8 Best Hardshell Roof Top Tents For 2021 – Off Road Tents

8 comments / Posted on by Karsten Koberg

8 Hardshell Roof Top Tents For This Camping Summer Season Of 2021

As roof top tent lovers, we cannot help it but feel butterflies in our stomachs every time we see a hardshell tent. We just get that special feeling, that attraction to their shiny and strong shell, it’s inevitable.

Then knowing that in just a matter of seconds we can climb to the roof of our rig, open the RTT to then crawl inside of it, and man, our senses are softened.

That’s why we felt the need to come up with this article, to show and explain to you a little bit about our favorite models. Maybe, by the end of the read you’ll understand us, no wait, we are sure that by the end of this article you’ll want one too.

Before we start the ride, we want to explain that his is by no means a list or ranking of which model is better or worse. We are just showing some of the best hard-shell rooftop tents, not putting them in any particular order. We do sell some of these, but not all of them, we just want to recommend the ones we know are the best.

It's also important for you to understand that hardshell RTTs are quite different form softshells in a few different features, mostly on the footprint and size. Hard top tents tend to occupy a much larger area of your roof rack, than other RTTs, unless you were to get a model such as the Skycamp Mini.

Nevertheless, it shouldn't be an impediment, you just need to be aware that it'll take most of your roof rack, so it won't allow you to carry other gear on the rack. Also, depending on the type of bed rack that you have, not all hard-shell rooftop tents can go on it.

These are a few factors to consider before purchasing one. So, please do take a good look at the list below, and if you have unanswered questions, type them below or contact us.

ALSO, if you would like to share info, pictures or anything roof top tent or overland related, please feel free to do so Joining Our Facebook Group HERE.

Buckle up; it’s time to get this adventure started.

 

Explorer by Roost

explorer hardshell rooftop tent by roost

Roost is one of the best hard top roof top tent manufacturers, and for all of those RTT junkies that are tired of the Chinese factories making most of the tents you can buy, well, guess what? Roost is made in USA. That’s a nice way of introducing it. Now let’s take a look at the specs.

Name

Price

Size Open

Size Closed

Person Capacity

Weight

 

Roost Explorer

 

$3348

90.5” L x 57” W x 59” H

90.5” L x 57” W x 13” H

 

3, but preferably 2

 

163 lbs

Includes: It comes with a 2” foam mattress, a fabric hammock shelf to gold things, side pouches for valuable smaller items, a standard aluminum ladder, heavy duty rear latches with locking feature, and universal mounting brackets

Overview: Besides the fact that it’s a USA made RTT, the Roost is an extremely reliable model. Hard top tents tend to have longer lifespans than softshells, and are more resistant to rough weather. The only set backs are the higher prices and that they weigh a bit more. So those are the only two “defects” you can find on the Roost.

As to the benefits, number one is comfort, and we mean it in every way. Setting up the Roost isn’t hard, as it works well with most of the roof rack bars, such as Thule, Yakima, etc. (just make sure the crossbars have a minimum length of 58”). You’ll need two people to set it up (it’s heavy), but then you are ready to go. And after that? Well, just pull it upwards to open it, in less than 30 seconds you can crawl inside of it.

Once inside you’re going to love it. The 2-inch thick mattress might be a bit thin, but you can order a 3-inch for more comfort. The inside space is very comfortable, with two people sleeping pretty well, and a third (small one), capable of fitting in.

Other cool things: it has three doors, two side ones that also serve as windows for ventilation, and a larger one at the front. If you remove the mattress, the inside of the Roost can become a cargo carrier, it has 13-inches of closed height, so it can carry some luggage and other things.

The outer shell is shiny and attractive, oh yeah, you’ll be running your fingers on top of it quite a lot, and it comes in black or white, neat. Plus the inner tent fabric comes in six colors, so you can mix and match.

 

Tentbox Hard Top Tent by Tent-Box

 tentbox hard top tent

Affordable price, traditional design, good quality and great comfort. Those are some of the things that the Tentbox Hardshell model offers.

Name

Price

Size Open

Size Closed

Person Capacity

Weight

Tentbox

 

$2495

 

85.5" x 49" x 39"

85.5" x 49" x 11.4"

2 People

 

144 lbs 

Includes: A 4" thick mattress, with a utility net on the top of the inside of the tent, 2 double side pockets and 2 hanging hooks.

Overview: The Tentbox Hardshell is a very good hard top tent, with a fiberglass shell, a classic box-like design, and a very thick mattress. It's wide enough to veyr comfortably fit two adults, and with the windows on each side of the unit, breathability and air flow are simply excellent.

Add to that the great price, and you know you're getting a bargain. It might no have all the bells and whistles, but this is frankly a very good hardshell.

With just 144 lbs of weight, it's also fairly light, and can be used on smaller SUVs or cars.

Evolution by Free Spirit Recreation

FSR hardshell rooftop tent

Freespirit Recreation or FSR, is an Oregon based company, which has been producing some of the best roof top tents in America for quite a few years. However, what truly makes them stand apart is their designs. They have perhaps the most innovative RTT designs in the overlanding market, even when it comes to hardshells. The Evolution is their newest model, let's take a look. 

Name

Price

Size Open

Size Closed

Person Capacity

Weight

 

Evolution

 

$3495

55"W x 83"L x 43"H

60"W x 87"L x 9"H

2-3 people

172 lbs

Includes: A 1.2” high density foam mattress, and an additional 2" of soft flooring to sleep even more comfortably, a lightweight telescoping ladder, 2 boot bags and an LED light strip.

Overview: The newest model by GoFSR. The Evolution is innovation at its finest. It opens up in a matter of seconds thanks to a patented gas strut system, which is one of the easiest systems we've seen to open or close a tent.

Once opened, it offers 360 panoramic views, thanks to the windows on all sides, which at the same time offer great ventilation and airflow.

On top of that, the tent has the famous FSR tri-layer technology, for much better insulation and protection during colder times of the year. A true 4 season camping tent.

It'll easily and comfortably fit two adults, and even one more child or a dog/pet. The Evolution is a strong, well built hard top tent, which is a breeze to use and setup.

 

BunduTop by Bundutec

Bundutop roof top tent hardshell by bundutec

Brought into the US by Bundutec USA, this hardshell roof top tent is made in South Africa, the land of some of the best RTTs you’ll see. This is no exception; the Bundutop is a fantastic model, all made of aluminum (take that for a change), which makes it probably the lightest hardshell model out there.

Name

Price

Size Open

Size Closed

Person Capacity

Weight

 

BunduTop

 

$4000

82” L x 53” W x 41.5” H

82” L x 53” W x 12” H

2 comfortably

135 lbs

Includes: 4” thick foam mattress, extremely comfortable, an aluminum ladder, an LED light mounted in the center of the tent, USB interior outlet to charge devices and, an electric push button to open the tent and set up the 360 degrees awning.

Overview: The BunduTop is an extremely high quality tent. It comes with a two-year warranty, and it will probably last for a very long time. The aluminum build makes it very resistant, as well as lightweight, so it saves you fuel!

The coolest and best feature is the winch motor, which will open the tent and set up the awning in less than a minute, and you never had to get on top of the car, as simple as pushing a button. Some doubt the quality of motors, well, this one won’t let you down and it also is covered by the warrant. Just make sure you unclip the four latches, and then it’ll run smoothly for years.

Besides the exterior and the cool winch motor, this BunduTop RTT is a very comfortable model. The fact that it has four windows, makes the ventilation really good, and so you can sleep or hang out inside of it being fresh all the time. The 360 degree awning gives it good protection against sun and rain. Plus, it's advertised for only 2 people, that is to make sure that you will be comfortable the whole time. A recommended model!

 

Stealth by Eezi-Awn

stealth hardshell roof top tent by eezi-awn

On our past article (which you can read here), we were heavily criticized for not including any Eezi-Awn roof top tent, and frankly, whoever criticized us was right. So we are sorry, and we have now included one of their models, which is by no chance, the Stealth, a smooth looking RTT.

Name

Price

Size Open

Size Closed

Person Capacity

Weight

 

Stealth

 

$4300

87” L x 57” W x “ 56” H

87” L x 57” W x 12” H

2 comfortably

220 lbs (including ladder)

Includes: 3.5” thick mattress, aluminum extendable ladder, insulated roof and floor for warmer interior.

Overview: The Stealth is probably the best looking model of all the tents over here. It’s simply slick, smooth, mysterious yet attractive. The black aluminum shell exterior has a very different design to all the others that makes it look cooler, as the elevated back, raises in a sort of triangular shape.

As to the tent, the quality is clearly excellent, all aluminum, all long lasting. The walls are made of thick and waterproof mesh. The outer shells are insulated, and with the thickness of the shell, you can be certain that you will sleep at a very good temperature even on colder evenings, or on colder seasons, that’s the specialty of the Stealth.

Unlike many other tents that will tell you “3 can sleep inside of it”, Eezi-Awn is clear, 2 people sleep in here, but it’s two adults, and they will sleep really well. And the comfort doesn’t stop there, as the opening and closing system of the tent is simple: unclip the four latches and just lift it up or then push it down, in 10 seconds you are done.

If you're interested on the Stealth, CLICK HERE to view it.

 

 

Odyssey 55" by Free Spirit Recreation

odyssey 55" hard top roof tent by FSR

One of FSR newest rooftop tents: the Odyssey. It comes in two sizes, 55" and 49", but we'll focus on the 55" model since it's wider and slightly more comfortable.

Name

Price

Size Open

Size Closed

Person Capacity

Weight

Odyssey 55"

 

$3195

 

 

55"W x 83"L x 43"H

 

 

60"W x 83"L x 7.1"H

 

 

3

 

 

154 lbs

 

Includes: Mattress 2" thick, with washable cover, telescoping ladder, cross bars on top, an inner LED light bar.

Overview: On display during SEMA 2019, the Odyssey caught the attention of many. One of the highest quality hardshell roof top tents out there, with an amount of accessories and flexibility that few other models offer.

Let's start by the design: as always, FSR innovate and have a patented gas-strut-opening feature which makes it not only really easy to open or close the tent, but it makes sure down the line you won't have any problems.

The cross-bars on top of the upper shell, can carry up to 250 lbs, meaning kayaks, surfboards, gear or whatever comes in mind will be safely carried up there without taking space inside your vehicle.

It has a 3 person capacity and an LED light bar inside of it, a small luxury that will be greatly appreciated in the dark nights when camping.

 

Skycamp 2.0 Roof Top Tent by iKamper

ikamper skycamp 2.0 hard top tent

We had also spoken to you about the Skycamp 2.0 in the previous article, this is our personal favorite and we want to show you why. The Skycamp is a product by iKamper, a brand that was born after a Korean adventurer was inspired by Jack Kerouac, travelled America in a camper van and then decided to start an RTT company. Fast forward a few years and he has raised over $2.3 million on a Kickstarter campaign, designed this beauty, and is making some other really cool camping and overlanding gear.

Name

Price

Size Open

Size Closed

Person Capacity

Weight

Skycamp 2.0

 $3999

 85.8” L x 82.6” W x 43.3” H  

 85.8” L x 82.6” W x 12.5” H 

 4

 155 lbs

Includes: Hardshell locks, mattress, aluminum ladder, rainfly.

Overview: The Skycamp 2.0 is probably our favorite for many reasons, first the comfort that it offers. Not only is it huge, allowing three people to actually fit inside of it, and four if you wanted to push it, but opening is a piece of cake: 30 seconds, that’s all it takes.

The quality, durability, and strength of this hardshell RTT is unreal, it is suitable for any season, it can take rain, snow, wind, whatever you throw at it. You can even choose to buy it with the poly-cotton fabric, which makes it warmer, thicker and more resistant to wind and snow. That’s if you like overlanding and camping in winter of course. Oh, and if it’s too warm, just detach the whole fabric, and leave only the mesh, that way you are protected from bugs, but the wind will keep you cool all night.

Another great feature is the fact that the fabric can be detached completely, leaving only mesh, that way during summer you can enjoy a refreshing breeze or the view of the sky at night. When winter comes, you attach the fabric back and you’re ready to go.

Plus, all the accessories that you can add to it turn this into a sort of house. The annex is massive, the awning is also incredibly large and covers a big area, and it has a lot of other cool accessories to put inside of it. No wonder it made so much noise on Kickstarter, this is a great hardshell roof top tent.

And yes, this is the only one we sell from the entire list, so if you wish to take a look at it, please click here.

 

Expedition Tent, Generation3 by Alu-Cab

alu-cab hardshell rooftop tent the expedition tent generation 3

South Africans certainly know their tents, and they love the aluminum roof top tents. The Expedition Generation 3 is another aluminum hardshell RTT manufactured in South Africa by Alu-Cab. The looks of this tent, man, they are insane, just look at the picture; it looks like some sort of machine. Time to look at the specs.

Name

Price

Size Open

Size Closed

Person Capacity

Weight

Expedition Tent, Generation 3

 

$3995

 

 

90” L x 55” W x 63” H  

 

 

90” L x 55” W x 9.8” H  

 

 

2

 

 

164 lbs

 

Includes: 4” thick mattress, aluminum ladder, it comes with slotted rack rails for surfboards and other things, and you can buy an extra kit with stalk lights, USB charge point, and storage bags.

Overview: The looks of this tent are remarkable; we had never seen something like this. Talk about being attracted to a hardshell RTT and the Expedition comes in mind.

It’s all aluminum made, so despite being pretty big, spacious and with the additional racks, it’s still not that heavy. Plus, it’s going to be strong and very resistant. The walls are made of UV and waterproof canvas, very resistant and thick enough to keep you warm, and the outer shells are both insulated. You’ll sleep very well.

Opening it is a matter of seconds, and climbing inside of it too, as it has three doors on both sides and front. Two people sleep very comfortably inside of it, as this tent is both long and wide. If you are worried of running out of space, don’t you can put your surfboards, kayaks and other things on the racks that this tent has on the upper shell. South Africans think of everything.

This is a third generation tent, which has been improved generation after another. It’s built for tough expedition, for rougher overlanding trips and off road adventures. This is a great choice, period.

 

Let’s Wrap It Up

We hope you enjoyed the read, we hope that we gave you some valuable information and that now you are more tempted to join the Roof Top Tent world and hopefully buy a hardshell at some point. Trust us, there’s nothing more comfortable and cooler than overlanding and then sleeping in one of these beauties. You’ll be the envy of family, friends and Instagram, and you’ll have unforgettable trips.

It’s important to add that there are many other great brands and models that we didn’t include, simply because that article would be infinite, and because a lot of them we haven’t tried them. So, if we missed out any, write them on the comment section below, we’d really like to know your thoughts, experiences and opinions.

As to what we sell and offer, take a look around the shop and give us a call (T: 844-200-3979) or shoot us an email (info@offroadtents.com), we'd be happy to help!

***If you're not sure whether your vehicle has the right roof rack, please take a look at our roof rack collection, most of which will be able to support any roof top tent.***

ALSO, if you would like to share info, pictures or anything roof top tent or overland related, please feel free to do so Joining Our Facebook Group HERE.

8 comments

  • Posted on by Joseph Vajko

    Are these RTT made in US?

  • Posted on by Karsten Koberg

    Hello Dave,

    Yes there are plenty of tents offering the annex, and you can purchase awnings separately. Here’s an option: https://offroadtents.com/collections/roof-top-tents-car-tents/products/tepui-autana-3-person-roof-top-tent-annex-included

  • Posted on by Dave

    Do any RTT’s offer an annex &/or awning?

  • Posted on by Peter Sloop

    Check out www.sloopimports.com Camp King Industries All Aluminum, 100 percent Australian Made RTT will be at SEMA and Overland Expo East 2018

  • Posted on by Scott Hansen

    Would like to ask a few questions and hopefully pull trigger soon. Family of 5 total. Hoping to sleep 3 in a Hard RTT and 2 in the back of my 2016 Blacked Out Honda Pilot with OEM side rails on roof.

    1) Pretty sure I’ve narrowed my search down to Ikamper but thought I’d make sure I’m not missing another really great comparable.
    2) Can I primarily just leave this mounted to my vehicle indefinitely, through car washes and through all 4 seasons here in Orem, UT near SLC?
    3) If I pulled the trigger ASAP any estimated delivery date for a black one?
    4) Other items I would need to buy in terms of rack, I’d probably like the awning as well.
    4) Do you accept Paypal or other forms of credit?
    Thank you,
    Scott Hansen (801) 836-6769

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing