Each product is carefully selected by our editors. If you buy from a link, we may earn a commission. American culture idealized it long before it seemed macho in John Wayne's Westerns. But lying on the floor and sleeping on a thin pad isn't everyone's cup of tea — it can be uncomfortable, and preparation and breakdown are almost always more time-consuming than expected.
Rooftop tents are especially good for longer road trips, when it's important to have a restful night's sleep without interruptions. Alternatively, rooftop tents can be stolen from the top of the vehicle, while ground tents can be stowed away. The best reason to buy Thule Tepui Foothill is that it only takes up about half the width of most roof bars thanks to its long rectangular design. These tents can be hard to find (James Baroud sells them through his website and through a few other retailers), but it doesn't hurt that they all have a reliable 5-year warranty.
However, it's a svelte, easy-to-use roof top tent for everything from weekend trips to land, and the durable materials are designed to withstand years of use and abuse. And if you want to easily remove it to do other things with your roof rack, they also make a quick release tent assembly kit. Even when it's raining, simply put on the included rain cover and leave the roof panels open for more air to flow. Softshell tents also have larger floor plans, come in a variety of shapes, and can easily accommodate attachments and awnings (more on that below).
Telescopic ladders were the fastest and easiest to handle, except for models with telescopic ladders that had to be completely separated from the tent to travel. Yakima is best known for its extensive collection of high-quality roof bars and car accessories, and its SkyRise HD harnesses that provide expertise in manufacturing a well-executed rooftop tent design. If you are looking to expand your indoor space, I suggest you research the best canopy tents to add to your campsite. For example, the Roofnest Sparrow is 5 inches narrower than a double mattress, and the iKamper Skycamp 3.0 mattress indicated as suitable for four people is slightly larger than a standard king-size mattress.
Compared to the cheaper Smittybilt Overlander above, the Walkabout offers a great boost in quality (both the mattress and the walls of the canvas tent are noticeably better quality), better blocks sunlight and has a much more bomb-resistant feel in adverse weather conditions. Because rooftop tents are so heavy, you may be tempted to leave the tent in your car when you're not camping.