Americans, for all their ruggedness, are a little behind the curve when it comes to camping. We seem to believe that camping can only be done in the traditional style: With a tent, a sleeping bag, a camping stove, a lantern, and probably an air mattress. Either that, or we tote around a whole house on wheels and try to call it camping. The truth is that is way more work and hassle than roughin’ it needs to be. Car camping is huge in most parts of the world, and easy to accomplish with just a rooftop camping tent.

    Originally made popular for safaris in Africa or walkabouts in the Australian outback, rooftop tents (RTT’s), aka, cartop campers, are simple, space-saving devices that fit snugly onto the roof of your car. The intent here is to keep you safer and drier than you would be sleeping on the ground. Insects and snakes won’t try to sneak in for warmth. Bears can’t stumble into you on a search for food; and you’ll never end up sitting in a huge puddle after a rainstorm. When you’re ready for a new way to explore, take a gander at the 7 best rooftop camping tents.


    Pro: Inexpensive
    Con: Not very tall when deployed

    Entry Level: By and large you want to avoid rooftop tents that come in under the $1,000 mark, because the manufacturer has probably scrimped on something important. That is not the case with Tepui Tents whose entire line is without flaw. The two-person Ayer is the way to go if you want to keep costs low. You’ll find the same 600D rip-stop poly/cotton blend that they use in their higher-end items. It is treated to resist UV fading, mold, and water for a comfortable 4-season camping experience. The exterior is true heavy duty PVC. When buttoned up it is only 95 lbs., but expands to 84″ in length, 48″ in width, and a spartan 39″ in height. Certainly not large, this is best for car campers or anyone looking to keep weight – or expenses – low. PURCHASE: $820

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