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Do Rooftop Tents Get Stolen?

Do Rooftop Tents Get Stolen?

Rooftop tents are becoming more popular now due to their size, mobility, and convenience. People also love rooftop tents because these tents are a cheaper alternative to recreational vehicles (RVs). These rooftops can be quite expensive, ranging from $2,500 to $4,000 each per piece — fortunately, they are sturdy and long-lasting when properly cared for, so they may be worth the investment. 

Rooftop tents do get stolen if left unsecured. The good news is there are several steps for preventing them from getting stolen, like using security nuts or rooftop tent security mounts.

The rest of the article will explain ways on how to prevent rooftop tents from getting stolen, featuring rooftop tent protection and useful tips.

Why Rooftop Tents Get Stolen

Travelers usually take carryable valuable belongings, whether big or small, with them even while hiking because car thefts do happen, especially in quiet, unsupervised areas. Rooftop tents are expensive, therefore valuable, which means they can become a target of theft. Rooftop tents are easy to steal because they’re easy to attach or detach from a vehicle.

Rooftops are big, and they can weigh between 100 and 200 lbs — that plus all other accessories you put in them — make them even heavier. Due to rooftop tents’ bulkiness, they are not easy to steal; but, that does not mean they could not get stolen. Don’t forget, rooftop tents are easy to set up and remove, as quick as 10-15 minutes.

Most rooftop tent campers usually park in national parks or the open road, making it difficult for fellow campers to help them watch over their belongings. Some rooftop tents are designed to be convenient and do not require more than 2 people to set them up or detach them from vehicles. This convenience makes it easier for thieves to steal a rooftop tent in no time. 

Can You Lock Rooftop Tents?

You can prevent thieves from stealing your rooftop tent by installing special nuts and bolts. To unscrew any bolts and detach roof top tents from vehicles, a special adapter or tool is needed. Thieves would have a more challenging time stealing your rooftop tent and eventually give up.

Another way to prevent thieves from stealing rooftop tents is by using mounting bracket locks. Manufacturers sell these locks separately, although sometimes they are included in rooftop tent purchases. Also, travellers can keep with them a small key when away from their vehicles. These locks make anything nearly impossible to remove from the rooftop, even if the bolts get unscrewed.

Although it is not common for rooftop tents to get stolen, it doesn’t mean you should not take precautions. It would help if you also considered the valuables you cannot carry with you while hiking or swimming that you leave in your tent. That said, always lock your rooftop tent and adopt some other precautions for preventing theft.

4 Best Ways to Secure Your Rooftop Tent

Leaving your expensive rooftop tents behind while you venture into the wilderness doesn’t have to be stressful. Adopting the right gears will provide you with fewer worries. Let’s explore some of the best options for protecting rooftop tents.

1. Use Security Nuts to Prevent Theft

Campers can use special security nuts to prevent rooftops from getting stolen. The Tri-Groove Security Nuts are an excellent option for locking your rooftop tents when you are not around. Unlike standard nuts, these nuts use a special tool to take the nuts on or off. 

Also known as Trident Drive Nuts, T-Groove Nuts, Tri Groove Nuts, and Coned Trident Drive Nuts, these nuts are so durable that hospitals, correctional institutions, public places, and more use them. A special Tri-Groove socket, made of alloy, helps install the security nuts. The socket holds the indentations along the fastener’s outside to turn the nuts along a thread.

2. Use Rooftop Tent Security Mounts to Prevent Theft

Another excellent tool to use for protecting rooftop tents from getting stolen are security mounts. The RTT Security Mounts are a perfect option. These mounts are compatible with different rack sizes and types, such as:

  • Yakima HD bar
  • Rhino-Rack Vortex bar
  • 2″ OD tubing, and more 

Made in the US, the patented RTT security mounts ensure that their proprietary Tro-Groove security fasteners don’t get easily spun off by pliers. The mounts also protect the bolts from bolt cutters. Their 8 class 10.9 bolts can hold almost 1,000 times the weight of a rooftop tent, meaning they’re super tough and durable.

Also read:

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3. The Tepui Security Nut System

Without its matching Spanner Driver, the Tepui Security Nut System is much more difficult to remove, which helps prevent rooftop tent thefts. You do not need a traditional wrench to screw in your bolts. According to the website, the nut system comes with 8 security nuts and a Spanner Driver tool, and they all meet the requirements of bolt length and roof clearance.

There must be a minimum of 6mm of exposed bolt thread under each plate and enough space, about 38mm, between the vehicle roof and the bolt’s end to use the Tepui Security Nuts for rooftop tents. You’ll also need a ¼” socket wrench and locking washers (depending on your exposed bolt length).

With this nut system, you can rest assured that you’ll have strong bolts that will prevent damage or injury and secure your rooftop tent. 

4. Use KanuLock Lockable Reinforced Stainless Steel Tie Down Straps

KanuLocks can be used to lock boards and kayaks, even rooftop tents. The locks are robust; not even a knife can cut their 2 x 2.4 mm stainless steel body. You can position your rooftop tent between the front and back straps so that your tent cannot slide forward and backward out of the straps.

Common Sense Theft Protection Ideas

Using proper gears to secure your rooftop tents is ideal. It would also help take extra steps to prevent your rooftop tent from getting stolen.

Get Insurance

Getting insurance for your rooftop tent is one method of theft protection.

Rooftop tents fall under a Homeowners or Renters Personal Property policy, so if your rooftop tent gets stolen, your insurance will compensate you. However, you should check if your rooftop tent qualifies for the coverage or if you have enough insurance coverage for a tent replacement if your tent gets stolen.

Consider Where You Park Your Vehicle

It would help if you also considered where you park your vehicle. Wherever you go, there might be people who, just like you, are interested in enjoying the great outdoors around. Any of them could potentially want to walk away with an expensive, unattended rooftop tent.

Always research the places you’re planning on going to so you can know the area’s security level. A little common sense also goes a long way. If there are many people at the places you’re visiting, it becomes more unsafe for your rooftop tent to be left unlocked.

Store Your Tent in a Safe Place When Not in Use

If you’re storing anything in the tent while you’re away, consider collapsing the tent. If you are using the tent to keep your things, try turning on security lights to draw people away from the tent. Or lock your tent and ask your neighbor to keep an eye on it.

Final Thoughts

Just because rooftop tents rarely get stolen doesn’t mean they can be safely left unattended. Rooftop tents are expensive; therefore, they’re valuable. To deter thieves from stealing your tent, use proper security hardware to lock the tent, and apply extra precautions like using security lights, asking a neighbor to keep an eye on your tent, or getting insurance.


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