The Roofnest Eagle Roof Tent is a rare bird: it offers huge interior space for a low price, without compromising on build quality. At least that is what is promised on the box, so let’s see if the Roofnest Eagle is worth checking out. There are a few competitors who have a high quality roof tent for a similar price (like the TentBox), so it is going to be interesting.
Before I jump right into my review I must start with a disclaimer! The new Roofnest Eagle is out and IS AVAILABLE in the UK! And it is ON SALE in the USA, and its price dropped $400!
About Roofnest, the roof tent company
Roofnest was founded by an Alaskan guy called Tim Nickles. He lives now in Colorado and that’s where Roofnest are based. The idea of Roofnest came from camping with friends and Tim’s obsession with gear and camping tech, adventures and exploration. Roofnest are a fairly new company (I could not find any info about the year it was founded), and their products have not been reviewed widely. (Although there are some reviews here, but be careful some of them were written by Tim Nickles).
Roofnest are aiming to make the roof top experience available to as many people as possible. They structured their company to keep their overhead costs low and sell Roofnests directly to the customer, so they can keep their prices low.
The Roofnests are manufactured in China. Having said that, it is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as quality control in the US do their job. They have a warehouse in Boulder, CO and in Dorchester (UK).
The Roofnest Eagle is the largest of Roofnest family. It is 57″ / 145 cms wide, 83″ / 210 cms long and 11.5″ / 29.2 cms high when closed. This is an extremely low profile even amongst the streamlined hard shell roof top tents. This includes the mattress as well. (However, it might limit the amount of bedding that can be kept under the lid during the day).
The mimimum distance you need between the crossbars is 33”/ 84 cms. The preferred distance is 38” / 96.5 cms apart though, to properly distribute the weight of the tent and its occupants.
The crossbars should be least 48” / 122 cms wide for the Eagle (52” /132 cms or greater preferred). Which pretty much narrows down the list of suitable vehicles…
There is a minimum given for the left-right distance for mounting as well, which is 31” / 79 cms. This practically means the length of the crossbar between the brackets, most vehicles will meet this requirement but do check before you buy.
It weighs 135 lbs / 65 kgs which, again, is very lightweight given the size of the Eagle.
The new Eagle has fiber-reinforced ABS shell (previous model was fiberglass only). It has been re-shaped with updated styling and aerodynamics. It can be ordered in either black or white. The slim design decreases road noise and improves gas mileage.
The inside of the shell is coated with a soft foam to further reduce interior noise and give the inside a soft “feel”. The lower shell has an aluminium plate glued and bolted into the base to provide stability and rigidity.
Windows / Doors
The Roofnest Eagle has two mesh windows at the front and back with canvas zip closures. There is a doorway with a mesh screen and zip closure on either side – the canvas doorway can be turned into a small shade awning with the included poles.
The wall material is a polyurethane-coated polyester and cotton blend with a waterproof rating of 3000mm (for comparison a typical waterproof rating on a backpacking tent is 1000mm).
The fabrics are 280 gsm thick, which is much thicker and tougher than a typical backpacking tent – more like a heavy-duty wall tent. This is however slightly thinner than the TentBox for example, but it can be alright depending on the climate. It should give you a good insulation for as low as 5 C and there is extra internal insulation available. Thicker fabrics however give you not just better heat insulation but better acoustic insulation too.
Ease of Use
Thanks to it is low weight it is relatively easy to pop it on the top of your car (by two people of course). You do not need to be a mechanic to secure the 4 brackets.
The Eagle comes with a light weight telescopic alu-ladder. It has its own heavy duty bag to prevent soiling of the bedding when you stow the ladder away. Sadly, I could not find out how long the ladder can extend to, but customers who bought the Eagle have not complained about it being too short.
The Eagle (and all roof top tents in the Roofnest range) has gas-charged struts for a speedy set up / folding away.
There are a few upgrades in the new model that are worth mentioning, but first let’s see the basics:
We have a large double size mattress (53” / 135 cms by 80” / 200 cms) stuck under the roof, that is 2.752 /7 cms thick. This is slightly thinner than the competitors’ but still very thick and should provide sufficient insulation and comfort.
The space is big enough for two adults and a child, and you can enjoy 37” / 94 cms of headroom.
The mattress has a removable polyester cover (slightly upgraded on the new model).
The Eagle has large windows on both ends and fabric lining for a softer feeling inside. It has full zip closure on the mesh doorways on either side.
Inside, you have plenty of options to store your personal belongings. There is a roof net, side pockets and a storage for shoes (nice touch!).
Some customers who have bought the old model said that some condensation sometimes appeared on the side walls after a cold night, but it does not seem to be a common problem. With the larger windows and the updated tent fabric hopefully, this issue has gone away. The walls are thick enough to keep the warmth inside and there is plenty of space inside for you to sleep under normal bedding or sleeping bags. The anti-condensation mat is always available if you have issues with condensation building up inside (see below)
Although there aren’t a shedload of accessories available for the Roofnest Eagle, I have found a few that are worth mentioning.
There is an awning available called Littlewing. It is 5′ / 152 cms wide where it attaches to the vehicle and 8′ / 244 cms wide at the outer edge when open. The Littlewing Awning down poles are 7′ / 213 cms tall.
When you’re camping in colder weather a temperature gradient exists and so moisture will build up on the tent walls, ceiling, and floor. Roofnest sells an anti-condensation mat the reduces the temperature gradient at the floor and allows any moisture to escape. It also helps with air-flow inside the tent and provides a small amount of extra padding.
You can protect yourself from cold weather by zipping in an extra layer of insulation. The insulation has vertical zippers at each corner for installation around the gas struts and small metal hooks that easily attach its upper edge to the upper shell. There is a vertical zipper at each doorway for ease of entry and exit. Once it is zipped and hooked into place, the lower edge is tucked under the mattress to create an enclosed, cozy space. You can install or remove the insulation in ten minutes or just leave it in when travelling. As long as you’re careful to tuck the insulation and tent material fully inside the tent when closing it, it should be fine.
It is a bit of a let down. While everyone commends the friendly and supportive owner (or the customer care team), there is only 1 year warranty on the Roofnest tents. Since manufacturing is in China I cannot help but be suspicious that Roofnest did not dare to go further with their warranty. Having said that, I have not heard about Roofnests giving in right after the end of the 1 year period… And to be fair, support is still available after the 1 year but it might cost a little extra if the fabric rips or the struts leak.
Roofnest unfortunately do not offer free shipping, but you can pick up your Eagle from their warehouses free of charge. You should check out their homepage (US website / UK website) to find out more on the shipping costs. Shipping starts from $249 / £100
If you order from the UK, you have to put down a £725 deposit, but there is no information on shipping times. They say the deposit is non-refundable, but it is if your tent does not arrive within 45 days.
Price of the Roofnest Eagle
US $2,795 $2,395 + shipping
UK £1,845 + shipping (£725 deposit required)
Without taking the Eagles very competitive price tag of $2795 $2395 / £1845 into account, there are only a few alternatives available in this size. This is not a comprehensive list, just a bit of taking a glimpse outside the nest.
For one, there is the James Baroud Evasion Hard Shell Rooftop Tent. The Evasion is slightly smaller than the Roofnest Eagle but has some extra features like thicker fabric, roof fan etc. It has a hefty price tag though, starting price from $3799 / £2425. The JB Explorer is even more expensive.
The other one popping to mind is the Maggiolina Airland Plus Medium and Medium XL. Both have the same size double mattress however the unit itself is slightly heavier. They have 36” headroom from the mattress to the ceiling which is a bit less and they do not have gas-loaded struts (but crank handles) to open or close the lid. The Medium starts from $2999 plus colour option while the XL currently sells from $3499 + colour option (not currently available in the UK).
Maggiolina also sells the Extreme range, the Extreme Medium has a 54” wide mattress however that is only 72” long (the whole unit is 83” long, same as the Roofnest Eagle). Their standard price is $3699 plus $100 or $200 colour option.
Roofnest are really setting their foot on the market. They have a very competitive price throughout their product range – do not forget that the Eagle is ON SALE right now in the US! The build quality looks solid, the features look promising no matter if you are out for a fun family weekend or weeks and months on the road.
But there is a big BUT: there is only 1 year warranty…so it is a bit of a leap of faith. If I was a heavy user, I would probably try to get an extended warranty. If I lived in the US a probable had a bit more confidence (faster shipping, no deposit required etc.) All in all, for a weekend fun and occasional hikes in the mountains I think the Roofnest Eagle is ideal and have everything a ‘light’ user may ever need. To answer the question in the title, the Roofnest Eagle is definitely worth checking out! I’d say Go For It!
Roofnest Eagle Roof Top Tent Review Summary
|Exteriors||4 / 5|
|Ease of Use||4 / 5|
|Interiors||5 / 5|
|Customer Care||3 / 5|
|Price / Value||4 / 5|
|Overall||4 / 5 Recommended|
|• Extra slim design|
• Competitive price
• Thoughtful details eg. Shoe-rack
|• No free shipping
• Only 1 year warranty
|Best Price (Click to check current price)|
|UK £1845 + shipping|
Please leave a comment if you have a Roofnest Eagle (I would love to hear your experience); or if you do not have one yet!
If you are looking for a hard shell roof top tent for a sensible price, please check out my other reviews: