- Big AgnesSand Wash Car Tarp$299.95
- iKamperSkycamp 2.0 Roof-Top Tent$3,899.00 - $4,199.00
- Rightline GearSUV Tent$299.95
- Rightline GearMidsize 5' Short Bed Truck Tent - Tall Bed$189.95
- iKamperSkycamp Mini Roof-Top Tent$3,499.00
- ThuleTepui Explorer Kukenam 3 Tent$1,699.95
- Rightline GearMidsize 6' Long-Bed Truck Tent - Tall Bed$189.95
- Rightline Gear6' Compact Bed Truck Tent$189.95
- iKamperX-Cover Roof-Top Tent$3,199.00
- Rightline GearFull-Size 8' Long-Bed Truck Tent$189.95
- ThuleTepui Overcast Awning - 6.5'$339.95
Part treehouse and part glamping tent, roof-top tents are an intriguing alternative to traditional tents that you see pitched at most car campgrounds. You can find models that fit on top of a car or truck.
If you're thinking about buying a roof-top tent, consider a few pros and cons:
- Easy setup: Simply undo a few straps, pop it open and secure a few things.
- Burly yet comfy:Made to withstand stormy weather while also including creature comforts like a foam mattress.
- Camp anywhere:Find a place to park and you've found a place to pitch it.
- Pricey:Many will cost more than $1,000.
- Roof-bound:Causes drag when driving; has to be taken down if you drive away from camp for the day; removing/remounting from the roof between trips can be a chore.
Fitting a Roof-Top Tent to Your Vehicle
If you don't have one, you'll need to buy a roof rack to serve as the tent's foundation. Rack brands like Yakima, Thule and others typically have greater weight capacities than factory car racks, which make them well-suited for a roof-top tent.
Next, check your owner's manual or contact your vehicle and rack manufacturers to get the information below, which can narrow down models that will work for your vehicle.
- Total tent weight: Find it in product information for each tent.
- Car and rack dynamic weight capacity:This will be a separate spec for your vehicle and your rack.
- Static weight capacity:Confirms that your vehicle and your rack will support the weight of your tent, plus everyone in it and their sleeping gear.
- Rack compatibility:Some racks are listed as "not compatible" with certain tent models.
Mounting your tent to your car rack: It can be a little complex, so follow mounting directions carefully. Also, roof-top tents are heavy, so having a partner helps.
Add-on options: Some tents offer separately purchased annexes or awnings for more living space.
Other Types of Tents
If you're not yet sure that a roof-top purchase is exactly what you want, below are some other tent types to consider:
- Camping tents: When shopping for a camping tent, consider sleeping capacity, seasonality and other features. Read Best Camping Tents of 2020 for quick picks.
- Backpacking tents: Pack weight and budget are some key considerations when choosing a tent to take into the backcountry. Best Backpacking Tents offers a curated short list.
- Shelters: Whether you're seeking sun canopies, bug refuges or a simple tarp, REI gives you options.
- Hammock tents: These ultralight shelters combine a hammock with weather protection overhead and bug protection all around.