Hard Shell Rooftop Tents
If you’re all about no-hassle camping, consider a hard-shell rooftop tent.
Rooftop tents are skyrocketing in popularity thanks to an impressive combination of convenience, quality, and comfort.
There are two types of rooftop tents: hard shell and soft shell. If your priorities include the fastest possible setup time and enhanced all-weather durability, you might prefer a hard shell tent.
In this hard shell rooftop tent buyers guide, you’ll learn:
- What is a hard shell rooftop tent?
- Advantages and features of hard shell rooftop tents
- Where to find the best hard shell rooftop tents
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Best for Bad Weather Protection
- Sleeps up to 4 campers
- Among the largest roof top tents on the market today
- It’s aerodynamic and has an easy-to-use one-piece shell
- Features an overhead storage loft and two sets of conveniently placed rip-stop internal side storage
Overland Vehicle Systems (OVS) prioritizes strength and quality in every piece of material they use. The OVS Bushveld is made with a 600D weatherproof canvas and a mil-spec weatherproof seal, making it the perfect home away from home in the roughest of weather.
Important Features of the OVS Bushveld
- Rip-stop canvas - 600D waterproof polyester canvas for all-seasons camping
- Mil-spec weatherproof seal - 100% weatherproof seal made to US military standards
- Waterproof cover - 420D Oxford rip-stop waterproof rainfly cover
How the OVS Bushveld Compares With Other Hard Shell Tents
- Extra sleeping space - King-sized mattress for up to four campers plus gear
- 3-piece cantilever design - Distributes weight across your vehicle’s roof and extends your living space
Many hard-shell rooftop tents are built for two or three campers. The OVS Bushveld uses a unique design that extends the roof and walls beyond the limits of the hard shell roof, creating enough room for four campers to sleep comfortably.
Best Budget-Friendly Hard Shell Rooftop Tent
- Sleeps up to 2 campers
- Super lightweight hard shell design
- 2.5" thick high-density foam mattress with a washable fabric cover
- All-weather protection, including mold-resistance, waterproof PU coating, and UV protection
The Hutch Tents Bonanza 2 hard shell rooftop tent is a compact model that’s perfect for one or two campers. Hutch tents tend to come in on the lower end of the price range, so you won’t beat the Bonanza 2’s price in the hard shell category.
Important Features of the Hutch Tents Bonanza 2 RTT
- Polyester rip-stop canvas - Mold-resistant, UV ray-blocking, and waterproof
- Aluminum hard shell - Protects tent body when packed and forms a solid roof when the tent is installed
- Extra thick mattress - 2.5” high-density foam mattress with removable, washable fabric cover
How the Hutch Tents Bonanza 2 Compares With Other Hard Shell Tents
- Lightweight - At just 131 lbs, this is the lightest hard shell tent we sel
- Extra thick mattress - Made from 2.5” high-density foam
The Hutch Tents Bonanza 2 is perfect for solo or coupled campers who want to set up camp over and over again. The tent is lightweight, built for all seasons, and affordable.
Best Designs for 1–3 Campers
- Available in 2 sizes, the bigger size can sleep up to 3 campers
- Hard shell design with a textured black top design
- Super fast setup and installation thanks to the gas strut assist system
- Tri-layer fabric allows for multi-season use
The Freespirit Recreation (FSR) Odyssey series comes in two sizes:
- 49” for 1–2 campers
- 55” for 2–3 campers
Both designs are comfortable, weatherproof, and install in just a few moments thanks to the body’s self-rising gas strut assist system.
Important Features of the FRS Odyssey Series
- Gas struts - Gas strut assist system expands the tent effortlessly into place in mere seconds
- Built-in lighting - Interior LED light strip powered by USB
- Thick and comfortable flooring - 1.5” expanded polyethylene (EPE) foam floor with 1.25” high-density foam mattress
How the FSR Odyssey Series Compares With Other Hard Shell Tents
- Fastest setup - Gas struts in the tent frame enable full setup in under one minute
- Soft sleeping surface - 1.5” EPE flooring and 1.25” high-density foam mattress
FSR makes some of the most popular rooftop tents on the market. The Odyssey series captures all of the features that FSR fans appreciate—lightning-fast installation, an extra soft mattress, and the highest-quality materials for all-weather protection.
What Is a Hard Shell Rooftop Tent?
A rooftop tent is a tent that’s installed on the roof rack or bed of a motor vehicle. There are two types:
- Soft shell
- Hard shell
Soft shell tents expand from their packed form into a setup that resembles a traditional ground tent, except that the tent is on top of your car. Hard shell tents have a solid outer shell that becomes a roof when the tent is opened up.
Advantages and Benefits of Hard Shell Rooftop Tents
These are the key advantages and benefits of hard shell rooftop tents in comparison to soft shell tents or traditional ground tents.
Fast and Easy Installation
All rooftop tents boast fast installation times.
For hard shell models, setup is especially quick and effortless. We’re talking about mere seconds to transform a closed pack into a fully assembled tent. Undo a few straps, allow the tent to “pop” into place, and you’re all set.
Strength and Durability
Compared to traditional ground tents, rooftop tents are generally made from stronger, more durable materials. Rooftop tents are high-priced, but they’re built to last. Thanks to solid tent-top roofs, hard shell varieties are especially strong and weather-ready.
Common Features of Hard Shell Rooftop Tents
Hard shell rooftop tents typically include all of the best features that you find in high-quality traditional tents, such as weatherproof material, heavy-duty frames, and interior pockets. You can expect these distinguishing features when shopping for a hard shell rooftop tent.
Hard Shell Lid Becomes Tent Roof
Hard shell tents are known for extra convenience and extra durability. Both benefits come from the innovative design that converts the tent’s hard shell lid into a roof as the tent opens up.
When you undo the straps holding your packed tent in place, the body immediately expands upward. The hard surface of the packed tent’s lid forms the roof, creating an extra strong barrier against the elements.
Built-In Ladder and Mattress
In an incredibly efficient package, a rooftop tent contains both a ladder and a mattress.
Ladders use a telescoping design that takes up minimal space when closed but expands to ground level when the tent is opened.
The built-in mattress forms the bottom of the tent when packed, then stays in place as the tent is opened up. With minimal effort, your mattress is always in place, providing corner-to-corner flooring every time you set up camp.
Price Range for Hard Shell Rooftop Tents
There are more types of soft shell tents than hard shell tents. If you’re shopping for a soft shell tent, you’ll find more variety and a wider price range.
Here are the current price ranges for the soft and hard shell tents carried by Rooftop Tents USA.
|Rooftop Tent Style||Low Price||High Price|
|Hard Shell Tents||$2,699.99||$2,799.00|
|Soft Shell Tents||$1,145.99||$3,345.00|
What Happy Campers Are Saying About Hard Shell Rooftop Tents
Hard shell tent fans love the convenience, quality, and comfort provided by this style of rooftop tent.
This is what people are saying about hard shell rooftop tents:
- Installation process is incredibly fast and simple.
- Materials are high-quality and built to last.
- They provide superior comfort, security, and insulation.
How Fast Can You Set up a Hard Shell Rooftop Tent?
When you hear people say that it takes a few minutes to set up a rooftop tent, they’re mostly referring to the time it takes to fill the tent up with their camping gear. The fact is, setting up a hard shell rooftop tent takes mere seconds.
Have a look at this video to see how quickly a flat carrying case transforms into a beautiful tent.
Caption: Freespirit rooftop tent walk-through video
Hard Shell Rooftop Tents From Rooftop Tents USA
If you love camping, you belong in a rooftop tent. These incredible accommodations help you camp more comfortably, more often, in more places.
Rooftop Tents USA carries designs from all of the leading manufacturers. View all of our soft shell and hard shell rooftop tents here.
Any questions? Contact Rooftop Tents USA via phone, email, or chat, and we’ll get back to you within an hour during business hours.
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