No matter whether you’re sleeping on the ground in a traditional tent or up in the air in a rooftop tent, ensuring you’ve picked a high-quality and durable tent is essential for a successful overlanding excursion. There are a lot of options out there to sift through. We have compiled a list of some of our favorites to help make picking your next tent a bit easier.
ARB — Series III Simpson Rooftop Tent & Annex
A lot of overlanders first buy either a rooftop tent and then eventually step up to a canopy — or the other way around. Why not pull the trigger and get both at once? With the ARB Series III Simpson rooftop tent and annex combo, you can. The poly/cotton rip-stop canvas is rated at 300 GSM so you’ll stay dry in the rain. Climbing into the the tent is easy thanks to the 1.0-inch diameter anodized aluminum retractable ladder that can support up to 265 pounds.
Big Agnes — Prota Canvas Tent
Measuring 10′ x 14′ with 6’6″ of headroom, the Prota should be big enough for even the most space-starved overlanders. Constructed from 10-ounce reflective silver-coated sunblock canvas on the roof and 100% cotton army duck 10.10-ounce canvas for the walls, featuring military-grade waterproof zippers, there are few elements the Prota can’t handle and block — from bright sun to heavy rain.
iKamper — SkyCamp Mini
For those of you who’ve heard of — or seen — the gargantuan iKamper Skycamp but worried it was too big for your rig, iKamper has a new option for you: The Skycamp Mini. Just like the hard-shell foldout Skycamp, the mini expands off the passenger side of your vehicle. Since it’s smaller, the Skycamp Mini only supports two campers. You can also choose the color of your hard-shell top color: Black or Rocky Black.
Marmot — Limelight
Not everyone wants a rooftop tent bolted to their roof nor does everyone want to lug around a big, heavy canvas tent — even when overlanding. For those, we recommend the modestly priced Marmot Limelight. It’s not your average backpacking tent; it’s a bit bigger. It can accommodate three to four people. It’s easy to set up, thanks its color-coded clips and poles. And it features a waterproof fly and floor to keep wet weather outside where it belongs.
MSR — Guideline Pro
Now if you like the looks and feel of the Marmot Limelight but want something a bit more robust and all-season capable and can sacrifice some interior space, let us introduce you to the MSR Guideline Pro. It is mountain-guide approved. It features DWR and Xtreme Shield treatments that repel the elements. It may only be a two-person tent, but it’s one that will be good year-round. To underscore that fact, it includes Easton poles, which can withstand even the most fierce winds.
Roofnest — Condor XL
If you’re looking for a large, fold-out rooftop tent, look no further than the Roofnest Condor XL. It combines the benefits of a hard-shell RTT with the expandability and large footprint of a fold-out. The Condor XL can sleep three to four people but folds down to just 74 inches long, which is perfect for the roofs of longer SUV or on top a long-bed truck’s rack. Inside, overlanders will find a padded, quilted interior finished with a three-inch foam mattress and plenty of storage pockets. You can also add on an optional — and simply massive — awning, too.
Roofnest — Sparrow
The 2020 Roofnest Sparrow is one of the newer offerings in the hard shell rooftop tent market. Although the Sparrow name has been around for several years, the Sparrow line has been redesigned and expanded. It now includes Sparrow, Sparrow EYE, and Sparrow XL variants. Sparrow XL is eight inches wider than the other models, so it can accommodate two adults and a child or dog. The top hard shell of all 2020 Sparrow models includes space for a solar panel in the front as well as room for an additional storage bag to the rear.
Smittybilt — Overlander
Smittybilt has now thrown its hat into the hard-shell rooftop tent ring with its aptly named Overlander tent. This pop-up RTT can sleep two to three people. It includes a 92.5-inch extending ladder. And inside is a two-inch foam mattress and a pop-up LED solar lantern for interior lighting. There are gusseted awnings on all four sides of the tent, so you can leave the windows open without worrying about rain.
Thule x Tepui — Explorer Autana 3+ Annex
600D rip-stop fabric means this tent is durable, high-density foam mattress, mesh panels for increased air flow, internal pockets — these are all features you hope to get with other soft-shell roof top tents. But they’re all standard with the Thule x Tepui Explorer Autana 3+ Annex rooftop tent. Oh, did we mention this bad-boy also includes a removable annex. Yeah, it does. So you’re getting even more for your money. Plus, it’s construction — the whole thing — is mold-resistant. So you don’t have to worry about it getting all, well, moldy after a rain storm.
Yakima — SkyRise HD
Last but not least, we have the Yakima SkyRise HD, which puts you up so high that you feel like you’re sleeping in a dang high-rise condo. Sweet. Weighing in at a mere 114 pounds, this light but weather-resistant rooftop tent isn’t too heavy. It’s also not too big either. Folded down, it measures just 58 x 48 inches. So it’s ideal for smaller overland rigs. Ya dig? It has an aluminum frame, foldout ladder, and four big ol’ windows to feast your peepers on during the sunset. You’ll just have to ignore the frame, which obstructs the side windows. Hey, maybe your high-rise condo is under construction, OK?
Header photo : Christian Schrader @terrainadvco | Upsplash