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When it comes to choosing to buy the best roof top tents in 2020, you have to consider which vehicle you are needing the tent for. A pick up truck, a minivan, a station wagon or a SUV?. Depending on the tent, some vehicles may not be applicable.
So compatibility among the types of vehicles was one of the requirements in order to choose a top rated roof top tent. The tent must have a universal mounting system.
Another factor to consider when choosing what roof top tent to buy is which side of the vehicle is ladder accessible. Some models only allow you to mount to the drivers side for example. I believe the ladder should be able to be mounted from either side of the vehicle and also from the rear. This allows greater control over where you park, access in and out of the tent (especially if you have a annex) and also can prove beneficial for assembly.
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Great Tents For Overland Camping
Rooftop tents make the ideal tents for overland camping. They are portable, they don’t take up precious cargo space and are super simple to assemble. Once they are mounted onto your roof, you can be up and inside the tent in just minutes.
Look For Finer Details & Features
But when it comes to vehicle camping, especially on the roof. It’s the smaller features that tend to be the game changers for me. When you see the professionalism displayed via the tents attributes, you know you are in for a good time. Small things like double zippers, zippered fly screens, reinforced materials, safety straps, air-vents etc. These make or break a roof top tent in my opinion.
Check out below as I reveal our top 3 best rated roof top tents in 2019 for trucks, minivan, jeeps and more. These three tents range in affordability from mid range, to premium and also a affordable budget model. Hopefully, you find the tent suitable for you and your lifestyle. Lets get into it.
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The Best Jeep Roof Top Tent & Annex
Smittybilt Roof Top Tent Review (Mid Range Affordability)
The SmittyBilt off road enthusiasts have been specializing in jeep accessories for half a century now. So it’s no surprise they take our best roof top camping tent award for Jeeps.
What makes the SmittyBilt such a awesome tent, is that it was designed by outdoor adventurers. So the attention to detail and the ‘just right’ features are spot on. To get the ‘Ultimate’ in off road camping, there’s the option to add an annex to the roof top tent.
While the tent part is rather costly, the annex is a reasonable extra cost for an add on like this. The annex provides the ultimate in changing rooms when camping. In articular, the people that need to stand up when getting dressed.
The annex adds an extra layer of privacy that with just the tent alone you don’t get. If you do decide that the annex is a good fit for you, then you MUST attach the annex to the rails first before setting up the tent.
Moving away from the annex and putting the focus back on the tent. Well this is the second edition of this tent by SmittyBilt. They have improved on there first model with a few subtle yet important features. One being the double reinforced carry bag for the pegs. Previously the sharp ends had to go in first and this would create a tear in the carry case eventually. Now it is built stronger and reinforced to handle the pegs with ease.
Whats To Love About This Roof Top Tent
- I love the fact this tent can be set up on either side of the car. This comes in handy when you want to park close to something and not worry about which side the tent has to be on.
- The ladder feels heavy duty like it could handle quite a load. It is rather wide and ver.2 now has rubber grommets which assist the ladder when folded up. Previously they would bang into each other making a terrible noise.
- 600D Ripstop Polyester Rain Fly – Polyurethane Impregnate fabric is a new addition which fixes the previous tightness issue in the fabric causing it to tear. With this new fabric it’s super tough and flexible.
- 4 Bungee cords on the inside of the tent suck the tent inwards instead of having the tent balloon outwards. This makes the tent very resistant to strong rain and winds.
- Super bright interior LED light. This is an amazing feature that makes this tent stand out from the rest.
- Sun roof and many large windows allow for great air flow and keeping the tent from building up moisture due to condensation.
- A lot of storage pockets. This is a great feature as when we go camping, a shortage of storage areas is always the case. But not so with this roof top tent.
- A red safety strap is great for support when getting in and out of the tent. Especially handy for anyone with a fear of heights.
- Comes with 2 inch thick foam mattress. But if you plan to camp for several days, be prepared for the mattress to become pretty much flat. So invest a few extra bucks to get a self inflating mattress to turn this into a dream to sleep on.
Smittybilt Compatibility – Jeeps, Truck, SUV etc
The Smittybilt roof top top has a universal mounting system. So provided you have some sort of roof racks or cross bars that the tent can latch onto, your good to go. This tent can even be mounted on the tray area of a pick up truck if you have some sort of cross bars. SmittyBilt roof top racks available on amazon.com.
Overall the Smittybilt are very good products. Both the tent and the annex are high quality and well thought out. I’m very happy with this set up and highly encourage anyone looking for the best roof top tent for Jeeps to check it out.
Best High End Roof Top Tent For 2018
ARB Series 3 A.K.A Simpson 3 Review (Premium Affordability)
Like the aforementioned tents, the ARB series 3 also can be mounted on either side of car as well as the rear. One of the benefits of mounting the tent to the rear of the vehicle is if you have a sun roof, you can access the back of the tent from inside the car for an even easier installation. Brilliant idea.
Here’s What I Like About The ARB Simpson 3 Roof Top Tent
- The little attention to detail features are what sets this tent apart. This is why it’s our overall number one recommendation. Some of the small but useful features include: Large zipper teeth which prevents dust and mud from clogging up the zipper. The zipper to the stored tent is on a lanyard. So you can unzip and begin setting up the tent from the ground level. Little vents which can be opened from inside the tent to allow for airflow and restrict built up condensation.
- Set Up Is Super Simple. Pull out the telescopic ladder and walk backwards with it. The tent then instantly pops up ready to use and set up the windows etc. Very easy and one person can definitely do this.
- The ladder is covered by the rain fly. So when if rains, you wont have to go up and down a slippery ladder while getting wet. Just another one of those fine finishes the ARB offers.
- Very well protected from the elements and the creepy crawlers. The finer details again have been met here to ensure there is no access to the inside from the outside without entering the entry door. Little things like adding a double sided velcro bit of canvas to cover up joints that may be vulnerable to wet weather. Little thoughts like that are what set this tent apart.
- 2.5″ foam mattress included and pre installed into tent
- Internal bungee cords similar to the Smittybilt tent. This ensures the tent is sucked inwards and not popping out like a balloon.
- Generous spacing between the layers of the tent when folded to pack numerous bedding. This is so when you unfold the tent, the pillows and sleeping bags are already up top ready to go. This is a huge plus if you and your partner like to pack heavy on the bedding equipment.
So Whats The Best: Smittybilt Vs ARB Series 3 Roof Top Tents
Where the Smittybilt beats this ARB is in 2 areas. These may be of concern to you, or they may simple be nothing of concern. They are: The Smittybilt has the LED light build in and has a lot more larger internal storage pockets.
The ARB only has the 4 storage pockets (2 on each side). Four pockets is still plenty for two people in my opinion, but it is still worth mentioning the differences. The ARB alos has 2 nylon straps for helping you get in and out of the tent if you feel the footing to be loose.
Overall, the ARB Series 3 is our number one recommendation for the best roof top tent. When it comes to camping off road, this is the best of the best in my opinion. Any one can through a tent on the roof of a vehicle and hope for the best. But ARB makes sure it’s the best. The little features and improvements over the years are what make this tent stand out from the rest.
See How The ARB Mounts To A Pick Up Truck
See the ARB on display and how it mounts to the back of a truck. An alternative to a roof top tent are pick up truck tents, these tents use the base of the tray as the sleeping area of your tent.
Best Budget Roof Top Tent For Pick Up Trucks, Minivans etc
Camco 51373 ReviewCamco 51373 may be up your alley. But as with anything considered cheap or affordable, please be aware that corners may be cut to make such an affordable product. That’s just how it is when it comes to camping equipment I’m afraid.
This Camco 51373 is the complete tent and annex package. This is sold as a set, not two individual products. The price for this tent and annex could be similar to that of the Smittybilt tent alone. But the quality is not the same, so lets get that straight. If you are after only a quality tent, then go with the Smittybilt above. Or for something more fancier, try the Tepui Baja Series roof top tent. But if you need a overall cheaper tent and annex combination, then read on.
Like the ARB Series 3, the Camco can also be mounted on either side of the car as well as the back. Which is good for SUV camping and minivans as it creates a sheltered area at the back of the vehicle. Attach a separate SUV tent to the back of your van or car and you have a separate camping area for the kids. Brilliant way to make use of limited space when camping.
Mounting the tent and annex is quite simple and is universal like the SmittyBilt. Provided you have roof racks or bars to attach, then you can set this tent up.
I did find the air flow to not be quite as good as I was hoping. During colder nights, there was noticeable condensation. But on rainy days, the tent help up fine and keep everyone and everything in the tent dry. Overall, the Camco is not a bad tent for the price. It’s not the best on the market, but it sure is an affordable option that may just be right for you.