Born out of the harsh conditions of the African bush and Australian Outback, rooftop tents have grown in popularity thanks to their unique and convenient design.
Once you’ve mounted it to the roof of your car (most tents will need an aftermarket set of racks), just fold it open and prepare for sleep. When it’s time to go to the next Instagram-worthy location, leave all your bedding inside, flip or lower the tent closed, and you’re ready to roll. They’re not cheap, but what’s a lifetime of adventure cost?
Here are six of the best rooftop tents you can buy today.
Tepui Baja Series Mesh Kukenam 3 – $1,275
Perfect for warm weather, the Baja Series Kukenam 3 from Tepui is basically a lightweight backpacking tent for your car. The top is nearly all mesh, leaving you with amazing views of the stars if you leave the rain fly off. If you need a little more weather protection, you can buy different canopies for the Baja series. Switch it out for for the Ultralite version with less mesh, or the aluminized nylon option to trap the heat in and keep the weather shut out. The Kukenam sleeps three and can mount to almost any aftermarket rack. Tepui also offers more rugged options.
CVT Mt. Denali Extended Stargazer Summit – $3,495
The largest in this roundup, the CVT Mt. Denali Extended Stargazer Summit holds four people and weighs a whopping 320 Pounds. Super strong rip-stop canvas makes up the canopy, which rests on a one-inch pole frame. Diamond-plate honeycomb aluminum forms the base and holds everything up. When it’s time to head outside in the rain, stay dry in the annex than hangs underneath the tent. There’s even a removable PVC floor so you can keep your feet dry making camp coffee in the morning. You can also see what you’re doing and charge up devices with the included LED lights and USB charging ports.
Yakima Skyrise Small – $1,099
If you’re not heading into extreme conditions, you might not need such a burly fortress on your car like the CVT. For smaller cars and easier mounting, try the Yakima Skyrise. At only 95 pounds, the Skyrise is far easier to get on your car. Yakima has used its roof rack experience to create the simple mount system — just turn the dials to tighten the clamps and lock in place with SKS locks. In better weather, roll up to the beach and pop the fly off, then take a break from the sun and store your gear in the included annex. Mesh covers all the windows, but can be covered with solid denier fabric when you need to trap the heat in.
Alu-Cab Gen3 Expedition Tent – $4,000
One of the problems with many rooftop tents is the set-up and take-down. Alu-Cab has avoided this problem with the Expedition. Thanks to gas struts, you just simply pop the top and you’re done. After a good night’s sleep, close the clam-like design, latch the top, and drive away. You can store your things in six pouches attached to the ceiling and easily see what you’re doing with pop-up LED lights. The sleek, aluminum shell is aerodynamic and acts as a windshield on the front when it’s lifted.
ARB Series III Simpson and Annex Combo – $1,499
Keeping you up off the in a place where it seems everything is trying to kill you, roof tents work well in the Outback. Australian overloading gear manufacturer ARB makes aolid products to withstand the sun and desert. At 55 inches wide, 94 inches long, and 51 inches high, the Series III Simpson has enough room for two people or a cozy three. Strong, anodized aluminum poles hold up your canopy. A high-density foam mattress keeps you comfortable on the top of your truck. Attach the annex to the bottom of the folded-out tent and you have a protected area to change, cook, and store gear. The handy bungee cord system keeps the sides tucked in when you fold up the tent to leave.
James Baroud Evasion – $4,100
Like the Alu-Cab onthis list, the James Baroud Evasion is a hard-shell tent. Both ends of the Evasion’s fiberglass polyester shell pop up on gas struts, giving you tons of room inside. An LED flashlight inside keeps things lit and a solar-powered fan keeps things cool. Aluminized polyester with an acrylic, solar-reflective coating on the sides make sure heat stays and water stays out. Extreme models have space for up to 65 pounds of storage on top as well.
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