How to Level a Roof Top Tent (A Quick and Dirty Guide)

If you’re ready to go all in on a Roof Top Tent, one of the first things you are going to need to understand is how to make sure it’s level. If you’ve ever been camping and set up a tent on an uneven surface, you know how hard it is to actually sleep throughout the night like that.

With the rise in popularity of Roof Top Tents, people are changing the way they camp throughout the world. Roof Top Tenst tents are similar to ground tents but are used on top of your vehicle’s roof and are far easier to maneuver than their on-ground counterparts. Of course, those who have made the switch do have a small learning curve, and getting the best out of your rooftop tent is key. 

How do you level a rooftop tent? Getting your tent level can be broken down into a few simple to follow step.

  • Find the flattest camping spot possible before starting.
  • Position your Roof Top Tent ladder towards a hill.
  • Don’t estimate or eyeball the leveling.
  • Make sure you level your vehicle and not just the tent.
  • Utilize leveling blocks or rocks if you need to.  
  • Make sure you have proper safety chocks. 
how to level a rooftop tent

When you have those steps down you’ll be able to get your roof top tent level in now time. We’ll jump into each step in more detail below.

How to Level Your Roof Top Tent

Now that you have the basic steps, let’s jump into the ways you can use yours to the best of its ability. While they are straightforward to use, there are some things you will want to keep in mind when setting up your camper. The best steps for leveling your rooftop camper are: 

Choose the Flattest Camping Spot Possible

Choosing a flat camping spot with a Roof Top Tent is not as big of a deal as it will be with a ground tent. You still want to try and find the flattest possible spot. The flatter the spot, the easier it will be to make sure the tent is level.

This may seem like common sense, but it is easy to forget that keeping your vehicle flat can also keep your tent flat. If your vehicle can be parked in a very flat area, leveling your tent is going to be pretty easy. 

If you are camping off-grid and not in a traditional camp park, you can still use your tent with a little more leveling work. You can choose a slightly angled campsite, and with a little attention to detail, you can easily stay in the spot.

Here’s a great video of someone leveling their tent by just finding the right flat spot.

 Fast forward to about 3:50 to see them actually level the truck.

Position Your Tent Ladder Uphill

Your Roof Top Tent comes with a ladder.(Obvious, right?) What most people don’t think about is the need to make sure you ladder can make solid contact with the ground. If you are parked on a slight incline, your ladder can have issues with stability. If your ladder is pointed downhill there’s a possibility that it might not even reach the ground.

You will want to try to point the ladder uphill and level the non-ladder side as much as possible. Also, if you were to slip when climbing up or down the ladder, putting it uphill will make falling less dangerous than slipping downhill.

Use A Level When Possible

When you are camping with roof top tent, it’s idea to have an actual level on hand. As much as you can, you never want to guess if your tent is level or not. A simple bubble level that many are familiar with works great for this and is not complicated to use. You never need batteries or electricity to use these levels, and you can simply place them on top of the camper for a view of it is level. 

You will want to move the level around your tent to test if the different areas are level. The bubble will be centered at 0 if the tent is level, but if the bubble is going left or right, it is not level. You can adjust the tent as needed to center the bubble. 

Make Sure You Level the Vehicle, Not Just the Tent

The easiest and most effective way to get your tent level is to level your vehicle, not focusing primarily on leveling the tent itself. The easiest way to do this is to elevate one side of the vehicle; this is either done by using natural resources around you or purchasing leveling blocks.

In some off-road vehicle you have a pitch and roll gauge. I have one in my Toyota Tacoma and it makes it super easy to make sure the vehicle is level. It’s not going to be 100% accurate, but it’s better than not having anything at all.

Here’s a video of what the Pitch and Roll display looks like on my Tacoma.

Use Leveling Blocks… or Rocks

There are a few key ways that you can level your vehicle so that your tent is also level. Though the options are actually endless, some common ways that you can level your vehicle are:

  • Use Rocks – If there are enough big flat rocks in your area, you can use these to level your vehicle. Just make sure that they are big enough to provide a surface for your tire. If you check out some of the Overlanding YouTube channels you’ll see people using rocks all the time. Especially if they are readily available in the area you’re camping.
  • Use Scraps of Wood – You can also use scraps of wood like 2X6 lumber that have been secured together. These need to be nailed or screwed together to guarantee that the lumber stays together. You do not want them to roll or move under your tire and mess up the tent. 
  • Use Traction Boards – It’s not often talked about, but most Overlanders have traction boards with them when they head out on the trails. Traction boards are a great way to give a tire or two the lift it needs to level out your Roof Top Tent.
  • Purchase Leveling Blocks – If you are going to use your rooftop tent often, purchasing leveling blocks is one of the best options because they are designed specifically for this purpose. They are simple, safe, and make leveling your vehicle easy. Below is what we recommend.
Top Pick
Camco 44510 Heavy Duty Leveling Blocks
  • 10 interlocking blocks stack to the desired height for safe and easy leveling
  • Strong and durable construction
  • Solid bottom to help keep them from sinking in soft ground
  • Includes zippered storage bag with handle
  • Each leveling block measures 8.5 inch x 8.5 inch x 1 inch
Learn More

Most packs come with ten interlocking blocks that stack to the desired height for safe and easy leveling. Also, these blocks are strong, durable, and have a wide base so they won’t sink into the ground.

Make Sure You Have Safety Chocks 

Once the roof top tent is level, you’ll want to make sure that you check everything again to make sure it’s secure and in place. As a final precautions, you will want to place a couple of safety chocks under the tire to stop your vehicle from rolling down any hills nearby. Here’s our choice for chock blocks.

Top Pick
Camco 44401 Leveling Block Wheel Chock
  • Makes stabilizing and centering wheels easier
  • Helps eliminate dangerous wheel movement
  • Sized for larger vehicle wheels
  • Ideal for RVs, trucks and trailers
  • Exclusively for use with Camco's leveling blocks
Learn More

You should always activate your vehicle’s parking brake as well. The last thing you want to happen is have your vehicle start rolling while you’re hanging out in camp.

Conclusion

One of the biggest reasons why campers switch to rooftop tents is to avoid the lumpy ground, which makes keeping your new tent level even more important. Luckily, leveling a rooftop tent should not feel intimidating. If you can follow the tips above you’ll be able to get your tent level and comfortable in no time. 


James with daughter on the trails

About James...

Hi, I’m James. If I’m not working on this site, you can often find me outdoors roaming the trails. I’m an avid hiker, mountain biker, and overlander. I’m excited to share my passion for the outdoors with you.