Here are the 10 reason car tents are worth the money.
1. It safer to sleep in a car tent.
2. You can sleep off the ground away from animals
3. It makes going camping easier.
4. Car tents have mattress that are comfortable.
5. You have a 360 elevated view.
6. They cost less than a RV.
7. Leaves the space in your car available for storage.
8. They are very easy to set up.
9. You don’t have to unpack your car.
10. Fun for children (think tree house)
A car tent is a great idea for designing a tent that fits and attaches to your SUV or truck. However, the name is a little misleading as most of these are intended for larger vehicles and not sedans. They are great because you can either sleep in your car or the tent portion. This also means you don't have to unpack the car, and if you need to leave in a hurry, you can.
What is the best roof top tent to buy?
I have made a list of the best top 16 car tents out there right now, and I will go through each to help you pick the one that is right for you.
Top 16 Car/Truck Tents Data Sheet
Rightline Gear SUV Overlanding Tent
I am starting this list with a name many of you in the camping community will recognize. The Rightline Gear company is located in Asheville, NC, and has been making equipment since 2009, and it is a name many trusts.
Their Overlanding SUV tent is a testament to that fact. This tent can attach to SUVs, Minivans, and Jeeps. Be sure to check the measurements on the tent and your car to make sure they are compatible.
This tent can either attach to your car or stand alone. Either way, it is waterproof and can stand up to heavy rain. Attached to the vehicle, it can’t comfortably fit six people unless four of you are children.
The best thing about this tent is it includes all the straps and tools you will need to attach it to your car. The tent measures 8'x8'x7.2', so on its own, it is still roomy and has enough headspace for anyone to stand up.
The tent itself can fit four adults. The windows and door are covered in no-see-um mesh, and there is an attachable rainfly included. Overall, this is an excellent tent with multiple uses.
Napier Backroadz SUV Tent
Napier has a line of SUV tents, and each one is built with some differences. Here I am discussing the Backroadz tent. It measures 10'x10'x7', offering plenty of space for you and the others you bring along.
This tent uses fiberglass poles, so be mindful when setting up the tent as they tend to be less flexible than other materials and may crack.
Two windows and one door mesh coverings and storm flaps all to keep out the rain and bugs. When packed away, the tent weighs 16 lbs. and comes in a bag that helps store the tent easily when not in use.
This tent focuses on needs and convenience rather than offering a long list of extras, but it does provide pockets for storage and a hook to hang a lantern. It is guaranteed to fit any SUV, Crossover, and Minivan. There is a separate model for trucks.
Tuff Stuff Ranger Roof Top Tent, 3 Person
Here is a different kind of car tent than the first two. This is a tent that fits on top of your car. With these kinds of tents, you use a ladder with the tent to get in and out.
These tents are typically heavier, but once on top of your car, the setup is simple. This model has a tent with interior dimensions of 5.4'x11'x4.3' when it is open.
It can hold up to 800 lbs., and the floor is comprised of fiberglass and aluminum. The cartop style of the tent comes with the added benefit of a great view.
The total weight of the tent is 164 lbs., so first, installing it on top of the car can take some work, but once it is up there and secured, you do not have much work left. Just be sure your car roof can take the maximum weight of 800 lbs.
Second, everything needed to transport and install the tent comes with it, including a rainfly which works well. This is an excellent purchase if you don't mind the heavy lifting.
iKamper Skycamp 2.0 Rooftop Tent
Another rooftop tent, but this one has more comfort in mind. The Skycamper 2.0 is a spacious cartop tent that can fit and includes a king-sized mattress for the tent.
A lot of these tents are made for one or two adults. This one can fit up to three comfortably or two parents and two kids.
Installation can be tricky because it can fit on the roof a few different ways, but the tent goes up in a minute once it is installed. All the components are corrosion-proof, and the canvas is water-resistant so that you will stay dry.
There are a skylight and two windows which help with the view but still come with covering and protection.
This car tent is a bit pricer than most, but you get what you pay for with this tent.
ARB Simpson Series III Rooftop Tent
This rooftop tent is not only a place to sleep but can also act as a remote storage location. This tent is tough and folds down nicely with bungee cords.
The tent weighs in at 171 lbs. and measures 4.5'x7.8'x4.25' when it is open. The tent is flame retardant, waterproof and all windows protect against any bugs getting inside. The entrance is also weatherproof and has a strap inside to help you climb in.
The tent comes with a 2.5" foam mattress, which can be stored with other bedding, even when the tent is closed. This is a great tent considering it is safe, sturdy, provides excellent protection from the elements, and is added storage.
Tepui Kukenam 3
Here we have a simple cartop tent that still sets the bar for quality for all other tents of this type out there. The Kukenam does not have many extra features, but what it does have, it does well.
The canopy of this tent is very durable and can withstand harsh winds and rain. Unfortunately, the tent entrance does not have any cover, so you will be exposed until you get inside.
The tent includes a foam mattress and a telescopic ladder that fits when folded up and closed inside the tent. This is a great and straightforward purchase if this is your first car tent.
Roofnest Condor XL
If the previous entry is camping in simplicity, then this tent is the opposite. Roofnest does a great job of making rooftop tents, and the Condor line is the most miniature and top-of-the-line tents they make. Along with that, most of the recent accessories and attachments Roofnest makes are compatible with the Condor XL.
There are accessories like a solar panel and awning attachments. If you want to rough all day and return to a luxury car tent experience, then get the Condor XL. This car tent will not only do what a tent is made to do, but it will do more.
Smittybilt Overlander Tent
This is the lighter car top tent we have had so far. It only weighs in at 48 lbs. The Overlander is a smaller car tent that sleeps three people when packed to the max, but two fit more comfortably.
This tent by design is made simple but sturdy, and its price shows that. This is one of the cheaper car tents of this type, but the price does not mean it lacks quality. The tent holds up to any stormy weather and will keep you dry.
The Overlander comes with some nifty extra features like a string of LED lights on the inside and a boot bag out front to hang wet and dirty shoes from.
The only awkward part is the Velcro straps to hold it close when not used, but this is an excellent purchase despite that.
Cascadia Mt Denali Pioneer Car tent
Having the Mt. Denali setup on your car feels like your vehicle has been transformed into a fort. The Mt. Denali is the largest in the Pioneer series and is advertised to fit four people inside of it.
It measures 7.25'x8'x3.6' and weighs 225 lbs. This is a heavy-duty car top tent and can hold up to 850lbs.
The mattress is made of high-density memory foam 3" thick and comes with a washable cover for it as well.
The rainfly is durable and made to keep you warm. The windows are covered with mosquito mesh, and there is an annex that extends out of the entrance to cover you as you go up the ladder.
This tent covers every base you have thought about when looking into a car tent. It may be pricey, but it will last you a long time.
Roofnest likes to cover a variety of needs for those who are looking to car camp. Here, with the Falcon, Roofnest went for aerodynamics and truly getting off-road when out in nature.
When closed, it only adds 7" to the roof of the car and has a hard-shell top, so if you take your vehicle anywhere that has a chance of things falling or scratching the roof of your car, then the tent will stay safe and even protect the car.
The entrance for this tent is in the back instead of the side, like you have seen with the other tents on this list. It is made very durable as the designers are expecting you to put this tent through its paces.
It measures 8.3'x4'x5' when opened. When roughing it needs is your goal, but setting up a tent isn't, the Falcon by Roofnest is your best bet.
Walkabout 56 Roof Top Tent -23Zero
The Walkabout 56 Roof Top Tent is an actual year-round tent. You can strap this to your car and travel the country without ever having to sleep anywhere but your Walkabout.
The tent is made of durable and water-resistant materials that can hold up against any weather, and more importantly, it blocks out the light. Nothing is worse than having to wake up with the sun because your tent is too bright to sleep in anymore.
That is not true with this tent. Also, all moving parts are metal, so they can withstand more wear and tear than other materials before needing replacement or repair.
The tent has a double bed so you can bring some friends or your family with you. The measurements of the tent are 4.6'x10.16'x4'. With those measurements in mind, I will let you decide how many people you want to bring.
There is no annex included with this tent. The travel cover may be soft, but it is tough and will keep it all safe in transit. This is an excellent tent in various sizes, so you have options if you are looking for something like this, just bigger.
This car tent was made with innovation in mind the entire time. It is a soft-top tent but has aluminum black, powder-coated bars installed for additional racks to place bikes or kayaks and protection.
This is one of the lightest tents as well, only weighing 120 lbs. Even though it is soft-topped, it has straps and metal clamps to hold it closed for further peace of mind.
The tent itself comes with a king-sized foam mattress blackout canvas and triple-layered windows to keep bugs and moisture out.
The aluminum tray flooring underneath makes sure the tent is well supported, and the entire tent has feature o feature to make sure you stay warm, safe, and dry while you camp.
Thule Tepui Foothill
Proving that a great tent can still be made light and come at a good value, here is the Thule Tepui Foothill. This tent folds down as low as possible to the roof of your car to make sure you can use it for storage and transporting bikes and other recreational items to use during camping.
The tent is shipped with the mounting rails installed already, which is more accessible than many car tents.
The frame was made lighter—the tent, when open, is 7'x3.9'x3', so it is shown to be for two people. I expect you will choose wisely who you would bring along.
The windows come with a cover and mesh to keep out moisture and bugs, and there are skylight windows to allow light and a great view.
The poles are telescopic so that the tent can be opened and put away by a single person. This is a great lightweight and easy car tent to use for beginners and experts.
This is the car tent that likes to give you options. The tent has entrances on both sides and the back.
The entrances double as windows and come with a mesh and canvas covering to keep the elements and nature out. The shell is made of fiberglass, and the tent is designed to fit on smaller cars, so you do not need a full-sized SUV to enjoy this tent.
The bedding fits and stores inside the tent. This tent weighs 130 lbs, and the dimensions are 6.9'x4'x3.3.
By these measurements, you can tell it is a two-person, at max, kind of tent. It comes with an anti-condensation matt and a ladder. This car tent focuses on being compact and is used by smaller vehicles hence the Sparrow name.
FreeSpirit High Country
The High Country is made for smaller cars and can fit on Sedans as well as SUVs. The greatest benefit of this tent is thenearly 360degree view this tent provides.
It’s a soft-top tent and has a fold-out design so it can fit two adults and a child or your gear.
It comes in at 207 lbs., so, it is not a light tent, but the actual tent portion is light and made to be ventilated.
The measurements of the tent are 4.5'x8.1'x3.8'. Setting up the tent is easy, and the windows and the mattress is thin, so it may not be as comfortable as other tents may provide.
However, it does keep out the moisture, so you do not have to worry a lot about the rain. This tent will do the job by simply being a tent on top of a car.
The High Country is for you if great views are your goal.
Tuff Stuff Ranger Overland 3 Person Roof Top Tent
If your car has a rack or crossbars on the roof, this tent will be very easy. This tent includes everything you will need for installation, including the tools.
The tent can be opened on either side or over the rear, so you have options on how you want the tent to be laid out.
The rainfly sheds water off of it. The entire frame is made of aluminum. The included annex operates as part of the tent or even a separate room to change in or for privacy.
When traveling with the tent, you don't have to take out your bedding as it will fit in the tent, even when it is closed up, so you save on storage space in the car as well.
While in transit, the cover is heavy-duty and will ensure the tent stays safe from winds and elements when you are on the road. A newer version is set to come out soon, but this tent is still a great buy.
Also check out these articles, Top 10 Pop Up Tents for 2021 (the one you should buy) and Top 15 Backpack Tents Datasheet and My Top Pick.
And in case your are wondering this is how I choose a camping tent.
Thanks for reading.
Do yourself a favor, take a kid camping!