For lots of people, camping is a warm-weather activity that involves spending time outside and not worrying about rain and snow.
However, there are plenty of hardy adventurers among us who enjoy nothing more than toughing it out in challenging weather conditions!
It’s important for cold weather and winter camping to know that your setup will be warm enough and dry enough to be comfortable and safe.
We’ve listed the 6 best rooftop tents perfect for cold weather and winter camping:
1. Roofnest Sparrow EYE (Our Overall Winner)
The Roofnest Sparrow EYE is an awesome choice for a rooftop tent that functions really well in all weather conditions.
This is a relatively small popup rooftop tent that sleeps 2 people and has been designed to be a simple, yet effective camper option.
The Sparrow EYE is super quick and easy to set up, which means a lot when it’s snowing! Customers who have bought this rooftop tent have been impressed by the ease of setup and the reinforced fiberglass shell’s design.
The inside of the shell is insulated with a quilted fabric that makes it comfortable and quiet. Although the shell design means your gas mileage shouldn’t be affected, some customers have complained that the company doesn’t recommend driving over 70 miles per hour.
The tent walls are made from a durable and reinforced poly-cotton material that is thick enough to provide warmth and heavy enough to withstand high winds. Many customers have mentioned that the Sparrow EYE performs really well in windstorms.
The tent material has a waterproof rating of 3000mm, which means you’ll know that you’re going to stay dry during a winter camping expedition.
The Roofnest Sparrow EYE only weighs 130 pounds and is rated to support 650 pounds, making it a reassuring choice for campers.
This awesome rooftop tent opens from one side and has a large door that providers great views. There’s a built-in gear storage area with an included gear bag, a solar panel mounting area, and a built-in mattress.
2. Thule x Tepui Explorer Kukenam 3 (Our Budget Pick)
Our budget pick is a rooftop tent that sleeps up to 3 people comfortably and is suitable for use in all weather conditions.
The Explorer Kukenam 3 weighs only 131 pounds, which means it can be used with a wide variety of vehicles. However, when set up, this awesome rooftop tent has plenty of room for winter campers to weather the storm and has an interior height of 52 inches.
The durable, heavy-duty ripstop blend used in the tent construction has been designed to provide adequate protection from the elements. Customers who have purchased the Explorer Kukenam 3 have mentioned its ability to function well in high wind and rain.
Extra warmth and weather protection are provided by the insulated fiberglass base, reducing the overall weight. Plus, the Explorer Kukenam 3 uses UV and mold-resistant construction, making it an ideal choice for camping in wintery conditions.
This rooftop tent has 1 door, 4 mesh side panels for airflow, and an awesome gear loft with plenty of storage pockets. Although some customers have complained that it isn’t as comfortable as they expected, there’s also a built-in foam mattress.
3. iKamper Skycamp Mini
The iKamper Skycamp Mini is another small rooftop tent that is ideal for winter camping.
This hardshell rooftop tent features a lightweight and aerodynamic design, so it’ll fit on just about any vehicle.
The hardshell case’s handy feature is the locking mechanism, although some customers have found the straps difficult to get closed.
iKamper Skycamp Mini customers love the quick setup, which can take as little as 1 minute. This is an essential consideration when you’re going to be camping in cold weather and want to be warm and snug in your tent as quickly as possible.
The tent fabric is breathable and insulating poly-cotton, and there’s a detachable rainfly that’s rated to 3000mm, so you’re sure to stay dry in the Skycamp Mini. Another bonus is that this rooftop tent works really well in high winds, and there are quite a few customer reviews that mention this in particular.
Extra insulation is provided by the lightweight honeycomb aluminum panels, which means you’ll stay nice and warm during cold nights.
Another cool feature of the Skycamp Mini is a redesigned telescoping ladder, although some customer reviews mention that the ladder is difficult to use on uneven ground.
This rooftop tent comes with a built-in mattress, although several iKamper customers have complained that the mattress is too thin.
4. Roofnest Condor
The Roofnest Condor is a large, roomy rooftop tent that provides super comfortable sleeping space for up to 3 people.
The Condor weighs a mere 135 pounds and is a perfect year-round camping solution that will fit just about any vehicle.
This is a hardshell rooftop camper that is fairly quick and easy to set up, although because it has a fold-out design, some customers have complained that it can be quite a time consuming to get the tent ready.
The reinforced fiberglass hardshell’s aerodynamic design is popular with customers who have purchased the Roofnest Condor because it means that road noise and excess fuel consumption are minimized while driving.
This is a rooftop tent that will perform really well in all weather conditions. The tent wall material is polyurethane-coated polyester and cotton that has a waterproof rating of 3000mm.
The tent fabric is tougher and thicker than normal tent fabric, so it provides additional warmth and keeps things quiet inside the tent during high winds.
The Roofnest Condor has a large main door and windows with mesh screens and awnings. There’s also a built-in foam mattress that’s custom-designed to fit the space perfectly.
Best of all, this rooftop tent has a cool skylight for stargazing that customers have raved about.
5. Thule x Tepui Ruggedized Autana 3+Annex
This awesome rooftop tent might be the toughest choice on our list for those who want to get off-road and camp out during the winter months.
The Ruggedized Autana 3 is built to withstand the harshest weather conditions and uses super durable 600D ripstop blend fabric in the tent construction. The tent is also UV and mold resistant, which means it’ll hold up during the winter months.
You can be sure you’ll stay warm and dry in this rooftop tent, although some customer reviews have mentioned leaking issues with the zippers.
One of the coolest features of the Ruggedized Autana 3 is the detachable annex. This provides valuable extra room for storage and an area where you can take off wet clothes and muddy boots before climbing up to the sleeping area.
Most reviews rave about the removable annex, but Thule customers have found the annex difficult to attach and have experienced some leakage issues.
The Ruggedized Autana 3+Annex has 4 mesh side panels, 2 mesh roof panels, and a high-density foam mattress that customers love. There are also handy internal pockets for storing items such as headlamps.
6. iKamper Skycamp 2X
Another awesome rooftop tent from iKamper to make our list is the Skycamp 2X.
Although this is one of the more expensive rooftop tents on our list, it’s a prevalent option and a great investment if you want to be able to camp year-round.
The Skycamp 2X is a hardshell camper that is lightweight and aerodynamic. This best-selling rooftop tent fits on most vehicles, and you can even customize the color of the hardshell case.
You’ll be sure to stay warm and dry in the Skycamp 2X, which uses breathable polyester cotton material for the tent, and a waterproof polyester rainfly. Plus, the flooring is constructed from honeycomb aluminum panels that are durable and insulating.
Like other iKamper rooftop tents, previous customers’ main complaint is that the foam mattress is too thin and not as comfortable as advertised.
How Much Should You REALLY Pay for a Rooftop Tent for Cold Weather and Winter Camping?
How much you should pay for a rooftop tent that you can use for cold weather and winter camping really depends on the specific features you’re looking for.
The Thule x Tepui Explorer Kukenam 3, our budget pick, is an awesome option that will definitely keep you warm and dry.
However, if you want a smaller, more aerodynamic rooftop camper with a hardshell case, you’ll have to invest quite a lot more money.
Roofnest Sparrow EYE
Thule x Tepui Explorer Kukenam 3
iKamper Skycamp Mini
Thule x Tepui Ruggedized Autana 3+Annex
iKamper Skycamp 2X
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.