Your passion nature and adventure take you away from home closer to the wilderness. But sleeping on the ground is not of your taste; sleeping in a camping tent just on the top of your vehicle is totally satisfying. For a comfortable and convenient sleep when camping, a rooftop tent is ideal. Let’s look at the best rooftop tents for camping from softshell budget options to durable premium top designs in the market.
- Thule Tepui Autana Rooftop Tent with Annex
- KingCamp Rooftop Tent
- Smittybilt Overlander Roof Top Tent
- iKamper Skycamp 2.0
- Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3
- iKamper Skycamp Mini
- Roofnest Sparrow EYE
- Yakima SkyRise Medium
- CVT St. Helens
To enjoy a perfect open road trip with no struggle to find a campsite at night, rooftop tents are great. Or overland, you expect an elevated and comfy campout experience; there is no better option than choosing yours from the best rooftop tents.
The market is full of the best models to choose from. It is time to pick your all-around rooftop tent through the following features.
Spacious: For a night of comfortable sleep and relaxing time, the rooftop tent should have enough floor area at least 25ft² spaces
Easy to structure: Rooftop tents probably take around 10 to 20 minutes for its setup when mounted to the vehicle
Weather-resistant: A tent is a primary shelter from weather when you are outdoors. Your rooftop tent should be weather-resistant or totally waterproof
You know, rooftop tents are winning a moment in 2021? Here are the 9 best rooftop tents for camping to enjoy your upcoming adventures.
Thule Tepui Autana Rooftop Tent with Annex
- Capacity: 4
- Floor dimensions: 96” x 72”
- Weight: 190 lbs
- Price: $2,699.95
Thule Tepui Autana Rooftop Tent with Annex is an extremely comfortable rooftop tent for 4 persons to have relaxing times with enough space. Although it comes in large size, it is not hard in its set up; even one person can easily set up the tent taking no longer than 10 minutes.
This rooftop tent is value for its price with an extended private canopy and a removable annex which is best for your camping showers and change clothes with additional privacy. And with the four large pockets inside you can organize your essentials properly.
Being a 3-4 season tent it is constructed from a coated, 600-denier polyester/cotton blend fabric. It can smartly survive in any weather with both UV- and mold-resistant. And take no doubt about the comfortable rating as it includes a high-density foam mattress for extremely comfy sleeping. If space is your key consideration when choosing the best rooftop tents for camping, this indeed going to be an excellent option.
- Highly spacious and can accommodate up to 4
- Comfortable with high-density foam mattress
- Durable and survive in any weather
- Privacy canopy with annex
- Weather hood is recommended in rain
- Features 1 door and zip-open window
- Highly-priced model
KingCamp Rooftop Tent
- Capacity: 2
- Floor dimensions: 82.6” x 50.7”
- Weight: 116.8 lbs
- Price: $2,909.99
If you are looking for a rugged hard-shell design thinking about durability as the first concern, KingCamp Rooftop Tent is an ideal option. It can keep you away from all possible worries about rips and leaks and works well in a durable frame over conventional tent models. And its setup is just a minute away thanks to equipped gas springs, which makes the tent pops up when the straps are free.
This hard-shell rooftop tent is made of durable ABS hardshell and Oxford with PU 3000mm waterproof layer. And reinforced aluminum alloy /ABS are based to survive strong storms and rain. This going to be one of the best rooftop tents for camping in any season. And even it is lightweight it can bear up max load.
The tent includes a thick cotton pad which is comfortable and works well for two adults to happily sleep. And it has two zip-open windows and doors to enough ventilation. Despite its expensive price tag, this is a high-value rooftop tent for long-time use.
- Durable hard-shell design
- Easy and quick automatic setup
- Can use as a rooftop tent and also a ground tent
- Comfortably fits for 2 people
- Lightweight tent design
- Includes a comfortable thick foam pad
- PU3000 waterproof design that is good to take in any weather
- Simple design that fits well on most of the vehicle types
- A heavier design which is more expensive
Smittybilt Overlander Roof Top Tent
- Capacity: 2-3
- Floor dimensions: 95″ x 56″
- Weight: 117 lbs
- Price: $1,190.99
If you are planning to visit Death Valley National Park or Bryce Canyon National Park for the best stargazing, Smittybilt Overlander Roof Top Tent is the best pick. It has two zip-open panels on the roof with support to an anti-mosquito screen to offer the best ventilation. You can keep roof panels open for optimal airflow even when it’s raining by just having the rain cover.
This is constructed from durable rip-stop polyester-waterproof and polyurethane saturated on top to make it work for any weather. Thanks to its PVC cover you can keep the tent dry and away from UV rays. And most importantly, it is easy to set up and takes down in just minutes.
The Smittybilt Tent Annex is sold separately which is attached for added privacy. This can attach to the bottom of the arranged tent through zippers. If you like to go with this optional Annex, you can have extra privacy and make your outdoor experience more enjoyable.
- Ideal for stargazing with open roof panels
- Good for all-season use
- Ideal for 2 adults and a kid to comfortably sleep
- 600D durable waterproof top and rain fly
- A bit firm mat is included
- Features sunroof, side windows supported with mosquito netting
- Includes multi-LED light strip
- Interior pockets and exterior pocket
- Reasonably priced model in the market
iKamper Skycamp 2.0
- Capacity: 4
- Floor dimensions: 85.4” x 55.1”
- Weight: 160 lbs
- Price: $3,899.00
iKamper Skycamp 2.0 is built for long life and ease of use with a hard-shell cover and simple setup. With all its features, it is found on the top of the best rooftop tents for camping in the market today. This includes a king-size mattress with enough comfort and space for three adults or two adults and two children.
The tent is made of sturdy poly-cotton canvas material that is shielding in the cold and breathable in hot summer camping for extreme comfort. Quilted insulation in this model adds warmth and cuts condensation making this more significant in the rooftop tents line up. You find this with excellent resistance to wet weather and smarter in bearing wind than polyester fabric models.
Despite the highly expensive price tag if you are willing to buy this for the next open-road adventure, you can enjoy stargazing effortlessly just relaxing inside. It takes a Skyview window at the top and two windows on the sides to get enough views and the finest ventilation. For its high price, it takes plenty of amazing features to ensure the highest convenience.
- High quality and durable rooftop model in the market
- Easy to set up
- Includes a comfortable king-size mattress
- Ideal for all 4 season camping
- High ventilation with multiple windows including a skyview window
- Easier tent access with the ladder
- Can get optional Annex Room for extra space
- Customizable with extra options/ accessories
- Waterproof and wind-resistant
- Highly expensive product than others
Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3
- Capacity: 3
- Floor dimensions: 122” x 63”
- Weight: 165 lbs
- Price: $1,549.99
Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3 is one of the best waterproof rooftop tents we find that is made of durable materials to survive in any harsh weather. It features a first-rate 600D double ripstop polyester-cotton canvas body with high breathability. It prevents the chance for condensation also ensures protection against the toughest conditions. If you are more concerned about getting ready for unpredictable weather, this works the best for an affordable price tag.
This is a “Fold n Go” design which is supported with an HD diamond plate base, durable1000 G PVC Travel cover, loop and pulls velcro straps to easy storing when the tent is not in use. Also, it takes six storage pockets built-in to organize stuff, a storage loft, a pouch to hold a power bank, a hand-held LED light, together with a bonus pack. The tent bonus is also worth including memory foam pillows, a mini broom, dustpan, and a Lap table.
This is spacious for 2 adults and a kid and comfortable to sleep on its 3-inch high-density foam mattress that is quilted with a cotton cover. The setup of the rooftop tent is indeed straightforward and involves no drilling or modifications. And if required, you can go for Annex that is available as an extra purchase.
- Durable waterproof design
- Includes a 3″ high-density foam mattress
- Features storage pockets and more for better organizing your essentials
- Plenty of bonus items included
- Require no factory roof rack modification
- Easy to setup
- Reasonably priced but found quite heavy
- Full diamond plate base
- Best airflow with screened windows and skylight offer
iKamper Skycamp Mini
- Capacity: 2
- Floor dimensions: 83” x 51”
- Weight: 125 lbs
- Price: $3,499.00
Never let your small car spoil your adventures. Get iKamper Skycamp Mini which is an expandable shell ideal for you and your partner to have a comfortable sleep. Packing down packs down to 57.1” x 54.3” x 12.5”, it fits well on the roof of your small vehicle with iKamper’s quality build and standards.
As this is a smaller model of a rooftop tent, it fits well for two people which is made for 3-seasons. It owns fiber-reinforced hard shells and quilted filling. For enough ventilation and views, this mini tent includes three interior windows including the one on the roof. So it is ideal for even stargazing from your tent.
This tent is of 900lb weight limit even though it is only 125 lbs in its weight. Making it as strong as much as luxury; it features high-functional honeycomb aluminum floor panels together with an aerodynamic hard-shell with double layers. And for its price, it includes rainfly, waterproof zippers, enough windows, interior pockets, telescoping ladder, together with more to make it unbeatable in the category.
- Fits most of the vehicle types including small cars with a universal mounting system
- Easy setup in a minute
- High-density polyfoam mattress
- Equipped with a 150D polyester rainfly, mesh netting and interior pockets
- Single door with windows for best airflow
- High-quality design for high performance
- Good for all 4 seasons
- Safe and easy with telescoping ladder supported by angled steps
- Ensured protection with fiber-reinforced hard shell
- Highly expensive but worth the price
Roofnest Sparrow EYE
- Capacity: 2
- Floor dimensions: 83” x 49”
- Weight: 130 lbs
- Price: $2,995.00
If you are looking for a rooftop tent that fits with small to medium vehicles, Roofnest Sparrow EYE is a good option with 2 sleep capacities. If I say, this is the most popular size of all rooftop tent categories to simply turn your car into a safe camping site. It is easy in its set up with pop-up style and you get enough headroom here.
With ABS and fiberglass shell this is strong, long-lasting, and aerodynamic. It is also a waterproof design making it ideal for any weather. The tent comes with a built-in gear storage area helping you with organizing your stuff well. And for two campers, this is spacious enough to have your comfortable bedding inside. But this is not going to work for extended outings or base camping as with no support to annex.
Extra headroom with this tent is a super advantage just as windows and doors it includes for high ventilation. And with the tent, you get an 8.5′ ladder that can mount when needed, an anti-condensation mat, 4’x4′ ground mat, and a detachable pocket.
- Easy set up with pop-up style
- Comes with extra headroom
- Three full-sized doors with awnings and windows for fine airflow
- Includes 8.5′ ladder
- Come with thick mattress and 4’x4′ ground mat
- Waterproof and highly durable
- Comes in a popular tent size fitting with small to medium vehicles
- Built-in gear storage options
- Compatible with solar panel
- Not supported with annex
- Expensive product compared to 2-person rooftop tents
Yakima SkyRise Medium
- Capacity: 3
- Floor dimensions: 96” x 56”
- Weight: 115 lbs
- Price: $1,800.00
As one of the best 3-person rooftop tents in the market, Yakima SkyRise Medium can be introduced which is also in a good combination of weight and price. If you are looking for a durable spacious tent to sleep with your child, this is going to be a solid choice. With 210D nylon, it is light and breathable, and it doubles with mesh ventilation panels. And you can have enough views and airflow with windows and the two skylights that are solid and mesh panels supported which are to zip-open.
You can set up the tent easily with or without its waterproof fly which is polyurethane-coated. And here the tent gets its structure from Aluminum poles which are strong enough and pre-set to making its arrangements easier. And inside, a thick, comfortable wall-to-wall foam mattress is included which is easier in cleaning with its removable cover.
You can mount the tent tool-free which makes it one of the popular rooftop tents for campers. It locks to your roof super easily making a safe and comfortable place to sleep on camping nights with rich views around. But be attentive on windy nights as it easily flaps with its lighter fabric.
- Tool-free installing for easy mounting
- 210D nylon is light and breathable
- Built-in 2.5 inch foam mattress for comfortable sleep
- Convenient roof rack attachment
- Best for car camping and Overlanding
- Locks to roof rack with its system
- Polyurethane-coated waterproof fly
- Aluminum poles to make the tent strong enough
- Lightweight and affordable rooftop tent for 3 nights of sleep
- Ladder and hardware included with the tent
CVT St. Helens
- Capacity: 2
- Floor dimensions: 81″x 52″
- Weight: 153 lbs
- Price: $2,995.00
CVT St. Helens is one of the best rooftop tents for camping if you are thinking about easy setup above all. In less than a minute you can set up the tent as it is just about to release the straps, pop up the lid and get yourselves comfortable. The tent features the best interior space designed to make the user extremely comfortable with enough headroom too.
This is a breathable, water-resistant ripstop made tent in which doors and windows can be rolled to open or close with mesh. And if there is rain outside, you can zip shut with tent body material to stay warm and safe inside. You find 2 large doors on both sides and make sure you decide to use one with the ladder. And with smaller window sidewalls, you can have sufficient air in even when the doors are zipped.
Here, the ceiling net comes with a gear holder saving more space in the living area. So you can organize your essentials like toothbrushes, camping headlamps, books, first aid, or anything properly not even taking much space. Under the roof, a plush quilted ceiling liner is featured to keep it well insulated.
The tent’s hard-shell is of poly/fiberglass with a smooth, sleek design but preserving a strong finish. The Tent Body is of 280G Rip-Stop Fabric, being breathable and water-resistant too making it perfect for any weather camping.
- Breathable, water-resistant ripstop made tent
- Gas strut open for effortless setup
- Strong, durable, and sleek design
- Very spacious interior that is comfortable enough
- The ceiling net and portable pocket system save more space
- High insulation with plush quilted ceiling liner
- Anti-condensation mat to keep moistness out
- Two doors and windows on the sides to give the right airflow
- Includes no skylight
- Slightly pricey
Best Rooftop Tents for Camping- Buying Guide
Rooftop tents are of various features. And as you should invest slightly more in this piece of gear, it is important to know the features to look for. Go through the key facts and shop for the best rooftop tent for your next off-road adventure.
Vehicle compatibility of the rooftop tent
When choosing a rooftop tent it is important to ensure whether it is compatible with your vehicle model. In fact, purchasing a rooftop tent that is not matching with your vehicle is a waste at the same time could damage your vehicle. Take the below facts into consideration to verify the vehicle compatibility.
Vehicle dynamic weight capacity:
The weight your vehicle can support as it drives is referred to as vehicle dynamic weight capacity. Every vehicle mentions this in the manual and makes a note of that before you buy a rooftop tent within your vehicle load limit as this prevents any possible damages.
Roof rack dynamic load capacity:
Roof racks also have dynamic load capacities just as vehicles do. Think about a model that supports more dynamic weight. You can check this information with the rack manufacturer and prevent taking too heavy a load on your roof rack.
Static weight capacity:
The weight limit a vehicle can support on the roof when it is parked is here referred to by static weight capacity. Check with this too if you are in a plan to go with a tent bearing larger capacity. Fortunately, most of the vehicles allow a lot of weight on top which is a plus fact here.
Compatibility of the roof rack:
Checking the compatibility of the rooftop tents with your roof rack is another key fact under vehicle compatibility. Some crossbars are adjustable and they are easier when mounting tents. Also, there are factory crossbars that are not allowed to move and here it limits the compatibility.
Hardshell vs. softshell rooftop tents- what’s your pick?
Hardshell and softshell are two main types of rooftop tents. So here you are about how they work separately.
Softshell rooftop tents:
- These are more affordable
- Not limited in the capacity and some models take up to 5 or 6 campers
- Takes longer to set up
- Minimal aerodynamic as you drive
Hardshell rooftop tents:
- Sleek, aerodynamic design to improve gas mileage
- Easy set up with the pop up design
- Durable and strong
- Expensive and smaller in size
Interior space of the tent
Living space is really important to arrange everything for a comfortable stay and sleep. And this is going with the person capacity of the tent. Early days, there were only 2 to 3 sleeping capacity models in the market. But by today, you have ideal options to fit your whole family. Think about the interior space with the capacity of each tent. And I recommend living space and dimensions at least 80” x 45” for two campers. Make sure you also look for sufficient headroom.
Finding a tent with a comfortable mattress is another key concern to have sleep comfort in your rooftop tent. I think foam mattresses do a good job with the right blend of portability and comfort.
If you are a traveling couple, a twin mattress is a good option while a queen-size bed is working for 3 to 4 campers. And there are also some models with multiple mattresses focusing on family campers.
Construction and materials
Depending on Hardshell or softshell models, the materials vary.
On Hardshell models, you find fiberglass frames for durability in transport and protection from the rain. And with the support of aluminum or steel poles, it keeps the right structure of the tent. And they feature a canvas canopy to provide protection from rain to let you comfortably sleep.
Softshell models are having sturdy steel bases. And they have canopies and rainfly finished of thick canvas fabric to ensure waterproofing qualities. To keep the right structure they use aluminum poles.
Doors and windows
Access is another important factor when choosing the best rooftop tents for camping. Most of the 2-person tents are having 1 door and two windows and sometimes it is slightly tricky. So if you have a rooftop tent with multiple doors and windows, it will be great.
When you are looking for a rooftop tent, it is critical to check the availability of windows on the sides. These are for the right airflow into the tent and better if they are mesh-screened.
Ease at setting up
Depending on the types of rooftop tents for camping, the ease of use varies. Hardshell tents are easier to set up with their pop-up style while softshell models are having some more work. Anyhow, think about a tent model that can set up taking no longer than 20-30 minutes if you are going with a softshell option.
Weight of the rooftop tent
This is another key consideration when choosing a rooftop tent as you should make sure your vehicle is strong enough to support your portable camping system. Most of the tent models today in the market are weights between 130-200 lbs. So first check the weight limit of the vehicle and choose the ideal option for your sleep capacity.
What more features to look for?
Rooftop tents pack amazing features and some are having extra for their price. So here are some of the features you will find when buying the best rooftop tents for camping.
Annex room: This can double the space of your living area and is good if you having larger camper groups or gear storage
Canopies: They are similar to awnings. You find they attach straight to your rooftop tent offering a large area protected from the sun and rain. Ideal to use for cooking, and relaxing
Storage areas: Gear storage areas in your rooftop tent are important to save your interior space. If you want to keep your stuff well organized and save living space inside the tent, find a one with good storage areas
Are you ready for an off-road adventure; find the best rooftop tents for camping with the right investment.