The best roof tents reviewed (2023)

The best rooftop tents offering a blend of convenience and comfort for all sorts of adventures.

Two models of roof tents

by Chris Williams |

The roof tent is a reasonably recent phenomenon. It's an alternative tent option for backpackers and agile campervanners alike. Let's have a closer look at why that is.

This alternative involves you driving from point to point, completing hikes by day and returning to your vehicle and roof tent basecamp at dusk. It allows you cover a lot of landscape at the pace you wish, but without the need to carry so much gear on your back.

Another use for roof-mounted tents is the quick weekend getaway. Because they’re so easy to pitch and collapse, roof tents are a very alluring form of shelter for almost anyone.

We’re not the only ones that think so. Roof tents are booming in popularity, similar to homemade campervan conversions, except roof tents are more affordable and practical. Interested? We want to see every camper and hiker enjoy their roof tenting experience to the full, which is why we’ve put together our guide to the best models available.

The best roof tents

TentBox Classic

Best roof tent

TentBox Classic

1. TentBox Classic


Being called the Classic is very apt because this rooftop tent pretty much nails the concept.


  • Hard shell design
  • Gas struts
  • Sturdy
  • Useful accessories available


  • Pricey
TentBox Classic

Front Runner Roof Tent

Best Value

Front Runner Roof Tent  
©Front Runner

2. Front Runner Roof Tent  


The TentBox Classic might be the ideal roof tent, but it expensive. Going a long way to address


  • Good value
  • Lightweight
  • Durable fabrics
  • Generous internal headroom


  • Quite bulky when packed down
Front runner rooftop tent

TentBox Lite 2.0

Best rooftop tent for small cars

TentBox Lite 2.0 orange

3. TentBox Lite 2.0


The Tentbox Lite 2.0 makes better what was already an excellent model. To update and improve the


  • Spacious sleeping quarters
  • Reasonable value
  • Suitable for smaller cars too
  • Larger 4-person XL version available


  • Front Runner roof tent is even better value
TentBox Lite 2.0 Slate

Dometic TRT 140 AIR

Best inflatable roof tent

Dometic TRT 140 AIR

4. Dometic TRT 140 AIR


Inflatable family tents have become a popular alternative to those with poles in recent years.


  • Big windows on all sides
  • Small eaves let in more light
  • Good breathability


  • A lot more expensive than other soft shell models here
Dometic TRT 140 AIR

Thule Approach

Best design

Thule Approach

5. Thule Approach


The TentBox Classic may have taken pole position here, but if you're willing to spend more,


  • Neat accessories
  • Clever and unique design


  • Most expensive option here
Thule Approach slate

Quechua Rooftop Tent Van 500

Best for vans without roof racks

Quechua Rooftop Tent Van 500

6. Quechua Rooftop Tent Van 500


Decathlon has taken a different approach to roof tents with this Quechua model. Rather than


  • Excellent value
  • Stable design
  • Good internal space


  • Designed for vans only
Quechua Van 500 tent

Latitude Pioneer


Latitude Pioneer on Polestar

7. Latitude Pioneer

Latitude Pioneer on Skoda


We got our first look at Latitude’s roof tents at a recent outdoor show, and it’s fair to say they


  • Spacious and comfy mattress
  • Lots of cool accessories
  • Fits almost any car
  • Quality materials throughout


  • 4kg heavier than TentBox Lite 2.0
Latitude Pioneer on Skoda

What to look for in a roof tent

Tentbox lite

Roof load limit: Vehicle roofs all have a dynamic roof load limit and you need to know what this is before putting any significant weight on your car roof. The dynamic roof load limit refers to the maximum weight a roof can bear while being driven. When parked, the load limit is several times higher.

Size: Rooftop tents vary in size and some are suitable for bigger vehicles only. Roof tents that have folding bases can often be fitted to small cars, while single-piece roof tents might require at least a medium-sized car.

Mounting system: Most roof tents must sit on lateral roof bars (not just factory-fitted side rails!), so you’ll need these too. It’s easy to find the correct ones for your car by using the online search filters provided by retailers such as Halfords and Autodoc.

Installation: Though roof tents try to be as light as possible, they also have to balance that with durability. Therefore they tend to weigh between 45 and 70 kilograms. You’re not going to want a roof tent permanently affixed to your roof so bear in mind you’ll want a helping hand to get these things on and off your car roof.

Internal space: Roof tents tend to have about the same bedroom space as a two-person hiking tent, give or take a few centimetres. Some models have extra niceties like skylights too.

Durability: This is usually what price reflects most. High-quality fabrics are more durable but inevitably cost more. Even if you’re a first-timer, it pays to invest in a top quality roof tent. You’ll enjoy better use from it and if you decide to sell it down the line, get a reasonable second-hand price for it.

Hard or soft shell: Roof tents that collapse down into a sleek hard shell are more aerodynamic and aesthetically satisfying than those that sit under a heavy-duty soft cover. The latter will also save you a little bit on fuel too, but they cost more to buy.

Access: Roof tents come supplied with a telescopic ladder that allow to easily and safely access the tent. Though, if you’re climbing and descending in the dark, you might want a head torch.

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