What’s the price of new roof top tents?
The prices for new roof top tents reputable brand reputable brands vary between $1,100 and $7,500 and even more depending on customization options, accessories such as annex rooms and quality of life gear that you may choose. You can find occasionally refurbished roof top tents below $1,000 and used roof top tents for anywhere between $500 and $3,000.
Further into this article we’ll be exploring a few more useful bits of information and answering a few of the common pricing-related questions on roof top tents.
Why are roof top tents so expensive?
Roof top tents are so expensive mainly due to their limited production per unit, complex design, expensive materials, complex assembly requirements and a multitude of other factors we’ll dive into to help you decide if you should investing in an RTT for your vehicle.
As with many things in life, you pretty much get what you pay for and roof top tents can vary wildly, between $500 for an entry level / possibly used or refurbished roof top tent (a truly rare, lucky find that’s a 50% – 50% gamble in terms of getting something you’d consider of a minimum acceptable quality for that price) and as much as $7,500 for a premium roof top tent with all the bells, whistles and gizmos (think NASA level insulation, solar panels, carbon fiber panels and more).
If you want to dig further into the factors that make roof top tents much more expensive than ground tents, read on below:
» Read More: Why are roof top tents so expensive?
What roof top tent accessories do I need?
While a roof rack is the only mandatory accessory you need for a roof top tent, you might want to consider a matching awning and a compatible annex room to make the most out of your camping / overlanding trip. Most if not all roof top tents come with the necessary retractable ladder and a high quality mattress. Additionally, there are some extremely useful accessories such as a condensation mat (if not included in your RTT of your) and more that you may want to consider for a great camping experience.
» Read More: What roof top tent accessories do I need?
Do I need a roof rack for a roof top tent?
Yes, for any roof top that that you plan on mounting to your vehicle, a roof rack (or cross bars) is required to be able to do so. Furthermore, you need to ensure that the roof rack you’re mounting your tent on is designed to support the static and dynamic load of the roof top tent in order to drive safely and use the tent without potentially damaging your car.
» Read More: Do I need a roof rack for a roof top tent?
Where can you buy roof top tents?
Overlanding stores, brand stores and various marketplaces – we’ve compiled a list of over 100 places where you can safely buy a roof top tent and even monitor to find the best prices. For the sake of brevity in this post, we’ve published this list as a separate piece you can access below:
» Read more: Where can you buy roof top tents?
Where can you find roof top tent deals?
Besides subscribing to Nomadist, there are quite a few places you can find good roof top tent deals if you’re willing to wait for a great deal. We’ve compiled a list of places to buy RTTs at great prices occasionally, coupled with some useful tips and tricks on getting them at a lower pirce.
» Read more: Where can you find roof top tent deals?
What’s the price of refurbished roof top tents?
Refurbished roof top tents can be found occasionally for as little as $750 (cheapest one we’ve found from a reputable brand), but they are a rare find which requires you to keep an eye out on multiple RTT brand stores. A refurbished roof top tent is generally a safer bet than buying a used RTT (unless you know exactly what to look for in terms of damage, wear’n’tear etc.) and we recommend following popular RTT brands and stores to catch one of the refurbished ones. Keep in mind they tend to disappear fast.
What are the most popular roof top tent brands?
We’ve ranked over 50 of the most popular roof top tent brands and we’re pretty sure you’ll be surprised by how many brands have been built in the last few years, riding the overlanding industry’s explosive growth curve. Feel free to use this post to help your own research into what roof top tent to buy – we’ve put a lot of time so we can surface many niche and new RTT brands that most overlanders & adventurers won’t encounter in a casual search. Keep in mind that brands are ranked using a multitude of data points across the web (Amazon, Google, Facebook data combined with various signals on a brand and product level) and you might be surprised by the results. For example, the extreme popularity of some brands on social media is attenuated by weaker signals taken from other sources (ex.: number of public reviews).
» Read more: Most popular roof top tent brands
What’s the price of used roof top tents?
Finding used roof top tents in good condition is a bit tricky, but if you find one in your area, you can expect used roof top tents to cost between $500 and $1,500 for soft shell RTTs and generally over $1,500 for hard shell RTTs. We strongly recommend that you do not buy a used roof top tent without inspecting it yourself, mainly because some things don’t translate in photos. A seller might send you photos of a roof top tent that looks new and shiny, but you wouldn’t catch the smell of mold through them, would you?
How do you pick a roof top tent?
Choosing the right roof top tent can be broken down into the following steps to ensure you get the most out of your budget:
- Decide on a budget for your roof top tent & accessories
- Pick a specific style & type of roof top tent
- Compare roof top tent features & specifications
- Find the right roof rack for your roof top tent
- Check the rack, tent, vehicle compatibility and weight limits
- Choose the right roof top tent accessories
- Order, install & go on an adventure!
As we love over-analyzing any purchase decision, we recommend reading further so you can make your own check list of priorities in terms of features and accessories for your ideal roof top tent.
» Read More: How to choose a roof top tent
Tips for Buying Used Roof Top Tents
If you’re looking to buy one of the many used roof top tents up for sale on various marketplaces, we have some handy tips so you don’t end up purchasing a tent that’s faulty, too difficult to fix or just not worth the $:
- Make sure you do a quick test setup with the tent.
- Inspect for any signs of mold / mildew – if you can smell it, don’t buy it!
- Inspect poles, struts, buckles, clasps for obvious wear-and-tear signs and/or metal fatigue.
- Inspect the walls and fabric for any tears and/or holes that can’t be easily patched up.
- Inspect frequently used components such as zippers, which may be hard to replace.
- Inspect the mattress for anything that can’t be easily fixed (stains are easy to get out).
- Check the state of the roof rack and if you’re buying it as well. Most times it won’t match your vehicle though.
- Check the shell for damage (if it’s a hard shell tent) and make sure you get the cover as well (if it’s a soft shell tent).
- Check on the manufacturer’s website (if available) what the full roof top tent kit contained – might be useful when negotiating.
- Check if the particular model is still being sold by the manufacturer and if there are ways to get parts / fabric / replacements.
For more useful tips and potential fixes to what might be deal breakers when buying a used roof top tent, we recommend reading our full post on the topic.
» Read more: Tips for buying used roof top tents