Are Rooftop Tents Waterproof?

Rooftop tent waterproof

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As an enthusiastic camper, nothing is more unbearable than sleeping in a tent that is leaking.

If you are looking into buying a rooftop tent, you want to be absolutely sure that your family and everything inside your little cocoon stays dry.

Tent in the rain
What about sleeping on the car?

Here we take a look at Waterproof Rooftop Tents:

If there is no damage to your rooftop tent, then every rooftop tent that leaves the factory should be waterproof. This is because the fabric used is made of a waterproof material that consists of a polyester and cotton blend. Some rooftop tents even come with a waterproof cover.

If you are not sure if the Rooftop tent you want to buy is waterproof. Then have a look at the waterproof classification.

A tent must have a waterproof rating of at least 1,000mm HH (Hydrostatic Head). This is the minimal rating a tent must have to be considered waterproof.

Are Rooftop Tents Waterproof?

Sadly, when you are camping in a regular tent, the first place water can get in is from the ground, see the picture above.

Rooftop tents are more waterproof than the average tent because they benefit from not standing on the ground.

However, just because a rooftop tent or a traditional tent is labeled as waterproof does not mean that it will be 100% waterproof in all conditions.

There are a few reasons your tent might not be completely waterproof:


A tent that is damaged or dirty could be vulnerable to water and other weather conditions.

Damage that causes a tent to no longer be waterproof is most often found in the seams or the fabric. Have a look at our dedicated article about repairing a rooftop tent in 24 hours.


Even the most waterproof tent can get worn down over time.

This will lower the rooftop tent’s capability to continue to be waterproof.

This might require replacing some of the tent components, utilizing waterproofing methods, or replacing the tent altogether.

Using things like Fabric Guard or other outdoor waterproofing solutions can help maintain your rooftop tent’s waterproof effectiveness.

Severe Weather Conditions:

No matter how waterproof your tent is, it could still be infiltrated by extreme or harsh conditions.

Extreme rain, wind, or other harsh conditions could damage your tent or leak through the seams with enough pressure.

What are the most Waterproof Rooftop Tents?

There are a few things to consider when buying a rooftop tent. The following will help you select a better and more waterproof rooftop tent.

Things to look for include:

Waterproof Rating:

Tents are expected to follow a rating system to show how waterproof they are.

Most tents will declare they are waterproof when you buy them, but there is the following to consider:

  1. 1,000 mm (39 Inches) HH: this is the smallest number your rooftop tent can have to be considered waterproof. This will only help you against light rain, even though the tent label will say it is waterproof.
  2. 1,500 mm (59 inches) HH: this is slightly higher than the previous classification but will only last in light rain and can begin to leak if you are in heavy or extreme rainfall.
  3. 2,000 mm (79 Inches) HH: this is the most common type. This is very common in 3-Season tents. This type will be able to handle wind and heavy rain.
  4. 3,000 mm (118 Inches) HH: anything 3,000mm or above can make it through extreme conditions. This will keep you dry against downpours and heavy winds. These tents are also excellent when camping in high altitudes situations.

Even though these tents will resist heavy rainfall and other weather conditions, it can still be advised to waterproof them.

The shape of the rooftop tent:

The tent its shape is not something that you might consider when looking into whether or not the tent is waterproof, but it can play a role.

Your rooftop tent is less likely to collect a pool of water on top of it if it’s shaped to allow water to easily roll off.

If too much water accumulates on your tent, the water pressure can cause damage, and the water can start leaking through.


You will want to make sure you have an awning or other form of covering in front of the door of your tent.

If your door is exposed to rain, you can get rain in your tent every time you open the door if you don’t have an awning.

Weather hood:

A weather hood can help you when rain is coming in sideways, like this one for instance. This happens when it’s raining and is windy.

Check the brand you consider buying from if you can purchase a weather hood for your specific model, which will give you another layer of protection against the rain.

Hardshell Top:

Hard-shelled rooftop tents are more water-repellant than soft-shelled tents.

Hard-shell tents are made with either fiberglass or aluminum, which are more waterproof and stable than polyester/cotton blends.

Tents with a hard shell also have less fabric exposed, so there is less chance of water ingress.

What Can You Do to Make a Rooftop Tent More Water Repellant?

If your tent is not water repellant, then that doesn’t mean you can’t increase its waterproofness.

Some waterproofing methods include:

Checking the Rainfly:

Make sure you properly implement your rainfly. Make sure your ties are tight when setting up your rainfly.

It is advised that you place your rainfly when it is not raining, as doing it while it is already raining can make it more challenging to install.

Sealing the Seams:

The seams on your tent can be one of the most typical areas that rain or water will go through.

While most manufacturers do seal the seams before you buy, you can also do this yourself to make sure they are waterproof.

You can accomplish this using a seam sealer or tape like you can find here, and you do this preferably on a dry day. Apply the sealant, and then when dry, you can clean your tent while the tent is open and dry.

You can apply this tactic every few years. This is also a useful technique when you see that your seals are starting to flake.

Apply a Urethane Coat:

If you notice that you have some material flaking away from your tent, you can apply a new urethane film.

This will help you seal your tent against water ingress and prevent further wear of the tent cloth.

Separate Tarp:

If you are concerned about your rooftop tent waterproofness, you can periodically add a separate tarp over your tent.

This offers additional protection at a low cost. As long as you properly secure it, this can always be something you can add later if your tent is a couple of years old.

The Most Waterproof Rooftop Tents Available for 2021:

If you are looking for the most waterproof rooftop tent, then consider the following models:

Tepui HyBox, Black with Green Canopy (8001HB103)

The Tepui HyBox is a premium build tent, fits 2 people, and it is waterproof.

Even though it can be more expensive, this tent is worth the money because of its high quality, durability, features, and available accessories.

This is one of the most popular rooftop tents on the market and is high-quality.

Furthermore, it is on the expensive side, but it should last you a very long time!

Tepui HyBox, Black with Green Canopy (8001HB103)

Thule Tepui Explorer Kukenam 3 – Soft-Shell

This tent is high in quality, livability, and durability. It can hold up to 3 people and features a canopy option.

This tent offers a better price point than the Tepui HyBox because this tent has a soft shell.

Thule Tepui Explorer Kukenam 3 – Soft-Shell

Raptor Series 100000-126800

The Raptor Series 100000-126800 features a clamshell design that sleeps 2.

This tent is ideal for those who want a rooftop tent and leaves plenty of room left on the top of the shell for additional cargo.

This unique shape is also ideal for averting rain and helps to repel rain.

Raptor Series 100000-126800

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