Best Roof Top Tent for Family of 4

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Rooftop tents are the road-tripping family’s ultimate companion. A good rooftop tent offers a comfortable and convenient place to camp, regardless of where your travels take you. Plus, they are spacious, keep you off the wet ground and away from any creepy crawlies below.

The Roofnest advantage means a more durable, longer-lasting, easier-to-use, and more comfortable rooftop tent that will bring you years of outdoor adventure.

Designs range from budget-friendly softshells to premium hardshell and Overlanding models built to take a licking. Still, all of the rooftop tents below keep you off the ground, are relatively easy to set up and stow, have rugged builds and free up valuable storage space in your vehicle.

The market has responded. There are now dozens of great options, ranging from low-cost soft shells to durable, weatherproof hardtops, with a few innovative options in between.

Types of Roof Top Tents

  1. Hardshell

Unlike a softshell tent, a hard shell one is a bit heavier and more durable. The robust shell adds more protection against the elements, such as strong winds and thunderstorms, and when you’re transporting the tent.

For those unfamiliar with hardshell rooftop tents, they may seem a bit challenging to handle, but they aren’t. They typically feature a mechanism that makes them easy to take and use.

  1. Softshell

Soft-shell tents are similar to standard tents. The roof and walls are canvas, ripstop fabric, or other soft materials with a rainfly.

They are lightweight and easy to handle. In terms of protection, softshell tents cannot handle inclement weather as much as hardshell tents can.

They are easy to fold, but hardshell tents can be more manageable in putting them up and taking them down.

Benefits of Hard Shell Roof Top Tents

  • Stay off the ground.

With a high-quality hard shell roof top tent, you are off the ground and away from outdoor problems such as critters and flooding. This means less mud and dirt, which can affect your comfort.

  • Improve air circulation and the view.

Other benefits of a rooftop tent are you get a better view of the sunset and improved ventilation. Everyone enjoys more airflow, and you can feel alive as you connect with nature.

  • Easy to set up.

Apart from the fact that rooftop tents are more durable than most traditional outdoor tents, they are easier to set up. Most of them include a built-in mattress that you don’t have to mess around trying to inflate.

  • More comfort.

Compared to traditional tents, heavy-duty rooftop tents are much more insulated and have a more comfortable sleeping area.

They are also much quieter, especially if you’re camping in windy areas, thanks to the tiny amount of fabric involved.

This guide will show you the best rooftop tents available and tell you exactly what to look for in a good rooftop tent.


Smittybilt Overlander XL Roof Top Tent

Smittybilt Overlander XL Roof Top TentSmittybilt is a reputable brand that consumers have trusted for over fifty years. Typically known for their reliable Jeep accessories, they have been innovators in the off-road industry for decades.

Naturally, to extend their product line in truck and SUV accessories, they jumped into the expanding market of rooftop tents (RTTs).

The current RTT model available in the Smittybilt line is the Overlander Tent. It is considered an entry-level tent due to its high price.

The tent’s base is constructed with a 2.5 cm aluminum and polyurethane sandwich base with a 300 kg (660 Ibs) loading capacity. Aluminum poles support the tent frame with stainless steel hinges.

The tent also has a flysheet addon that is easy to set up with spring steel poles. If you think it might rain during your camping trip, you can throw this on in a couple of minutes.

The mattress is made of fire retardant foam and is far more comfortable than sleeping on the ground. We would recommend adding a memory foam pad to make the bed comfortable.

Inside the tent is a convenient LED strip. This light is extremely bright and will illuminate the whole tent; so bright, and some campers prefer to use a smaller light instead.

Either way, it’s a cool feature! Inside the tent, you will find a 12V cigarette lighter power adapter and extension cord. This would be great for an electric blanket in colder weather or a small fan during summer.

The Overlander has a sunroof that you can open up, which makes for a good stargazing experience. The tent is fitted with mosquito screens and heavy-duty zippers.

Another fun feature is the shoe bag outside the tent. You might not use it all the time, but it could be handy in muddy terrain.


  • It accommodates 3 to 4 peoples
  • It’s made from waterproof material
  • It has a 60mm high-density foam mattress with a removable cover
  • This tent comes with anodized aluminum frame poles


  • It has a comfortable foam mattress
  • External storage bag for shoes
  • Double skylights for the enjoyment of the night sky
  • It’s tested for severe weather
  • It’s waterproof
  • Its zippers are a heavy-duty
  • Suitable for jeeps, trucks, SUVs, cars, and trailers


  • Damaged and missing hardware; seam not taped
  • Problems with installing; ladder broke for a few people



Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3 Extended Rooftop Tent

Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3 Extended Rooftop TentNo frills here — just a strong-as-hell rooftop tent at a fairly reasonable price. So what makes Overland Vehicle Systems’ Nomadic 3 so appealing?

The tent body is a heavy-duty, 600D blend of polyester and cotton, and the rainfly is a 420D polyester, which equates to some of the most robust water-shedding materials on the market.

The rainfly also helps to eliminate overhead light so you can stay cooler for longer when the sun starts cooking in the wee hours of the morning.

As for the mattress, Nomadic 3 comes with a 3″ High-Density Foam Mattress with Washable Cotton Cover.

The tent’s base is double insulated with a one-piece diamond plate to keep you warm and cozy during cold nights.

Also, Both the doors and windows are made with 110g Environmental Fadeless Gaze Breathable, so there will be full ventilation inside the tent at all times.

Nomadic three comes with two external pouches where you can store your shoes and six large internal storage pouches to store your essentials like chargers, water bottles, etc.

Also, To make it easy for you to light up the tent at night — Nomadic 3 comes with a 40″ LED Light Strip Plus Into Standard USB.


  • It comes with 2 Ground Stakes and 2 Paracords
  • It comes with a 4-year limited warranty
  • Includes one 96″ Tubular Adjustable With Locking Strap
  • Includes 1000G PVC Cover With Heavy Duty Straps to keep the tent safe and secure during the journey


  • It’s easy to set up
  • It’s waterproof




Thule Tepui Autana Rooftop Tent with Annex

Thule Tepui Autana Rooftop Tent with AnnexIf you’re traveling with a group, but your heart is set on a Thule rooftop tent, then this four-person Autana Explorer might be the best option for you.

With 48 square feet of space and a peak height of 56 inches, the Explorer Autana is a roomy softshell tent for all four seasons.

It’s made with the same high-quality materials that Thule is known for, like the UV and mildew resistant polyester/cotton blend fabric.

It comes with a high-density foam mattress as well as an extended canopy entrance for extra privacy. There are even four interior pockets (one for each person!) where you can store and organize your personal belongings or camping gear.

At 190 pounds, it’s not the lightest rooftop tent available, so you’ll need to make sure your van and roof rack can support the added weight.


  • Can accommodate up to four people
  • Mesh panels offer plenty of ventilation and open for more airflow
  • Includes an extended private canopy entrance with removable annex
  • The tent fabric is both UV and mold resistant to withstand the elements of any season


  • Capacity to sleep up to four people
  • Reputable brand
  • Made from durable UV and mold-resistant materials
  • Canopy and annex extension


  • Heavy (190 pounds)
  • It might require multiple people to set up



Thule Tepui Kukenam 3 Rooftop Tent

Thule Tepui Kukenam 3 Rooftop TentIt’s easy to see why the Tepui Explorer Kukunam 3 Tent is one of the most popular softshell options for van lifers and campers. The combination of price, headspace, ease of set-up, and durability makes it an excellent rooftop tent for most leisurely travelers.

This four-season tent is built to last, even if you’re traveling during torrential rainstorms or freezing temperatures.

Between the 260g polyester/cotton blend and water-resistant coated 600-denier ripstop fabric, you can sleep soundly knowing that you and your belongings will stay safe and dry.

Inside, the Explorer Kukenam is exceptionally roomy, with a peak height of 52 inches. It can comfortably sleep three people, although a family with two younger children might be able to squeeze by.

This rooftop tent does include a plushy foam mattress and a telescoping ladder, which justifies the somewhat high price point.


  • Sadly it can accommodate up to three people.
  • Mesh panels offer plenty of ventilation and open for more airflow
  • The tent fabric is both UV and mold resistant to withstand the elements of any season
  • Constructed from coated 600 deniers and a 260g poly-cotton blend made to withstand the details of any season


  • It takes 10 minutes to set up
  • Reputable brand
  • Durable and weather-resistant materials
  • Ideal for all seasons


  • It does not come with a privacy annex


Buyers Guide for Best Roof Top Tent for Family of 4

Because of the strain it can put on your car, be sure you’re clear about all the details before purchasing a rooftop tent. Here are the most important things to consider

1.       Size

Even the top roof tents are heavy and bulky. Some might be less than 100 pounds while others are up to 300 pounds.

Before purchasing a tent, make sure your car can handle the weight and that the tent is compatible so you don’t damage it.

Your vehicle comes with dynamic and static load ratings; these tell you how heavy the tent can be. The heavier the tent, the worse gas mileage you’ll get.

If you have a taller vehicle, you also need to make sure your car can still fit under bridges and into the public spaces you want to see.

2.       Capacity

Some tents are made for two people while others can fit five or more. More important than the number of people the company says the tent can hold is the floor space, peak height, and mattress size. Understanding these numbers will help you make sure you’ll be comfortable.

3.       Weather-Resistance

The best car top tents were built to withstand inclement weather. If bad weather might be an issue, be sure your awning offers full coverage, so the air flows without the rain getting in.

If you are using the tent in the colder months or at higher elevations, you may want to go with a tent that allows you to purchase additional insulation.

4.       Ease of Installation

Most, if not all, car tents require at least two people to carry and install them. Some are super user-friendly, while others are a bit more complicated and may require some visits to the hardware store.

If you’re concerned about the installation process, you may be able to find people at a gear or hardware store willing to help you install it.

If you’ll frequently be taking the tent on and off your car, it’s best to make sure the installation process is as smooth as possible.

5.       Mattress

While some people love roughing it in just a sleeping bag on the ground, those days are over when you buy a rooftop tent since it will include a mattress.

The thickness will largely determine the comfort of the integrated mattress. Premium options may have mattresses with a gel or memory foam topper.

If you fall in love with a tent, but the mattress doesn’t suit your needs, you can buy an after-market mattress. Just make sure it will fit in the tent well.

6.       Weather Resistance and Insulation

Rooftop tents are built to withstand the elements, with thick, water-resistant body fabrics (usually a polyester cotton blend) and fully waterproof rainfly.

If you plan to use your tent in inclement conditions, be sure to look for full-coverage awnings on all the windows and doors so you can keep air flowing without allowing moisture in.

7.       Vehicle Compatibility

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when buying a rooftop tent is its compatibility with your vehicle. Not all vehicles can bear the weight of a rooftop tent, as well as four people, so be sure to check your vehicle’s specs before you drop a lot of money on a rooftop tent.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.       Are rooftop tents worth it?

While costlier than traditional counterparts, the best rooftop tents are easy to set up and packed with choice features. They also offer impressive ground clearance, prime weather resistance, and the ability to set up camp wherever you park. We say it’s worth it!

2.       Are rooftop tents waterproof?

We can’t vouch for every rooftop tent in existence, but the ones from brands like Tepui and Smittybilt are constructed from waterproof materials.

3.       How much are rooftop tents?

The price of a quality rooftop tent can range drastically, depending on factors such as size and materials. Generally speaking, they can go as low as $850 and as high as $5,000. Most fall within the $1,000-$2,000 range.

4.       How much weight can a rooftop tent hold?

Many rooftop tents can hold roughly 200 lbs at least. However, the true weight holding capacity will depend on the type of rooftop tent you have, who manufactured it, and how many people it can sleep. Generally, a rooftop tent can hold a total weight capacity of between 400 and 900 lbs.

5.       Do I need a roof rack for a rooftop tent?

Yes, a roof rack is required to affix your rooftop tent to your vehicle. This can be as simple as after-market crossbars mounted on factory roof rails or as involved as a heavy-duty, permanently mounted custom rack.

6.       What’s the point of a rooftop tent?

Having your tent on top of your vehicle allows you to stash your expensive gear inside your locked vehicle while sleeping.

Some diehard offroaders sleep in their truck beds with a truck topper over them, but this means that all their gear must be stored elsewhere when they are sleeping.

7.       Why are rooftop tents so expensive?

Because of their complicated construction, overall design, and added accessories, rooftop tents are costly compared to a small, off-brand ground tent. However, Rooftop tents are durable, high-quality, and should last you a long time.

Wrap Up

If you want to go on road trips with your family into the mountains, deserts, beaches, or even the extremest scenarios, then a rooftop tent is your ideal ally. No matter where you go, a rooftop tent will provide you a pleasant and convenient place to camp. Plus, they will keep you away from the wet ground.

The most significant rooftop tents in the market can fit an entire family without any room struggles. These four-person rooftop tents are ideal for all your outdoor adventures and family vacations.

Regardless of which model you decide to purchase, you should take extra steps to prolong the life of your tent.

After each use, it’s essential to make sure the tent is thoroughly dried, or else you run the risk of mold. You can open all the windows to let it air dry or leave it to sit in a dry, shady area before packing it up.

We hope our post was helpful to you. Feel free to share with your friends and family members.

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