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Best Rooftop Tent: Ultimate Guide for 2023

Rooftop tents have revolutionized camping, providing campers with a comfortable and elevated sleeping space. These tents are mounted on the roof of a vehicle and can be quickly set up, offering convenience and security.

When looking for the best rooftop tent, consider installation ease, durability, materials, and weight capacity. You should also assess the size of the tent’s sleeping area and the compatibility of the tent with your vehicle.

Read on for a range of rooftop tents we have identified as the best options to meet the needs of various campers and their specific requirements. That means you!

best rooftop tent

Our Top Picks

Best Overall
Smittybilt Overlander Rooftop Tent

Best for Durability
Overland Vehicle Systems TMBK 3-Person Rooftop Tent with Rainfly

Best for Groups
Smittybilt Overlander XL Roof Top Tent

Best Overall

Smittybilt Overlander Rooftop Tent

Smittybilt Overlander Roof Top Tent - 2783

The Smittybilt Overlander is an excellent choice for adventurers like you who are seeking a durable and convenient rooftop tent for their travels.

The high-density foam mattress comfortably sleeps 2-3 people and offers a 661 lb. max load. With a sturdy 600D waterproof top and rainfly, the tent withstands various weather conditions and provides adequate ventilation through side windows with mosquito netting.

The tent’s anodized aluminum poles and telescopic ladder offer stability, and setting up the tent only takes minutes. Additionally, it comes with interior LED strips, making it easy for you to navigate the tent at night.

The convenient heavy-duty PVC cover also keeps the tent dry and protected from UV rays when not in use. The only drawback is the tent annex which is sold separately, we review it below, but overall the Smittybilt Overlander is a top choice for any adventurer.


  • Easy and quick setup
  • Secure and spacious
  • Self-contained with bedding and accessories


  • Quite heavy at 145 lbs
  • Tent annex sold separately
  • Ladder capacity of 265 lbs

Best for Durability

Overland Vehicle Systems TMBK 3-Person Rooftop Tent with Rainfly

TMBK 3 Person Roof Top Tent with Rain Fly Tan Base & Green Rainfly

If you desire comfort and durability for your camping adventures, the Overland Vehicle Systems TMBK 3-Person Roof Top Tent with Rain Fly is an excellent choice.

It looks great and provides excellent protection from the elements with a marine-grade 600D rip-stop polyester body and 420D polyester Oxford waterproof rainfly.

The high-density foam mattress with a cover, insulated base, and telescoping ladder offer comfort and convenience for campers. The ladder may not hold up under hefty usage, but the overall quality of the tent makes it a top choice if you want a durable rooftop tent.


  • High-quality materials, rip-stop polyester body, and rainfly
  • Included high-density foam mattress with cover
  • Compatible with most factory and aftermarket roof racks


  • Installation can be challenging with minimal instructions
  • The ladder might not be suitable for very heavy usage
  • Slightly expensive for budget-conscious consumers

Best for Groups

Smittybilt Overlander XL Roof Top Tent

Smittybilt Overlander XL Roof Top Tent (Coyote Tan) - 2883

The Smittybilt Overlander XL is a spacious, easy-to-set-up rooftop tent perfect for family camping trips, groups, and off-road adventures.

With stainless steel hinges and heavy-duty 600D ripstop polyester, this tent provides a comfortable and reliable experience. It boasts a 60mm high-density foam mattress with a removable cover and ample interior space for up to four sleepers.

The one-person operation allows it to fold to its full height in seconds, eliminating the need for tent pegs and ropes. It is fully waterproof and includes mosquito screens, a telescoping aluminum ladder, and a convenient LED strip for interior lighting.

Although the Overlander XL tent is an excellent option for a spacious and easy-to-assemble tent, consider its weight and compatibility limitations with SRC cage kits. This tent offers a comfortable and hassle-free way to explore the great outdoors with family and friends.


  • Spacious XL size sleeps up to four
  • Quick and easy one-person setup
  • Fully waterproof and durable materials


  • XL size not compatible with SRC cage kits
  • Heavier than some competitors at 170lbs
  • May require additional padding for optimal comfort

Smittybilt Roof Top Tent Annex

Smittybilt Roof Top Tent Annex - 2788

The Smittybilt Roof Top Tent Annex is a versatile and practical addition to your Overlander Tent, providing extra space and privacy for your camping adventures. The annex attaches securely with durable zippers, ensuring it stays in place even in rough weather conditions.

The materials are high quality, with a 600D heavy-duty ripstop polyester fabric and polyurethane impregnation. The added space within the annex is excellent for changing clothes, storing extra supplies, or setting up a portable toilet.

The side door and windows roll up for easy access and ventilation with mosquito netting so you can enjoy the outdoors without being pestered by bugs. This annex is a worthwhile investment if you seek additional functionality and comfort in your camp setup.


  • Easy setup and teardown
  • Heavy-duty, waterproof construction
  • Provides additional privacy and storage


  • May not fit all vehicle setups
  • Inner door access could be improved
  • Removable floor may not always be necessary

Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 2 Extended Roof Top Tent

Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 2 Extended Roof Top Tent - Dark Gray Base with Green Rain Fly & Black Cover Universal

The Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 2 Roof Top Tent offers remarkable comfort and convenience. It is constructed from marine-grade stainless steel and aircraft-grade aluminum. An insulated base and 3″ high-density foam mattress ensure comfort throughout the night.

Set-up requires no drilling or modifications to your vehicle as long as it is equipped with a factory or aftermarket roof rack. This tent has practical features like: built-in storage pockets, a storage loft, a power bank pouch, an LED light strip, and more.

The only downside of the Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 2 is its weight, and the annex is sold separately. However, considering the quality, sturdiness, and comfort this rooftop tent provides, these drawbacks are relatively minor, making it a solid choice for any outdoor lover.


  • High-quality materials and construction
  • Accommodates up to three people
  • Includes helpful accessories and extras


  • Heavier than some competitors
  • A few reports of missing items in the package
  • Annex sold separately

Best Rooftop Tent Buyer’s Guide

Choosing the best rooftop tent can be challenging with so many options. To make an informed decision, consider these key aspects when selecting a rooftop tent.

Tent Type

There are two primary types of rooftop tents: softshell and hardshell.

  • Softshell tents: These are typically lighter and more affordable, with larger interior space. They usually have a canvas or fabric exterior and fold out from the vehicle’s roof. However, they are generally less durable and provide less insulation than hardshell tents.
  • Hardshell tents: These are more rugged, durable, and offer better protection from the elements. The hard exterior is often made from fiberglass or aluminum and pops up vertically. Hardshell tents are typically more expensive and heavier than softshell but set up faster with better insulation.

Vehicle Compatibility

Ensure that your vehicle is compatible with a rooftop tent. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for roof load capacity information, and ensure the tent and mounting system do not exceed that limit. Additionally, verify that your vehicle’s roof rack or crossbars are compatible with the tent’s mounting system.

Size and Capacity

Consider the number of occupants using the tent and how much space you need for sleeping and storage. Rooftop tents are available in various sizes, typically ranging from 2-person to 4-person capacities. Remember that a larger tent will be heavier and require a more robust roof rack system.

Weight Capacity

Check the tent’s weight capacity to ensure the durability of the structure and the ability to accommodate the occupants. A rooftop tent should support the weight of sleepers and their gear comfortably.


Rooftop tents can be heavy, so it’s essential to consider the tent’s weight and impact on your vehicle’s handling, fuel efficiency, and overall performance. Generally, softshell tents are lighter than hardshell tents, but always check the manufacturer’s specifications.


The material of a rooftop tent is crucial for durability, weather resistance, and insulation. Look for tents made from high-quality materials such as poly-cotton ripstop fabric or polyester flysheets.

Setup and Takedown

Ease of setup and takedown is essential, especially if you plan to move between campsites frequently. Hardshell tents typically have a faster setup time, often only taking a few minutes, while softshell tents may require more time and effort.

Weather Resistance

Choose a tent that offers adequate protection against the weather conditions you expect to encounter. Hardshell tents generally provide better insulation and protection against rain, snow, and wind. However, many high-quality softshell tents also offer excellent weather resistance.

best rooftop tents


Proper ventilation is crucial for comfort and to avoid condensation inside the tent. Look for tents with mesh windows and vents that can be opened and closed as needed, allowing airflow and temperature regulation.


Rooftop tents can vary significantly in price, with softshell tents generally being more affordable than hardshell tents. Consider your budget and the required features to find a tent that suits your needs without breaking the bank.


Some rooftop tents have additional features and accessories, such as built-in awnings, ladder extensions, interior storage pockets, or LED lighting. Consider which features are important to you and whether they are included with the tent or available as add-ons.

Warranty and Customer Support

Lastly, research the warranty provided by the tent manufacturer and their reputation for customer support. A quality tent should have a warranty covering manufacturing defects and materials, giving you peace of mind in your investment.

Wrapping up the Best Rooftop Tent Guide

When choosing which of our best rooftop tents is right for you, remember to ensure it is compatible with your vehicle, budget, and long-term needs. Materials should be high-quality and as durable and flexible as your unique trek.

If you are interested in other elevated camping options, we have covered the Best Camping Hammocks. Or, if you have learned that a rooftop tent may not be the best fit for you, check out Everything You Need to Know About Pop-Up Campers.