6 Best Budget Rooftop Tents for 2022

Rooftop Tents Capacity

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Do you love outdoor camping in wildlife parks but don’t like setting up a tent or the safety issues involved? Then a rooftop tent is an answer to your needs. Rooftop tents offer many advantages over traditional tents:

  • Rooftop tents mount up on top of your vehicle. They convert your car into a mobile base camp.
  • They keep you safe from animals and give you a great view.
  • Rooftop tents are great for road trips. Just park your car, and you are done!
  • You don’t need a large campsite for them.
  • Many of them also come with a comfortable mattress.
  • They are straightforward to use and set up.
  • They free up storage space in your vehicle for carrying other things.

However, these tents usually cost upwards of $1500 (depending on size). In this article, we offer advice on some of the best budget rooftop tents below $1500.

Vehicle with rooftop tent

If you are looking for just our top recommendation, we suggest the Smittybilt Overlander Tent. The tent can accommodate three people. The tent is made of a heavy-duty waterproof top. It also has mosquito netting, which is great to have. This overlander tent is easy to set up and build from durable materials.

#1 Smittybilt Overlander Tent

The Smittybilt Overlander Tent is a standard-size tent, and 2-3 people can easily sleep in it. This rooftop tent mounts quickly and easily at the cross bars of the car roof.

This is the perfect tent for camping on the roof of your car. The waterproof tent folds out in minutes to its full height.

Features and Benefits

  • Comfort. The Smittybilt overlander tent is made for comfort. It is easy to use. The tent comes with a nice foam full-size mattress. The dimensions are 92*55 inches. The side windows of the tent have mosquito netting to keep bugs out.
  • Durability. The tent’s top and rain fly is made of waterproof heavy-duty 600D material. The poles are constructed with anodized aluminum. This makes the tent durable. It can hold up to 40mph winds well. The tent can also stand the pressure from heavy rains.
  • Flexibility. The smittybilt overlander tent is very flexible for camps. It gives you a versatile experience. The tent is more accommodating to your lifestyle and needs. It comes with a telescopic ladder and LED strips on the inside.
  • Size. The tent is of the standard is of standard size with dimensions of 95*55. The maximum capacity load is 661-pounds and weighs 116.5 pounds.
  • Ease Of Use. The tent is easy to install and also dismantle. It folds out in minutes to full height.

Why should you buy it?

The overlander rooftop tent is best used for camping. The tent fits perfectly on the top of a jeep vehicle or any other car as well. It mounts easily and quickly at the crossbars of the roof. The tent can withstand rough weather and is durable and long-lasting.

#2 Raptor Series Rooftop Tent

The Raptor series rooftop tent is the best option for off-road travelers. With a flip-up shell top design, it easily sets up your tent in a few minutes. The tent comes with a full-size foam mattress and contains hanging pockets.

Features and Benefits

  • Standard Size. The raptor rooftop tent can hold up to 3 people at a time. It is a standard-size tent with a high density of 78*48 inches double foam mattress. The maximum load capacity is 750lbs.
  • Sets Up Easily. It has a flip-up shell top design. It allows you to set up and fold down your tent in seconds. It thus makes it easy for the traveler to start and end the day.
  • It is aerodynamically Engineered. The tent is aerodynamically designed that can withstand heavy winds and rough weather. It has two hanging shoes and storage pockets that get rolled up. The rooftop tent is equipped with built-in air vents. It has a quick-adjust control feature.
  • Net Door Rolls. The raptor rooftop tent has a mosquito net door. It increases the airflow and protects you from insects. Its built-in awning creates a panoramic view.

Why should you buy it?

The raptor series rooftop tent is a good option for off-road travelers. It is the lightest rooftop tent weighing 159 pounds. It has a capacity of 3 people and is very affordable. It can even withstand rough weather.

#3 Front Runner Roof Top Tent

The Front Runner rooftop tent is a low-profile tent. It helps reduce wind resistance. 2 people can comfortably fit in with its 7.5-foot length. The tent fits in most vehicles with flexible mounts. It is straightforward to fit in any vehicle.

Features and Benefits

  • Build Quality. The Front Runner rooftop tent sits on an insulated aluminum base. The canvas is made with 400d polyester oxford fabric. This makes it strong, breathable, and waterproof. The tent is well constructed with good quality and zippers. The full height of the front-line tent is 140cm.
  • Easy To Use. The tent is compact. And lightweight. It is much easier to handle. The tent rails come loose. This gives the flexibility to adjust to any crossbar in any vehicle. You can fit the tent in any direction. The instruction manual is easy to understand and straightforward too.
  • Foam Mattress. The tent has a 2.5-inch thick, high-density foam mattress. It also comes with a removal canvas cover and can be washed easily.
  • Side Window Panels. The side window panels zip upwards. The opening can be adjusted according to the need and weather conditions.
  • Hanging Pockets. The tent comes with two hanging pockets. It provides plenty of storage to keep personal items.
  • Ventilation. There is a roof ventilator opening with a mosquito net on the top. It helps reduce condensation. Thus, providing a steady flow of ventilation.

Why should you buy it?

The Front-Runner rooftop tent is a low-profile tent. It can fit in different vehicles with ease. The tent has good insulation capacity. The whole design of the tent is well constructed and of good quality.

#4 Thule Tepui Kukenam 3

Tepui Kukenam tent has a capacity of up to 3 people. It is made with a polyester-cotton blend. The canopy of the tent is thick. It comes with a PVC case to secure your tent, which makes it very durable. The tent is durable, comfortable, and affordable.

Features and Benefits

  • Space And Comfort. The tent has a maximum height of 52-inches. It has a comfortable memory foam mattress.
  • Size. The tent weighs 130lbs and is 12-inch tall when closed. It has plenty of headspaces—46-inches in the Centre and 34-inches on the side.
  • Durability. The Kukenam 3 is durable and long-lasting. The opening and closing of the zipper multiple times show no sign of wear and tear.
  • Easy To Convert. The Kukenam 3 is easy to convert from travel to camping mode. The ladder easily extends to unfold the tent.
  • Easy To Install. The tent has universal mounting brackets. The tent includes a 13mm wrench. The directions are clear and easy to follow.
  • Fabric. The canopy of the tent is made with 260g Polyester cotton. The 600D ripstop fabric comes with a water-resistant coating. It is UV and mold-resistant as well.

Why should you buy it?

The Kukenam 3 rooftop tent is great for any weather condition. The mounting is strong. It is durable, comfortable, and easy to use. The tent supports most of the trucks and SUVs, roof racks, and crossbars.

#5 ARB Series 3 Simson

The ARB Simpson is a class and budget-friendly rooftop tent. It has a well-built design. The tent is convenient and easy to use while camping anywhere you go. The tent opens and folds easily using the bungee cord system.

Features and Benefits

  • Size. The ARB Simpson has 55-inch wide, 94.5-inch long, and 51-inch high when set up. The rooftop tent is comfortable for two people. The tent’s closed size has a height of 12-inch encased in a durable 600 GSM PVC cover. The total weight of the tent is 154lbs.
  • Waterproof. The tent has a heavy 300gsm poly-cotton Ripstop canvas. It comes with a polyurethane coating and welded seam tape for waterproofing.
  • Set-Up. You can easily set up the ARB Simpson 3 tent in minutes. A ladder is used to pull it down. It comes with easy-to-access straps and zips attached to a rope. Two people can set up the tent on the car rack.
  • Mattress. The tent comes with a foam mattress and pillows. You can store it in the tent while it’s folded up.

Why should you buy it?

The tent is perfect for travelers who require high-quality and spacious rooftop tents. The tent is suitable for warmer climates and makes camping adventures enjoyable.

#6 Overland Nomadic 3 Rooftop Tent

Nomadic 3 is a high-end rooftop tent. It is a high-quality and durable tent. The tent is 51-inch high when opened. It can take in three people at a time.

Features and Benefits

  • Dimensions. The closed dimension of nomadic three tents is 63-inch wide, 47-inch long, and 14-inch high. The open dimensions of the tent are 63-inch wide, 122-inch long, and 51-inch high.
  • Durability. The tent is a mix of polyester and cotton canvas. It is waterproof and long-lasting. The 600D ripstop polyester is robust and durable.
  • Internal Space. The internal space of the tent is wide enough to stretch and sleep. It does not make you uncomfortable anytime.
  • Accessories. The tent comes with a LED light, transport cover, and storage pockets for your camping trip.

Why should you buy it?

The nomadic 3-rooftop tent is constructed with waterproof 600D ripstop cotton canvas material. It keeps you dry all season. It is good for three people at a time.

Buyer guide: Best Budget Rooftop Tents

Tent Capacity

Rooftop tents come with a variety of capacities. It can accommodate two persons to 6 persons. Make sure the tent can fit the campers comfortably while camping.

Rooftop Tents Capacity


Rooftop tents weigh more than traditional ones. Make sure your car’s roof can handle the extra load. Else you will have to get a stronger rack.

Weather Resistance.

Rooftop tents are built to withstand rough weather. They are mostly made with water-resistant fabrics. If you want to go camping in the rainy season, make sure your tent has a full coverage awning on all windows.


The size of the tent to buy depends on your vehicle. Your personal preference is also important. Those traveling with 2-3 people should choose the size accordingly. Traveling solo requires a smaller option.

Frequently Asked Question: Best Budget Rooftop Tents

Can any vehicle accompany a rooftop tent?

It is best not to use the rooftop tent when the vehicle load capacity is less than 165 pounds. Camping in trucks and SUVs won’t be an issue. Cars that can carry the load and have a roof rack on top should be preferred.

Is a rooftop tent right for your travel?

Rooftop tents are more comfortable than standard camping tents. They are easier to set up and keep you off the ground. Before purchasing a rooftop tent, evaluate your camping needs and preferences. If comfort is important, the rooftop tent is a good option.


The rooftop tent can turn any vehicle into a camper. It frees up a lot of storage space inside. They are comfortable and easy to set. Rooftop tents thus help you camp anywhere. You only need space to park your car.

In our opinion, the Smittybilt Overlander Tent is the best choice among the various options that we have considered because it’s made of high quality and is durable. It’s good for anyone who likes to have a spacious tent. The tent is made for comfort and is easy to use. It uses heavy-duty materials and comes with functional features.

The Raptor Series Rooftop Tent is our next best choice because it has a unique design and great viewpoints. It is easy to set up and fold down in minutes. It is an excellent choice for avid travelers.

If you are looking for a value-for-money option, you can also consider the Front Runner Rooftop Tent, which is a great toy at a very reasonable price point.

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