If you already own or just started rebuilding your van into a campervan, then you might have faced a living space shortage or discovered that your rest area is too small.
Your sleeping place is one of the most space-demanding areas that can be moved on the roof by placing on the rooftop tent, but they increase fuel consumption significantly, are costly and increase the height of your vehicle significantly.
The solution is much closer than it seems and you don’t need to buy a new campervan. A range of DIY pop-top roof installation kits is available on the market that fit different vans. Reimo, SCA, Austops, Hilo offer various conversion sets that will upgrade your campervan and will expand with the sleeping compartment. (Link to manufacturers will be listed under the article if you will decide to check models.)
Having a pop-top roof with a sleeping compartment will bring your campervan to a new level of comfort and will give you new possibilities to extend the range of your road trips.
What Are The Benefits Of DIY Pop-top Roofs?
Additional 2 sleeping places
Of course, the main purpose and the main benefit of the pop-top roof are that you upgrade your campervan with 2 sleeping places on the roof that is 120 cm wide and 200 cm long.
This is up to you if you need them as additional or you will use them as the main sleeping area and you can convert previously used sleeping room into the living room, bathroom, or even a larger kitchen.
Low profile and fuel economy
Despite the fact that your campervan gets two additional sleeping places on the roof, it remains practically the same height. Hilo offers solutions that are only 15mm over the original height.
Unlike a rigid high roof, you do not have to get used to the new height of your campervan, worry about the height of the bridges, and, last but not least, about the increased fuel consumption while traveling.
Easy set up
The pop-top roof is easy to set up manually due to the gas spring. Installing the sleeping place can be done in just a minute.
Improved comfort of the campervan
Upgrading your campervan with a pop-top roof increases headroom inside to approximately 200 cm that allows you to stand up in the campervan comfortably and removes the effect of confined space.
More light is brought by 3 windows that also improve ventilation and significantly reduce the temperature inside during hot summer days. Two windows are equipped with mosquito nets, so unpleasant insects will be kept away from you.
There should not be doubts that sleeping may not be comfortable as the height of the roof is high enough and is about 45 cm legroom. And if you got used to a longer traveling season then an insulation kit might be a very useful purchase.
Most of the models keep the possibility to install an awning, but for the good sake of order, please check product specifications.
Are pop top roofs waterproof?
The pop-top roof rigid part has rubber packing that keeps watertight the roof under the rain when camped or while riding. Some producers like Reimo offer clamp locks that will definitely allow you to tighten the roof and be sure it will remain watertight in motion. It is important to apply silicon spray during maintenance to avoid drying the rubber. This could be done during your winterization.
More often this question appears when travelers expect rain or bad weather during the journey. The canvas is made of the same fabric as any canvas tent. That means that it is waterproof until a certain moment. Touching canvas from inside under rain will allow some moisture to slowly penetrate and the canvas wall gets a bit damp, but not drip.
If you are still in doubt, you should consider buying an external Comfortz thermal roof wrap or an internal blackout liner. Both solutions will provide additional water protection. The external will be a good solution for cold weather, but the inner is cheaper and provide easier setup and control from inside.
After the rainy weather, you just keep it a little longer open and let it dry out at first opportunity or at home. If you don’t plan any trips for a long time ahead, then this is a very important procedure. Just try it extra long before the closure of the roof to avoid mold.
Canvas weatherproof sprays often help over a short period of time and during intensive rain showers probably won’t give ultimate protection. To apply it or not is a personal preference of the van owners.
On What Vans Can I Install Pop-top Roofs?
The most popular models are covered by the line of campervan conversion kits from Reimo and SCA.
Here is a nearly full list of models that you can extend with the sleeping compartment. Some are 4×4 or AWD vans and pop-top roofs are just another upgrades to campervans that make them even more offroad and independent.
- VW Transporter T5 – Short and Long Wheel Base
- VW Transporter T6 – Short and Long Wheel Base
- Ford Transit Custom
- Mercedes Vito
- Mercedes Viano
- Renault Trafic / Opel Vivaro
- Citroen Jumper or Spacetourer,
- Peugot Expert
- Toyota Pro Ace
- Citroen Berlingo III, Peugeot Partner III / Rifter, Opel Combo E, Toyota ProAce City
- VW Caddy, Short and Long Wheel Base
- VW Transporter T4 – Short and Long Wheel Base
- VW Transporter T3 – Short and Long Wheel Base
- Mercedes Sprinter
- VW Crafter
- Fiat Ducato
How Much Does It Cost To Install Pop-top Roofs?
Installing the pop-top roof is a significant investment into your campervan, but the benefits you get are worth it. Roof conversion set itself between 2700 and 4000 GBP or 3600 and 5300 USD. Canvas and roof color choice, clamp locks, luxury mattresses are optional and may increase the price by 500 to 1000 depending on your preferences.
Installation of the roof comes on top of the equipment and the market average includes 205 GBP / 330 USD for delivery and 1200 GBP / 1600 USD as fitting cost. The last one can be saved if you are proficient and handy enough to install it yourself.
Can I install pop Top Caravan Roof myself?
Yes, it is possible. Conversion kits are DIY and include fixings, diagrams showing the plan and height of the van cutouts, and roof lifting positions. Fitting will require the availability of metal cutting tools and precise measuring out skills. You will need an assistant as roof parts are large and rather heavy.
I recommend getting acquainted with the fitting process on the example of the VW T5 pop-top roof with good photos made by poptoproofs.co.uk where they narrowed down and described the process in 12 stages.
Hilo Roofs: https://www.hiloroofs.co.uk/