If you’re just entering the overlanding world, you’ll quickly realize the value of a good rooftop tent. They’re essential to every overland camping setup, but finding the right one can be difficult.
In this article, you’ll find recommendations for hardshell, softshell, budget rooftop tents, and much more. Whether you’re looking for a rooftop tent with annex or a rooftop tent with sunroof access, here’s what you need to know.
BEST HARDSHELL ROOFTOP TENT
- Made from high-quality materials
- Easy to set up
- Good ventilation
- Good insulation
A hardshell rooftop tent is the same as any other rooftop tent, with the only difference being that it’s made from more rigid exterior materials.
Hard shell roof top tents provide great shelter, especially during colder weather due to the thicker material.
First of all, we’ll cover a few features that are found in the best hardshell rooftop tents.
The first, and most important aspect of a good hardshell rooftop tent is the material it’s made from. Rooftop tents are fitted to the vehicle before the overlanding trip. Depending on how long you’re staying, they can be set up and closed a number of times during one trip. High-quality materials will withstand the tent being set up hundreds of times, but the material will also withstand harsh weather, too.
Another important feature that will put a rooftop tent on the top of the list is how easy it is to set up. Hardshell rooftop tents are easier to set up compared to softshell tents. Most use gas springs that help users get the tent set up in a matter of minutes.
Ventilation and windows are also an important factor when it comes to rooftop tents. Being that these tents are compact and made for up to four people, proper ventilation is of the essence.
One thing that no one can predict with 100% certainty is what the weather will be like. This is why it’s important to have weatherproof overlanding camping gear.
If you’re excited about overlanding and don’t mind going in different seasons, a well-insulated hardshell rooftop tent is key. If you go overlanding when it is colder, you’ll need to have a well-insulated shelter to keep you warm at night.
Lastly, the best hard shell roof top tents will have at least a few years of warranty. This is the manufacturer’s guarantee that the rooftop tent will last a certain amount of time and that it’s made from high-quality materials.
When it comes to the best brands and models of hardshell rooftop tents, there are a few worth mentioning.
- OVS Bushveld
- Tuff Stuff Overland TS-RTT-STLTH
- Mamba Hardshell Rooftop Tent
- WILCO Off-Road ADVXPR XPR
- OVS Mamba 3
BEST SOFTSHELL ROOFTOP TENT
- High-quality weatherproof materials
A softshell rooftop tent is the closest thing to regular ground tents used for camping. Just like hardshell rooftop tents, these are also mounted on the top of the vehicle and provide shelter during overlanding adventures.
The biggest difference between softshell and hardshell rooftop tents is the material they’re made from. Softshell rooftop tents are made without the use of hard materials, making them more compact when folded.
The best softshell rooftop tent will be made from durable, and weatherproof materials. Being that these are made for shelter, the materials must be durable and able to withstand different weather conditions.
The two main features of the best softshell rooftop tents are that they’re very light and very spacious. Most softshell tents can accommodate up to 4 people as they’re much smaller when folded. They’re very light too, which has a positive effect on the vehicle’s fuel economy.
A few noteworthy softshell rooftop tents include:
- OVS Nomadic 4
- WILCO Off-Road ADVXP3-G XP3
- Thule Approach M
- Thule Tepui Autana 3
- Smittybilt 2583 Overlander 2
BEST BUDGET ROOFTOP TENT
Although a rooftop tent can deprive your budget significantly, it doesn’t have to. The market is full of budget-friendly alternatives that won’t break the bank, but you should be aware that more affordable alternatives require some compromise.
Whether you’re searching for a rooftop tent 4runner, a rooftop tent Tacoma, or a rooftop tent Bronco, there’s a good chance that you’ll find more affordable alternatives.
The fact that a rooftop tent is more affordable doesn’t mean that it’s made from lower-quality materials. In fact, there’s a lot of overlanding camping gear that won’t break the bank.
Here are some choices when it comes to the best budget rooftop tents:
- Bushveld by Overland Vehicle Systems
- OVS TMBK roof top tent with Green Rain Fly
- Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 2
- Smittybilt 2783
- Smittybilt 2583 Overlander Gen 2
If you decide to order a rooftop tent online, make sure you do all the necessary research before doing so. Make sure you include all the mounting hardware and that the tent is compatible with your vehicle.