What are some DIY rooftop camper ideas?

In this blog post, we will answer the question: “What are some DIY rooftop camper ideas?” We will describe some of the best DIY rooftop camper ideas and their benefits, features, and installation options. We will also talk about a few alternative rooftop camper options that can be considered.

What are some DIY rooftop camper ideas?

Some DIY rooftop camper ideas are.

  • A-frame rooftop
  • Plywood rooftop
  • Handmade rooftop
  • Roof rack rooftop
  • Canopy camper with rooftop tent
  • Platform-based rooftop
  • Truck bed rooftop
  • Pop-up rooftop

A-frame rooftop

  • Several DIY rooftop camper ideas are easy and convenient. Building a rooftop for a camper can be challenging, but not if you have the right idea in place. The A-frame rooftop tent is one of the most commonly used ideas for campers.
  • To build an A-frame rooftop tent, you will be required to have a couple of wooden boards. The best way to go about this project is to use 1×4 wood boards. You can install roof rafters with vertical supports and create an A-frame.
  • Once you are done building the frame, you can add 1/4-inch plywood panels. Use waterproof fabric on the outer layer to protect the structure and prevent water from seeping inside. There are many ways to get an A-frame rooftop tent on top of the camper.

Plywood rooftop

  • Plywood rooftops are also pretty common since they are easy to work with and easy to install. These rooftop camper ideas have several benefits, but they need to be done in the right manner. You must also have the right tools to build a plywood rooftop.
  • First, you will be required to build a flat base according to the dimensions of the camper roof.  The next step is to create a design and layout based on the dimensions. Build the flat base with the help of 4×8-foot plywood panels, and make sure that they are thick enough to withstand the weight.
  • You can build a frame with the help of 1×4 wood slats. You will also need to build a vehicle mounting frame. Make sure that the wood pieces are all sealed with polyurethane. Block the openings with plywood panels, and you should have a perfect plywood rooftop for your camper.

Handmade rooftop

  • The handmade rooftop camper idea is probably the easiest, but you will need some skills to complete this project. It is also important to note that the handmade rooftop camper idea is not sturdy.
  • Start by using metal tubes or wood slats for this project. You can also use PVC pipes to build the frame of the tent. The handmade rooftop tent requires proper planning, and there will be a lot of sewing. Design the frame of the rooftop based on the dimensions that you require.
  • The major part of this tent will be made with tenting fabric. Make sure to purchase the right tent fabric that is strong and waterproof. You will be required to sew the material onto the PVC pipes. Install a mattress and a portable ladder to get on top of the camper.

Roof rack rooftop  

  • Roof rack rooftops for campers are widely used, especially if the camper has a pre-installed roof rack. Another easy option is to build a plywood base and place it on the roof rack. The roof rack acts as a base for building a rooftop tent.
  • With a roof rack in place, you can easily install a rooftop tent on the camper. This is one of those budget-friendly options to consider. You can purchase roof racks separately to match your camper. There are specialized roof racks that are built for installing a rooftop tent.
  • With the help of a roof rack, you can also install a hardshell or softshell tent. A roof rack is also a major advantage in transporting cargo while camping.  

Canopy camper with rooftop tent

  • When it comes to DIY rooftop camper ideas, there are several options to consider. However, if you are looking for an easy alternative, the canopy camper with a rooftop is one of the best options. The whole reason camper enthusiasts prefer this option is due to the easy installation.
  • You can easily attach a rooftop tent along with a canopy camper for this beautiful project. The biggest advantage of this option is the extra space you get along with the rooftop tent. You can also purchase a canopy camper with a rooftop tent.

Platform-based rooftop

  • A platform-based rooftop camper idea is pretty standard and is widely used. Most of the platform-based rooftop camper ideas have plywood for the base. These are either installed on the roof rack of the camper or fixed to the camper roof itself.
  • A platform-based rooftop has various advantages, including removing the tent when not in use. It is easy to install a platform-based rooftop with the help of wood. These rooftop camper ideas are sturdy and undoubtedly one of the best.

Truck bed rooftop

  • A truck bed rooftop camper idea can surely be used to its advantage. Plenty of truck bed tents can be installed on the roof of a camper or any vehicle. However, there are a couple of alterations that are required.
  • You will need to have a solid base on the camper roof. This includes options like plywood. You can install a custom frame based on the roof dimensions and aluminum tubing. You can add a tent to the top or get a truck bed rooftop tent and install it to the camper.
  • Most of the truck bed rooftop camper tents arrive with a ladder. This rooftop camper idea provides enough space, and it can easily accommodate three people.

Pop-up rooftop

  • A pop-up rooftop is well-known and is widely used among camper enthusiasts. You can easily purchase a hardshell or softshell rooftop camper tent. This is a relatively easy DIY project as it involves attaching a tent to the vehicle’s roof.
  • Note that you must add some support poles to allow you to pop the tent for more space. You can also make a pop-up rooftop camper if you have the right material in place.

Alternative rooftop options for campers 

There are several rooftop camper ideas, but here are some alternative options apart from the list above. These options are not given first preference since they might not be applicable due to the challenges. Yet, they are not impossible to do.

Hardshell rooftop

  • Compared to the other options, a hardshell rooftop provides ultimate protection from climatic conditions and danger. The only issue with a hardshell rooftop camper idea is that they are complex to work on. It requires more work and can take much time to complete. These hardshell rooftop ideas are built with aluminum and fiberglass materials.

Hammock rooftop

  • A Hammock rooftop camper idea is probably the easiest, but it is not one of the best options in terms of safety. These are perfect for minimalist camping and solo camping. It can be a fun option but is not recommended for overnight camping.
  • This process is easy as it requires attaching a hammock to the roof rack and using it as a sleeping space. It is also one of the cheapest options on the list.

Camping tents

  • Once again, this is not a common option but an alternative DIY rooftop camper idea. You only need to purchase a camping tent and place it on top of the camper roof. Make sure that there is a base or a platform, and ensure that the tent is secured properly with straps to the roof rack of the camper.


In this blog post, we have answered the question: “What are some DIY rooftop camper ideas?” We have described some of the best DIY rooftop camper ideas, along with their benefits, features, and installation options. We have also talked about a few alternative rooftop camper options that can be considered.



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