Permissible roof load – what is this? Do I really have to stick to the limits? How do I find out the roof load of my car? What problems can arise if the load is exceeded? Below we are trying to answer those and a few other questions, to help you to find your perfect roof top tent:

Roof load– How much weight can I put on my car?

The permissible roof load is the weight that is permissible to put on the roof of your car in addition to a mandatory roof rack. For the popular VW T5, which is by no means could be considered as a leightweight vehicle, the permissible roof load recommended by the manufacturer is for example only 50 kg. Only a few vehicles allow a roof load of up to 75 kg, and even less a roof load of up to 100 kg.

So before you buy a roof tent, it’s important to find out which roof tent is right for your vehicle. While the decision for or against a roof top tent used to fail because of the permissible roof load, the concept of inflatable roof top tents for the first time offers an option for vehicles with a low roof load as well as an alternative for vehicles with higher permissible payloads.

How do I find out the permissible roof load of my car

The permissible roof load of a vehicle is stated in the operating manual of the vehicle manufacturer. The roof load cannot be found in the vehicle registration document. Only the permissible total weight of the vehicle (empty weight plus maximum additional load), which may not be exceeded in total, can be found in the vehicle registration document.

How is the roof load composed?

The permissible roof load of a vehicle is specified in the operating manual of the vehicle manufacturer. The roof load cannot be found in the vehicle registration document. Only the permissible total weight of the vehicle (empty weight plus maximum payload) can be found in the vehicle registration document, which must not be exceeded in total. Also this has to be taken into account.

The most important calculations before buying a roof top tent are therefore the following:

For the roof rack


For the roof load


For the total weight


Why do I have to consider the roof load when buying a roof top tent?

Many of the available roof tents are already above the permissible roof load without the weight of the beams! Until now, only inflatable roof tents constitute a solution for vehicles with low roof loads. Even if the rule in a stationary vehicle states that the load must only be below the total mass of the car, the integrity of the car and the passengers is at risk, if the permissible roof load is exceeded by the roof tent and carrier.

Why is the roof load limited?

If the vehicle roof is over-loaded, its road safety is endangered, which will be punished with a preregistration in the driving licence register. Observance of the permissible roof load falls under the load securing obligation and can result in legal penalties of up to € 5,000. Apart from that, it endangers the life of the passengers and the lives of others and entails consequences.

How does the roof load affect the road performance?

In addition to the obvious loss of driving dynamics due to the increased difficulty of accelerating and braking, caution is also required on winding roads. In addition, dangers can arise due to the air stream and the increased centre of gravity of the vehicle. In the worst case, the increased centre of gravity can lead to overturning in the bend in the event of overloading. To be on the safe side, GentleTent has developed the model with the smallest packing size and the lowest weight.

Is the roof load only a recommendation?

No, clearly not! Please be aware that in the event of an accident, an exceeded roof load can lead to the exclusion of liability of the insurance. It is therefore more than advisable to invest in the lightest roof tent on the market with the smallest packing size. With 25 kg and 1 meter x 1 meter x 15 cm you are on the safe side with the world’s first inflatable roof top tent.

Also important: all vehicle manufacturers do not officially distinguish between dynamic and static roof loads. They can thus withdraw from the warranty and are not liable for damage caused by overloading the car roof (even when standing). If they were to distinguish these, the dynamic roof load would indicate with which roof load one can still drive safely. The static roof load would indicate the maximum load when standing.

Why do other produces exceed the permissible roof load?

Other roof tent manufacturers are faced with the problem that it is almost impossible to solve: matching the permissible roof load of cars with the conventional roof top tent construction materials. This problem was one of the reasons for the innovative idea of the inflatable roof tent. The developers of GentleTent no longer wanted to tolerate this danger and developed a light and easily stow-able alternative that can be assembled in just a few minutes.

How much does the inflatable roof top tent of GentleTent weigh?

GentleTent´s GT ROOF is with 25 kg the world´s lightest roof top tent. With a pack size of 1 m x 1 m x 0,15 m it is small enough to fit on every car roof and does not cause driving resistance. Despite this unbeatable minimalism during transport, the roof  top tent is set up within the shortest time and offers a lying surface of 2.2m x 1.4m including a pleasant and generous interior height of at least 1.3 m.

For Double Cap Pick-ups GentleTent offers the special model GT PICK UP Tent, which is a light and cost effective alternative to off-road cabins.

TIP: You can also find good information about roof top tents from the German community of the Dachzeltnomaden!