The Best Rooftop Tent in 2021

1. Thule Tepui Kukenam 3 Rooftop Tent


2. Smittybilt Overlander Tent


3. Thule Tepui Autana Rooftop Tent with Annex

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Rooftop tents have always been a staple in outdoor camping. They provide the luxury of being out with nature but having a semblance of your room and the security of your vehicle.

Nobody can deny the extra rugged feel and look RTTs give. From softshells to hardshell, RTTs give flexibility to your campsite choice – a level parking space is all you need, and you ready.

Rooftop tents or RTTs are a go-to gear for people who love traveling in vehicles but don’t want to miss the comfort of their mattresses at home. Here are our picks for the best rooftop tents in 2021.

How We Rated Best Best Roof Top Tent?

  • Waterproof

    Is it well protected?

  • Ventilation

    Is it breathable?

  • Longevity

    Is it built for years to come?

  • Price

    Is it the best value for your $?

  • Set Up

    Is it easy to set-up?

  • Durability

    Is it sturdy enough?

  • Convenient

    Is it designed for comfort?

  • Sleeping Capacity

    Is it spacious?

How We Conducted Research?

  • 14

    Hours Researched

  • 15

    Products Evaluated

  • 1k

    Reviews Considered

  • 3

    Sources Researched

Technical Specs:

Why we picked Thule Tepui Kukenam 3 Rooftop Tent

Thule has been part of the outdoor world for a long time now; its Tepui Explorer Kukenam 3 is one of the products that attest to that. Built to endure year-round season and climate, the tent fabric is made from UV and mold resistant materials.

It has a built-in quick-release rain fly that gives you protection just in case the weather turns sunny camping into a rainy one. Even with the rain fly down, ventilation and airflow are not compromised, thanks to the mesh panels surrounding the tent.

Comfort is guaranteed as it comes with a high-density foam mattress. And you don’t have to buy separate extensions for large vehicles as it comes with a stock telescoping ladder. Thule has plenty of accessories made available for the Thule Tepui Explorer Kukenam 3, one example is the Tepui Explorer Kukenam Annex 3 that is sold separately.

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2. Smittybilt Overlander Tent


Technical Specs:

Why we picked Smittybilt Overlander Tent


Smittybilt has been producing innovative and unique products not just for Jeeps but tracks and SUVs as well. And the Overlander is an example of that; this rooftop tent can be used on any SUVs.

It is one of the best rooftop tents in the market that offers space, comfort, and durability on a lesser amount. The canopy built from 600 D polyurethane will withstand any weather conditions. One of its best features is the built-in boot bag, ensuring you won’t be bringing any muddy footwear and dirt inside your tent.

Another innovative feature of the Overlander is the LED light strip that you can install inside the tent, which makes setting up your bedding in the dark easier. With a little compromise on the set-up time and weight, the Smittybilt Overlander is a great choice for the best value.

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3. Thule Tepui Autana Rooftop Tent with Annex


Technical Specs:

Why we picked Thule Tepui Autana Rooftop Tent with Annex


Thule has partnered up with Tepui last 2018 to bring us the best rooftop tent lineup that combines comfort, durability, and value in their products. The Thule Tepui Autana Rooftop Tent (with Annex) showcases that in one product.

The Autana Tent is packed with the combination of ease of set-up, durability, and Thule’s pride, quality of materials. Made from blended coated 600 deniers and a 260g poly-cotton, you are assured it is made to withstand any season. It comes with an extended canopy entrance and a removable annex for privacy and additional space.

Internal condensation will not be a problem as it has mesh panels that are more open for airflow and ventilation. You can enjoy this rooftop tent during the summer with its UV resistant fabric. Molds will not be a problem during the rainy season as it waterproof and mold resistant too!

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4. Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3 Extended Rooftop Tent


Technical Specs:

Why we picked Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3 Extended Rooftop Tent


Overland Nomadic Tents are built to withstand all-year-round camping; for instance, its body is made from ripstop polyester-cotton, ready to withstand the harshest weather conditions. The base is a double-insulated one-piece diamond that can carry the entire tent system from mounting to set-up.

With privacy and comfort in mind, the Overland Nomadic Tents have four ripstop internal storage, two on each side to stow away personal belongings and emergency gears. It has a storage loft for storing beddings and can be kept in place while on travel to save space in the vehicle.

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5. Smittybilt 2883 Overland Tent


Technical Specs:

Why we picked Smittybilt 2883 Overland Tent

This is the XL version of the Smittybilt Overlander Tent in our list. What sets this apart is it has space, big enough for 3 to 4 persons to comfortably sit and sleep in its high-density foam mattress that comes in stock.

It comes with the innovative LED strip interior light to keep setting up the beddings or arranging the children’s things inside the tent, easier. Another one of Smittlbilt’s innovative features is the boot bag for footwear storage to keep dirt and mud from getting insides the tent.

The ladder is wide enough for steady support while carrying the kids or transporting gears from the ground up the tent. The fabric is waterproof and UV resistant, allowing the family to use this all-year-round.

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6. Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 4 Extended Roof Top Tent


Technical Specs:

Why we picked Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 4 Extended Roof Top Tent


The Overland Nomadic 4 is best for campers traveling in groups. The tent is a four-person tent with enough space for storing valuables inside because of the storage loft and internal ripstop nylon pockets. It has a mosquito screen to keep stargazing while inside the tent, insect-free.

Made from high-quality materials, marine-grade ripstop polyester for its body, and marine-grade stainless steel and aluminum for the base, Overland guarantees hassle-free camping for a long time. It has a waterproof and well-ventilated tent body, perfect for camping buddy for any season.

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7. ARB 803804 Simpson Tent


Technical Specs:

Why we picked ARB 803804 Simpson Tent

ARB has updated its rooftop tent series, and this one comes with a stock annex. If you need extra space for storage or a sleeping area, you can easily set-up the tent annex that comes with the rooftop tent. It has unique bungee cord system that make it easy to dismantle during set-up and pull-up for a snug fit while on travel.

Comes with a retractable ladder to climb up or down from the foam mattress after a good night’s sleep. It has an insect screen that protects you from mosquitos and other small insects.

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8. Tuff Stuff Ranger Overland Rooftop Tent


Technical Specs:

Why we picked Tuff Stuff Ranger Overland Rooftop Tent

The Tuff Stuff Ranger like the Raptor Voyager in the list boasts of easy set-up; unzip the cover, pull the ladder out, and open the tent. In just three steps, you are set-up and ready to rest. The tent annex can be added as an extension for extra space as storage. You can also opt to store it to keep the minimalist design of the Tuff Stuff Ranger.

The stock beddings can be kept inside the folding tent to save space inside the vehicle. While the mountings are universal and can fit almost nearly all cross-bars. The package includes all the screws, bolts, and a wrench needed to mount the tent bracket into your vehicle.

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9. Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic Arctic


Technical Specs:

Why we picked Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic Arctic

Overland is a name in the outdoor industry that does need an introduction. They have kept their reputation in creating products that keep the users on the top priority. For instance, their Nomadic Tents combines comfort and durability in one product. It comes with two hypoallergenic memory foam pillows that take comfort outdoors wherever you go.

The base and tent body are made from high-quality materials. Dual-insulated aluminum base and ripstop nylon body; ensure that the Nomadic tent will be the family’s camping staple.

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10. Raptor Voyager Jeep Truck SUV Camping Rooftop Tent


Technical Specs:

Why we picked Raptor Voyager Jeep Truck SUV Camping Rooftop Tent

The unique design of the Raptor Voyager Rooftop tent eliminates the need for additional set-up. It set-ups and closes in seconds; unhook the buckle, remove the cover, attach the ladder, and pull-open the tent. In a few minutes, you are done setting up. The tent is designed to be easily mounted on the top of your SUV.

The front door roll up from the top down to aid in the airflow. The interior boasts of plenty of space to keep gears safe, and it has 2-shoe hanging storage outside of the tent. What’s great about this tent is it has a built-in awning that does not require additional set-up for you to enjoy the scenery while inside the tent.

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Rooftop Tents Buying Guide

Rooftop tents became popular due to the need to get off the ground to escape irritating insects or poisonous snakes in some areas. They are the best choice for overlanders taking social distancing to the next level, escaping from civilization. They offer a lot more comfort and maybe luxury in outdoor sleeping. Find out if you’ll get the most off on an RTT before heading out to the store.

Hardshell vs. Softshell

There are two types of rooftop tents; hardshell and softshell.


RTTs are expensive on the onset, but hard shells are more high-priced than softshells. They are usually made from a lightweight material like aluminum or fiberglass, have a thinner profile than softshells, and are easier to pitch. Since they are built finer than softshells, hardshell RTTs does not add to the gas mileage as it does not provide drag to the vehicle. Their shell-like design provides more protection while on travel and protects the tent while in storage too. It is less prone to moisture build-up thus eliminating molds. Giving hardshell tents a longer lifespan than softshells.


Softshells are the common choice for rooftop tent first-timers. They are less expensive, which is the most common advantage. Softshells provide a bigger headroom and weigh less than hardshells. They have bigger floorplans and are more open to customization than hardshell RTTs. Softshells have a shorter lifespan than hardshells since they are more prone to molds due to their soft coverings. Another downside of softshells is that they are not as aerodynamic as hardshells. For that instance, they provide drag to the vehicle and added fuel mileage.

Both types have their pros and cons. For quick reference; with hardshell tents; faster setup time, more durability, lower profile for better fuel mileage at a much higher cost. Softshell tents provide you with; more headroom and sleeping capacity, a more complicated setup at a slightly budget-friendly price.

The Right Rooftop Tent for your Vehicle

After deciding that the rooftop tent is the best choice for your camping needs, it is crucial to check if your vehicle can carry your tent in mind.

Get the owner’s manual of your vehicle and check if there is a specific roof rack designed for your car or you need to purchase an aftermarket roof rack. The Raptor Voyager Jeep Rooftop Tent in this list, for instance, is specially made for Jeep owners but Raptor was able to design the tent to fit any SUVs as well.

Your owner’s manual should state the maximum dynamic weight and maximum static weight of the factory rack. Your rack’s dynamic weight refers to the maximum weight it can carry while moving. Static weight is the maximum weight your rack can carry when mounted.

Be sure to compute for the maximum dynamic weight, we would want to avoid a tent projectile while on the highway. Your maximum static weight computation should include all the adults and kids sleeping inside the tent. Let’s say for example, the tent weight is 130 lbs, the racks must have at least 130 lbs listed in their DWC.

For a sedan, the Smittybilt Overlander can be considered. It is the lightest in the list and is a 2-person roof top tent perfect for sedan capacity.

The Thule Tepui Autana is our best bet for use in an SUV. It is a 3-person capacity and the packed size won’t take too much space and the weight is perfect to be hauled in an SUV.

The Overland Systems Nomadic 3 or the Arctic counterpart is a good choice for a pick-up truck. Both tents has a 3-person sleeping capacity and are one of the heaviest in the list making it not suitable for either a sedan or and SUV but won’t be a struggle for a pick-up truck. For anything heavier and sturdier, we recommend the Raptor Voyager specially designed for Jeep trucks.

Sleeping Capacity

If you’re planning to use the rooftop tent for an intimate getaway, you can opt to get the two-person capacity like the Smittybilt Overlander. But if you plan to take the kids with you for a quick weekend family bonding, choose the XL version of the Smittybilt or the Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 4 for a more roomy set-up.

Consider the mattress that comes with the stock rooftop tent. Your RTT’s sleeping capacity may say it’s a three-person tent but the mattress is too small to fit 3 people. The recommended computation is allotting about 25-30 square feet per person.

Rooftop Tent Features and Accessories

 Some buyers prefer rooftop tents that provide them more than just the expected comfort and protection while outdoors. All of the Overland Nomadic series in the list has built-in LED light inside the tent to ease in setting the beddings at night. This LED light is also a plus point for mothers camping with their kids that needs attention during the night.

Awnings or annexes provide extra livable space. There are rooftop tents that come with a stock annex like the Thule Tepui Autana Rooftop Tent with Annex or the Tuff Stuff Ranger – which are commended due to the annex that provides an extended platform while still maintaining privacy.

Shoe pockets like the one in the ARB Simpson tent are also a great addition. These ensure that your tent is clean from any dirt or mud from the outside. Gear lofts are also a great addition. This is a mesh netting that you can easily attach to the roof inside your tent.

If you are a camper that takes their tents off quite frequently, a quick release mounting kit will be perfect for you. Instead of screwing each nut and bolt these kits has mounting brackets that has latches that has a key for security when attahched to your vehicle.

Keep your RTT safe by installing a security system – you can choose from security nuts or a bracket locking system. The Tuff Stuff Security Nuts are highly recommended among the RTT users. Oftentimes the bracket locking system is compatible to their specific mounting rack. Best to check with your rack provider or your vehicle agent which is the best bracket system for your tent and vehicle.



• Are Tooftop Tents any Good?

Rooftop tents are worth it depending on what and how you are planning to use them. As a camper, you need to identify where you will be going; is it feasible to set-up a traditional tent; do you have space to set-up an RTT, and does your vehicle allows for a tent bracket to be installed? If you answered yes to these, then a rooftop tent is worth it for you. Compared to a traditional tent, it is much easier to set-up an RTT, provides more comfort as it keeps you off the ground and they allow you to set-up camp in places where a traditional tent will be inconvenient.

• Can You Put a Rooftop Tent on any Car?

Yes. As long as you have your car fitted to have the necessary tent bracket for transport. Although there are aftermarket clamp style fitments, these are not recommended. They can easily be carried away by the wind during motion and may cause accidents.But do note that there are considerations as to the maximum weight your car roof can handle. The maximum DWC and the maximum SWC needs to be considered before installing RTTs.

• Why are Rooftop Tents so Expensive?

Rooftop tents are expensive because unlike a regular camping tent, they need more than a piece of fabric and a few pieces of poles to have a complete RTT. It requires a tent bracket that needs to be attached to the vehicle, the bracket itself needs to be of durable and lightweight material to withstand all weather and the impact of the wind while on travel. A complete RTT package needs to have a stock mattress, foldable ladder, tent annex, and the tent itself.

• Why are Rooftops Tents so Popular?

Rooftop tents are popular due to the versatility they offer. They provide campers the comfort of home anywhere they set up camp. RTTs are popular in places where setting up a traditional tent is not practical. Usually, campers that have 4x4s or SUVs, that prefer setting up camps on places accessible via their vehicle.

• What is the Largest Rooftop Tent?

The largest rooftop tents are the XL in sizes that usually has 5 to 6 person sleeping capacity. XLs usually have a privacy room that has a divider to separate one room from the other. XL RTTs can only fit on SUVs as weight has to be considered.