Roof Top Tent Buyers Guide

Roof Top Tent Buyers Guide

Zach on a roof top tent

Before you consider dropping a large chunk of change on buying a roof top tent, take some time to review who is making them and what the differences are.  I am not a distributor or dealer.  I write for and operate my own low budget camping blog.  Sure, I make some coin here and there from my 3 readers who click on affiliate links-enough money to buy batteries for my blue tooth mouse and keyboard.  I  am writing this from the perspective of a prospective buyer.  I do not own a roof top tent but am planning on buying one after I do my due diligence.  I will be updated this RTT Buyers Guide as well as my general article about roof top tents.

Lets get down to business.  The small herd of potential buyers has been thinned out before they ever open the door.  No matter how you slice it, you are going to drop a $1000 US or more unless you can find a used one.  Even used RTTs command a high resale value because the owners of these tents are usually educated, smart, and take care of the their stuff.  You, the buyer are above average intelligence and you  have money to spend.

Forget about price shopping.  Similar models of every manufacture are going to cost about  the same unless you buy a Mini Cooper with a way cool A-Frame roof top tent.  Its going to cost you a lot of money just for the car.  The tent is pocket change.

From a distance, each type of  tent looks the same.  I have a hunch that many come from the same manufacturing facility.  This does not mean that each will be of  equal quality.  Money talks and BS walks.  You get what you pay for.  If I pay $3500 for a tent that will last me 10 years,  then my price is $350 per year.  When I pack my family into a low budget hotel for 1 night, I  drop $100. or more for a lousy nights sleep.   Dont stumble over dollars to save a penny because its  going to cost more in the long run.  Nuff said!

Here is  a great buyers guide video on soft shell roof top tents provided by Gordi Tents.  Its very informative and will get you thinking.

Roof top tents can be broken down into 2 major categories.

Thats right-2 choices.  But it gets better.  Some of  the RTTs can sleep up  to 6 people.  Its going to take some serious muscle to get the tent on top of your rig because they are heavy.  .

Soft shell tents have been around for decades.  They are the most economical.  Most can be set up or taken down as easy as their ground cousins-regular tents.  They are also a lot bulkier.  A heavy family tent may weigh 25 lbs.  The lightest RTTs  weigh a minimum of 70 pounds!

Soft shell tents usually have lower annexes or change rooms.  This really opens up your options.  You will  have as much room as a small rv at the fraction of the cost.  While your neighbors are fending off rain, bugs, and cold weather, you lounge in your shelter with your vehicle doors open and music blaring.

So how do you decide which tent is best for you.  I like to use basic flow charts.  I cannot draw worth beans, so I will ask my son to draw me a colorful flow chart from a childs point of view.

I personally  like hard shell roof top tents.  When I first purchased a roof top cargo carrier for my Subaru, I looked at both soft shell and hard shell designs.   I found great soft shell cargo carriers for under $100.  My younger brother bought a bargain brand soft shell carrier for $35 and arrived at our rental  cabin with all his gear soaking wet.  All my gear was safely stowed away in my  $50 hard shell cargo carrier that I  found on Craigslist.  I sold it for about the same price and upgraded to  locking Thule hard shell cargo box.  Its been on and off my Subaru for the past 6 years and still looks new.  In my opinion, a hard shell for sleeping quarters is a much better value if you intend to keep it for a long time.

A hard shell rtt will keep your tent protected from the wind and sun while driving.  The biggest benefit is the fast set up time of usually 1 minute  or less.   My family of 4 sleep in our van.  It takes about 5 minutes to set up our sleeping quarters because we have to move things around.  Having a roof top sleeping quarters will eliminate that hassle.  We can literally roll in and be snuggled up in sleeping bags within a few minutes.   The hard shell option allows  us to store all of our sleeping gear out of the away on the roof.

Its time to show off some photos of the real deal.  So far, I have permission from Autohome to display photos of  their products.  I will display as many photos from other companies as I can.  I will put links directly to the manufactures site where you  can view all the specs.

Hard Shell Roof Top Tents

Maggiolina Air Land Roof Top Tent

Zach on a roof top tent

Before you consider dropping a large chunk of change on buying a roof top tent, take some time to review who is making them and what the differences are.  I am not a distributor or dealer.  I write for and operate my own low budget camping blog.  Sure, I make some coin here and there from my 3 readers who click on affiliate links-enough money to buy batteries for my blue tooth mouse and keyboard.  I  am writing this from the perspective of a prospective buyer.  I do not own a roof top tent but am planning on buying one after I do my due diligence.  I will be updated this RTT Buyers Guide as well as my general article about roof top tents.

Lets get down to business.  The small herd of potential buyers has been thinned out before they ever open the door.  No matter how you slice it, you are going to drop a $1000 US or more unless you can find a used one.  Even used RTTs command a high resale value because the owners of these tents are usually educated, smart, and take care of the their stuff.  You, the buyer are above average intelligence and you  have money to spend.

Forget about price shopping.  Similar models of every manufacture are going to cost about  the same unless you buy a Mini Cooper with a way cool A-Frame roof top tent.  Its going to cost you a lot of money just for the car.  The tent is pocket change.

From a distance, each type of  tent looks the same.  I have a hunch that many come from the same manufacturing facility.  This does not mean that each will be of  equal quality.  Money talks and BS walks.  You get what you pay for.  If I pay $3500 for a tent that will last me 10 years,  then my price is $350 per year.  When I pack my family into a low budget hotel for 1 night, I  drop $100. or more for a lousy nights sleep.   Dont stumble over dollars to save a penny because its  going to cost more in the long run.  Nuff said!

Roof Top Tent Buyers Guide

Here is  a great buyers guide video on soft shell roof top tents provided by Gordi Tents.  Its very informative and will get you thinking.

Roof top tents can be broken down into 2 major categories.

Thats right-2 choices.  But it gets better.  Some of  the RTTs can sleep up  to 6 people.  Its going to take some serious muscle to get the tent on top of your rig because they are heavy.  .

Soft shell tents have been around for decades.  They are the most economical.  Most can be set up or taken down as easy as their ground cousins-regular tents.  They are also a lot bulkier.  A heavy family tent may weigh 25 lbs.  The lightest RTTs  weigh a minimum of 70 pounds!

Soft shell tents usually have lower annexes or change rooms.  This really opens up your options.  You will  have as much room as a small rv at the fraction of the cost.  While your neighbors are fending off rain, bugs, and cold weather, you lounge in your shelter with your vehicle doors open and music blaring.

So how do you decide which tent is best for you.  I like to use basic flow charts.  I cannot draw worth beans, so I will ask my son to draw me a colorful flow chart from a childs point of view.

I personally  like hard shell roof top tents.  When I first purchased a roof top cargo carrier for my Subaru, I looked at both soft shell and hard shell designs.   I found great soft shell cargo carriers for under $100.  My younger brother bought a bargain brand soft shell carrier for $35 and arrived at our rental  cabin with all his gear soaking wet.  All my gear was safely stowed away in my  $50 hard shell cargo carrier that I  found on Craigslist.  I sold it for about the same price and upgraded to  locking Thule hard shell cargo box.  Its been on and off my Subaru for the past 6 years and still looks new.  In my opinion, a hard shell for sleeping quarters is a much better value if you intend to keep it for a long time.

A hard shell rtt will keep your tent protected from the wind and sun while driving.  The biggest benefit is the fast set up time of usually 1 minute  or less.   My family of 4 sleep in our van.  It takes about 5 minutes to set up our sleeping quarters because we have to move things around.  Having a roof top sleeping quarters will eliminate that hassle.  We can literally roll in and be snuggled up in sleeping bags within a few minutes.   The hard shell option allows  us to store all of our sleeping gear out of the away on the roof.

Its time to show off some photos of the real deal.  So far, I have permission from Autohome to display photos of  their products.  I will display as many photos from other companies as I can.  I will put links directly to the manufactures site where you  can view all the specs.

Hard Shell Roof Top Tents

Maggiolina Air Land Roof Top Tent


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