Go Car Camping With A Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

best hard shell roof top tent review

Camping is as an old adventure as old the wild and woods are and people are finding new ways to make their camping experience even greater by trying out different gears and tents. Now the rooftop tents are getting immense love from campers especially hard shell rooftop tents.

These tents are set up upon vehicle without minimum effort and provide an even more comfortable ambiance to love the trip. Here in this article, you will get to know all about these tents, so be with me to learn more about these tents.

best hard shell roof top tent review

What is a Hard Shell Roof Top Tent?

Hard shell rooftop tents are waiting for you if you are outlander and love to go camping once in a while. There is also another type of rooftop tent which is a soft shell top tent.

The major difference between both of the tents is the use of fabric and price.

Shad shell tents are comparatively double or triple times more expensive than soft shell tents because they are made of aluminum or fiberglass shells to give extra protection against sun, rain, wind, or any other unfriendly situation.

Hard shell tents provide more comfort and space with a pre-installed mattress. They are comparatively easier to set up and tear down and they are easy to maintain and clean.

Hard shell tents are more durable and have a longer lifespan compared to soft shell tents. Moreover, soft shell tents create more noise and moisture when the wind’s blowing or the sun is heating up.

Hard shell tents are quite heavier like they are around 100 lbs, on the other hand, soft shell tents are fairly light in weight. With just a single pull, your hard shell roof top tent is opened and set and with a soft shell tent, the process is quite similar to a backpacking tent.

Both of these tents are preferred by people with different interests. In this article, you will get to know all about a hard shell roof top tent including what you should consider before buying it to how you should set it up, and lastly with a few reviews to help you decide.

what is a hard shell RTT?

What to Consider When Buying a Roof Top Tent?

Now you are really excited about your outland road trip with your family and friends, but before buying the roof top tent, you need to keep a few things in mind which can make or break your deal of having the best experience of camping. Here I have listed down the key points to help you make a better decision.

Type of your car

Your vehicle will decide your tent that is said. Your vehicle’s roof has to be able to bear the weight of the tent and the people inside otherwise you can imagine the worst. Hence your vehicle’s roof rack is the most important thing.

With crossbars and roof railing your tent will be easily set up. The most common vehicles used for this type of adventure are SUVs, light trucks, Jeeps, and Subarus. There is no problem in mounting the weight as long as you are well aware of your tent’s weight and your vehicle’s bearing capacity.

cars for hard shell roof top tents

Tent Weight

The weight of the tent is the most important aspect. You need to be sure that the weight of the tent accumulating with your weight has to be less than the average weight of your vehicle’s roof top for safety. The tent has to be safe on your vehicle and rack, and your weight and the tent’s weight in total need to be less than your SUV’s rack weight.

Tent Size

Your tent size determines whether you will buy the tent or not. Because only the size doesn’t matter, with that your weight, the storage space of the tent also matters.

The tent size has to be compatible with your vehicle. It shouldn’t be either taller or wider than the rooftop of the vehicle, because it will consequently increase the size of the tent. The tent should be fitted within the rail and crossbar to have firm withstand on top.

The capacity of your car roof

When you buy a car, there comes a whole list to describe the car roof capacity to bear the weight along with other specs. Your car roof has to be able to bear the weight of your and also the tent. So it is very crucial to consider how much capacity your car roof has to eliminate any future damages or risks.

what to consider for hard shell RTT


Ventilation is also a demanding key point to consider, otherwise ignoring it, you will be soaked in sweat on summer nights. The tent will be your tiny home so it has to be breathable.

The number of windows and doors makes the most to have good airflow in and out of the tent. With that, the fabric has also to be durable and breathable to ensure a good exchange of air.

Airports and vents also have to be there in the tent. With vast windows and doors, you also need to look for mesh over them to avoid buzzing and biting inside your tent.

Along with these you also need to pay attention to the cost, material, and several accessories delivered with the tent to have a better experience at a great price.

Hopefully, by reading these you will have a clear idea of what you need to look for while buying your rooftop tent.


Reviews of Best Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

Pop Up Design – TMB Orange Hardshell Roof Overland Tent

TMB hard shell roof top tent for SUVs

Who is this product best for?

TMB overland Tent is what you need if you don’t enjoy staking and assembling your tent right after reaching your campsite. To open and set the tent is not at all a demanding job. Not only that, but it also comes with accessories to make your experience even more worth enjoying.

The manufacturers also provide a warranty if there will be any defects. It has a very sleek and minimal packaging design to carry while hiking. The tent fabric is polyester which provides great protection against rain. With Your SUVs and car trucks, a pop-up roof tent is the best option for you if you are an outlander with sudden plans.

What makes this product outstanding?

Spacious – what makes this product outstanding is the interior space. One to two people of average height can easily fit it. This product also has pre-installed memory foam mattresses to get you a comfy and bedroom-like ambiance.

Easy set up – Another outstanding feature of this product is its easy set-up. You do not have to worry about poles, stacks, and guy ropes with this tent, it is very easy to open up with shock-assisted arms. And once extended will remain securely opened. The closing of the tent is also as easy as the extension, with snap straps, bungee, and zipper, and you are done with it.

Extra-accessories- the tent comes with extra free accessories which include a ladder, extra storage bag. Ladder to help you in ascending and descending the tent and bag to keep your extra shoes or other gear items secure all at one place.

What this tent may not fit for?

Don’t have crossbars – This product may not be the best fit for those who have vehicles that don’t come with crossbars and roof rack rails. Because for the extension of this tent, you need a strong grip of crossbars.

Only for two – this tent is the best fit for two people. If you are planning for a tour with a big circle of groups, then every two has to arrange their two TMB tents.

Expensive- the tent, no doubt, is the best roof tent, but it is not what you should buy if you are looking for a cheap tent. Because all the features of the tent make the price worth it.

Check Price on Amazon


Easy Setup – KingCamp Hard Shell Roof Top Tent for 2 Person

lightweight hard case roof top tent

 Who is this product best for?

This product is best for you if you want a lightweight hardshell tent with great comfort and enough room. This product has a 3000-millimeter water resistance capacity and also has a durable ABS hardshell and base to keep you extra safe during your on-the-road and off-the-road camping adventure.

Elevated from the muddy and rocky uneven ground to a plain and comfortable base even during camping is a great experience to live with this tent.

What makes this product outstanding?

Effortless setup and folding- you can easily set up this tent within one minute. You just need to set your car aside and rest is not a stressful thing. With a hydraulic strut and lever, the tent will open automatically and you can use it right after it.

A telescopic aluminum alloy ladder also comes with it which offers a stable mount to the tent. Likewise, you can also fold this tent in less time by just pressing the strut in the right way.

Amazing ventilation- with 2 huge meshed windows and huge doors at both sides and with a great quality huge foam mattress, you can have a comfortable time up there. The tent provides great airflow and also has to mesh on windows to keep the bugs and other insects out of your view and way.

What this tent may not fit for?

Only suitable for two people- the tent has a large spacious interior with windows, door, and mattress but only for two people. With 116 lbs weight of the tent, the maximum bearing weight with two people has to be less than the weight of the car rack.

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How to Install a Hard Shell Roof Top Tent?

how to set up a hard shell roof top tent

Here comes the most exciting part: installing your hard shell rooftop tent.  But before doing that, you have to take a few things seriously which include roof rack.

  1. The roof rack has to be issued from the carmaker factory. Always keep in mind that each roof rack has a different weight-bearing capacity. So pay attention to your vehicle.
  2. Moreover, every brand manufactures different kinds of hard shell tents but the installation of these tents is pretty simple and straightforward. All the tents are built to directly attach to your vehicle’s rooftops.
  3. Keeping the size and weight of the tent, ask your partner to help you mount and set it up. Looking at the manual’s instructions given with the tent, and with the help of pins, fasteners, and latches, you can solely set it up in less than half an hour.
  4. And folding the tent follows the same process. Just press the top of the tent and then struts by clipping them with the help of latches. It’s that simple. These tents on the rooftop also free you from ground-dwelling creatures.

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Hard Shell Rooftop Tent?

Rooftop tents have much more benefits than traditional tents. They set you free from lots of unnecessary worries. Here you will get to know about a handful of pros and cons of having a hard shell rooftop tent as your companion on your camping adventures.


  • The most liberating fact about these tents is that they set you free off the ground. You don’t have to worry anymore about having uneven and uncomfortable ground underneath your tent.
  • These are extremely handy to set up and break down. Anyone can do it.
  • Gives better air circulation and a better view.


  • These tents are the best option for outlanders and wanderlusts but good things always come with one or two shortcomings. Here the only thing which bothers quite a few people is the weight of these tents. They are heavy in packaging weighing around 100lbs.
  • Another complaint is that they are expensive, not every camping lover can afford them.
  • And lastly, they have less space to sleep and lay comfortably. Though a foam mattress comes with most of these tents, you have to be very conscious about your weight, the tent’s weight, and the weight of the roof rack of your vehicle to have a more durable tent.


Can You Drive a Car With a Roof Top Tent on the Freeway?

A simpler answer is yes, you can drive your vehicle with a rooftop tent on the freeway but you need to be aware of the speed. The approximate speed with the rooftop has to be around 110 km per hour. These tents are heavier than usual so they are already affecting your fuel efficiency. So to compensate for the effect, you need to drive moderately.


Hard Shell roof top tents are getting quite popular now in natives and there are many reasons behind them. Take all that is needed to know about these tents and make your experience more adventurous and wholesome.