Car roof huts are a special kind of shelters, and they are different from traditional ground shelters. Although they are not suited for everyone, they do have a number of advantages, which make even novice campers want to buy such a shelter.
Why purchase a 4-season rooftop tent?
- Ease of setup. Most of them are pop-up and fold-out shelters. It takes just a couple of quick moves to install them. Attaching them to the roof rack is actually the hardest part of it, which is not really hard.
- This frees you from the hassle of hammering pegs into the ground and stretching guy ropes. Car roof huts are attached to the roof rack with mounting bolts or brackets.
- A shelter lifted above the ground is less of an attraction for critters.
- Many of these shelters feature built-in mattresses, so you won’t have to blow up another one.
- They are made of heavy-duty materials and are actually 4-season tents that can keep you warm and dry during rain, heavy snow, or hard frost.
- It is a much more affordable option than a RV or trailer.
Why not purchase a 4-season rooftop tent?
- You need to use a ladder to get in and/or out of your hut, which is less convenient than walking in and out of a ground-based shelter.
- You have less freedom of moving around inside: you don’t want to walk or jump on your vehicle’s roof, do you? In fact, a car roof shelter is good for a sleep.
- If you are planning to travel with kids or pets, please think twice how to safely get them up into it.
- These shelters are pricier than traditional ones, and it takes a bit of research to buy the right shelter for your vehicle.
What types of rooftop tents are there?
These shelters are divided into several categories. Fold-out shelters are installed by fixing them in the roof rack, removing the cover, pulling out the ladder, and setting it up. Fold-out camps are usually soft-shell with canopies made of high-quality water-repellent materials. Some shelters can accommodate up to 4 people (please consider your vehicle's rooftop weight capacity!). Many of them have panoramic windows, allowing you to enjoy beautiful views and stargazing at night.
Pop-up 4-season rooftop tents are hard-shell shelters typically made of aluminum or plastic. They unfold automatically when unlatched, requiring minimal effort and setting up in under 1 minute. These shelters offer protection against bad weather, but they are smaller and less spacious than soft-shell options.
A car roof hut is installed on top of a vehicle, suitable for those who own such a vehicle. The vehicle must have appropriate roof racks to attach the shelter. Some shelters come with an annex or awning, connected to the car roof part and installed on the ground. The awning can serve as storage or a kitchen area.
When attaching a shelter to the top of your vehicle, please be sure your car is equipped with the right type of roof rack and it is strong enough to handle the weight of your chosen shelter. Installing a 4-season rooftop tent takes a bit of skill and experience.
Smittybilt Gen 2 Overlander Tent XL
This product is an attraction for campers who appreciate space. It offers a great price/quality ratio, and it is among the most affordable pieces within its category. It will be great for you if you have a large vehicle, as it accommodates up to four campers.
The canopy is waterproof, as it is made of PU-covered polyester. Besides, the 4-season rooftop shelter comes with an Oxford rainfly that is held by metal poles. These poles are made of adonized steel, as are the rest of the frame and the telescopic ladder. The shelter has large mesh-covered windows that keep the inside ventilated.
One reason why it is less expensive than most 4-season shelters is that it is far from quick-setup. Apart from the rain fly that has to be installed in a traditional fashion, the Smittybilt Gen 2 comes with mounting brackets, and it takes a bit of experience and skill to install these on the roof rack and fix the ladder.
It takes about 15 minutes to put this whole thing up. If you need more space, please buy Smittybilt’s awning, so you can have a large and protected cooking area, especially if it begins to rain. With Smittybilt you get a nice piece at a low price, which you have to compensate by a little bit of hard work setting it up.
The Ontario 4 4-season rooftop tent is a bright example of going hand in hand with user-friendliness. The shelter suits a variety of vehicles and can accommodate up to 4 persons. Many users say it is an excellent family shelter. Being a soft-shell type, it is quite large yet lightweight. If you like, you can purchase an awning, which is there tailored to suit this particular camp.
The canopy is made of a superb-quality ripstop waterproof 420D polyester canvas. It is highly water-, UV-, and mildew-proof. The rainfly is made of 420D polyurethane-coated fabric. Both the base and internal frame are made of aluminum, as is the adjustable ladder. Besides, the shelter features a built-in foam mattress, which is big enough to take up to 4 campers.
The Ontario 4 is a soft-shell camp, and it takes a few minutes to pitch it. The canopy features large skylights, so you can marvel at the surroundings while taking a rest or admire stars before sleep. You will be protected against soil moist, animals, and crawling insects. Besides, you can purchase an annex, which is tailored to suit the shelter, shield the ladder and a good swath of space near your vehicle, hide away from rain, and use it as a cooking and/or kitchen area.
This camp is good for year-round use, so it can shield you from heavy snow, rain, and high winds at any time of the year. However, it is advisable to monitor weather forecasts and postpone a trip if there is a hurricane or tornado warning!
iKamper Skycamp 3.0 Mini
The iKamper Skycamp 3.0 Mini is a compact 4-season rooftop tent. It is famous for its user friendliness and compatibility with all types of vehicles, even very small. Being a hard-shell camp, it springs up into a structure with one hard wall and a soft canopy with large windows. You can lie snugly inside it on the top of your car and marvel at the surroundings. Besides, there is an image of the world map that can inspire you to plan your future adventures.
The canopy is made of a water-repellent breathable polycotton, and the package includes a polyester rainfly. It is zipped to the canopy and won’t let a raindrop inside. The material has no vinyl coating, so you won’t have a condensation issue.
The shelter features a 2.25-inch polyfoam mattress, which lies on a honeycomb aluminum base. This compact shelter can accommodate two adults plus a kid.
The iKamper Skycamp 3.0 mini features a built-in awning near each window. The adjustable ladder supports the whole structure, so it is important to set a length based on your vehicle’s height.
Like all hard-shell shelters, the iKamper Skycamp 3.0 is very easy to set up: it takes less than a couple of minutes to erect it. It saves you the hassle of pegging and hammering, so you will have plenty of time to enjoy your stay in nature. Thanks to the hard-shell design, it is easy to transport and will last a lifetime.
🏕 What is a rooftop tent?
It is a kind of shelter that is attached to the top of a vehicle, mainly to a car roof rack. These shelters are popular among campers who want to sleep above the ground, because they find this type of outdoor dwelling safer and more comfortable.
📦 Are there 4-season rooftop tents?
Yes, there are. They feature water-repellent and UV-resistant canopies and rainflies, and they tend to be stable in high winds at any time of the year, as a car roof shelter has an aerodynamic shape and is firmly attached to the vehicle and won’t topple over in a wind.
💡 Are there different types of 4-season rooftop tents?
Yes. They differ in shape and structure. A soft-shell foldout hut is first attached to the roof rack and unfolded manually by pulling out and fixing the ladder on the ground. A pop-up hard-shell 4-season shelter has a solid base and cover, and they spring up as you unlatch it. Soft-shell huts are more spacious.