Best Subaru Outback Tents of 2023
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)
Affordable Roof Top Tent for Subaru Outback
OVS TMBK 3
Better than the best at this price range.
Overland Vehicle Systems TMBK 3 is almost always the first roof top tent we recommend to people on a tight budget. Built for all weather conditions, It comes with many features that you often don't find at this price.
The body of the TMBK Subaru tent is made using marine-grade 600D rip-stop polyester and a 420D polyester oxford rainfly. These fabrics are highly durable and 100% waterproof to ensure there won't be any water leaks during heavy rainfall.
On the other hand, The frame of TMBK is constructed using lightweight anodized aluminum to keep the tent sturdy even in windy conditions, and the base is made using sturdy insulated aluminum to keep the cold out during winter nights.
TMBK Subaru Outback Tent is very spacious and has a large sleeping footprint considering its compact size. It can sleep two adults with one child comfortably. You can fit 3 adults, but it will be pretty congested.
The mattress included with the TMBK is about 2.5" thick and is made using high-density foam. It includes a removable and machine washable cover to make it easy for you to clean. Overall, It's a good mattress, but it's not great. You should probably add a sleeping pad on top of it to make your nights more comfortable.
Installing the TMBK roof top tent on your Subaru Outback is easy and will take around 1-2 hours. Once you have it installed, Opening and closing it super fast -- takes no more than 5-10 minutes.
|Sleeping Capacity||3 people|
|Sleeping Dimensions||94.5” x 55.25"|
|Weight Capacity||650 lbs|
|Install Time||1-2 hours|
|Setup Time||5-10 minutes|
- It's very affordable, lightweight, and compact.
- Handles windy and rainy conditions very well.
- Excellent ventilation inside the tent.
- Built-in Skylight Window that lets you enjoy the night sky.
- Mattress quality is ok. You will probably need to add a sleeping pad or a bag on top of it to make it more comfortable.
- The included ladder is not super sturdy, but it does the job.
Low Profile Subaru Outback Roof Top Tent
Thinnest Subaru Outback tent that is currently available on the market.
Designed and manufactured in the United States, the BadAss Packout Molle tent, aka PMT, is one of the most low-profile and lightweight Subaru roof top tents currently available. It's soo thin that most people won't even notice you have a tent mounted on your Outback.
PMT only weighs about 90 lbs and is 3" tall when closed. Often, rooftop tents slightly decrease your Subaru outback's MPG, but because BadAss PMT is soo thin and lightweight, it does not affect your MPG. Molle straps and d-rings are built-in all around the side walls of the tent to make it easy for you to mount bags and other Molle-compatible gear.
The body of the BadAss PMT Subaru outback tent is made using durable 420D Nylon Oxford Fabric and an extruded aluminum frame that keeps the tent steady in bad weather conditions. While the fabric is waterproof, It includes a waterproof shell on top to ensure there won't be water leaks during a heavy downpour.
This tent is available in 2-person and 3-person sleeping capacities. Both the sizes include 100% recycled thermal regulating mattress pads to keep the cold out at night. The pad does an excellent job of keeping you warm, but they are not comfortable to sleep on. You will need to put bedding or sleeping bags on top of it.
BadAss PMT includes windows on three sides. All of them feature a durable, micro-weave black mesh to keep the insects out at night and improve ventilation during bad weather conditions. As these windows are large, you get a fantastic 270-degree view of your surroundings when you open them.
The clamshell and the gas strut design make setting up and taking down this tent a breeze. You can do it on your own in under 2-3 minutes without any help. Plus, the required hardware for mounting this tent on your Outback is provided with the purchase.
|BadAss Outback Tent Specifications|
|Sleeping Capacity||2-3 People|
|Setup Time||2-3 minutes|
|Weight Capacity||500 lbs|
|Made In||United States|
- It's very lightweight and low profile.
- Molle Straps on side walls are perfect for carrying extra gear.
- Easy and fast to set up and take down.
- Doesn't have any effect on your vehicle's MPG.
- It doesn't come with a ladder. You will have to buy it separately for $115.
- The mattress pad is very thin and not comfortable to sleep on. You will have to add bedding on top of it.
4 Person Subaru Outback Roof Top Tent
Perfect for families or small groups of friends.
Made with high-quality materials, Nomadic 4 is a top-of-the-line Subaru outback roof top tent with a large sleeping area. It is very popular among small families as it offers both space and premium features at a reasonable price.
The body of Nomadic 4 is made using a 600D poly-cotton rip-stop and a 420D polyester oxford rainfly to ensure you stay safe and comfortable in all weather conditions. This fabric is completely waterproof -- Hence, you won't see water leaks even during heavy rainfall.
Weighing at about 183 lbs, The frame of the Nomadic 4 is made using durable anodized aluminum to make sure the tent doesn't wobble or fall off in windy conditions. Also, the tent's base is double insulated with a one-piece black plate to keep the cold out at night.
The sleeping capacity of Nomadic 4 is about four people. You can fit five, but it won't be very comfortable. However, If you want to sleep five people or need extra space, You can add an optional add-on-room to Nomadic 4. The add-on-room comes with a floor and walls and can sleep one person.
The mattress included with Nomadic 4 is made with high-density foam, a black quilted cover, and is about 3" thick. It is super comfortable to sleep on. All the windows in the tent include a mesh screen to prevent insects from entering inside and disturbing your sleep.
You might assume that Nomadic 4 is hard to set up and take down because of its large size, but that's not the case. You can set it up and take it down on your own in under 5-10 minutes -- It's not super quick, but it's easy. However, you will need help to install it on your Subaru Outback.
|Nomadic 4 Outback Tent Specifications|
|Sleeping Capacity||4 People|
|Sleeping Footprint||74” x 94.5”|
|Weight Capacity||950 lbs|
|Setup Time||5-10 minutes|
- Large sleeping footprint.
- Very comfortable mattress and a great sleeping experience overall.
- Built-in Skylight window and USB led light strips.
- Built for all weather conditions.
- The total weight of Nomadic 4 is higher than your average roof top tent. You might see a very slight decrease in your MPG because of that.
- Even though setting up and taking down this tent is easy, It's not quick. It will take you 10 minutes on average.
Best Value Subaru Outback Roof Top Tent
Freespirit Adventure Manual
A Bang-for-your-Buck option with premium features.
Freespirit Recreation Adventure Manual is a compact, lightweight, and low-profile hybrid roof top tent. It is available in many vibrant colors and for sure will get you tons of attention and compliments wherever you set up camp.
Aerodynamically engineered to withstand heavy winds and shed rainwater, the Freespirit Adventure Manual body is made of 600D rip-stop poly-oxford with p/u coating and a 210D rip-stop poly-oxford rainfly to prevent water leaks.
The frame of Adventure Manual is made using lightweight extruded aluminum alloy. This adds extra strength and holds the tent stable in highly windy conditions. Also, Adventure Manual only weighs 118 lbs and has a weight capacity of 750 lbs.
As Freespirit Adventure Manual is very compact, It cannot sleep more than two people comfortably. The mattress included is made with high-density foam and is about 2.75" thick. It's not super comfortable, but it's not bad either.
One feature that makes the FSR Manual Subaru Outback roof top tent stand out from the crowd is its view. You get an incredible panoramic view of your surroundings when you open all windows. This helps you enjoy nature from a different perspective and take some Instagram-worthy photos.
Typically, roof top tents at this price range take anywhere from 5-10 minutes to set up and take down, but Adventure Manual is different. Opening and closing this tent is lightning quick and as simple as ABC. You can do it on your own in under 1-2 minutes.
|Freespirit Outback Tent Specifications|
|Sleeping Capacity||2 People|
|Dimensions||80″L x 55”W x 47”H|
|Weight Capacity||750 lbs|
|Setup Time||1-2 minutes|
|Frame||Extruded Aluminum Alloy|
- Very lightweight and durable.
- Incredible panoramic views when you open all the windows.
- Super easy and quick to set up and take down.
- The mattress is not super comfortable. You will need to add extra bedding to ensure you get a good night's sleep at all times.
Hard Shell Subaru Outback Roof Top Tent
Most durable option your money can buy.
Bushveld by Overland Vehicle Systems is the best hard shell tent currently available for Subaru Outback at this price range. It is available in multiple sizes and is lightning quick to set up and take down.
The body fabric of Bushveld is made using double 600D ripstop material with a 420-oxford ripstop rain fly cover -- Both the material has a UV rating of PU 2500 and is 100% waterproof. The top shell cover is made from single-piece polymer -- It is super durable and can automatically shed snow and water.
The base of Bushveld is insulated along with a black aluminum diamond plate to keep you warm during cold winter nights. Also, All the latches and hardware are made using marine grade 304 stainless steel. So you don't have to worry about anything breaking when you are on your adventures.
OVS Bushveld is available in 2-person and 4-person sizes, respectively. Both the models include a 3" thick quilted memory foam mattress that is comfortable to sleep on. An anti-condensation mat is also included below the mattress to prevent moisture build-up.
In case you need extra sleeping space or a private room for changing clothes, Bushveld has an option for you to add an annex to it. It is large enough to sleep one person and is made using 100% waterproof.
The unique gas strut design lets you set up and takedown the Bushveld Subaru tent in under 30 seconds without any help. Installing this tent on your Subaru Outback is also fairly easy -- It shouldn't take more than an hour.
|Bushveld Outback Tent Specifications|
|Sleeping Capacity||2-4 People|
|Setup Time||30-60 seconds|
|Weight (4 Person)||175 lbs|
|Sleeping Dimensions (4 Person)||78” L X 84” W X 43” H|
|Install Time||1 hour|
- Setup and takedown are super easy and fast.
- Large sleeping area and option to add an annex room if you need more space.
- Extremely durable body construction. You can use it in any weather condition.
- The anti-condensation mat prevents moisture build-up underneath the mattress.
- The 4 person size is a bit heavy, but you should be able to mount it on your Subaru outback without any issues.
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 a roof top tent for 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."