10 Best Hard Shell Roof Top Tents – Essential Buyer’s Guide

10 Best Hard Shell Roof Top Tents - Essential Buyer’s Guide

Rooftop tents have rapidly increased in popularity within the U.S. market over 10+ years. As this trend increases, consumers are presented with plenty of choices from various brands.

Tents with roofs made from hardshell (RTTs) are also growing in popularity because of their convenience, durability, and other advantages. There is no doubt that RTTs cost a lot. Therefore, it’s crucial to make sure you get the purchase right!

This article will outline my top ten rooftop tents without biases. When we review each RTT, you will discover the special characteristics, specifications, and any possible improvements you could make on the roof. I’ve even put the information in tables to provide an easy reading experience.

The Best Hard Shell Roof Top Tents (RTT)

I have researched through a selection of the best hardshell rooftop tents, and they are in no way listed in any particular order. As you go through each rooftop tent, you’ll discover which features are important to you and will be most beneficial for you.

Skycamp 2.0 by iKamper

Skycamp 2.0 by iKamper

The first item on my list is my first choice, the Skycamp 2.0! This tent is produced by iKamper and is a well-respected producer in the RTT market.

When it comes to tents with hard shells are concerned, this one is of the biggest you’ll see as it can accommodate up to four persons and has a queen-sized mattress. One of the major drawbacks that hardshell RTTs have is the tiny area they can offer; however, this one is an exception!

Although it’s larger than other tents, it’s still among the quickest tents to put up and tear down because you can be camping in less than sixty minutes. Because of the iKamper’s design and high-end materials, it weighs only 160 pounds. This is an extremely acceptable weight given its size and the hardshell design.

Let’s look at the unique characteristics of this RTT. The tent is equipped with two locks of hardshell and keys to secure your tent. The Skycamp is also fitted with specially-designed brackets to mount the tent for a quicker and simpler installation. The tent’s interior features a 1.8-inch high-density foam mattress and a gorgeous globe map for a truly high-quality experience.

There is no doubt that the Skycamp 2.0 is durable equipment. All RTTs from iKamper’s range have honeycomb and aluminum floors design. It may not seem like something, but it’s an important factor. The carriage or floor of your RTT is often the one that experiences more wear and wears. Therefore, the honeycomb design provides the added strength needed to stand the tests of time.

Each of these unique features and exquisite designs is available for purchase. If you can afford the tent, you’ll be delighted with the purchase. The final thing I’d like to include about the tent is that iKamper has a wide range of accessories and accessories. You can enhance your tent by adding a myriad of options and gadgets. It is a great alternative to consider.

Do They Accept Klarna, Afterpay, or Clearpay?

No, they currently don’t offer any payment plans or buy now, pay later.

PriceSize OpenCapacity for PersonsWeightCapacity
$3,89985.8″x 82.6′” x 43”4160 pounds990 pounds

Roofnest’s Falcon XL

Roofnest's Falcon XL

It is the FalconXL is Roofnest’s biggest aluminum hardtop tent, which weighs less than seven inches thick! The incredibly thin design is stunning on any vehicle and is guaranteed to decrease wind resistance when driving.

This tent can accommodate two adults and an infant on a three-foot thick mattress. It comes with a water-proof cover to make cleaning easy. Inside, there are numerous pockets for accessories and gear to keep everything organized. Another great feature is the Falcon XL’s three-door design that makes it simple to exit or enter the tent at any angle!

This RTT is specifically designed for Overlanding, as all the parts made of metal are made of either stainless or aluminum steel. This ensures long-lasting durability, and there is no need to repair any part of the tent. The tent’s base is also made of a sturdy honeycomb design.

You can add the rack to the Falcon XL to carry bikes and kayaks, ski, and more! This accessory is sold separately. However, you can purchase it at www.roofnest.com.

The Falcon models come with a 1cm anti-condensation mat. If you’re looking to extend your camping season’s duration or camp in harsh weather, this item is essential! An 8.5 Telescoping aluminum ladder is included with the tent and two sets of hardware for mounting.

The numerous entry points to the tent are ideal for those who have other accessories such as an awning or who like having the ladder located on a specific part of the vehicle.

The Falcon XL can be used in various ways to compete with the toughest adventurers!

Do They Accept Klarna, Afterpay, or Clearpay?

Yes, you can spread the cost of your roof top tent with Bread Payments or Paypal Finance. Payments are as low as $40.23 per month. You can apply for finance at the checkout page, visit their site for more information.

PriceSize OpenThe capacity of a PersonWeightCapacity
$3,49580”L x 60”H (max height when the door is opened)2-3160 pounds650 pounds

FSR Odyssey 55”

FSR Odyssey 55''

The FSR Odyssey 55” by Freespirit brings an impressive set of specifications for the tables. If you’re searching for an outdoor tent that can withstand extreme weather conditions, take a look at this. Odyssey is a perfect choice. Odyssey model comes with a special tri-layer fabric that retains the heat even in extreme cold but allows ventilation and airflow during hot summer evenings.

Like the Falcon XL, this RTT has a sleek 7-inch low-profile design and an adjustable roof rack that can be attached to the equipment. The rack is stronger than the Falcon’s, but both have an aerodynamic and sleek design. The roof rack of the FSR can accommodate more gear and weight. If you have to transport many large objects and an RTT simultaneously, the FSR roof rack is ideal for you.

A few other characteristics to make FSR Odyssey special are as the following. The first is that the rack can hold up to 250 pounds of additional equipment! This is massive! The inside of the tent has expansive views and a USB-powered nightlight to give you the most immersive visual experience. As a bonus, it is possible to dismantle and put up the tent in less than 60 minutes.

My opinion is that I believe this RTT is undervalued. It’s exceptionally durable and has all the features you require to camp at any season. Additionally, I love how it looks, especially with the extra rack. The RTT is sure to turn heads when driving down the highway!

Do They Accept Klarna, Afterpay, or Clearpay?

No, they currently do not offer finance or buy now, pay later.

PriceSize OpenCapacity for PersonsWeightCapacity
$3,19555”W x 53”H x 83”L2-3155 pounds750 lbs.

Alu-Cab Gen 3

Alu-Cab Gen 3

An aluminum-shelled masterpiece, AluCab Gen3 deserves to be on this list. Alu-Cab is a South African-based company that has been in operation for a long time.

It exceeds the bar for every aspect of the highest standards, including a mattress that is 3 inches, an aluminum shell, a ladder, a quick release, and many more! The most noticeable difference that this tent provides is its internal USB as well as 12V outlets that are inside the tent.

In addition to the $550-$1000, you can add a movable solar panel onto your RTT to provide power for your tent. Although you can purchase solar panels to power your tent, seldom are they able to be integrated straight into your RTT. The simple act of pushing lets an RTT from one direction, and the tent will do all the rest from there.

The entire tent is of the highest quality, From top to bottom. The Alu-Cab team has considered everything. The roof rack is not the only thing becoming more commonplace in tents made of hardshell are incorporating as the years progress. The Gen-3 is constructed of double-layered fabric to keep heat as long as possible.

Finding a dealer may be somewhat more difficult with this tent. However, when you manage to locate it, you’ll be among the very few owners proud of their exquisitely constructed tent.

Do They Accept Klarna, Afterpay, or Clearpay?

No, they currently do not offer finance or buy now, pay later.

PriceSize OpenThe capacity of a PersonWeightCapacity
$4,09990.5”” x 78.7″3194 lbsN/A

Ezi-Awn Stealth

This RTT is a monster with a weight of 220 pounds! Its weight is due to its robust stainless steel and aluminum construction. Although it can require 3-4 people to put the tent on top of your car, one person can quickly set it up while camping.

Its Ezi-Awn Stealth comes with a queen-size mattress and an exclusive style that’s neither a clamshell nor pop-up or clamshell but rather a combination. The gas struts feature the scissor mechanism, which permits a simple setup process. The mattress is firm at 3.5 3 inches, and the top and bottom of the tent are insulated.

As for the thicker the shell and mattress are, The tent is slim, 12 inches thick when it is closed. The tent is very sturdy, which is why it weighs so much. The design conceals the ladder under the tent to give it a neat and modern design.

This tent is well-equipped to stand up to the demands of four seasons thanks to its sturdy construction and strong components that surround the tent. The Stealth model made by Ezi-Awn stands out among other tents due to its style and its metal-based makeup. In this video, which runs for four minutes, you will see the differences in the high-end style this tent offers.

If you’re a serious outdoor enthusiast or an all-year-round camping enthusiast, the Ezi-Awn Stealth tent is well worth the money. Though you’ll have to find the right rack system to support this tent’s massive weight, the Ezi-Awn Stealth is stunning and will never let its owner down.

Do They Accept Klarna, Afterpay, or Clearpay?

No, they currently do not offer finance or buy now, pay later.

PriceSize OpenCapacity for PersonsWeightCapacity
$4,300“87” L x 57″ W 17”H (front) and 56”H (back)2-3220 poundsN/A

Roost USA Explorer

Roost USA Explorer

Roost USA Explorer Roost USA Explorer is an excellently balanced RTT ideal for those seeking a sturdy but not too expensive hardshell. That’s what I mean by that. You’ll save an extra $1000 for the simpler model. It doesn’t come with an extravagant pop-up design or an aluminum shell when buying a tent.

But, it’s produced at home in America. The United States and Roost produces an excellent product. The shell is constructed of 1/4 inch fiberglass and is equipped with high-end attachments such as zippers, clamps, and struts.

This hardtop would work well for a large proportion of campers. It’s unlikely that you need a metallic shell or an attractive design, but rather a well-built tent that can get the job accomplished. Roost’s USA Explorer by Roost is designed to be used in four seasons and can withstand extreme weather conditions like rain, snow, or high winds.

It is two inches thick, with an upgradeable choice to provide an additional inch of thickness to the mattress. The length of the 8.5-inch ladder guarantees you don’t require an extension ladder for any vehicle.

For the ultimate benefit, The company offers a five-year warranty on the tent to cover any defects in the material or workmanship. I’ve found that RTT manufacturers are very concerned about their products, and the customer service team is usually exceptionally well at helping you fix any problems with the tent.

This USA-made tent has very high standards for its own and is ideal for campers who prefer the clamshell design and fiberglass.

Do They Accept Klarna, Afterpay, or Clearpay?

No, they currently do not offer finance or buy now, pay later.

PriceSize OpenCapacity for PersonsWeightCapacity
$3,34890.5′ L x 57″W” 90.5” L x 59″H3163600 pounds

Thule Tepui HyBox

Thule Tepui HyBox

Tepui Hybox Tepui Hybox offers one unique feature that many other models do not. This feature allows you to open the inner part of the tent using a zipper. This will transform the RTT into a car container!

Being from Oregon, I can see a lot of individuals with cargo carriers. I am sure this is an ideal option for those searching for an RTT, but who doesn’t want to tear it down each time they require more space than their car provides.

The ladder can be stored in the tent’s interior or exterior and add another 20 pounds of weight to a total load of your tent. In the table, I have included the ladder since I believe that most people consider it the actual weight of the tent.

This tent is ideal for a couple who requires storage space regularly. The cozy tent is equipped with an extremely soft three-foot mattress, and a top and bottom insulated shell, making it the perfect choice for winter camping trips.

One thing that this tent does not have as a four-season RTT includes an anti-condensation mat. Although they are available from Tepui on their own, most four-season tents come with them when you purchase the tent.

There’s nothing not to like about Tepui. A very reliable tent maker with a myriad of accessories and an impressive track record.

Do They Accept Klarna, Afterpay, or Clearpay?

No, they currently do not offer finance or buy now, pay later.

PriceSize OpenCapacity for PersonsWeightCapacity
$2,99555″x 54” x 84” x 42 3/4”2175 pounds400lbs

James Baroud Grand Raid

James Baroud Grand Raid

Get your gold Amex card out for this one because it’s the Rolls Royce of RTT! James Baroud is at the top of the food chain in the field of RTTs. They are the ultimate in high-end and premium quality across their entire range.

My favorite is my choice for the James Baroud Grand Raid since it’s the top model in all of their vehicles. This model is perfect for someone who always needs the largest and most influential of everything they purchase.

The fabric is remarkable in terms of waterproof resistance and breathability. It also has solar reflectivity to minimize the absorption of heat. The anti-moisture 3” mattress ensures a restful night’s sleep. Its Grand Raid is rated for 4 seasons and can withstand 60mph winds.

The shell’s outer surface has aerodynamic grooves to aid in the vehicle’s performance and reduce noise driving. The shell is constructed of fiberglass, which is then reinforced with polyester. The tent is available in two sizes (standard and the XXL), accommodating three adults or two, depending on your size.

I could write for hours about this tent and the whole James Baroud line. If you’ve got large pockets, I suggest heading over to their website and browse at the tents for yourself. The tents are sold out!

Do They Accept Klarna, Afterpay, or Clearpay?

No, they currently do not offer finance or buy now, pay later.

PriceSize OpenCapacity for PersonsWeightCapacity
$3,739.9589.5″” x 64.5 41.1” 41.1″3145 poundsN/A

Skycamp Mini from iKamper

Skycamp Mini from iKamper

To broaden the range of RTTs with hard shells, I introduced the Skycamp Mini into the arena! It’s tiny but powerful in every way – sounds like Apple branding, I’m in the wrong job!

It can fit onto any vehicle thanks to its compact and lightweight makeup. It also comes with an integrated design that combines a folding and the clamshell RTT that provides plenty of space for a couple to relax comfortably.

This tent comes with all the fantastic features that you’ve come to appreciate and enjoy from IKamper, including a honeycomb floor made of aluminum, air-insulated shells, and an elegant interior.

It is your ideal choice for the hardtop RTT for those who have smaller vehicles. Like the Skycamp 2.0, it can handle any weather and last for long. For more details on this tent, read this Skycamp 2.0’s specifications or look up this model on their site! I’ve included an instructional video for you too.

Do They Accept Klarna, Afterpay, or Clearpay?

No, they currently do not offer finance or buy now, pay later.

PriceSize OpenThe capacity of a PersonWeightCapacity
$3,499101″‘ x 51′” x 48″2The weight is 125 pounds.N/A

Roofnest Sparrow

Roofnest Sparrow

To complete the list of top hardshell RTTs, we’ve got one of the best: Roofnest Sparrow! Being one of the most affordable tents, It doesn’t leave much desired.

The Roofnest Sparrow’s new design was developed in 2020. This RTT has the capacity to handle everything. It can accommodate two adults. The tent has plenty of headroom since they added 4” to their latest design. A 3 foam mat, an anti-condensation mat shoe pockets, and an 8’5 telescoping ladder are part of the amazing specifications Roofnest has included in this RTT.

The tent is easily accessible from any side of the tent. It also has 260g of waterproof fabric. Its ABS is made of fiberglass and can hold up to 650 pounds within the tent, which is much more than the norm in the field, 200 pounds per person!

I don’t have a Roofnest. However, I’ve wanted to test one. They offer a great price and everything you could want in an RTT. The price and specifications of this tent appear almost impossible!

Do They Accept Klarna, Afterpay, or Clearpay?

Yes, you can spread the cost of your roof top tent with Bread Payments or Paypal Finance. Payments are as low as $40.23 per month. You can apply for finance at the checkout page, visit their site for more information.

PriceSize OpenThe capacity of a PersonWeightCapacity
$2,89554 50 40”2130 pounds650lbs

Why You Should Purchase A Hardshell RTT?

After you’ve read my top picks for hardtop tents, let’s chat about the top attributes this particular kind of tent comes with compared to soft shells!

10 Best Hard Shell Roof Top Tents - Essential Buyer’s Guide

Style Options

Over the years, the tents made of hard shells have expanded their designs tremendously. Pop-ups, clamshells, as well as hybrids are all excellent options. Based on what you prefer most, any camper will be able to discover something that fits their needs the best!

Insulation & Weatherproof

Hardshell tents typically can withstand extreme weather better than softshells. This is due to several reasons. One reason is that the shell is an extra water-proof surface and insulation. The other reason is that they can withstand the weight of snow or rain accumulating on the tent.

Durability

Although every RTT is considered durable, this is more so for tents with shells. A better seal limits the dust and debris that enters it after being closed. Furthermore, the hardtop won’t get damaged in the same way that the softshell covers would.

Aerodynamic & Low Profile

Both go together and are an enormous benefit for these tents. The thin and aerodynamic design allows an economical ride on your fuel tank and bank balance. Furthermore, this puts less strain on your vehicle.

Smooth Drive

This tent style gives you an overall smoother drive, with less wind resistance and less noise. Sometimes, the cover on softshells will flap with the wind while driving, making you feel numb. The styles are stunning and feel a lot better, without a doubt.

Easy-Setup

Hardshell tents are aided during the set-up process with gas struts. They require minimal to no effort. For the fastest and easiest installation, consider this kind of RTT each time!

Thicker Mattress

Because of the RTTs’ superior general quality and overall performance, they can provide larger mattresses. This is partly due to their design which gives more space to close the tent instead of folding it!

Roof Racks

I find the roof racks to be very appealing. Many campers are also interested in biking, snowboarding, or any other enjoyable pastime. One drawback to tents with roofs is that it is difficult to transport your camping gear and tent simultaneously. It is no longer necessary to decide between the two items with the available roof rack!

Why You Shouldn’t Purchase A Hardshell RTT?

As with everything else in life, there are some negatives to good things.

10 Best Hard Shell Roof Top Tents - Essential Buyer’s Guide

Price

You have to be prepared to pay more for these RTTs. In the past, an entry-level model will cost at least $3000.

For the first-time RTT purchaser, I would not suggest this product. Do it if you’ve got the funds to invest and are confident that you’ll utilize it for good, and are willing to spend the money!

Limited Sizing

In my opinion, sizing is the most significant drawback of an open-top tent. There are some exceptions, as you’ve seen with the Skycamp 2.0 tent.

However, if you’re not interested in the hybrid style, you’ll get stuck! Most likely, you’re contemplating a 3-person tent for an old-fashioned clamshell-style RTT!

Fixed Footprint

To expand on my previous idea, the footprint of these tents is fixed. The fixed footprint limits most vehicles to SUVs or trucks of a specific size. There’s some space with this, but I would think that the majority of people would be in agreement with my opinion.

After You Buy A Roof Top Tent

You may be interested to read these other guides:

The pros outweigh any negatives when it comes to a tent made of hardshell. They’re very sturdy and can perform better than they appear. If you’re an owner, I’m jealous of you. I’m sure someday I’ll be capable of upgrading to the hardtop.

When that day arrives, I’ll relish the ease it offers and test it during winter in the Sierra Nevada mountains. I hope you and we have the necessary information to get the ideal hardtop RTT when the time is right!

Tobin Bryans

Tobin Bryans

I’m Tobin; I have recently only become an author at Dens Camp Guide and look forward to sharing my knowledge of off-roading, hunting, and 4×4 jeeps!

Guides You May Find Interesting