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‘Glamping’ has grown in popularity in recent years thanks to the outdoor industry’s bold plunge into luxury. Spending time outdoors isn’t just about exploration and conquering new places. It’s also about style and comfort. And there is one solution that perfectly caters to your need to stay in the comfort of your vehicle as you undertake that much-needed getaway: the ‘rooftop tents’. With the best rooftop tent, you’re not required to move out of your comfy vehicle for any reason other than what you would want from the best camping experience; explore your surroundings and enjoy nature. Below, we fill you in on the best rooftop tents in 2020.
The Best Rooftop Tent
Made with love from South Africa is the Front Runner Feather-Lite Rooftop tent. Front Runner Outfitters provides campers and travellers with comfortable and highly functional camping gear. The Feather-Lite tent is easily one of the top options as it has been crafted by professionals to withstand rain, heat and wind. It is a three-season tent that exudes excellent quality and sturdiness.
This rooftop camper is manufactured from a strong, waterproof, heavy-duty, mold-resistant, breathable and OPVC coated poly-cotton. Gain access to an instant sleeping palace above the ground in a single swift motion, and enjoy this space with one other person.
To make your way with ease into your sleeping space, the Feather-Lite tent features a sturdy, retractable ladder designed with foot friendly treads, and the main room comes with a mattress. To enjoy your sleep, you will have to bring up your pillows and sleeping bags. With this hard shell roof top tent, you can enjoy the constant opening and closing of your doors without any insect disturbing you while you sleep. This is made possible through the screening of all windows and doors such that ventilation isn’t affected.
The Feather-Lite rooftop tent is just as its name describes, lightweight in nature. Weighing only 93 pounds, this is one truck top tent that can be set up and transported with ease. It possesses additional features such as storage pockets and a sky-facing window for celestial views.
Retractable, sturdy aluminium ladder
Sleeps 2+ comfortably
Easily open-close mechanism
- BrandFront Runner
- Weight133.4 pounds
The Smittyblit Overlander Rooftop Tent is the perfect match for adventurers and hikers who possess a Jeep Wrangler. Developed by a company with over 50 years of experience in the industry, this is a unit that offers you high quality for an exceptional price. It is composed of feature-rich and durable elements that offer you comfort wherever you may find yourself, be it in the depths of a valley or on the highest mountain.
Don’t lose all your usual comforts by opting for this tent unit. It is incredibly lightweight and can be mounted easily onto most roof tracks, making it a people favourite. It has been crafted from a ripstop polyester fabric, accompanied by a rain fly that allows for the tent to be set up or dismantled with ease.
Other features include netted windows that allow you to stargaze during your leisure moments. The netting also keeps you protected against bugs and insects that might want to invite themselves in. And during the warmer months, this tent provides exceptional ventilation without the presence of insects, thanks to its mosquito-proof mesh windows.
With a thick foam mattress that accommodates approximately two individuals, the Overlander tent’s bed is nearly a queen-sized bed. At the roof of the tent, a built-in LED strip has been provided as a bonus element to allow for visibility while you change into your pajamas or while you read your novels. There’s an annexe tent for the campers in need of extra space, and this addition can be attached with ease below the shelter alongside your vehicle.
Easy to set up and take down
Mounting brackets included
Standard size tent
600D heavy-duty waterproof top and rain fly
- Weight138 pounds
The TMB Motorsports Green Pop Up Roof Tent is an incredibly designed rooftop tent crafted with care and precision to provide users with ultimate comfort on every trip or adventure. Its design enables the TMB tent to fit most vehicles and is preferred by many hikers and campers. All that is needed to make use of this roof top tent is roof rails and cross bars. Upon purchase, users are provided with a package that includes an extra storage bag, a free flashlight and a ladder for climbing into their sleeping space.
The TMB rooftop tent is constructed from a sturdy, durable and weatherproof material that keeps all elements of nature at bay and keeps you protected and comfortable for more extended periods. It features inner and outer zippers for secure closure, the use of snap straps or temporary closure, and a bungee net roof storage with side pouches. The main space comes with a pre-installed mattress that accommodates two people.
The mattress is made from memory foam, and this provides users with a higher level of comfort. The design feature that causes the TMB Motorsports tent to stand out from its competitors is its ability to directly fold out from the roof rack, providing you with an excellent sleeping area. This is a rooftop tent which is highly convenient and easy to install and use.
Closed Dimensions: 84″ x 49″ x 13″
Fits most vehicles
Easy to open
Includes: free flashlight, ladder, extra storage bag
- BrandTMB Motorsports
- Weight100 pounds
The ARB Simpson Annex is a great way to add a little more space to your rooftop tent during a camping trip. Explicitly designed with summer in mind, this rooftop tent keeps you comfortable through those uncomfortable, sticky conditions that occur during warm and humid weather. It has also been crafted to offer you maximum ventilation during the summer days. With its lightweight nature, it is straightforward to build and dismantle.
The Simpson offers users an inbuilt single layer foam mattress that is meant to cradle you in comfort while you rest. With an awning that usually angles across the window exterior and large sized windows, this rooftop tent offers increased air flow as well as the addition of light into the space, increasing visibility.
In the event of severe rainfall, the Simpson rooftop tent features an extended fly sheet that protects the interior from water. All windows can be sealed during inclement weather to provide you with an enhanced camping experience. If you’re in need of a lighter vehicle load for your summer adventures, the ARB Simpson SUV roof tent is a great option.
larger side windows
easier set-up and take-down
The tent is adaptable
- Weight13 pounds
The next rooftop tent on our list is the Tuff Stuff Ranger Rooftop Tent, a unit that comes with an annexe room. The frame of this car tent has been constructed from sturdy and durable aluminium, with screened windows and awnings to enhance ventilation. This tent features a foam mattress with high-density cotton ripstop fabric, characterised by waterproof features.
The annexe room is big enough to accommodate a folding cot, queen-sized mattress, a mat and a small dining table or a set of chairs. The main sleeping area is large enough to accommodate to two full-sized adults. To increase the total interior space of the annexe room, the retractable ladder can be folded away.
Installation of this car top tent is straightforward and efficient. It normally takes approximately up to two hours to fully install, provided two people are undertaking this exercise. All hardware required for the installation are included with your purchase to enable the secure mounting of most roof racks. It is critical to note that the main tent must be fully installed before the annexe room is zipped on.
In general, the Tuff Stuff rooftop tent enables you to experience levels of comfort, convenience and ease. With a short installation time and easy to follow setup instructions, this is one valuable investment any adventurer can make.
All aluminium frame
A 2.5″high-density foam mattress
3 screened windows with awnings
Poly/Cotton Rip-Stop Fabric with a Waterproof coating
- BrandTuff Stuff
Are you a roof top camper who loves to explore no matter the season: snow, shine or rain? The Tepui Baja Kukenam is ideal for an all-year adventure series. This rooftop tent has been innovatively designed with an interchangeable canopy that adapts with ease in changing situations.
You can camp comfortably below this tent’s PU-coated canopy or atop its cushy foam base all night with no discomfort caused by rocks or the sound of rain to keep you up all night long. To withstand all the elements all year long, this rooftop tent is constructed from a heavy-duty polyester and cotton fabric that gives it a rugged frame and aesthetic.
All fabrics included in the design of this tent have been treated to keep the elements, including rain, snow and moisture, out. Also, ventilation is not a problem thanks to the inclusion of an all-around no-see-um mesh panelling system. These panels allow for extreme airflow as they’ve been designed to open with the waterproof zippers. The Tepui tent features universal mounting brackets for an easy and quick installation.
Many potential users find the installation process of the Tepui intimidating, and this shouldn’t be the case. You must attach the mountain brackets to your roof rack. There is an added ladder that enables you to enter your shelter. To dismantle your tent, you reverse the setup instructions and zip your tent conveniently into its PVC travel pouch, designed for the ultimate protection from the elements.
- Weight99 pounds
The specifications of the Yakima Skyrise Rooftop Tent follow that of its predecessor, the Skyrise Tent. This flagship product had its design improved upon after Yakima decided to collaborate with world-renowned outdoor brand Poler. This partnership gave birth to a special edition version that many campers have grown attached to, thanks to its high quality and durability. This tent features signature elements from both the Poler and Yakima brands such as Poler’s branding and colors, as well as Yakima’s framing and structure.
Once installed atop your vehicle, the tent looks perfectly at home, like a bird perched on a branch. It can be connected anywhere you find yourself, from the beach to the forest and any other location your brave heart directs you to. Depending on a user’s specific needs, this tent comes in various sizes and colors to suit your personality and style.
The Yakima Skyrise tent is crafted from lightweight yet solid aluminium and requires only 15 minutes to complete an installation. All materials are similar to those used in the construction of backcountry tents as it’s both breathable and lightweight. Also pre-installed within this tent is a wall-to-wall mattress with a removable cover that makes cleaning easy.
This mattress features a foam designed to cradle your body in comfort all night long. As for ventilation, the Yakima Skyrise is built with a mesh panel zip that opens up to allow the free flow of air. This pop-up roof top tent is an excellent option for both seasoned and beginner campers who love to explore their environment in the rain or under the rays of the sun.
several colour options
strong aluminium poles
lightweight and breathable
- Weight101.9 pounds
Best Rooftop Tent Buying Guide & FAQ
To summarise, the introduction of rooftop tents has taught many adventurers to keep their minds more on their impending adventure and less on the hammering away and fiddling of unruly tent poles with second metal stakes. Camping shouldn't be seen as a bore but rather as time efficient and exciting experience for everyone. Get a rooftop tent and have more of your time spent in your backcountry hotel. It's easy to see why many people overlook the old ground shelter, opting for a vehicle palace that offers them protection from curious critters and insects, as well as the offering of excellent vantage points with a crisp exterior aesthetic.
Things to Consider When Buying a Roof Top Tent
The material of a rooftop tent isn't limited to only its exterior. It also comprises the material used for the tent's frame, the ladder and even the mattress. Before any purchase, you must check thoroughly to ensure that all materials used are durable and comfortable enough. Concerning the exterior material, the most preferred option is nylon as it's a weatherproof material that can withstand all natural elements. It is also used because of its lightweight nature and breathable qualities. Once you've familiar with a material like nylon, you can deepen your search further to find out if its ripstop nylon. This kind of nylon is more sturdy and durable than regular nylon.
The frame of your tent and the tent’s ladder must be crafted from a lightweight material such as aluminium, which is also durable.
When it comes to rooftop tents, you are limited to units of a particular size as every car can carry only a certain amount of weight. Most often, sleeping on top of your vehicle becomes an ideal option when there are only two people. If the group is more substantial than two, having a rooftop tent may not be the most viable idea. Other times, the size of your car can determine the size of the rooftop tent you can purchase. At most, a car top tent can accommodate up to three people comfortable with a nice amount of room left for smooth movement.
- Ease of Installation
The installation of any rooftop tent must be both easy to understand and easy to undertake, considering the kind of space you're going to be working with. No one wants to spend up to an hour standing on a ladder all in a bid to fix a tent; thus, ease of installation is a vital criterion for selecting a truck top tent.
The first thing to do before any installation is to go over the instructions. Generally, some tents take a slightly longer time to build, while there are others that are simple and quick to set up. Be sure to understand all instructions and use the right hardware if any have been provided. Doing this will have you off the ladder and on your tent mattress in minutes.
There are a few items you must have alongside your rooftop tent, as they help keep you comfortable and protected. Some of these additional accessories include a rainfly or canopy which will hold all elements at bay, a ladder for swift movement in and out of your sleeping space and an annexe or additional space to increase the overall capacity of your tent. Annexes may be included when a rooftop tent is purchased or will require a separate purchase. They're a great accessory for explorers who love undertaking various kinds of adventures which always need them to have extra space.
The weight of a rooftop tent is vital to a purchase. Weight refers to the tent's influence on its own as well as the weight it has in its capacity. The weight of your tent mustn't exceed that of your car, as this may cause problems for both your vehicle and the campers within the shelter. Estimate the average weight of inhabitants before choosing a specific rooftop tent model.
Benefits of Using a Car Roof Tent
There are many reasons why we think you ought to get a car roof tent, and these are a few:
- Protection from animals:
Rooftop tents elevate you from the ground; thus, you are not disturbed by any animal.
- In-built bedding:
With the pre-installed mattresses found in rooftop tents, there's no need for you to struggle to fit your camp mattress into your trunk. After installation of your tent, the next best thing you will do is to lie on your bed.
- Simple to dismantle
Once you're ready to move to a new location of a new adventure, you can easily fold and unfold your tent. This will prevent you from having to consistently set up and dismantle every part, helping you save more energy for your exploration days.
With a rooftop tent, you can keep all the area you would've used to store a sleeping bag and a regular tent. Enjoy the extra legroom at the backseat with no feeling of guilt.
How to Install a Roof Top Tent?
- Loosen the cross straps to remove the tent bag, but be careful not to get the bag stuck on the board’s corners.
- At full length, lock the ladder in place and use this to raise the tent by pulling down on the ladder.
- To avoid the vacuum effect, you must ensure that air has access into the shelter when opening.
- Insert the steel rods included both in the centre and board.
- To pack your tent, reverse the installation process.
Car Top Tent Care and Maintenance
Regular maintenance for your rooftop tent can be done by vacuuming, and the brushing of the tent's exterior with a stiff bristle brush. This is done to get rid of the dust accumulated from daily usage. For deeper cleaning, wet your canvas and clean it with a sponge and a mixture of soap and water. After washing, leave the shelter to dry in the sun completely.
Best Rooftop Tent FAQ:
Q: How much does a roof rack tent weigh?
A: Typically, rooftop tents weigh in at around 45 kg but they can often vary size.
Q: How many people fit into one of these tents?
A: The number of people found in a tent will depend on the kind of shelter purchased. At most, there are rooftop tents that accommodate four people, and the smaller ones that provide two.
Q: What car type do I need for a rooftop tent?
A: The best vehicular candidates for rooftop tents are SUVs and trucks. Sedans, cars and hatchbacks are not considered great options. When purchasing a shelter, be sure to never use it on a vehicle with a load limit under 165 lbs.
Q: What weather can rooftop campers stand up to?
A: The ability of a rooftop tent to withstand certain weather elements depends on the brand you purchase. Most brands utilise weatherproof materials which make their tents suitable for all weather conditions.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick was the Tuff Stuff Ranger Overload Annex tent, an additional accessory to a rooftop tent. Made from aluminium and ripstop cotton fabric, this is one of the exceptionally designed tents that carries waterproof features. It is suitable for two people and offers ultimate comfort to all campers and explorers.