We love all types of camping — from backpacking to glamping, rooftop tents to 4×4 campers, campervans to compact RVs.
Every camper has their own style that suits them. Some like to go rugged, while others prefer more creature comforts.
If you’re looking for the style of camping that’s the biggest crowd-pleaser, look no further than camping in a hard shell roof top tent.
Adding a rooftop tent to your vehicle has its own special set of perks that make them a blast for both overlanding and car camping.
Below are 7 reasons why a rooftop tent is more fun, comfortable, and easy to use than a traditional tent — and why 2021 should be your year to get a rooftop tent!
1. READY, SET, CAMP
Rooftop tents are super easy to set up, saving you time every time you stop for the night. With little to no effort or prior camping experience, you’ll be able to quickly set up your tent for the night at each stop along your road trip.
Most hardshell rooftop tents are designed to quickly pop up in minutes, with a cushy built-in mattress. That means you won’t waste time pumping up a sleeping mat or inflatable mattress. Softshell rooftop tents can take a little bit longer to set up, but they are still a breeze compared to ground tents.
Anyone who has spent time trying to set up a traditional tent knows it’s not always easy, especially at the end of the day as the sun starts to set. And on a road trip, if you’re moving from campsite to campsite, setting up and breaking down camp can be a drag.
With a rooftop tent, you can typically leave your bedding in the tent, even when it’s closed. This makes setting up and breaking down camp a total breeze.
Having a rooftop tent also makes selecting your campsite easier. You don’t have to worry as much about finding an even, rock-free area to set up your tent. And if you’re arriving at your campsite later in the evening, you can just park, pop open your rooftop tent, and crawl into a comfy bed.
2. GET ELEVATED
One obvious advantage of a rooftop tent is in the name – you get to camp up on the roof!
Unlike camping on the ground, you can enjoy the view from an elevated perspective. It’s like traveling with your own treehouse!
Camping off the ground has other perks, too: like sleeping on a flat, dry, and comfortable surface, no matter the weather conditions.
When camping in a regular tent, you have to find a spot that’s free of rocks, pinecones, tree roots, or holes that aren’t comfortable to sleep on. And if the ground is wet and muddy, you’ll soon be wet and muddy, too.
If you’ve ever camped in the rain, you know that worrying about your tent flooding or washing away in a storm is not a fun way to spend the evening.
Another plus for your elevated camping experience: Keeping you up out of reach of (most) pests and wildlife. Rest assured that you are less likely to find a snake, scorpion, spider, or other creepy crawlers in your rooftop tent.
3. TAKE COMFORT
Many campers report that they sleep more comfortably in rooftop tents than on the ground. One reason is likely the built-in mattress that’s as wide as the tent, creating a comfortable sleeping surface that’s much larger than most camping mats.
For a couple sharing a tent, one solid mattress is easier to share than pushing together two individual sleeping mats that end up getting pushed apart throughout the night. The sleeping area in a rooftop tent is generally larger than that of ground tents. This makes it easy to share with a friend, child, another family member, or a furry companion.
You can use cozy bedding in a rooftop tent and leave it in the tent when you pack up, making the setup and tear-down process much easier each time you stop on your road trip. Down comforters, sleeping bags and pillows squish down easily with the tent, and will keep you warm and cozy while sleeping.
Since you don’t have to worry about your bedding taking up a bunch of space inside your car, you can opt for regular home-use items instead of inflatable pillows, or other travel-sized options that may not offer as much comfort.
Finally, the rooftop tent option can be more comfortable for longer trips. A night or two sleeping on the ground might not be a problem. But over a longer trip of several days or more, you’ll sleep much more comfortably with the rooftop mattress and bedding set up.
4. STAY MOBILE
Vehicles with rooftop tents are great for a camping adventure that requires you to move to a new campsite each night of your trip.
The speed and ease of setup and breakdown lend themselves perfectly to road trip adventures. And with the off-road capabilities of most overland campers (think Jeeps, Toyota 4Runners & Tacomas, etc.), you can easily set up camp wherever your vehicle can go.
If you enjoy getting some use out of your vehicle’s 4-wheel-drive capabilities, then rooftop tents are perfect for your travel style. Your ability to drive to any dispersed campsite and set up quickly without worrying about the conditions of the ground allows you to get close to the outdoor adventures that you’re after — from hiking to rock climbing or even backcountry skiing.
You can easily move from campsite to campsite with the winning combination of the off-road driving capabilities and rooftop tent setup.
5. CLIMATE CONTROL
Whenever you’re sleeping outside, the weather is a huge factor in your comfort and enjoyment.
Rooftop tents are made of more durable, weatherproof materials than ground tents, which are typically made to be lighter and easier to carry on your back.
The tougher material of a rooftop tent means more weather protection and comfort for you. So in addition to being elevated off the ground, the fabric of the tent itself will keep you protected from bad weather.
In warm climates, rooftop tents catch more of a breeze than a ground position. And if the wind isn’t cooperating, you can easily reposition the vehicle to face a different direction.
Wind can be a great enemy of the tent camper. Many ground tent campers have spent sleepless nights listening to the wind whip a lightweight tent around them, or even push it to the point of hitting them in the face as they try to sleep inside.
The heavier weight of the rooftop tent material combined with the ability to easily reposition in the case of high winds makes the rooftop tent a more enjoyable choice yet again.
6. ROOM FOR GEAR
When you’re on the road for days or weeks at a time, you may end up carrying a lot of stuff with you. The unique features of most hardshell rooftop tents allow you to store both the tent and your bedding on top of the vehicle.
That means you have extra space inside your car for other adventure gear like coolers, climbing gear, fishing poles, skis, snowboards, snowshoes — you name it.
Packing up a regular tent means:
- Attempting to cram everything back into the bag it came in
- Deflating inflatable mattresses or sleeping mats, cramming those back into the bags they came in (they never seem to fit as easily as they should!)
- Finding space for all that, plus your sleeping bags inside the vehicle alongside your backpacks, boots, food, and other gear.
With a rooftop tent, breaking down camp and packing up your car is quicker and easier than ever. You won’t have to make space inside the car for a large tent, mattresses, and bedding.
All those items have their designated storage area on the roof. And you still have space for everything else you might need on your road trip, leaving plenty of space for adventure.
7. RAISE THE ROOF
Rooftop tent camping is great for campers of all experience levels. If you’re accustomed to regular tent camping, you might enjoy the chance to try out elevated off-ground camping and compare the two experiences for yourself.
If you’re new to camping, rooftop camping is a great option if you have concerns about sleeping on the ground, weather, or the difficulty of setting up and breaking down camp each day.
Rooftop tents are the perfect way to combine camping with comfort. You can find a rental company that offers rooftop tent rentals, or go ahead and pull the trigger on a tent of your own. With a reliable car, a sturdy rooftop tent, and some essential camping gear, you’ll have everything you need for an adventure of a lifetime.
So what are you waiting for? Find the perfect rooftop tent for you! Read our Buyer’s Guide: The Best Hardshell Rooftop Tents >