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What is hard shell roof top tent?

this is a hard shell rooftop tent for car camping

For car family camping, hard shell roof top tent is a new concept. It is becoming popular day by day. Just like the name, the tent is made from hard materials. A tent is an essential part while it comes to camping. If you are planning your vacation to be away from the busy world, then the first concern is arranging a tent. If you are taking a car, there are various types of hard shell roof top tent in the market, different in size, color and mechanism. They look like a storage box placed on the car rooftop. When the tent is set up, it is turned into a comfortable and safe bedroom. Also, you need some replacement tent poles to ensure your tent safe.

Style or Shape

it is a rooftop tent on a red car

The hard shell roof tent is found mainly in two shapes or style. One is the pop-up style,another one can be called a wedge style.

The wedge style opens like a book. One end is higher than the other, makes the perfect shape of a wedge. It is a good thing for those who want more space because the lower part is hinged with the car. Those tens are quite good in harsh weather, such as strong wind, snowfall or heavy rain. 

The pop-up style looks like a box when it is opened,  and here, you will get more space vertically. It is ideal for two people to sleep or sit up inside the tent comfortably.  You can choose any of them according to your needs and taste.

Materials and Mechanism

there is a black hard shell rooftop tent on the ground

Fiberglass or aluminum any of these two materials is used as hardshell material. Fiberglass is durable for going through all the rough and bumpy roads. Another right side is that they are not so heavy. However, there is always the risk of cracking if it collides with a heavy object.

Aluminum is another durable and common material to build a tent. Like fiberglass, it has no risk of cracking and extremely sustainable. The wrong side is that the weight is much higher than the fiberglass.

The mechanism for opening or lifting the tent is straightforward and simple. It can be done either mechanically or with the help of gas struts. The mechanical system is straightforward and reliable. Its sturdy feature helps to keep the tent standing tall during lousy weather.

The lifting mechanism with gas struts is very fast with less effort. It is very convenient and a single person can do that without any help. Sometimes closing the tent, especially in the strong wind, becomes a  difficulty. As it depends on the gas pressure, so if accidentally the pressure reduces, it affects the tent’s structure.


1. It is durable and set up and down is convenient even in bad weather.

2. The strong shape keeps the tent high in sturdy weather and it is aerodynamic.

3. You can store all the bedding components inside the tent when it is closed.

4. It is more soundproof and waterproof. The insulation is also good to protect from cold and direct sunlight.

5. It some models there are spaces to store on top. Most hard shell roof top tents come with mattress and ladder. The mattress makes the nap time comfortable. The ladder helps to climb up and down the tent and also gives support to the extended part of the tent.

6. As the material is hard, so you can lift the tent adequately, which means you can utilize the whole space.


1. It seems to be a little bit expensive.

2. You cannot fold it. So it would be best if you carried it on top of your car which adds some extra weight on the roof.

3. If your vehicle is not a big one, then this option is not suitable for you.

How to choose the perfect hard shell roof top tent for car camping

there is a green rooftop tent on a car

The rooftop tent is for those who do not want to sleep on the ground. Also, there are risks from insects or wild animal. The roof tent gives more safety and protection for family camping, especially when you have children. 

If you are planning to go for the hard shell tent for car camping, then there are many options. To choose the best tent, you can research on the website. A good tent will have lots of feedback and ratings. It will be easier to choose or make a list of the best ones by visiting the website. Do not go for the cheap ones. Though those are cheap, the quality will not be so good. You do not want to face any problem while on a road trip. Check the warranty of the manufacturer while buying the tent. If you need replacement tent poles, then prepare for that too.

Choose the tent size while keeping your car in mind. The closed tent will be mounted on top of your vehicle. So the tent size must not be too big. Also, weight is a big issue here. The tent is going to add some extra weights. So, make sure your vehicle will function correctly, and you can drive with that weight. There are many designs which are lighter in size. You can choose them.

The mechanism of deploying and closing must be straightforward so that it takes minimum effort and time. Before buying the tent, try to know the device. Make sure that the system is convenient for you.

Generally, the size is varied from small to big ones. If you are single or with a partner, then choose the smaller one. For a family of 3 or 4, choose the bigger one. Usually, a ladder is included with the tent package. However, make sure, the ladder is strong enough to give support. Otherwise, you can buy another ladder separately. Check whether the tent affects the gas mileage or not. The soundproof and waterproof features will add more values. So, choose your hard shell roof top tent wisely to enjoy your trip and camping.


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