Among the many changes ushered in by the pandemic year is an explosion in the popularity of camping. But even more than RVs and RVs, rooftop car tents seem to be having their moment. Everyone, it seems, suddenly wants to sleep on the roof of their car. We usually see these tents perched on some tricked-out overland vehicle or at least a factory off-roader like the Land Rover Defender or Ford Bronco. But what about a more eco-friendly option? Like going back to nature in a mini on batteries?
Both the battery-operated Mini Cooper SE and the plug-in hybrid Mini Countryman SE offer roof rails, an important basis for a roof tent. Taking advantage of that feature, Mini offers two different roof tents as factory accessories, as shown here. Unfortunately they are only available in Europe from now on.
The intrepid nature enthusiasts better not venture too far from civilization in the Cooper SE, as it only has 110 miles of range (according to the EPA) – although Mini optimistically suggests many campsites now have EV charging points so you can recharge during the tapering off. For its part, the plug-in hybrid Countryman SE claims 27 kilometers of EV range before the petrol engine starts.
Should the rooftop tent craze continue even after people feel safe checking into a Ritz-Carlton again, it would be great to see more offerings designed for smaller guest vehicles. After all, environmentally friendly cars seem to be thematically attuned to the appreciation of the nature inherent in camping.