Absolute Best Rooftop Tents

Absolute Best Rooftop Tents: Types of Rooftop Tents

For adventure-seeking campers and overlanders, rooftop tents take camping convenience to new heights. Mounted on your vehicle roof rack, these ingenious shelters offer quick, all-terrain lodging at the push of a button or flip of a latch. 

No wrestling with tent poles or sleeping on rocky ground – just unfold and enjoy a comfortable night under the stars. With so many rooftop tent options hitting the market, it can be tricky to identify the absolute best model for your needs. 

Hard shell or folding? Annex or no annex? Do you require all-weather protection or a budget-friendly starter tent? This comprehensive guide breaks down the key factors to consider when shopping for your perfect rooftop tent.  

Absolute Best Rooftop Tents
Absolute Best Rooftop Tents

Types of Rooftop Tents

The first decision is rooftop tent style – hard shell or folding/soft shell? Each has pros and cons:

Hard Shell Rooftop Tents

Hardshell rooftop tents consist of a rigid, box-like shell that hinges open for access. Typically made of fibreglass or aluminium over a fabric layer, hard shell tents offer the most all-weather protection and security. 

However, they take up more roof space when closed and provide less headroom than folding tents. Hard shells are best for off-road adventures or hostile environments. Leading brands include Tuff Stuff and Roof Nest.

Folding Rooftop Tents

Folding fabric tents are the most popular style of rooftop tent. The soft shell condenses down when driving and then unfolds into a wedge-shaped tent for camping. 

Folding tents take up less roof space and allow more headroom when open, thanks to side walls that drape over the edge of the car. They provide ample interior space at a lower cost than most hard shells. Top brands include Darche, Ironman 4×4 and OzTent.

Inflatable Rooftop Tents

Inflatable rooftop tents utilise air beams instead of metal poles. They inflate and deflate quickly for fast setup and takedown. Inflatable tents can fit a wide range of vehicles since they conform to the roof. 

However, they are less rugged than hard shell and folding tents. Leading inflatable rooftop tent brands are Tuff Stuff and Smittybilt.

Capacity & Dimensions

Consider how many people need to sleep comfortably and how much gear you need to store. Solo campers can get by in a 2-person tent, but you’ll want a 4-person tent for couples or families. 

Measure roof space before buying – larger folding tents need more roof real estate. An optional annex room adds a footprint but takes more time to attach.

Season Rating

Do you camp year-round or only in fair weather? All-season tents withstand heavy rains, snow loads and high winds thanks to waterproof fabrics and durable construction. 

But they weigh and cost more. Meanwhile, 3-season tents work fine for spring through autumn camping in milder conditions. Match the tent to your camping habits.

Setup Time & Ease

Hard shell tents literally “pop up” in seconds when you unlatch the lid. Folding tents take a few more minutes to unfurl. 

Look for a fast, tool-free setup – the less time spent pitching your tent, the more time enjoying the views. Gas struts, cams and telescoping poles make setup a cinch. Simple is better for rooftop tent convenience.

Weight Considerations

Even lightweight rooftop tents weigh around 50-100 pounds. Make sure your roof rack, crossbars and vehicle can accommodate the tent’s heft. 

Also, check weight limits if planning to add accessories like an annex, awning or rooftop solar panels. Ultra-light tents work well for smaller cars and provide better fuel economy.

Best Roof Top Tent Brands Reviews

Darche Intrepidor 1400 Roof Top Tent Review

The Darche Intrepidor 1400 is a versatile, all-season rooftop tent that provides ample living space for two people year-round. Its durable construction and weather protection features allow for comfortable camping in any conditions.

This folding rooftop tent is assembled atop a roof rack, secured with included fittings and a telescoping ladder for easy access. The main tent interior features a removable 65mm mattress to sleep two campers. 

Large awnings over the doors and windows can be set up from the inside to create shaded porches during rainy weather. The windows have closable mesh screens for ventilation in hot temperatures.

A unique highlight is the zippered sky window above the mattress. Stargazers will love the ability to fall asleep under the open night sky. For full weather protection, the tent includes a rain fly with proven waterproofing capabilities. There are also handy interior storage pockets.

The ripstop polycotton fabric and construction quality ensure the Intrepidor 1400 will hold up well for seasons of camping adventures. Overall, it’s one of the best two-person rooftop tents thanks to its all-weather livability and unique stargazing window.



  • Spacious 2-person capacity
  • Protective awnings over windows
  • Zippered sky window for stargazing
  • All-season weather protection
  • Includes 65mm sleeping mattress


  • Zipper can snag on fabric
  • Rainfly is not the most heavy-duty

SkyRise HD Rooftop Tent Review

White Car With Two Rooftop Tents Above The Car
White Car With Two Rooftop Tents Above The Car

The SkyRise HD Rooftop Tent provides a roomy, all-season shelter for three campers atop a vehicle roof rack. The tent sets up in minutes thanks to a tool-free mounting system requiring no cumbersome assembly.

Once mounted, simply unfold the tent and extend the attached folding ladder to access the interior space. Inside, three adults can sleep comfortably on the included mattress.

For airflow, this rooftop tent includes a large entrance door, side windows and an open mesh skylight. The waterproof rainfly offers protection from the elements when needed.

Storage pockets organise small items, while the auto-close ladder is a nice safety touch. Awnings create shaded porches during rainstorms, and the tuck-away vinyl cover condenses everything down into a sleek, aerodynamic package while driving.

Although not the most heavy-duty model, the Sky Rise HD offers a hassle-free setup and ample living space at a reasonable price point. For car camping or overlanding trips, it’s a well-rounded rooftop tent option.


  • Sleeps up to 3 campers
  • Tool-free easy setup
  • Skylight, windows and doors
  • Tuck-away cover for driving
  • Auto-close ladder


  • Not the most durable construction

Front Runner Roof Top Tent Review

The Front Runner rooftop tent is designed with a slim, aerodynamic profile that improves fuel efficiency when mounted on a vehicle roof rack. The low-profile tent also provides easy access via a built-in ladder.

Weighing just 43kg, this tent is lighter than many comparable models. The cantilevered hard shell lifts for easy mounting and tear down. The interior offers overnight accommodations for two people, with ample headroom plus handy storage pockets.

Ventilation is enhanced through mesh panels, helping reduce interior condensation. LED lights allow for nighttime visibility inside the tent. The shell material provides water and weather resistance for 3-season camping.

The main drawbacks are the firm, ground-like sleeping mattress and a fixed ladder that doesn’t telescope for adjustable height. But for those prioritizing lightweight and aerodynamic performance, the Front Runner tent is a great choice that saves on fuel costs during driving.


  • Low profile improves fuel efficiency
  • Lightweight at just 43kg
  • LED interior lighting
  • Ventilated to reduce condensation
  • Easy mounting/tear down


  • The mattress is quite firm
  • The ladder doesn’t telescope

Darche Kozi Series 1300 Roof Top Tent Review

The Darche Kozi Series 1300 is a lightweight and slimline rooftop tent built for two campers. Weighing just 48kg, it’s easy to mount on most roof racks for improved gas mileage compared to bulkier tents.

The Kozi 1300 features a high-density foam mattress with a removable cover for sleeping comfort. A skylight with a mesh screen allows stargazing and ventilation. The ripstop canvas walls offer waterproof, weather-resistant shelter.

Installation is simplified through pre-mounted base channels that align with the roof rack. Seam sealing provides protection from the elements once mounted. The interior offers sufficient space for two adults, plus handy storage pockets.

While not the most spacious rooftop tent, the Kozi Series 1300 provides ample sleeping room and proven all-season protection in a lighter, slimmer package for easier overland driving. It’s a great option for on-the-go couples.


  • Light and slim for better gas mileage
  • Pre-mounted base channels
  • Ripstop canvas for weather protection
  • Skylight for stargazing
  • Easy to mount on roof racks


  • Less interior space than larger models

MXX Jeep SUV Roof Top Tent Review

This heavy-duty rooftop tent by MXX transforms Jeep SUVs and trucks into fully equipped campers. Its rugged, waterproof canvas shell and high-density mattress provide reliable shelter in any weather.

The spacious interior offers overnight capacity for two adults or room to spread out gear. LED lighting allows for nighttime visibility, while large screened windows enhance ventilation. Built-in storage bags and pockets keep items organised.

For convenience, retractable awnings create shaded porches during hot or rainy conditions. The tent also includes a sturdy cover and telescoping ladder for easy access. With the option to add an annex room, the MXX tent serves as a versatile home base for overlanding adventures.


  • Heavy-duty waterproof canvas
  • Spacious 2-person capacity
  • Built-in LED lighting
  • Retractable awnings
  • Optional annex room


  • Only fits specific Jeep models

Dometic 4WD Manual Rooftop Tent Review

The Dometic 4WD Manual Rooftop Tent provides hardcore campers with a compact yet durable shelter designed for extreme weather conditions. Though cozy for two people, its rugged dual-layer fabric construction and integrated insect screens make it ideal for off-grid adventuring.

This rooftop tent folds open to reveal a 50mm sleeping mattress with a removable cover. Large screened windows allow for ventilation while keeping bugs out. The two doors feature heavy-duty zippers with weatherproof covers for all-season protection against the elements.

When closed for transit, the tent condenses down into an aerodynamic shell fitted with a protective cover. The included telescoping ladder allows easy roof access. Though compact, the Dometic tent offers ample headroom plus handy interior pockets for organising gear.

Toyota 4Runner With Roof Top Tent
Toyota 4Runner With Roof Top Tent


  • Dual-layer ripstop canvas for rugged durability
  • Integrated pest screens on windows
  • Weatherproof door covers
  • Slim profile for overland travel
  • Telescoping ladder included


  • Tight quarters for two campers
  • Condensation can occur

SANHIMA Hard Shell Rooftop Tent Review

The SANHIMA Hard Shell rooftop tent provides a cavernous, all-weather shelter for three campers in a durable fibreglass shell. The hard top case opens effortlessly in seconds, thanks to gas shocks and cam-style latches. This makes it one of the best hard-shell rooftop tents for fast setup and tear-down.

Inside, campers enjoy ample headroom and a comfortable multi-layer foam mattress. Large screened windows enhance airflow from three sides to prevent claustrophobia. The heavy-duty flooring and thick canvas walls insulate against heat and cold.

Exterior pockets conveniently stow shoes and gear outside the main living space. LED lighting allows for nighttime visibility. The tough aluminium and fibreglass shell withstands all kinds of weather and off-road conditions while closed.


  • Sleeps up to 3 campers
  • Rugged hard shell case construction
  • Easy 30-second setup with gas shocks
  • Multi-layer foam mattress included
  • Heavy-duty weatherproof canvas
  • Exterior storage pockets


  • Expensive but worth the premium

Darche Hi-View 2200 Roof Top Tent Review

This extra-large Darche Hi-View 2200 rooftop tent provides palatial accommodations for families of 4 or more thanks to its spacious interior and optional annex room. The tent’s simple gas-shock setup, multi-zone access and abundant windows create a welcoming home away from home on the roof of any SUV.

The Hi-View 2200 features two large entrance doors with individual ladders, as well as oversized skylights and windows to enhance airflow. 

This helps minimise interior condensation. The 65mm mattress offers sleeping space for several adults or kids and can be augmented with the add-on annex.

Durable ripstop canvas and large rainfly provide proven weather protection against the elements while assembled. Twin gas struts allow for nearly effortless opening and closing of the hi-rise shell. Multiple interior pockets organise essentials within arm’s reach.

For car campers who require maximum occupant space, the feature-packed Darche Hi-View 2200 is a top-tier family-sized rooftop tent ready for any camping adventure.


  • Sleeps up to 4 people
  • Huge skylights and windows
  • Gas-shock opening system
  • Spacious annex sleeping area
  • Easy access to dual doors/ladders
  • Abundant interior storage pockets


  • Bulky and heavy when stored

Dometic 4WD Automatic Rooftop Tent Review

This innovative Dometic automatic rooftop tent takes the hassle out of setup by letting you deploy it with the push of a button. 

The remote-controlled gas struts pop open the dual-layer fabric shell in seconds, with no assembly required. Just unfold and climb in for instant shelter and views.

Despite the fancy powered controls, the Dometic 4WD tent doesn’t skimp on proven all-weather protection. 

The bombproof ripstop canopy withstands harsh conditions but offers great ventilation thanks to large screened windows. The 50mm mattress ensures a comfortable night’s sleep.

Powering the electrical system requires an auxiliary battery setup. However, the ability to deploy this rooftop tent from inside your vehicle is a huge perk for convenience. And manual override of the struts is easy when needed.

For overlanders who want cutting-edge innovation in a ruggedised, go-anywhere rooftop tent, the Dometic 4WD Automatic is a dream come true. No more wrestling with tent poles in the rain or dark. Just hit a switch and enjoy your elevated shelter.


  • Fully automatic remote opening
  • Huge screened windows for views
  • 50mm sleeping mattress included
  • Electrical controls for effortless setup
  • Manual gas strut override if needed
  • Dual-layer canvas for all-weather protection


  • Requires additional battery setup

Thule Tepui Foothill Low-Profile Tent Review

The Thule Tepui Foothill rooftop tent provides a lightweight, low-profile shelter optimized for smaller vehicles and improved fuel economy. The aerodynamic hard shell keeps wind resistance low when closed, while the telescoping pole setup makes opening a breeze.

Sleeping accommodations for two adults include a 40mm mattress and abundant mesh windows for stargazing and ventilation. 

The two large doors allow easy interior access from either side of the vehicle. The canvas walls deliver waterproofing against the elements while maintaining breathability.

Built from premium components, the Foothill tent still weighs just 49kg for effortless mounting on crossbars. The sleek, elongated design profile hugs the roofline for minimised impact on driving range and efficiency.

For anyone needing a durable yet compact rooftop tent, the Thule Tepui Foothill delivers outstanding 4-season livability without compromising fuel economy or stability. Its blend of thoughtful design makes it one of the premier low-profile models available.


  • Low aerodynamic profile for fuel efficiency
  • Lightweight at just 49kg
  • Telescoping pole setup system
  • Waterproof canvas walls
  • Abundant window mesh for views
  • Sized for smaller vehicle roofs


  • Less headroom than other tents
  • Premium price


Rooftop tents unlock new camping possibilities and convenience compared to pitching a tent on the ground. But choosing the best rooftop tent means balancing your budget, vehicle and needs. 

Hard shell or folding? Awning or annex? Make your decision easier by determining your must-have features, then find the tent that best fits your adventures. Soon, you’ll be catching zzz perched happily atop your camping palace on wheels!


Related Articles

Check Also
Back to top button