Hard Shell Roof Top Tent Review
Hard shell roof top tents have becomes perhaps some of the preferred options for everyone not just in the world, but Australia too. Sure, they’re a bit more expensive, but they have some very clear benefits over any other type of tent:
- They can opened and closed much faster, even in less than 60 seconds
- Hard top roof top tents tend to be more rugged and longer lasting as the shells protect the tent
- They are more aerodynamic making less noise from wind resistance and not affecting fuel consumption as much
Nonetheless, there are many options and prices and models to choose from. You might be overwhelmed by then, and not understand what’s the best hard shell roof top tent for you. There are many factors to take into consideration, and that’s exactly what we’ll take a look at first. Hopefully, by the end of this review, you’ll know which roof top tent you should get.
|Factors To Look For In A Hard Shell Tent||Bundutec Bundutop Roof Top Tent|
|Camp King Industries Roof Top Tent||iKamper Skycamp 3.0|
|Eezi Awn Blade||Roof Top Tent Hard Shell FAQs|
|Eezi Awn Stealth||All Hard Shell Roof Top Tents|
Factors To Look For In A Hard Shell Roof Top Tent
These are some of the most important features or factors to consider. Please keep in mind you can have a lot more, but we chose the most relevant ones.
Size Or Footprint
The first thing is the size of the hard top tent. Why? Simple, if your vehicle is not big enough, the tent might either not fit, or be a bit too large for the vehicle or rack you own. For example, if you own a ute such as a Toyota Hilux, and you own no tub rack or tub cap, then a large hard shell roof top tent over the cba might be dangerous. The cab might be less than two meters in length, and the tent can be over 2 meters. Meaning there will be overhang at either the front or back of the cab. Such overhang isn’t safe.
If you own a larger vehicle, such as Toyota Landcruiser, a Mitsubishi Pajero, Isuzu M-UX, or even any ute with a tall tub rack or a truck cap, then you’ll be fine no matter what. Any hardshell roof top tent will work.
Perhaps one of the most important factors. You always want to make sure that the weight of the tent is not larger than the roof rack, bed rack or cross bar dynamic weight capacity. The dynamic weight capacity (DWC) is the weight that your ack can handle when the vehicle is in motion. The static weight capacity (SWC), which is when the vehicle is parked, is typically 3 to 5 times greater than the DWC.
If the racks say the DWC is 180 lbs, you can purchase any hard shell roof top tent that weighs 180 lbs or less, preferably around 160 lbs. If it weighs more, you want a stronger rack.
Is it a 2-person hard shell roof top tent? Is it a 3-person hard shell roof top tent? Or a 4-person hard shell roof top tent? Always check the capacity, you want to make sure it’ll fit your needs and the amount of people that normally camp with you.
Australia doesn’t have as many extreme weather conditions as other countries like USA, however we do have snow, rain, and very strong UV rays. Mate, let’s face it, our Outback and the sun in our country is strong, very strong, so we want a solid hard shell roof top tent that can handle all 4 seasons.
Typically, you’ll want a tent that has a very reliable upper shell, and a high-quality canvas with hopefully enough windows or entrances for the air to flow as much as possible, remaining breathable yet properly insulated.
The finally feature we recommend looking for on a hard shell roof top tent is the shell material. Hard top tents shell materials tend to be fiber glass, abs plastic or aluminum. Aluminum tends to be the best one against the UV rays as it won’t be losing color as much. However, it gets extremely warm with heat, which can be a downside at night.
ABS Plastic is durable and reliable against branches, rocks or sand, but it can lose color with time, especially under the sun.
Fiberglass isn’t as strong as the other two materials against rocks or branches, but it won’t lose color as easily as plastic, and although it gets warm with heat, it doesn’t retain the heat as much as aluminum. The good thing is, it’s not usual for fiber glass to crack unless it suffers a very strong collision.
All three are very good, and we get tents made from all three materials. However, it’s a good idea to know the benefits and downsides of each material.
Best Hard Shell Roof Top Tents in Australia
The following list contains the best hard shell roof top tents in Australia. Of course, there are more brands, as well as other models, but at Off Road Tents AU we chose these 5 tents, as we consider them the highest quality models in the market. We have tested, used and inspected each and every one of them thoroughly, and that has helped us choose them.
Camp King Industries Hard Shell Roof Top Tent
Australian made hard shell roof top tent. Perhaps the best in the whole country, and our preferred model. This is a 2 person hard shell roof top tent, hand made in Australia, with a wedge design that allows you to open and close it in less than one minute.
The upper and lower shells are both made of aluminum, with black powder coated paint, ideal to withstand even the strongest UV rays, no matter whether if you are in the outback or in colder conditions. The tent itself is insulated both under the mattress as well as on the ceiling.
This hard shell roof top tent has some additional features that make it a favorite. First, it includes two crossbars that can handle 300 kgs of dynamic weight capacity. So whether it’s a surfboard, kayak or other accessories, you can pretty much carry anything you need over it. It comes sold in different packages depending on the price you want to pay, but one of them even includes a solar panel. Remember, these tents despite not being exactly custom made, they are made on order, which shows the quality and craftmanship. It’s not a mass production, it’s a quality production.
What we like:
- Australian made
- Crossbars over tent to carry extra gear
- Extremely comfortable mattress to accommodate 2 adults
- Packages can include solar panel
Eezi Awn Blade Hardshell Roof Top Tent
The Blade roof top tent by Eezi-Awn is a high quality wedge style hard top roof top tent made in South Africa. It has an uppar and base shell made of aluminum, and even the possibility of adding tracks and two crossbars over it, to carry other gear such as surfboards and more.
The tent is heavy, wide and long, preferably designed to fit larger vehicles such as the Toyota Land Cruiser, or utes with hard truck bed canopies. Thanks to being quite large and heavy, it’s also a very spacious hard shell tent. It can comfortably fit two adults, with a really comfy mattress.
It’s one of the strongest and longer lasting tents in the market. This is a true 4-season roof top tent, with a thick canvas, a strong shell, and an aerodynamic design. It’s one of our best sellers as it’s also a well priced model.
What we like:
- Made in South Africa
- High quality aluminum shell materials
- Possibility of adding crossbars
Eezi-Awn Stealth Hardshell Roof Top Tent
The Eezi-Awn Stealth hard shell roof top tent is the Blade’s older brother. By that we mean it’s a bigger, larger and heavier tent. However, it’s also more spacious and it comes with all the bells and whistles.
Like the Blade, the Stealth is an aluminum hard top tent, with the highest quality aluminum shell, powder coated in black and pretty much capable of withstanding any weather condition. Inside, the mattress is one of the most comfortable ones we have ever tested.
It is only 12” tall when closed (very low profile), and the ladder can be stored under the tent, between it and the rack. The canvas is one of the thickest and highest quality canvases out there, and insulation is the last of your troubles, you’ll never be cold in it. Thanks to the wedge design and three large windows, there is a lot of air flow.
On top of that, the tent has perhaps one of the best opening and closing features in the world. The struts and hinges are incredibly strong, durable and reliable. As said, the tent has all the comfort features you can imagine, with a USB and 12v charging port, as well as a light, so you fell right at home when in it.
What we like:
- Highest quality shell in the market
- Very comfortable and spacious
- Includes a 12v and USB port as well as a light
Bundutec Bundutop Hard Top Roof Top Tent
Another South African made roof top tent, also with an aluminum shell. The Bundutop is perhaps the most luxurious hard shell roof top tent in the world. It comes with a motor to automatically open and close it without any effort. Basically, this is an electric hard shell roof top tent.
The mattress is truly comfortable, and inside you will find some extra features such as 12v and usb ports, a light and lots of pockets to store valuable things. It also differentiates in the fact that this is a true pop up roof top tent, meaning it opens up on all 4 sides, as a box, so to speak.
When it comes to quality and durability, it’s also top notch. Weight wise, this is also a heavy tent, like most hard shells, but it’s not as heavy as you’d think. It has a large footprint, so it’s perfect to be used on either really big vehicles, or even on off road trailers.
What we like:
- Electric opening and closing feature
- Most luxurious roof top tent in the world
- Extra features such as chargers and lights
iKamper Skycamp 3.0 4 Person Hard Shell Roof Top Tent
iKamper is one of the best known brands of roof top tents in the world, if not the more popular. All their hard shell roof top tents are made in their own factory in South Africa, where quality control are craftmanship are unreal. Each and every single tent is carefully taken care of and inspected to make sure you get the best possible product.
The iKamper 3.0 roof top tent can fit up to 5 people, but we can safely say it will comfortably fit 4. It has a new and upgraded mattress, which is 2.75 inches thick, as well as having a technology named the 9-zone polyfoam mattress. It’s so, so comfortable you will be sleeping like a baby.
Opposed to wedge roof top tents and pop-up tents, the Skycamp 3.0 opens up towards the side, the Aussie driver’s side. It still opens and closes quite quickly (slightly less than wedge tents), and it has a thick canvas, and an ABS shell, which can be chosen in a rocky black finish which is better against the UV rays.
What we like:
- Fits 4 people comfortably
- You can add an annex to it
- One of the most comfortable mattresses out there
Roof Top Tent Hard Shell FAQs
Will my rack work with my hard shell roof top tent?
First things first, make sure your rack, whether a bed rack or roof rack has a dynamic weight capacity that’s larger than the weight of the tent. If so, you can assume it’ll work. The next thing is measuring both the tent and the vehicle’s roof, tub or rack, to make sure there isn’t much overhang (or preferably none), so you know the tent will work.
Are hard shell roof top tents better than other models?
Not really, they are excellent, reliable and certainly easier to open and close, but even other tents are very good, it just depends on what you want.
Can I install one on my own?
Most likely that is a no. Hard shell roof top tents are bulky, large and heavy. You will need at least one more person to mount them over any vehicle.
Do hard shell roof top tents last long?
Absolutely, they can literally last for years!