Top Roof Top Tents for Subaru Outback
If you are looking to buy a roof top tent for your Subaru Outback then you have come to the right place! Before we jump into reviewing the roof top tents let us quickly address the elephant in the room.
Can you put a roof top tent on Subaru Outback?
So here's the thing, even though Subaru Outback is a great 4x4 vehicle -- the standard roof rails it comes with are not strong enough to hold a roof top tent. It probably with some luck can hold an RTT that weighs less than 100 lbs but nothing more. We believe this is true for all Subaru outback models including the 2019 and 2020 models.
However, that doesn't mean you can't mount an RTT on your outback. You can but you will need to install a good roof rack or cross rails first. Doing so will enable you to mount any roof top tent you want.
Now that we have addressed that, Let's look at some of the best roof top tents for Subaru outback currently on the market.
(Click the link to jump ahead)
#1 Best Roof Top Tent for Subaru Outback
FSR High Country 55
FSR High Country 55 is the #1 recommended roof top tent for Subaru Outback.
The High Country 55" roof top tent by Freespirit Recreation is a top-of-the-line softshell roof top tent that oozes luxury from every angle!
Built to handle extreme weather conditions like a pro -- FSR High Country's body is made using a unique tri-layer technology that is designed to keep you warm in cold weather and cool on hot summer days. It sort of acts like an AC in winter and a heater in summer.
As for the sleeping capacity, High Country can easily sleep anywhere from 2-3 people comfortably. Plus, It comes with an in-built 1.5″ High-Density Foam mattress. Even though it's super thick, It is still very cozy to sleep on.
One feature that really makes High Country stand out from the crowd is its crazy fast setup and takedown process. Believe it or not -- You can set up this roof top tent in under 30-40 seconds. That is not something you can find in other soft shell tents (They typically take 3-5 minutes).
What we love the most:
- Fast and Easy Setup & Takedown process.
- Tri-layer technology provides extreme weather protection.
- 360-degree view of your surroundings.
- Integrated LED light to light up the tent at night.
- Comfortable to sleep in.
Best Value Roof Top Tent for Subaru Outback
OVS Nomadic 3
Nomadic 3 is a 'bang-for-your-buck' roof top tent, and you cannot go wrong buying it for your Subaru Outback.
Even though it is doesn't ooze luxury like the High Country, Nomadic 3 is still a fantastic roof top tent with well-rounded features for the price.
The main reason why the Nomadic gained so much popularity is because of its toughness. Made with 600D rip-stop canvas and a marine-grade frame, Nomadic 3 can handle and keep you safe in almost any weather you find yourself in. It's highly durable as well -- it won't get damaged easily.
Nomadic 3 is a tent that truly understands how important sleep can be! Hence, It comes with a 3" thick high-density memory foam mattress that will ensure you sleep like a baby. Also, All windows include an insect mesh to keep mosquitoes from entering the tent at night and disturbing your sleep.
Installing roof top tents on your vehicle can be a long and hard process, but that's not the case at all with Nomadic 3. It is designed in such a way that you can install it on your Subaru outback without any drilling or modifications. Plus, It can fit on almost any aftermarket and factory roof racks out there.
What we love the most:
- Built Extremely Tough.
- Can handle all weather conditions.
- Sleep 2-3 people easily.
- 3" high-density memory foam mattress.
- Skylight Window.
- The base is Insulated with Diamond Plate.
- It comes with a 4 Year Warranty.
Best Hard Shell Roof Top Tent for Subaru Outback
FSR Odyssey is hands down the best hard shell roof top tent for the Subaru outback.
Often considered as the "Rolls Royce" of roof top tents, The comfort and luxury Freespirit Recreation Odyssey provides is unbeatable!
It is well-known that roof top tents slightly decrease your MPG as they are huge in size. But that's not the case at all with FSR Odyssey. As it features a 7" low profile design, It hardly has any effect on your outback's MPG.
As the High Country 55", The body of the FSR Odyssey is also made using tri-layer technology to make sure you are safe and comfortable even in bad weather conditions.
One cool thing about Odyssey is that it has an option for you to add a rack system on top of it to carry extra gear like kayaks, mountain bikes, etc. As for the rack weight capacity, It can hold anywhere up to 250 lbs of gear.
The setup and takedown process of the FSR Odyssey is almost completely automated. All you have to do is open the latches and give it a slight upward push. The tent will open itself up in under 15-20 seconds!
What we love the most:
- "7 Low Profile Design.
- Oversized windows provide panoramic views.
- Tri-layer body for extreme weather protection.
- Automated setup and takedown -- Takes less than 15-20 seconds.
- Rack system to mount gear on top of the tent.
Most Affordable Roof Top Tent for Subaru Outback
OVS TMBK 3 Roof Top Tent
TMBK 3 is the best cheap roof top tent for Subaru Outback.
Overland Vehicle Systems TMBK 3 is almost always the first roof top tent we recommend to people on a tight budget. It's a strong and durable tent that comes with all the basic and necessary features you look for in a roof top tent.
Manufactured from 600D Rip-Stop Polyester Cotton Waterproof Canvas, TMBK 3 can be used in all four seasons. Plus, It comes with a rainfly to ensure there won't be any leaks during heavy rainfall.
Roof top tents are often heavy. They typically weigh anywhere from 130 lbs to 160 lbs, but that's not the case with TMBK 3. It is very compact and only weighs 100 lbs. This makes sure that there won't be much negative effect on your outback's MPG.
And as for the sleeping capacity, TMBK 3 can comfortably sleep two people. You can squeeze in 3, but it won't be super cozy. The built-in mattress is made with high-density foam and is 2.5 inches thick. It's not a premium quality mattress, but for the price, it's way more than what you pay for.
What we love the most:
- Lightweight -- Weighs only 100 lbs.
- Built for All Weather Conditions.
- Windows are made with breathable material to improve ventilation.
- Sleeps 2-3 people.
- The base is insulated with Aluminum.
- It fits on any aftermarket and factory roof racks.
- It comes with a Travel cover.
Pros & Cons of Purchasing a Roof Top Tent for Your Subaru Outback?
- No More Sleeping On The Ground: With a roof top tent by your side, you can forget about sleeping on the ground. As RTTs are meant to be mounted on your car/trailer, you will be sleeping at an elevation. Plus, Most roof top tents today come with a built-in super cozy mattress to help you sleep like a baby!
- Easy to Setup: One of the biggest cons of ground tents is that they take time and are not the easiest to set up, but that's not the case at all with roof top tents. RTTs are extremely easy and fast to set up. On average, you can set up a soft shell tent in under 2-5 minutes and a hard shell tent in under 1 minute.
- Safety from wildlife: One of the biggest worries people have when camping is wildlife! We have all heard those crazy stories where a bear or a wolf broke into someone's tent and stole all their food etc. However, with a roof top tent, you never have to worry about that. As your tent is set up on the roof of your car, it makes it hard to get into for animals.
- Designed to Last a Lifetime: Roof top tents are built tough and are highly durable. Most roof top tents today are designed in such a way that you can use them even in extreme weather conditions without having to worry about them breaking down. In short, If they are correctly maintained, Roof top tents will last for a lifetime!
- Camp Almost Anywhere With a Great View: No more looking for level ground to set up your tent. With an RTT, you can set up wherever you go. Plus, you get a really incredible view of your camping location because you are sleeping at an elevated point.
- Not Easy To Steal: Unlike ground tents, As roof top tents are heavy and large, they are super hard to steal. They are hardly any cases reported of someone stealing a roof top tent.
- Slight Decrease in MPG: This point is very debatable. Even though I have never seen a decrease in MPG of my Subaru Outback after adding a roof top tent, Some people have. It just depends on the weight and size of the roof top tent you are carrying. Worst case scenario, You will see a 2-3 mpg drop.
- Not ideal for Big Dogs: You are out of luck if you plan to go camping in an roof top tent with your big dog. It can be tough to get your big dog to climb the ladder. However, if you somehow manage to get your dog inside the tent, It can be very congested and uncomfortable to sleep inside, as roof top tents are not typically large in size.
- A bit Expensive: A rooftop tent might not be for you if you are on a tight budget. They are pretty expensive when compared to ground tents. On average, they range anywhere from $1000-$4000. You can find roof top tents for less than $900, but they are typically not good in quality.
Best roof racks to hold a roof top tent on your Subaru outback
At the beginning of this article, we mentioned that you could not mount a roof top tent on the Subaru Outback's factory bars. Hence, you are going to need a tough and durable roof rack. Below, you can find the best roof racks for Subaru Outback by Prinsu currently on the market.
Real Life Experiences
We recently interviewed few Subaru owners who have been using a roof top tent for a while to know their experience so far. You can check it out below:
Grant and Nikki (@overlandandspeed)
Vehicle: 2013 Subaru Outback
"My wife and I started building our 2013 Subaru outback in 2017, we started off with just doing normal tent camping, I was a boy scout who camped in a tent a minimum of one weekend a month for several years. Slowly we started getting into the more overland type camping, it started with me seeing a Yakima roof top tent at an REI used gear sale for 500 dollars and thinking it would be a great flip to make a dollar.
Well of course I wanted to try it out first. From there we took it out and really enjoyed the quick and easy set up and take down, very comfortable mattress, better then the standard tepui mattress. However we ended up selling it because I wasn't a fan of the cover, it leaked a little and not many accessories at the time, though now they have boot bags, annex and other stuff.
From there we went the biggest possible, the Tepui Autana 4, large annex, insulator for winter camping and more. We sleep with both of our large dogs and child up in the tent with us. We love that the mattress is so big, in fact we just use flannel California king sheets and a comforter all year long and stay plenty warm. Since getting the insulator we keep that on full time as well, it keeps us warm and keeps my dog asleep longer in the mornings, she likes to wake up when the sun comes up but it keeps it dark.
So in short the tent has been great, but I have fully upgraded my stock rack system mainly so I could also fit an awning on without having to use the yakima adapters that puts everything 6 inches off the roof of the car, I like low profile as much as possible. With running the outback, a roof top tent and the whole family you really have to be conscientious of space.
You no longer have room for a basket or cargo box on the roof and my trunk area held the dogs, so we used the spare tire area and the back seat, beside the car seat, for our gear. Thankfully due to my Boyscout and back packing days alot of my gear is very compact and minimal all the way down to my camping chairs and collapsible cookware."
Vehicle: 2015 Subaru Crosstrek
"I love camping but I don't love the way my body feels after a night of sleeping on the ground. I always wake up feeling stiff and achy and I've never been able to camp for more than just a couple of nights. When I learned of roof top tents I knew I had to try one out.
We bought one for my Crosstrek and it completely changed the game! I've now spent many nights in our rooftop tent and always wake up feeling well-rested and recharged. I feel extra safe being off the ground away from critters and often wake up to amazing views!
Set up takes up less than 5 minutes and is incredibly easy. I'm a small gal and it was important that I could set up and take down the tent by myself. We leave all our pillows and blankets inside the tent when it's closed which is a huge space and time saver.
Having a rooftop tent is like having our own treehouse and every time I climb up the ladder I feel like a kid again."
Vehicle: 2020 Subaru Crosstrek
"So far our experience with our roof top tent has been great! We used to camp in a Coleman 6 person tent. We find ourselves with a lot of extra space to pack our gear now that we have our tent on top of our car versus being stored in a large container in the cargo area of our Crosstrek.
I'm happy that it leaves a lot of space for our dog to join us in our Subaru for camping and overland trips! Our roof top tent is extremely spacious too. It easily holds two to three people or in my case two people and large breed dog!
We no longer find ourselves waking up wet, or in small puddles of water when it rains since we are off the group. The material is extremely waterproof so it makes us feel a lot better when it comes to changes in the weather on our trips. The tent holds up really well in different climates too. We've camped in our roof top tent when it's 30°F all the way up to 95°F.
We enjoy having zippered windows on every side of the tent and we love that it no longer takes us 30 minutes to set up a tent, untangle poles, and set up the mattress. The RTT comes with a 3" foam mattress and we haven't had any issues with it. Overall, I believe our RTT has definitely enhanced our camping and Overlanding experience! We love it, our dog loves it, it's perfect!"
Vehicle: Subaru Crosstrek
"Owning a roof top tent has been life changing honestly. I invested in it, in November of 2019 and when the pandemic hit, it became my life. I went camping like once every other day at one point. It's easy to use, more comfortable than any setup I've ever had, and motivates me to get out there as much as I can.
The tent has held up in all weather situations, from camping in Snowstorms to the brutal heat of the desert and monsoons in the mountains. Not once did the tent falter in any conditions thrown it's way and for that it's allowed me to have the confidence in my gear to take on new obstacles and places.
If anyone is on the fence about a rooftop tent, I hope my two cents helps. They'll absolutely get you addicted to camping and exploring new places most weekends."
Chris + Hailie (@morningstarsubaru)
Vehicle: 2020 Subaru Forester Limited
"No more finding a level spot on the ground and messing around with a tarp to stay dry or unfolding cots to get off the ground. The best part of the forester is the x-mode that shows me my angle of approach, so I can easily find level ground to sleep on.
It's 60 seconds to be completely set up, I always have my blankets pillows and sleeping bags in the tent itself The rooftop tent has largely shaped the way that I have built my car, so it is centric to getting me out on the weekend.
I have all my recovery gear on molle panels behind my front seats, so I typically only need to bring a few things of food, and firewood when the restrictions aren't in effect. But now that I have little to no prep time, I can easily go on a Tuesday night without thinking too much about it."