Top 10 Rooftop Tents 2021

Rooftop tents have made big moves recently, with more and more campers investing in this convenient camping option. Still, just as with regular ground tents, choosing the right rooftop tent for your trip is crucial. From climate considerations to matching your tent to the shape of your car, every detail needs to be right. That is why we put in the leg work for you and tried out all kinds of options to put together the definitive list of the top 10 rooftop tents out there.

1. Overall Best Rooftop Tent: Smittybilt Overlander

 

Smittybilt Overlander Rooftop Tent

Pros:

  • Relatively lightweight and easy to get on your roof
  • Comfortably slept two people
  • Rainfly keeps the elements out
  • Perfect price-to-quality ratio
  • Interior LED strips were a nice addition

Cons:

  • Installing it has a learning curve for some vehicles

The Full Picture

Whether you are new to rooftop camping or are looking to upgrade your previous tent, you cannot go wrong with this option. The size is ideal for two people, but you can fit a third in. Having this option is great for if you want an additional friend or family member on your trip. The materials kept out the elements while still being lightweight enough to get on top of your car. Setup could be easier, but with a little patience you can get it set up right.

2. Best Extended Rooftop Tent: Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3

Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 4 Extended Roof Top Tent

Pros:

  • We appreciated the various storage options for added convenience
  • Memory foam pillows were an added bonus
  • Both handheld LED and LED strips provide plenty of illumination
  • Plenty of legroom
  • Skylight is perfect for some stargazing from the comfort of your bed

Cons:

  • Heavier weight can make it a two-person job

The Full Picture

Breathable mesh, plenty of legroom, intuitive setup, and an affordable price. What more could you ask for? Overland has outdone themselves with this tent. We enjoyed trying this one out more than any others because of how comfortable it sleeps taller campers. No need to worry about waking up with cramped legs in this rooftop tent! The various storage options and accessory pack that it comes with were nice touches that were the perfect icing on the cake.

3. Best Compact Rooftop Tent: Thule Tepui Explorer Ayer 2

Thule Tepui Explorer Ayer 2 Rooftop SUV Tent

Pros:

  • The included foam mattress was extremely comfortable
  • Handles the elements well
  • Minimalist design and style are perfect for first-time campers
  • Has great ventilation through multiple mesh panels

Cons:

  • Zippers could be better quality for the price

The Full Picture

The name is a mouthful, sure, but the tent itself is the perfect compact tent for one or two people. The included foam mattress turned our experience into a cozy, comfy night under the stars. Setup was easy and we appreciated that it didn’t come with too many bells and whistles, making it ideal for new rooftop campers.

4. Best Ease-of-Use: Raptor Series Offgrid Voyager

Raptor Series 100000-126800 Offgrid Voyager Truck SUV Camping Jeep Tent

Pros:

  • Setup and takedown are a complete breeze
  • Lower price makes it a great option for trying out rooftop camping
  • The built-in awning gives a sense of protection and coziness
  • Higher top means more headroom and easier to move around in

Cons:

  • The materials aren’t the most durable, so this is best for an occasional camper

The Full Picture

Want to get out into the wild and not spend half your day figuring out your tent? Then this is the option for you. This tent had by far the easiest setup on this list. Combine that with an affordable price tag and you can see the appeal of this tent. While it is a smaller tent, the added height never made it feel claustrophobic, and moving around within it was never a problem.

5. Best Ventilated Rooftop Tent: Campoint Sunroof

Campoint 2-3 Person Sunroof Rooftop Tent with Skyline

Pros:

  • Multiple windows, entrance, and sunroof all provide ample ventilation
  • Very comfortable size for two sleepers
  • Comfortable tent for both warmer and cooler climates

Cons:

  • Initial setup takes some effort

The Full Picture

Campoint’s tent might not be the most stunning visually, but it makes up for it with ventilation. Trust us, that means everything on a hot, balmy day out in the wilderness. While setup isn’t complicated in itself, it can take a bit of time to figure it out if this is your first rooftop tent. But once it is up this tent really shines both in warmer and cooler environs.

6. Best Materials on a Budget Rooftop Tent: Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 4

Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3 Extended Car RoofTent

Pros:

  • Materials felt thick and durable
  • Ladder could hold plenty of weight
  • Includes some nice accessories
  • Solid camping aesthetic
  • Waterproof materials

Cons:

  • Instructions for assembly were not very clear
  • Vestibule pole could be sturdier

The Full Picture

When you are camping, you don’t need something flashy. With this rooftop tent, Overland has delivered a no-nonsense option that can comfortably sleep three people. We loved this tent through and through, and really felt sturdy sleeping inside it. However, the setup instructions were somewhat vague. We managed to get it working easily enough, but we were pulling from past experience.

7. Best Quality Rooftop Tent With Annex: Thule Tepui Autana

Thule Tepui Autana Rooftop Tent

Pros:

  • Annex provides extra space and privacy
  • Extremely good quality materials
  • Easy to put together and setup even for beginners
  • Multiple size options to suit your outdoor goals
  • High weight capacity

Cons:

  • Higher price point could turn away first-time rooftop campers
  • Larger tent and more materials mean a heavier product

The Full Picture

The only reason this tent is not at the top of this list is the price point. However, rooftop tents with an annex are our preferred way to go. The extra space is not only convenient, but it can provide some privacy as well, which you will certainly appreciate. Thule Tepui offers several variants of this rooftop tent, and even includes an option that can sleep four comfortably.

8. Best Budget Rooftop Tent: TMBK 3-Person

TMBK 3 Person Roof Top Tent with Rain Fly

Pros:

  • Lightweight without sacrificing durability
  • Perfect price for first-time rooftop campers
  • Easy setup for a no-stress trip

Cons:

  • Packing it up is harder than setting it up
  • While setup was easy, we felt the instructions could be clearer

The Full Picture

Want to see if rooftop camping is for you but don’t want to go broke? TMBK has you covered! Though the included instructions were awful, setting up the tent still was quite easy, though we recommend reading instructions for a similar product if this is your first tent. We fit two people in it quite comfortably, and there’s enough room for a third for larger groups.

9. Sleekest Rooftop Tent: Thule Tepui Foothill Low-Profile

Thule Tepui Foothill Low-Profile

Pros:

  • Doesn’t take up an entire car rack, allowing for other items on it
  • Sleek profile is excellent for windy terrain
  • Color blends in well with rockier camping areas, blending in with nature
  • Easily mounted and removed
  • Only took one person to set it up from start to finish

Cons:

  • Lower weight profile since it hangs off one side of the vehicle

The Full Picture

This tent is the perfect option for anyone who wants to bring along more than a tent for their trip. Since it only takes up at-most half a rack, you can use the extra space to take your bike, canoe, or potentially even another tent. Our only concern is that the uneven weight distribution for your car once the tent is setup might cause suspension issues. But check your car’s weight recommendations first and you should be fine.

10. Best Hard-Shell Rooftop Tent: Smittybilt Overlander

Smittybilt Overlander Hard Shell Car Tent

Pros:

  • Streamlined look with a roomy interior
  • Pop-up style makes for wicked fast and easy setup
  • Durable materials from top to bottom
  • YKK zippers for everything
  • Pop-up LED solar lantern is a nice touch

Cons:

  • Will need to clear off snow or the roof will start going down
  • Windows and entrances could be bigger

The Full Picture

This hard-shell tent packs up so nicely that you could keep it on your car year round and no one would think twice. With its pop-up style design, setup and take-down couldn’t be easier. However, it does mean that if snow starts piling up on the roof, it might start going down. That’s an easy fix though, so we won’t complain. For the size and shape, it was surprisingly roomy inside and easily slept two adults.

Wrapping Up

Rooftop camping is an amazing way to experience the outdoors that we personally have fallen in love with. While the starting price tag can stand out at first, you definitely get your money’s worth in convenience and comfort. Before you head out on your first rooftop camping excursion, we have a couple tips to keep in mind.

Rooftop Tent Weight

Heavier tents are not only more difficult to get strapped to your car rack, but they also affect gas mileage and car suspension. Heavier tents mean less miles per gallon, which isn’t a problem, but simply is worth considering when planning and budgeting for a trip.

Size

Rooftop tents generally are quite different in shape and size from regular tents. They especially differ in height. Always check the dimensions and think about if you will be comfortable moving around inside. Tents with an annex not only provide more room, but they give you an area where you can change clothes or get ready for the day in privacy.

Included Accessories

Most rooftop tents come with some form of mattress already, but others might not. Trust us, you definitely want a mattress or sleeping bag in your tent to make your experience enjoyable. Also look for added perks like pillows or cleaning tools that come with some camping tents, as they will make the whole experience far more delightful.

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