Best Car Roof Tents for 2024: Impressive Options

/ / Car Accessories
Rooftop tent install on Jeep Wrangler

Whether you are overlanding for a week or simply going out for a one-night camping trip, a place to sleep is part of the list of required components. You could hammock camp or even set up a car tent that easily attaches to your vehicle’s back door, but there are alternatives, especially if you want a sturdy shelter. Roof tents are a great option. They get you off the cold, hard ground and give you a sense of security while being pretty cool — though they are a bit on the pricy side. However, just be aware that there are multiple things to consider before purchasing a root tent.

Based on professional reviews from reputable publications in the camping and outdoor industry and a mix of user reviews, here are six rooftop tents to attach to your vehicle for your next camping excursion. A more detailed explanation of our research process can be found at the end of this article.

Roofnest Falcon 2

Roofnest Falcon 2

Many rooftop tent containers tend to come with a bit of bulk to them, considering a whole sleeping space is stuffed inside them. That can usually mean the bigger and heavier the container, the more your gas mileage will be affected — especially if you don’t change how you drive to accommodate the tent. However, the Roofnest Falcon 2 doesn’t pose as much of a bulk problem because the container is only 6.5 inches in height when closed. It can then open up to the max headroom of 60 inches.

This highly rated roof tent has excellent ratings, with 4.9 out of five stars on Roofnest’s website, but it comes at the hefty price tag of $3,595. In Outdoor GearLab’s review, it is stated that the tent is effortless to set up since it is a pop-up style, and the canopy is more breathable than other nylon versions.

A downside, though, is that the tent is pretty expensive for the size because it only sleeps two, and there isn’t any room for the ladder or additional bedding while the tent is collapsed down, meaning you’ll have to store everything in the vehicle. However, it does come with many accessories and options, like a 2-inch memory foam mattress, an anti-condensation mat, and a privacy tent.

Thule Tepui Foothill Tent

Thule Tepui Foothill Tent

A standard characteristic of a roof tent is that it tends to take up the whole roof of your vehicle, so there isn’t room for anything else. Although, that doesn’t mean all roof tents are like that. If you need a smaller roof tent that allows you to comfortably take more gear with you, like a kayak or a bicycle, the Thule Tepui Foothill Tent may be what you’re looking for. This tent can be found on the Thule website starting at $1,699.95.

The rooftop tent is considered a three-season, two-person tent — however, some reviews from users have stated that they used it while it was snowing with single-digit temperatures. They stayed warm with the help of some extra accessories like a quilted liner and an anti-condensation mat.

According to GearJunkie, the tent offers great advanced weather protection and has plenty of room inside. A downside could be that the tent is not a typical pop-up. Instead, you need to unzip it, attach the ladder, open the tent, and then crawl around inside to make sure the frame is in place. Additionally, since the ladder is not attached, it has to be either secured on top of the vehicle or placed inside. At the end of the day, though, this tent can be a great addition if you’re looking for something a bit smaller and want to bring more awesome camping accessories with you.

Smittybilt Overlander Rooftop Tent

Smittybilt Overlander Rooftop Tent

Overlanding is not a cheap hobby — you need camping gear, and rooftop tents can take a good chunk of your money. The more expensive the tent tends to mean the lighter the weight, the easier it is to set up, and the better quality the materials. However, not every camping enthusiast wants to spend thousands of dollars on a tent. The Smittybilt Overland Rooftop Tent is an affordable option with good user reviews on Amazon of 4.6 out of five stars and a list price of $1,325.99.

According to GearHacker, the Smittybilt Overlander has some shortcomings, but they don’t have to be dealbreakers. It is a fold-out soft-shell tent, so it unfolds fairly quickly after removing the travel cover, and you’ll need to adjust the attached ladder to the appropriate length. The most time-consuming part is installing the awning by connecting the four tension poles.

The tent is sturdy, and the main canopy is reinforced with waterproof polyurethane. According to many user reviews on Amazon, they haven’t had any issues with leaks when it is raining. However, reviews do state that the mattress that comes with the tent isn’t the best, so many invest in a good camping mat with all the money you’re saving with this affordable rooftop tent.

Roofnest Condor 2

Roofnest Condor 2 on vehicles

Do you want a rooftop tent that is quick to set up so you can start camping as fast as possible? According to a professional review by Gear Patrol, Roofnest Condor 2 is both quick and ridiculously easy. After releasing the snaps and ratchets, the tent only needs a little push before the gas struts open it for you. Even better, the awning can conveniently be set up from the inside.

The Roofnest Condor 2 is not one of the cheaper options — on the company’s website, it runs for $3,545 — however, the tent comes with several components like the ladder, detachable pockets, a privacy tent, and LEDS for inside and outside. It also comes with a shoe bag that hangs right outside the opening of the tent, so you can keep the inside a bit cleaner while not taking up more space.

Additionally, it can be installed on top of many different styles of vehicles. For example, several photos from Roofnest show the Condor 2 resting on a Subaru Crosstrek. In The Drive’s review of the tent, it was installed on top of a Can-Am ATV. The reviewer also discusses how impressive the space inside the tent is. Roofnest says it has a two to three-person occupancy. However, the Can-Am family fit two adults, three children, and a puppy inside. Obviously, that’s a tight fit but completely doable if you like the people you’re camping with.

iKamper Skycamp 3.0 Mini

iKamper Skycamp 3.0 Mini

Some rooftop tents come in a canvas bag, which can eventually start to fray from the wind while in travel mode. The iKamper Skycap 3.0 mini is a fold-out tent with the durability of a hardshell design. This means that the tent stays safe while traveling from campsite to campsite. It also works great for owners of smaller vehicles who still want the rooftop camping experience. On iKamper’s website, it costs $3,699 in black and comes with a two-year warranty.

According to Outdoor GearLab, iKamper’s mattress is comfortable and warm, and it comes with an insulated underside of the shell, which is great if you’re an avid cold-night camping enthusiast. There is mention of a downside that you may want to be aware of before purchasing this mini rooftop tent. The latches on the cover cannot be removed without the latch being locked, and the latch cannot close at all without the key. That can be a bit inconvenient. However, once locked, your tent is safe from any unforeseen hazards until the next time you want to use it.

Thule Tepui Explorer Kukenam

Thule Tepui Explorer Kukenam

Though not for everyone, many people love the thrill of camping in all four seasons — that means sunshine or snowstorms, they’re out in the wilderness. From Outdoor GearLab, the Thule Tepui Explorer Kukenam is the top soft-top recommendation for its high-quality materials, easy conversion, and endurance for all seasons. With everything this rooftop tent comes with, it costs a reasonable price of $1,999.95.

The Thule rooftop tent has an attached telescoping ladder used to unfold the tent after removing the cover, and the conversion is incredibly quick. The inside has a max height of 52 inches and can easily sleep up to three people. Also, when you’re not using all the weather-resistant main tent fabric, you can open the tent up for some serious star-gazing.

There is a slight downside to the mattress that comes with the tent. From Outdoor GearLab, the sleeping pad was comfortable compared to many others. However, from user reviews, many have stated that it wasn’t nearly enough and needed extra padding on top. Keep in mind that adding an extra mattress can decrease the headroom, though you will be more comfortable.

Our methodology for choosing these roof tents

Rooftop tent open and couple looking out at water

The car roof tents featured in this article were decided based on thorough research from multiple professional review publications, like GearJunkie, Outdoor GearLab, Gear Patrol, The Drive, and GearHacker. Additionally, reviews from users who have purchased and actively used the roof tents were taken into consideration. We do encourage you to do extra research before purchasing a roof tent to make sure it will fit your camping-style needs and your vehicle.

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