In a tech-savvy world, camping is now on a different level. Gone are the days when campers have to set up camps on the ground only to roll in and out of the dirt and sand. With the modern trend of roof top tent camping, sleeping outdoors could mean staying in the comfort of one’s own vehicle. Furthermore, roof top tents allow the camper to spend less time setting up and more time enjoying the landscapes and starlit skies. Setting up for the night is as easy as dropping the ladder and lifting the roof.
Though roof top tents work on both SUVs and trucks, going through the dozens of brands can be overwhelming. To simplify, this guide rounds up the best roof top tents from leading brands in the market, alongside their unique selling points and features. The following are what we’re checking out:
- ARB Roof Top Tents
- Yakima Roof Top Tents
- Tepui Roof Top Tents
- Front Runner Roof Top Tents
- Tuff Stuff Roof Top Tents
All of these brands offer comfortable and compact roof top tents, which any camper can use to camp anywhere he chooses.
Compared to conventional ground tents, roof top tents offer more benefits. The most important one, perhaps, is sleeping entirely off the ground. No more worrying about creepy crawlies and animals. No more sleeping on an uneven or rocky surface. No more waking up to a wet groundsheet. As long as one embraces this new trend in camping, rest assured that you can enjoy seeing the beauty of nature from a higher point.
The Best Roof Top Tents
The tents compiled in this guide are top-rated by experts and users based on durability, ease of operation, and prices. However, what works with one camper and his vehicle may not work with another; thus, comparing roof top tents around can be of utmost help. When doing so, take into consideration the height of the vehicle, the maximum weight in which the roof top tent has to support, and the weather conditions under which the roof top tent will be used. Roof top tent camping in summer requires mosquito netting and double doors, while roof top tent camping in colder temperatures requires quality materials that can insulate well. Generally, weight is an important consideration as not to cause the vehicle to overload. To determine the maximum weight that the camper can carry on the move, he has to review first the vehicle’s dynamic loading weight. If this is overlooked, the vehicle’s handling and braking will be affected.
In no particular order, the following are the best roof top tents:
ARB ROOF TOP TENTS
ABR is another brand that produces high-quality accessories for roof top tent camping. It is dubbed as Australia’s best manufacturer since 1975. The company specializes in a special line of roof top tents known as Simpson.
ARB Simpson III Roof Top Tent
This 185-pound roof top tent is perfect for campers who seek comfort and convenience. Based on customer reviews, this tent is one of the bests in the market today.
It comes with a telescopic aluminum ladder that the camper can use to climb up and down the tent. It also comes with a 2.5 inch foam mattress that gives supreme comfort during the cold nights. Also, ABR Simpson 11 Roof Top Tent is paired with an annex that gives additional space and storage for other camping gears and accessories. Because malaria and skin allergies can be life-threatening sometimes, this tent provides insect screens to fully protect the camper from mosquitoes, bugs, and others.
YAKIMA ROOF TOP TENTS
Yakima started off as a small machine shop before it developed into a leading supplier of camping gears and accessories. In 2015, Yakima and Toyota joined forces to produce an abundant supply of vehicular products.
Yakima SkyRise Roof Top Tent
Camping enthusiasts usually like the features that Yakima SkyRise Roof Top Tent offers. Part of what makes camping an exciting one is that this tent provides them the opportunity to camp off the cold and muddy ground. Its specifications include a dimension of 51 x 43 x 11 inches and a weight of 101.9 pounds.
Of all the models offered by Yakima, this tent is probably the smallest. Its 28 square feet sleeping space can accommodate two adult campers. The body of this tent is constructed from 210D nylon while the rainfly uses a PU coating. Not only are these materials robust and relatively light but breathable as well. In fact, customer reviews attest that Yakima SkyRise Roof Top Tent neglects chances of suffocation during summer camping.
Additionally, the windows of this tent are mesh-screened to aid in additional ventilation. Unlike other roof top tents, this one does not require the camper to bring inflatable sleeping pads. Its foam mattress alone is a great accessory to curl up into during the night.
Usage wise, this roof top tent offers the best features. The only downside of this roof top tent is that it can expose the camper to the chemical antimony oxide A that can cause eye irritations, heart problems, and lung cancer.
Yakima SkyRise Roof Top Tent 3-Person 3-Season
If you are tired of panoramic views and the starry night sky, this roof top tent could be your best option. It measures 58 x 48 x 17 inches and weighs 115 pounds.
From the name itself, one can simply understand that this roof top tent is created to house three campers into its 37 square feet of sleeping space. It comes with an ideal rainfly that keeps the campers dry and a fold-out ladder. In the case of rough climatic conditions, this roof top tent can maintain a freestanding structure due to its double walling. To any roof rack camper, Yakima SkyRise Roof Top Tent 3-Person 3-Season can provide a memorable camping experience.
Yakima Skyrise Roof Top Tent Poler Edition
On a similar note, this roof top tent follows that of the previous tent’s camper capacity. It can house three people, and it is advertised as the latest edition of Yakima camping tents.
This tent is lightweight and technically advanced. It is constructed from light and breathable 210D nylon. For cushy comfort, this tent comes with a thick 2.5 wall to wall foam mattress and equivalent removable cover. This means that there is no need to clean the mattress often.
TEPUI ROOF TOP TENTS
Tepui is a well-known, enthusiastic outdoor company that is based in Santa Cruz, California. Most customer reviews regarding their roof top tent camping gears are consistently positive. This gives the impression that they offer those of the highest quality.
Tepui Explorer Ayer Roof Top Tent
This tent is ideal for roof top tent camping near the beachside or in the wild. The camper can carry it along with any camping site as it packs smaller. The dimension of the Tepui Explorer Ayer Roof Top Tent is 54 x 48 x 12 inches while the weight is 2.2 pounds.
It can house two people and protects them from heavy rains and stiff winds. Such capacity is due to the 260 g poly-cotton blend fabric and the high-quality 600D ripstop. This roof top tent can withstand the elements as it is made up of 100 g heavy duty PVC material and 420D polyester oxford materials for the annex. Furthermore, the mesh panels offer excellent ventilation, reducing suffocation risks on the part of the camper. The camper can easily set up and swap out the lightweight canopy in any of the seasons. For more comfort, Tepui Explorer Ayer Roof Top Tent has a high density 2 ½ inches foam mattress. Overall, having this tent equates to having a sound and cozy sleep.
Tepui Explorer Autana Roof Tent
Another option for roof top tent camping, this tent is designed to conquer the realities of miserable camping experiences. This model is widely used in Colorado and South Dakota. The specifications include a weight of 2.2 pounds and a 3-person design.
What attracts most sleepers is Tepui Explorer Autana Roof Tent’s operational panels intended for stargazing. What more, it features exceptional build quality that can surely endure elements of any climate. Not only is this tent UV and mold resistant, but it also provides maximum air circulation through its mesh panels. For additional sleeping space, the extended private canopy entrance with removable annex can satisfy any sleeper.
Tepui Explorer Kukenam
This tent is designed with year-round protection in mind. It weighs 2.2 pounds, lightweight enough to be transported to any roof top tent camping.
Tepui Explorer Kukenam’s cushy foam base gives a camper the maximum comfort and rest. Moreover, it features heavy-duty polyester and cotton fabrics. The canopy, on the other hand, is PU coated to keep moisture and rainwater out. When it comes to the installation process, this roof top tent has universal mounting brackets. The camper can readily use these brackets in attaching the tent to the vehicle’s roof rack or after-market roof bar.
Tepui LoPro 3 Roof Top Tent
Just like the previous roof top tent, this one is also a 3-person design. This model from Tepui is one of the tents that have created a storm in the camping industry. Once the camper mounts this tent on top of his vehicle, he can enjoy the luxury and serenity of camping above everyone else at a campground. This tent weighs 2.2 pounds and measures 56 x 95 inches.
The base of Tepui LoPro 3 Roof Top Tent is made from durable and recyclable thermoplastic materials. The canopy is also constructed from materials that offer total protection from heat and rain. Even when it is raining hard on the campsite, the camper does not need to worry about water getting into the tent. In fact, he can treat himself with a favorite novel while the rain pours hard outside. Once he starts drifting off, the 2 inches foam mattress will offer a perfect slumber.
FRONT RUNNER ROOF TOP TENTS
Front Runner is based outside Johannesburg, South Africa. Products manufactured by Front Runner continue to earn a prominent place in the camping industry. As one of the leading brands, they are known for their good reputation in quality materials, smart designs, and durability.
Front Runner Roof Tent
This tent comes with a dimension of 8 x 2 x 10 inches. When unfolded, it measures 4.3 inches. It is designed with a special Oxford tent fabric, which makes the tent breathable and resistant to mold, water, and fire. Also, it is PVC coated and mounted to an aluminum base. During the day, a semi-permanent HD fly-sheet offers excellent shade. The flysheet can be removed, especially on warm evenings. The Front Runner Roof Tent also has a good roof ventilator and mosquito screen. Included upon purchase of the tent package are a comfortable mattress, sleeping bags, sleeping pillows, and sturdy aluminum ladder.
TUFF STUFF ROOF TOP TENTS
Based out of Santa Ana, California, Tuff Stuff continues to create a buzz in the market when it comes to roof top tents.
Tuff Stuff Elite Overlander Roof Top Tent
This tent is built from a 280g poly cotton rip-stop fabric that is coated with waterproof Polyurethane. Inside the 94.5 x 79 inches sleeping space is a thick foam mattress that offers optimum comfort. Aside from the two foldable ladders, the tent features two entry doors, and 2 screened windows at the head for best air circulation. There is also a removable split wall that is designed for additional privacy. Tuff Stuff Elite Overlander Roof Top Tent is best for family camping as one can add an annex room to house more than five sleepers inside the roof top tent.
The Reasons Why Roof Top Tents Are Great
Some campers who are fond of ground camping just park their vehicles from a distance. When they are well-rested at night, thieves prefer their vehicles for the reason that it is neatly parked away from the owners. On the contrary, campers who are resting above the ground are the least targets of those who want to steal vehicles. This is mainly because thieves obviously find it difficult to steal vehicles with tents and occupants on the roof.
Sure, waking up in the middle of the night being surrounded by lions, wolves, and wild snakes can be pretty scary. Most likely, this happens when you camp on the ground. But if you camp above the ground with a roof top tent, you can go to bed feeling secure that you are unlikely to share your bed with wild animals and creepy crawlies.
From the perch atop your vehicle, you can witness that the sunset seems closer, and the morning bird songs seem well orchestrated.
Increased Vehicle Space
Long hours of travel are tiring in the first place. But, traveling while surrounded by the stuff inside the vehicle is two times tiring. You can hardly move inside while your legs are folded on top of the bags. Sitting for long hours without having to move the legs can cause a condition called Traveller’s Thrombosis. Initially, this condition relates to economy class passengers of airlines. Today, it is no longer restricted to them as the same danger is also present in any mode of transportation. Traveler’s Thrombosis simply refers to the formation of blood clots in the inner legs. The pain and risk are much higher to passengers who have had their legs operated and those who have varicose veins. With a roof top tent, passengers are given more legroom the entire travel period, thus, reducing the risks of Traveller’s Thrombosis.
Quality Sand-Free Sleeping
The reality in ground camping is that sleepers can feel grains of sand between their sheets. With a roof top tent suspended above the ground, dust and dirt cannot get inside that easily. Additionally, sleeping above the ground allows for cooler nights and quality sleeping. The mattress, which is included upon purchase of roof top tents, usually offer better quality than standard mattresses. This leaves any camper a refreshing feeling the next morning.
How much does a roof top tent cost?
One can expect a budget between $1000 to over $2500 as the prices of roof top tents vary between manufacturers. Established manufacturers supply fairly pricey roof top tents because they make sure that those are of top quality and backed up by after-sales service. In short, quality roof top tents come at a cost. On the other hand, some manufacturers supply affordable roof top tents. Not all of these roof top tents are durable enough and offer the quality of after-sales service.
How long will a roof top tent last?
The lifespan of the roof top tent depends on its quality, how often it is used, and how well it is maintained. Some campers buy acceptable roof top tents at lower prices and treat it with care. These roof top tents then last for many years compared to the ones not properly used and taken care of. The quality of a roof top tent is an essential factor during purchase; however, everything boils down to how well a camper maintains it.