Tent Box Hard Shell Review
The TentBox is a competitively priced, interesting alternative to the well-known brands like Maggiolina, James Baroud or even Roofnest on the hard-shell rooftop tent market. Its design is very conservative so there should be no surprises: as long as the build quality and reliability meet the expectations and they are able to fulfil the increasing demand, TentBox should quickly become a strong player on the playing field. They ship worldwide and I could not find a decent TentBox review so let’s see, what are the ups and downs!
About TentBox, the company
TentBox are a relatively new company on the hard-shell roof tent market (not that there are too many ‘old’ companies on the market!). They have three products available: a hard shell, a soft shell and a ‘Cargo’ version that has an extra rack on the top of the hard shell roof tent allowing for an additional 50kg carrying capacity. Unfortunately, the latter two products are only available in the UK and Europe, however they may take pre-orders for their next batch of overseas shipment.
TentBox was founded by Neill and Ollie Shurville, two brothers from the UK with a love for the outdoors and any kind of adventure. Their ethos is to make an extremely high-quality tent at an affordable price, with the goal of making roof tents accessible to as many people as possible, in order to inspire as many adventures as possible.
Inspired by the concept of car roof tents, after several years of designing and redesigning the TentBox, they came out with the upgraded version of the Hard Shell TentBox in 2017.
TentBox have warehouses in the UK, Australia and the USA, and they offer Free Shipping in the UK, Europe and the US.
The design is lightweight, it looks sturdy and yet sleek. The height of the TentBox when closed is only 27 cms / 11 inches, which is less than most roofboxes. You will certainly hear (or not hear) the benefits on this when on the road: wind noise should remain minimal.
There are large windows at the front and the rear; and doors on each side that would definitely help to feel close to the nature and would allow you to enjoy the surroundings from the comfort of your bed after waking up. There are doors on two sides which makes it easy to access the TentBox on either side. Both windows have fly screen and a canvas flap that can be opened and closed by sturdy looking zips.
You can also customise the colour of the hard shell, however there are only two options available (black and white).
The TentBox comes with a ladder that can extend to 3 metres (!!) (118 inches), which is very unique and could come really handy if you have fit your TentBox Hardshell onto a VW Transporter for example.
Ease of Use
Since the TentBox weighs only 64.5 kgs / 142 lbs it will fit on most vehicles.
Find out if the TentBox HardShell would fit your car: Roof Top Tent Weight Limits
The TentBox is not the lightest hard-shell roof tent on the market (the smallest Maggiolina weighs 20lbs / 9kgs less, but those are slightly smaller and unfold by hand), but it is not overly heavy. According to some user reviews it can be fitted onto a Honda Jazz (Honda Fit) which is quite impressing. Apart from the two strong(er) person all you need to have are two cross bars fitted on your roof at least 80 cms / 31 inches apart from each other. There is plenty of support and guidance available on the website explaining how the TentBox should be secured on your roof bars.
While most vehicles can carry weight up to 75 kgs on their roof, there are some manufacturers that allow less load on the roof of the vehicle. Check you Car Owners’ Manual before you commit to a roof tent!
It can be quite confusing thought, that the weight of the crossbars, the TentBox and the people inside will be much more than 75 kgs (or whatever the maximum capacity is for your vehicle). But as long as your roof bars, and vehicle roof are rated to support over 70kgs / 155lbs (which most are), there won’t be a problem with the weight.
The reason for this is that vehicle load ratings are based on ‘dynamic loads’, which is a load rating for when the vehicle is in motion. Therefore, the weight of the people inside doesn’t count, as there will only be people inside the roof tent when a vehicle is stationary. Vehicles can take a vast amount of weight on their roofs when stationary, as all of the weight bears directly down onto the structural steel frame.
The TentBox Hard Shell opens and closes by Air-Assisted struts. As soon as the locking straps are released, it will self-erect almost instantly. Pulling it down is just as simple, and can be done in 30 seconds, using the provided handles.
Good news that customers who have bought the TentBox have not reported that the TentBox ever opened unexpectedly.
The TentBox comes with a 6 cm (2.3 inches) thick high density memory foam mattress in a removable, washable cover. The inside of the tent is lined with flannel which gives it a comfy feeling.
The actual size of the fully opened TentBox is decent, provides space for two people in comfort. The mattress is 125cms / 50 inches wide, just for comparison a standard double bed is 135cms/53 inches wide. The TentBox however is much longer than a standard bed, giving you some extra space for clothes, bags or a night lamp etc.
The height of the TentBox when fully open is 1 metre / 39.5 inches. The useful headspace inside is slightly less, only 95 cms / 37.5 inches. However, the TentBox is still higher then the Maggiolina Airlander range (those have 4 cms / 1.5 inch less headroom)
The fabric walls are made of 280gsm rip-stop polycotton canvas with external PU coating (2000mm HH rating – what does it mean? Find out here: FAQ). The fabric is much thicker than regular tent fabric, and polycotton has many benefits over polyester: it has great thermal properties (insulates better), which can help reducing any condensation building up inside the tent walls.
As for storage, there are plenty. On the top there are metal hooks for your bags, clothing or lights. There is also an overhead net for storing clothes or your bedtime read, however I would not put anything heavy in it. There are more pockets hanging on either side next to your pillow, so they are easy to reach.
The TentBox comes with 2 years warranty and there a lot of spare parts available so if anything goes wrong, breaks, rips etc. you don’t need to buy a new one. When I contacted their Customer Support to confirm a few things for this review, Ollie came back with the answers within 24 hours. That just confirms that they really are a small company! So do expect a bit of a delay in the response especially if you are not in the UK time zone! On the other hand they really are approachable down to the ground trustworthy guys trying to please the dear customer…
The most obvious alternative is the Maggiolina Airland range. The size of the TentBox is somewhere between the Airland Small and Small XL – not as long as the Maggiolina Airland Small XL but slightly wider and expands higher. As for the fabrics used, the two are very similar. The Maggiolinas have an extra layer of thermal and acoustic insulation on the ceiling and they come in different colours too. The Small XL costs $3299 / £2315 thus $300 / £300 more expensive than the TentBox – but bear in mind that the cost of shipping is included in the price of the TentBox
The Roofnest Sparrow (detailed review here) is also of similar size (yet slightly smaller, less headroom. The Roofnest Eagle is 5 inch wider than the TentBox for a similar price) and has similar attributes. They come in two colours as well, however the mattress is 7.75 cms thick. The retail price is $2595 (on sale at the moment for $2295) but there is an additional shipping fee of $245. (For UK prices please check out my Roofnest Eagle review)
James Baroud is a noticeable player too, they have a range of soft-shell and hard-shell rooftop tents. They have two hardshell rooftents in a similar size, the Evasion and the Explorer. Both are slightly wider but shorter (200 x 140 cms). I guess it also depends on your car what shape and size rooftop tent you prefer… The TentBox is more compact than all of their competitors. You can buy Evasion and the Explorer around $3800-$3900 / £2500 so they are considerably more expensive, but they do come with a few extra features.
The Hard Shell TentBox is a high quality product that will give you with a lot of joy and peaceful moments. All the TentBox products are of high quality, there’s good customer support and aftercare. The Hard-shell TentBox is very compact and fits almost any vehicle.
The pricing is very competitive ($2995 / £1950 with free shipping (!!)) and TentBox offers a 0% interest in 6 fixed installments (plus there are other credit options too). Not a lot of other manufacturers have this option and it makes their offer almost unmissable: you could enjoy countless days of relaxing on the beach, jumping off cliffs or hiking for just $16 a day, without the need to worry about your accommodation. Not bad…
And don’t forget to claim your free gift!Snippet not selected.
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 some of its competitors
|Best Price (Click to see)|
|UK||TentBox website £1995>
|Australia||Get in touch with the TentBox team for shipping fee & customs fees.
Please leave a comment, I would really appreciate your feedback!