Why Buy a Rooftop Tent?

Why Buy a Rooftop Tent?

A roof top tent can bring added comfort and an easy setup to anyone who loves the outdoors. They’re also a great way to add additional space to your camping trip.

While they can be heavy, most roof top tents are incredibly sturdy and require little setup time. However, if you’re considering one, make sure your vehicle’s roof rack is capable of supporting it.


A rooftop tent is a great option for campers looking for a comfortable, secure way to sleep on the go. They offer a wide range of benefits, from weather protection to a comfy mattress, and they’re perfect for anyone who wants to take their camping experience to the next level.

When it comes to the size of a roof top tent, the first thing to consider is how much space you need for storage and sleep. Most models feature a sleeping area that’s about five to 10 feet long and 4 to 7 feet wide. These dimensions are enough to give you room to pack all your gear and still have a bit of headroom to stand up in.

For those who need a larger sleeping area, premium hardshell tents like the Condor XL offer plenty of space, thanks to fold-out designs that allow you to expand the interior floor length and add a mattress. In addition, most hardshell tents feature a durable shell that’s waterproof and built to last.

Another factor that may influence your selection is how easy it is to assemble and set up. Some roof top tents, such as the Roofnest Sparrow EYE and Roofnest Falcon 2, are incredibly simple to assemble and can be installed on racks in minutes. Others, such as the ARB Kakadu, are a little more involved and will require two people to reattach the tent’s covers, but they still make setup easy.

This metric is a big consideration for campers who have trouble lifting heavy tents onto their vehicle. Many tents are bulky and require two able-bodied people to lift them onto their truck, SUV, or trailer, which can be a pain in the rear.

However, there are a few roof top tents that can be assembled by one person, including the Roofnest Sparrow EYE, the Thule Tepui Low-Pro 2 and Yakima SkyRise. These tents have a hardshell that doubles as the roof of the tent, making them easier to install than models with traditional covers.

Some of these models are also able to accommodate large cargo such as surfboards, bikes, and kayaks, which is a nice feature for those who love to bring their favorite gear on their trips.


If you’re planning to buy a roof top tent, you need to know how heavy it will be. This is an important factor to consider because it affects your vehicle’s handling and hauling capabilities, as well as gas mileage. It also impacts safety.

The best way to determine the weight of a rooftop tent is to look at the product’s specs. You should see the total tent weight, as well as the car and rack dynamic weight capacity. This will help you decide if a particular model is right for you.

While most tents weigh around 100-200 lbs, they can vary greatly in weight. The lightest tent we tested was 93 lbs, while the heaviest model was 225 lbs.

This is a big consideration because most cars and trucks have a maximum load limit (often 160 lbs) for the rooftop. If you buy a tent that exceeds this limit, you could end up damaging your vehicle’s suspension and potentially putting yourself and others at risk.

In addition, a roof rack is only as strong as its weakest point, so you need to make sure that it can support the weight of your tent. This is why we recommend a 3rd party rack like Yakima or Thule, which typically have greater load capacities than factory-installed roof racks.

When it comes to the actual set-up, the process is usually straightforward and easy once you get the tent onto your roof rack. However, you’ll need roof top tent some help to lift it up and onto your vehicle’s rack, so be sure you have a strong partner nearby when setting up.

The most common roof-top tents come with a hardshell cover, which doubles as the roof of the tent. These models are usually more expensive than fabric tents, roof top tent but they offer the most protection from the elements.

Some tents also feature awnings and annexes, which are a great way to add an extra living area to your trip. Some even include a full-height canopy, making them ideal for extended camping trips in cold or extreme weather conditions. We have a lot of experience with soft shell and hardshell models, so you can find the best roof top tent for your needs.

Weather Protection

A roof top tent is a great option for campers who need extra weather protection. These tents are designed to withstand the elements and come with thick, water-resistant body fabrics (usually a polyester cotton blend) and fully waterproof rainflys to keep you dry.

Rooftop tents come in a few different styles, with many options available for each type. These include hardshell, softshell, and pop-up models.

Hardshell tents usually have a fiberglass, plastic, or aluminum shell that opens on a hinge (clamshells) or pops up all around the vehicle’s roof area. These tents can be a bit less livable than some softshell models, but they’re often more affordable and offer 4-season protection.

Some hardshell models can also be opened and folded up like boxes, increasing floor space and allowing you to add extras like an awning or gear racks. For example, the Thule Tepui Explorer Ayer 2 offers this ability along with a few other perks, including an internal gear net that keeps things organized and a boot bag that hangs from the tent’s outer wall.

The iKamper X-Cover is a good option for those looking to maximize the amount of storage space on their rooftop tent. It can be set up with the hardshell folded up or open and can accommodate a wide variety of cargo boxes, such as kayaks, bikes, and surfboards.

If you want a little more sleeping space than a two-person softshell, consider the iKamper BDV, which has a large interior footprint that can be used as a bed or a sleeping loft. It’s a little more expensive than a standard softshell, but the extra room can be well worth it for some people.

Lastly, a few roof top tents have optional insulation inserts to help you stay warmer at night. This isn’t essential if you’re camping in warm climates or have a warm sleeping bag, but it can be an advantage if you frequently sleep at elevation or sleep outdoors year-round.


Roof top tents are a popular option for those looking to spend time in the backcountry. They fold or pop up from the top of a vehicle, are easy to set up and take down, and often come equipped with a built-in mattress for a comfortable night’s sleep.

While a rooftop tent is a great way to free up space in your vehicle, it does come with some limitations. First, they can be quite large, so it’s important to keep the tent’s packed size within the dimensions of your car’s roof or truck bed (this will affect fuel economy).

Secondly, the extra weight of a rooftop tent can cause the roof to vibrate and add wind resistance to your ride. This can negatively impact your fuel economy, so if you’re not using your tent for an extended period of time, it might be wise to remove it and store it in your garage or basement.

Third, they can be heavy, so you’ll want to be sure you have the proper gear to help lift and carry your tent. There are ceiling hoists and human-powered storage systems that can lift your tent, but you’ll need to make sure you have someone strong enough to operate it.

Finally, some roof top tents have an annex or awning that encloses the sleeping platform and creates a covered area underneath for additional living space. These are a great option for those who want to build a compound, but they can be a bit more challenging to set up and pack away than a regular tent.

For the best storage options, consider a hard shell roof top tent that’s quick to setup and tear down. They’re also great for camping and overlanding because they don’t require stakes and are built to withstand a variety of weather conditions. If you plan to add a solar panel, look for a model with a peak height that allows you to open the wedge to generate maximum wattage while still in place.

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