A Sure-Fire Way to Improve Your Roof Top Tent

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Custom LED lights in a Roof Top Tent, Eezi-Awn, Camping Lab, Hannibal, Technitop
Hannibal and Maggiolina Roof Top Tents on the Beach in Baja, Mexico showing off their custom LED light installations

Okay, so you've read this far. You're a roof top tent owner?  Or potential one?  You know one major problem with owning a roof top tent - and I don't care if it's an Eezi-Awn, a Howling Moon, a Hannibal, or a Technitop, the problem is the same: they're super comfortable, super easy to set up and take down, but dammit they're super irritating because you're still stuck with a headlamp attached to your head if you have any care at all to read a book or slide on some jammies.

Seriously, it's like going to an awesome world-famous pizzeria with incredible pie, but you have to bring your own cheese. Or worse, it's like going to Mom's house and having to cook your own meals.

Roof top tents have comfy mattresses, superior tent walls and all that jazz but they don't have lights inside. Which is a deficiency of epic proportions. A giant-sized "WTF?"

Here's one solution: get yourself some LED strips (like the "Dioder" at Ikea http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20119418/). This set in particular is actually designed for installation under your home cabinetry or bookcases; they run on 110 volts. But this is an easy fix: cut the little transformer box out of the power cord and re-splice the wires together.  That's it.

The Install Takes Fewer Than 10 Minutes & Makes You Happy Forever*

The package of LED strips I've linked to come in a set of four, each strip 10" long and about 1/4" wide.  Get ready:

  1. You just use some zip straps to tie one strip to each support bar in the roof of your roof tent
  2. Run the power wire out of the tent at the hinge
  3. Connect the wire to your battery
  4. You're done.  Go on a trip.

eezi-awn-roof-tent 005
Here the lights are installed on the support bars.  Nice, huh?

roof top tent with led lights nissan frontier at night
They're bright enough, yet not overkill either.  And they draw less than 1 amp.

As long as you keep that power wire on the side of the hinge that's nearest the fixed half of your tent, you won't risk an accidental cut.

roof top tent led lighting inside
See the black electrical tape?  There used to be a little square box there; That was the transformer that converts the 110 volts to 12 volts. Cut it out of the cable, re-splice, you're all set.

Handy switch comes with the lights - install the lights inside your tent, connect to the battery, and you're ready.

roof top tent on a truck adventure
And the super big benefit? It's getting dark, your kiddo needs a place to play, you need some time to decompress by the campfire.


0 / -2
# Ezequiel 2010-12-03 08:03
Do you have a picture of the connection to the battery?
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Mark Stephens
+1 / 0
# Mark Stephens 2010-12-03 10:06
Oh, good question. May have to shoot one. But here's the scoop. My lights are really connected to a fuse block that's connected to the battery. Make sense? So it's not complicated, the the +/- wires connect to their respective places on the block.
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Mark Stephens
+4 / 0
# Mark Stephens 2010-12-03 10:24
Ah, real quick, this is the type of fuse block I'm talking about, by Blue Sea: bluesea.com/category/5/21/productline/126
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Wil Kuhns
+7 / 0
# Wil Kuhns 2010-12-07 13:44
One of my favorite mods to the RTT.
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+1 / -2
# bob 2010-12-09 08:13
This is a great website. I found you guys from the overlandexpo.co m site. Keep up the good work.

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0 / -1
# Josh 2013-07-04 11:47
Thanks for the idea. I've used LEDs on my truck quite a bit but I had no idea Ikea carries them. This looks like a great kit and a great first mod to my new rtt.
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