9 Best Hard Shell Roof Top Tents for 2024 [Review]

    Hard Shell Roof Top Tents for Sale

    If you're looking for the perfect hard shell roof top tent to take on your next adventure, you have come to the right place.

    ***Want to skip the review and just see the products? Here they are!***

    While similar to soft shell roof top tents, hard shell tents are much more durable and are easier to set up and take down.

    But with so many hardshell roof top tents out there, it can be daunting to pick the right one.

    So, in addition to our comprehensive guide on the best roof top tents in general, and the best soft shell roof top tents, we have put together this review of the 9 best hard shell roof top tents currently on the market.

    Plus, we've included lots of other helpful information too, so read on!

    Overland Junction Golden Roof Top Tent

    Quick Links
    (Click the link to jump ahead)



    Best Overall Hard Shell Roof Top Tent for 2024

    Roofnest Condor 2

    Roofnest Condor 2 - Best Overall Roof Top Tent

    Starting at $3,545


    Premium design, upgraded materials, tons of options.

    The Condor 2 by Roofnest is one of the most versatile and functional roof top tents on the market and it has earned our 2024 rating of best overall hardshell rooftop tent.

    First and foremost, the Roofnest Condor 2 has lots of sleeping space - whichever size you go with.

    As for materials, it is made of 320 GSM poly-cotton canvas, has a poly-oxford rainfly (waterproof 3000mm), and has an ASA/ABS plastic shell.

    Additional upgrades include 2 HVAC ports for climate or cord control, 3 dimmable LEDs (interior and exterior), a six pocket gear-grid, updated 3-way windows, and heavy duty lockable latches.

    The Condor 2 is compatible with Roofnest's 6 Channel Crossbars, which attach directly to the shell for easily mounting more gear.

    Roofnest Condor 2 Crossbars - Best Overall Roof Top Tent

    And if you need extra space or a private room, the Roofnest Condor 2 offers the option to add Roofnest's modular Awnex: Awning + Annex system. The Awnex can be configured in multiple ways - with its awning, wall, and floor kits - to offer optimal protection from the elements.

    An ideal companion to any vehicle, the Roofnest Condor 2 has options for queen-sized and nearly-king-sized sleeping areas, and includes everything you need for adventures in any environment.

    Roofnest Condor 2 Roof Top Tent Review Rating

    Pros

    • Large sleeping area with the option of adding extra space if needed via the modular Awnex system.
    • Setup and takedown are really simple.
    • Body construction is extremely tough.
    • The optional crossbars ensure you can take all the gear you need.

    Cons

    • The XL version is on the heavier end.
    Includes 3-months Subscription to onX Maps

    Best Views Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

    Overland Junction Golden

    Overland Junction Golden Roof Top Tent

    $2,699


    Truly 360 degree views.

    There are tents that talk a big view game with a window or door on each side. And then there's the Overland Junction Golden with unmatched 360-degree views.

    You'll feel like you're camping in the open air, while still having the comfort and protection of one of the highest-quality tents around.

    Designed and tested at 9,000' in the Colorado Rockies, the Overland Junction Golden Roof Top Tent has four extremely versatile modes:

    Fully closed: With thick, dark fabric and insane water-proofing (5000mm) you'll sleep great no matter what the weather is outside.

    Windows and doors: For your standard pop-up tent set-up, the Golden Roof Top Tent lets you open a door on both of the long sides and a window on both of the short sides.

    Fully open with mesh: Want complete, 360 degree views while still maintaining bug protection? Drop the walls and keep the mesh up, for an unbeatable open-air camping experience.

    Overland Junction Golden Roof Top Tent

    Fully open. Period: No walls, no mesh, just you and the elements. If you're blessed to camp where the bugs don't, this will be the best camping experience of your life.

    Overland Junction Golden Roof Top Tent Review Rating

    Pros

    •  Unbeatable, panoramic, truly 360-degree views.
    •  High quality body fabric and waterproofing for bad weather.
    •  Luxurious 2.75" mattress.
    •  Less than 60-second setup.

    Cons

    •  No add-ons like an annex.
    Includes 3-months Subscription to onX Maps

    Girl sitting in a roof top tent

    Roof Top Tent Finder

    Answer a couple of quick questions to find the perfect roof top tent for your next adventure (takes just 30 seconds)

    Take Quiz

    Best 2-Person Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

    Tuff Stuff Alpha 2

    Tuff Stuff Alpha 2 Hard Shell Tent

    $2,699


    Perfect for smaller SUVs or trucks.

    From a 30-second setup to all-weather protection and an optional annex, the Tuff Stuff Alpha 2 is the 2-person tent for your next adventure.

    The Tuff Stuff Alpha 2 roof top tent has a durable ABS shell and is made with rugged waterproof 280g poly cotton fabric.

    With the addition of its coated rainfly, the Alpha 2 can withstand and protect you from any weather condition.

    If you are looking for extra room or a private space, the Tuff Stuff Alpha also has an option to add a weatherproof annex room.

    The Tuff Stuff Alpha comes with a built-in 2.4" thick foam mattress. The two skylight windows integrated into the tent's roof will make your nights more spectacular.

    Tuff Stuff Alpha 2 Roof Top Hard Shell Tent with Optional Annex
    Tuff Stuff Alpha 2 Roof Top Tent Review Rating

    Pros

    • Adequate sleeping area with the option of adding an extra room if needed.
    • Setup and takedown are simple and quick.
    • Body construction is extremely tough.
    • Built-in skylight allows for star gazing or additional light.

    Cons

    • Only opens from passenger side.
    Includes 3-months Subscription to onX Maps

    Best 4-Person Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

    OVS Bushveld

    OVS Bushveld 4 Person Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

    $2,799


    Perfect for families and groups of friends.

    The Bushveld by Overland Vehicle Systems is one of the largest and most affordable hard shell roof top tents available - a close competitor to the Condor 2 for best overall.

    The OVS Bushveld hard shell roof top tent features 600D ripstop body material with a 420-oxford ripstop waterproof rain fly.

    The hard shell cover is constructed from a single-piece polymer that is designed to last, with latches and hardware made of marine grade stainless steel, and a military grade weatherproof seal.

    The base of the Bushveld is insulated and has a built-in anti-condensation layer, along with a black aluminum diamond plate underside.

    And if you need more room or a private space, the Bushveld hard shell tent offers an optional annex that is large enough to sleep another person. It also features a built-in PVC floor with a 100% waterproof body fabric.

    Bushveld hard shell roof top tent body construction

    Thanks to the innovative nitrogen gas strut design, you can set up and take down the Bushveld hard shell roof top tent in under 30 seconds.

    OVS Bushveld Roof Top Tent Review Rating

    Pros

    • Large sleeping area with the option of adding an extra room if needed.
    • Setup and takedown are simple and quick.
    • Body construction is extremely tough.
    • Anti-condensation mat keeps moisture from accumulating beneath the mattress.

    Cons

    • The mattress is surprisingly thin compared to other tents.
    Includes 3-months Subscription to onX Maps

    Best Premium Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

    Freespirit Recreation Evolution V2

    Freespirit Evolution 2 - Best Premium Tent

    Starting at $3895


    Options + Options + Options

    The Freespirit Recreation Evolution V2 is the result of leveraging customer feedback from the Evolution V1 to provide the ultimate options for the most serious overland adventurers.

    The Freespirit Evolution V2 is a durable hard shell rooftop tent that is now available in three sizes to fit any vehicle.

    Designed to sleep 2-3 people, every Freespirit Evolution V2 tent comes with an AirCore mattress - providing extreme comfort and allowing you to store more bedding inside when deflated.

    While the standard Evolution V2 is made for a variety of vehicles, Freespirit Recreation has also created a version that is perfect for long-bed trucks (below cab height) and one that is especially designed for larger trucks and SUVs.

    Upgraded gas struts, blackout exterior material, an adjustable mattress, and tri-layer insulation ensure you can focus your efforts on adventuring.

    Freespirit Evolution 2 - Best Premium Tent

    From quick setup to optional cross bars for more gear, the Evolution V2 roof top tents have options for everything you could want.

    Freespirit Evolution 2 Roof Top Tent Review Rating

    Pros

    • Super quick setup and takedown.
    • Three size options with extremely comfortable mattresses.
    • Option to add crossbars to hold up to 250 lbs of gear.
    • Tri-layer body fabric that will keep you warm and cozy even in extreme weather conditions.

    Cons

    • It's labeled best premium tent for a reason: you're paying for this one.
    Includes 3-months Subscription to onX Maps

    Best Affordable Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

    OVS Mamba

    Mamba Hard Shell Roof Top Tent on sand colored Jeep

    $2,299


    Solid features, light on your wallet.

    The Mamba by Overland Vehicle Systems is one of the most affordable and durable hard shell roof top tents currently available, and we think it's truly underpriced.

    The OVS Mamba has a premium rip-stop waterproof body, with a frame made of aircraft-grade aluminum.

    The Mamba comes with removable crossbars on the roof, allowing you to mount anything from recovery boards to kayaks.

    The OVS Mamba is large enough to sleep three people and features a 2.5" thick foam mattress with an anti-condensation mat underneath to prevent moisture buildup.

    The base of the Mamba is an insulated black aluminum diamond plate, ensuring the tent stays at an ideal temperature throughout the night. There is also enough space to store your bedding inside the tent when closed.

    Mamba 3 person hard shell roof top tent crossbars

    As if all of that weren't enough, the built-in nitrogen gas-charged struts and the nylon pull strap make setting up and taking down the Mamba lightning quick.

    OVS Mamba Roof Top Tent Review Rating

    Pros

    • Durable body construction with all-weather protection.
    • Very quick to set up and take down.
    • Included Crossbars make it easy to carry around extra gear.

    Cons

    • Smaller (and yet heavier) than foldout hardshell tents
    Includes 3-months Subscription to onX Maps

    Girl sitting in a roof top tent

    Roof Top Tent Finder

    Answer 3 quick questions to find the perfect roof top tent for your next adventure (takes just 30 seconds)

    Take Quiz

    Best Lightweight Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

    Freespirit Recreation Aspen Lite

    Freespirit Aspen Lite hard shell roof top tent on Ford

    $2,495


    All the comfort without the weight.

    The Freespirit Aspen Lite weighs in at just 100 lbs and is easy to install. It's the perfect solution for adventurers who want the convenience of a hard shell roof top tent but don’t want to haul the extra weight.

    The Freespirit Aspen Lite has an extruded aluminum frame, is made with a heavy duty 150D Poly-Oxford fabric, and is designed to keep you comfortable in all weather conditions.

    The Aspen Lite tents come with the all new 3" AirCore mattress - letting you control the comfort of your sleep.

    Plus, all the windows include mesh screens to prevent insects from disturbing your sleep at night.

    The Freespirit Recreation Aspen Lite also boasts lightning quick setup, integrated LEDs, and a telescoping ladder.

    Freespirit Recreation Aspen Lite AirCore Mattress

    Whether you’re on an overlanding adventure, or just stopping for a quick rest along the way, the Freespirit Aspen Lite roof top tents are sure to provide you with a comfortable, safe, and enjoyable experience.

    Freespirit Aspen Lite Roof Top Tent Review Rating

    Pros

    • Low profile and lightweight design.
    • Setup and take down is lightning quick.
    • Tri-layer technology keeps you comfortable no matter the weather.
    • An optional crossbar system can be added to the XL version.

    Cons

    • Light of course means smaller - 45"W is on the thinner end for a 2-person.
    Includes 3-months Subscription to onX Maps


    Best Clamshell Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

    Roofnest Falcon 2

    Roofnest Falcon 2 Roof Top Tent

    Starting at $3,595


    Ultra-thin design with durable features.

    The Roofnest Falcon 2 is the rugged update to the original Falcon hard shell roof top tent and now comes in two sizes, with options to sleep up to 3 people.

    The Roofnest Falcon 2 is Roofnest's lowest profile tent and comes with a durable insulated shell and a true memory foam mattress.

    The classic clamshell design makes the Falcon 2 extremely reliable and easy to operate, while the aluminum construction means it will survive the toughest journeys.

    The Falcon 2 is compatible with Roofnest's 6 Channel Crossbars - the perfect solution for mounting your gear to the top of any compatible Roofnest rooftop tent.

    From the durable construction to the easy set up, the Falcon 2 tents allow you to spend your time and energy on the adventure, not setting up camp.

    Roofnest Falcon 2 Hard Shell Clam Shell Roof Top Tent
    Roofnest Falcon 2 Roof Top Tent Review Rating

    Pros

    • Very easy to set up and take down.
    • Lightweight and low-profile design prevent a decrease in the fuel economy of your vehicle.
    • Spacious and durable body construction that will keep you comfortable in all weather.

    Cons

    • The low-profile design means there's less room to store bedding.
    Includes 3-months Subscription to onX Maps

    Best Hard Shell Roof Top Tents with Annex

    Adding an annex to your roof top tent not only provides extra storage space and privacy, it can add additional sleeping space as well. Use it for extra guests, kids, or even big/wet pets!

    However, many roof top tents don't have compatible annexes, and they do take up additional storage space in your vehicle. So, we've written a complete guide on the best roof top tents with annexes (hard shell AND soft shell).



    Hard Shell Roof Top Tent Comparison

    Hardshell Tent Price Weight
    (lbs)
    Sleeping Capacity Mattress Thickness Roof Crossbars Annex Warranty
    Roofnest Condor 2 $3,545+ 155-180 2-3 people 2" Optional Optional 2 years
    Overland Junction Golden $2,699 152 2 people 2.75 No No 2 years

    Tuff Stuff Alpha 2

    $2,699 141 2 people 2.4" No Optional 1 year
    OVS Bushveld $2,799 180 3-4 people 1" No Optional 4 years
    Freespirit Evolution V2 $3,895+ 164-184 2-3 people 3" Optional No 2 years
    OVS Mamba $2,299 177 2-3 people 2.5" Yes No 4 years
    Freespirit Aspen Lite $2,495+ 100-110 2-3 people 3" No No 2 years
    Tuff Stuff Alpine 61 $3,999 274 2-3 people 2" Yes No
    1 year
    Roofnest Falcon 2 $3,595+ 160-175 2-3 people 2" Optional No 2 years



    Why Buy A Hard Shell Roof Top Tent?

    Hard shell tents are better than soft shell tents and ground tents in many ways.

    While it's important to acknowledge that they are more expensive and often heavier, the features and the convenience they provide make them worth the price and weight.

    Here are some reasons why hard shell roof top tents are a great choice for adventuring.

    Hard shell roof top tent on a truck

    Easy Setup

    If you have ever camped in a tent, you know setting up and taking down a tent is not an easy process - especially when it's pouring rain. Hard shell roof top tents are designed so you can open and close them in any weather in under 60 seconds. Plus, you can easily do it all by yourself!

    Hard shell roof top tent on a red suv

    Extremely Durable

    Hardshell rooftop tents are more durable than both ground tents and soft shell roof top tents because of their, well, hard shells. For the vast majority of the time when the tent is closed, it's protected inside its plastic or metal shell, making sure the materials hold up well and last longer.

    Freespirit Aspen Lite Low Profile Roof Top Tent

    Less MPG impact

    If you have used soft shell roof top tents before, you know they tend to reduce your vehicle's fuel economy because of their bulky size and shape. However, most hard shell tents are low profile, with an aerodynamic design to prevent wind drag and MPG loss.



    What Do You Need To Install A Hard Shell Rooftop Tent On Your Vehicle?

    You need two things to install a hard shell rooftop tent on your vehicle: A rack (1) that has cross bars (running from one side of the car to the other) and (2) that can handle the weight.

    Here are 3 different types of racks you can use to install a hard shell rooftop tent on your vehicle if you need a rack with a higher weight capacity:

    Crossbars for hard shell roof top tent

    Crossbars

    You see them every day. In addition to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, Yakima, Thule, and Rhino-Rack are a few of the biggest brands that make crossbars. We also carry a great pair from OVS. They range anywhere from $150-$600, and you can find them for almost any vehicle. **If your vehicle came with OEM crossbars, please check the manual for weight limits before mounting a hard shell roof top tent.

    Roof Rack for hard shell roof top tent

    Roof Racks

    Roof racks are bulkier and are generally more expensive than standard crossbars. They typically range anywhere from $700-$1400, have a weight capacity of 300+ lbs, and allow you to mount other heavy gear when you are not using your hard shell rooftop tent. Check out our roof rack finder quiz to see the perfect roof rack for your vehicle.

    Bed Rack for hard shell roof top tent

    Bed Racks

    If you own a pickup truck, you'll probably consider using a bed rack to install your hard shell tent. Bed racks, as the name suggests, go on the bed of your truck and typically have a weight capacity of 400+ lbs. These allow you to mount your hard shell roof top tent just like you would on a vehicle with crossbars. Check out our best bed racks guide to find the perfect one for your vehicle.



    Can I mount a hard shell rooftop tent on the factory roof rack my vehicle came with?
    It depends on the rack and the tent.

    If you only have side rails (that run from the front of the car to the back along either side) you will need to add crossbars.

    If you have factory crossbars, then check the weight capacity of that rack in your owner's manual and compare it to the weight of the tent you are interested in.

    In almost all cases, you only need to pay attention to the dynamic weight capacity and the weight of the tent (not the weight of the people in it).



    Hard Shell vs. Soft Shell Roof Top Tents

    We think all roof top tents are great, and if you're just looking for the best roof top tent, soft shell or hard shell, check out our guide to the best roof top tents on the market.

    The major advantages of a soft shell roof top tent are price and weight. They are high quality tents with many of the same features as hard shell tents, but almost always less expensive and lighter.

    However, the higher price and weight of hard shell roof top tents come with some great extra features. These include:

    • The CoverWith the hard shell tents, the shell is the cover. Soft shells come with a tarp-like cover that takes work to slide over the frame and can get damaged.
    • Setup and Takedown – Hard top tents pop up or out in seconds, usually using gas-assisted struts. However, while soft shell tents have come a long way, campers are still inevitably left with the task of manually lifting one half of the tent over the other, and putting pieces together like a typical ground tent. This can be heavy and an awkward angle - and even more so when doing it on the roof of a vehicle!
    • Durability – Hard shell roof top tents, whether made of plastic or metal, are naturally stronger and provide better protection from weather and the elements than a soft shell tent.
    • Aerodynamics – Hard shell tents have the advantage that the shell can be styled to be aerodynamic, whereas the soft shell always form a sort of square, which needs to be strapped down carefully to minimize drag and noise on the road.
    • Comfort – While this can vary drastically with the brand and model of tent, hard shell tents tend to be better at temperature control and wind protection. The solid roof helps with heat loss and the rigid frame reduces flapping and provides additional insulation.


    Have Other Questions About Hard Shell Roof Top Tents?

    We at Overland Junction can help you make an informed decision on the best hard shell roof top tent for your vehicle.

    If you have any questions or concerns before making a purchase, please browse our website, or contact us by text or phone at 833-205-7703 or email at support@overlandjunction.com.

    Sale
    Condor 2 roof top tent
    Roofnest condor 2 roof top tent
    Roofnest Condor 2 Roof Top Tent
    Roofnest
    from $3,545.00 Regular price $3,745.00 Save $200
    Sale
    Overland Junction Golden 360 Roof Top Tent
    Overland Junction Golden Roof Top Tent
    Overland Junction Golden Roof Top Tent
    Overland Junction
    Sale price $2,699.00 Regular price $2,899.00 Save $200
    Sale
    Tuff Stuff Alpha Roof Top Tent
    Tuff Stuff Alpha 2 for sale
    Tuff Stuff Alpha Roof Top Tent
    Tuff Stuff Overland
    from $2,699.00 Regular price $2,899.00 Save $200
    Sale
    Roofnest Falcon 2 and Falcon 2 XL Roof Top Tents
    Roofnest Falcon 2 Roof Top Tent open on Toyota 4Runner
    Roofnest Falcon 2 Roof Top Tent
    Roofnest
    from $1,995.00 Regular price $3,795.00 Save $1,800
    Sale
    Roofnest Condor Overland 2 XL rooftop tent
    Roofnest Condor Overland 2 XL roof top tent
    Roofnest Condor Overland 2 Roof Top Tent
    Roofnest
    from $3,745.00 Regular price $3,945.00 Save $200
    Sale
    Roofnest Sparrow 2 XL Roof Top Tent on Land Rover
    Roofnest Sparrow 2 XL Roof Top Tent back view Land Rover
    Roofnest Sparrow 2 Roof Top Tent
    Roofnest
    from $3,195.00 Regular price $3,395.00 Save $200
    Sale
    Roofnest Falcon Pro roof top tent pickup truck lifestlye
    Roofnest Falcon Pro Roof Top Tent on GMC
    Roofnest Falcon Pro Roof Top Tent
    Roofnest
    Sale price $2,345.00 Regular price $4,195.00 Save $1,850
    Sale
    Roofnest Sparrow EYE 2 Roof Top Tent on Jeep
    Roofnest Sparrow EYE 2 Rooftop Tent closed rear view
    Roofnest Sparrow EYE 2
    Roofnest
    from $3,195.00 Regular price $3,395.00 Save $200
    Sale
    Roam Adventure Co desperado tent
    Roam desperado roof top tent
    Roam Desperado Hardshell Roof Top Tent
    Roam Adventure Co
    Sale price $3,499.00 Regular price $3,749.00 Save $250