Car roof tents expert reviews and comparison

Tent on the car roof
Car roof tent

Tents on the roof of the car are gaining in popularity. They make outdoor recreation more comfortable and fulfilling. To buy the best car tent, you should familiarize yourself with different models, consider their pros and cons, as well as learn the rules of choosing a car tent.

A little story of Tents on the roof of the car

The first car tent was produced as early as 1909. At the beginning of the 20th century, people made homemade tents and installed them on the roofs of cars. The popularity of this structure increased dramatically in 1923. Automotive tourism came into fashion, and manufacturers of tents began to produce already improved models.
In 1937, Ford produced a limited edition version of cars with a retractable ceiling so you could stand inside. This was a step toward the creation of the car tent. In the same year, an unknown manufacturer produced a 30-inch box that had to be placed on the roof of the car. In such shelter two persons could comfortably stay overnight, and it took only 10 minutes to set it up.

The development was noticed by American firms and began mass production of tents for cars, creating a big business. Since then, there have been many changes in the design of the product, and today the tent for cars is a reliable and comfortable temporary accommodation in nature.

Tents on the roof of the car appeared in the early 20th century
Tents on the roof of the car appeared in the early 20th century

Types of car roof tents

Modern market of camping equipment offers a large selection of tents for cars. Depending on the number of holidaymakers, the features and dimensions of the car, as well as a number of other conditions, each buyer can choose a suitable option for themselves. The main classification is based on differences in the design of products and provides 4 types of tents.

Rigid construction car roof tents

Rigid base tents have vertical walls and a sloping roof. They are good because they are large enough to comfortably accommodate three adults for sleeping.

tents can be soft and hard
Based on the design features, tents can be soft and hard

Soft Construction car roof tents

Soft construction in its structure is similar to a suitcase. The base of such a tent consists of two halves connected by a bar. A ladder is used as additional support, but some models have special supports in the kit.

Full-size car roof tents

These houses take up all the space on the roof of the car. They can be unfolded in different ways: by worm mechanism or with the help of hydraulic pushers. Full-size models have a lot of weight and size, but provide the best conditions for outdoor recreation and look attractive.

Books car roof tents

This is a common type of car tent that is in demand all over the world. They have low weight and dimensions, cost relatively cheap and hardly accumulate condensation.

Car tents: full-size and Booklet
Car tents: full-size and “Booklet”

What cars can have a roof tent mounted on them?

Some campers refuse to buy a car tent, because they mistakenly consider their car unsuitable for the installation of such a design. In fact, you can place an autobox on almost any car: station wagon, sedan, Jeep. The main thing here is the presence of rails, on which the tent will be attached. You need to buy them separately, since the kit roof mounts are not included.

Pros and cons of tents on the roof of the car

Because such a dwelling does not touch the ground, it retains heat inside, which can be noticed in the morning.The cost of a car tent is high
Transportation of the additional device on the roof implies compliance with the speed limit. Drive no more than 130 km/h.
Since such a load interferes with traffic, fuel consumption may increase.
The tent is made of breathable materials, so the air will constantly circulate. And mosquito nets, which are often included, will protect campers from mosquitoes.Transportation of the additional device on the roof implies compliance with the speed limit. Drive no more than 130 km/h.
No critters (bugs, ants, spiders) will crawl into the dwelling.Since such a load interferes with traffic, fuel consumption may increase.
A lot of space. In such a house can be arranged lying two people, to do it in the cabin car is not always possible.
Overnight accommodation can be arranged in any place, just find a flat surface for parking the car.
Tent box can serve as a luggage carrier, in which you can transport the necessary things for the picnic.
Pluses and minuses of tents on the roof of the car
Auto tent will contribute to the comfort and safety
Auto tent will contribute to the comfort and safety

Material for the production of tents

The traditional material for this purpose is tarpaulin. Recently, however, tent manufacturers have been using it less and less frequently, giving preference to polymeric materials – polyester with a silicone protective coating. Nylon products are in the lower price segment and are not popular with motorists, as they quickly fail.

Tents are made of silicone-coated polyester
Tents are made of silicone-coated polyester

How to choose a tent on the roof of the car?

It is not easy to buy a car roof box with the right characteristics and at a reasonable price. The tent on the trunk must meet not only the wishes of the owner, but also be of high quality, suitable in size and weight, easy to install and not too expensive. To understand how to choose a tent for the car, you need to know a few nuances.

Car carrying capacity

  1. Car capacity. Each vehicle has such a the load capacity, which can be found in the manual (the weight is given in kilograms). The permissible weight that the roof can support is about 30-40% of it. So, if the car has a capacity of 500 kg, the tent on the roof must weigh up to 175 kg. This figure must be taken into account to avoid expensive repairs later.
  2. Material. For the most budget products artificial nylon is used – an inexpensive but durable fabric for tents. But it is better to avoid tarpaulins, because such products are heavy and can damage the roof of a car. For buses or trucks tarpaulin tents are quite suitable. More expensive models have a silicone coating and added thermal insulation. Due to this, you can comfortably sleep in it in winter, and in summer do not be afraid of a chilly morning.
  3. Design. The ideal auto tent design is a complex configuration with a sloped roof and steep walls. They are much more spacious and comfortable than other models. Of course, larger structures are more difficult to mount, but they can accommodate two or even three people. In addition, they protect from wind and are resistant to mechanical impact. Triangular tents are suitable only for single travelers. They are inexpensive, but the rest in such a dwelling can hardly be called comfortable. It is not recommended to use such models in unsuitable weather conditions: strong wind or heavy rain can easily damage the construction.
Tent on the car
Tent on the car

How they are installed?

Mount the tent on the rails, that is, on the mounts for the upper trunk. Do not save on them, so that after some time is not faced with breakage and costly repair of the roof. It is also better to choose a design with additional supports, so that the load does not lie entirely on the roof.

Installation is easy, the entire process takes only about 10 minutes. The procedure is as follows:

  1. Attach the metal rails to the bottom of the tent (if not attached immediately).
  2. Insert four clips into the slots (two in each guide rail).
  3. Make sure that the clips move freely on the rails depending on the distance between the fasteners.
  4. Attach the tent to the rails with the clamps.

Car roof tents we recommend

In recent years, car roof tents have become increasingly popular among outdoor enthusiasts and travelers. These innovative camping shelters offer a convenient and comfortable way to experience the great outdoors without sacrificing the comforts of home. With the ability to set up camp almost anywhere, car roof tents have revolutionized the way people explore the world.

But with so many options on the market, choosing the right car roof tent can be a daunting task. That’s why this article is here to help. We’ve researched and compiled a comprehensive guide to car roof tents, including their history, types, features, and benefits. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a beginner, this article will provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about which car roof tent is right for you.

So, whether you’re planning a cross-country road trip or a weekend camping getaway, join us as we explore the world of car roof tents and discover why they’re quickly becoming a must-have accessory for any outdoor adventure.

1. Dachzelt Vickywood Small Willow 140

 Dachzelt Vickywood Small Willow 140
Dachzelt Vickywood Small Willow 140

Now we are faced with a German product that looks like an army sleeping module. Everything is harsh, austere and without frills. And it is not only external attributes, but also internal. Asceticism here in everything, even the mattress has a thickness of only 15 millimeters. There are also difficulties with the opening of the tent. It can be lifted in a minute, but to fix an additional tent, you’ll have to make some fuss. But a durable tarpaulin and a metal frame are not afraid of the harshest conditions. This tent is for extreme tourists, who are used to overcome hardships, and not to bask in a cozy cottage.


  • fits almost every vehicle
  • quick set-up
  • high-quality materials
  • high-Density mattress
  • 12 W LED lighting
  • 2 big skyline windows
  • mosquito netting in all windows
  • 2 shoe bags
  • detachable telescopic ladder


  • Cover: 1000 GPVC special soft composite material
  • Rainfly: 600D polyester oxford, PU coating, W/P, W/R 3000 mm, UV50+
  • Tent facbric: 320 gms Rip-stop poly-gauze, PU coating
  • Zip: SBS
  • Floor: extremely light honeycomb board
  • Colour tent fabric: earthy yellow
  • Colour rainfly: black

Dimentsions (L x B x H):

  • Lying surface: 143 x 240 x 126 cm (maximum interior height)
  • Folded: 145 x 125 x 29 cm
  • Packaging: 146 x 126 x 34 cm

2. Yakima SkyRise

Yakima SkyRise
Yakima SkyRise

When developing its product, Yakima focused on aerodynamic and weight performance. It is no secret that the autobox can significantly increase fuel consumption. And extra weight is always a hindrance when traveling. As a fabric was used breathable nylon, developed in-house by the brand. The same as the auto box, on aerodynamics of which real representatives of racing structures worked. We did not have to sacrifice the thickness of the walls of the box and their strength, which is also very important, given the remote platform, supported by an aluminum ladder.

Product Specs
  • Weight: 95.00 lbs.
  • Dimensions: L 48.00 in x W 42.00 in x H 16.50 in
  • Minimum Crossbar Spread 26.00in
  • Limited Two Year Warranty

3. James Baroud Evasion Evolution XXL

James Baroud Evasion Evolution XXL

Modern tourism is moving farther and farther away from harsh survival in the wilderness. Now you have the opportunity to relax without depriving judging by the banal comforts. For example, this tent is equipped with ventilation and even a small air conditioner. Call it a climate control is not possible, but in a strong heat and stuffiness, it is quite capable of improving the situation inside. The box itself is quite roomy, and on its roof there is a solar panel, which feeds the system with autonomous energy. It’s not much, so you always have the option of switching to the generator and the car battery if you want to, and you can do it with just a couple of buttons, and there’s no need to switch or rearrange anything.

Exterior DimensionsInterior Dimensions
Length: 89.5″Length: 89″
Width: 64.5″Width: 64″
Height (closed): 13.5″Height: 41″
Height (open): 41.5″

4. Kampina RTT 210/215

Kampina RTT 210/215
Kampina RTT 210/215

Tall people always find it difficult to accommodate. Most standard tents are small for them, and the inconvenience cannot be corrected in any way. If you too are facing this problem, be sure to consider this option. A car tent is 2150 millimeters in length and that’s a lot. But even if your height does not reach such values, you should not give up the extra space. Here you can store things, and the high autobox will allow you to leave them inside while the tent itself is folded. By the way, the width here is also increased. It sleeps four, and a sturdy aluminum ladder serves as additional support.

5. Maggiolina Airlander Plus

Maggiolina Airlander Plus
Maggiolina Airlander Plus

If you study European travel forums carefully, it becomes clear that this is the most popular car tent, and it is impossible to compete with it. In Russia, this is not quite the case. It’s a matter of price. The product is very expensive and the manufacturer does not even think to do discounts or sales. Undoubtedly, the tent is of high quality, reliable and as comfortable as possible. It has everything you need, and the design is thought out so that you do not have any problems with it at all. It is because of Maggiolina that in Russia a car roof tent is still considered an expensive treat. Fortunately, the market is changing, and is increasingly oriented towards the mass consumer.

Roof insulation
Roof insulation

In conclusion

In conclusion, car roof tents are an excellent investment for anyone who loves camping, hiking, or exploring the great outdoors. They offer a convenient and comfortable way to enjoy nature without sacrificing the comforts of home. With a wide range of sizes, features, and price points available, there is a car roof tent out there for everyone.

When choosing a car roof tent, it’s important to consider your needs, budget, and the type of camping you plan to do. Whether you’re looking for a lightweight and compact option for solo camping trips or a spacious and luxurious tent for family vacations, there’s a car roof tent out there that can meet your needs.

Overall, car roof tents are an innovative and versatile camping solution that allow you to camp almost anywhere you can park your car. They offer a unique way to experience the outdoors, and with proper care and maintenance, they can last for years to come. So if you’re considering investing in a car roof tent, we hope this review has provided you with the information you need to make an informed decision and enjoy your next camping adventure to the fullest.

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