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5 Best Overlanding Roof Tents for Ultimate Adventure Camping

5 Best Overlanding Roof Tents for Ultimate Adventure Camping

Are you ready for an off-road adventure? An overlanding roof tent will complete your setup for the ultimate camping experience. Many in the overlanding community love these, and you’ll soon see why.

Here, we’re sharing the five best overlanding rooftop tents, why you might need one, and if they can do harm to your vehicle. 

Let’s get started. 

Rooftop tent on a Jeep
Rooftop tents are easy to set up and are usually accessed via a telescoping ladder.

What Is an Overlanding Roof Tent? 

An overlanding roof tent gets secured to a vehicle’s rooftop and provides comfortable shelter. If you traverse on rugged terrain or uneven ground, sleeping on the roof can help you rest well and provide shelter from the elements. Typically, one person can set up and take them down in minutes. 

Roof tents attach to a roof rack installed on top of your vehicle for rigidity and strength. This allows extensions to fold out to the sides, expanding your interior tent space to fit multiple people comfortably. A ladder is also usually included for easy access to your rooftop.

It is imperative to have the tent firmly supported, as wind and other weather elements can otherwise turn your rooftop camping trip into a miserable experience.

Do You Need a Rooftop Tent for Overlanding?

While every aspect of your gear is subject to personal preference, we highly recommend an overlanding rooftop tent for overnight adventures. It sure beats sleeping in your vehicle! And it saves that precious space for other recreational gear and supplies.

A durable tent ensures you have shelter off the ground when you need it and a dry, comfortable place to sleep. Once you’ve tried a rooftop tent, you likely won’t want to go without it again.

overlanding roof tent and gear
If you’re an overlander, a rooftop tent is one of the many items you can use for comfort and safety while camping.

Pro Tip: The gear you carry can make or break your overlanding experience. Don’t leave home without these 11 top essentials.

Why Do Overlanders Use Rooftop Tents? 

Rooftop tents originally came about in the Australian outback. They keep you off the ground in case of predators. No one wants a poisonous snake crawling in their tent at night.

Overlanding roof tents do a lot more than protect you from creepy crawlers and predatory animals, though. They provide greater comfort than ground tents and can keep you warm while winter camping. You also get a much better view of your surroundings from the roof of your vehicle than on the ground. 

Additionally, they’re a smaller investment than an overland truck camper or off-road trailer. If you’re just starting out, a rooftop tent is the way to go!

Morton's overland truck camper next to an off-road Jeep
Not ready to invest in a camper? An overland rooftop tent for your truck or Jeep is a great entry-level option.

Are Rooftop Tents Bad for Your Vehicle?

You must use a roof rack to support an overlanding roof tent. The added weight of the tent and its cargo on your vehicle’s roof can be damaging without a proper rack. Be sure to get a roof rack that supports the maximum weight of your tent, cargo, and people.

5 Best Overlanding Roof Tents for Ultimate Adventure Camping

Are you ready to check out the best overlanding roof tents for ultimate adventure camping? Here are the five top-rated options on the market.

The TRUTH about ROOF-TOP TENT Camping - (watch before you buy, pros and cons) Tacoma Overland

1. Thule Tepui Autana Rooftop Tent with Annex

About: Thule’s Tepui Autana Rooftop Tent can fit three people, and it has a removable annex. It’s also four seasons and UV protected.

The tent has a coated 600 denier and a 260g poly-cotton material blend. Additionally, it has mesh panels that offer plenty of ventilation and airflow. The inside of the tent has four pockets for gear and a high-density foam mattress included.

Thule Tepui Explorer Autana 4 with Annex, Haze...
  • Can accommodate up to four people
  • Includes an extended private canopy entrance with removable annex
  • Constructed from coated 600 denier and a 260g poly-cotton blend...

Adventure Camping Rating: 10/10

2. KingCamp Hard Shell Rooftop Tent for SUV

About: The KingCamp Rooftop Tent is a pop-up hard shell tent made for an SUV. It’s waterproof and built to withstand any season. The tent has a durable ABS hardshell and special Oxford with PU 3000mm waterproof coating, and it weighs 116 lbs. Additionally, it has a reinforced aluminum alloy base to secure it in strong winds.

The tent’s setup takes less than a minute due to the hydraulic struts that open it automatically. It also comes with a telescopic aluminum alloy ladder. This overlanding rooftop tent can sleep two people and has a 2-inch high-density queen-size foam mattress. 

KingCamp Rooftop Tent Hard Shell Tent for SUV...
  • 【Hard shell roof tent】 The rooftop tent is made of durable...
  • 【1 Minute Setup】Less than 60 seconds fully automatic setup....
  • 【Sleeps 2 People】Opened size 82.7” x 50.8” x 45.3”....

Adventure Camping Rating: 10/10

3. Smittybilt Overlander Rooftop Tent

About: Smittybilt’s Overlander Rooftop Tent is four seasons. The heavy-duty waterproof top and rainfly protect you from water and the sun.

It has a sunroof and side windows with mosquito netting. It sleeps two to three people and comes with a foam double mattress. 

You can set it up with aluminum frame poles. It has a telescopic ladder and mounting brackets included, and the interior features LED light strips. 

Smittybilt Overlander Roof Top Tent - 2783
  • Standard size tent (sleeps 2-3) with high-density 92" x 55" foam...
  • 600D heavy-duty waterproof top and rain fly; sunroof; side...
  • Easy to set up and take down; heavy duty PVC cover keeps tent dry...

Adventure Camping Rating: 9/10

Roof Top Tent Review - Smittybilt Overlander

4. Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3 Extended Rooftop Tent

About: Overland Vehicle Systems’ Nomadic 3 Extended Rooftop Tent has a reinforced diamond plate bottom base and one-piece aluminum insulated base. It has marine grade and waterproof rip-stop polyester canvas. Additionally, it features a waterproof rain fly and breathable windows.

On the inside, you’ll find a high-density foam mattress with a quilted cotton cover, an LED velcro strip, a storage loft, and six built-in storage pockets. It also comes with a tubular telescoping ladder, a lap table, a broom, and a dustpan. 

Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3 Extended...
  • Features: Marine Grade 600D Rip-Stop Polyester Cotton Canvas...
  • Fitment: Anything with a factory or aftermarket roof rack. Please...
  • Installation: Requires no drilling or modification to your...

Adventure Camping Rating: 10/10

5. Raptor Series Offgrid Voyager Camping Rooftop Tent

About: The Raptor Series Offgrid Voyager is a camping rooftop tent for a truck or SUV. It sleeps two people and comes with a full-size foam mattress. It also has two storage pockets and built-in air vents with quick-adjust control. The tent can withstand heavy winds and rain and comes with an 8 ft telescoping aluminum ladder.

Raptor Series 100000-126800 Offgrid Voyager Truck...
  • Standard size tent (sleeps 2) with high-density 78 x 48in foam...
  • Sets up and closes in seconds. Unique design eliminates need for...
  • Aerodynamically engineered to withstand heavy winds and shed...

Adventure Camping Rating: 9/10

➡ Now that you’ve found a rooftop tent, it’s time to hit the road! Explore your options here: What Is the Best State for Overlanding?

Is an Overlanding Rooftop Tent Worth It?

An overlanding rooftop tent is the perfect piece of gear for your ultimate off-road camping trip. We love that you can easily set up and take them down, and you can sleep out of the elements and off the ground. 

Overland SUV with rooftop tent
Overlanding roof tents are a step up (literally!) from tent camping on the ground.

Are you ready to purchase a rooftop tent? Which one on our list most appeals to your camping style? We’d love to hear about your choice in the comments below.

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Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of The RVers, producers of “Go North” on Amazon Prime, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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John Mitchell

Wednesday 15th of March 2023

In 1974 we rented a small motorhome on Kawaii from Hola-Hola campers and spent a week captive with a 2 and 4 year old. Both boys who would "fight" all the time. Oh, yea the motorhome only had one light in the living area which would kill the battery if used for more than a few hours. Lastly the sun went down around 4pm. We came home to rest up.