top 10 best roof top tents

Top 10 Best Overland Roof Top Tents of 2021

The Best Rooftop Tents of 2021

For the budget friendly camper, to the serious off-road enthusiast, we got you covered in this comprehensive top 10 list


Wouldn’t it be nice to transform your vehicle into a camper without actually buying a camper? You can do exactly that with a rooftop tent that is positioned and stored on top of your car, truck or SUV. Your rooftop tent also provides the advantage of more comfort and space when you are out in the wilderness camping. 

If you are hesitant to buy a rooftop tent due to concerns about price, know that a roof top tent is a long term investment that will last you many years of camping.  Add in the fact that rooftop tents are easier to set up than conventional tents and you will be that much more enthusiastic about adding one of these unique tents to your vehicle.  Your rooftop tent ultimately ensures you do not sleep on the ground and that you will be safe from the elements and any potentially dangerous animals. 

Choose wisely and the rooftop tent you select won't significantly reduce your vehicle's gas mileage, providing you with an affordable place to sleep and a nighttime escape from the elements as you and your family or friends explore the outdoors. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the top 10 best rooftop tents and also delve into the most important factors to consider when shopping for your new rooftop tent.

The Top 10 Best Rooftop Tents

1. Best Overall Rooftop Tent: Tent Skycamp 2.0

The Skycamp 2.0 is hands-down the best instant rooftop tent on the market. If you have a family or want to hang out with friends in the outdoors, you will love this tent’s large size and ease of use. Featuring a king size bed, this rooftop tent can be set up in a single minute. The tent fits upwards of four people, or a couple and a dog. There is no need to use any tent poles as this hard shell tent is easily erected in a mere 60 seconds or less. 

Rooftop Tent Features Include:

  • Fits four though five can be accommodated if two are children or smaller adults
  • Uber-spacious
  • Well-designed to stand the test of time
  • Each tent is made with a high-quality custom mold and component
  • Blackout style canvas is breathable, sturdy and thick
  • Resistant to the wind
  • Does not flap or make noise when the weather gets nasty
  • Insulated lining is quilted, warm and prevents the buildup of condensation
  • The hard shell exterior has two layers for additional insulation and strength
  • Telescoping style ladder with angled steps enhance both comfort and safety
  • Universal mounting system accommodates most automobiles and cross bars

Even the zippers on this bad boy are waterproof. There is also a rainfly for additional protection. If you have kids, nieces or nephews, they will love the tent’s interior world map design. There is also a lovely sky view window to boot. An added bonus is the three-layer canopy windows for enhanced airflow and versatility. The icing on the cake is you get to choose your preferred colors between Rocky Black, White and regular Black.

2. Best Low Profile: Front Runner Roof Top Tent

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Outdoor adventurers are heaping on the praise for this uber-low 330 mm profile tent. This well-made rooftop tent decreases resistance to the wind when driving and also reduces vehicle height to boot. You will not find a rooftop tent on the market with a lower profile, meaning it enhances aerodynamics while driving to improve your vehicle’s gas mileage all the more. 

Roof Top Tent Features Include:

  • Accommodates two or more people for a restful night of sleep
  • Mounts directly to the top of the roof rack for a sheltered, warm, convenient and easily accessible space
  • Opens in a single motion for an instantaneous bedroom while out and about
  • Comparably light in weight makes it easy to set it up and take it down
  • The tent’s body is made of water-repellent poly-cotton ripstop style fabric made to stand the test of time
  • Includes a sliding aluminum ladder
  • Rainfly consisting of 400d polyester oxford fabric is UV-resistant and provides full coverage
  • Double hanging pockets provide additional storage space
  • Can be upgraded for quicker and easier dismounting and mounting

This rooftop tent has a sturdy base consisting of an aluminum frame, a thick foam core and sheeting, creating a well-insulated foundation. The high-density mattress made of foam is more than two inches thick, proves comfortable, is resistant to mildew and can be washed. The tent even has skylight style vent windows that can be unzipped to let the breeze inside the tent. These windows are also perfect for views of the nighttime sky and also to let some morning sunlight in after a restful night of sleep atop your car.

3. Best Budget: Smittybilt Overlander Rooftop Tent

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Don’t confuse budget with cheap, as Smittybilt has one of the strongest reputations for durability in the industry. This highly versatile tent makes it easy to camp wherever you desire. You can easily fold out this tent on your own, allowing it to reach its full height in mere seconds. This means there is no need to fuss around with ropes, tent pegs and other components of traditional tents. Add in the fact that this well-constructed tent is 100% waterproof and there is no need to spend a single second worrying about ending up stuck outside in the pouring rain. 

Features of this SmittyBilt rooftop tent include:

  • Fully waterproof
  • LED strip interior light
  • Stainless steel hinges
  • 600D heavy-duty rip stop polyester
  • Mosquito screens
  • Includes mounting brackets and telescoping aluminum ladder
  • Foam mattress is high density with a removable cover
  • Anodized aluminum frame poles
  • Accommodates upwards of three people
  • Overall great value for a roof top tent

This expertly designed tent is built to stand the test of time. However, if the tent were to fall apart or prove fallible in other ways, there is no reason to panic as this tent comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.

4. Best 4 Person / Family Rooftop Tent: Roam Adventure Co. Vagabond XL Rooftop Tent

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This sturdy foldout style rooftop tent accommodates upwards of four individuals for comfy sleeping. The rooftop tent has a high-density mattress made of foam. The tent proves reliable in all different types of weather. You can easily install this beauty on a vehicle with a standard roof rack. In fact, you only need a couple minutes to pitch the tent. Both the tent itself and the rainfly consist of sturdy polycotton ripstop style fabric along with a lightweight aluminum ladder that telescopes to provide quick and direct access to this temporary home stationed above the ground.

Features of This 4 Person Roof Top Tent Include:

  • Three windows and skylight that can be unzipped for lovely views
  • Aluminum base is plasticized for resistance to dents and scratches
  • Gear hammock included so your gear does not have to stay on the ground
  • 1” frame proves durable across all seasons
  • Porch style window enhances visibility
  • Annex is optional for additional shelter
  • The telescope style ladder does not stick as often occurs with sliding ladders
  • The zipper is silent so you can open and close the tent without waking your tentmate
  • Boot bags with dual pockets keep sneakers outdoors and within easy reach

Give this rooftop tent’s UltraPlush mattress a try and you will agree it is quite comfy. This mattress has high density 3” foam. The mattress is within a waterproof base so moisture does not contact you while sleeping, reading or simply relaxing. The mat below has enhanced anti-condensation that stops the buildup of moisture beneath the mattress. All in all, the tent weighs 160 pounds. There is a one-year warranty that provides quite the helpful peace of mind.

5. Best Hard Shell: Thule Tepui Hybox Rooftop Tent

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Tepui takes pride in bringing the first-every hybrid style roof system to the market. This rooftop tent complete with a cargo box is built into a convenient and sturdy hard shell. This is a spacious and comfy rooftop tent. There is even a large gear container included so you can keep your sundries on the roof of your vehicle with you.

The Hybox has a telescoping ladder that measures 8 feet and 6 inches in height. The ladder can be connected to either side of the rooftop tent for quick access. All in all, the tent weighs 177 pounds. The mattress itself weighs 40 pounds.

Hard Shell Roof Top Tent Features Include:

  • Easily accessible
  • Universal mounting
  • Latches release on each end opening to the tent or through the side for direct access to the cargo storage space
  • HyBox has 23 cubic feet worth of storage space, which is significantly more than the space provided by the largest competing containers
  • Mounts directly to racks or vehicle aftermarket bars

Perhaps the tent’s most important feature is its highly aerodynamic hard shell that is well-built and won’t compromise your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Ride around the wilderness with this rooftop tent and you will agree it is quieter than you initially assumed. The hard shell even has ultraviolet light inhibitors and color fade inhibitors to boot. The lower shell combines welded aluminum and ABS with a distinctive honeycomb for panels with reinforced support. Those who have purchased the tent rave about hits HyBox canopy made of polyester and cotton with an exemplary waterproof rating. The canopy provides considerable protection yet is breathable to ensure user comfort. 

Take a close look at the canopy for yourself and you will find it has specialized mesh that prevents people from seeing inside along with ZipperGimp that enhances versatility, empowering you and fellow campers to remove the canopy and transform the shelter into a cargo carrier that proves quite durable. 

6. Most Aerodynamic: Eezi-Awn Blade

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When it comes to aerodynamic rooftop tents, there are none better than this one. Aerodynamics are important in the context of rooftop tents as well-designed tents allow the wind to glide off the tent and vehicle to improve fuel efficiency. This fabric tent made by Eezi-Awn is considered to be the sequel to the insanely popular Stealth model made last year. The Stealth was revered for its completely aluminum hard shell, matte black powder coating and superior construction.

Tent Features Include:

  • Additional bedding storage space built into the tent’s body
  • Tent walls are constructed of rigid material dubbed rip-top canvas
  • Double Entry mesh panels enhance privacy
  • The floor and the roof of the tent are insulated to provide the optimal level of comfort
  • Rapid takedown and setup ensures you do not waste your time
  • You can easily erect and take down this tent on your own without the assistance of a fellow camper
  • Privacy mesh panels prevent outsiders from seeing inside the rooftop tent
  • Triple entry
  • Low profile aerodynamic design
  • Campers in the tent enjoy 270-degree viewing
  • Rainfly opening in the back with spring steel style rain fly rods
  • 12 volt power supply socket with the supply cord included in the tent
  • Interior roof has national Luna LED lighting
  • The tent has internal pockets for storage
  • Gas struts are internal
  • Stainless steel latches can be locked
  • You can easily lower the roof with the assistance strap
    Ladder bag included
  • Double size mattress is built into the tent
  • The back roof is elevated to accommodate that much more storage
  • Weighs 175 pounds

The Blade takes the Stealth to the next level. Check out the Blade’s aesthetic and you will find a visually striking two-tone color scheme that is quite pleasing to the eyes. The Blade also has a smaller shape, featuring a hinge design with two separate latches rather than the scissor lift on the Stealth that had four latches. The Blade also comes with a specialized ladder featuring an internal extension capability. This ladder can be stored within the tent with ease. So don’t worry about finding a place below the tent to accommodate the ladder. Simply slide it right into the tent and you will have more than enough space to stretch out, sleep, eat, read or simply talk with your fellow campers.

7. Best Value: Eezi-Awn Jazz Rooftop Tent

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This unique rooftop tent has a wide array of features with mass appeal. The Jazz Rooftop Tent by Eezi-Awn is affordable, well-constructed and likely to stand the test of time. In fact, the engineers at Eezi-Awn specifically built this bad boy to withstand Mother Nature’s wrath while protecting its camping occupants. 

Features include:

  • Makes fantastic use of Eezi-Awn’s unique folding platform style design
  • Accommodates two full-grown adults
  • Has the potential to double as a trailer tent though the height of your specific trailer dictates the extent of its utility
  • Four massive doors and windows each with a privacy panel and mesh so outsiders cannot see inside
  • Poly-Cotton ripstop is coated with Teflon
  • Pull bar mounts are optional
  • Ladder extension is optional
  • Constructed with universal mounting squarely in mind
  • Rainfly has built-in shades
  • Internal bungee design makes it that much easier to store the tent
  • The foam mattress is high-density
  • Cover has a ratchet strap included
  • Cotton thread is wax-coated and double stitched
  • Nylon reinforced clips
  • Spring steel rainfly
  • Hardwood panels are polyurethane encased
  • The PVC roof tent cover has welded seams and a ultraviolet light protection rating for five years
  • Mesh screen has trapezoidal microfiber

Buy this tent and it will likely serve you well for several years to come. You will be hard-pressed to find a better tent at a lower price point than the Eezi-Awn Jazz Rooftop Tent.

8. Arb Series III Simpson Rooftop Tent and Annex Combination

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This rooftop tent brings an improved design to the table, featuring new materials that enhance durability, strength and water resistance. There is now an annex included for additional shelter. Made from the best possible fire-retardant cotton/poly fabric available, this tent is as safe and durable as it gets. The tent also features an Oxford polyester flysheet. You can quickly and easily mount this rooftop tent to a roof rack or cross bars that are load-rated

ARB Rooftop Tent Features Include:

  • High density foam mattress measures 2.5” and proves quite comfortable
  • The mattress has its own removable cover
  • The masterminds behind this tent even designed it with insect screened doors and windows
  • Drive through town, the state or the country and you will agree the tent is convenient and easy to use as it unfolds in mere minutes
  • Bedding can remain within the tent as you drive, liberating you to use your vehicle’s storage space for other purposes
  • Bungee cord system ensures the walls are tucked in to help speed up the packing process so you can hit the road that much sooner
  • Made with waterproof materials of the highest quality
  • Taped seal seams provide two times as much protection as other tents
  • All weather style venting decreases condensation within the tent
  • Aluminum ladder is retractable with a 1” diameter and supports a person who weighs upwards of 265 pounds
  • Chip foam mattress is 2.5” high density bonded, complete with a removable cover for enhanced durability and comfort
  • UV stabilized PVC cover is laminated and welded, complete with superior vision zippers and even a unique triple strap design
  • The awning is all-weather and is accessed with ease thanks to its twist-lock-pull out design

The tent also features a retractable aluminum ladder that makes it surprisingly easy to hop into bed after a long day of hiking, driving, fishing, swimming, etc. The 1” anodize aluminum poles are quite strong, bolstering the stability and strength of the rooftop tent and also serving to help minimize corrosion. While many other tents provide a single year warranty, this one is backed by a full two-year warranty for a truly invaluable peace of mind.

Rooftop Tent Buying guide

Will Your Roof Top Tent Fit on Your Car, SUV or Truck?

To fit any sort of rooftop tent on your vehicle you will need a roof rack. Some cars and trucks come with factory roof racks / rail systems, but usually you will need a rack so the tent can sit flush on the top of your car, securely. We recommend Prinus roof racks, Front Runner, or Gobi roof racks for fitting your new roof top tent. 

The main rule of thumb here is that the rack should be as big in dimension as the bottom side of the rooftop tent. This requires some quick research on your part and is very easy to figure out. 

Roof racks and roof top tents always come with mounting hardware, however you may need to buy separate mounting hardware if the rack and tent are not compatible. Give us a call at (800) 657-9490 or email us at if you have any questions about mounting your new roof top tent to your roof rack. 

Aside from connecting to vehicle roofs, rooftop tents can also connect to empty truck beds, on trailers, atop truck canopies and also on hitch racks.

Hard Shell vs Soft Shell Roof Top Tents

Hard shell rooftop tents are quite different from those of the soft shell variety.  The benefits of hard shell rooftop tents include:

  • Pop upward to create a large enclosed and secure space
  • Quick set up and take down process
  • Weatherproof and waterproof
  • Especially sturdy walls commonly made with plastic or fiberglass
  • Minimizes surrounding noise pollution

Hard shell rooftop tent drawbacks include:

  • Comparably expensive
  • Heavy so transportation will prove taxing on the muscles and vehicle MPGs
  • The sturdy top of the tent prevents you from enjoying a view of the nighttime sky

Soft shell rooftop tent benefits include:

  • Provide more sleeping space than hard shell tents
  • Protective cover to keep the water and elements outside
  • Lighter in weight so they are easier to transport
  • Less expensive than hard shell roof top tents 

The downside to soft shell rooftop tents is as follows:

  • These tents are shaped similar to large blocks when closed so they are noisy and reduce vehicle MPGs
  • Takes longer to set up and take down compared to the hard shell variety

Considering Interior Space and Sleeping Capacity of Your Rooftop Tent

The interior dimensions of your rooftop tent are particularly important as this is the space where you will be sleeping while away from home. You might also use this space for reading, planning your hiking route, socializing and eating so you’ll need some space. The typical rooftop tent has an interior space of about five feet to ten feet in length along with four to seven feet in width. Once rooftop tents are fully open, they are typically between three and a half feet and five feet in height. However, when closed, rooftop tents are a mere foot or less in height. 

So take some time to think about how many people are likely to be with you as you explore the outdoors. If you have a family, are planning on having kids or typically embark on adventures with several friends, choose a rooftop tent with more expansive dimensions. Ideally, the tent you select will have suitable dimensions for at least three people or more, sufficient storage space and also have additional niceties such as removable pockets along with a window or two. 

Weatherproof and Rainflys

Can you imagine buying a rooftop tent only for it to let the rain, sleet, hail, wind and other elements inside while you are trying to sleep? Rooftop tents should be made to endure the elements. However, some rooftop tents feature rigid water resistant fabrics along with waterproof rainflys while others are comparably basic. A full-coverage awning along the doors and windows will certainly help keep the air moving without permitting moisture to move inward. Certain models such as the Roofnest Falcon are designed with the shell as a roof. Hard shells tend to be more sturdy while soft shells have the potential to flap in the wind.

Some rooftop tents such as the iKamper Inner Insulation Tent provide the option of adding even more insulation. Pay attention to reviews that mention the tent rainfly. If it appears as though the rainfly does not repel water, move onto the next candidate. The rainfly should be full-coverage and the body fabric should be breathable to permit ventilation.

Weight / Aerodynamics

If the rooftop tent you select is particularly large, heavy or poorly designed, its aerodynamics will not be conducive to optimal fuel economy. It is quite possible that such flawed rooftop tents will reduce your vehicle’s overall miles per gallon or MPG for short. In other words, a heavy or poorly designed rooftop tent will cause you to spend that much more money on gasoline as you enjoy the greater outdoors. 

Though few know it, some rooftop tents weigh in excess of 200 pounds while others are around 90 pounds. Keep in mind, you will have to take the rooftop tent off your vehicle so it should be a reasonable weight. In fact, some rooftop tents are large to the point that they compromise vehicle handling to a certain extent. If your vehicle is small or lacks power, a top-heavy load just might alter your automobile’s center of balance and reduce its fuel economy. So be sure to do your homework in regard to weight and design before committing to a specific rooftop tent for your vehicle.

Ease of Installation / Fitment

Now that you are certain the rooftop tent is compatible with your automobile and its rack, it is time to load it into place. If the installation is not easy and quick, you will regret buying the specific rooftop tent you selected. Yakima and Thule typically make user-friendly rooftop tents that are simple to install. Other brands will take some extra work to install, possibly necessitating a couple trips to the local hardware store. You can find out more about the importance of the proper rooftop tent fitment and ease of installation at this link.

Final Words

Perform your due diligence before choosing a specific rooftop tent for your vehicle. This is an important decision as it requires a significant financial commitment and ultimately has the potential to make or break your road trips. Read through the reviews, do your homework, choose carefully and you will have done your part to ensure you are happy with your new rooftop tent.

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