Roof Rack Guide

We understand how this process can be a bit overwhelming on your own.
This guide will break down roof types, their respective options and our best practices for each.
If you'd like help at any point, just give us a call at (720) 370-8882 or schedule a consultation.

Here is our recommended flow:
1) Define your roof type.
2) Browse different styles of rack systems.
3) Check certain specs.
4) When to seek an expert.

Roof Types & Crossbars

Crossbars are the most common and easiest way to mount a rooftop tent.
They are sold in systems containing the bars themselves, and the junction mechanism that attaches the bars to the roof.
Below are common roof setups accompanied by an example crossbar junction for illustrative purposes.

Various Crossbar types

Bare Roof

Search for styles: Bare Roof Mount Rack Systems

Bare Roof illustration
Rhino Rack crossbar piece

Tracks / Channels

Search for styles: Roof Racks for Vehicles with Tracks

vehicle roof tracks illustration
rhino-rack crossbar piece for tracks

Flush Rails

Search for styles: Roof Racks for Vehicles with Flush Side Rails

vehicle roof with flush rails illustration
thule crossbar for flush rails

Raised Rails

Search for styles: Roof Racks for Vehicles with Raised Side Rails

vehicle roof with raised rails illustration
raised rails crossbar attachment yakima

Factory Bars

Warning: Most factory crossbars do not meet the weight capacity needed for a RTT.
Search for styles: Factory Roof Mount Rack Systems

Factory crossbar illustration
factory bars have low weight thresholds

Platform Racks

Platform racks provide a greater storage surface area than crossbars, but there are two main downfalls to this option.

1) Any rooftop tent would cover the majority of a platform rack's surface area.
2) Platform racks who's bars run front to back may require drilling, extra pieces or creativity.

This is why we recommend going with crossbars first. Then, if there's room, perhaps above your cab, shop for a platform rack.

Rhino Rack platform rack

Requires drilling or extra piece(s)

Prinsu roof rack

Requires removal of Pieces or Whole

Check the specs

Check the specs!

Whichever system you're considering, it's a good idea to know how big the horizontal bars are.
Here's what you'll want:
1) Bars as wide as your roof, or the vehicle.
2) A distance of 30.25" between the two crossbars for a stable mount.
3) A Bar diameter between 2" and 3.5"
4) A Dynamic weight capacity equal to or greater than the weight of your tent.
Read more about Dynamic Weight Capacity

Freespirit Recreation rooftop tent mounting hardware

Our mounting system

Each of our tents feature two aluminum channels that are designed to run front to back on your vehicle.

Freespirit Recreation mounting hardware tip

Our Expert Tip

A shortcut to installation is to start one side, then slide it through the channel from the outside of the rails inward.

In the middle of the tent's rails, there is a space to fit the other side's M8 Bolt. Now you can raise the other side of the bracket into place.

See the shortcut
Freespirit Recreation rooftop tent mounted on crossbars

The Goal

1) Finger-tight tension on each plastic nut. Do not overtighten! You may risk pull the bolt through the aluminum rail.

2) Balanced Bracket, not leaning too far to the front or back.

3) No wiggle room between crossbar and tent rails.

Periodically check that they maintain finger-tight tension.