The 8 Best Rooftop Tents of 2019

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Yakima Skyrise Tent Medium at Back Country

"Constructed of burly 210D nylon that’s durable, light, and breathable."

Best Value: Smittybilt Overland Rooftop Tent at Amazon

"This simple shelter gives you a lot of features for a nominal cost."

Best Four-Season Tent: Yakima SkyRise HD Tent Medium at Moosejaw

"Extra-large windows and doors provide ample views and easy ventilation."

Best Large Tent: Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3 Extended Rooftop Tent at Amazon

"The tent itself is constructed of waterproof 600D ripstop poly/cotton canvas."

Best Setup: Roofnest Sparrow at Roofnest

"One of the fastest-to-pitch models in this round-up."

Best for Adventure: Alu-Cab Gen 3 Expedition Tent at Alu-Cab

"This hard-top roof tent comes with a streamlined, aerodynamic design."

Best for Large Groups: ARB Simpson III/Anex Combo at Amazon

"Includes an additional on-the-ground annex shelter to transform your campsite into a canvas palace."

Best Two-Person Tent: Raptor Series Voyager at Amazon

"A foam mattress is included, along with integrated storage pockets."

Our Top Picks

01 of 08

Best Overall: Yakima Skyrise Tent Medium

Yakima Skyrise Tent Medium

 Yakima

A leading brand in rooftop carrying racks, Yakima also carries rooftop tents to partner with their skyboxes, bike racks, and boat haulers. The soft-top Skyrise Tent is constructed of 210D nylon that’s durable, light, and breathable, and utilizes mesh panels for added ventilation and stargazing views. The medium model is a great option, which rates to fit three people but works best as a roomy shelter for two campers, with a 56 x 96-inch footprint and a height of up to 48 inches. 

Aluminum poles keep the structure up and are pre-set to make pitching the tent a breeze. It also comes with a 2.5-inch thick, wall-to-wall foam mattress (which you can remove to clean), as well as an aluminum ladder that affixes to the tent opening. Better still, the tent attaches to the roof rack without needing any tools, and at only 115 pounds, it’s relatively easy to remove and store.

02 of 08

Best Value: Smittybilt Overland Rooftop Tent

Compared to other rooftop tents in the market, this simple shelter gives you a lot of features for a decent price. The Smittybilt Overland Rooftop Tent folds out in seconds and doesn’t require any additional tent pegs or ropes — it’s even easy enough to set up by yourself. The tan 600D ripstop polyester fabric is heavy-duty and fully waterproof, with mosquito screens and twin panels on both sides of the rain fly that allow for easy access or strapping the tent down.

It may not breathe as well as some other tents, but a wide side window should help overall circulation in hot, humid climates. It includes a telescoping aluminum ladder, a 60-mm high-density foam mattress, a strip of LED lights, a maximum height of 51 inches, and a footprint of 95 x 55 inches — ample room for two to three campers.

03 of 08

Best Four-Season Tent: Yakima SkyRise HD Tent Medium

Yakima SkyRise HD Tent Medium

 Yakima

For a soft-top tent, the Yakima SkyRise HD proves that some fabric tents can handle harsh winter conditions. Constructed of bomber 600D ripstop nylon with a 3000-mm waterproof PU coating and a weather-shedding 210D poly rainfly, it can handle all types of climates, from wind to rain to sleet to snow. Extra-large windows and doors provide ample views and easy ventilation, along with roll-back panels in the ceiling for stargazing. 

Inside, you’ll get a 2.5-inch thick foam mattress, an aluminum frame that’s pre-set for quick set-up, and an abrasion-resistant floor with a textured finish. Plus, there are lines to hang gear or to tie everything down when winds get particularly strong. You also get an adjustable ladder, tool-free mounts to your vehicle, and a 58 x 48-inch footprint (in medium) that can comfortably fit three campers.

Take a peek at some of the other best four-season tents you can buy.

04 of 08

Best Large Tent: Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3 Extended Rooftop Tent

Overland Vehicle Systems’ Nomadic 3 features a wide footprint and many add-ons, which include a three-inch, high-density foam mattress, an insulated base, a telescoping ladder, loads of internal storage pockets, a hand-held LED light, and more. The tent is constructed of waterproof 600D ripstop poly/cotton canvas, with a huge footprint of 63 x 94.5 inches, a length of 122 inches, and a roomy height of 51 inches. 

Toss on the 420 Oxford ripstop rainfly when conditions turn foul or let air in through the tent’s gauze mosquito screens. The organized-obsessed will also appreciate the mesh storage loft, along with four ripstop internal side storage pouches and a pair of 600D ripstop shoe pouches inside the tent. Plus, there are zip-back mesh ceilings for stargazing. The extension does mean that the Nomadic 3 (rated to accommodate three campers) may take a bit of time to pitch, but it’s worth the effort for those yearning for extra space.

Still can't find what you're looking for? Read our article for the best tents for hiking and camping.

Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

Best Setup: Roofnest Sparrow

Roofnest Sparrow

Roofnest

Optimal for smaller cars and SUVs, the Roofnest Sparrow tent keeps things simple: it’s essentially a rectangular box encased in low-profile fiberglass. Pull into your overnight grounds, unbuckle the case and give the tent a nudge, and the gas struts pop open the tent — making it one of the fastest models to pitch. The tent’s door and four walls are made of waterproof polyurethane-coated cotton/polyester canvas, so it stands up to the elements, but doesn’t breathe as well as other tents with lighter fabrics.

Fortunately, two mesh windows (at the front and back) and the mesh screen on the doors should help mitigate overheating. And, you can also unzip each opening to allow entry from any side via the included telescoping ladder. What’s more, you get a three-inch built-in foam mattress with the tent. The Sparrow works with most roof rack systems, weighs 130  pounds, and is rated to hold up to 650 pounds. Its 82 x 49-inch footprint provides space for two campers to sleep comfortably.

06 of 08

Best for Adventure: Alu-Cab Gen 3 Expedition Tent

Alu-Cab Gen 3 Expedition Tent

 Alu-Cab 

If you’re out for a long adventure, Alu-Cab’s Gen 3 Expedition Tent is the way to go. This hard-top roof tent comes with a streamlined, aerodynamic design, built-in cargo rails, and a hard-shell top built to accommodate extra gear like solar panels, kayaks, bikes, or a camp table. A gas-strut pop-up design makes it fast and easy to pitch, and the top panel doubles as one of the walls. The 83 x 51 x 63-inch tent also comes with dual-layer canvas walls and three zip-up mesh main doorways. 

The tent’s integrated ladder stows inside when closed, so you don’t have to worry about accommodating additional storage space. As is standard with most rooftop tents, the Gen 3 includes a 75-mm high-density foam mattress with a zip-off cover and loads of internal storage compartments. It also comes wired with internal lighting and outlets for both USB power chords and a 12-volt. Insulation at both the lid and the base assures a cozy, internal environment. Plus, you can upgrade your Gen 3 with Alu-Cab add-ons like a 270-degree shadow awning that attaches directly to the tent.

07 of 08

Best for Large Groups: ARB Simpson III/Anex Combo

Big groups or families should consider the ARB Simpson III/Anex Combo, a pick-up specific shelter that includes an additional on-the-ground annex shelter to transform your campsite into a canvas palace. The tent walls are made of high-end poly/cotton fabrics with an Oxford polyester rainfly to keep the elements at bay, along with insect-screened windows and doors. 

Inside the main tent, you’ll find a 2.5-inch, high-density foam mattress (with a removable cover) and aluminum poles. It takes a bit of work to pitch the main tent, but a bungee cord system makes breaking camp pretty quick and includes an anodized aluminum retractable ladder. The Anex then attaches to the platform of the tent, creating three walls that align against the side of your pick-up so you can store things outside of your sleeping compartment. A huge panel door makes it easy to access the tent system, while see-through panels on both sides of the Anex allow light in. Its 55 x 94.5-inch footprint easily accommodates three campers, with an overall height of 51 inches.

Read more reviews of the best family camping tents available to purchase online.

08 of 08

Best Two-Person Tent: Raptor Series Voyager

Though Raptor Series rates the Voyager large enough to accommodate up to three campers, it’s ideal for two people with its 84 x 54-inch footprint — though the easy set-up means solo campers can also take it out for a spin. Unlike most models, the canvas and mosquito net doors on the Voyager roll down from the top. The tent also includes an awning that serves as a sun-blocker, as well as small windows on both sides of the walls that double as air vents with quick-adjustment control. 

A foam mattress is included, along with integrated storage pockets, gear-hang loops, and two shoe pockets that you can hang off the rack to keep grime out of the tent. The aerodynamic design of the pitched tent helps fend off harsh wind, while it also boasts waterproof fabric. That said, a lack of a mesh opening means stargazing is a neck-craning experience.

Check out our other reviews of the best two-person tents available on the market today.

Our Process 

Our writers spent 3 hours researching the most popular rooftop tents on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 12 different rooftop tents overall, screened options from 12 different brands and manufacturers, read over 30 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 1 of the rooftop tents themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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