Rooftop tent camping has risen in popularity over the last few years, with more and more outdoorspeople discovering the appeal of sleeping off the cold, hard ground, and keeping food away from curious critters. We’ve compiled a list of the top five best rooftop tents so you can start spending your nights in the wild that much closer to the stars.
Our Top Picks: Best Rooftop Tents
If you’re short on time, here’s the overview:
- Best Overall: Tepui Kukenam Sky 3. From one of the leading innovators in rooftop tent manufacturing, the spacious Kukenam Sky 3 offers four internal storage pockets, a built-in foam mattress, a telescoping ladder, and enough room for three campers.
- Best Eco-Friendly: GFC SuperLite RTT. As the most lightweight rooftop tent available, the SuperLite RTT is here to improve your gas mileage, reduce your carbon emissions, and save the planet!
- Best Budget: Tuff Stuff Ranger Overland. Do your wallet a favor with this robust, durable rooftop tent that comes with all the accessories (like an annex and telescoping ladder!) and mounting hardware you need to get on the road at a moment’s notice.
- Best Hard-Shell: iKamper Skycamp 2.0. With enough room for four adults, dual internal storage pockets, a fiber-reinforced exterior shell, the Skycamp 2.0 can handle any weather and terrain you might encounter.
- Best for Small Cars: Tepui Low-Pro 2. This low-profile rooftop tent measures just seven inches thick when closed and offers an aerodynamic, compact design with a lighter overall weight for rooftop camping on smaller cars.
1. Thule Tepui Kukenam Sky 3
The best rooftop tent overall
Manufacturer: Tepui | Weight: 125 lbs | Shell: Soft | Capacity: 3 People | Price: 💰💰💰
Tepui was one of the first manufacturers to get into the rooftop tent game and is still considered a leading trailblazer in the industry. Their Kukenam Sky 3 is perhaps one of their most popular models, with its spacious A-frame design that can accommodate three adults sitting upright comfortably.
The 8.5-foot telescoping ladder makes set-up and take-down a breeze and also grants easy entrance and exit, while the built-in foam mattress means you won’t have to reconfigure sleeping arrangements every night. Four internal storage pockets ensure you have all the necessities within easy reach. Made from 260g and 600D ventilate-coated poly-cotton that’s water-, UV-, and mold-resistant for long-lasting durability against all the elements. All-around mesh paneling offers cooling airflow on hot summer days.
- All the quality of luxury rooftop tents without the price tag
- Mattress is included and as comfortable as your bed at home
- Low profile when packed up for minimal wind resistance while driving
- Relatively expensive
- Some reviewers had issues with the mounting configuration
2. GFC SuperLite RTT
The best eco-friendly rooftop tent
Manufacturer: GFC | Weight: 80 lbs | Shell: Hard | Capacity: 2 People | Price: 💰💰
Any kind of tent camping is already a pretty environmentally-friendly activity. But rooftop tents can get pretty heavy, and all that extra weight on top of your vehicle while you’re driving, can devastate your gas mileage. That’s why GFC invented their SuperLite RTT, the lightest rooftop tent on the market at a mere 80 pounds.
GFC made both the hard-shell tent’s rigid panels with thermoplastic honeycomb composite, an incredibly strong, lightweight, and eco-friendly material. That, plus the aerodynamic and compact design, means your transport will get much farther on less fuel, which cuts down your use of nonrenewable resources and minimizes air pollution from gas emissions. Plus, set-up and take-down are as easy as pie. As if that wasn’t enough, enjoy all the other features you want in your rooftop tent, like the spacious interior large enough for two adults, the 44 inches of head space so you can sit up comfortably, and the durable, weather-proof materials built to last.
- 270-degree mesh paneling for cooling airflow and incredible views
- Doesn’t hinder speed, turning, or handling thanks lightweight, aerodynamic design
- Roof closes down over any bedding, so you don’t have to empty out the tent to pack up
- Accessories like a mattress and ladder are not included and must be purchased separately
- Though advertised as operable by one person, most reviewers still needed a friend to help set up and take-down
3. Tuff Stuff Ranger Overland
The best rooftop tent on a budget
Manufacturer: Tuff Stuff | Weight: 180 lbs | Shell: Soft | Capacity: 3 People | Price: 💰💰
A new rooftop tent can easily break the bank, especially with the purchase of additional features, mounting hardware, and accessories. The Tuff Stuff Ranger Overland is the first to include everything you need to get on the road in one package, all at a price that puts other rooftop tents to shame.
This spacious three-person tent comes with a zip-on annex room, a hanging gear hammock, a storage bag, and all necessary assembly and mounting tools. Despite the bargain price, the Ranger Overland doesn’t skimp on quality, using the same durable, weather-proof materials as other popular rooftop tent brands. So, how did Tuff Stuff keep the price low on this model? The overall aesthetic is less polished than fancier models. Nothing is customizable, making it more of a one-size-fits-all answer to rooftop tent camping than a bespoke solution.
- Mattress and annex are spacious and comfortable
- Easy to set up and take down, perfect for rooftop tent novices
- High-quality construction with all the accessories included at a steal
- Some reviewers had trouble with the zipper on the annex
- The materials aren’t mold-resistant, so be sure to air out the tent before you pack it away
4. iKamper Skycamp 2.0
The best hard-shell rooftop tent
Manufacturer: iKamper | Weight: 160 lbs | Shell: Hard | Capacity: 4 People | Price: 💰💰💰💰💰
Though hard-shell rooftop tents tend to weigh more than their soft-shell counterparts, they’re still the best bet when it comes to protection against the elements and debris. And no one does it better than the iKamper Skycamp 2.0.
This four-person tent weighs in at a respectable 160 pounds. iKamper constructs this tent with extra-durable materials like fiber-reinforced stainless steel, weather-resistant poly-cotton canvas, and 150-denier polyester rainfly. With the taped seams and added insulation, you can keep the warmth in when it’s cold, the cold in when it’s hot, and the water out when it’s wet! The rainflies can also be rolled up to expose mesh windows for ventilation and killer views.
Aluminum honeycomb floor panels help reduce the overall weight, while the king-sized, 2.5-inch memory foam mattress ensures a comfortable night’s sleep for the whole family. The telescoping ladder makes set-up and take-down a breeze and can support up to 330 pounds so everyone can easily get in and out of the tent.
- Interior storage pockets for built-in organization
- King-sized, high-density memory foam mattress for ultimate comfort
- Large capacity is perfect for the whole family or a solo camper who likes to spread out
- The most expensive model on our list, and pricier than other hard-shell rooftop tents
- Not compatible with smaller vehicles due to size and weight, despite included universal mounting brackets
5. Tepui Low-Pro 2
The best rooftop tent for small cars.
Manufacturer: Tepui | Weight: 105lbs | Shell: Soft | Capacity: 2 People | Price:💰💰
If you’re looking for something with a lower profile, look no further than the Tepui Low-Pro 2! As we said, Tepui is one of the major leading rooftop tent manufacturers and is responsible for a lot of innovation in the field. Their reasonably-priced, compact Low-Pro 2 packs down to just seven inches thick and weighs in at a modest 105 pounds, making it perfect for those of us who don’t have a 4×4 at our disposal but still want to experience the elevated (pun intended) experience of rooftop tent camping. Though much more compact than other models we’ve featured, the Low-Pro 2 still offers enough space for two adults to fit comfortably. The dome canopy offers all-season protection and enough head room for sitting up.
- Streamlined design folds down to just seven inches high
- Easy to set up and take down with an aluminum-based telescoping ladder
- Lightweight, compact option for smaller cars that’s still durable and certified for all seasons
- Comes in a soft shell, which is unsuitable for certain environments
- Not nearly as spacious as other models, though it does technically accommodate two adults
What to Look for in the Best Rooftop Tents
While you’re considering our picks for the best rooftop tents, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Weight. Rooftop tents can get pretty heavy, especially when you start adding people and gear to the mix. Be sure to check your car’s safety guidelines to see how much it can handle.
- Shell. Hard-shell rooftop tents have a solid outer casing that the entire tent collapses into when you’re ready to go. This casing protects your tent (and anything in it) from the elements and any debris while you’re driving. Soft-shell rooftop tents, on the other hand, are generally more affordable and weigh significantly less.
- Capacity. Are you camping solo or bringing the whole family?
- Storage. Be sure the tent you pick can handle the equipment you want to bring with you
For this guide on rooftop tents, our team spent 3 hours researching the most popular options from over 10 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about fifty user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each tent. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 5 rooftop tents on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.
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