Autoblog is not affiliated with the brands featured in our articles, but when you make a purchase through links on our site we may earn a commission.
On the hunt for a great roof top tent to make road trips even more fun? Then be sure that you check out our top picks and handy buying guide. Have you tried camping in a roof top tent? You haven’t? Well, trust us– you’re missing out. It might seem bizarre at first, but once you give it a try you’ll be hooked. Unlike a traditional tent, you can install a roof top tent directly onto your car’s roof rack.
This can help you get further away from all those little bugs on the ground and much closer to the stars in the night sky. Think of a rooftop tent as your very own portable treehouse.
But with so many models on the market, how on earth will you be able to track down the top ones? Don’t worry! In this list, we’ll be looking at some of the most notable rooftop tents available today that you can pick up yourself. Without wasting any more time, let’s begin!
Here are the top roof top tents of 2022
In the opening spot of our list, we have a Smittybilt Basic Overlander Roof Top Tent, a brand that’s known for supplying customers with reliable and functional accessories for their Jeep vehicles. This specific roof top tent certainly falls into that category, and it can be a great addition to your Wrangler or Grand Cherokee. This roof top tent comes with a few different attachments, including a high-density foam mattress with a removable cover, a 12V cigarette power adapter, mosquito netting, an LED strip for interior lighting, an external shoe storage bag, and a whole lot more. Its anodized aluminum tent poles will help you rest easy knowing it’s not going to collapse at any second, and it also comes with a one-year warranty.
- Heavy-duty ripstop polyester construction
- Extra accessories for an improved experience
- One-year warranty included
- Factory debris sometimes found in the tent
For our next pick, we have the all-mighty Raptor Pro Car Roof Top Tent. Thanks to its aerodynamic design, this particular tent can withstand almost all weather conditions. As long as there’s not a hurricane outside, you’ll be able to use this roof top tent in heavy winds and rain without having to worry about it springing any leaks– pretty neat, huh? In terms of size, this roof top tent is pretty solid– its double/full mattress design can sleep two and it has a weight capacity of 750 lbs., so you probably won’t have to make any tough decisions about what you want to have in the tent with you at night. Its size means that you can easily perform all your normal day-to-day activities like cooking, changing clothes, hitting the hay, and whatever else you can think of.
- Ample space and weight capacity
- Ventilation system for fresh air
- Strong weather resistance
- Installation brackets could be better quality
Are you on the hunt for the most user-friendly roof top tent on the whole market? Then take a deep look at the Overland Extended Vehicle Roof Top tent! It has a seamless installation process and doesn’t require any kind of extra modification– all you’ll need to do is follow the included instructions to get this bad boy set up. This roof top tent also has a ton of features that can make your camping experience more enjoyable, including breathable windows, an insulated base, stainless steel hardware, a quality transportation cover, storage pockets, and reinforced hinges. Pick up this high-quality roof top tent today for a high-quality camping experience.
- Relatively short installation time — under 25 minutes
- Waterproof, anti-fade design
- Several pockets for extra storage space
- Seam and stitching problems are sometimes reported
Whether you’re planning a solo camping trip or going with your family, the Arb Simpson Car Roof Top Tent is great for accommodating up to four individuals without an issue. It’s ideal for basic usage and can be placed on almost any kind of vehicle, including SUVs, hatchbacks, wagons, sedans, and more– if you can think of it, you can almost certainly fasten this tent to it. This roof top tent comes in a sturdy packaging box, so you can indeed rest assured knowing that all of the components will arrive in one piece. It’s got great water-shedding abilities and can protect you from insects at night, so you can sleep soundly knowing that this roof top tent has got your back.
- Space for multiple individuals
- High-quality, waterproof canvas design
- Responsive customer support
The final spot on our list goes to the TMBK Green Rainfly Roof Top Tent. This tent is manufactured with ripstop nylon and features sturdy craftsmanship, offering excellent durability and long-term reliability. You can anticipate that this roof top tent will last for a while without displaying any visible signs of wear, and it can fit three people inside. You won’t need any extra drilling or other invasive modifications to install this roof top tent, and you should be good if your car has a roof rack, whether it’s factory-issue or aftermarket. Its waterproof body will keep the rain out so you can stay cozy inside, and its breathable design means you won’t feel suffocated either.
- High-quality construction
- Heavy-duty, Marine-grade design
- Less expensive than similar tents
- Difficult to understand user manual
Buyer’s guide: Roof top tents
Are you having difficulties tracking down the right roof top tent for your vehicle? We’re here to make that process a lot easier for you. In our buyer’s guide section, we’ll be looking at the most important factors you should keep in mind when shopping around, typical prices, and the most frequently asked questions about these neat structures.
Tips to keep in mind when shopping for a new roof top tent
- Make sure that the specific roof top tent you’re planning to purchase is suitable for your vehicle, in regards to size dimensions and mounting elements
- Read the customer reviews and see precisely what other users are saying about that particular roof top tent– this will give you an idea of what it will be like to use it firsthand
- Some roof top tents are intended for two people, while others can fit five or even more– look for one that will be able to satisfy your needs
- Search for a roof top tent that has some form of installation instructions, as this will make the entire process a whole lot easier
- A roof top tent should have at least a few different storage racks to offer space for all your extra gear
- You should consider getting a roof top tent that features some kind of warranty from the manufacturer– it’s better to be safe than sorry
- Don’t hesitate to contact the manufacturer if you happen to have any questions related to your purchase
Which kind of roof top tent is right for you?
There are two different kinds of roof top tents currently available for purchase– hard-shell and soft-shell. They differ in several ways, so the final choice will mainly come down to your personal preferences.
Hard-shell roof top tents — If you’re someone who’s always on the go, then you’ll love the convenience of a hard-shell roof top tent. These roof top tents feature a pretty straightforward setup and don’t require any special tools, and they’re also water-resistant, wind-resistant, and shock-proof. You’ll be shielded from the elements, and since the shell is strong, you can even store all of your additional equipment at the top (camping equipment, water resources, and more). There is one downside to these roof top tents, though– they tend to come with a pretty high price tag attached.
Soft-shell roof top tents — Looking for a more cost-efficient alternative to hard-shell tents? If you are, then you should take a look at soft-shell roof top tents. These models can fold out beyond the vehicle’s roof, come in several layouts, and can even handle extensions like awnings. They do have their disadvantages as well, though– these tents are prone to moisture build-up (which can result in mold growth), they generally make a lot more noise when the wind is blowing and they can easily show signs of wear and tear.
How much do roof top tents cost?
Do you want to purchase a brand-new roof top tent for your car? There are typically several different things that determine the final price of a roof top tent — the specific kind of roof top tent (hard-shell or soft-shell), overall material quality, and any additional features. Expect to pay anywhere from as low as $850 to $2,500 for certain premium models.
Roof top tents aren’t all that cheap, but most of the models will provide you with years of adventure. Your initial investment will certainly pay off in the end, so consider opting for a premium roof top tent to make the most out of your future camping trips.
How to install a roof top tent on your car
Roof top tents are pretty simple to set up. Here’s basically everything you’ll need to know to do it yourself:
Open the box
First things first, open the packaging box. We probably don’t have to say this, but make sure you carefully remove all included components, which include, but are not limited to, the roof top tent itself, mounting hardware, the ladder, tent cover, brackets, rails, bolts with washers and more.
Mount the rails
Once you have everything out of the box, you can then proceed with mounting the rails. Make sure that you perfectly line up the rails with the tent base’s holes and screw the bolts into place.
Turn the tent over and carefully attach the ladder brackets — be sure to secure them tightly.
Attach the ladder
Grab the ladder and lay it down on the ladder brackets. Place the bolts inside and tighten them as instructed in the manual.
Install the tent
The next stage is to connect the tent. With the assistance of a friend, carefully lift the entire tent on top of your car’s roof rack.
Position the hold-down hardware near the rail locations by sliding the bolts into the rail extrusion, then equally line the tent up on your car’s rack.
Once you’re done with alignment, attach the four crossbar clamps using the hole pattern that matches your requirements. To secure them, tighten the nuts until the clamp is snug and slightly deflected, then simply slide the cover into the passenger side deck extrusion and install it.
Before you head out on your camping trip, we strongly suggest that you carefully inspect the entire roof top tent and make sure that everything is in place.
Note: Even though most roof top tops have a similar installation process, we urge you to read the entire user manual before you proceed.
People also asked
Q: What are the most popular brands for car roof top tents?
A: When it comes to roof top tents, there are thousands of choices available, but not all of them deliver consistent quality, nor are they particularly faithful to their customers. Here are some of the leading brands when it comes to roof top tents– Smittybilt, Raptor, Overland Vehicle, Guide Gear, and Shanta.
Q: Are roof top tents totally waterproof?
A: Yes– typically all roof top tents you’ll find online are made out of waterproof materials. Thanks to this, you’ll even be able to use them in fairly harsh weather conditions without a problem.
Q: Can I place a roof top tent on my vehicle?
A: As long as your vehicle has a sturdy roof rack, then you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Pay attention to the manufacturer’s directions and you’ll be able to mount your new roof top tent in no time at all.
Q: How many people can one roof top tent handle?
A: This varies depending on the size and measurements of your roof top tent, although most roof top tents can comfortably handle two individuals without a problem.