If you’re looking for a stylish and efficient camping solution, a rooftop tent with a hard shell might be the way to go.
Although rooftop tents with a hard shell are generally quite a bit more expensive than other types of rooftop tents, there are many benefits, including a smaller, more aerodynamic design and often a locking mechanism.
Rooftop tents that are more aerodynamic can really reduce drag and won’t affect your vehicle’s fuel efficiency too much. When you’re driving, a rooftop tent with a hard shell will be less noisy than other types of rooftop tents.
We’ve found the 5 best rooftop tents with a hard shell that you should really know about!
1. Roofnest Falcon XL (Our Overall Winner)
Topping out our list is the Roofnest Falcon XL, an awesome rooftop tent that comfortably sleeps up to 3 people.
The Falcon XL is one of Roofnest’s rugged and durable rooftop tents and has been designed with true adventure enthusiasts in mind. This rooftop tent features a neat clamshell design, with a shell made from honeycomb aluminum panels, with aluminum crossbars reinforcing the bottom sheet.
A really cool feature of the hard shell is the addition of aluminum accessory channels on all sides, which allow for a variety of accessories to be mounted to the shell. There’s also the option to install crossbars for carrying gear such as kayaks or bikes.
The Falcon XL weighs only 160 pounds and is less than 7 inches tall when closed. The aerodynamic design cuts down on noise when driving and minimizes the rooftop tent’s fuel consumption effect.
However, some customers have complained that the company doesn’t recommend driving at speeds above 70 mph with the Falcon XL installed.
The tent is made from thick poly-cotton material that’s not only waterproof but also burly enough to withstand high winds while keeping things quiet inside. There are plenty of mesh-covered doors and windows to keep things light and airy inside in warm weather and LED lights for after dark.
The Falcon XL has a generous amount of headroom and even a padded ceiling! It also comes fully equipped with a telescoping ladder, anti-condensation mat, and detachable storage pockets.
Although customer reviews for this awesome rooftop tent with a hard shell are mostly very positive, some customers have mentioned that they wish more bedding could be stored in the tent when it’s closed.
2. Roofnest Sparrow (Our Budget Pick)
Our budget pick is a super popular rooftop tent that is perfect for weekend getaways.
The Roofnest Sparrow sleeps 2 adults comfortably and weighs just 130 pounds, so it’s a great option for smaller cars.
This rooftop tent with a hard shell features a cool popup design. The hard shell measures 11 inches in height when closed, which means it isn’t as streamlined as some of the other rooftop tents on our list.
However, customers who have purchased the Sparrow love that they can store their bedding in the tent when it’s closed.
One major downside to the Roofnest Sparrow is its inability to support added crossbars. This means you won’t be able to carry extra gear on top of the hard shell. However, the Sparrow does have a built gear storage area and comes equipped with a gear storage bag.
The Sparrow has 40 inches of headroom inside, less than some of the other rooftop tents on our list. However, the tent is nice and cozy inside, thanks to the insulated coating and the quilted padding, which cuts down on noise and provides added warmth.
The tent’s walls are made from thick, polyurethane-coated polyester-cotton material that is thick and tough and provides extra warmth and wind protection. Plus, the tent material has a waterproof rating of 3000mm.
The Roofnest Sparrow has 3 large, mesh-covered doors and mesh-covered windows to provide ventilation when the weather is warm.
A cool feature of this rooftop tent is that you can mount the ladder on any side, although it should be noted that some customers have complained about the ladder blocking vehicle doors.
3. iKamper Skycamp 2X
The Skycamp 2X is one of iKamper’s most popular rooftop tents with a hard shell!
This tent sleeps 2 adults comfortably, and iKamper customers love the quick and easy setup. This rooftop tent can be ready for use in as little as 1 minute, which can be really important during bad weather!
The Skycamp 2X is lightweight and aerodynamic, which means that noise and extra fuel consumption are kept to a minimum when driving. The hard shell looks pretty cool, too, and you have the option to customize the color to your liking.
A cool added feature of the Skycamp 2X is locking the hard shell using the tough stainless steel clips. However, some customers have been rather disappointed by the fact that the hard shell can be difficult to close properly, and have found the straps hard to use.
This awesome rooftop tent floor is constructed using durable and insulating honeycomb aluminum panels, and the hard shell is double layered with 1-inch air-insulation. This is a rooftop tent that will keep you warm during the coldest of nights.
The tent material is breathable polyester cotton fabric, and the waterproof polyester rainfly keeps moisture at bay in the rainiest of conditions. Inside, there’s an attractive world map design that’s a nice added touch.
Although iKamper has redesigned the 7.5-foot telescoping ladder, some users have mentioned that it can be difficult to use if the ground is uneven.
Another common complaint from customers who have purchased the Skycamp 2X is that the mattress is too thin and definitely not as comfortable as advertised.
4. Roofnest Sparrow EYE
The Roofnest Sparrow EYE is one of the more expensive rooftop tents with a hard shell on our list, but you may find that it’s worth the investment.
This is a great little rooftop tent with a simple yet effective popup design.
The Sparrow EYE sleeps 2 people comfortably and has a speedy setup time. The reinforced fiberglass shell is lightweight and aerodynamic. Plus, this rooftop tent will fit on just about any vehicle, making it an awesome choice for weekend campers who want the minimum of fuss.
Weighing just 130 pounds, the Sparrow EYE is far from delicate, and customers love the fact that it’s rated to support up to 650 pounds of weight. A bonus is the ability to add a solar panel, which would make this a great rooftop tent for off-grid camping.
The Sparrow EYE opens like a triangle and has one main door that provides epic views from inside the tent. There are also 2 large, mesh-covered side windows, and the included telescoping ladder can be used to access all 3 sides of the tent.
Like the Sparrow, however, some customers have noted that the ladder can’t be used without blocking a vehicle door.
As with all Roofnest tents, the tent wall’s material is a thick, heavy-duty polyester-cotton fabric that has a really high waterproof rating and has been designed to withstand the harshest of winds.
Quite a few customer reviews mention that the Sparrow EYE performs really well in cold and windy conditions, so you’ll be sure to stay warm and cozy in your rooftop tent!
5. Roofnest Condor
If you’re in the market for a large and comfortable rooftop tent, the Roofnest Condor might just be the way to go.
This rooftop tent with a hard shell features a fold-out design that creates a roomy tent with sleeping space for 3 adults. Although the Condor is pretty quick and easy to set up, it’s not quite as convenient as some of the other rooftop tents on our list.
Some Condor customers have mentioned that the tent can be tricky to get just right when setting up, as the ladder and awning poles have to be folded out and erected during the setup process.
The hard shell is made from tough and durable plastic, and the aerodynamic design cuts down on road noise and excess fuel consumption. This rooftop tent weighs just 135 pounds and is suitable for mounting on just about any vehicle.
An optional extra for the Roofnest Condor is a detachable annex or a detachable awning.
The tent walls are similar to other Roofnest rooftop tents on our list, and the polyester-cotton blend material is thick, burly, and waterproof. You’ll sleep newsy on the built foam mattress, and the built-in skylight is a prevalent feature that everyone is sure to enjoy.
How Much Should You REALLY Pay for a Rooftop Tent with a Hard Shell?
Let’s face it; you’re going to pay quite a lot of money for a rooftop tent with a hard shell.
However, there are some significant price differences between the products on our list.
How much you’ll pay for a rooftop tent with a hard shell really depends on the tent’s size, whether or not you want to be able to carry extra gear and the material used for the shell.
Other factors include optional extras, such as a detachable annex or awning, additional crossbars, and solar panels.
|Roofnest Falcon XL||3||$3,495.00|
|iKamper Skycamp 2X||2||$3,199.00|
|Roofnest Sparrow EYE||2||$2,895.00|
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.