How Fast Can You Travel With a Rooftop Tent?

Ever wondered how quickly you can drive past picturesque landscapes with a rooftop tent mounted on your vehicle? Rooftop tents are gaining immense popularity among outdoor enthusiasts who seek the perfect balance between comfort, convenience, and adventure. Discover how fast you can travel with a rooftop tent, and explore the great outdoors like never before!

Don’t Race With the Wind—Aerodynamics Matter!

Rooftop tents can withstand various elements, but they’re not built for speed racing. The shape of your rooftop tent and its resistance to airflow play a crucial role in determining how fast you can travel.

A well-designed hard-shell rooftop tent such as the SylvanSport LOFT won’t significantly alter your vehicle’s aerodynamics since it stows in a compact ABS shell that is less than a foot in height and similar in size to rooftop luggage carriers. You might notice a slight reduction in your vehicle’s fuel efficiency due to additional drag, but it’s a small price to pay for the convenience and comfort of a rooftop tent.


Ensure your rooftop tent is securely mounted to your cross bars and closed tightly while driving. This is essential for driving safely and minimizing drag that could limit your travel speed. It is imperative that you check all mounting areas and secure them before traveling. Be safe!

Weighing In—The Weight of Your Rooftop Tent Matters

Rooftop tents come in various sizes and weights, and so do vehicles. The weight of your tent, plus any passengers and belongings, will determine the load your vehicle can handle. Understand your vehicle’s maximum load capacity, and especially roof rack capacity, as these vary by manufacturer. Adjust your driving speeds accordingly. Weighing in at only 117 lbs, the SylvanSport LOFT is one of the lightest rooftop tents on the market. Most vehicles—even small SUVs or crossovers—can easily accommodate it. Many rooftop tents weigh 170+ lbs, which is 50 lbs heavier than the LOFT.

The lighter the load on your roof, the less impact on your vehicle’s acceleration, handling, and fuel economy. More weight adds friction between your vehicle’s wheels and the road; with measurably heavier loads, you will need more acceleration to get the car going and to maintain a steady speed. Opt for a very comfortable but lightweight rooftop tent.

A lighter, more aerodynamic rooftop tent will put less stress on your roof rack and roof system and create less wear and tear on your vehicle.

How fast can you travel with a rooftop tent? Generally, drivers will be able to obtain the same vehicle speeds with their rooftop tent (For your safety, we always recommend you adhere to local speed limits), but it may take more time to accelerate and decelerate. Take local road conditions and weather into account, as well. Your travel considerations with a rooftop tent are similar to those you have when using a rooftop luggage rack.

Again, it is very important to make sure your vehicle’s roof rack is strong enough to carry the rooftop tent and does not have any weak points or has been damaged, as this can impactthe connection to the car. When installed properly on a reliable roof rack, a rooftop tent is an amazing way to experience nature and travel with ease.


Distribute the weight of your gear evenly within the vehicle and rooftop tent to ensure better handling on the road.


Sign up to receive special offers, event info, inspiring camping stories, & general goodness.