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Hard Shell Roof Top Tents

Hard Shell Roof Top Tents are rapidly becoming a popular accessory for adventurers. They are a game-changer in the world of camping. If you are considering a hard shell roof top tent you are in the right place!

Read on to learn more about the following:

Read more
  • What is a hard shell roof top tent?
  • Benefits of a HSRTT
  • Different Styles
  • FAQ


Hard Shell Roof Top Tents 101:


For those new to the world of overlanding visit The Best RTT Tent Guide of 2023, our Soft Shell Roof Top Tent Page, or read below for more info on hard shell roof top tents!


What is a Hard Shell Roof Top Tent?

Roof top tents generally come in two forms: hard shell or soft shell. Hard shell tents get their name from the rigid outer shell made of durable materials such as fiberglass, abs plastic, aluminum frame, steel, with polyester and canvas mixed in. Premium hard shell roof top tents take quality to the next level by using marine grade stainless steel or aluminum aircraft grade.


These hard material provides a layer of insulation and protection that simply is not there with traditional, all fabric, tents. The quality materials these tents are constructed from make theme a cozy shelter in high winds, snow, sleet, and beautiful days alike.


What is a Hard Shell Roof Top Tent?

When unfolded, it provides a spacious and comfortable sleeping area. Hard shell RTTs are known for their durability, weather resistance, and convenience in setup/takedown compared to traditional tents. They are popular among outdoor enthusiasts, campers, and overlanding enthusiasts. 


Mounted to almost any vehicle with the use of a roof rack or crossbars, a hard shell roof top tent means safety is built into your campsite. No more sleeping with the raccoons. Sleeping in your RTT - five feet off the ground - makes you feel like wilderness royalty.


Hard Shell Tents Offer:


Hard Shell Tents Offer:

1. Storage: Doubling as a roof cargo box in transit with roof rails for your kayak. Close it and store your bedding inside or open it at your campsite for interior storage hammocks.


2. Durability: The outer shell means more resiliance, less fabric tear, that can withstand harsh weather conditions like heavy rain and snow.


3. Security: Added security as they are difficult for animals or potential thieves to access when closed. Sleeping off the ground and away from critters provides a good night's sleep.


4. Better Insulation: Hardshell RTTs tend to offer better insulation, keeping you warmer in cold weather and cooler in hot weather. Insulate your campground!


5. Quick Setup: Release a few latches for easy setup/take down with the help of gas struts.


Styles of Hard Shell Rooftop Tent


Clamshell - The most popular style of HSRTTs. These tents open using hinges with the support of gas struts to give people inside a 270 degree view. While open, the hard shell becomes a slanted wall angling up to create a peaked roof. Engineered like a clam in the wild, these tents are easiest to open/close with the release of two latches on the front.


Pop-Up - This style resembles a cube with a 360 degree view. With the shell becoming a traditional flat roof. Set-up and take down is streamlined with this style as well. Consisting of releasing four latches or ratchet straps on the corners of the tent allowing it to pop up.


Dual Action - A combination of the two styles above. Dual Action tents allow you to choose your style for the day. Release two latches for a clamshell style tent or all four for the full pop up.


Hybrid - A combination between hard and soft shell. These tents are securely contained within a hard shell but when folded out exposes 420d or 280g rip stop polyester or canvas soft tent. These tents have the best of both worlds with extra space and durability but take longer to setup or take down.


Annex- An accessory to extend your campground's footprint. Essentially an extra privacy room that extends from the roof to the ground. Most brands offer these as an additional, easy to install, accessory to attach to your new RTT!


5 Best Hard Shell Roof Top Tents: Fun And Comfortable

Hard Shell Rooftop Tents for sale! Below are five of our favorite hard shell rtts:
Overland Vehicle Systems Sidewinder Aluminum Rooftop Tent - 3 Person
  • Side-Opening, high quality, overlanding home for the roof of your vehicle.
  • Increased headroom consistent throughout the tent, unique for a hard-shell RTT. 
  • Built-in roof rails on tent roof - for transporting kayaks, bikes, etc

Overland Vehicle Systems Sidewinder Aluminum Rooftop Tent - 3 Person

goFSR Evolution Series V2 Rooftop Tent: 2-3 Person
  • Two sizes: Short - two Adults or Long - three Adults
  • Great option for overlanders with a hatchback or smaller vehicle.
  • A tighter, more clean fit on vehicle roofs so as to free up roof space for other storage.
  • Like sleeping in a cave! All blacked-out exterior with new black hardware, complemented by a textured black top.
 goFSR Evolution Series V2 Rooftop Tent: 2-3 Person
 Tuff Stuff Alpha Hard Shell Rooftop Tent - 4 Person
  • Hybrid style - Stored as hard-shell on top of your car with the benefit of extra head room and space of a soft shell.
  • Foam Mattress is 87"x71" (roughly the size of a California King bed) inside of the tent.
  • Available with Grey or Black shell
 Tuff Stuff Alpha Hard Shell Rooftop Tent - 4 Person
 Tuff Stuff Alpine SixtyOne Aluminum Shell Roof Top Tent - 3 Person
  • Dual Action styled for pop-up or clamshell deployment.
  • Blackout coated fabric - Like sleeping in your personal, comfortable cave in the wilderness.
  • Built-in roof rails on top of the tent - for transporting kayaks, bikes, etc
 Tuff Stuff Alpine SixtyOne Aluminum Shell Roof Top Tent - 3 Person
 Thule Basin Wedge RTT - 2 Person
  • Doubles as a cargo carrier inside closed tent while in travel mode.
  • Built-in roof rails on roof of the tent - for transporting kayaks, bikes, etc.
  • Bedding store inside the tent.
 Thule Basin Wedge RTT - 2 Person


What affect do hard shell RTTs have on fuel economy?

  • Adding weight to the roof of your vehicle negatively affects fuel economy. Hardshell RTTs are no exception, however, they are designed with aerodynamics in mind to mitigate the affect on fuel efficiency.


What is included with a hard shell RTT?

  • Accessories typically contain a combination of: built in foam mattress, LED lighting, USB plugins, telescoping ladders, solar panels, skylights, storage pouches, and all necessary hardware for installation. Purchasing from RoyalRTT means your tent also comes with the manufacturer's warranty.


Can my vehicle support a hard shell RTT?

  • Chances are - Yes! With an adequate roof rack system most vehicles can support a roof top tent. Make sure your car's dynamic Weight Capacity (Load Rating) is always greater than or equal tothe weight of your RTT tent. Visit The Best RTT Guide of 2023 for more information.


How many people can a two-person roof top tent actually comfortably accommodate?

  • A two-person roof top tent is comfortably designed for two adults. However, depending on the size and design of the tent, it may be possible to fit three adults comfortably, but it's essential to consider the weight of your tent and adhere to the manufacturer's weight limits for safety and longevity.


Are roof top tents water resistant, and how do they handle condensation?

  • Most roof top tents are water-resistant, with features like a polyurethane-coated rainfly and durable materials such as ripstop nylon. To combat condensation, many tents are designed to be anti-condensation, yet breathable with materials like poly-cotton or honeycomb flooring. Premium RTTs are designed to ensure airflow and minimize moisture buildup inside the tent, providing both water resistance and comfort for an unbeatable camping experience.


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