Best Roof top Tent

Rooftop tents and camping gear have surged in popularity over the past few years, offering car campers a simple way to sleep off the ground without taking up all of their living space. They come at a variety of price points—from around $200 to well over $1,000—and can be easily installed on your existing vehicle rack.

However, not all rooftop tents are created equal. This guide looks at the best and most relevant options on the market today. We’ll break down both hard-shell and softshell designs, discuss sizing and weight capacity, and look at installation methods for each individual model.

Once you get a feel for what kind of rooftop tent would best suit your needs, check out our Buying Advice article for more expert tips and tricks to help you pick the right rooftop tent.

We’ve gathered the most popular products in the market to help you pick the best roof top tent for your needs, so let’s have a look at the alternatives:

Best Roof Top Tents On The Market:

ImageProductOur RatingPrice
Smittybilt Overlander Tent

Smittybilt Overlander Tent

9.7
Check Price on Amazon
Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 4 Extended Roof Top Tent

Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 4 Extended Roof Top Tent<

9.5
Check Price on Amazon
Raptor Series 100000-126800 Rooftop Tent with Ladder

Raptor Series 100000-126800 Rooftop Tent with Ladder

9.1
Check Price on Amazon
Thule Tepui Explorer Ayer 2, Blue, One Size

Thule Tepui Explorer Ayer 2, Blue, One Size

8.8
Check Price on Amazon
Campoint 2-3 Person Sunroof Rooftop Tent with Skyline Rainfly and Ladder

Campoint 2-3 Person Sunroof Rooftop Tent with Skyline Rainfly and Ladder

8.6
Check Price on Amazon
TMBK 3 Person Roof Top Tent with Rain Fly Tan Base & Green Rainfly

TMBK 3 Person Roof Top Tent with Rain Fly Tan Base & Green Rainfly

8.2
Check Price on Amazon
NUFR Roof Top Tent Hard Shell Rooftop Tent

NUFR Roof Top Tent Hard Shell Rooftop Tent

8
Check Price on Amazon
Thule Tepui Explorer Autana 3 with Annex, Haze Gray

Thule Tepui Explorer Autana 3 with Annex, Haze Gray

7.7
Check Price on Amazon
KingCamp Rooftop Tent Hard Shell

KingCamp Rooftop Tent Hard Shell

7.4
Check Price on Amazon
Thule Tepui Foothill Low-Profile Rooftop Tent

Thule Tepui Foothill Low-Profile Rooftop Tent

7.2
Check Price on Amazon

Last update on 27th September 2021 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Why Camp With Roof top tents?

A rooftop tent takes the traditional camping experience and layers an extra one to two feet of sleeping height—very valuable for anyone who finds themselves constantly stooping in a small car. They also provide a private cocoon for you and a partner that helps cut down on noise from the rest of your campsite. Many have multiple doors or can be unzipped to open up into a bed, affording drivers the ability to move around inside their cars once they’re parked for the night.

But more than just sleeping platforms, most rooftop tents come equipped with bug screens and rainflys that help provide protection from the elements. The addition of privacy panels helps keep you hidden from outside views, and removable furniture helps campers utilize the space inside the tent as a living area.

And if you’re traveling with a dog, a rooftop tent increases the chances of him or her joining you on your adventure by providing a raised surface they can step onto from the ground—sleepovers just got that much easier.

Hardshell vs. Softshell

Rooftop tents fall into one of two categories: hard-shell or soft-shell. The first is an inflexible structure that can be raised and lowered, while the second is essentially a canvas shell which you install on top of your car roof rack.

Softshells are much more portable than their hard-shelled counterparts and provide the most flexibility for at-home storage. However, they require a bit more preparation before you head out on an adventure. They also tend to be noisier than hardshells as the flapping of the roof will echo through your car if there’s nothing absorbing it first (i.e., a sleeping bag).

If you’re really looking to go off the beaten path, stick with a hardshell rooftop tent; their rigid structure and heavy-duty materials provide a protective outer shell that can handle rugged terrain. Cargo carriers are also a better option for hardshells as they’ll have adequate space to carry your gear without cutting into rack capacity.

Fitting Your Car With a Roof top tent

While rooftop tents may look simple, there’s actually quite a bit going on behind the scenes. You have to pick a style that fits your car and body type, figure out which roof rack system you’ll use as an anchor point, and finally select the perfect spot for the tent.

Sometimes this process can be as simple as looking at a vehicle’s roof and calling it good, but if you have the opportunity, we suggest taking measurements of your car before shopping for a rooftop tent. You may not need a custom fit, but going with an off-the-rack solution may mean buying expensive extensions to get a good fit.

What To Consider When Looking For The Best Roof Top Tent?

There are many models to choose from that can easily be adapted to your car, truck, or van. For smaller cars, there are also plenty of compact rooftop tents to choose from. They are a great investment for anyone enjoying camping as they pop up and create shelter on the roof of your car without having to worry about setting up tents on the ground. This pop-up camper provides a great place to hang out and sleep while in the wild and their setup is quicker than a tent.

The models that are on the list are some of the cheapest that can be found online making them a great alternative for anyone with a tight budget. Make sure you pick a rooftop tent from a reputable brand like Freespirit, Tepui, KingCamp, Smittybilt, and Tuff Stuff. The most compact models will accommodate 1 or 2 people while there are also more spacious models that can accommodate up to 4 persons.

Hardshell rooftop tents are a great alternative for any camper that wants to try rooftop tents. The problem with regular tents is that they require a lot of time to set up and tear down. Moreover, regular tents require you to pick the best spot to set up which is less than ideal ofter. On the other hand, these rooftop tents eliminate the setup time and look out for spots as you can camp essentially wherever you want to park your car. if you decide to go for a regular tent, don’t forget to check our guide highlighting the best 10 person tents you can buy.

Look for models that are made with heavy-duty and waterproof materials. It is wise to pick a roof tent whose dimensions provide the necessary space for you and also have a spare room for storage. A spacious interior will be something you will enjoy so it’s better to invest a little more for a big enough tent for your future adventures.

Don’t forget to purchase various other accessories that you might need like a ladder, heater, and bedding. Some roof tents can also provide shade in the form of a canopy which is something you might find handy.

Outdoor-style campers typically opt for a hard-shell rooftop tent to protect them from the elements, as softshell models don’t typically come with an added rainfly. However, those who merely need extra space can find plenty of good options at lower price points.

Size: Rooftop tents typically come in three sizes. The wider, taller mid-size models are usually best for two people, while more petite offerings work well for solo campers. Weight capacity is another vital consideration—rooftop tents can support up to 300 or 400 pounds of weight, but most average users find that 250-pound capacities are best for them.

Installation: Most rooftop tents attach to your car via aluminum or steel cross bars; check out our Buying Advice article for more details on how they work with factory and aftermarket roof racks. Keep in mind that many manufacturers recommend removing any accessories added to your roof rack, as additional equipment can impact the tent’s compatibility with your vehicle.

Price: Rooftop tents range in price from about $200 to over $1,000—and beyond if you want to splurge on luxury models. Typically the more light-weight and compact a rooftop tent is, the lower its price tag will be. Additional features like rubberized hooks or built-in bug screens can also increase the price.

Weight Capacity: Most rooftop tents have a weight capacity of around 300 pounds. A few models, though, come closer to 400 or even 500 pounds. In reality, most people who select rooftop camping as an option are solo campers looking for extra storage space and headroom inside their vehicle.

Setup/Ease of Use: Most rooftop tents are easy to use, with step-by-step instructions included in the manual. Some models come preassembled for added convenience. You’ll have to drill some holes into your car roof to install them, however—a task that isn’t all that difficult but might be intimidating for first-time users.

What Fits Your Vehicle?

When it comes to rooftop tents, fitting your car with a tent is the most complicated part of the process. To find out if your car will fit a rooftop tent from a given brand, check for this information on each manufacturer’s website before you purchase anything. Some companies have interoperable parts that let you use products across different models.

Keep in mind that many manufacturers recommend removing any accessories added to your roof rack, as additional equipment can impact the tent’s compatibility with your vehicle.

If you plan on using a rooftop tent, we suggest buying a cargo basket or box to stow items inside your vehicle. This keeps them away from the elements and helps keep you safe while driving. Rooftop tents work best for solo campers who can pack light and take advantage of extra storage space.

Outdoor-style campers typically opt for a hard-shell rooftop tent to protect them from the elements, as softshell models don’t typically come with an added rainfly. However, those who merely need extra space can find plenty of good options at lower price points.

Ventilation vs. Privacy

Rooftop tents come in two basic styles: open-air and closed. Most hard shell models include a rainfly for added weather protection and privacy, while softshell options typically don’t offer these features.

Open-air rooftop tents let you enjoy 360-degree views while you sleep, while more enclosed models provide some measure of privacy by blocking the sun and the eyes of other campers. Most rooftop tents are single-person models, but you can find larger options that fit two people if you like.

Most softshell rooftop tents include at least four windows for ventilation and views, while hard shell models sometimes offer as many as 11 windows to provide even better ventilation. Look for vents near the top of the tent to increase airflow inside your rooftop sleeping quarters.

Price And Warranty

Rooftop tents are generally affordable, but this isn’t always the case. Some manufacturers offer models that cost more than $1,000 for added luxury. While you can get a perfectly serviceable hard shell rooftop tent for under $200, you might have to pay upwards of $500 for a premium model with all the bells and whistles.

Some manufacturers offer 10-year warranties, while others only go as long as three years—or don’t offer any warranty at all. If you plan on camping often or leaving your tent in the elements year-round, invest in a rooftop tent that comes with at least a five-year warranty to protect your purchase.

Space vs. Weight

Rooftop tents add significant weight to your vehicle, and they take up a lot of space when they’re not in use. Hard shell models are generally heavier than softshell options because of the added materials, but this isn’t always the case. If you want a lightweight rooftop tent that packs down into a suitcase, look for a softshell model that you can easily store when it’s not in use.

Rooftop tents come in many different colors, styles and sizes to suit your needs. Some rooftop tents are massive while others are petite—measuring only three feet wide or less. If you want a rooftop tent that doubles as extra living space, look for models with large vestibules. These are the areas around the opening of the tent where you can store your gear when it’s not in use.

You may also want to look at how much weight each rooftop tent holds. Depending on your vehicle, this could be an important factor. Most rooftop tents accommodate campers up to 250 pounds, but some can handle more—or less.

Before you buy a rooftop tent, consider how long you plan on using it, where you’ll store the tent when it’s not in use and how much money you want to spend. Some rooftop tents are hard shell models that come with a rainfly, while others are softshell options. If you enjoy open-air designs, opt for a rooftop tent without a rainfly. However, if you want added weather protection and privacy choose a hard shell model with an included rainfly

Interior Space

The easiest way to choose the correct rooftop tent size is to think about how much gear you want to store inside the tent when it’s fully deployed. Some tents are very roomy, with storage areas that allow for two or even three backpacks and a few smaller items. Other rooftop tents are petite affairs that don’t really have enough space to store a backpack.

Most rooftop tents include an inflatable camping mattress with a foam base, but you can also buy thicker mattresses that provide more cushioning and increased comfort. The size of the inflatable mattress is usually going to be smaller than a traditional sleeping pad, so keep this in mind when you make your purchase.

Most rooftop tents have a peak height of 50 inches or less, which is about average for this type of gear. However, larger rooftop tents with a peak height of 59 inches are also available—and some can even accommodate taller campers.

Many rooftop tents are used in conjunction with airbeds, which means you’ll have to buy your own camping mattress. This adds one more item to your purchase price, but it also gives you the flexibility to choose a mattress that’s right for you.

A few manufacturers offer rooftop tents equipped with inflatable mattresses, which usually measure around 4 inches thick and provide increased cushioning. These rooftop tents are a great choice for campers who don’t want to purchase an airbed separately because they provide both shelter and comfort in one package.

Weather Resistance and Insulation

Rooftop tents come with different types of protection from the elements. Some rooftop tents are designed to be used without a rainfly, but others require you to use an included fly sheet when it’s raining outside.

Most rooftop tents are made from polyester fabrics that help them withstand exposure to UV rays, but some high-end models are outfitted with ripstop coatings that protect their exteriors from rips and tears.

If you’re looking for a rooftop tent that can provide protection in harsh conditions, be sure to purchase one with a water-resistant coating on the exterior. This type of coating is usually found on ripstop models and helps keep moisture out when it’s raining outside. If you want additional weather protection, look for a rainfly that’s specifically designed to stand up against windy conditions when you’re camping.

Features and Accessories

Because most rooftop tents are deployed in seconds, this type of gear can provide you with an instant escape from rainstorms or sweltering conditions during the hot summer months.

If you’re looking for a rooftop tent that’s easy to set up and take down , try one with shock-corded aluminum poles. These poles are very lightweight and can be erected in a matter of seconds when you’re ready to make your escape from the weather.

Some rooftop tents come with fiberglass or carbon fiber poles, which usually add weight and take more time to set up than shock-corded models do. However, these types of poles don’t require assembly—which means you don’t have to deal with trying to fit pole segments together.

A few rooftop tents are designed with aluminum frames, so they weigh more than shock-corded models do. However, some of these rooftop tents provide increased stability when the weather starts turning bad. Most of these rooftop tents are installed on durable crossbars that make them more stable than shock-corded models are.

Before you decide to purchase a rooftop tent, take some time to think about the features and accessories that will best suit your needs. For example, many people who want a lightweight model prefer one with fiberglass poles rather than aluminum ones because they’re more durable—but they add weight to the overall package.

Some rooftop tents come with an auto-retractable ladder that can provide you with easy access into your shelter. If you’re looking for a rooftop that has this type of ladder, be sure to measure the height of your vehicle before making a purchase. This way, you know if any special ladders are required.

Most high-end rooftop tents come with built-in LED lamps, so you can have light after hours without having to bring extra flashlights. These lamps are usually powered by a built-in solar panel that charges during the day, but they can also be powered by an AC or DC power cord—which is usually sold separately.

If you like to be prepared for anything while camping, purchase a rooftop tent with built-in storage pouches that can help you stay organized throughout your trip. These pouches are usually located on the exterior of the roof top tent, but some models have storage pockets that are built into their interior.

Our Recommended Roof Top Tents:

Smittybilt Overlander Tent

Editor’s Choice
9.7/10 Our Score
  • Standard size tent (sleeps 2-3) with high-density 92″ x 55″ foam double/full mattress and 661 lb. max load
  • 600D heavy-duty waterproof top and rain fly; sunroof; side windows with mosquito netting; anodized aluminum tent frame poles; telescopic ladder; interior LED strips and many more features
  • Easy to set up and take down; heavy duty PVC cover keeps tent dry and free from UV rays when not in use
  • Smittybilt Tent Annex (sold separately #2788) with removeable floor can be attached with heavy duty zippers for privacy
  • Tent also available in Size XL (sleeps 3-4 #2773). Ladder extension also available (#2785).Ladder capacity:265 lbs
  • Mounting brackets included

Last update on 27th September 2021 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Smittybilt Overlander tent is quite large that can accommodate up to 3 persons. Its size allows you to fit a double/full mattress but if you need more space you can search online for its XL version too. The tent is made from a heavy-duty waterproof top and features a sunroof, side windows, and mosquito netting which is great to have.

Moreover, it comes with interior LED strips and a telescopic ladder among other features. It is quite easy to set up and it’s built from durable materials that will keep you dry in case of rain. Overall a great tent for anyone that needs plenty of space when out in the wild, that can also be combined with Smittybilt tent Annex for even great space next to your vehicle, so if you can find it within your budget range it is a great investment.

Raptor Series 100000-126800 Offgrid Voyager Truck SUV Camping Rooftop Tent with Ladder

Runner-up
9.1/10 Our Score
  • Standard size tent (sleeps 2) with high-density 78 by 48 inch foam double/full mattress and 750 pound max load. 140 pound roof or truck bed rack required. Installs on parallel or cross bars.
  • Sets up and closes in seconds. Unique design eliminates need for additional setup. Heavy duty telescoping 8 foot aluminum ladder
  • Aerodynamically engineered to withstand heavy winds and shed rainwater. Heavy duty cover keeps the tent dry and protected when tent is stowed away. 2 hanging shoe and storage pockets that roll up and store with ease. Built in air vents with quick adjust control feature. Interior features a spacious living area and plenty of places to hang your gear
  • Net door rolls from the top down allowing air flow in while protecting you from the elements. Built in awning creates a natural panoramic view
  • Warning: This LTL freight shipment requires a good contact phone number to schedule delivery. An Amazon message request is sent when tracking is added to your order. Please reply to allow the seller enough time to update the carrier. Signature is required for delivery

Last update on 27th September 2021 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you are looking for a tent that can help you keep some comfort level, this is a great candidate to include in your research. It is designed for an enjoyable outdoor experience and can mount on any roof rack system and crossbars. The tent is lightweight and easy to set up, you can set it up in a matter of seconds. This is quite handy if you tend to arrive at your destination at night time, so you can set up a place to rest with minimal effort.

It features a door that you can roll for easy access and allows for great airflow while still protecting you from weather elements. It has enough space for two persons and is made from heavy-duty materials. It comes with an 8-foot aluminum ladder that is very handy plus hanging shoes and storage pockets that many will appreciate. Overall, this is a well-made option that won’t break the bank. Make sure you check this one out before you make up your mind.

Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 4 Extended Roof Top Tent – Dark Gray Base with Green Rain Fly & Bla

Value For Money
9.5/10 Our Score
  • Features: marine grade 600d rip-stop polyester cotton canvas water proof body, 420d polyester oxford
  • Fitment: anything with a factory or aftermarket roof rack. please confirm rack weight capacity prior
  • Installation: requires no drilling or modification to your vehicle if equipped with factory or after
  • Tent bonus pack: memory foam pillows, lap table & mini broom and dust pan

Last update on 27th September 2021 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The rooftop tent from Overland Vehicle System is a great option for budget-conscious buyers as it’s a great value for money option. The tent comes with memory foam pillows, a lap table, and a mini broom, so you are good to go right from the start. It will fit in any factory roof rack, but also works with aftermarket racks too.

The tent is made from ripstop material and also features a handy rain fly. It has breathable windows that allow for great airflow and has interior storage pockets that will help you stay organized while on the go. Overall, this is a durable, well-made option that can be found at a reasonable price. If you are on a limited budget, this is probably a great candidate to start your research from. Definitely worth checking out before you invest in your next rooftop tent.

Why Are Rooftop Tents So Expensive?

Rooftop tents are a high-end camping gear option, but they’re actually priced competitively with most standard ground tents. Rooftop tents can be made from expensive materials such as ripstop polyester and aluminum. These materials make them durable and easy to take care of while you’re out in the wilderness.


What Size Rooftop Tent Do I Need?

It’s important to measure your vehicle before purchasing a rooftop tent, since some can be extremely large. Most roof top tents are 6 feet in length, but some models are designed with smaller footprints. Be sure to measure the width and height of your vehicle before picking up a rooftop tent.


How Far Can I Open My Rooftop Tent?

Most rooftop tents open about halfway when they’re in their fully erected positions. This allows for easy access into the shelter, but it also makes them more stable—especially during windy conditions. If you’re looking to stay out of the elements at all times, be sure to purchase a rooftop tent with poles that can be retracted in the fully erected position.


Can I Use My Rooftop Tent On Any Vehicle?

Nearly all rooftop tents are designed to fit on specific vehicle models, so it’s important not to mix these up when you’re making your purchase. Some rooftop tents can be used on all makes and models, but you need to make sure that you review the measurements required before making a purchase.