Among the many changes ushered in by the pandemic year, has been an explosion in the popularity of camping. But even more so than camping trailers and RVs, rooftop automobile tents seem to be having their moment. Everyone, it seems, suddenly wants to sleep on the roof of their car. Most often, we see these tents perched atop some tricked-out overlanding rig or at the very least, a factory offroader like the Land Rover Defender or Ford Bronco. But how about a more earth-friendly option? Like, say, getting back to nature in a battery-powered Mini?
Both the battery-powered Mini Cooper SE and the plug-in hybrid Mini Countryman SE offer roof rails, a key foundation for a rooftop tent. Taking advantage of that feature, Mini offers two different rooftop tents as factory accessories, as seen here. Unfortunately, as of now, they’re only available in Europe.
The intrepid nature-lovers better not go too far from civilization in the Cooper SE, since it has just 110 miles of range (according to the EPA) — although Mini optimistically suggests that many campgrounds now have EV charging points, so you can power up while winding down. For its part, the plug-in hybrid Countryman SE claims 17 miles of EV range before the gasoline engine fires up.
Should the rooftop tent craze continue even after people once again feel safe checking into a Ritz-Carlton, it would be great to see more offerings that are designed for smaller host vehicles. After all, eco-friendly cars would seem to be thematically aligned with the nature appreciation that’s inherently a part of camping.