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Are Roof Top Tents Easy to Steal? (theft prevention tips)

Are Roof Top Tents Easy to Steal? (theft prevention tips)

Roof top tents are the latest camping fad. They’re convenient, portable and incredibly useful for short jaunts into the wilderness or long vacations through the forest. They’re expensive too, with the cheapest one costing somewhere in the ballpark of $2,000. This makes it desirable for unscrupulous characters to attempt absconding with one.

So, it begs the question, are roof top tents easy to steal?

Yes, unfortunately, roof top tents are very easy to steal. However, there are some simple things you can implement to deter a thief from trying to take it. Knowing your surroundings, adding locking hardware to your rack system and using some common sense will go a long way.

Why Roof Top Tents are Easy to Steal

Roof top tents aren’t particularly easy to steal. They weigh between 100 and 200 lbs with locks, nuts, bolts and other security fixtures. However, if you go to the lake or take a hike for more than an hour, it wouldn’t take a burglar much to unscrew or snip the fixtures and run off with your tent.

What makes this even easier is that most manufacturers design roof top tents to assemble and dismantle in minutes with only one or two people. So, while this will take some finagling on the part of the thief, it’s not impossible if you’re away for a long enough period of time.

Do Roof Top Tents to Get Stolen Frequently?

The good news is that the occurrence of roof top tent theft is rather rare. It’s not very common for people to steal these things at all. But that doesn’t mean it won’t or can’t happen. They are a highly valuable piece of camping equipment and so there are people who would attempt to snatch it from you.

Therefore, when camping at a site where there are other campers, day hikers, park rangers and the like, assume that everyone is a potential thief. Not that you should be paranoid and treat them that way; it’s just so you stay on your toes and keep your wits about you.

How To Secure a Roof Top Tent

There are several bolts, screws and locks for securing a roof top tent. Unfortunately, you will have to purchase these as not all manufacturers make these a standard with your tent purchase. Regardless, they can be quite effective in deterring thieves.

Bolts & Nuts

Security bolts and nuts are a type of hardware that needs a particular tool or adapter in order to unscrew it. These are ideal for a roof top tent attached to your vehicle. But, it does mean putting holes into your car. However, because of the special tool required to dismantle the tent, anyone trying to steal it may quickly give up.

Mounting Bracket Locks

There’s also a thing called mounting bracket locks that utilize a key you can keep with you. These stay secure and prevent the tent from moving. But, if a thief has a tin snips or other metal cutter, they’ll be able to remove the tent. Some manufacturers will actually include this with your initial purchase, but you have to look for that feature when shopping around.

Also consider locking tie down straps like the ones by Kanulock. Not a bulletproof solution but they can definitely prevent opportunistic theft.

Additional Tips to Prevent Roof Top Tent Theft

There are several prevention measures you can take to deter a thief from stealing your roof top tent. These span basic common sense measures as well as equipment you can purchase. It’s advisable to combine the best of both worlds to keep your property safe and away from greedy eyes.

Park Safely

First, park in a safe place and away from large groups of people, if possible. In the event you can’t do this, then you don’t want to venture too far away from you campsite. This is not to say that you should allow this to ruin your trip or change your plans. But, then you will need additional measures to keep your tent secure.

Be Aware of the People around You

In regards to plenitudes of people around, observe everyone in your immediate vicinity. Pay attention for those who closely watch or eyeball what you do. Likewise, take note of people who are overly friendly and ask many questions, especially about your tent. The only potential caveat would be if the person also has a roof top tent.

Zip & Lock Always

Always keep your tent zipped and locked with a pad or bike lock when you aren’t going to be nearby. This is true even if you go to the bathroom or quickly run off to take some photos. Never leave your campsite exposed to potential nefarious characters.

Don’t Store Valuables in the Tent

What’s more, you should never store valuables in the tent. When you’re in it, then you can have valuables with you. But you should have things like money, jewelry, cell phones, generators and the like in a safe location away from prying eyes.

As the old saying goes: out of sight, out of mind. If a thief can’t see what you have, then they won’t get the idea to steal it.

Install Security Cameras & Lights

If you want to go out of your way, you can also install security lights and cameras around your campsite or onto your vehicle. While this will be expensive, it will not only deter a potential thief but it will also catch them in the act. This way, even if they do manage to take your tent, you’ll have documented proof.

Buy Insurance

Ask your insurance company if you can add a roof top tent to your car or home/renter’s insurance policy. This way you’ll be able to recoup your losses if someone does take it.

Closing Thoughts

While roof top tents to tend to be easy to steal, there are things you can do to make it more difficult. Most roof top tent manufacturers will have additional anti-theft accessories you can purchase like these mounting locks from iKamper. If you tend to worry or know you’ll be in high risk areas, make the investment!

RTTs have a high value and dishonest people will have no qualms trying to steal it when you aren’t looking. But, taking appropriate measures will be your best chance in avoiding such a situation.


Also read:

Can You Put a Roof Top Tent On a Truck?

How Much is a Hard Shell Roof Top Tent?

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