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The Best Rooftop Tents of 2024

For overland adventures, life on the road, or just an elevated and more comfortable campout experience, here are our picks for the best rooftop tents.

(photo/Berne Broudy)
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If you’ve never slept in a rooftop tent, it’s hard to imagine how different it is from sleeping in a traditional tent. In general, we’ve found that rooftop tent sleeping has certain key advantages over sleeping in a tent on the ground.

Rooftop tents offer a bird’s-eye view of your surroundings, airflow that’s unheard of in a ground tent, protection (and peace of mind), and generally superior comfort for sleeping.

The drawbacks: Unlike a ground tent or a tow-behind camper, when your tent is on your roof, you have to break camp before you drive away. And, for those who make nighttime visits to the loo, there’s a ladder to negotiate between you and relief (unless you’re willing to get creative).

Also, if your dog gets to share the human bed, practice your one-handed ladder climb before you attempt to hoist them up. Multiply that effort if you have more than one dog.

Not every rooftop tent fits every vehicle or every budget. But some tents work for almost every car or truck. Rooftop tents are all pricier than even the plushest backpacking tent, but if you’re able to invest, you won’t regret it.

Once you’ve decided if a rooftop tent is right for you, it can be tricky to pick out the right model. In recent years, the GearJunkie team and our greater network of expert gear testers have researched and sampled all of the leading styles on the market. We’ve used these tents for overlanding, car camping, and cross-country roadtripping. We’ve closely examined their features at trade shows and expos in far-flung corners of the globe.

After hundreds of nights of elevated sleeping and hours of poring over specs, we’ve decided that the rooftop tents on this list are the best of the best. Rooftop tents are still a young development in the world of life on the road. We expect that they’ll only get better.

Scroll through to see all of our recommended models. Our handy comparison chart, buyer’s guide, and FAQ will help you make an informed purchase.

Editor’s note: This guide received an update on April 8th, 2024, and now includes five additional awesome rooftop tents. We’ve added the Sparrow 2 and the four-season Falcon 3 EVO from Roofnest to the lineup, along with the rugged iKamper BVD Duo. We’re also excited to introduce two new brands to our guide with the inclusion of the unique Dometic TRT 140 Air inflatable RTT and the Sylvan Sport Loft.

The Best Rooftop Tents of 2024


Best Overall Rooftop Tent

iKamper Skycamp 3.0 Mini

Specs

  • Dimensions open 102" x 101" x 48"
  • Dimensions closed 57.5" x 55" x 13"
  • Sleeping footprint 83" x 51"
  • Peak internal height 46.5"
  • Weight 125 lbs.
  • Static weight capacity N/A
  • Minimum bar spread N/A
Product Badge The Best Rooftop Tents of 2024

Pros

  • Fits all vehicles
  • Ultrafast setup

Cons

  • Mattress may be too firm for some campers
Best Budget Rooftop Tent

Thule Tepui Foothill

Specs

  • Dimensions open 84" x 47" x 40"
  • Dimensions closed 83" x 24" x 9.5"
  • Sleeping footprint 84" x 47"
  • Peak internal height 38"
  • Weight 108 lbs.
  • Static weight capacity 400 lbs.
  • Minimum bar spread 24"
The Best Rooftop Tents of 2024

Pros

  • Spacious
  • Room for gear on the roof

Cons

  • No compatible vestibule
  • Cumbersome for a two-person tent
  • Ladder can’t be stored inside the packed tent
Best Rooftop Tent for Maximum Headroom

Roofnest Sparrow EYE 2

Specs

  • Dimensions open 84" x 48″ x 40"
  • Dimensions closed 85" x 50" x 11.5"
  • Sleeping footprint 83" x 49"
  • Peak internal height 44"
  • Weight 130 lbs.
  • Static weight capacity 650 lbs.
  • Minimum bar spread 28"
The Best Rooftop Tents of 2024

Pros

  • Tent-top storage bag included
  • Solar panel mount on the roof
  • Super easy to open

Cons

  • 270-degree views, not 360 degrees
  • The low ceiling at the foot cuts down on internal storage space
Best 3-Person Rooftop Tent

Yakima SkyRise HD

Specs

  • Dimensions open 96" x 56" x 48"
  • Dimensions closed 58" x 48" x 17"
  • Sleeping footprint N/A
  • Peak internal height N/A
  • Weight 115 lbs.
  • Static weight capacity N/A
  • Minimum bar spread 26"
The Best Rooftop Tents of 2024

Pros

  • Super easy to mount
  • Locks securely to your roof

Cons

  • Lighter fabrics flap more on windy nights
Best Four Season Rooftop Tent

Roofnest Falcon 3 EVO

Specs

  • Dimensions open 83” x 50” x 58”
  • Dimensions closed 83” x 50” x 8”
  • Sleeping footprint 80” x 47”
  • Peak internal height 58”
  • Weight 140 lbs.
  • Static weight capacity 650 lbs.
  • Minimum bar spread N/A
The Best Rooftop Tents of 2024

Pros

  • Four-season ready
  • Extra aerodynamic
  • Super slim but able to store bedding
  • Optional insulation kit
  • Available in XL

Cons

  • One of the pricier tents
Best Rooftop Tent for Overlanding

iKamper BDV Duo

Specs

  • Dimensions open 59” x 90” x 56”
  • Dimensions closed 6-¾” x 90” x 56”
  • Sleeping footprint 83 ¾ " x 53 ¾
  • Weight 200 lbs
  • Static weight capacity n/a
  • Minimum bar spread n/a
The Best Rooftop Tents of 2024

Pros

  • Four-season
  • Spacious
  • Super fast setup
  • Low condensation
  • Loads of accessories
  • Low profile–under 7”

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Can sleep in only one direction
  • One set of ladder pins has to be moved to relocate ladder

Dometic TRT 140 Air

Specs

  • Dimensions open 86” x 57” x 45”
  • Dimensions closed 86” x 57” x 13”
  • Sleeping footprint N/A
  • Peak internal height N/A
  • Weight 103.7 lbs.
  • Static weight capacity N/A
  • Minimum bar spread 28”
The Best Rooftop Tents of 2024

Pros

  • anti-condensation mat under the mattress
  • Thin and comfortable mattress
  • Inside and outside storage pockets
  • One of the best-vented RTTs
  • Sets up fast
  • Extremely compact
  • The lightest RTT in this roundup
  • Tool-free installation
  • Compatible with accessory crossbars

Cons

  • No space for blankets and pillows inside the folded tent
  • Like anything inflatable, one of the tubes could get a hole if you’re not careful
  • Louder than some others on the roof
  • Ladder stores outside the tent

Sylvan Sport Loft

Specs

  • Dimensions open 82.6” x 50.7” x 41.3”
  • Dimensions closed 82.6” x 50.7” x 11”
  • Sleeping footprint 48" x 80"
  • Peak internal height 39"
  • Weight 116.8 lbs
  • Static weight capacity 480 lbs
  • Minimum bar spread n/a
The Best Rooftop Tents of 2024

Pros

  • Compact enough to fit on most vehicles
  • Sets up and packs down fast
  • Massive ceiling storage nets
  • Comes with a fan/light combo

Cons

  • Windows are smaller than in other RTTs
  • Mattress is more basic than some other RTTs
  • Mounting hardware is more basic than on some RTTs and it requires tools
  • Internal storage pockets are hidden behind hydraulic arms
  • Ceiling storage nets take up headroom

Roofnest Sparrow 2

Specs

  • Dimensions open 84” x 48” x 40”
  • Dimensions closed 85" x 51″
  • Sleeping footprint 84" x 48"
  • Peak internal height 40”
  • Weight 130 lbs
  • Static weight capacity 650 lbs.
  • Minimum bar spread n/a
The Best Rooftop Tents of 2024

Pros

  • The redesigned shell has internal ribs for increased structural integrity
  • Ruggedized ABS shell with Line-X ruggedized anti-scratch coating
  • Bedding fits inside
  • Can support Roofnest’s crossbar system that holds up to 160 lbs of cargo on top
  • 2.8” memory foam mattress

Cons

  • On a car without a rear bumper, it’s hard to get to the ratcheting close strap
  • The hook ladder has to be removed before closing the tent which makes it hard for shorter people to close the tent

Smittybilt Gen 2 Overlander Tent XL

Specs

  • Dimensions open 122" x 76" x 51"
  • Dimensions closed 76" x 47" x 11.5"
  • Sleeping footprint 92.5" x 74.8"
  • Peak internal height N/A
  • Weight 148 lbs.
  • Static weight capacity 770 lbs.
  • Minimum bar spread N/A
The Best Rooftop Tents of 2024(Photo/4 Wheel Parts)

Pros

  • Great price

Cons

  • Some reported quality control issues
  • For some racks, the provided hardware was too short

Rooftop Tent Comparison Table

Rooftop TentPriceOpen Dimensions (L x W x H)Closed Dimensions (L x W x H)Sleeping Footprint (L x W)Peak Internal HeightWeight
iKamper Skycamp 3.0 Mini$3,979102″ x 101″ x 48″57.5″ x 55″ x 13″83″ x 51″46.5″125 lbs.
Thule Tepui Foothill$1,79984″ x 47″ x 40″83″ x 24″ x 9.5″84″ x 47″38″108 lbs.
Roofnest Sparrow EYE 2$2,99584″ x 48″ x 40″85″ x 50″ x 11.5″83″ x 49″40″130 lbs.
Yakima SkyRise HD$2,49996″ x 56″ x 48″58″ x 48″ x 17″n/a48″115 lbs.
Roofnest Falcon 3 EVO$3,49583” x 50” x 58”83” x 50” x 8”80” x 47”58″140 lbs.
iKamper BDV Duo$279959” x 90” x 56”6.75” x 90” x 56” 83.75 ” x 53.75″56″200 lbs.
Dometic TRT 140 Air$2,50086” x 57” x 45”86” x 57” x 13”n/a45″103.7 lbs.
Sylvan Sport Loft$2,19582.6” x 50.7” x 41.3”82.6” x 50.7” x 11”48″ x 80″39″ 116.8 lbs.
Roofnest Sparrow 2$2,99584” x 48” x 40”85″ x 51″ x 12″84″ x 48″ 40”130 lbs.
Smittybilt Gen 2 Overlander Tent XL$1,799122″ x 76″ x 51″76″ x 47″ x 11.5″92.5″ x 74.8″51″148  lbs.


How We Tested the Best Rooftop Tents

Thule’s Tepui Foothill Rooftop Tent - review
Testing the Thule Tepui in wet autumn conditions; (photo/Berne Broudy)

The GearJunkie team is composed of overlanders, auto experts, and seasoned car camping fanatics. Over many years, we have tried and rigorously tested nearly every kind of camping gear on the market — including rooftop tents.

Our lead tester for rooftop tents is Berne Broudy. Based in Vermont, Berne has amassed over 20+ years of hiking, cycling, climbing, ski touring, and overlanding. Berne’s broad portfolio of outdoor activities has added up to many nights of camping outdoors — many spent in a rooftop tent.

To compile this list of the best rooftop tents of 2024, Berne and the rest of our team combed the market and compared the pros, cons, and specs of dozens of models. We’ve mounted tents on rigs of all shapes and sizes — from compact sedans to full-sized trucks. We’ve spent many nights — some glorious and others full of tosses and turns — testing the quality and comfort of rooftop tent mattresses.

Our assessment process is detail-oriented. No subtle feature or flaw goes unnoticed. On this list, we’ve included a wide variety of excellent rooftop tents to meet all sorts of needs. From compact SUV drivers to large-family road trippers, at least one of the models on this list should be a good fit.

For more info on car camping options, take a look at GearJunkie’s guide to truck campers and motorhomes.

Checking out the window awnings on the Roofnest Sparrow 2 (photo/Berne Broudy)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Rooftop Tent

What Fits Your Vehicle?

Not every rooftop tent will fit every vehicle. Know the load capacity of your roof rack, and the distance between your roof rack bars to determine if a specific rooftop tent will fit. The spread of the bars is the distance between the front roof rack crossbar and the back one. Most rooftop tents have a “minimum bar spread” spec. Before purchasing a rooftop tent, be sure to physically measure your rack’s spread to ensure your rack and tent are a match. 

When in doubt, contact the rooftop tent manufacturer and verify that your planned setup will be safe and sound. Many tents on this list can work with sedans, trucks, trailers, and everything in between — provided you’ve got the proper rack and mounting system.

What Else Do You Need to Carry?

Some rooftop tents require you to carry the access ladder inside your car. Other tents incorporate the ladder directly into the tent’s packed-away design. Some tents have accessory options, including awnings and extensions. Typically, these will need to be stored separately inside a car or truck bed.

As for sleeping bags, and pillows, many rooftop tents can be fully folded and tucked away with the bedding stored inside. This feature is more common in hardshell models.

Some rooftop tents with smaller footprints leave extra space on your roof for bikes, boats, and other gear. Of course, the square footage of your leftover roof space will depend on the size of the tent and the dimensions of your rack.

Some hardshell rooftop tents provide gear storage on top or space to mount a solar panel. In most cases, you’ll need to purchase additional racks to utilize the roof of your tent’s shell for storage space.

Hardshell vs. Softshell

best rooftop tents
Hardshell rooftop tents tend to be easier to set up, but they’re also more expensive; (photo/Berne Broudy)

Hardshell rooftop tents are sleeker looking when compressed and more aerodynamic. They also tend to be lower clearance when packed — an important consideration for those planning to park in a garage.

In general, hardshell rooftop tents are quick and easy to set up and pack up. Most come use hydraulic struts that do most of the heavy lifting for you. Softshell tents typically come with traditional aluminum or fiberglass poles that require assembly. Inflatable tents are relatively new to the market. They’re almost as quick and easy to set up as a hardshell, and can be spacious inside.

Some hardshells have useable storage space on top of the outer shell. But many are wedge-shaped and don’t give you 360-degree views.

Softshell rooftop tents are generally similar to traditional camping tents. They tend to be less expensive and harder to set up. But they usually have great airflow and some are large enough to accommodate three to five people.

Space vs. Weight

Rooftop tents typically sleep two to five people and fit a double to a king-size mattress. The bigger the tent and mattress, the heavier and more cumbersome the rooftop tent.

Most rooftop tents weigh between 100 and 200 pounds — an important spec to know, especially in relation to your roof rack’s recommended capacity.For a family of three or a couple with a dog, we like the Roofnest Falcon 3— a roomy and comfortable option with a plush wall-to-wall mattress.

If your roof space is limited and you’re looking for a svelte on your roof, full size when unfurled sleeper, the Dometic TRT 140 Air is compact and well suited to smaller rooftops.

The Dometic TRT 140 Air gets structural support from inflatable tubes. (photo/Berne Broudy)

Manual vs. Automatic Opening

Some hardshell rooftop tents lift with a gentle nudge, whereas most softshells have to be flipped open manually and the awning bars inserted. Rooftop tents with gas struts that lift the tent open are becoming more common. They often cost more, but they’re convenient — especially when you’re setting up your tent in the rain.

Whatever tent you buy, initial assembly can be challenging with a steep learning curve. Some tents offer the option to ship fully unassembled. That can save you up to $400, and it can take hours and tools to build the tent platform and attach the tent to it before you load it on your roof. 

Once assembled, rooftop tents require a heavy lift to get the tent onto a vehicle’s roof rack. Pan to get a hand from a friend or two depending on the weight of the tent and the height of your roof. While you can repeatedly install and uninstall, it’s always an awkward operation.

(photo/Berne Broudy)

Durability

Rooftop tents are a major investment — they can cost up to $5000. Take care of your investment, and it will last for many years. 


We recommend storing your rooftop tent in a dry, covered place when not in use. When the tent isn’t on your roof, place 2x4s or 4x4s on saw horses to mimic your roof bars and store the tent on top in the same orientation that the tent was on your roof. Go easy on the zippers, struts, ladders, and poles — these intricate mechanical components tend to break first. And always thoroughly dry the inside of your tent after use. 

In our experience, all of the rooftop tents on this list offer competitive durability when properly cared for.

Roofnest Sandpiper rooftop tent
Take extra care with moving parts such as ladders and gas struts; (photo/Berne Broudy)

FAQ

What is the benefit of a rooftop tent?

Rooftop tents get you off the ground, providing a great view. In most situations, they also provide more airflow than you’ll get when you’re sleeping in a tent on the ground.

When your tent is on the roof of your vehicle, you’re also out of the dirt and away from creepy crawly things on the ground. That makes a rooftop tent feel more secure.

Most rooftop tents are super quick and easy to set up. And when your tent is on your roof, it’s always with you, which can inspire some great impromptu adventures.

Rooftop tents typically come with a mattress and some can store bedding even when the tent is packed.

Can you put a rooftop tent on a car?

Many rooftop tents are designed to be mounted on cars. But not every tent will fit every car. The size and weight of the tent need to match the size and carrying capacity of your car’s roof rack.

For best results, use aftermarket bars, not standard factory-installed racks. Also, check the automaker’s and the roof rack manufacturer’s websites for compatibility.

Why are rooftop tents so expensive?

Rooftop tents are more expensive than most ground-staked tents because of the materials required to build them. Rooftop tents are built on a strong and stable base. In some cases, that base folds for storage without losing structural integrity. Rooftop tents must withstand weather off the ground, where winds and rain can be severe. And they have to be weather-proof as a semi-permanent fixture on your roof. That’s a whole lot more complicated than creating a structure with a fabric floor that gets placed on the ground. They come with a mattress and a ladder too.

What is the cheapest rooftop tent?

You can buy a rooftop tent for under $1,000. It’s also possible to pick up a used one at a significant discount. As with campers, some people get excited about the idea of owning a rooftop tent, but they end up selling the tent because they don’t use it as much as they thought they would.

If you’re buying used, don’t forget that not every tent will fit every vehicle.

Will a rooftop tent affect my gas mileage?

Yes. In our testing, we saw up to a 20% drop in fuel efficiency with a rooftop tent on the car and a mix of highway and local driving.

If I want to bring my dog into my rooftop tent, how do I do it?

Historically, the best way to get your dog into the rooftop tent with you is the one-handed underarm carry or a harness carry. Keep in mind that once your dog is up, you’ll need to get it down too, both when you’re breaking camp and when your furry friend has to pee. If you have a big dog or a squirmy dog, consider letting it sleep in the car.

My rooftop tent ladder hurts my feet. What should I do?

Rooftop tents all come with a ladder that clips or hooks to the tent. If it feels harsh on your feet, or you’re not 100% comfortable climbing a ladder, get iKamper’s HC Steps. The HC Steps are a fabric covering that Velcros over the rungs of your rooftop tent’s ladder, turning each ladder rung into a step

Should I buy an awning?

Depending on the tent, an awning can turn your rooftop tent into a full basecamp, providing an enclosed area out of the wind, sun, rain, and other weather for cooking, gearing up, and hanging out. The biggest downside besides the cost is that adding an awning adds setup and breakdown time.

How hard is it to install a rooftop tent on my car?

How hard it is to install a rooftop tent on your vehicle depends on the tent, and what you’re driving. Plan to have at least one other helper, and preferably three to lift your tent onto the roof of your vehicle. If you drive a truck and the tent is going on top of the cab or cap, make sure to recruit tall friends. 

Once the tent is on top of your vehicle, you’ll have to install brackets and bolts. Many rooftop tents now boast tool-free installation. Some still require ratchets or wrenches. To install bolts in the rooftop tent frame you’ll need to lift the corners while sliding those bolds into their designated slots. It’s helpful to have a second person to help. 

Depending on the tent model, some assembly is often required. For example, some tents come with noise-reducing inserts you only have to install the first time you use the tent.


Can I heat my rooftop tent? 

Yes! Many rooftop tents have a special port for a diesel or electric heater. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe heater use inside your rooftop tent. Some electric climate control units will heat and also cool your tent.

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