Roof Top Tents

Roof top tents have become the most popular sleeping solution for passionate overlanders and, nowadays, come in many different styles, coupled with a variety of features meant to make your trip safer, more fun and as potentially just as comfortable as home.

Struggling to figure out which roof top tent is right for you? Then consider going through our Roof Top Tent Guide or using the Roof Top Tent Finder to receive personalized product recommendations in a few clicks.

If you know what you’re looking for or just browsing, simply scroll further and use our handy filters to narrow down your options.

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The Perfect Roof Top Tent…

...is just a few clicks away. If you're tired of navigating between tens of products and categories to figure out which roof top tent is right for you, then you can use our RTT Finder and get recommendations that match your exact needs:

Roof Top Tent Finder

Roof Top Tent Expansions, Accessories & Upgrades

Besides the mandatory roof rack, you may want to consider a series of other roof top tent expansions (annex rooms and matching awnings), accessories (heating / cooling solutions, handy storage organizers and many more) and upgrades (improved bedding and other creature comforts).

Explore roof racks designed and engineered to safely handle your roof top tent and any extra gear you might throw in.

Expand your roof top tent’s living space with roof top tent annexes designed to maximize space without sacrificing comfort.

Enjoy some shade and extra protection from the elements with roof top tent awnings that match the look and feel of your build.

Take your trip to the next level with roof top tent upgrades that will make roof top camping just as comfortable as sleeping at home.

The Best Roof Top Tents

Join us on our adventure of discovering, reviewing and ranking the best roof top tents by style, type and feature-set! We spend a lot of time going over new product launches and community content to surface some of the most interesting RTTs out there.

How to Choose the Right Roof Top Tent

To pick the right roof top tent, it’s best to basically set a budget, choose the type of tent, compare specs & features, figure out vehicle compatibility, select a roof rack and decide what other RTT accessories you might need for a great camping experience.

Ok, so it’s pretty clear that choosing the right roof top tent can be an extremely time consuming and frustrating task. We want to make it a bit easier by helping you figure out the most important factors and evaluate between advantages & disadvantages of various options instead of telling you “buying this, this is perfect”.

Step #1: Ask yourself “How much am I willing to spend?”

How much do roof top tents cost?

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 tent that’s possibly used or refurbished (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), $1,100 for the cheapest one from a reputable brand 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).

We break down the costs of various types of roof top tents and their accessories in a spearate article, which may help you figure out what’s best for your needs:

» Read More: How much do roof top tents cost?

Why are roof top tents so expensive?

Roof top tents are so expensive mainly due to their limited production per unitcomplex designexpensive materialscomplex 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. 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?

Disclaimer: keep in mind that in most cases the price of the roof top tent doesn’t cover everything you need. While they come with stuff like mattresses, covers and other little things, you need to allocate part of your budget to a roof rack at least and a lot more if you’re in the market for various accessories like annex rooms, awnings etc.

Step #2: Pick a specific type & style of roof top tent

What are the types of roof top tents?

Roof top tents come in 4 distinct types, mainly soft-shell, hard-shell, inflatable and integrated pop-top tents. but for 95% of overlanders and campers, the choice comes down to soft shell vs. hard shell roof top tents. Soft shell and hard shell tents are by far the most popular because they offer the best features for the price, with the fewest possible downsides and they are compatible with most vehicles on the market, requiring minimal customization.

» Read more: What are the types of roof top tents?

Step #3: Comparing roof top tent features & specifications

What are the most important features of a roof top tent?

There are also a few things to consider, in order to figure out what other accessories you might want for your RTT setup:

  1. Do you care about specific features like skylights?
  2. Do you want all sorts of storage and organization solutions?
  3. Are you worried about humidity and climate control options?
  4. Do you plan on using it in different environments in multiple season?
  5. Are you going to mount it and remove it very often?

Sometimes the little things make a world of difference. For example, a roof top tent with skylights might be great for stargazing and if that’s a must for you – add it on your “must-have” features list. It’ll make the hunt for the ideal roof top tent much easier.

Step #4: Finding the right roof rack for your roof top tent

Do I need a roof rack for a roof top tent?

Yes. There’s not much else we can say other than “you’re not likely to find a roof top tent with an included roof rack”.

Choosing the right roof rack: we always recommend checking if the tent you’re buying has official compatible / recommended kits or roof racks. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to ask the manufacturer directly to confirm if their tent will work with a specific roof rack if you’re having any doubts.

Step #5: Checking rack, tent, vehicle compatibility and weight limits

Although your roof may support the weight of your roof top tent, the rack you mount it on might not. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t “guess” if your factory installed (if relevant in your specific instance) crossbars / siderails / gutters / racks will or won’t support the tent. To avoid potentially damaging your vehicle, we recommend going through the required steps to figure out exactly how much load you can put both on your roof and on the rack itself.

How do you know if your car can handle a roof top tent?

You’re a couple of searches and a simple calculation away from figuring out if your car can handle a roof top tent safely and without risking any damage during actual usage. In most cases, if you own an SUV, Jeep, van or truck, you’re good to go, whilst sedans, hatchbacks, coupes are almost never a safe fit for a roof top tent. On top of that, you can pretty much rule out putting a roof top tent on any vehicle with a rooftop load limit under 165 lbs.

But let’s jump to the steps you should take to be absolutely sure you can buy, install and safely drive with a roof top tent.

» Read More: How do you know if your car can handle a roof top tent?

Step #6: Choosing the right roof top tent accessories

Now that you have a good idea on how much you’re willing to spend and what type of roof top tent you’re set on, it’s a good time to figure out if you need two complementary products:

  1. Do you want an RTT extended with an annex room?
  2. Do you want an RTT with a matching awning?

Your best bet is to buy matching annex rooms and awnings from the same brand. While it might make sense to get a separate style or type of awning, annex rooms are almost never compatible between different brands of roof top tents and the price differences don’t really justify any kind of improvisation. As for other comfort, organization and utility accessories you might want to consider, check out our list below.

Of course, it’s only normal that you’ll ask yourself: “What are the most useful roof top tent accessories?”.

» Read More: What are the most useful roof top tent accessories?

Step #7: Order, install & go on an adventure!

While ordering the roof top tent might be very straightforward, you may have the surprise that your preferred option is backordered for a few weeks, depending on the season. As for installing the roof rack and the tent, all rack & tent brands have clear installation guidelines and most likely you won’t need to go to an installer.

We hope this post was useful and that you’ll be adventuring soon enough with your new roof top tent! If you’re left with more questions than answers, we recommend going through our complete roof top tent guide which covers everything from roof top tent materials & features to installation, maintenance and repair concerns:

Most Frequent Questions

Are roof top tents stable?2022-08-19T16:49:02+00:00

Roof top tents are designed, built and tested to be highly stable products both in a closed (when driving) and open state (when camping). Even camping in strong winds has little impact on the stability of the roof top tent, although some level of wind noise is unfortunately inevitable even with great insulation. As for driving with a roof top tent, owners report no significant changes to their driving experience, but it’s best to gradually increase your speed to the point you are comfortable, while adjusting to any minor changes in maneuverability.

» Read more: Are roof top tents stable?

Do roof top tents damage cars?2022-08-19T16:49:07+00:00

Simply put, roof top tents do not damage cars as long as they are installed correctly and weight limits for the vehicle, the roof rack and the tent are respected. Mounting and unmounting the tent is also an easy and safe procedure that does no damage to your vehicle. There is an argument that the extra weight causes extra wear to your vehicle’s suspension for example, but that same logic applies to literally anything else in your car, including passengers.

» Read more: Do roof top tents damage cars?

Do roof top tents affect gas mileage?2022-08-19T16:49:11+00:00

Yes, roof top tents definitely affect gas mileage negatively, with some RTT owners reporting as little as a 5% decrease (light tents with a more aerodynamic profile) and some reporting as much as 20%-25% increase (heavier tents that are bulkier and basically less aerodynamic). However, there are some useful tips and tricks to ensure that your roof top tent doesn’t affect fuel economy drastically.

» Read more: Do roof top tents affect gas mileage?

What vehicles can support a roof top tent?2022-08-19T16:49:17+00:00

Most vehicles, especially trucks, vans, Jeeps and SUVs can support a roof top tent by using a heavier duty roof rack and the general rule is that any vehicle with a rooftop load limit under 165 lbs won’t support a roof top tent safely. Trucks can support a roof top tent either in an elevated position using an elevated truck bed rack or as a truck bed tent, depending on the particular roof top tent model. Furthermore, it is fairly straightforward to find out the weight limits for the vehicle, the rack and the tent itself to ensure you can safely drive and use your roof top tent.

» Read more: What vehicles can support a roof top tent?

Can my roof rack support a roof top tent?2022-08-19T16:49:54+00:00

While your roof rack MIGHT support a roof top tent, it’s never a safe option to use factory installed racks for roof top tents without double checking weight limits and confirming with the roof top tent manufacturer. If you own a heavy-duty aftermarket roof rack with a maximum load equal or higher than the tent’s load, it is very likely that it will support your roof top tent, but it’s still a better idea to a) confirm with the manufacturer or b) buy a manufacturer recommended roof rack system.

» Read more: Can my roof rack support a roof top tent?

What roof top tent features matter most?2022-08-19T16:51:09+00:00

From brand reputation, materials used, insulation level and ease of setup to the availability of various complementary accessories such as annex rooms and awnings, there are quite a few things that matter when purchasing a roof top tent. We go through at least 21 factors when ranking a specific roof top tent and our list can help you understand and identify the factors that matter most to you.

» Read More: Important Roof Top Tent Features

Do I need a roof rack for a roof top tent?2022-08-19T16:52:11+00:00

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?

What roof top tent accessories do I need?2022-08-19T16:53:16+00:00

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?

How do roof top tents work?2022-08-19T14:55:24+00:00

In a nutshell, roof top tents are compact tents that are mounted on top of your vehicle with the help of a roof rack or cross bars and they work by functioning as compact packages than can be unfolded, raised, pitched through a bit of handy work or a mechanism in some cases, in order to offer you an insulated living space atop your vehicle when you’re camping.

Roof top tents have become extremely popular, as they offer multiple benefits, such as extra comfort in all weather conditions, freedom to camp almost anywhere, affordability compared to RVs & campers, increased safety / security and the opportunity for amazing sightseeing by being an awesome vantage point atop your vehicle.

If that’s a bit vague or superficial, then let’s go over all the details on how roof top tents work (including what they are and the various types of RTTs you can buy), from how they’re supported / mounted on your vehicle, how they’re pitched (or opened, unfolded, unpacked, depending on what terminology you prefer), how avid campers use them and then move on to some useful tips to consider when buying a roof top tent.

» Read More: How do roof top tents work?

How do you know if your car can handle a roof top tent?2022-08-19T16:48:56+00:00

You’re a couple of searches and a simple calculation away from figuring out if your car can handle a roof top tent safely and without risking any damage during actual usage. In most cases, if you own an SUV, Jeep, van or truck, you’re good to go, whilst sedans, hatchbacks, coupes are almost never a safe fit for a roof top tent. On top of that, you can pretty much rule out putting a roof top tent on any vehicle with a rooftop load limit under 165 lbs.

But let’s jump to the steps you should take to be absolutely sure you can buy, install and safely drive with a roof top tent.

» Read More: How do you know if your car can handle a roof top tent?

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