Top 9 Best Roof Top Tents for Your Tacoma
The Best Rooftop Tents for your Toyota Tacoma
Sleeping in a tent on the ground sucks, face it. There's no reason anymore to pitch a tent anymore with all these options these days.
Why not just pop open a rooftop tent, setup camp in minutes, sleep well and camp in style? All you need is a roof rack or a bedrack and the right roof top tent for your Tacoma!
Don’t just rush out there to buy the biggest rooftop tent you can afford. Stop and ask yourself this. Do you know what type and size of tent you will need? How many people are going to stay in it? Is your tent right for your Taco model?
You need to consider these and other factors before buying a rooftop tent for your Toyota Tacoma.
Not sure what these factors are? We’ve made it easy for you by narrowing down a list of compatible rooftop tents for the Toyota Tacoma and selection criteria.
But before we jump into that, let’s first look at the different kinds of Toyota Tacomas.
26 Years In The Making
It’s hard to believe. Isn’t it? The Tacoma has been stealing our hearts for almost three decades! And in these passing years, the Tacoma has seen three generations, each better than the last.
Unsure how they’re classified? Here goes. The Tacos released between 1995 and 2004 are referred to as the first-generation. These were compact pickups. Then came the mid-sized pickups in 2005. That’s right. The second-generation Tacos rolled all the way till 2015, and what you see now is the third generation.
While much can change about the Tacos, what remains pretty consistent are the two body styles—Access cab and Double cab—and the configurations (which can be generally narrowed down to the 2 and 4 wheel drive models!)
Can’t tell the difference? Here’s what to look out for. The Access cab or the regular Tacomas have folding jump seats, rear-hinged back doors, and greater sporty performance. This includes more traction and power (naturally). However, the Double cab features regular doors, actual rear seats, and excellent range on the highway.
Fitting the Rack on a Roof Rack vs. Bed Rack vs. Cab (Access Cab vs. Double Cab and Sizes, Mounting to the Cab vs. Camper Shell)
As the name suggests, a roof rack is mounted to the roof. The length of the roof rack is the same as your cab. A roof rack holds considerably less weight than other rack types, but can definitely hold up a tent and a few people. You can mount both hard shell and soft shell tents on your roof rack.
Bed racks are mounted to the side walls or inner rails of the bed of your vehicle. They are slightly higher than the height of the bed. You can even raise them to match the height of the roof. Bed racks can be rallied within minutes and are better for users who have greater storage needs. They are also a preferred option for some off-roaders since they have better load capacity and offer greater fuel economy.
Mounting Your Tent to Cab vs Camper Shell / Topper
We've noticed that most people nowadays actually mount their rooftop tents to roof racks on their camper shells / toppers. With a good quality shell and rack you won't have any weight constraints with picking a rooftop tent, a soft shell or hard shell tent should work.
Just keep in mind when shopping for roof rack and tent, that there are 2 lengths for a Tacoma truck bed, 5 or 6 feet.
Cab Types and Sizes
Let’s take a quick look at cab sizes across the three generations.
1995-97 Regular Cab 2WD
1995-97 Xtracab 2WD
1995-97 Regular Cab 4WD
1995-97 Xtracab 4WD
1998-2000 Regular Cab 4WD
1998–2002 Regular Cab 2WD
1998–2002 Xtracab 2WD
1998–2002 Regular 4WD
1998–2002 Xtracab 4WD
2003-2004 Regular Cab 4WD
2003–2004 Xtracab Double Cab 2WD
Taco’s second and third generation cab type and size comparison:
Double Cab Short Bed
Double Cab Long Bed
The main difference between an Access Cab and a Double Cab is size. Access Cabs only have a 6-foot bed capacity with two main doors, whereas Double Cabs are more spacious with a 10-foot bed capacity. Double cabs feature both a shorter 5-foot bed and a longer 6-foot bed. Double Cabs also come with four doors and five-seater space.
If you’ve got a Tacoma with an Access cab, getting a soft shell tent is advisable. If, however, you want more space with a hard shell tent, you’ll need to fit either a bed rack or canopy. It is dangerous to mount a hard shell tent over only the Access cab as it creates too much overhang.
If you’ve got a Double cab, then either a hard or soft shell will work as long as the tent fits the vehicle.
Soft shell tents are also better suited for Access cabs since they have a lower load capacity. However, you can fit any type of tent on a Double cab, a soft or a hard shell, as they can handle the tents’ load and size.
You need to consider these and other factors before buying a rooftop tent for your Toyota Tacoma. We’ve made it easy for you by narrowing down a list of compatible rooftop tents for the Toyota Tacoma and selection criteria.
So, let’s look at some of the best rooftop tents for the Toyota Tacoma.
Top Roof Top Tents for Toyota Tacoma
Buy from Amazon
- Dimensions: 50 90 inches
- Weight: 80 pounds
- Load capacity: 300 to 400 pounds
- Height: 50 inches (open) 6 inches (closed)
- Thermoplastic honeycomb composite build
- 300D ripstop polyester walls
- 600D polyester roof and bottom
- Telescoping ladder (for an additional charge)
- Three windows with zip-open mesh screen
Go Fast Campers are known for giving us some of the top-of-the-line products for truck camping. The same can be said for its SuperLite tents that are known to be the lightest hard shell rooftop tents in the market. It is the easiest tent to set up if you’re doing the work all by yourself.
The thermoplastic honeycomb tent is rigid, UV resistant, impact-resistant, and dimensionally stable as well. The lightweight tent is spacious and can comfortably accommodate two people. Moreover, it is easy to store when not in use. The mattresses aren’t sold with the product, so you’ll have to purchase them separately.
Buy from Amazon
- Floor dimensions: 83 51 inches
- Weight: 125 pounds
- Height: 13 inches (closed) and 48 inches (open)
- Load Capacity: 300-400 pounds
- Honeycomb aluminum panel floor
- High-density poly foam mattress sleeps two adults
- 300gsm polycotton canvas fabric
- 3-layer canopy windows
- Skyview window
- Telescoping ladder with angled steps
- Waterproof polyester rainfly 150D
- Stainless steel hard shell locks
- ISO 9001 Quality Management
- ISO 14001 Environmental Management
- 4 season
This iKamper Skycamp Roof Top Tent is an expandable hard shell rooftop tent. It sets up within a minute, so it is perfect for those who want to take shorter trips without the hassle of a complicated setup. The two layers of the hard shell are lightweight and aerodynamic, so there’s little pressure on the car when driving.
The thick blackout canvas helps keep the interiors ventilated and blacks out the light. It is also wind-resistant and comes with an insulated lining that keeps you warm and cozy. The flooring is made of honeycomb aluminum. It is light, rigid, heat-insulated, non-combustible, impact, and moisture-resistant as well. The manufacturer even claims it can hold a 1.8-ton Jeep Wrangler!
Its universal mounting system will fit most crossbars and vehicles, so you can go ahead and buy this one for yourself without worrying about compatibility.
Buy from Amazon
- Floor dimensions: 81 51 inches
- Weight: 155 pounds
- Height: 37 inches (open)
- Load Capacity: 300-400 pounds
- Two doors
- 3 season
- Coated cotton/ polyester canopy fabric
- No-see-um mesh
- Fiberglass shell
- 3-inch foam mattress with removable cover
- Release latches on both ends
- Fuel efficient aerodynamic shell design
- 8.5 ft telescoping ladder
The Tepui Hybox Tent is a hybrid tent that turns into a cargo box using a zip. Like the iKamper, this tent has an aerodynamic design that will make your truck happy and keep your fuel usage low.
The canopy on this tent has a 3,000mm waterproof rating and openings on all sides for maximum ventilation. The canopy doors even turn into awnings if used with the spring rods provided with the product. The upper interior of this tent is lined with a reinforced quilt that provides insulation and dampens sound, while the lower shell offers durable reinforcement to the structure.
You can fit the Hybox onto the rack or aftermarket bars on your vehicle. It is designed to fit most vehicles with a roof rack with a dynamic weight capacity of 155 pounds.
Buy from Amazon
- Dimensions: 96 51 inches
- Weight: 93 pounds
- Height: 46 inches (open) and 13 inches (closed with ladder) 8.5 inches (closed without ladder)
- Load Capacity: 600 pounds
- Water-repellant 260g 600D polycotton ripstop body
- 2.25 inches high-density PU foam mattress
- Waterproof, UV resistant 400D polyester oxford rainfly
- Aluminum ladder
- Aluminum sheet base and side rails with foam core
- Skylight vent windows
- 650g heavy-duty PVC tent cover
This tent by Front Runner is not just light in weight but also on your budget. The tent’s base is a durable aluminum frame, making it light, insulated, and strong. Its high-density foam core provides a sturdy structure without adding too much weight to the tent.
The water-repellent and durable tent body of the Front Runner is made from 260g polycotton ripstop fabric. This fabric is also known to be mildew resistant and won’t rip or tear easily.
The Front Runner rooftop tent has a PVC-coated nylon tent cover that is wear-resistant, anti-corrosive, and water-resistant. It is capable of protecting your tent from dirt, UV damage and lasts a long time.
This tent accommodates two people and opens instantly in a smooth motion that requires no additional effort at all.
Buy from Amazon
- Dimensions: 122 56 inches
- Weight: 195 pounds
- Height: 52 inches (open) and 12 inches
- Load Capacity: 400-500 pounds
- Extended canopy entrance and removable annex
- 600 pounds static weight capacity
- Dual stitched taped seams
- UV and mold resistant 360g polyester cotton, 600D ripstop canopy fabric
- Mosquito screen
- Two built-in screened sky panels
The Thule Tepui Autana weighs heavier than most rooftops, giving you a higher load capacity. The tent’s base has a heavy-duty aluminum tube frame with diamond plate cap sheets. This makes your tent base more durable, anti-corrosive, and resistant to the elements.
This tent design includes a unique anti-condensation mat that keeps moisture from building up under the mattress. The canopy fabric is 600D ripstop polyester cotton fabric that can resist mildew and water and doesn’t tear easily either. The material is as breathable as it is durable.
The Thule Autana tent is an excellent addition to your off-roading trips with family, friends, or a pet.
Buy from Amazon
- Dimensions: 95 56 inches
- Weight: 154 lbs.
- Height: 51 inches (open) and 11.5 inches (closed)
- Load Capacity: 661 lbs.
- 4 season
- 92 55 inches foam mattress
- 600D heavy-duty waterproof polyester material
- Side windows with CE-approved mosquito nets
- Anodized aluminum frame poles
- Telescopic ladder
- Interior LED strips
- Heavy-duty PVC tent cover
- 12V cigarette lighter-power adapter
- Water tested at 1500mm
When it comes to weight, the Smittybilt Overlander is the first tent that comes to mind. The tent is built with anodized aluminum frame poles and stainless steel hinges. These materials give the frame a long lifespan, durability, rust resistance, and strength.
The tent is easy to set up and uninstall after a road trip. It comes with a heavy-duty PVC tent cover that keeps your Smittybilt dry in storage. PVC material allows you to store it outdoors and indoors without any worries. Even the fabric is a heavy-duty ripstop polyester impregnated with polyurethane. It enhances the performance of your tent fabric by making it water-resistant, flexible, durable, abrasion, and tear-resistant.
It accommodates two or three people on its high-density foam mattress and can be accessed from the driver and passenger side.
Buy from Amazon
- Dimensions: 55 94 inches
- Weight: 178 pounds
- Load capacity: 300 to 400 pounds
- Height: 51 inches (open)
- 25. mm 1.2mm anodized aluminum pole
- 2.5 inches high-density bonded chip foam mattress (with removable cover)
- 300GSM poly/cotton rip-stop canvas material
- Skylight-style roof
- USB charging port
- Built-in internal light
- Three zipper windows
- PVC laminated cover
Features of ARB Tent Light
- Light output: 300 lumens
- Power output: Two USB ports (2.1A and 1A) and a 12V cig plug
- Current draw: Up to 1A @ 12V for lighting from 12V cig plug
- Compatibility: Any tents or awnings with 25mm pole
- IP54 splash resistance
- 4m fused cable
The ARB Simpson is as easy to set up as it is to pack, thanks to a bungee cord system that tucks the walls in as you pack down.
Getting into the tent isn't a hassle with an all-weather entry door that comes with grab straps. Also included with this tent is an anodized aluminum retractable ladder.
It is easier to keep dust and water from getting into the tent zips with the Velcro tabs. The weatherproof fabric is made of 300GSM poly/cotton rip-stop canvas. It has a polyurethane coating and seam tape to waterproof the tent.
The ARB Simpson accommodates all your bedding and pillows even when folded.
If you're looking for a tent that can do it all without compromising comfort, then go for this one!
Buy from Amazon
- Dimensions: 24 sq ft. (interior)
- Weight: 117 pounds
- Load capacity: 460 pounds
- Heavy-duty telescoping aluminum ladder extends up to 60mm
- 60mm thick high-density foam mattress
- 280GSM rip-stop reinforced polyester/ cotton canvas fabric
- 420D polyester/ oxford fabric rainfly
- Aircraft-grade 6061 aluminum framing
- Marine-grade stainless steel hinges
- 3 screened zip-up windows
- 680GSM/ 1200D PVC coated tarpaulin travel cover
The universal brackets included with the Body Armor Pile-2 are compatible with any SUV, truck, trailer with a roof rack or bed rack. The tent comes with a high-density foam mattress with a removable/ washable cover that accommodates two people.
The folding tent base has a scratch-resistant aluminum deck, while the tubes in the structure are made of aluminum and have an insulated core. There's nothing as durable as this tent with its corrosion-resistant materials and waterproof and tear-resistant fabric.
If multi-vehicle compatibility, durable build, and comfort are your priority, then this product is the one you’re looking for.
- Dimensions: 48 56 inches (closed) and 96 56 inches (open)
- Weight: 116 pounds (without the annex room)
- Load capacity: 685 pounds (based on roof and rack limitations)
- Height: 14 inches (closed) and 52 inches (open)
- High-density foam mattress
- Bungee cord system to assist pack up
- Heavy-duty PVC driving cover
- Aluminum and fiberglass base frame sheets
The Tuff Stuff Delta Overland Roof Top Tent is perfect for those with lower mounting level requirements. You can mount it to pickup truck beds, 4 4 travel trailers, or SUV vehicles with roof racks below head height.
The Tuff Stuff Delta Overland Roof Top Tent fabric and rainfly are polyurethane-coated, giving maximum resistance against elements like water, UV, and mold. The base frame is made of aluminum, while the base sheets are made of aluminum and fiberglass.
This product does not come with the annex room. So, you might have to buy it separately.
Buying Guide for Rooftop Tents for Toyota Tacoma
Buying a rooftop tent is not as simple as walking into a store and getting the first one you see. Since the options are endless and the information so overwhelming to first-time tent buyers, we’ve put together this guide to help make things easier for you.
Do note that while this guide doesn’t include all the features of RTTs, it includes the most important ones.
Adding a rack or basket onto any truck, even a bare one, will increase air resistance. Add to this the weight of all your gear, especially large objects like bicycles, and your truck’s fuel efficiency (MPG) will take a serious hit.
Factor in crosswinds and your RTT’s size and weight, and whether you’re on the highway or backcountry roads, you can expect anywhere between a 17-35% decrease in fuel economy. Furthermore, heavier RTTs like the Thule Tepui Autana put excessive pressure on your vehicle’s suspension system. This leads to poor steering and braking, which can be dangerous, even when turning mild corners. Heavy load on the suspension will add a “sag” to your Tacos’ frame and lead to a drift in steering. You’ll have more issues with handling as your truck’s center of gravity will shift as well.
While lightweight RTTS, like the Smittybilt Overlander, are fuel-efficient and don’t affect your vehicle’s suspension as much.
Aluminum is the most common material used in tents as they are light and resistant to corrosion and rust. We can see this in the Tuff Stuff Delta tent. However, this model also has reinforced fiberglass, making it fatigue resistant and improving its ability to handle impacts.
There’s also an option of anodized aluminum, as seen in the Smittybilt. It is harder than aluminum, resistant to rust, doesn’t weather or oxidize.
Another material that is common in tent builds is thermoplastic honeycomb and honeycomb aluminum. A thermoplastic honeycomb has a better ability to absorb impacts due to its unique structure and use of polypropylene. It is also lightweight, as can be seen in the SuperLite Camper.
In contrast, honeycomb aluminum panels combine the structural strength of honeycomb with aluminum’s qualities. An example of this is the Skycamp Mini.
Polyester is the most common fabric used in RTTs as it is durable, light, and cheap. Take a look at the SuperLite Camper. However, the biggest problem with polyester is that breathability is low.
Comparatively, polycotton is breathable, stronger, and has a higher wind resistance. You can check out the Front Runner RTT if you prefer polycotton fabric on your tent.
Making Sure the Roof Rack Can Fit and Handle the Weight
There are two things to consider: static weight and dynamic weight. The average weight of two to three people is between 300 to 600 pounds.
A Tacoma roof’s average static weight capacity is 570 pounds, and its average dynamic weight capacity is 300 pounds. The load capacity of the bed rack is 670 pounds on average.
That said, when purchasing a roof rack, you need to keep in mind that it doesn’t need to be fancy—simple aftermarket crossbars will suffice. However, it does need to be heavy-duty. You’ll also need to ensure that the tent’s weight and adults using it will be much lower than the roof rack’s weight limit.
Fitting the Tent on Bed Rails vs. Roof Rack
Roof racks will be installed in a north-south direction, the same direction as your vehicle, while bed rails will go over the width of your vehicle and sit on the outer walls or rails of your bed.
Adding a roof rack, as explained earlier, will shift your vehicle’s center of gravity. It will also increase air resistance (drag), thereby affecting your MPG negatively. This is where bed rails make a noticeable difference—the weight of the rails and gear (tent included) is at the rear of your truck. And since everything is below the cab’s height, your Taco’s aerodynamics stays intact.
Making Sure You Pick the Right Size Tent
You may find a Roof Top Tent (RTT) to be a better-suited option for your Tacoma. Even the longest RTTs generally fit the bed size of a Tacoma. You can fit a bed rack over the bed and mount your RTT on top of it. Make sure the bed rack sits at the same height as your cab, and you’re all set. A great RTT to consider is the Skycamp 2.0 Mini.
However, if you’ve already got a bed rack that is shorter than your cab, then you need to narrow down your search. Shorter bed racks that are 12-18 inches tall won’t work with an annex. To use an annex, you need to mount your tent at a height of 79-80 inches. Otherwise, the annex will sit too low and drag on the floor as well.
It is best to find a rack from the same manufacturer who’s selling the tent since the compatibility of the products won’t be an issue.
Incompatible tents will not only put pressure on your vehicle, but it will also affect your Taco’s driveability. Most vehicles come with a load capacity—load here being the weight of whatever you add to your truck’s bed. Depending on the Tacoma you own, it could be anywhere between 1600lbs and 1400lbs.
If the load is higher than load capacity, the center of gravity of your vehicle shifts. This results in overturning, higher fuel consumption, and reduced performance of the vehicle. That’s why you should check the load capacity of the rack and your vehicle before buying an RTT.
When it comes to off-roading vehicles, the Toyota Tacoma is a dream to drive. It is dependable, sturdy, and perfect for off-roading. Match it with the right tent, and nothing can stop you from taking that road trip!
Did you find the perfect rooftop tent for your next adventure? How do you like to explore the wild? Write your experiences to us in the comments below!