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Gear Recommendation: Will a roof top tent be compatible with my rack?


I own a Mazda CX5 and have a standard rack which I have used to mount bicycles. If I took of the bicycle connectors, would the rack be able to support a roof top tent? I'm looking to either purchase, or rent, a tent large enough for three people. 


3 Replies

@Jim1 Thanks for reaching out!

In order to make sure we give you the most accurate advice, we need to know a little bit more information:

  • When you say 'standard rack' on your car, are you talking about the rack that came with car (factory rack) or an after-market rack that you installed?
  • If it came with the car, what is the load capacity (typically you can find this info in the owner's manual for the vehicle)?
  • If you installed your own, which brand and style is it?
  • Did you have a model or style of roof top tent in mind?

Thanks for the question and we look forward to getting you the information you need!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

@REI-JohnJ Hi, 

Thanks for this, John. I reached out to Mazda, and what I have is the Mazda roof rack that I purchased separately from the car purchase (after market rack). It has a dynamic carry load of 165 pounds. I don't know what the static load would be; they didn't seem to know. 

I don't have a brand in mine. I'd like something that sleeps three people, and that pops up - easy install. I'd also be interested in one that has an attachment that you can add so that you have a mesh enclosed area on the ground that you can eat in, or that a fourth person can sleep in. Does that help?



@Jim1 That helps a lot!

We can answer most of your questions here in the community, however, you will likely need to connect with the manufacturer of the tent you choose to determine if the rack you have will be able to handle the static load of three people in the tent. All of the following recommendations are tents that fit your dynamic load rating:

In terms of an annex, REI carries The Tepui Kukenam Annex as well as the iKamper Annex Roof for X-Cover. Yakima also makes a SkyRise Annex, but it does not look like REI carries it at this time. The annex is a great addition, not only for adding a sleeping area for another person, but also for protection from wind, rain, and storing gear.

We would recommend asking the folks at Mazda who manufactures their roof racks. You could then reach out to the manufacturer to determine its static load capabilities and ask them directly if they think it would hold the weight of three adults. Tepui is now owned by Thule and the SkyRise is made by Yakima, so if the rack is made by one of those two companies it may be an easy answer.

Personally, I own a Tepui Autana 4 and have used a Yakima SkyRise as well. They are an absolute blast to have! Almost all models of roof top tents are very easy to 'pop up' as the frame of the tent stands up as you unfold it. Because I have mine over the bed of my truck, it is relatively simple to attached the fly while standing in the bed. With a vehicle like yours, you will likely want a step ladder, although you can rig out the fly from within the tent as well.

Hopefully this helps!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.