Is Buying an Expensive Rooftop Tent a Good Idea?

Camping in the great outdoors can be one of the most fun adventures you can have. Whether you’re camping with a group of friends, family, or by yourself, the feeling of the outdoor air and nature is almost second-to-none. What can make it even better is camping with a rooftop tent on your vehicle.

However, with so many to choose from and in different price ranges, it can be tough to know which one to go with. In that case, it is worth spending the extra dough on an expensive rooftop tent?

There are a few pros to buying a rooftop tent

Camping on top of classic car
Camping on top of classic car | Georg Spring/picture alliance via Getty Images

Before you pull the trigger on a rooftop tent, it’s important to know the benefits of owning one. According to Recapture Nature, here are the main benefits of strapping a rooftop tent to your vehicle:

  • Camp at an elevated height: While camping on the ground can bring you closer to nature, it can also be dangerous. But with a rooftop tent, you won’t need to worry about creepy bugs or other animals potentially preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep. Also, there’s typically better ventilation in a rooftop tent.
  • Comfort is key: Many rooftop tents have built-in foam mattresses that can contour to the shape of your body. In that case, it can be much more comfortable to sleep in a rooftop tent.
  • Setup is a lot easier: After the initial set up, a rooftop tent is much easier to configure when settling in for the night. All you need to do is open it up, secure the poles, open the flaps, and you’re good to go. Many rooftop tents can be setup in a matter of minutes.

These are some of the basic pros of owning a rooftop tent. However, there are a couple of cons as well. You need a ladder to get in and out of a rooftop tent, which can be cumbersome to use, especially in the middle of the night. Additionally, they can be quite expensive to buy.

Cheaper rooftop tent versus an expensive one

If you have taken a gander at the variety of rooftop tents on the market, then you have probably seen a variety of prices that come with them. Two such examples are shown in the video above by Donut Media. In that video, they installed a Smittybuilt Overlander tent on one truck ($900 value) and an iKamper Skycamp 2.0 tent on the other.

Ultimately, the Donut Media crew found that the iKamper tent used better materials, while the Smittybuilt one had a better layout in terms of the built-in windows. As expected, the more expensive tent was more comfortable to sleep in and quicker to set up, while both tents had their pros and cons when it came to mounting them on the trucks. However, they agreed that both tents mounted were equally semi-difficult to mount.

Is it worth it to spend the extra money?

Off-road four-wheel drive vehicle with rooftop tent
An off-road four-wheel-drive vehicle with rooftop tent | Sven-Erik Arndt/Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The bottom line is that a more expensive rooftop tent, in general, can have more features and allow for comfort than a cheaper one. However, depending on what you need out of a rooftop tent, it might not be worth it to spend an extra $2,000 on a higher-end one as the cheaper ones can still get the same job done.

Ultimately, a rooftop tent can make camping a lot more fun and a lot easier. And while they can cost a lot of money upfront, you can save yourself some dough by going with a cheaper one.

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