Pros and Cons of Hardshell Rooftop Tent (Buyers Guide)

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Last Updated on October 25, 2022 by Rose Morah

Are hard-shell rooftop tents worth it?

I have used a hard shell rooftop tent several times during my Overlanding adventures but one thing I realized is that hard shell camping rooftop tents are not for everyone. 

Since this is a big investment, I would highly recommend that you go through the following pros and cons to help you make an informed decision before buying.

Pros of a hardshell rooftop tent

The following are the advantages of a hard shell rooftop tent:

1. It is easy to set up and take down

Hardshell rooftop tents save you so plenty of time because it is easy to install and close down. It will take you only less than 5 minutes maximum.

This is definitely a great feature for people who spend a lot of time camping and on Overlanding adventures.

For instance, when you want to leave the camping site early in the morning when it is still dark, you will not have to worry about packing up your bedding.

All they need to do is close/fold down the tent while still on the rooftop and you will be on the road within no time.

See also: 9 Important Overlanding Tips and Tricks (A Beginners Guide).

2. It gives you a sense of security

It is no doubt a rooftop tent makes you feel secure and safe compared to ground tents.

3. Less work when it comes to cleaning

What I hate most about the ground tents is having to clean the tarp that I will put underneath.

For, a rooftop tent this is certainly not the case.


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4. You enjoy a comfortable sleep

Sleeping in a hard-shell rooftop tent feels very comfortable. You get to sleep on a legit mattress that almost feels like home.

Additionally, the tent normally has ventilation.

Personally, I love to add pillows and a fluffy blanket to improve my sleep quality.

5. No need to unload your gears

The best part about a hard-shell rooftop tent, especially for those people who love to sleep in the car is that you will not need to unload any of your gear when setting up your tent.

The tent is already installed on the rooftop.

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6. Hardshell rooftop tent is perfect for small camping sites

The hardshell rooftop tent is perfect when camping on small camping sites like at music festivals. 

The rooftop tent saves up space for some other activities. 

7. No need to have trees around you to set it up

Unlike a hammock tent, you do not need to have trees around you to set it up.

You might also like: How to Find Overlanding Trails (Best Tools & Resources).

Check out the current price on Amazon.

Cons of a hardshell rooftop tent

The following are the disadvantages of a hard shell rooftop tent:

1. Climbing up and going down can be a big concern for some

Sleeping in a hard-shell rooftop tent can be stressful, especially if you are the type of person who goes to the toilet many times in the middle of the night.

It can also be stressful for Middle-aged people when they need to pee at least once during the night. Or probably when they want to quickly stow or retrieve something from inside the tent. 

And again, when you go camping with kids who are like 5 or 4 years old, it can be stressful every time they wake you up in the middle of the night and go down the ladder to pee.

Additionally, some kids like to jump off the tent and this may lead to other problems while camping.

2. Hard to get off and on the vehicle

Hardshell rooftop tent can be hard to get off and on the vehicle.

Additionally, many hardshell rooftop tents are usually so heavy which can make it challenging to get them on and off your vehicle. 

3. Takes up your roof rack storage space

If you carry lots of gear, especially on the rooftop, it won’t be possible to use that storage space after installing the hard shell rooftop tent.

4. Challenging if you travel and sleep with your dog

if you’re traveling with your dog, it can be challenging to sleep with the dog in a rooftop tent.

The fortunate part is that you will all fit well. But the challenging part will be carrying the dog up and down the rooftop tent. This is especially if it is a big dog.

Additionally, dogs that hate being in a confined place will not love it is up there.

You may also like these 13 Must-Have Dog Camping Accessories.

5. Hardshell rooftop tents are expensive

The hardshell rooftop tents have a high price tag when compared to the ground tents,

See also: How to Start Overlanding on A Budget (Overlanding Tips for Beginners).

6. It may be impossible to park in the garage

Parking your vehicle in the garage with the hardshell rooftop tent installed may be impossible.

This is mostly because of the height clearance when the hardshell rooftop tent is installed.

7. Can cause some serious damage to your vehicle

When you buy a hard-shell rooftop tent that is against the roof capacity weight recommended for your vehicle, this can cause some damage to your vehicle.

This is because some roofs can be so heavy, and not every fully loaded vehicle can support a hard-shell rooftop tent while in transit. 

Therefore, before buying be sure to check your vehicle’s cargo rating so that the tent does not exceed it.

Finally, before buying the hardshell rooftop tent always find out whether it is compatible with your vehicle.

Hey, I'm Matthias. I am passionate about adventure travel, EVs, and tech in general. I am open-minded and pretty curious. But you know what they say, blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures!