Guide - Rooftop tent

What is the advantage of buying a rooftop tent? 

What are the benefits of rooftop tent versus traditional ground camping?


What is a rooftop tent and why you need one?

Rooftop tents elevate your camping experience. They are tents that mount onto your vehicle’s rack system and are an alternative to a ground tent, RV, or camper. They allow you to easily convert any vehicle – car, SUV, crossover, wagon, pickup truck, van, trailer - into a mobile basecamp that is always ready for adventure. Aside from the incredible views and comfy mattress, there are many benefits to using a rooftop tent while camping – either alone or with friends and family.


Get off the ground: Keep high and dry in any weather as Thule Tepui canvases are waterproof. Also, rooftop tents keep you safe from animals, track less dirt in, and allow you to enjoy the enhanced view that camping above-ground gives you.

Quick and easy setup: With a rooftop tent, setting up camp is as easy as finding an epic location, putting it in park, and deploying your tent. With folding and pop-up options available, you’ll be set up and ready to enjoy the view in minutes.

Stay comfortable: With built-in memory-foam mattresses, a guaranteed flat surface to sleep on, plenty of ventilation, and places to stash your gear, rooftop tents mean a comfortable night’s sleep no matter where your adventure takes you.

How do rooftop tents work?

You travel to your favorite camping spot and open the rooftop tent, lower the ladder, and climb in! Thule Rooftop Tents are designed to fit most vehicle rack systems, and they are easy to install with secure mounting hardware. They can stay on your vehicle between adventures, or you can easily remove it in the offseason.  

If you do not have a roof or truck rack system, finding the right solution is easy. Go to Buyers Guide to find the right system. Or, contact our customer service team here.


What is the difference between hard and soft-shell rooftop tents?

There are many benefits to both hard and soft shell tents. Determining which one is best for you is up to many factors such as how many people you need to sleep, how much gear you are bringing, and your style of camping.  

Soft shell tents are the most common type of rooftop tent. They fold in half and expand the tent’s canopy as they open, making setting up a breeze. One half of the tent mounts to your vehicle’s roof rack; the other half is supported by a telescoping ladder that extends down from the tent to the ground. Tearing down is just as easy – fold the tent over, collapse the ladder, and replace the weather-resistant travel cover. Soft shell tents are popular because they not only come in many different varieties for different weather conditions, but they also come in 2, 3, and 4 person sizes. Some soft shell tents, such as the Thule Tepui Autana, also offer an annex that provides an additional private room below the tent, perfect for getting ready for the day’s adventure.

Seen below Thule Tepui Autana


A hard shell tent allows the user to quickly pop-up their tent with the release of a few latches. The quick setup and tear down make them ideal for the stop-and-go camping that is common with overlanding and off-roading. This style of tent does not overhang the vehicle like a softshell tent, only extending upward, making them great for lifted/ taller vehicles and tight campsites. Hard shell tents can hold up to 2 people, and in some cases, such as the Thule Tepui Hybox, they can double as a cargo box to transport gear as well.

Seen below Thule Tepui Hybox


Thule Tepui rooftop tents can weigh between 100 and 220 lbs / 45 and 100 kg. The model tent you decide on will depend on how much weight your vehicle’s roof rack system can carry. Most aftermarket rack systems, like Thule, have a higher dynamic weight capacity than most factory roof racks. Pickup truck bed rack systems are also a popular way to transport rooftop tents. Please consult your rack system and vehicle manufacturer for specifications.

What rooftop tent is right for me?

Every Thule Tepui rooftop tent is purpose-built, made with high quality materials and designed to be used in variety of environments. Choosing the right tent for you depends on how many people you want to sleep, and what environments you will be camping in. We offer two different different series to choose from:


Thule Tepui HyBox hard shell tent: Seek and deploy. This hard shell tents allow you to quickly and easily set up camp while giving space to haul extra gear.
  • Versatile design that converts from cargo carrier to rooftop tent.
  • Interior is lined with reinforced insulation to help control the temperature inside the tent

Capacity: Up to two people/ 400 lbs/180 kg


Thule Tepui Explorer Series: Four seasons of freedom.  With 2, 3, and 4 person options, these soft shell tents allow you to enjoy the outdoors anytime, anywhere, with anyone.
  • Thick, coated ripstop canopies made to endure all conditions and seasons
  • Four large internal pockets for storing gear and camping accessories

Capacity: Up to four people/ 650lbs/290 kg


So to sum it all up, there are many benefits to rooftop tents and multiple options to fit your needs. Once you have found the right one for you, the hardest decision you will have is where to go first!


Related articles

Roof racks

What can I use my Thule roof rack for?

With a Thule roof rack, you are all set to head off on your adventures and make sure you have everything you want.
Rooftop tents

Rooftop tents

Rooftop tents are built to elevate your adventure. These highly durable, waterproof, and well-designed rooftop tents are ready to face the elements.