of our customers are in the process of converting their van into a camper and want to add some extra sleeping to it. The main options they have for this is to either get a pop top campervan roof installed or put a roof tent on top instead. We’ll go through the pros and cons of both here!
Roof Top Tent Advantages:
1. Cost Less
Roof top tents are cheaper than pop top roofs by a good margin. Pop top camper roofs cost between £2,000 - £5,000 ($3,000 - $7,000 or €2,500 - €6,000) for the materials and the installation, which will depend on the size of your van and the quality of the build you want. Roof top tents cost between £850 - £3,300 ($900 - $4,000 or €900 - €3,500), so you’re certainly making a good saving by going with a roof tent.
2. More Sleeping Space
Roof tents usually have higher roofs than pop top roof sleeping spaces, so you can sit up, get up and move around in general much easier in them. They are also often larger in both width and length, giving you extra space to sleep and chill out during your travels!
3. Can Be Moved To Other Vehicles
You can use roof tents on other vehicles if you want to change/sell your camper in the future ect. You can also take them off if you don’t plan on camping/travelling for a while (such as in the Winter) and store them in your garage on their side, vertically or positioned in any way that suits your storage space.
4. Extra Vehicle Storage Space
Roof tents or hard shell roof top tents in particular give you extra storage space on top of your vehicle, as they sort of double up as a roof box when closed. This comes in handy for most campers, as space is often an issue when travelling in a campervan!
Pop Top Campervan/Camper Roof Advantages:
1. Stand Up In The Van
The extra headroom you get with pop top camper roofs means you can stand up in your van, which can come in extra handy if you want to cook at a hob or just fancy a stretch! You do have the option of attaching an annex awning to a roof tent or getting a van awning tent if you want to stand up without a pop top camper roof while being protected from the rain though, which should be good enough alternatives for most people. The main issue with these are that they're not great when it's particularly cold outside!
2. Get Into Bed From The Inside The Van
You don’t have to get out of your camper to get into bed with pop top roofs, which could come in handy on colder Winter nights especially! Getting an annex awning fitted onto your roof tent should help reduce this problem at least and it will also only be chilly for a few seconds as you climb the ladder, but obviously it's better to not have the problem overall!
3. Lower Vehicle Height
Roof top tents will typically add around 40cm of extra height to your vehicle, so if you regularly go into multi storey car parks for example, this might be a slight inconvenience for you. On the other hand, pop top campervan roofs only add a few centimetres to the height, so they definitely win this round if this will be a problem for you!
So to conclude, we’d say both are about equal as solutions with both bringing different pros and cons to the table.
However, because roof top tents are so much cheaper, we’d say they are a better option overall due to offering more value for money. This is especially the case if you're only going to be travelling in the warmer months of the year, as most of the advantages that pop top campervan roofs bring aren't as important during these months!
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