Best Rooftop Tent of 2019

Rooftop tents aren’t all that popular among mountain lovers, for the simple fact that this category of products only became available to the general public a while back. However, those who want more comfort while camping are slowly discovering these extremely useful tents that change the entire experience forever. Rooftop tents are also known as pop-ups or car-top tents. They are new-fangled camping rigs that allow you to travel by car, explore amazing, remote places, without having to depend on hotels or other accommodation facilities. 

Rooftop tents first became popular in Australia, where it is difficult to camp on the ground due to the existence of nasty bugs and critters. They come with a lot of benefits, from protecting you of such insects, making you feel safe to protecting you from the cold. More than that, installing a tent on top of a van allows you to store all of your stuff safely. Whenever you get bored of a location, you can simply pack up and go to the next. It is that simple. 

Most such tents are easy to install and comfortable to sleep in. You just have to pull whole system up, take off the cover, open the tent and extend the included ladder. One of the most appreciated benefits is the fact that this type of tent is elevated, so it protects you and your family or friends from small animals and insects. More than that, thicker materials are being used when building such a tent, which is why they are better at protecting you from harsh weather conditions such as rain, winds, snow and even UV rays. 

If you think that it is a good idea to buy yourself a rooftop tent, you should know which one is the most suitable for your needs. There are plenty of different models on the market, which is why serious research is essential. To ease the process, we have selected 5 of the most popular tents on the market and reviewed them for you. We then highlighted their pros and cons, so you can have a clear picture of what you are buying. Check them out below:

Comparison

Product Size Weight Price
Tepui Explorer Kukenam Rooftop Tent Tepui Explorer Kukenam Rooftop Tent 56 x 96 inches 2.2 pounds price
Rightline Gear 110907 SUV Tent Rightline Gear 110907 SUV Tent 26.4 x 8.3 x 8.3 inches 21 pounds price
Rightline Gear Truck Tents Rightline Gear Truck Tents 23 x 7 x 7 inches 11 pounds price
Smittybilt 2788 Standard Size Tent Annex Smittybilt 2788 Standard Size Tent Annex 36 x 6 x 6 inches 10 pounds price
Tepui Baja Series Ayer Ultralite Tent: 2-Person 3-Season Tepui Baja Series Ayer Ultralite Tent: 2-Person 3-Season 50 x 45 x 12 inches 88 pounds price

Best Products of 2019

1

Tepui Explorer Kukenam Rooftop Tent

Rooftop tents come in various sizes, but most of them are meant to satisfy the needs of 2-3 persons. This 3-person tent that can be installed on top of your van or SUV is one of the best options that the market has to offer. Tepui is a manufacturer that values quality and does the necessary efforts to promote it to its clients, too. This also reflects in the quality and sturdiness of the materials of this tent. It is a product that can be used throughout the year, it can accommodate up to 3 people and it is made of 600D rip stop and 260g poly-cotton. Being made of heavy-duty materials, it is capable of protecting against all weather conditions. The great thing about it is that it includes UV resistant fabric, meaning that you will also be protected from harmful sun rays. There’s more to it: it is mold resistant and has great ventilation.

In terms of storage, it has a few nice features, among which there are 4 large internal pockets that you can use to store equipment or accessories. Its mattress is made of high-density foam and its zippers are waterproof. This product comes in 3 colors that you can choose from and includes the ladder that you will be using to enter the tent. All you need in order to install it is a roof rack. In an opened position, the platform measures 56 x 96 inches.

What’s to like?

  • It is a 3-person tent
  • It is made of heavy-duty materials
  • It has an excellent design
  • It is a 4-season tent
  • It is UV resistant
  • It is mold resistant
  • It wind resistant
  • It has mesh panels
  • It has 4 large internal pockets
  • It includes a high-density foam mattress
  • It is easy to install
  • It includes a rack
  • It is easy to transport when not in use

What’s not to like?

  • It is a bit pricey

2

Rightline Gear 110907 SUV Tent

If an expensive rooftop tent isn’t your first choice, even if you know that it is durable, safe and all, you might like this alternative. This isn’t a rooftop tent, but an SUV or van tent that practically turns into an extension of your vehicle, using a sleeve. This model is also made of water resistant fabric, has tape sealed seams and has a sewn-in bathtub floor that helps keep water out. It is easy to setup and then disconnect the tent from the car, giving its modern design and easy-to-use sleeve. The tent has a 4-people capacity, which makes it larger than most rooftop tents. As for the accessories, it has gear pockets, a lantern hook and glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls.

In order to prepare the set up for a good night’s sleep in nature, all you have to do is set up the tent according to the instructions, using the fiberglass poles. Next, you must attach the tent to the vehicle. You can do that with or without a roof rack. Then attach the lower and the upper sleeve and stake the SUV tent and add the rainfly. The box includes clear instructions regarding the installation. The great thing about this product is that it can be used as a regular tent when desired, too.

What’s to like?

  • It is affordable
  • It can be used with or without the van
  • It is an extension of the vehicle
  • It is a universal fit
  • It is water resistant
  • It has a 4-people capacity
  • It has large windows
  • It has a large door
  • It has storm covers
  • It is easy to install
  • It has fiberglass poles
  • It can be used with or without a roof rack
  • It has PE bathtub floor
  • It has a lantern hook
  • It has storage pockets

What’s not to like?

  • It cannot be installed on the top of a vehicle

3

Rightline Gear Truck Tents

Another inexpensive option is this SUV tent that comes in 3 sizes: mid-size, full size truck and compact truck. The model that we have analyzed is the full size truck, as it seemed the most practical for us. Feel free to check the specifications of the other sizes, too. What we loved about this model is that it can be installed in the back of the van, using the space of the truck, but still, it isn’t a rooftop tent. This means that you won’t be sleeping on the top of the truck, but not on the floor either. It is a great option for someone who doesn’t feel comfortable with neither of these two scenarios. It has a floorless design; it is made of water resistant fabric with tape seals seams, just like the previous one, it has heavy-duty buckles and it is stake-free.

This tent is easy to install, it doesn’t require a roof rack and it is comfortable to sleep in, regardless of the weather. It includes color coded poles and pole pockets. Also, it comes with a rainfly and stuff sack. The feature that most buyers love about this model is its sky view vent. It makes you think of late, chilly nights when you can sit in your tent and look at the sky while being covered with a comfortable blanket. It is practically the dream of every traveler. Therefore, if you own a truck and you would like to go camping, but still take your car and ensure your comfort, this is an option that you should consider.

What’s to like?

  • It is inexpensive
  • It is floorless
  • It is easy to set up
  • It allows you to use the truck’s space
  • It is made of water resistant materials
  • It is turdy
  • It has heavy duty straps and nylon
  • It has color coded poles
  • It has pole pockets
  • It has a rainfly
  • It comes with stuff sack
  • It has glow-in-the-dark zippers
  • It has sky view vent

What’s not to like?

  • It doesn’t include a mattress
  • It has a 2-people capacity only

4

Smittybilt 2788 Standard Size Tent Annex

Yet another affordable tent is brought to you by Smittybit. This time, we are looking at a tent that serves as an extension to the actual rooftop tent. Basically, it is designed as a hallway, passage or changing room and it is meant to serve as an annex. Thanks to such a tent, the people sleeping in it can have more privacy and feel more comfortable. This product is nicely designed, it comes in beige and it is made of heavy-duty materials. Attaching it to a car is easy thanks to its rugged zippers. Giving the fact that it has an inner door flap, it provides easy access to the inside of the truck. More than that, it has a side door and windows that roll up.

This annex tent comes with a removable floor that measures 70 x 80 inches. It is designed to protect you from mud, dirt and bugs. Also, it has mosquito netting. It is made of 600D ripstop polyester impregnated with polyurethane that makes it completely waterproof. Its hinges are made of stainless steel, while its ladder is telescopic and made of anodized aluminum. Unlike other tents or annexes, this one cannot really be installed in lack of a roof rack. The actual tent can be bought separately.

What’s to like?

  • It is inexpensive
  • It is nicely designed
  • It is a useful annex
  • It attaches to the main tent easily
  • It has durable zippers
  • It is great for privacy
  • It includes tent frame poles
  • It includes a telescopic ladder
  • It has stainless steel hinges
  • It has a heavy duty PVC cover
  • It comes with a removable floor
  • It has a side door
  • It has windows that roll up
  • It includes mosquito netting

What’s not to like?

  • It is quite small
  • It requires a roof rack

5

Tepui Baja Series Ayer Ultralite Tent: 2-Person 3-Season

Contrary to the popular opinion, according to which all rooftop tents are expensive, there are models that have a reasonable price. This one here from Tepui is proof that you will be able to afford such a tent, without creating a black hole in your budget. It isn’t cheap, but it offers the highest quality at a great price. If you want a tent that will not let you down and will offer all the comfort that you need while camping, this is exactly what you need. It has a 2-person capacity, it is designed to be used throughout spring, summer and fall and it is easy to install if you have a rooftop rack.

This is a one-size product. It is gorgeously designed, its canopy being made of 70D nylon, with water resistant coating. Its mattress is made of high-density foam and has a cotton cover. The rainfly is made of waterproof nylon, while the cover is made of 1000g heavy-duty PVC. It comes with aluminum poles, which make a sturdy frame. It has a door, windows, good ventilation.

What’s to like?

  • It is inexpensive
  • It is made of high-quality materials
  • It is easy to install
  • It has a 70D nylon canopy
  • It has water resistant coating
  • It includes a high-density mattress
  • It has a heavy duty PVC cover
  • It has mesh windows with cover
  • It has aluminum frame
  • It can be used during the 3 warm seasons
  • It comes in one size

What’s not to like?

  • It can only accommodate 2 people

Questions and Answers

What do you need to have in order to setup a rooftop tent?

Setting up a rooftop tent or a tent that comes as an extension to your car is easy, but there are still some equipment that you might require if you don’t own them already. First of all, remember that rooftop tents are quite large, so you will not be able to set up on any other vehicle than a truck, a van or an SUV. A roof rack is needed for those of you who will be choosing rooftop models and it is recommended to invest in a sturdy one. Usually, these tents include all the accessories that you need for the installation, such as poles, hinges etc. Just in case, however, make sure that you check the requirements. 

Another thing that you might need and might not be offered by all manufacturers is the telescopic ladder. If you don’t have one, you cannot access the tent, which makes it useless. See if the model that you are planning to buy offers one and if not, buy one separately, but choose a model that is sturdy and durable. 

Is it really that easy to install a rooftop tent?

The installation of a tent usually varies, depending on the model. Usually, one person can manage to install a regular tent. A rooftop tent requires some help, though. Remember that you will be installing it on top of the car, so you might not feel so free to move around, while looking for your tools and equipment. Depending on the tent model that you choose, it might not seem so easy the first time, but it will become a breeze afterwards. The whole system is extremely easy to understand, it just takes some getting used to. You will find it easier to do it if the parking spot is flat. Ideally, you simply gave to remove the cover of the tent, run the zipper around, remove the cover and undo the buckles. With the help of the included telescopic ladder, you then simply leverage the tent open. If you choose to go for a regular model that attaches to the vehicle using a sleeve, then your job will be even easier. 

Why are rooftop tents more expensive than regular tents?

It is only natural for higher quality products to be more expensive, but at the end of the day, we are also talking about the quantity of materials, the number of accessories and practically the whole setup. Rooftop tents are more difficult to make. They are more complex than regular tents. Giving the fact that they must be installed at a height, manufacturers strive to offer the most comfortable sleeping conditions to their customers. Therefore, they create tents from thicker materials, water and wind resistant, that include thick mattresses etc. More than that, except for the frame and poles, such a tent also includes a telescopic ladder, in most cases. However, it is an amazing investment that will help you change the way you see camping. 


Final Words

All tents come with their pros and cons, both regular and rooftop models. It is worth investing in a rooftop tent if you enjoy traveling long distances, exploring new territories, sleeping in nature, by the sea or mountains. However, it is extremely important to be aware of their benefits and downsides altogether, so that you know what to expect. The main reasons why travelers choose to buy this type of travel gear are the comfort that they offer, the high-quality materials they are made of, the fact that they are durable and weatherproof, the quality of the mattresses etc. The costs of choosing to sleep in a rooftop tent are considerably lower than renting an RV, for instance. 

The only downside that most people complain about is the fact that they cannot just set up the tent once and change location as many times as they want. The tent has to be pulled down every single time. On the other hand, active travelers aren’t bothered by the dynamics of the trip and they camp joyfully, focusing on the surroundings rather than these details. 

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