Best Rooftop Tents For Overland Camping (2022)

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    Overland camping is both an adventure and a test of your creativity, resilience, and the strength of your trusty camping gear. While the features of your SUV or pickup truck will determine how well you maneuver the terrain of your adventure site, the quality of your rooftop camping tents will determine your comfort level when you set up camp.

    Because Overlanding is done in areas with intimidating rocky trails and dusty, windy roads, you must purchase a camping tent that is not only comfortable but also stands the test of inclement weather elements. Although there are various rooftop tent designs, Tuff Stuff manufactures ergonomic rooftop tents from the best weatherproof materials.

    Below, we have provided the best Tuff Stuff overland camping tents designed to be hardy, durable, and convenient.

    overland camping

    Choosing The Best Overland Camping Gear

    Unless you plan to sleep in a conventional camping tent or the back of your truck, purchasing an overland rooftop tent is an investment to help you sleep better at night. Rooftop tents latch to the top of your vehicle and provide above-ground shelter, a better option than camping on the rocky, hard floor.

    With the many rooftop tents in the market today, it is vital to buy one that doesn’t just serve its purpose but is designed to be durable, comfortable, and the best fit for your vehicle. Although many rooftop tents are not vehicle-specific, there are many factors you need to consider when picking a rooftop tent.

    A mounted rooftop tent is your temporary home and camping base during your camping expenditure. An excellent rooftop tent should be mobile, easy to set up, convenient sleeping space, and durable. This essential vehicle add-on should protect you from the inclement weather and dangerous wildlife outside its walls.

    Choosing a rooftop might be a matter of preference, but there are some factors you should consider before making a purchase. These factors may make picking a tent an arduous task, but they ensure you choose the right type of tent.

    Some factors you should consider include:

    • Budget: Your budget plays a significant role in determining the quality and design of the overland rooftop tent you purchase. Rooftop tents are significantly more expensive than conventional camping tents.  Some tents can be extremely cheap but will be made of cheap materials that compromise their durability. Tents like this will rip easily and offer minimal protection from the weather. However, if you are willing to spare a few thousand dollars, you will purchase quality tents made from excellent weatherproof materials.

    • Tent weight: The heavier your tent, the more difficult it is for your truck’s roof rails or crossbars to support it. This might make installation difficult and require more hands to erect or retract the tent. Tents made from heavier materials often take more time to dry out when wet. However, they provide excellent insulation and keep the interior warm when cold and drafty. Tuff Stuff tents are often made from high-quality waterproof cotton materials that provide the perfect mix of water resistance and insulation without being too heavy.

    • Rack or crossbar size and weight limit: We recommend you mount your rooftop tent on your vehicle’s crossbars or racks and not directly on your truck’s rooftop. For the best result, ensure your rooftop racks can support more than 150lbs and are set at least 32” inches apart.

    • Installation method and procedure: To install a rooftop tent, you have to ensure the correct mounting base. Rooftop tents cannot be installed directly on the roof. Rooftop tents require sturdy crossbars or roof racks. While many vehicles come with crossbars, some vehicles do not. In these cases, you will need to purchase the rails separately. Ensure you check the weight capacities of the crossbars or racks.

    • Tent size and sleeping space: Tents come in different sizes and capacities. Are you going off-roading alone, or will you have company? The number of occupants will determine what tent size you should purchase. Many tents usually have their sleeping capacities clearly stated in their descriptions, so ensure you confirm them before purchasing.

    • Tent material: Is your tent made from cotton, polyester, or poly-cotton material? The type of material your tent is produced from plays a significant role in how well it resists ultraviolet rays and water. When not made from durable materials, rooftop tents can quickly degrade from months or years of exposure to sunlight, rainfall, and drafty winds. We recommend choosing 3-season or all-season tents that can withstand inclement weather. Since Tuff Stuff tents are made from weatherproof material, they can withstand any weather.

    • Tent design: Does the tent open to the side or the back of your vehicle? This will determine how easy it is to enter and exit your tent. It is also essential to consider features like the stitch and seam of the tent.

    • Tent accessories: Many tents come with accessories like mattresses, interior and exterior LED lights, shoe storage bags, and tent covers. Consider the accessories of the tents to know if you will need to purchase them separately. Knowing your tent is not accompanied by a tent, for example, or it comes with a tent you don’t like, it will give you enough time to buy a camping mattress you prefer.

    • Inclusion of annex area: Although most tents do not come with an annex included, they provide an annex floor to install any annex purchased separately. If you are interested in having lots of space for your family and gear while Overlanding, it makes sense to purchase a rooftop tent with an annex area. An annex will increase a rooftop tent’s capacity by providing an extra sleeping area, changing room, or storage room outside your vehicle and main sleeping area. If you want to purchase a rooftop tent with an annex area, you should consider the size restrictions.

    • Tent type: The three main tent types/styles are soft shells, hard shells, and hybrid tents. Softshell rooftop tents are foldable light rooftop tents that are manually or electronically erected and retracted. They are flexible and have excellent airflow but are not as durable as the other types of rooftop tents. Hardshell rooftop tents have complex cases at the top and bottom, making them collapsible tents. Because they are heavier, they are often aerodynamic and assisted by hydraulic ram systems for mounting and retracting. Hybrid tents, on the other hand, are a mixture of soft and hard shell tents. 

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    Best Roof Top Tents For Overland Camping

     1. Tuff Stuff Stealth

    The Tuff Stuff Stealth provides space and protection from inclement weather elements you may encounter while Overlanding. Made of aluminum shell casing and 280 G Poly/Cotton Rip-Stop, this rooftop tent can survive in any season and on any terrain.

    The Stealth rooftop tent is heavy, meaning it requires a bit of work and needs to be installed by two people. However, it is easy to mount and requires minimal equipment and the mounting hardware provided in the tent kit. The Tuff Stuff Stealth tent is designed to open to the side, over the passenger side of your truck. The tent can, however, be installed facing either direction if you do not mind a bit of tinkling.

    The Stealth rooftop tent is designed to be mounted on the left to right crossbars, so if your vehicle does not have crossbars, you will need to purchase sturdy roof racks. If you have crossbars on your vehicle, you need to confirm that they are at least 40” apart and can support at least 238lbs for proper mounting.

    The Stealth tent has a dimension of 75x55x13 inches that can fit two to three people comfortably. It is accompanied by an 87x71x 2.36 inches mattress to provide a comfortable sleeping area for its occupants. In addition, the tent is fitted with interior and exterior LED lights to help in the dark, windows fitted with mesh panels to provide ventilation while simultaneously keeping the bugs out, and a telescoping ladder for accessible entrance and exit. 

    The Tuff Stuff Stealth is a complete package and comes with necessary accessories to make your overland adventure convenient.

     2. Tuff Stuff Alpha

    The Tuff Stuff Alpha is a hybrid rooftop tent perfect for SUVs and pickup trucks. Designed with Tuff Stuff’s trademark 280 G Poly/Cotton Rip-Stop material, the Alpha tent can handle hail, storms, and harsh ultraviolet rays. This enables it to go years with degrading, quickly making it one of the best overland investments money can buy.

    If you are a family of four, this rooftop tent is inarguably the best option. Measuring 75x55x15 inches when closed, the Alpha fits an extremely comfortable 87x71x 2.36 inches foam mattress that provides a great sleeping area for you and your family. The Tuff Stuff Alpha is a side-opening tent fitted with a hydraulic-assisted mechanism to get your shelter erect in less than two minutes conveniently.

    The comfort the Alpha tent provides is evident in its aerodynamic and sleek design to provide maximum comfort while retaining its light and versatile structure. The Alpha is built with a higher profile than other rooftop tents, making it easier to store your bedding and some of your gear instead of taking the entire tent apart.

    You also do not have to worry about increased fuel consumption while driving, as the Alpha tent provides minimal wind resistance. It is important to note that, unlike the Tuff Stuff Stealth rooftop tent, the Alpha is configured to only open on the passenger side of your vehicle.

    However, like the former tent, the Alpha comes with accessories like a shoe bag, storage bag, and even a patch kit for emergency tent repairs. The Alpha fits on brackets and is easy to mount. It provides an area to attach a separately purchased annex if you need more room.

    Essentially, the Tuff Stuff Alpha rooftop tent is a comfortable overland rooftop tent suitable for families.

    3. Tuff Stuff Alpha II

    If the original Alpha design is too roomy for your overland adventure needs, the Alpha II is an excellent option for you. With the Alpha II, you get a tent that is a better fit for smaller overland SUVs and Subaru vehicles. The Alpha II is best described as a miniature version of the Alpha tent.

    It is made with identical features, with the only drastic difference being the smaller size it is designed in. For such a small tent, the Alpha II offers excellent quality and durability you cannot get anywhere else. The hydraulic ram system, similar to the original Alpha tent, makes it convenient to set up by a single person.

    The Alpha II tent is designed to fit one or two campers without being too cramped up. It measures 59.75 X 49.75 X 14 inches and fits a 59.75 X 49.75 X 14 inches mattress. Like its original, the Alpha II’s material is weatherproof 280 G Poly/Cotton Rip-Stop coupled with heavy-duty aluminum flooring and an ABS shell frame.

    To mount your Alpha II rooftop tent, your vehicle needs crossbars that are at least 30” apart and can support at least 190lbs or simply purchase a sturdy roof rack for installation support on vehicles without crossbars. The Alpha II tent comes with accessories like LED lights.

    4. Tuff Stuff Ranger

    If you are going Overlanding as a family of three, the Ranger tent is the best option. This is the new and improved version of the original Ranger tent, as this version comes with an additional 10” space for comfort and more storage. The Range measures 65x48x15 inches when closed, providing not only enough space for a comfortable sleeping area but also the convenience of leaving your sleeping gear in the collapsed tent while driving. 

    As usual, the Ranger tent is made from 280 G Poly/Cotton Rip-Stop and aluminum paired with fiberglass to provide a weatherproof shelter that will serve you for years. It can be installed on suitable crossbars or rails, depending on the means available. 

    Mounting hardware and installation brackets to make the installation process straightforward and hassle-free accompany the tent. However, the Ranger is not controlled by a hydraulic aid and requires two people to mount it in a process that might take two hours.

    The Ranger is comfortable on the go, providing a comfortable ready-to-use shelter during your overland adventures. When you move past the arduous initial installation process, you will quickly discover the level of convenience and mobility ease the Ranger rooftop tent provides.

    5. Tuff Stuff Elite 

    If you are interested in having ample shelter space while on your Overlanding adventures, you should add the Tuff Stuff Elite rooftop tent to your list of necessary camping gear. The Elite tent is the largest rooftop camping gear in the Tuff Stuff catalog.

    It is the perfect size for families of four or more as it provides both primary shelter and additional space for annex attachment. The annex, which needs to be purchased separately, can double as a sleeping area for four more people or be used as a storage area.

    The Elite tent is designed to provide comfort and privacy in all seasons and across all terrains. The tent comes with a detachable split wall to divide the interior in two for additional privacy and two windows at the head of the tent to ensure cross-ventilation. 

    The interior has two entry doors and two separate mattresses for comfort. Although the Tuff Stuff Elite is not exactly a nifty tent, it is neither vehicle-specific. It can be mounted on any large truck or SUV with suitable truck roof rails or crossbars. A single camper cannot mount the tent as it is heavy.

    The Tuff Stuff Elite comes with the necessary mounting hardware, two retractable ladders, and accessories like a shoe bag, driving cover, and storage hammock.  The tent’s waterproof rainfly and taped seams will keep the water out of your tent during rainfall, and the window mesh and panels will protect you from bugs. 

    Essentially, the Tuff Stuff Elite tent is all the comfort you will ever need while Overlanding.

    6. Tuff Stuff Elite 

    The Delta is almost identical to the Ranger tents except for the lack of an additional overhang over the ladder area. The overhang in the Ranger requires the tent to be installed at higher heights to eliminate the need to duck every time you enter or exit the tent. 

    Eliminating this overhang in the Delta tent design means you can install your tents at lower heights. If you have a smaller overland vehicle or are trying to save gas by mounting a smaller tent, you are in luck. The Delta rooftop tents weigh approximately 20lbs less than the Ranger and have a front entry, making it the perfect option for smaller vehicles with roof racks below head height.

    The Delta fits a 96 x 56 x 2.75 inches high-density mattress, which is perfect for one or two people. The Delta is manufactured from Tuff Stuff’s signature high-quality waterproof 280G polyester/cotton Rip-Stop fabric reinforced with a waterproof Polyurethane coating to help your tent remain breathable while keeping water and moss out. 

    The waterproof coating helps the tent shed water immediately after rainfall while simultaneously eliminating uncomfortable overhead lights. The Tuff Stuff Delta is the perfect choice if you want something with the features of a Ranger tent on a smaller scale.  

    7. Tuff Stuff Trailhead

    The Trailhead is a nifty rooftop tent designed for a quick one-person installation and convenience. It offers easy protection from the inclement weather and gets you off the ground, away from bugs. Do not let its pocket-friendly price deceive you, the Trailhead is as designed with an attention to quality that matches other Tuff Stuff tents. 

    The tent is manufactured from PU-coated 600D Polyester Oxford material and an aluminum shell. It provides adequate protection from rainfall and harsh ultraviolet rays. However, it is important to note that the Trailhead is a 3-season rooftop tent, unlike 4-season tents like the Elite and Stealth rooftop tents. 

    The Trailhead features a comfortable 55″ X 92.5″ X 1.5″ foam sleeping pad and mosquito/bug-proof windows that ventilation and a nice view while providing protection from insects. The Tuff Stuff Trailhead is designed to be a simple solution to your overland camping needs.

    Deciding Which Rooftop Tent Is Best For You

    Choosing the best rooftop tent depends on your personal preferences and budget. It also depends on other features like the strength and versatility of your tent. When choosing a tent, it is essential to ensure it is the perfect match for your vehicle and large enough to accommodate you and your partner(s).

    Riley Draper

    Riley Draper is a writer and entrepreneur from Chattanooga, Tennessee. As a world traveler, he has been to more than fifty countries and hiked some of the most elusive trails in the world. He is the co-founder of WeCounsel Solutions and has published work in both national and global outlets, including the Times Free Press, Patch, and Healthcare Global. When he's not writing, he's probably on a hiking trip or climbing in the mountains.