IF YOU’VE WALKED in the redwood forests of Northern California, you know there’s nowhere like this on Earth. In the old-growth groves, trunks as wide as 25 feet rise like pillars out of the ground; sometimes a tree is so tall it’s difficult to make out where its first branches break out from the trunk high above your head. To camp here — to make your home amongst the redwoods — is practically a spiritual experience.

Naturalists Meg Haywood Sullivan and Charles Post know this, which is why California’s coastal redwood forests are their favorite place to pitch a tent (it doesn’t hurt that so many of the most impressive groves are within walking distance of Northern California’s beaches and surf). For Meg and Charles, that means rooftop camping — the tent sits right on the roof of their truck, and everything they need is packed tight in the back. This isn’t your typical car camping setup.

With all their gear in easy reach and one of the world’s most beautiful ecosystems to explore, this really is their home away from home: