Which ones are the cheapest roof tents right now? And which roof top tents are cheap to buy and won’t let you down? Valid questions that I am about to answer. There are some really spectacular roof top tents available for a very reasonable price, especially right now, pre-season.
Note, that this post is about cheap roof tents in the UK, as of 2020.
All of the roof tents I have selected for this round-up are soft top roof tents. They vary in size, so you’ll find everything from a small and lightweight 2-person roof tent to the larger, 3-4 person cheap roof top tents. You will find them in ascending order by the cheapest price currently available.
So let’s crack on!
Quick Summary - Cheapest Roof Top Tents - UK - 2020
|Ventura Deluxe 1.4
|website / eBay
|Ox Overland Dakota 210
|Front Runner FeatherLite
|website / Amazon
|Ventura Deluxe 1.4 Ext w/ Annex
|website / eBay
|Roof Cabin Hideaway
|Ox Overland Explorer 200
|website / eBay
|Ventura Deluxe 1.8 Ext w/ Annex
|Roof Cabin Hideaway XL
|Direct 4x4 Expedition
Ventura Deluxe 1.4
As I made a point in the detailed review of the Ventura Roof Tents, they are just such a good ‘package’: lot of features for a very low price. No wonder: the Ventura Deluxe 1.4 is the cheapest roof top tent right now in the UK, but it does not mean that the Ventura Deluxe roof tent has the lowest quality. Quite the contrary!
The Ventura Deluxe 1.4 is a roof top tent designed and made for the UK, considering the infamous weather. But it does not just withstand the British weather, it withstands it with ease…The Ventura performs well under extreme conditions, from –27 degree mid winter weather, to altitudes of more than 3000 Meters, the heat of Morocco and extreme winds (tested up to 74mph (120Km/hr). However, I suppose that only covers when being in transport: you can drive up to 74mph without losing the heavy duty PVC cover).
This small tent rest on a heavy duty yet lightweight aluminium base (45kg), and lightweight aluminium arms hold the flysheet. The Ventura has an assisted opening mechanism, making set up incredibly fast and easy. The flysheet is made of aluminized rip-stop polycotton fabric that is 100% waterproof (1800mm HH), breathable, UV-resistant/anti-tear and solar-reflective.
As for sleeping, there’s a 240×140×5 cm mattress inside, which makes the Ventura 1.4 a 3-person roof tent. Well, it’s a bit tight for three, but very spacious for two adults with kids.
Weighing only 50 kgs, it fits almost every vehicle, bar a Fiat Panda or a Kia Picanto.
The Ventura 1.4 is currently the cheapest via VenturaRoofTents.co.uk – the standard price is £1200, current sale price is £749. But if you subscribe to their newsletter, a further 10% discount comes your way. That renders the Ventura 1.4 by far the cheapest roof tent in UK, with a take-home price of £674.
Usually, there are Ventura roof tents for sale on eBay for a reduced price well after the sale has ended on the official website, and there are some bargains available too on eBay ie. Ventura Roof tent + annex for £850 or so.
Ox Overland Dakota 210
The Ox Overland Dakota 210 Roof Top Tent is exactly the same size as the Ventura Deluxe 1.4, so officially it is a 3 person roof tent, but in reality it is more of a 2-person roof tent (or 2+1 child).
Likewise, it is designed to withstand extreme conditions on all continents and in all weathers. It has a 600D Rip-stop polycotton tent wall – Polycotton is breathable, and thanks to some polyurethane coating applied on the fabric it is mould resistant, UV resistant and waterproof. The rain fly is made of a 600D polyester Oxford fabric with taped seams. The Ox Overland Dakota 210 has been wind-tested too, and it is capable to withstand winds up to 74 mph.
The Roof Tent is multi fit and attaches to most vehicles with good quality roof rails – be it your truck, camper van, 4×4 off road, car, trailer etc
The mattress / sleeping area is 143 x 240 cm large, the mattress is 6 cms thick.
The poles are made of lightweight aluminium but they are fabric-covered, which is a nice touch from Ox Overland.
The whole tent does not weigh more than 50 kgs, and it comes with a 1 year warranty straight from Tewkesbury. You can also contact Ox Overland if you’d like to try out one of their roof top tents, as they have roof tents to rent too.
Where to buy the Ox Overland Dakota 210: easiest option is to go straight to OxOverland.co.uk
May be useful to understand what’s what: Tent materials, fabrics, specifications and all the acronyms. FAQ.
Front Runner FeatherLite
I called it the Dark Horse of Roof Top Tents in this detailed review (Front Runner FeatherLite: The Dark Horse of Roof Top Tents?), and since then, the Front Runner has only got cheaper. Well below the £1k mark, the FeatherLite is a spectacular little roof top tent.
I say little: this is the 2nd smallest roof tent on this list. Despite being 240 cms long, the internal width is only 130 cms, which is comfortable for 2 people. And, the Front Runner Roof Top Tent is the lowest profile roof top tent.
If the Ventura was designed for the British weather, the Front Runner is somewhat the opposite. While it has waterproof fabric all round, the large windows for unobstructed views, the semi-permanent removable flysheet suggest, that the Front Runner excels when it’s warm and sunny:
The tent is made of polycotton Oxford tent fabric (600D) — a strong, breathable, mould resistant, waterproof, fire resistant, PVC coated, heavy duty. The tent is mounted to an aluminum base that is insulated to keep the cold out. The semi-permanent HD fly-sheet is made from 400D Oxford weatherproof material which offers shade during the day, decreased condensation in the morning, and the ability to leave the windows open when it is raining. Plus, you can remove the flysheet on warm evenings for a screened in moon roof style sleep under the stars.
Add this to the fact that this is lightest roof tent, not just on this list but you probably can’t find anything that has aluminium base and heavy duty polycotton fabrics and comes even close to the 42kgs of the weight of the Front Runner FeatherLite.
The only BUT is that the price does not include the annex, or shall I say the shower-skirt: it does not have a groundsheet, only three sides.
Where to buy the Front Runner Feather Lite: the cheapest option is the official website with free shipping – though I believe they ship it from Germany. Alternatively, you can also order the Front Runner FeatherLite from Amazon.co.uk.
Ventura Deluxe 1.4 Extended + Annex
To be fair, the Ventura Deluxe 1.4 Extended is the 2nd cheapest roof tent, but as it happens, the Ventura Deluxe 1.4 Extended with Annex is actually the 4th cheapest roof top tent you can buy in the UK. So I think I have been fair…
Apart from it’s size, everything else is just like the smaller sibling. Which is a bit strange, as even their weight is identical, which I can’t believe is true.
It unfolds to a 310 × 143 x 126 cms size, giving you almost 1.5 sqm extra room for the annex. The mattress inside is the same as the one in the non-extended version, 140 x 240 large and 5 cms thick.
I believe that the extended Ventura Deluxe 1.4 is much more versatile, and without the Annex, it’s only £25 more expensive than the normal (short) version…
Detailed review of the Ventura roof tents: Ventura Roof Tents Review – Ventura Deluxe 1.4 & 1.8
Roof Cabin Hideaway
The Roof Cabin Hideaway is another bargain that is sold with an annex, yet it’s still under a grand. But similarities with the Ventura Deluxe 1.4 stop here (well, apart from what’s obvious).
The Hideaway sits on a fibreglass composite base, rather than aluminium. The tent material is a 280 g polyotton, 600D anti-tear fabric with waterproof coating, UV and mold resistant. The material is double stitched throughout and there are heavy duty, expedition quality zips all around, suitable for the most rugged conditions.
The Roof Cabin Hideaway is slightly larger than the previous cheap roof tents, only just slightly: the 310 cms length by 143 cms width footprint comes with a 130 cms high tent, giving you a few extra centimeters in headroom. It does not change the fact that the Hideaway is maximum a 3 person tent.
The total weight of the Roof Cabin Hideaway is 60kgs, which is still well below the threshold of 75 kgs of dynamic load capacity that most compact cars have.
Where to buy the Roof Cabin Hideaway: RoofCabin.co.uk, the official website is probably the best place to go.
May be worth checking your car’s dynamic load limit: Roof Top Tent Weight Limits
Ox Overland Explorer 200
The Ox Overland Explorer 200 is the smallest of the cheap roof tents so far, as it is admittedly only a 2-person tent. The sleeping area is only 120cms wide, which is not too bad, but it makes the Explorer 200 the smallest cheap roof tent on this list.
In many aspects, the Ox Overland explorer is very similar to the Dakota 210, apart from the shape – so I am guessing it’s going to be a matter of preference of the design (unless you desperately need that extra 20 cms width).
The Ox Overland Explorer 200 roof tent sits on a heavy duty yet lightweight Aluminium Base. All the internal poles are covered to help prevent condensation (and because they look nice!)
Similarly to the Dakota 210, the Explorer 200 has the same 600D Rip-stop polycotton tent fabric that it is mould resistant, UV resistant and waterproof. The rain fly is made of a 600D polyester Oxford fabric with taped seams.
To me personally the Explorer 200 looks a bit funny, but behind the funny looks there is functionality: the side walls are almost vertical on every side, maximizing the space inside. I am sure that the Explorer 200 feels roomy, and that it feels bigger than it actually is!
The Explorer 200 comes with an Annex that can be attached by heavy duty SBS zippers.
The total weight of the Ox Overland Explorer 200 is 50 kgs, really lightweight, ideal for a couple for a quick getaway!
The TentBox Lite is the newest addition to the TentBox family. So new, that actually, at the time of writing this post, the TentBox lite is
only available to pre-order!
Update: the new TentBox website is live and all three Tent-Box models are in stock, as well as awnings and other accessories.
The TentBox Lite is very similar to the Ox Overland Dakota 210 in size and appearance, but there are some differences too.
The TentBox Lite is 140 cms wide, and TentBox modestly puts it in the ‘2-person roof tent’ bracket. As we have seen, this would be a 3-person tent at every other rooftent maker. The mattress is 6cms thick. The internal height is 112 cms, which does not make the TentBox lite the roomiest of roof top tents (compared to the 126cms of the Ventura for example).
But unlike most other roof tents on this list – the TentBox Lite has added features like the see-through roof windows or the large canopies that protect from cross-winds and rain too, further minimising the chance to get ANY water inside even in the most miserable weather conditions.
As for the materials used, the TentBox Lite has a 280gsm rip-stop canvas material with a 2000mm HH PU coating to prevent water seeping through.
It certainly is lightweight, only 50 kgs, it fits almost any car from the Fiat Panda upwards. As I mentioned, you can upgrade your camp with accessories such as a side awning or a portable power station!
There are a lot of tiny details, though that distinguish the TentBox Lite from the rest of the roof top tents on this list: like the double sealed zips and the very low profile, that could win over any argument.
Especially if you take up the 0% finance option, the price-advantage of the Ventura for example quickly melts away.
And I almost forgot to mention: drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or enter your email below for a Voucher to get a complementary gift with when you buy any TentBox Roof Top Tent!
Where to buy the TentBox Lite: TentBox’s official website
Ventura Deluxe 1.8
Yet another Ventura, the Deluxe 1.8. This is the biggest Ventura Deluxe roof tent, still just over the £1k mark.
The specifications are very similar to the ones I have detailed under the Ventura Deluxe 1.4. (Detailed review of the Ventura roof tents: Ventura Roof Tents Review – Ventura Deluxe 1.4 & 1.8)
The flysheet is made of a 420D polycotton Oxford fabric with PU coating, providing 1800mm HH resistance to water and UV protection as well. It is also anti-tear, however it’s not clear if it’s a Rip-Stop feature or just something that comes naturally with the stronger Oxford weaves.
The fabric of the tent body is the same 420D Oxford polycotton, stretched onto an aluminium frame.
The Ventura Deluxe 1.8 comes with two aluminum telescopic ladders that can be extended up to 2 metres.
Note, that Ventura does not sell ladder extension, so for larger vans e.g. VW Transporter you may need a completely new – longer – ladder. That’s true for all Ventura roof tents.
As for the size of the Ventura 1.8, you may have already guessed that the 1.8 in the name refers to the width of the sleeping area: the mattress is 240 × 180 × 5 cms with a cotton fabric cover. This makes the Ventura 1.8 a true 3-person rooftent. However, if you don’t mind sleeping across, rather than with your feet towards the ladders; 4 (shorter) persons may sleep in it comfortably.
The internal height is 126 cms, which is plenty to get dressed, sit up and read etc., while the external length is more than 3 metres.
The only thing that you should be aware of is the 180 cm total length when packed up: some cars simple won’t be wide enough to carry it sideways, and my be not long enough to have 2 or 3 crossbars on their roof at a proper distance for optimal weight distribution.
So despite only weighing 60 kgs (which is amazing, considering its size), the Ventura Deluxe 1.8 may not be suitable for compact cars / smaller estates.
Where to buy the Ventura Deluxe 1.8: VenturaRoofTents.co.uk
Roof Cabin Hideaway XL w/ Annex
Literally for the same price as the FrontRunner FeatherLite or the Ventura Deluxe 1.8, there’s the Roof Cabin Hideaway XL with some really great features. The annex is included in the price, however, Roof Cabin’s large roof tent is slightly smaller than the Ventura.
The internal width when open, is ‘only’ 165 cms, which is still more than enough for 3 people. Plus, the Hideaway XL has slightly more headroom (130 cms).
Another interesting feature is that the Roof Cabin Hideaway XL has been road tested up to 90 mph, so if you happen to drive in Europe, you can actually use the fast lane without risking to lose / damage your roof tent.
The length of the Hideaway XL, when closed, is 170 cms, which I think is still over the imaginary limit of being suitable to fit it on top of a smaller car. For the same reasons that I detailed under the Ventura Deluxe 1.8: you can’t fit the crossbars far enough from each other to support the roof tent evenly. So despite it being lightweight, only 60 kgs, you probably need a bigger car for the Hideaway XL.
The flysheet is is made of a 280 gsm polycotton fabric. It is 600D thick, anti-tear and has waterproof coating, UV- and mold-resistant.
Another thoughtful feature is that the groundsheet of the annex can be zipped off, making it much easier to clean it up after use.
All in all, the Roof Cabin Hideaway XL is a great roof top tent, just over a grand, hardly more expensive than the standard Hideaway…
Where to buy the Roof Cabin Hideaway XL: RoofCabin.co.uk, the official website is probably the best place to go.
Direct 4×4 Expedition
The Expedition roof top tent is a 3-person cheap roof tent that comes with an annex. When I say 3-person, it’s rather for 2 adults and possibly 1 child, as the internal width is 140 cms.
Size-wise, it is the size of the Ventura Deluxe 1.4, so the Direct 4×4 Expedition must have great specs to justify the difference in price. Having said that, selling just shy of £1,100, the Expedition is still very cheap…
As I said, it is one of the smaller roof tents, it’s 240cms long and 130cms high inside, the 140cms wide mattress is 7 cms thick.
The annex can be zipped on, and the groundsheet is removable too, making it easier to keep it clean. The flysheet is made of heavy-duty polyester canvas and comes in 3 colors: sand yellow, granite grey or forest green. The ladder folds halfway (rather than being telescopic).
It is worth noting that the manufacturer recommends the Expedition Roof Tent to be fitted across 3 or more roof bars a minimum of 1.2m apart for optimal safety and security.
Where to buy the Direct 4×4 Expedition Roof Tent: Direct 4×4 is an eBay shop, you can find the Expedition Roof Tent here on eBay.
In terms of price, I think it’s pretty clear that the main competition here is between Roof Cabin and Ventura Roof Tents. While Ventura has the biggest roof tent with annex, the Roof Cabin for the same price is only slightly smaller, but have stronger flysheet.
Ox Overland may not have a roof tent of this size (width over 150 cms) in this price range, but their cheaper models have some very nice features that distinct them from the rest (not to mention the bright orange color!)
Luckily, despite that these roof tents really are the cheapest roof top tents in the UK right now, you get absolutely decent roof tents for very little money. No-one can beat the price of the Ventura 1.4, not with a the 10% discount, they are miles cheaper than the next one on the list.
In terms of quality, although the Ventura roof tents seem solid, there have been quite a few negative feedback mainly around customer care and dealing with defects.
I just can’t imagine that you’d get anything like that with TentBox for example…you don’t hear that because their roof tents don’t go defect. And in terms of customer care, don’t forget the free gift you get (drop me an email at email@example.com for the Voucher Code)
Let me know if I omitted something that should have been on this list, though! I hope I could help you find the cheap roof tent you were looking for!