The Benefits of a Rooftop Tent

The Benefits of a Rooftop Tent

Roof top tents, or RTTs, are a great way to add a little extra comfort to your camping trip. They are a great option for solo travelers or those who don’t want to spend the time or hassle of carrying a sleeping bag.

The best rooftop tents are comfortable, convenient, and durable enough for any type of adventure. They will make your next camping trip easier and more fun, and they’ll also give you an extra room to store all of your gear.


Rooftop tents are a comfortable way to camp, if you’re looking for a more convenient and luxurious camping experience. They can be a game changer for overlanding and road trip enthusiasts, allowing you to quickly set up your tent and have a relaxing evening in the wild.

Choosing the best rooftop tent is a matter of finding one that fits your budget and personal camping needs. There are a few factors to consider when selecting a rooftop tent, including mattress thickness and type, ventilation options, and storage space.

Most tents feature an integrated mattress, which can vary in thickness and padding (the less expensive tents tend to be thinner and stiffer). Premium rooftop tent designs often include mattresses with gel or memory foam for extra comfort. The quality of the mattress also plays a role in how comfortable it is, so look for an option that offers a soft surface and an anti-condensation mat underneath.

The best rooftop tents are also lightweight and well-built. A few, such as the Yakima Skyrise HD, weigh under 100 pounds and are designed to be easy to carry with a car or truck.

In addition to being lighter, rooftop tents also tend to be warmer than ground tents. This is because you don’t have to carry them, so they’re more likely to be made of thicker materials and insulated with high-quality insulation.

Some tents are also insulated with additional layers of foam to keep you warmer in the winter. These are a great option for those who frequently sleep at elevation or if you’re planning to be out in the wild during the coldest parts of the year.

If you want a tent with more ventilation, you can also look for a model that incorporates a mesh door and mesh window panels to promote air flow through the interior space. The iKamper Skycamp 3.0, for example, has a mesh door and a clear vinyl window panel in the fly to let light through when conditions aren’t ideal.

Depending on the manufacturer, rooftop tents come in different sizes and can accommodate up to four people. This can make them more comfortable for couples or platonic friends, but it may not be as cozy for larger groups. Most companies list the tent’s capacity on their product pages, but it’s a good idea to find a model that feels most comfortable to you before making your purchase.


Roof top tents are an affordable and convenient way to spend a few nights outdoors. They’re often cheaper than a custom camper van or a cool off-road trailer, and they pack neatly onto the roof of your vehicle (or the bed of your truck).

You don’t need to worry about setting up a tent every night when you arrive at a campsite. A roof top tent can be popped up in a matter of minutes, so you can get to your campsite and kick back by the campfire sooner than ever.

The rooftop is also elevated off the ground, so it tends to stay roof top tent cleaner than a ground tent. It’s less likely to track mud, dirt, and rain inside, as well as be more accessible for people with disabilities or knee problems.

In addition, rooftop tents usually have a built-in foam mattress that you don’t have to lug along with your sleeping bags or quilts. Moreover, they’re much more comfortable than standard tents.

A few rooftop tents come with an annex or vestibule, which adds an additional level of living space to your camping setup. These spaces can be used for cooking, changing clothes, hanging out, showering, or sleeping. They usually connect to the bottom of the tent platform that hangs over the side of your vehicle and enclose around the ladder.

Most rooftop tents can accommodate 2-4 people, though some are designed to sleep up to six. Size matters, however, especially if you’re planning on camping with your kids or other members of the family.

They’re also great breathers; rooftop tents ventilate much better than ground tents, because air flows underneath them instead of around them. They often come with generous windows, mesh panels, and waterproof awnings.

They’re also easier to set up than ground tents, because they fold out or pop up rather than hinges and manually placed poles. Some rooftop tents even let you add an awning or annexe when you need it, and many models include light suppression technology to reduce the amount of sun heat in your tent.


The durability of a roof top tent is an important consideration, as these designs usually require heavy-duty components. Depending on the model, you may have to purchase an extra set of crossbars (to support the weight) or a pair of shackles rated for a specific load (to help you install and remove the tent from the roof rack).

Most models feature materials ranging in thickness from 400-600 denier (D), which indicates their strength and heaviness. These fabrics are designed to withstand wear and tear, making them the ideal choice for campers who plan on using their tent often.

Many roof top tents also come with a built-in foam mattress, which makes the design extremely easy to setup and break down. They can fold up inside the tent when it’s not in use, saving space in your roof top tent vehicle and allowing you to set up and pack out faster.

Another important feature to look for is peak height, which measures the highest point of the tent’s structure. This is particularly important if you plan to use an awning with your softshell roof top tent, since the awning may be mounted to a lower area of the tent than its roof.

Lastly, you’ll want to consider the fabric’s water-repellent properties, which are important for keeping the interior dry in rainy weather. Most rooftop tents have a polyurethane coating applied to their fabric, which helps make the material both durable and waterproof.

Some tents, like the Thule Approach on our list, offer a retractable rainfly that is easy to remove and reattach. These features can be especially useful for camping in colder climates or if you have a sleet- or hail-prone location.

If you’re looking for a 4-season rooftop tent, our favorites include the Thule Walkabout 56 and the Roofnest Sparrow. These are durable, 4-season designs that feature sturdy fabrics and a sturdy frame with metal components that are designed to handle heavy loads. They’re also comfortable and spacious, so you and your family can enjoy all the benefits of a roof top tent without sacrificing too much comfort or convenience.


A roof top tent can be an expensive investment. However, it can save you a lot of hassle and time. When compared to camping on the ground, rooftop tents are faster and more convenient, plus they offer superior weather protection.

Most of these tents have a hardshell design, which consists of a fiberglass, plastic, or aluminum shell that houses the fabric tent canopy inside. The majority of hardshells keep their footprint to the vehicle’s roof area, though a few (like the Roofnest Condor XL above) fold out, increasing the floor area and allowing you to add extras like an awning.

Many of these tents come in two-person models, which is a great choice for solo travelers or those with smaller vehicles. They typically fall between $1,000 and $2,000, which is significantly less than a standard two-person tent that costs closer to $3,000.

The main drawback to these tents is that they require a full roof rack and take up a lot of space when stowed. Additionally, they tend to impact gas mileage since they are usually quite heavy.

If you’re an overlanding enthusiast or plan to do frequent road trips, a rooftop tent is a worthwhile upgrade. Popularized by adventurers in the Australian Outback who needed an elevated place to sleep, these tents are now a convenient and affordable alternative for campers who need to set up camp near their vehicle.

In our testing, we found that these tents offer better comfort and a wider range of features than their cheaper competitors. They are often larger, and come with a variety of amenities including LED lighting, interior ventilation fans and removable mattresses.

Most roof top tents are built for one to three campers, but there are some larger models that can accommodate up to five people. For example, the Smittybilt Overlander Tent above ($1,500 and 116.5 pounds) offers ample sleeping space for three, as well as a convenient ladder that’s accessible from both the driver and passenger sides of the vehicle.

If you’re looking for a premium tent that will stand up to your most rugged adventures, consider the James Baroud Skycamp. This Portugal-based company has been making high-quality rooftop tents for over 30 years, and their designs consistently rank among the best on the market. This model comes with a solar-powered fan, gas-strut assisted opening (setup takes 30 seconds), and LED lighting.