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The Best Rooftop Tents for Car Camping

You won't want to camp without one of these tents.
By Madeline Diamond
January 14, 2021
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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, camping has been a saving grace for travelers looking for a safe, private getaway. And whether you're a novice or expert camper, you've probably noticed that a trip off the grid requires plenty of gear. From sleeping bags to hiking boots, we've written about all the best products to make your next camping trip the best one yet. One of the biggest camping essentials, of course, is a tent. There are several varieties of tents to choose from, but if you're interested in car camping or overlanding, a rooftop tent might be your best bet.

If you're relatively new to the camping world, let us fill you in on a little vocabulary. Overlanding can be described as self-reliant adventure travel to remote places, where the journey is the purpose of the trip. And whether you're interested in overlanding or simply camping with your car, a rooftop tent is a solid option. Rooftop tents are typically durable, easy to setup and transport, and comfortable in a variety of weather conditions, since you don't have to worry about pitching a tent on the ground when it's particularly wet or cold outside.

Keep reading for five rooftop tents that are perfect for your next camping trip.

Tan overland car tent
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

This lightweight rooftop tent is perfect for small camping getaways, since it can accommodate two to three people. It features a heavy duty waterproof top, sunroof, side windows with mosquito netting, and aluminum tent poles. The four-season tent also includes interior LED lighting strips, an ultra-convenient feature you won't find on every tent.

To buy: Smittybilt Overlander Tent, amazon.com, $1,018

Tan and grey overland car tent
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

This sturdy rooftop tent is the ideal companion for rugged adventures. It can fit two people, and includes a full-size mattress. The tent pops up and collapses within seconds for easy set up and storage. If you're camping somewhere with rough weather, this tent is a sold option, since it's aerodynamically engineered to withstand heavy winds and shed rainwater. It also comes with a heavy duty cover that will keep the tent dry when it is not in use.

To buy: Raptor Offgrid Rooftop Tent with Ladder, amazon.com, $900 (originally $1,100)

Grey and tan overland rooftop tent
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

This two-person tent is made with durable ripstop polyester and waterproof cotton canvas with breathable windows, making it a solid option for all four seasons. Helpful features like six built-in storage pockets, a power bank pouch, and an LED light strip make this tent a top pick if you're looking for extra-convenient camping.

To buy: Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 2 Extended Rooftop Tent, amazon.com, $1,300

Green overland car tent
Credit: Courtesy of Backcountry

This three-season, three-person tent is lightweight yet durable. It features aluminum poles and a fold-out ladder, making it secure and sturdy. A rugged nylon exterior will be sure to keep out rain. This tent includes a foam mattress, so you don't need to bring extra inflatable sleeping pads. We also love that this tent has ventilated mesh windows and two skylights, perfect for stargazing.

To buy: Yakima Skyrise Rooftop Tent, backcountry.com, $1,599

Grey and blue overland cart tent
Credit: Courtesy of Backcountry

This tent is a splurge, but you get what you pay for when it comes to space and durability. It can accommodate four people and be used in all four seasons, thanks to reinforced fabric and taped seams. The extra space provided by the annex also offers plenty of storage space. Plus, a high-density foam mattress and anti-condensation mat ensure comfortable sleeping conditions.

To buy: Thule x Tepui Explorer Autana 4 + Annex, backcountry.com, $2,600

Grey rooftop car tent
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

This rooftop tent can accommodate up to three people, and it includes a 2.5-inch high density foam mattress for comfortable sleep. It also features sky panels that allow you to incorporate stargazing into your camping trip. Plus, a mold-resistant canopy makes this tent impressively durable, no matter what weather comes your way.

To buy: LEER Gear Rooftop Tent, amazon.com, $1,750

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