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When selecting a roof top tent, one can either choose to go with a hard shell or a soft shell tent. Our analysis confirmed that one of the main advantages of hard shell tents is the aerodynamic design when closed.
Their aerodynamic design minimizes on wind resistance and noise. This allows one to drive their vehicle at relatively higher speeds without worrying about loosing the tent nor having a bad gas mileage.
Hard shell roof top tents are thus ideal for long distance camping trips where one needs to travel faster while consuming lesser fuel.
Hard shell roof top tents were introduced after soft shell ones.
One general shortcoming of hard shell tents over soft shell roof top tents is that hard shell tents are usually smaller and most lack basic features such as awnings. However, they are not as small as some of the smallest tents we have ever come across.
Hard Shell Roof Top Tent Reviewed
Hard-shell rooftop tents are incredibly good tools for camping adventure lovers. Their strong and shiny shell creates a special feeling. Nowadays, hard shell roof top tents have become quite popular for good reasons.
Having a tent mounted on top of your car, you will be in a better position off the ground. As result, you will be safe from critters and flooding where water might get inside your tent. Again, lesser quantities of mud and dirt will get into your tent.
Hard-shell roof top tents are quite durable, generally easier and quicker to set up. Plus, most roof top tents have mattresses. Inevitably, it is thrilling to think about the feeling of climbing on a roof and crawl back into an opened tent.
After hours and hours of camping with my friends, we felt a strong urge to review the best hard shell rooftop tents. This guide will outline and explain our favorite models. Most probably, at the end of this reading you will have decided which hard-shell roof top tent to acquire.
Why You Should Trust Us
We are a group of camping lovers who go out of their way to share their day to day camping experiences. Our team leader is a camping expert named Antony Michael.
Most importantly, it is good to note that this article is an unbiased listing of hard shell tents after hours and hours of camping and analysis of tens of brands. It is well outlined to reveal some of the top tents available today. Thus, it gives a clear recommendation of the best rooftop tents.
Our Top Pick –Silverwing SWT90 Roof Top Tent
After many hours of analysis, Silverwing SWT90 Rooftop Tent emerged the best hard shell roof top tent. Mainly due to it’s great build quality from ABS reinforced hard shell. It fits two people comfortably due to its relatively large capacity measuring 82x48x39″ (LxWxH).Comes fully assembled and the setup and takedown times are less than 60 seconds and 170 seconds respectively. Has a mattress, telescopic ladder plus an awning at the entrance unlike other models. One disadvantage noted is that two of the clips that hold the shell down tend to rust if left wet especially in salty conditions. Read our full review below. You can check its reasonable price on Amazon.
Best Hard Shell Roof Top Tents Reviewed
1. Silverwing SWT90 Roof Hard Shell Tent – Good Build Quality
This emerged the best hard shell roof top tent. Starting from the shell, it is made from some good quality material (ABS) which is able to with various weather conditions. It was relatively easy to install this tent on our vehicle because it comes fully assembled. We just needed 4 guys to lift it up onto the roof rack.
After installation, the setup time during camping was found to be very fast at at average of 53 seconds. The takedown town was found to take an average of 175 seconds including putting the ladder inside the tent.
The tent measures 82x48x39″ (LxWxH) when open and just 11 inches high when closed. It was found to be large enough for two adults plus their gear due to it’s large 90 cubic feet interior. We were able to sleep comfortably in it especially due to its nice 2.3″ mattress.
Its sturdy ladder was found to extend up to 8.5 feet and thus ideal for vehicles with large tires.
Specifications of Silverwing SWT90 Tent
- Measures 82x48x39″ (LxWxH) when open
- 2.3″ HDF mattress
- 8.5 feet telescopic ladder
- Water resistant 600 Denier Oxford fabric tent fabric
- Large awning for entry
- Fully zipped doors & windows
- Insect mesh on doors and windows to stop insects and allow in air
- Hanging storage net on the inside
- 2 storage pockets
- 2 metal hooks
- Good build quality
- Low profile for less wind resistance
- Comfy mattress with removable cover
- Storage facilities
- Long telescopic ladder
- Two poor clips (replaceable)
2. Roost Explorer – Longer lifespan
This also emerged as one of the best hard shell roof top tents. The Roost Explorer hard shell rooftop tent is an incredible model. It has a longer lifespan.
Roost explorer was found to be more resistant to harsh weather changes. Once inside, this tent you are going to love it. The comfort that comes with the 3” mattress is incredible. It is quite spacious with a free flow of fresh air.
Two people can fit comfortably. It has three doors which is quite cool. In case you get rid of the mattress, the inside can become a cargo carrier. It has 13” of closed height which may help to carry other luggage comfortably. The inner fabric comes in six different colors which makes mix and matching possible.
Specifications of Roost Explorer Rooftop Tent
- Measures 5” L * 57” W* 59”H when open
- Measures 5”L*57”W* 13”H when closed
- It has a capacity of up to 3 individuals.
- 2” foam mattress
- Fabric hammock shelf to gold things
- Side poaches that are ideal for petty items
- Rear hatches made of heavy duty
- Universal mounting brackets
- Easy to set up
- Higher prices
- Heavy weight
3. Falcon Roof Top Tent – Durable
This tent has been gaining momentum in popularity among campers. It has maintained its status and name in American sphere.
Falcon is durable and comfortable. It blends well with most roof racks.
Specifications of Falcon Hard shell Rooftop Tent
- 82”L* 48”W * 36”H _ open size
- 85” L * 50” W * 6.5” H _ closed size
- It has a capacity of 2 individuals
- 5” foam mattress
- Lightweight aluminum ladder
- It comes in different sizes
- Additional space that can a kid can fit comfortably
- Slim, hence less durable.
4. BunduTop Rooftop Tent – Electric opening and closing
In this unbiased listing of the best hard shell roof top tent, this is no exception. This hard shell roof top tent has a unique electric opening and closing mechanism.
It is a fantastic model made of aluminum. Hence, it is among the lightest hard-shell tents available today.
Specifications of BunduTop Tent
- 82” L * 53”W *41.5”H when open
- 82” L * 53” W * 12”H when closed
- Holding capacity is ideal for two individuals
- 4” thick foam mattress
- Aluminum ladder
- LED light mounted in the tent center
- Electric push button for tent opening
- USB interior outlet for charging devices
5. Alu – Cab Expedition 3 Rooftop Tent – Well insulated
This is a high quality hard shell roof top tent that was developed in Australia. Nearly all explorers use Cab vehicles while travelling to different destinations.
It is built with quality and durability. This roof top is entirely, made of aluminum. Hence, it has the ability to carry heavy load on the bars. Again, it’s pretty spacious, and big with the additional racks.
It is quite strong and resistant. The walls are made of waterproof and UV rated canvas. Thus, it is very resistant and thick enough to keep individuals warm. The outer shells are insulated on both sides. This is a great choice and the looks of this tent are remarkable.
Specifications Expedition 3 Tent
- 4” thick mattress
- Slotted rack rails for surfboards
- Storage bag
- USB charge point
- Gas pressure springs
- Three entrances fitted with mosquito nets
- Waterproof and reinforced tent seams
- Roof and floor panels has closed cell polyethylene foam
- Two LED lights
- High density foam mattress
- A bit pricey
6. Autohome Maggiolina Extreme – Has extra load bars for gear
This is among the highly sought after hard shell roof top tent. It has an aerodynamic and stylish profile. It comes with adjustable load bars on top for carrying additional gear.
This pop up tent features a crank operated lift system that enhances tent opening.
The floor panel contains fiberglass in double layers. Hence, it is developed to sandwich layers of foam which makes it well insulated, strong, and rigid. It is quicker and easy to set up. Lastly, it allows for luggage storage on top.
Specifications of Autohome Maggiolina Extreme Tent
- 5” closed foam mattress
- 72” for extreme mattress
- Well insulated against harsh temperatures
- Removable foam mattress
- Thermal and acoustic insulation in roof panels
- Easily affected by which might disrupt sleep.
Final Remarks on Hard Shell Rooftop Tents
Since travelling has become everyone’s dream of late. We hope you benefited from our analysis. It is our wish that you are now tempted to join the hard shell roof top tent world. Hopefully, you will buy the best roof top tent soon.
Trust us, there is nothing more appealing and comfortable than spending an entire night in these tents. Overlanding one is also a memorable experience that will leave you mesmerized. Almost everyone will envy you on Instagram and social media platforms for posting unforgettable trip with these beasts.
It is important to note, there are thousands of benefits of hard shell tents that were left out because our article would be infinite. So, if missed some crucial point, we are sorry for that. Fortunately, we have our opinions, thoughts, and experience which will grant you all the relevant information you need to choose the best tools.
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