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What Is The Best Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

Tepui Tents Hybox Tent

iKamper Skycamp 2.0 VS Tepui Grand Sabana soft shell
  • Floor Dimension : 81 x 51
  • Floor Area : 28.7ft²

Innovative and versatile, the Tepui Tents HyBox is a hybrid rooftop tent system thats designed with comfort and functionality in mind.

Perhaps the most unique aspect of this tent is that its also a rooftop storage box with 23 cubic feet of storage space. So, when youre driving around, you can easily store all of your bulky pieces of gear, like skis, tents, and coolers, on the top of your car.

Then, when you get to your campsite for the night, you simply need to zip on the tents waterproof and breathable cotton canopy to instantly convert your gear storage box into a shelter for the night.

Thanks to the Tepui Tents HyBox Tents hardshell construction, its both aerodynamic and durable. It also comes equipped with an 86 telescoping ladder that you can quickly attach to the tent for convenient access on the go.

What we like

  • Rooftop gear storage. Converts between tent and storage space.
  • Durable hardtop clamshell design for long-term use.
  • Waterproof. Features a waterproof and breathable fabric tent canopy.

What we don’t like

  • Heavy weight limits use to larger vehicles.

Easiest Assembly: Front Runner

The Front Runner Roof Top Tent weighs just 88 pounds and collapses to 7.8 inches tall making for a quick installation. Its compact and lightweight, but still able to fit two people comfortably. It has a large footprint of 4.3 feet x 7.9 feet when unfolded. The tent is designed for easy assembly you can set up and take down the structure in a single motion.

There are three mesh-covered windows for better airflow, all with zip-up privacy screens. It also has a roof ventilator opening with a mosquito screen attached. A full size mattress comes included for comfortable sleep.

What we like about the front runner is its minimal design and ease of use. It still comes with features like interior pockets for gear and velcro straps for overhead lights but it doesnt go overboard with accessories.

  • Lightest weight design

Why We Want Rooftop Tents

Despite my skepticism, I get the appeal, because I camp out of one too. The GFC Platform camper on my Ford Ranger doubles the secure storage space in the bed, while reducing the amount of stuff I have to carry back there, and creates a cohesive indoor-outdoor living area that makes camping out of the truck feel like staying in a cabana. It allows me to remove wet or muddy shoes and clothes in a weather-protected space before climbing into the sleeping area, makes setting up or taking down camp an under-five-minute affair, and allows me to do everything on surfaces that arent conducive to ground tents .

But, all that comes at a significant cost. The Platform retails for $6,500 before options and accessories, of which youll require plenty. That cost, plus the need for a truck to mount it to, is justified in my life because I like camping so much that Ive made a career out of it. Most people dont prioritize sleeping outside to such an extreme degree, so a widely appealing rooftop tent needs to be cheaper, lighter, less complicated, and easier to mount and use on more vehicles. Enter the SuperLite 50.

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Autohome Maggiolina Extreme Has Extra Load Bars For Gear

This is among the highly sought after hard shell roof top tent. It has an aerodynamic and stylish profile. It comes with adjustable load bars on top for carrying additional gear.

This pop up tent features a crank operated lift system that enhances tent opening.

The floor panel contains fiberglass in double layers. Hence, it is developed to sandwich layers of foam which makes it well insulated, strong, and rigid. It is quicker and easy to set up. Lastly, it allows for luggage storage on top.

Specifications of Autohome Maggiolina Extreme Tent

  • 5 closed foam mattress
  • Thermal and acoustic insulation in roof panels


  • Easily affected by which might disrupt sleep.
  • Expensive

Final Remarks on Hard Shell Rooftop Tents

Since travelling has become everyones dream of late. We hope you benefited from our analysis. It is our wish that you are now tempted to join the hard shell roof top tent world. Hopefully, you will buy the best roof top tent soon.

Trust us, there is nothing more appealing and comfortable than spending an entire night in these tents. Overlanding one is also a memorable experience that will leave you mesmerized. Almost everyone will envy you on Instagram and social media platforms for posting unforgettable trip with these beasts.

Tuff Stuff Ranger Overland

Explorer Series Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

Total Expert Score: 98/100 | Consumer Score: 89% give it 4 stars or more

Closed dimensions : 56 x 48 x 14 in. | Open dimensions: 56 x 96 x 52 in. | Total weight: 132 lb | Material: Cotton, polyester

  • Large awning included
  • Some reviewers reported zipper problems

Many rooftop tents give you the option of adding an annex room beneath the tent where it hangs over the side of the vehicle, but few include one with your purchase. The Ranger Overland does, and it comes in at an impressive 90 x 90 inches. Thats plenty of room for more campers in addition to the main tent itself, which can accommodate two adults on its foam mattress. Of course, if there are only two of you, then youre free to use the annex as a kitchen, living room, or changing room.

The tent install is easy and shouldnt take two people more than an hour or so. Reviewers on also noted this tents high quality for the lower price. From what I can tell, this tent is built with the same quality and materials as the higher-priced tents on the market, said one.


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Arb Simpson Roof Top Tent

If you are an off-roading enthusiast or an overlanding enthusiast then I am pretty sure you have heard of ARB by now. ARB is a brand that is popular for its quality 4×4 products and the Simpson roof top tent is one of their best selling products.

Manufactured from high-quality canvas, ARB Simpson is built to handle all weather conditions. The canvas is strong, rigid, water-resistant, and also meets the required fire retardant requirements.

To keep the insects and the deadly mosquitoes from entering inside your tent and disturbing your sleep at night, All the windows and doors come with insect screens.

Best Hard Shell Roof Top Tents

Now that you know what these tents are and how they are different from their soft shell roof top tent counterparts, its time to figure out which are the best in the business so that you can weigh the pros and cons of each brand and model. If you are ready to dive into the world of hard shell roof top tents, take a look below to find the best ones out there and decide which one fits the needs of you and your travel plans just right.

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Why You Shouldnt Buy A Hardshell Rtt

With everything in life, there are also some downsides to a good thing.

  • Price. You must be willing to pay a premium for these RTTs. As you read before, an entry-level one will run you at least $3,000. For the first time RTT buyer, I wouldnt recommend this purchase. However, if you have the deep pockets to splurge and know you will put it to good use, then by all means go for it!
  • Limited sizing. In my opinion, this is the biggest hindrance that comes with a hardtop tent. As you saw with the Skycamp 2.0 tent, there are rare exceptions. But if you dont want that hybrid design your kind of stuck! At most, youre looking at a 3-person tent for a traditional clamshell or pop-up style RTT!
  • Fixed footprint. Expanding on my last point, the footprint of these tents are fixed. This limits most of the vehicle types to full size SUVs or a truck of some size. There is some wiggle room with this statement but generally I think many would agree with me.

Hard Shell Roof Top Tents

Tuff Stuff Alpha hard shell roof top tent walkaround

We may earn from links on this page, but we only recommend products that we trust.

Who is this article for?

  • Anyone that likes to know what a hardshell rooftop tent is.
  • Anyone searching for the best hardshell rooftop tent to buy.
  • Searching for the difference between a hard shell and a softshell rooftop tent.

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Ikamper Skycamp 20 Rooftop Tent

With its spacious, 1.8-inch-thick king-size foam mattress, the iKamper Skycamp 2.0 is one of the best small rooftop tents for campers who appreciate extra sleep space for up to four. The unique design unfolds from the hardshell inside so you dont have to deal with clipping on a separate waterproof cover. The top hardshell is double-layered for increased insulation when camping in the rain. To help raise the large hardshell during setup, integrated gas struts lift the lid with minimal assistance.

Windows on both sides and the roof have three layers each: Solid fabric, clear waterproof vinyl, and no-see-um mesh. With the vinyl closed, you let the light in but keep the weather out. Closed, the streamlined hardshell is just 12 inches tall and has locking stainless steel clips.

  • Closed Dimensions: 85.8 inches x 54.3 inches x 12.5 inches
  • Open Dimensions: 85.8 inches x 82.6 inches x 43.3 inches
  • Weight: 160 pounds

Q: Can Any Car Handle A Rooftop Tent

A: Almost any car can take a rooftop tent, which is good news for avid campers who don’t have SUVs or other all-terrain vehicles. The only consideration is your car’s ability to be fitted with rooftop racks and the height of the car. However, if your rooftop tent comes with a telescopic ladder, then the height of your car is less of an issue.

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Yakima Skyrise Hd 3 Tent

Yakima is well established as a go-to brand for high-quality roof racks and car accessories. Hence, it comes as no surprise that the Yakima SkyRise HD 3 Tent is among our top picks for this roundup. The tent is best for both all-season camping thanks to its durable PU-coated fabrics, which protect you from the elements. It also features large windows for a panoramic view of the mountains as well as a thick sleeping pad for more comfortable ZZZs in the outdoors. Plus, the HD 3 Tent boasts a tool-free installation for easy tent mounting. This well-ventilated rooftop tent can accommodate a maximum of three adventurers.

  • Closed Dimensions: 56 inches x 48 inches x 16.5 inches
  • Open Dimensions: 96 inches x 56 inches x 48 inches
  • Weight: 114 pounds

Smittybilt Overlander Rooftop Tent

Hard Shell or Soft Shell Roof

Rooftop tents are fantastic for overlanding and camping with friends, but their price tags can put some people off. Good camping tents are only a few hundred dollars. The Smittybilt Overlander 2783 isnt exactly inexpensive, but at around $1,000, its a steal for a rooftop tent.

Included is a 2.3-inch foam mattress, a two-piece sliding ladder, cigarette lighter USB extensions, and an LED light strip inside. Each window is covered by no-see-um mesh with canvas covers on the outside you can pin up with the included spring poles. A worthy upgrade is a telescoping ladder to make setup easier, but for the price, the Smittybilt Overlander is hard to beat.

  • Closed Dimensions: 49 inches x 58 inches x 13 inches
  • Open Dimensions: 95 inches x 56 inches x 51 inches
  • Weight: 116 pounds

Read more: Overlanding in America

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Bundutec Bundutop Super King

What youll dig: An electric motor raises and lowers the tent at a push of a button, and its pre-wired for solar panels.

Tech specs:

  • Dimensions closed: 118 x 63 x 12
  • Dimensions opened: 118 x 63 x 40

Built to survive the harsh conditions of overlanding in Africa while also providing extreme comfort at camp, the Bundutec BunduTop Super King is a lavish and hard-wearing rooftop tent. If you compared it to an off-road vehicle, this tent would be akin to a Mercedes-Benz G-Class. Its the ultimate combination of luxury and capability.

The outer shell is raw aluminum. Its heavy, but its also durable and provides the best heat-reflection available in a rooftop tent. But you wont need to worry about the weight as the tent is raised and lowered with an electric pulley system with the push of a button. And because the tent already has a battery for the motor, Bundutec went ahead and equipped its interior with a 12-volt outlet and LED lighting.

Additionally, the roof is pre-wired for solar paneling. Bundutec couldnt have made it any easier for campers to power their devices and keep the party going into the night at camp.

They also tested the Riptech ripstop canvas and rubber-coated mesh materials to withstand all sorts of foul weather, including 50 mph winds and heavy snowfall. The foam-backed roof lining helps reduce condensation and a 360-degree rain and shade awning protects the windows and doors from the elements.

Thule Tepui Kukenam 3 Rooftop Tent

This high-quality soft shell rooftop tent from Thule features a durable 600 denier tent body with UV light and mold resistance and water-resistant zippers. The rainfly is made from PU coated 420D waterproof fabric. The tent has a strong and durable internal frame that is made from 5/8 wrapped aluminum. These high-quality materials will hold up to heavy rain and wind and will last for many years of heavy use. The price is reasonable as well. Particularly considering the quality of the materials and build quality of the tent. Not surprisingly, this is one of Thules most popular rooftop tents.

Inside the Kukenam 3, youll find a comfortable high-density foam mattress as well as four convenient storage pockets. The tent is designed to accommodate 3 people. A large annex is available as an accessory. This tent is also designed to pair with Thule racks. This makes mounting the tent easy and worry-free. One drawback is that this tent does feel a bit bare-bones. It doesnt come with any higher-end features that you might expect such as lighting, a USB charger, or a thick mattress. It seems that Tepui prioritized the quality and durability of the tent itself instead of throwing in extra features. I imagine this was done to keep the price point low while keeping the quality high. Of course, additional features are available as aftermarket options.

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How To Set Up A Roof Top Tent

One of the main benefits to roof top tent camping is how easy they are to set up. Most hardshell roof top tents are the equivalent of pop-up ground tents almost instant. Softshell roof top tents are slightly more complex and time consuming to set up, although most still only take around 5 minutes. Heres how:

Theres no denying that roof top tent camping isnt for everyone. But there are also a ton of benefits that make a roof top tent an ideal addition to the backcountry camping set up of some car campers. Are you ready for your next adventure in wilderness camping?

What Is The Cheapest Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

ROOFNEST SPARROW REVIEW | Hard Shell Roof Top Tent | Rooftop Trekkers

A hard shell rooftop tent is an excellent way to enjoy the great outdoors without the need to find a perfectly flat campsite each night. However, finding a roof top tent, particularly a hard shell model, thats affordable is no walk in the park.

Hard shell roof top tents are known for their sleek design and ease of use. Unfortunately, they come with a price tag thats not exactly budget-friendly.

If youre looking to purchase a new hard shell roof top tent but dont want to spend your life savings in the process, then we have good news: Weve put together this list of the 5 most affordable models on the market today.

Coming up, well give you the low down on the cheapest hard shell roof top tents and provide you with some top tips for choosing the best model for your needs.

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Living With/in A Soft Shell Tent

Soft shell tents can be deployed with relative ease by one person by unzipping the cover, and folding over/up the overhead structure.

One problematic issue caused by the bi-fold style tent is the need to find a parking space that can accommodate an overhanging structure off the side or rear of the vehicle. Taking down the tents can be more labor intensive because of the amount of fabric involved, usually requiring two people to complete the task. The reinstallation of the PVC cover is a common stumbling point and point of frustration with soft top tent owners.

Once deployed however, the spacious interior provides space from between two and six people depending on brand and model. Due to the design, interior space isnt limited to the stowed dimensions for the bi-fold style tents.

This is a great plus for larger families wanting to sleep in the same space. With mattresses ranging from two to three inches of high density foam, there is more than enough material there for a comfortable nights sleep.

Most models allow the sleeping material to be left inside the tent when closed, creating more available space in the vehicle.

Soft shell tents can be more problematic in bad weather, especially wind, due to their mostly fabric construction, and larger surface area. They can be staked down using guy-wires to help control tent movement in wind, but ultimately in bad conditions the tent will become very noisy and hard to sleep in.


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