Sparrow – Install and Setup Instructions

A Note About Roof Racks

  • Roofnests are engineered to be mounted to two cross bars that are at least 30 inches apart. Platform racks can be used, but are not necessary and in some cases make installation trickier.

Please refer to the platform rack installation guide for more information.

  • On some makes of vehicles, the stock crossbars are too close to the roof to provide the clearance to install the mounting hardware. In these cases an after-market crossbar solution is recommended. Contact sales with questions. You can always use as a great resource to find the perfect crossbar or checkout this article for more information.
  • The Roofnest Sparrow, Sparrow Eye and Sparrow Adventure weigh 135 lbs, the Sparrow XL 155 lbs and Sparrow Adventure XL 150 lbs. Your crossbars should be rated to support the weight of the tent by itself. Your crossbars have a weight rating which is the dynamic load rating (when your vehicle is moving at highway speeds) and can support 5-7 times this Dynamic Load rating when your car is parked. Almost all modern cars and crossbars have no problem supporting the weight of a Roofnest and occupants – just don’t drive on the highway with your friends in your Roofnest!

Parts List

  • 4 U-shaped Brackets
  • 8 Hex Head Bolts (M8) and 8 Nylon-locking Nuts (these nuts and bolts can also be purchased at most hardware stores)
  • 8 Sliding Mounting Plates
  • 1 13mm Ratcheting Wrench
  • – 6 Awning/rainfly Poles
  • Sand Free Mat; for the bottom of the Ladder
  • USB Rechargeable LED Light
  • Aluminum Telescoping Ladder
  • Two Multi-functional Pockets with Waterproof Covers (great for storing shoes and dirty items)
  • 4 Strut locks and Spare Strut
  • 8 Plastic Hand Knobs and Lock Washers (for quicker mounting)
Mounting Hardware
Awning Poles
Sand Free Mat
LED Lights
Aluminum Ladder

Installation Instructions

We highly recommend referring to our installation video here:

STEP 1: Lift the tent onto your crossbars (you’ll need a friend or two) with the Roofnest badge facing towards the rear of your vehicle and the hinges at the front of your vehicle.

STEP 2: Make sure the tent is positioned approximately where you want it. Typically, if it looks right – it is! For SUVs and hatchbacks, open you trunk and push the tent back until it just misses touching the open trunk. This allows you to be sure hte tent won’t interfere with your trunk’s operation.

STEP 3: Prepare your mounting sets. Here is a helpful video from one of our customers:

a. Insert an M8 bolt into a mounting plate (tracks facing up). Then attach a hex head bolt a little less than half way. Repeat three more times.

b. Prepare four M8 bolt and plate sets by connecting an M8 bolt to a mounting plate. Repeat three more times.

STEP 4: With your 4 original mounting sets with the U Bracket, slide each into the mounting track, followed by your M8 bolt and plate set. Repeat for each corner of the tent.

STEP 5: Start at the front or back with a partner and lift the front or back up to slide the mounting set to the inside of your crossbar as shown in the video. Repeat for each corner.

STEP 6: Connect the mounting sets together by inserting the dangling M8 bolt through the mounting U bracket and finger-tighten a nut onto the M8 bolt. Repeat for all four corners.

STEP 7: Tighten the nuts evenly and snugly making sure that before you do a final tightening of the nuts that you have your Roofnest lined up on your vehicle’s roof exactly where you want it.


  • The bolts included are M8 1.25 hex head bolts, if you want shorter or longer mounting bolts they are readily available at most hardware stores.
  • If your crossbars are too tall or too short for the included mounting hardware you can quickly contact our support team via chat on

How to use: Awning Poles


  • Insert Awning Pole into the small hole of the Awning Insert Bracket, hook tip facing the ground. In the metal banding of the lower shell near the edge of one door. The pole goes in at a STEEP angle – make sure the pole is fully inserted – you may have to twist the pole.


  • Insert the hook into the grommet at the bottom corner of the canvas door. It will feel like you are bending the pole – the tension is what keeps the awning extended.

Note: those Awning Insert brackets are directional – please refer to Step 3 In Pre-installation Section above if the poles are not pointing away from the insert brackets



  • When you extend the ladder, make sure to extend all the rungs fully so they are locked. If you need to shorten the ladder, only collapse the very upper rungs – do not collapse the lower rungs to shorten the ladder. This will ensure that the ladder is safely locked.


  • Make sure you don’t have any bounce in your ladder. If you do have bounce in the ladder, this means the ladder has not been properly locked, and you need to make certain that the rungs are locked starting from the bottom of the ladder and working up to the top of the ladder.


Simply plug the light strip into any USB battery and the light will turn on, unplug to turn off. There is a pocket to store the battery near the light.


Driving speed should always be adjusted according to the current driving conditions – please use caution on your first few drives with the condor on top and always remember to check the mounting hardware.

Sparrow FAQs

1.How tight should the crossbar mounting bracket hardware be attached to the crossbar?
Should feel tight with a wrench, sometimes this slightly bends the lower bracket.

2. Where to position the tent over the crossbars?
As centered as possible and move just forward enough to avoid a rear door opening into the tent.

3. How to use the awning pole?
The awning pole will be flexed to create the necessary tension to keep the window or door taught. You may need to flex the pole firmly to create this tension. If the pole doesn’t seem to be working, please ensure it is seated ALL the way into the receiver.

Proper Use of the Sparrow latches with the button on the slider Consider watching this important video.

4. Why is my brand new tent hard to close?
The Sparrow tents are hard to close when new. This is due to the tent materials being new and requiring a break in period.

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