You probably have read many hard shell roof top tent reviews online (and I hope you have read the ones on 10ts-tents.com already!). But if you are just about to decide which hard-shell tent is for you, you might be stuck! How are you supposed to compare them against each other? They come in different sizes and shapes, some have a lot of windows others hardly have any and the list goes on.
Unless you know exactly what you want it is very difficult to decide if the one you think you like will be a good fit for your needs. Also, if the price tag is important, the cheapest model you can afford might turn out to be a complete waste of your money if you are not happy with it. It could be very frustrating to find out that a slightly more expensive rooftop tent would have been much more suitable for you.
I want my hard shell roof top tent reviews to be honest. I want you to understand why I recommend certain hard shell roof top tents and why I advise against others. At the same time, I want them to be objective and factual. So I have created some evaluation criteria. I am hoping that it makes easier to understand the hard shell roof top tent reviews on 10ts-tents.com. So here are the evaluation criteria;
Although it is obvious, there are a few things I would like to clarify.
Hardshell rooftop tents come in 3 major shapes (2 and a half):
- They either pop up fully, so they look like a box. Examples are the Maggiolina Airland, The Roofnest Eagle, the TentBox or the Evasion by James Baroud.
- Or it opens like a book: one end pops up fully, the other end is either fixed or not coming up very high. They face backwards, entrance is on the short side of the tent. Best examples are the Columbus Variant or the Alu-cab
- A modified version of this when the tent opens sideways, so the entrance is on the long side. This has its pros and cons… like more space, easier access versus less protection by the hard shell, more complicated unfolding / closing in. There hybrid models come in a hard shell but when unfolded, a 4-person soft shell tent pops out (like the iKamper Skycamp 2X and 4X).
So it is difficult to say which one is better, everyone has their preferences in term of shape. There is little point to compare one type to the other, as they give a completely different feeling. So in my hard shell roof top tent reviews I will attempt to ignore any pros and cons in terms of shape. But I am working on an article to explain the differences in terms of usage, advantages and disadvantages, so make sure you subscribe to the newsletter to get the latest updates!
Quite obvious, the more choice is the better.
As for the size, the range extends from small (2 persons) to large (4 person) and anything in between, lol. Length can vary too, leaving more space for personal belongings stored inside.
The headroom of the box shaped rooftop tent is normally around 1 metre or a bit less. The wedge-shaped tents have a bit more headroom at the entrance.
The size of your vehicle can be a limiting factor: the tent when shut cannot be wider than your vehicle.
What I am trying to highlight with my reviews is if there is anything other than the ‘average’. I.e more headroom, less headroom; extra length etc.
I am looking at add-ons available too, like awnings, annexes etc.
Weight can restrict what vehicles you can use it with, and vice versa, depending on your car there may be rooftop tents that your car is incapable to carry. It also affects how easy it is to put the tent on the top of your vehicle. The lighter the better, however I do try find out where the ‘extra’ weight comes from. Is it the materials used? Extra insulation? Thicker fabrics? The opening mechanism?
Ease of Use
This includes weight to some extent too. What I focus on is the easiness of installation, setting up, putting away etc. How many brackets you need, how long does it take to set up, means of setting up, any additional aids to make the process easier. Type and length of the ladder, is it telescopic or fixed height? I also consider the limitations of use ie wind resistance.
The factors evaluated are: the space available, the quality and thickness of the fabric, zippers, any insulation, thickness and cover of the mattress comes here. Number and size of the windows, interior storage space, plus any extra features.
Some manufacturers offer only 1 year warranty, which is the bare minimum, the more the better. I also look at how easy it is to contact them, how quickly they respond. Some manufacturers don’t have representation on every continent, they do not have a dealership network. If that is the case I also consider how difficult it is to exercise your consumer rights if there is a complain about the product – do you have to send it back to the country of origin? If so, who is going to pay for that?
Price / value
This is pretty subjective. Despite some flaws the price/value ratio can still be high, as long as the shortfalls are reflected on the price tag. I am big fan of good value, quality products for a low price, but if the price is too low than I would become suspicious. Even if you pay half the price of the bigger brand rooftop tents, if your new tent is not up to the quality then it is just money thrown out the window.
The overall score is the average of the previous points.
Score 2 or less: You should avoid it
Score between 2-4: You can buy it, but be aware…I may keep looking
Score above 4: Recommended
For a quick overview I am inserting the scores into a table, highlighting the pros and cons as well.
They look like this:
TentBox Hard-shell Rooftop Tent Review Summary
|Exteriors||5 / 5|
|Ease of Use||4 / 5|
|Interiors||4 / 5|
|Customer Care||5 / 5|
|Price / Value||5 / 5|
|Overall||4.5 / 5 Recommended|
|• Free US and UK/EU shipping|
• Custom shell
• 30 sec set up
• Plenty of storage space inside
• Thick mattress
• Gas assisted struts
|• Heavier than its competitors
|Best Price (Click to see)|
I hope my rooftop tent reviews will help you making your decision in buying your first or next rooftop tent! If you have any suggestion, please feel free to leave a comment here or contact me.
If you have not subscribed to the newsletter yet, you can do it at the bottom of the page!