9 Best Hard Shell Roof Top Tents

When traveling, sometimes you want to experience the great outdoors without having to go the extra mile to leave your car, find a place to stay, and desert a wide open space. If you are looking for a hard shell roof top tent, what are the best ones out there? 

The 9 best hard shell roof top tents include the iKamper Skycamp 2.0, Alu-Cab Expedition 3, Eze-Awn Stealth, Autohome Maggiolina Extreme, Tepui Tents Hybox, Go Fast Camper RTT, Roost Explorer, Danchell Outdoor Rooftop Tent, and the BunduTec Bundu Top. 

There is a certain luxury to being able to stay right with your mode of transportation when traveling, but even more, never having to leave its frame through the use of a hard shell roof top tent. These tents offer accessibility, ease, safety, and will go wherever your vehicle will take you, making them a huge appeal for those who want to keep their views in nature rather than a hotel room. Read below to find the 9 best hard shell roof top tents. 

What is a Hard Shell Roof Top Tent? 

If you are new to the camping world, you may be thinking that your only option, when it comes to packable outdoor living, includes only the basic ground tent. Although this is a great option for some, others prefer a bit of an upgraded space for traveling the outdoors, which relays into the hard shell roof top tent. Although its title may be a bit of a mouthful, these tents are something worth knowing about, just in case you too might want to elevate your camping. 

A hard shell roof top tent is a tent which can be secured on the top of your car and popped up in that exact spot for camping. You never have to take the tent down, simply open the hard shell, expand it, and then crawl into a comfortable nest that sits atop your car.

A hard shell roof top tent is exactly as its title indicates: a hard shell tent. This means that the outer shell of the tent is hard, which allows users the ability to collapse the tent more compactly, but also gives them better aerodynamics when traveling due to the hard shell. Once the tent has been installed and secured on top of your car, you are able to use it in any space that will allow you to park, giving individuals incredible accessibility to different areas.

What is the Difference Between a Hardshell and Soft Shell Roof Top Tent?  

Knowing that there are hard shell roof top tents in existence, you may be wondering if there are any other similar counterparts that other campers use. If this is your question, you would be correct, as soft shell roof top tents have been around for quite some time. Knowing that both are on the market and both are used by a wide variety of travelers, it is important to understand their differences so you can make an informed decision when purchasing. 

The main difference between hard shell and soft shell roof top tents is that hard shell tents are typically much more compact and much easier to set up and take down. Along with this, hard shell roof top tents are also waterproof, which gives peace of mind when traveling in inclimate weather. 

Hard shell roof top tents are designed in a way that allows them to collapse more completely than soft shell tents are able to, which gives drivers the ability to have less drag when they are on the road as well as the ability to drive at higher speeds without having to worry about the tent catching too much wind. Soft shell tents must be covered and can be rather bulky, which can make driving them at long distances somewhat problematic. 

However, it should be noted that soft shell roof top tents are typically a bit roomier when it comes to sleeping space because they are able to extend outside of the width of your vehicle. This can be a problem for those who are traveling with three or four other people, as the space within the hard shell roof top tents can become cramped rather quickly. 

9 Best Hard Shell Roof Top Tents 

Now that you know what these tents are and how they are different from their soft shell roof top tent counterparts, it’s time to figure out which are the best in the business so that you can weigh the pros and cons of each brand and model. If you are ready to dive into the world of hard shell roof top tents, take a look below to find the best ones out there and decide which one fits the needs of you and your travel plans just right.

1. iKamper Skycamp 2.0

The iKamper Skycamp 2.0 falls at the very top of the list due to its ability to accommodate large groups, even with its compact size. This hard shell roof top tent has a fold-out king-size mattress that can sleep up to four adults comfortably while also having a quilted interior as well as two insulating layers to protect campers from sound and extreme temperatures. It can be carried on any vehicle and weighs only 160 pounds making it very lightweight for its size. 

2. Alu-Cab Expedition 3 

If you want a roof top tent that is known for durability, the Alu-Cab Expedition 3 is the model for you. This tent is prolifically used by just about every large safari company in Africa, giving it major points for durability and reliability. It is made of aluminum and has gas-pressure springs which allow it to collapse and expand easily. With a high-density foam mattress and LED reading lights built in, this tent can be your new home away from home. 

3. Eezi-Awn Stealth 

If you are looking for both durability and comfort, there is hardly any match to the Eezi-Awn Stealth. This rooftop camper is 87 inches long and 57 inches wide, allowing plenty of room for two, or a good amount of space for three, no matter how tall you may be. The interior is incredibly inviting with various USB ports, LED interior lighting, and a quilted mattress with piped edges which allows campers to get great sleep in a cozy environment. 

4. Autohome Maggiolina Extreme 

If you plan on camping in an area that is known for its high winds, you need a hard shell roof top camper that is going to be able to withstand the gusts without wavering, and when it comes to wind, the AutoHome Maggiolina Extreme is one of the best. With the hand-crank design to complete expansion, it allows users to pull the walls tight so that they can do their best at keeping things quiet and warm in winds as high as 50 miles an hour. 

5. Tepui Tents Hybox

If you are someone who is traveling either alone or with just one other person, you may not be looking for a huge hard top roof tent to go on top of your vehicle. The Hybox from Tepui Tent is one that is small, but even with its size, allows owners to not lose storage space because it doubles as a cargo box. It can sleep two people, but can also hold 23 cubic feet of gear so that you are able to have a smaller unit with more than enough storage space. 

6. Go Fast Camper RTT

If you are wanting a hard shell roof top tent that isn’t going to make too much of a fuss when it comes to bulky appearances, the Go Fast Camper RTT is one of the sleekest in the game. When collapsed, it is only 6 inches tall and can even be installed at only a half-inch above the factory sheet metal on 5th Generation 4Runners. If you don’t have a 4Runner, this tent can be installed on just about any vehicle as long as your cross bars are 56 inches in width. 

7. Roost Explorer

The Roost Explorer is made for those who want something rather minimalist, but also want a product that is going to function well over time. The Roost explorer doesn’t come with a ton of bells and whistles, but it is a great height with plenty of room for comfortably sleeping 2 people. Even more, the bedding and tent items can be removed so that this tent can be used as storage space when not used for sleeping or hanging about.  

8. Danchell Outdoor Rooftop Tent 

If you aren’t so worried about bells and whistles but are more concerned about the price of a hard shell roof top tent, you may be wondering if you can find one that is a bit more budget-friendly while still being reliable. The Danchell Outdoor Rooftop Tent has a plastic exterior that is just as durable as other brands, but allows for a price cut that will fit any budget. It also has a quality canvas tent with weatherproofing seals and quality stitching.  

9. BunduTec BunduTop 

The name may sound funny, but this tent is all business. Made to withstand the harsh conditions of South Africa and Botswana, the BunduTec Bundu top is one that can do it all. It comes in a variety of sizes and is equipped with a raw aluminum sheet as the roof to help reflect heat, an LED light, a port for charging devices, and solar wiring in case you choose to add a panel. It can take wind, rain, and even snow, making it as tough as they come. 

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