If you’re looking for an alternative to a traditional tent for your camping adventures, you’ve probably considered buying a rooftop tent.
However, it’s pretty easy to break the bank on a rooftop tent!
Although there are plenty of high-end rooftop tents out there, you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money to achieve your camping dreams. There is a wide variety of affordable rooftop tents that offer loads of cool features!
We’ve found the 6 best budget rooftop tents that you should know about before you commit to buying:
What are the Cheapest Rooftop Tents (Worth Buying)?
We all know that you get what you pay for, no matter what you’re buying.
It’s easy to find an affordable rooftop tent, but will it be a good quality product that will stand the test of time, or will it be poorly-constructed and disappointing?
Most often, your budget tent will still be top-notch and ready to go!
Here’s our list of the cheapest rooftop tents that you’ll feel good about camping in and are actually worth buying:
1. Thule x Tepui Explorer Ayer 2 (our overall winner)
For the solo adventurer or couples who like to get away from it all every weekend, the Explorer Ayer 2 is an excellent budget option for a rooftop tent.
This small yet elegant rooftop tent weighs only 105 pounds, so you don’t have to have a big rig to use it. This easy-to-use tent could be a perfect camping solution for people with smaller cars.
Although the Explorer Ayer 2 is a really affordable option, it’s built tough, and you’ll be confident that you’ll be able to stay warm and dry in nasty weather conditions. The double-wall construction means you won’t feel the wind, and the coated poly-cotton blend tent material will keep you dry.
This rooftop tent has 1 door and 3 windows, all with mesh panels, so you’ll have great views from your rooftop perch and plenty of ventilation during the summer months. There are large internal pockets for storing headlights, books, and whatever else you’ll need, plus a telescoping ladder for ease of entry.
This isn’t the largest rooftop tent out there, and it only has 38 inches of headroom, but it’s a tent worth investing in if you want a simple, effective camping solution that isn’t a tent on the ground.
2. Thule x Tepui Low-Pro 2
The Low-Pro 2 is another lightweight rooftop tent that sleeps two adults comfortably, or one person and their pet companion!
The Thule x Tepui Low-Pro 2 weighs just 105 pounds but is a little larger than our top pick, providing 44 inches of headroom. This rooftop tent has the lowest profile on our list and is perfect for installation on small vehicles.
The Low-Pro 2 is also a really aerodynamic rooftop tent, which means you won’t have to worry about it affecting your vehicle’s fuel economy when you’re driving to the next camping spot.
Another cool feature of this budget rooftop tent is the ease of installation. You won’t waste precious time trying to figure out how to get the Low-Pro 2 onto your car, and when the camping trip is over, you’ll have no problem removing the rooftop tent.
This is a great budget rooftop tent for all seasons and features a rugged rainfly and zippered windows. Although most customer reviews are really positive, some users have noted that the zippers can be prone to leaks.
The attractive domed canopy zips to the base, which makes setup really quick. The base itself is made from 100% recyclable thermoplastic, making for a comfortable and warm night’s sleep.
3. Thule x Tepui Kukenam 3
The Kukenam 3 has been designed for extended camping trips and sleeps 3 people comfortably.
This rooftop tent is larger and more spacious than the previous 2 entries on our list. There’s a whopping 52 inches of headroom in the Kukenam 3, which means it won’t feel cramped on those rainy days when going outside doesn’t feel like fun.
The Kukenam 3 has 4 large mesh panels and 2 ceiling panels, making summer camping breezy and comfortable due to the tent’s airflow. These panels can be closed up during cold weather to help retain warmth.
The insulated fiberglass base reduces the overall weight of the tent and helps to retain warmth. Although the Thule x Tepui Kukenam 3 weighs 130 pounds, that’s still pretty lightweight, and this rooftop tent will fit on most vehicles.
The Kukenam 3 comes with a high-density foam mattress built-in, although some customers have complained that the mattress isn’t as comfortable as they’d hoped. This can generally be fixed by bringing along comfy blankets to use on top!
The majority of customer reviews are positive, though, and the 2-year warranty is one of this rooftop tent’s most popular features.
4. Thule x Tepui Explorer Autana 3+Annex
The Explorer Autana 3+Annex is an awesome rooftop tent that’s a great budget option for small families or couples who want a little extra room.
Although this rooftop tent weighs 152 pounds, it’ll fit on just about any vehicle, and you’ll love being able to camp at any time of year without worrying about the weather.
The Explorer Autana 3 is constructed using a tough 600D ripstop fabric blend, which will protect you from the elements and keep you warm. Plus, this tent is UV and mold-resistant, so it’s going to last for a long time.
This is another Thule rooftop tent that features plenty of mesh panels for airflow and internal pockets for stashing all your precious camping gear.
There’s a built-in high-density foam mattress that many customers love and a telescoping ladder that provides a sturdy way to enter the tent.
What sets this rooftop tent apart is the included detachable annex, which gives you a lot more space to play with. This can be an area to take off wet coats and boots, and you could even put the dog bed here!
However, it should be noted that quite a few customer reviews mention the annex being problematic, with leakage and difficulty of installation being the most common complaints.
5. Roofnest Sparrow
If you’re looking for a budget rooftop tent with a hard shell, the Roofnest Sparrow could definitely be worth the investment.
The Sparrow is a popup tent that is one of Roofnest’s most popular models. This rooftop tent sleeps 2 people comfortably and weighs just 130 pounds, making it a great option for people with small and medium vehicles who want a tent for weekend camping.
The hard shell is only 11 inches tall when closed and has an aerodynamic design that reduces road noise when driving. Roofnest customers love the fact that they can store bedding in the tent when it’s closed.
Although you won’t install extra storage bars on the Sparrow like other Roofnest hard shell tents, there is a built-in storage area with an included storage bag.
The tent is made from polyurethane-coated cotton-polyester blend material, which means the Sparrow will keep you warm and dry during the winter months. Also, the interior of the shell has a quilted insulation layer for extra warmth and comfort.
6. Roofnest Condor
Another trendy hard shell rooftop tent that won’t break the bank is the Roofnest Condor.
The Condor provides comfortable sleeping space for up to 3 people and comes with a built-in mattress that will ensure a good night’s sleep. Weighing just 135 pounds, this rooftop tent is suitable for installation on just about any vehicle.
The Condor comes equipped with a 7.5-foot telescoping ladder and 2 detachable storage pockets. The tent material is tough and durable and has a waterproof rating of 3000mm. Customers who have purchased the Roofnest Condor love the mesh-covered doors and windows and also the awesome skylight.
This is a fold-out tent, so it takes a little longer to set up, and some customer reviews mention that the Condor can be quite hard to get right when setting up camp.
Although the Condor is the most expensive rooftop tent on our list, it’s well worth the investment for those who like to camp all year round.
The Best Rooftop Tent Under $1,500:
We think the Thule x Tepui Explorer Ayer 2 is definitely the best rooftop tent under $1,500.
Costing just $1,199.95, this tent is well worth the money and will last for a long time if used properly.
Although the Explorer Ayer 2 is quite small and isn’t suitable for all seasons, it’s a great option for those who want a simple, cost-effective camping option for weekend trips.
How Much Should You REALLY Pay for a Budget Rooftop Tent?
How much you should spend on a rooftop tent really depends on your budget, how many people you’ll need to be able to sleep in the tent, and how often you like to go camping.
Some of the rooftop tents on our list are on the smaller side, so they are great for singles, couples, or families of 3.
Also, if you like to get out and explore the world in the dead of winter, you’ll need to make sure your tent is sufficiently weatherproof:
|Thule x Tepui Explorer Ayer 2||2||$1,199.95|
|Thule x Tepui Low-Pro 2||2||$1,499.95|
|Thule x Tepui Kukenam 3||2-3||$1,699.95|
|Thule x Tepui Explorer Autana 3+Annex||2-3||$2,149.95|
Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.