When you have a camping set-up that you love, it’s hard to let it go when your life circumstances change. Because that’s what you do – right? Infant in – tent out. Rooftop tent camping is comfy, convenient, and simple, but is it suitable for a family of three with a baby?


Hi! I’m Monique. My husband Nick and I work full time but have a passion for making our time off ‘count’. In our 11 years together we’ve spent as much time as possible exploring, camping, hiking, and travelling and even document our adventures on YouTube and Instagram.

On the 27th February 2023, our lives were forever changed when we welcomed our baby boy Owen into the world.


Monique, baby Owen, and Nick at Patonga Beach


Just before our little guy was born, I remember a close friend saying, ‘When are you selling the rooftop tent?’. To be honest, this thought hadn’t crossed our minds at all until that moment! Is rooftop tent camping with a baby such a terrible idea?

What better way to see if something works well or not than to give it a go? When Owen was three months old, we thought it was time to ‘rip off the bandaid’ – so to speak – and see if our beloved camping set-up would still work for us as now that we were a trio.

Listen now: This Family Sold Everything to Live Life on the Road – We Are Explorers Podcast Ep. 12

The Tent

We have an iKamper Skycamp 2.0 4-person hard shell rooftop tent. The floor area is just bigger than a king-size bed! At home we’re used to having two people in a king bed – so four seemed like a stretch comfort-wise – but two adults plus a baby sounded very doable.

We have done a lot of camping trips in this tent as a couple and have LOVED this set-up. We often go away at the last minute so having a car with a dual battery, fridge, and a tent on the roof has been a complete game changer in helping us get away much more often. After a busy week at work, we’re able to make last-minute plans, throw a few tubs of camping gear in the ute, and get going wherever the weather forecast looks good.

Read more: 5 Easy Set Up & Spacious Family Sized Tents


Little Owen getting his sleep done like a champ!

Set Up and Pack Down

The iKamper pushes open on gas struts and the ladder pulls down in less than a minute. This means you can climb right in, which is so handy in bad weather. After sliding the mattress flat and popping two posts in the doorway, you’re good to go. We find it’s too tight to close the tent with anything inside so we have our pillows, sleeping bags, and anything else we need packed up neatly in the car to toss up into the tent without much fuss. The pack down is just as simple – throw all the bits and bobs down, stack the mattress, take out the posts, and pull closed.

Of course with a baby, we had way more stuff than usual with us up in the tent, but it didn’t seem to add any time or hassle with getting the tent up and down. It was actually amazing having such a quick and easy tent. It only takes one person to get it up and down so one of us could be with Owen while the other set up the tent. I can’t imagine how stressful it must be having a tricky set-up that requires two people when you throw a crying baby into the mix…it sure doesn’t sound like fun to me!


Stress level = zero

The Ladder

Lifting a three-month-old baby up a ladder was much more daunting in our heads than it was in real life. We actually waited to go camping till Owen had good neck strength because we were so worried about lifting him up the ladder. To get him up there, I was up inside the tent, ready to grab him and Nick was down the bottom handing him up to me – simple!

Now, when Owen gets older and more curious about the tent zippers, we may have to troubleshoot safety solutions so we don’t have a midnight accidental trip down the ladder but with him being so little, this wasn’t something we needed to worry about (yet!).

The Sleeping Arrangement

Co-sleeping has always made me anxious and at the time we went camping, we’d actually never done it before. We had a soft co-sleeper positioning pillow up in the tent with us so Owen had his own little zone safe from us rolling on him or blankets covering him. This really helped put my mind at ease knowing that he was separate from us in the bed.

These days I’ve found putting Owen right up at the head of the bed on an infant sleep positioner (to stop him slipping down the bed) with us beside him – sleeping slightly lower down so that he doesn’t have covers over him – works well too.


Owen taking it all in

What We Took Into the Rooftop Tent

Babies come with a lot of ‘stuff’ but we did our best to streamline what we took into the tent.

  • Nappies
  • Wipes
  • Bags
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Nappy cream
  • Change mat
  • Room thermometer
  • Spare set of clothes
  • Co-sleeper
  • 2.5 and 3.5 tog sleepsuit
  • Dummies
  • Lantern (this colour-changing one is great for bubs!)
  • Folding beach chair

I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to breastfeed so that was one less thing we needed to navigate while camping, but having a chair to sit up and feed in made life so much easier. We use compostable nappy bags but it’s a good idea to take up a normal bin bag with you to make sure everything is contained – a leak in the tent would not be a fun time.

Read more: Sailing the Whitsundays With a Baby

Our Takeaway

Is this the perfect camp set up for a family of three? No way. But! Did it work? YES!

The tent was definitely large enough for two adults and one child. I still think sleeping four in it would be super squishy. If you’ve got a family of four, pile into a king-size bed to sleep one night to test it out. A lot of families do it, so a tent our size may be perfectly comfy for you.

Additional things that I’d consider are how long you want to spend in your tent. Are you a weekend warrior or do you intend to do larger trips with the family?

Read more: 4 Things Learnt on our First Road Trip With Our Baby

Having a tent that only takes a minute to set up and pack down AND that can be done with just one person was amazing. Technically it’s always been amazing but with a baby…I just can’t express how valuable it was! It didn’t matter what mood Owen was in. We could get the job done and we could get it done fast.

As families grow, so too does the set-up – I guarantee we’re not the only ones who’ve noticed this trend. Time and time again we’ve seen heated arguments at campsites as a family struggles to set up or pack up a large and fiddly camper trailer or tent.

I think the key is just getting out there with what you have and what you can afford at the time, as opposed to spending time dreaming of and saving for ‘the perfect thing’. Nothing is perfect at the end of the day and frankly, life flies by way too quickly to wait.

For me, part of the joy of camping is actually the simplicity of it. The memories we made on this trip far outweighed any hassles. We’re so glad that we bit the bullet and went for it, even though our set up wasn’t ‘perfect’.


Another perk: family time sans screens!

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