The 10 Best Rooftop Camping Tents for Off-Grid Excursions

Updated Jan 04, 2023
Photo: iKamper SKYCAMP 2.0

When most of us think of camping, sleeping on the ground is the first thing that comes to mind. It’s how we’ve likely been spending our outdoor trips since our youth, and of course, it’s the most primitive way to get some shuteye. Nowadays, however, there are a plethora of alternatives that have become more and more accessible from trusted companies that go beyond your traditional ground tents. Like, for example, rooftop tents.

Evading your occasional moist terra firma and the more-than-occasional nocturnal animal, setting up a tent on the roof of your car has become more prevalent in recent years for a good reason. Aside from the utilitarian benefits and quick setup, rooftop tents can provide a vantage point that you just don’t get when waking up on the ground. Of course, the taller the vehicle, the higher your view. For a heightened sleeping experience, check out our guide to the best rooftop camping tents on the market.

Photo: Front Runner

Front Runner Roof Top Tent

Standing at only 330mm tall when folded down on your car’s roof, Front Runner’s Roof Top Tent has one of the lowest profiles of any rooftop tent available, making for a much more aerodynamic driving experience on the way to the campsite. Weighing just under 95lbs, this sleeper opens up in one quick motion for an immediate setup and comes with a sliding aluminum ladder for easy access. However, don’t let its lightness fool you: This tent is super sturdy, made with heavy-duty, PVC-coated 650g nylon fabric that will stay protected whether upright or stowed away.

Purchase: $1,169

Photo: Smittybiltt

Smittybilt Gen 2 Overlander Tent XL

Smittybilt is known for its high-quality, yet affordable camping gear, and the Gen 2 Overlander Tent XL is no different. Extremely spacious, sleeping 3 to 4 adults on a king-size bed, this rooftop tent won’t break the bank and is built with heavy-duty ripstop polyester and a waterproof and polyurethane top for added protection. Anodized aluminum poles and stainless steel hinges offer worry-free sleep at night, and the mattress remains inside the tent while it’s collapsed for an even easier setup and takedown. The LED lighting strip provides an excellent atmosphere after the sun dips down, as well.

Purchase: $1,599

Photo: Yakima

Yakima SkyRise HD Small

Utilizing a unique frame geometry, the Yakima SkyRise HD makes up for its smaller floorplan with great headroom and clear, large, angled rooftop panels for a view of the night sky when you’re lying down to go to sleep. Thanks to 600d Ripstop polyester and 3000mm waterproof PU coating on the outside, this tent will keep you warm and dry in any weather. The 2.5″ thick foam mattress sleeps two to three campers (there’s a medium size also available), and the easy, tool-free set-up makes this a great choice for those who aren’t partial to manual labor.

Purchase: $1,899

Thule x Tepui Low-Pro 3

Rooftop tents can be known for their versatility if utilized properly, but Thule’s rooftop tent line takes versatility to a whole new level thanks to the ZipperGimp, which allows the canopy to be swapped out with one that fits your particular situation. The x Tepui Low-Pro 3 in particular is a lightweight dome canopy, but with double-wall, all-season protection thanks to 100% ripstop polyester that’s UV- and mildew-resistant. The 9.4″ profile when packed minimizes wind resistance and maximizes gas mileage. To make it even more livable, the tent also comes with storage pockets on the inside.

Purchase: $2,000

KingCamp Rooftop Tent

Hard-top sleepers are a great option for adventures in more extreme weather and rugged conditions. Without having to worry about ripping or tearing, the tougher skin is preferred among those who head out more often or for longer stretches. The KingCamp Rooftop Tent doesn’t sacrifice the ease of setup, allowing for full assemblage in under 60 seconds thanks to hydraulic struts. And at 116lbs, the added protection overhead doesn’t add on too much weight either. The KingCamp sleeps two people on its queen-size foam mattress.

Purchase: $2,410

Cascadia Vechicle Tents Hybrid Series Rainier

Utilizing the strength and insulation of a hard-shell tent with all the amenities and ease of setup of a soft-shell, CVT’s Hybrid Series might be the best option for those who can’t decide which style they prefer. The shell is built with an aluminum diamond plate, insulated with an aluminum honeycomb structure for added warmth and durability, and the LED kit can attach wherever you want for hangouts that go into the night. What’s more, the addition of the annex room lets campers change in privacy, while additional features include a 3″ mattress with a waterproof nylon cover and a bungee side flap design for easier setup.

Purchase: $2,695

Photo: Feldon

Feldon Crow’s Nest Extended

With extra points for being the best-looking rooftop tent around, Feldon’s extended rooftop sleeper is designed to fit larger cars and has incredible aerodynamics. Offering a 360° view of your surroundings, the Crow’s Nest pairs well with the most beautiful of landscapes. Resistant to denting, Feldon’s proprietary aluminum honeycomb-cell base construction is five times stronger than that of your average rooftop tent and its Marine-grade stainless steel hinges and hardware ensure that you’ll have this sleeper for years to come. And so you never leave anything behind if you wind up cooped up in this tent, the Crow’s Nest also has plenty of storage pouches and gadget pockets, including a heavy-duty cargo net and a vented bottom panel for airing out wet shoes and clothes.

Purchase: $2,799

Roofnest Condor

With plenty of high-quality, bird-named rooftop tents to choose from, Roofnest has perhaps the best hard-shell sleeper in the industry with the Condor, the brand’s first fold-out style tent. When closed, the Condor folds down to just 12″ and when opened, has a max headroom of 50″. Sleeping two or three people, the tent is constructed of ABS plastic —with ASA plastic for added weather resistance — and features an annex space, an awning, and a detachable interior LED light that plugs into a USB charger. The tent has recently even been redesigned to accommodate solar panels, allowing for even more of an off-grid experience.

Purchase: $3,395

Photo: iKamper

iKamper SKYCAMP 2.0

iKamper has won the Red Dot Design Award for its rooftop tent, and for good reason. The SKYCAMP 2.0 boasts a unique geometry that allows for easy setup and, even better, easy takedown. Its king-size mattress sleeps either 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children, and the hybrid construction provides both durability and comfort. Insulated with quilted lining for less condensation, the tent also features three-layer canopy windows for versatility in your ventilation. What’s more, the aluminum honeycomb floor panels are strong enough to hold a 1.8-ton Jeep, so you don’t have to worry about the kiddos getting too rowdy.

Purchase: $3,899

Photo: James Baroud

James Baroud Evasion

If money is no object, look no further than James Baroud’s Evasion, the ultimate high-end rooftop tent. Hard-shelled with a 360° panoramic window, this tent has enough headroom for adults to sit up comfortably. These sleepers can also be customized with add-ons, such as the Isothermic Barrier Kit for added insulation in colder climates or the James Baroud Comfort Pad for extra cushion and ventilation on your mattress. The company’s website has a disclaimer that, due to demand, a four-week wait period may prevent you from getting your tent right away, so make proper adjustments when planning your upcoming trip (it will be worth it).

Purchase: $4,705+

Essential Camping Gear For Your Next Adventure

Once you have your rooftop camping tent in tow, stock up on everything else with the help of our guide to the best camping gear for your outdoor adventure.