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  • Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Hard Shell Roof Top Tent for Your Next Adventure

    by Ryan Horton January 08, 2024 20 min read

    Looking for a rugged, ready-to-go camping solution that elevates your outdoor experience? Hard shell roof top tents offer swift setup, robust weather protection, and sleek vehicle integration. This guide provides you with essential insights into selecting, mounting, and maximizing your hard shell roof top tent, tailored to your adventuring style and vehicle type.

    Key Takeaways

    • Hard shell roof top tents offer a unique, elevated camping experience with benefits such as quick setup, weather resistance, and superior aerodynamics compared to traditional and soft shell tents.

    • Compatibility with the vehicle’s roof rack or bed rack is crucial when choosing a hard shell roof top tent, and additional features like built-in lighting, weatherproofing, and storage solutions enhance the camping experience.

    • There is a wide variety of hard shell roof top tents on the market, each with distinct features and capacities, but installation typically remains straightforward, involving standard tools and adherence to weight capacity limits.

    What is a Roof Top Tent?

    A roof top tent is a refreshing twist on the conventional camping setup. This type of tent offers:

    • A cozy sleeping area above the ground

    • Attaches to either a bed rack or roof rack on your vehicle

    • A mobile camp that you can set up wherever you park your vehicle

    • An unparalleled combination of comfort, convenience, and freedom.

    Hard shell vs Soft Shell Roof Top Tent

    Roof top tents primarily come in two varieties: hard shell and soft shell. While soft shell roof top tents usually come with a smaller price tag, hard shell roof top tents, such as those from Overland Vehicle Systems, offer the benefits of quicker setup, enhanced weather resistance, and a more streamlined profile.

    Additionally, hard shell roof top tents offer more floor space when opened, providing a comfortable sleeping area for those using sleeping bags and other bedding materials.

    The Benefits of a Roof Top Hard shell Roof Top Tent

    Hard shell tents outshine their softshell equivalents in several ways. They generally offer quicker setup, superior weather resistance, and a lower profile while traveling, which enhances aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.

    Capacity of Hard shell Roof Top Tents

    Hard shell roof top tents are available in a range of sizes, typically housing 2-3 people, though some can accommodate up to 4 occupants.

    For example, the OVS Bushveld 4-Person Hard shell Roof Top Tent can comfortably sleep four people.

    Tailoring Your Tent to Your Vehicle

    Selecting an appropriate hard shell roof top tent is dependent on the mounting method and the specific vehicle. Certain tents are better suited for larger vehicles or those with a truck bed. For example, if mounting the RTT on a bed rack over the bed, you will want to ensure that the tent clears the roof line of the truck if you plan to mount a portion over the cab. Additionally, you will need to consider if you would be okay with the roof top tent hanging off the back if the tent is longer than your bed and you are not willing to let it hang over the cab. Mounting a RTT over the cab comes with similar considerations so it is best to measure the platform and area you plan to mount the tent and compare that to the posted tent specs to make sure your mounting plan makes sense.

    Roof Rack Compatibility

    Mounting a hard shell RTT to a roof rack is a common configuration. When choosing a hard shell roof top tent, it’s important to ensure roof rack compatibility, as the tent must securely fasten to the vehicle’s roof rack system. Hard shell roof top tents can be used with a variety of aftermarket crossbars, such as extruded aluminum crossbars or Thule crossbars, which are specifically designed to provide support for the structure and weight of the tents. Many roof rack manufacturers offer specific roof top tent mounts to help seamlessly attach to tent to the roof rack, but tents might have special considerations to pay attention to.

    Bed Rack Compatibility

    Mounting a roof top tent to a bed rack is another great option and preferred by some. While most bed racks and bed bars are designed to accept a roof top tent it is best to determine that prior to making a purchase. Some things to consider if you have a bed rack and are planning on mounting a roof top tent to it are the weight capacity of the bed rack, how the tent will bolt to the bed rack, the dimensions of the mounting platform on the rack vs the dimensions of the roof top tent, and how the tent will sit on the bed rack along with how you plan to use your bed with the tent installed.

    Hard Shell Roof Top Tent Features Unpacked

    Hard shell roof top tents are equipped with a variety of features designed to boost the comfort and convenience of your camping experience, making them a quality roof top tent choice. These features include built-in lighting solutions, weatherproofing and insulation, and storage solutions.

    Built-in Lighting Solutions

    Built-in lighting solutions, such as LED light strips, adjustable dimmer lights, and built-in skylights, offer convenience and enhanced comfort for nighttime use. The lighting in hard shell roof top tents is powered by various methods, including pre-assembled power kits, rechargeable LED solar lights, and 12V outlets.

    Weatherproofing and Insulation

    Most roof top tents use a fabric that is designed to repel water and also include a rain fly to protect the tent from moisture. Additionally, most higher-end roof top tents come with waterproof zippers which help keep water out of the zippers which is a common-place water can enter the tent.

    Storage Solutions

    Storage solutions integrated into hard shell roof top tents serve to maintain gear in an organized manner and facilitate easy access. The typical storage capacity in hard shell roof top tents can vary, but it generally can include boot bags, overhead hammocks, and storage pockets for valuables like wallets and phones.

    The Evolution of Hard Shell Tents

    Since their inception, hard shell roof top tents have undergone significant evolution. They have transitioned from traditional camping setups to providing augmented comfort, integrating sophisticated design features and technological enhancements along the way. Today's hard shell roof top tents are some of the most technologically advanced and packed with usable features.

    From Traditional Camping to Elevated Comfort

    The evolution of hard shell tents has led to increased comfort and convenience compared to traditional camping tents. They offer a notably superior comfort level compared to traditional tents, attributed to their durable materials and raised structure, which enables comfortable sleeping setups for 1-3 individuals. Don't forget that nearly all roof top tents come with a 2-4 inch mattress for added comfort. You can't say that about your old ground tent.

    Technological Advancements in Tent Design

    Technological advancements in tent design have resulted in improved materials, construction, and features for hard shell roof top tents. These advancements have facilitated the creation of:

    • Compact, lightweight designs

    • Aerodynamic designs

    • Easy setup

    • Enhanced functionality

    • Improved efficiency

    Hard Shell RTT Comparison Table:

    Brand Model Style Capacity Price Weight 4 Season Hard Shell Material Tent Materials Hardware Rainfly Base Material Storage Rack Windows Skylight LED Interior Light Interior Storage Setup Time Mattress Ladder Annex Ready Sleeping Dimensions Closed Dimensions
    Overland Vehicle Systems Bushveld II Side Opening 2+ $2,199.99 150 lbs. Yes Polymer 600D Ripstop 304 Stainless Yes - 420 Oxford Black Aluminum Diamond Plate No Yes Yes Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 1-2 Minutes Quilted Memory Foam Yes Yes 84" x 64" 67" L x 47" W x 10" H
    Overland Vehicle Systems Bushveld Side Opening 4+ $2,799.99 180 lbs. Yes Polymer 600D Ripstop 304 Stainless Yes - 420 Oxford Black Aluminum Diamond Plate No Yes Yes Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 1-2 Minutes Quilted Memory Foam Yes Yes 84" x 72" 81" L x 47" W x 10" H
    Overland Vehicle Systems Mamba 3 Clamshell 2-3 $2,699.99 177 lbs. Yes Aluminum 600D Ripstop 304 Stainless No Aircraft Grade Aluminum Yes Yes No No Yes - Inside and Outside < 1 Minute 2.4" Mattress Yes No 86" x 50" 91" L x 55.5" W x 8" H
    Overland Vehicle Systems Sidewinder Side Opening 2-3 $3,899.99 185 lbs. Yes Aluminum 600D Ripstop 304 Stainless Yes - 420 Oxford Aircraft Grade Aluminum Yes Yes No No Yes - Inside and Outside < 1 Minute 2" High Density Foam Yes No 86" x 50" 91" L x 55.5" W x 8" H
    Tuff Stuff Overland Alpine 61 Clamshell or Pop-Up 2-3 $3,999.99 274 lbs. Yes Aluminum 3200 GSM Ripstop Stainless No 1 Inch Aluminum Yes Yes No Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 1-2 Minutes 2.75" Memory Foam Yes Yes 85" x 58" 88" L x 61" W x 8" H
    Tuff Stuff Overland Alpine 51 Clamshell or Pop-Up 2 $3,499.99 248 lbs. Yes Aluminum 3200 GSM Ripstop Stainless No 1 Inch Aluminum Yes Yes No Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 1-2 Minutes 2.75" Memory Foam Yes Yes 85" x 48" 88" L x 51" W x 8" H
    Tuff Stuff Overland Alpha Side Opening 2-3 $2,999.00 176 lbs. Yes ABS 280G Ripstop Stainless 210D Polyester/Oxford Aluminum No Yes Yes Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 3-4 Minutes 2.5" Mattress Yes Yes 87" x 71" 75" L x 55" W x 15" H
    Tuff Stuff Overland Alpha II Side Opening 2 $2,699.00 141 lbs. Yes ABS 280G Ripstop Stainless 210D Polyester/Oxford Aluminum No Yes Yes Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 3-4 Minutes 2.5" Mattress Yes Yes 78" x 53" 59.75" L x 49.75" W x 14" H
    Tuff Stuff Overland Stealth Side Opening 3 $3,999.99 221 lbs. Yes Aluminum 280G Ripstop Stainless 210D Polyester/Oxford Aluminum Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 3-4 Minutes 2.5" Mattress Yes Yes 87" x 71"  75" L x 55" W x 13" H
    ROAM Desparado Clamshell 2 $3,499.00 180 lbs. Yes Aluminum 420D Poly Oxford N/A No Aluminum Yes Yes No Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 30 Seconds 2.75" High Density Foam Yes No 80" x 49" 82.5" L x 51" W x 10" H
    Eezi-Awn Sword Side Opening 2 $4,845.00 282 lbs. Yes Aluminum 280G Ripstop Stainless Yes Aluminum No Yes No Yes Yes - Inside 3-4 Minutes 2.75" Mattress Yes No N/A 87" L x 57" W x 15" H
    Eezi-Awn Stealth Clamshell 2 $5,295.00 231 lbs. Yes Aluminum 260G Ripstop Stainless Yes Aluminum No Yes No Yes Yes - Inside 3-4 Minutes 3" Mattress Yes No 84" x 52"  87" L x 57" W x 12" H
    Eezi-Awn Blade Clamshell 2 $4,395.00 196 lbs. Yes Aluminum 260G Ripstop Stainless Yes Aluminum No Yes No Yes Yes - Inside 3-4 Minutes 3" Mattress Yes No 84" x 52"  87" L x 57" W x 13" H
    Eezi-Awn Sabre Side Opening 2 $4,395.00 159 lbs. Yes Aluminum 280G Ripstop Stainless Yes Aluminum No Yes No Yes Yes - Inside 3-4 Minutes 2.75" Mattress Yes No N/A 55" L x 57" W x 15" H
    iKamper SkyCamp 3.0 Side Opening 4 $4,199.00 - $4,499.00 165 lbs. Yes Fiber-Reinforced Plastic 300 GSM Poly-Cotton Stainless Yes - 75D Ripstop Aluminum No Yes Yes No Yes - Inside 3 Minuntes 2.5" Polyfoam Yes Yes 82.75" x 77.25" 85.5" L x 54.75" W x 13.5" H
    iKamper SkyCamp 3.0 Mini Side Opening 2 $3,699.00 - $3,979.00 125 lbs. Yes Fiber-Reinforced Plastic 300 GSM Poly-Cotton Stainless Yes - 75D Ripstop Aluminum No Yes Yes No Yes - Inside 3 Minuntes 2.25" Polyfoam Yes Yes 82.75" x 51.25" 57.5" L x 54.75" W x 13.5" H
    iKamper SkyCamp 3.0 2X Side Opening 2 $3,399.00 - $3,699.00 121 lbs. Yes Fiber-Reinforced Plastic 300 GSM Poly-Cotton Stainless Yes - 75D Ripstop Aluminum No Yes Yes No Yes - Inside 3 Minuntes 2.5" Polyfoam Yes Yes N/A 76" L x 51.25" W x 13.3" H
    iKamper BDV Duo Clamshell 2 $2,799.00 175 lbs. Yes Fiber-Reinforced Plastic 300 GSM Poly-Cotton Stainless Yes - 75D Ripstop Aluminum No Yes Yes No Yes - Inside 3 Minuntes 2.75" Polyfoam Yes Yes 83.75" x 53.75" 90" L x 56" W x 6.75" H
    iKamper BDV Solo Clamshell 1 $2,599.00 140 lbs. Yes Fiber-Reinforced Plastic 300 GSM Poly-Cotton Stainless Yes - 75D Ripstop Aluminum No Yes Yes No Yes - Inside 3 Minuntes 2.75" Polyfoam Yes Yes 83.75" x 37.75" 90" L x 40" W x 6.75" H
    Thule Basin Pop-Up 2 $2,999.95 176 lbs. Yes ABS 260G Ripstop Stainless 260G Ripstop Aluminum No Yes No No Yes - Inside < 1 Minute Foam Yes No 81" x 51" 84" L x 55" W x 12.75" H
    Thule Basin Wedge Clamshell 2 $2,999.95 156 lbs. Yes ABS 260G Ripstop Stainless 260G Ripstop Aluminum No Yes No No Yes - Inside < 1 Minute Foam Yes No 79" x 51" 84" L x 55" W x 12.8" H
    CVT Mt. Hood - Small Clamshell 2 $2,999.00 192 lbs. Yes Aluminum 280G Ripstop Stainless N/A Aluminum Yes Yes No No Yes - Inside < 1 Minute 3" Mattress Yes No 81" x 47" 85" L x 50" W x 8.25" H
    CVT Mt. Hood - Medium Clamshell 2-3 $3,199.00 205 lbs. Yes Aluminum 280G Ripstop Stainless N/A Aluminum Yes Yes No No Yes - Inside < 1 Minute 3" Mattress Yes No 81" x 53" 85" L x 56" W x 8.25" H
    CVT Mt. Hood - Large Clamshell 2-3 $3,399.00 214 lbs. Yes Aluminum 280G Ripstop Stainless N/A Aluminum Yes Yes No No Yes - Inside < 1 Minute 3" Mattress Yes No 81" x 57" 85" L x 60" W x 8.25" H
    CVT Mt. Triumph - Small Clamshell 2 $3,199.00 163 lbs. Yes Aluminum 280G Ripstop Stainless N/A Aluminum Yes Yes No Yes Yes - Inside < 1 Minute 2.5" Mattress Yes No 77.5" x 47" 82.75" L x 51" W x 7.75" H
    CVT Mt. Triumph - Medium Clamshell 2-3 $3,399.00 170 lbs. Yes Aluminum 280G Ripstop Stainless N/A Aluminum Yes Yes No Yes Yes - Inside < 1 Minute 2.5" Mattress Yes No 77.5" x 52" 82.75" L x 56" W x 7.75" H
    23Zero Armadillo A2 Side Opening 2 $3,499.00 195 lbs. Yes Aluminum 280 GSM Ripstop Stainless PU Poluester Aluminum Yes Yes No Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 1-2 Minutes 2" Rebound Foam Quilted Yes Yes 78" x 56" 62" L x 49" W x 14" H
    23Zero Armadillo A3 Side Opening 2-3 $3,799.00 204 lbs. Yes Aluminum 280 GSM Ripstop Stainless PU Poluester Aluminum Yes Yes No Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 1-2 Minutes 2" Rebound Foam Quilted Yes Yes 86" x 72" 78" L x 56" W x 14" H
    23Zero Armadillo X2 Side Opening 2 $2,949.00 180 lbs. Yes ABS 320 GSM Ripstop Stainless 210D Polyester/Oxford Aluminum No Yes No Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 1-2 Minutes 2" Rebound Foam Yes Yes 78" x 54" 62" L x 48" W x 14" H
    23Zero Armadillo X3 Side Opening 2-3 $3,299.00 ~200 lbs. Yes ABS 320 GSM Ripstop Stainless 210D Polyester/Oxford Aluminum No Yes No Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 1-2 Minutes 2" Rebound Foam Yes Yes 80" x 67" 76" L x 51" W x 14" H
    FSR Aspen Lite Clamshell 2 $2,495.00 100 lbs. Yes 600D Ripstop Oxford w/ Cover
    3 Layers of 150D Poly-Oxford with 90g/M2 Poly-fi
    Stainless N/A Aluminum Slats No Yes No Yes Yes - Inside 1-2 Minutes 3" Air Core Yes No 73" x 45.75" 80.5" L x 49" W x 7.5" H
    FSR Aspen Lite XL Clamshell 2 $2,695.00 110 lbs. Yes 600D Ripstop Oxford w/ Cover
    3 Layers of 150D Poly-Oxford with 90g/M2 Poly-fi
    Stainless N/A Aluminum Slats No Yes No Yes Yes - Inside 1-2 Minutes 3" Air Core Yes No 78.5" x 52" 80.5" L x 58" W x 7.5" H
    FSR Evolution V2 Pop-Up 2 $4,095.00 164 lbs. Yes Aluminum
    3 Layers of 150D Poly-Oxford with 90g/M2 Poly-fi
    Stainless N/A Aluminum Slats Yes Yes No Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 1-2 Minutes 3" Air Core Yes No 78.5" x 45" 88" L x 52" W x 9.75" H
    FSR Evolution V2 - Short Pop-Up 2-3 $3,895.00 164 lbs. Yes Aluminum
    3 Layers of 150D Poly-Oxford with 90g/M2 Poly-fi
    Stainless N/A Aluminum Slats Yes Yes No Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 1-2 Minutes 3" Air Core Yes No 73" x 52" 79" L x 60" W x 9.75" H
    FSR Evolution V2 - XL Pop-Up 2-3 $4,095.00 184 lbs. Yes Aluminum
    3 Layers of 150D Poly-Oxford with 90g/M2 Poly-fi
    Stainless N/A Aluminum Slats Yes Yes No Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 1-2 Minutes 3" Air Core Yes No 79" x 52" 88" L x 60" W x 9.75" H
    FSR Odyssey Series - 49" Side Opening 2-Jan $3,295.00 134 lbs. Yes Aluminum
    3 Layers of 150D Poly-Oxford with 90g/M2 Poly-fi
    Stainless 210D Poly Oxford Aluminum Slats Yes Yes No Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 1-2 Minutes 1.25" High Density Foam Yes No N/A 87" L x 52" W x 7.1" H
    FSR Odyssey Series - 55" Side Opening 2-3 $3,495.00 154 lbs. Yes Aluminum
    3 Layers of 150D Poly-Oxford with 90g/M2 Poly-fi
    Stainless 210D Poly Oxford Aluminum Slats Yes Yes No Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 1-2 Minutes 1.25" High Density Foam Yes No N/A 83" L x 55" W x 7.1" H
    Roofnest Falcon Pro Clamshell 2 $3,995.00 180 lbs. Yes Aluminum 320 GSM Coated Polycotton Stainless N/A Aluminum Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes - Inside 1-2 Minutes 2.5" Memory Foam Yes No 81" x 52" 83.5" L x 54" W x 8" H
    Roofnest Falcon 2 Clamshell 2 $3,595.00 160 lbs. Yes Aluminum 320 GSM Coated Polycotton Stainless N/A Aluminum Yes Yes No Yes Yes - Inside 1-2 Minutes 2" Memory Foam Yes No 86" x 48" 88" L x 50" W x 6.5" H
    Roofnest Falcon 2 XL Clamshell 2-3 $3,795.00 175 lbs. Yes Aluminum 320 GSM Coated Polycotton Stainless N/A Aluminum Yes Yes No Yes Yes - Inside 1-2 Minutes 2" Memory Foam Yes No 86" x 58" 88" L x 60" W x 6.5" H
    Roofnest Condor 2 Side Opening 2-3 $3,545.00 155 lbs. Yes ASA/ABS plastic w/ Line-X finish 320 GSM Coated Polycotton Stainless Coated Polyoxford Aluminum Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 1-2 Minutes 2" Memory Foam Yes Yes 81" x 53" 60" L x 49" W x 14" H
    Roofnest Condor 2 XL Side Opening 3-4 $3,845.00 180 lbs. Yes ASA/ABS plastic W/ Line-X Finish 320 GSM Coated Polycotton Stainless Coated Polyoxford Aluminum Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 1-2 Minutes 2" Memory Foam Yes Yes 89" x 68" 75" L x 56" W x 14.5" H
    Roofnest Condor Overland 2 Side Opening 2-3 $3,745.00 190 lbs. Yes Stamped Aluminum 320 GSM Coated Polycotton Stainless Coated Polyoxford Aluminum Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 1-2 Minutes 2" Memory Foam Yes Yes 81" x 53" 60" L x 48" W x 12" H
    Roofnest Condor Overland 2 XL Side Opening 3-4 $3,945.00 250 lbs. Yes Stamped Aluminum 320 GSM Coated Polycotton Stainless Coated Polyoxford Aluminum Yes Yes No Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 1-2 Minutes 2" Memory Foam Yes Yes 89" x 68" 73" L x 55" W x 12" H
    Roofnest Sparrow 2 Pop-Up 2 $2,995.00 130 lbs. Yes ASA/ABS plastic W/ Line-X Finish 320 GSM Coated Polycotton Stainless N/A Aluminum Yes Yes No Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 1-2 Minutes 2.8" High-Density Foam Yes No 84" x 48" 85" L x 51" W x 12" H
    Roofnest Sparrow 2 XL Pop-Up 2-3 $3,295.00 155 lbs. Yes ASA/ABS plastic W/ Line-X Finish 320 GSM Coated Polycotton Stainless N/A Aluminum Yes Yes No Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 1-2 Minutes 2.8" High-Density Foam Yes No 84" x 58" 87" L x 61" W x 12" H
    Roofnest Sparrow EYE 2 Clamshell 2 $2,995.00 135 lbs. Yes ASA/ABS plastic W/ Line-X Finish 320 GSM Coated Polycotton Stainless N/A Aluminum No Yes No Yes Yes - Inside 1-2 Minutes 2.8" High-Density Foam Yes No 84" x 48" 84" L x 48" W x 12" H
    ARB Esperance  Side Opening 2 $2,680.00 123 lbs. Yes ABS PU300mm, UV50+, PU+Silver Plating Stainless  210D Canvas Aluminum No Yes Yes Yes Yes - Inside and Outside 3-4 Minutes 1.5" High-Density Sponge Yes Yes 78" x 56" 60" L x 48" W x 12" H

    A Comparative Look at Leading Hard Shell Roof Top Tent Models

    Today’s market is abundant with a vast range of hard shell roof top tents, each offering unique features and benefits. We will review some of the leading models more closely including the OVS Mamba 3, OVS Bushveld 4, Tuff Stuff Alpha 4, Tuff Stuff Alpine 61, ROAM Adventure Co. Desperado, Eezi-Awn Blade, Eezi-Awn SABRE, Eezi-Awn Stealth, iKamper Skycamp 3.0, and iKamper Skycamp 3.0 Mini.

    OVS Mamba 3 Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

    The OVS Mamba 3 hard shell roof top tent is constructed using 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum and premium 600D poly-cotton rip-stop canvas, ensuring robustness and weather resilience. It’s designed to accommodate up to two adults and one child, making it suitable for a small family.

    Plus, it can be set up and put down in under a minute thanks to the simple two-latch operation. Some other notable features on the OVS Mamba 3 are the incorporated cross bars found on top of the tent that are compatible with Thule and Yakima accessories among other accessories. These cross bars allow you to easily store more gear and transport larger items such as a surfboard of SUP.

    OVS Mamba 3 RTT

    OVS Bushveld 4 Person Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

    The OVS Bushveld 4-Person Hard shell Roof Top Tent stands out for its superior capacity, accommodating 4 adults, surpassing the capacity of other models. It’s constructed using robust materials and includes an insulated base with an integrated anti-condensation layer and an aerodynamic hard shell cover when closed, contributing to improved comfort and fuel efficiency.

    Operating the OVS Bushveld is simple with 4 easy to use latches. The 2 nitrogen gas-charged struts mean easy opening and closing and the 39 x 25.5 inch included skylight allows you to gaze under the stars for a good night's rest.

    OVS Bushveld RTT

    Tuff Stuff Alpha Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

    The Tuff Stuff Alpha is a hybrid side-opening roof top tent that boasts a setup time of under 2 minutes, catering to the convenience of campers with active itineraries. The Tuff Stuff Alpha features a unique sloped shell adding to its aerodynamic design. In addition, the shell allows you to keep bedding stored in the tent when on the road so you can be ready to go at a moments notice.

    Tuff Stuff Alpha Hardshell Roof Top Tent

    Tuff Stuff Alpine 61 Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

    The Tuff Stuff Alpine 61 Roof Top Tent is a newer-to-the-market tent that features a unique dual-action opening roof and can accommodate 2-3 people. You can either open the rear section for a wedge-style tent or the front section for a full pop-up with additional windows with screens. Operation of the Alpine 61 is very straightforward and can be setup and taken down in under a minute.

    The list of features is long on the Alpine 61, but to just touch the surface, the Alpine 61 comes with 4 gas struts, blackout coated fabric, 2.75-inch thick memory foam mattress, an interior LED light strip, and more. The Alpine 61 also comes standard with cross bars on the top of the tent allowing you to increase your storage capacity with ease.

    Tuff Stuff Alpine 61 Roof Top Tent

    Tuff Stuff Alpine 51 Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

    The Tuff Stuff Alpine 51 roof top tent is very similar to the Alpine 61, but has a slightly smaller footprint and is designed to accommodate two people. All the features found on the Alpine 61 are also found on the Alpine 51 including the blackout-coated fabric, 2.75-inch memory foam mattress, interior LED light strip and more. The Alpine 51 is the perfect option for those who don't need the added space found on 3-4 person tents or have a smaller platform for mounting the tent.

    Tuff Stuff Alpine 51 Roof Top Tent

    ROAM Desperado Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

    The Desperado hard shell roof top Tent is a top-tier roof top tent designed to offer a luxurious and convenient camping experience for outdoor enthusiasts. It comes packed with features including window and door awnings, included LED light strip, integrated boot bags, next-level interior organization, load bars on top of the tent for mounting gear, and more.

    The ROAM Desperado is designed for two adults and can easily be setup in under 30 seconds.

    ROAM Desperado Hardshell Roof Top Tent

    Eezi-Awn Blade Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

    The Eezi-Awn Blade hard shell roof top tent features a simplistic and compact design that will easily fit two adults. Don't let the simplistic and compact design fool you though, the Blade is packed with excellent features and is constructed from the highest quality components. Some of these features include internal gas struts, lockable stainless steel latches, 12V power supply socket, internal storage pockets, LED light, and more.

    The Blade roof top tent also features a unique hard shell that is extremely aerodynamic.

    Eezi-Awn Blade Hardshell Roof Top Tent

    Eezi-Awn Stealth Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

    The Eezi-Awn Stealth hard shell Roof Top Tent is very similar to the Blade but slightly larger and does not feature the two-tone color scheme found on the Blade. The impressive features including the gas strut assisted setup and takedown, internal storage pockets, LED light, lockable stainless steel latches, 12V power supply socket, and more all come standard on the Eezi-Awn Stealth.

    Eezi-Awn SABRE Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

    The Eezi-Awn SABRE is a side-opening hard shell roof top tent that can easily sleep two full-size adults. It features a lightweight aluminum body that is powder coated matte black, 70mm thick laminated mattress, internal storage pockets, LED light, lockable stainless steel latches, and more.

    Opening and closing the SABRE is easy. Simply unlatch the two hinges and let the gas struts do the work.

    iKamper Skycamp 3.0 Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

    The iKamper Skycamp 3.0 is one of iKamper's newer creations after a ton of success with the iKamper 2.0 variation. The 3.0 is a similar design to the 2.0 with a ton of new features which include a 100% waterproof 4-season design, plush mattress, spacious interior design, quilted insulation, skyview window, and more.

    While the feature-packed Skycamp 3.0 is impressive, the truly impressive aspect of iKamper tents is the quality materials and attention to detail each tent features. If you have seen one in the wild I think you would agree.

    iKamper Skycamp 3.0 Roof Top Tent

    iKamper Skycamp 3.0 Mini Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

    The iKamper Skycamp 3.0 Mini features all the same benefits found on the standard 3.0 (non-Mini) roof top tent with a much more compact design. This compact design allows the tent to work on much smaller SUVs and vehicles that cannot support a full-size roof top tent. Because of the compact design, the Skycamp 3.0 Mini can only fit two people.

    The smaller footprint of the 3.0 Mini is perfect for hatchbacks, compact cars, and smaller trucks.

    iKamper Skycamp 3.0 Mini

    Thule Basin Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

    Thule is known for creating some of the highest quality racks and carriers and their hard shell roof top tents including the Basin stand up to that reputation. The Basic roof top tent is an auto-deploying tent that doubles as a cargo carrier and comfortably sleeps two adults. This pop-up-style tent doubles as a roof box when closed and allows you to easily store sleeping items such as pillows, sleeping bags, etc.

    The Thule Basin also features an insulated roof which limits noise and also helps control temperature. Like all Thule products, the Basic hard shell roof top tent is constructed out of the finest materials and weather-resistant making it a great 4-season tent.

    Thule Basin roof top tent in the mountains

    Thule Basin Wedge Roof Top Tent

    The Thule Basin Wedge roof top tent features many of the benefits found on the pop-up Basic tent, but instead of popping up, it opens like a wedge. It can easily accommodate two adults. This design can be more desirable for some and can be set up and taken down in under a minute. The Basin Wedge RTT also can act as a roof box, but due to its low profile design,, it will not be able to store as much gear as the traditional Basic roof top tent from Thule.

    A man and a woman are standing outdoors by their car with a roof top tent mounted

    Redtail Skyloft Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

    The Redtail Skyloft is a unique roof top tent, to say the least. Each one is hand-built to order and the pricing is comparable to a trailer at between $20,000 and $30,000. That is probably a bit out of budget for most, but it is still an amazing creation nonetheless.

    The Skyloft is a carbon fiber hard-sided wedge-style tent that is packed with luxurious features like dual-pane windows, an integrated diesel heater, integrated solar panels with lithium battery bank, USB and 110-volt outlets, and so much more. If you find yourself on some pretty difficult trails with low brush and other obstacles this may not be the tent, but if you are looking for the most luxurious tent that money can by

    RedTail Skyloft Roof Top Tent

    Installation Insights: Setting Up Your Roof Top Haven

    Installing a hard shell roof top tent is a straightforward process and does not require any special tools. Due to the size of a roof top tent, it is advised to have additional help lifting the tent onto the vehicle. As we have previously mentioned, there are numerous ways to mount a roof top tent to a vehicle with a roof rack or bed rack being the most common. Prior to making a purchase ensure you understand the mounting capabilities of both the rack and roof top tent.

    Mounting Made Simple

    Most roof top tents mount in a similar way and have aluminum extrusions on the base for purposes of mounting. If you are mounting the tent to either a roof rack or bed rack you can contact us and we would be happy to walk you through the proper way to mount the tent. Most manufacturers have roof rack accessories or bed rack accessories that allow you to easily mount the tent with just a few bolts.

    If you are mounting the tent to cross bars or something other than a roof rack or bed rack you might be able to use the included hardware that came with the tent. This really depends on your specific application.

    Summary

    Investing in a hard shell roof top tent is an excellent way to elevate your camping experience. These tents offer superior comfort, enhanced weather protection, and the convenience of a mobile camp that you can set up wherever you park your vehicle. With a wide variety of models available, you can find one that suits your vehicle and meets your camping needs perfectly.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Are roof top tents worth it?

    Roof top tents can be worth it, as they provide an elevated sleeping space that can keep dirt and bugs out and offer better airflow, but they may not be the best option for all camping scenarios or vehicles that won't support a tent.

    What is a roof top tent?

    A roof top tent is an innovative camping solution that mounts to your vehicle's roof or bed to offer a comfortable elevated sleeping area.

    What are the advantages of a hard shell roof top tent over a soft shell tent?

    The advantages of a hard shell roof top tent over a soft-shell tent include quicker setup, better weather resistance, and a lower profile while traveling.

    What is the typical capacity range for hard shell roof top tents?

    Hard shell roof top tents typically have a capacity range of 2-4 people, suiting various camping needs.

    What are the key features of hard shell roof top tents?

    Hard shell roof top tents offer built-in lighting, weatherproofing, insulation, and storage solutions, making them versatile and convenient for outdoor adventures.

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