Roof top tents would have to be one of the most lusted after accessories in the four-wheel drive industry. Once you spend a night up high over your vehicle away from the reality of damp campgrounds, insects and perhaps larger creepy-crawlies, it is hard to go back to a conventional tent. But they are not without their flaws.
Are you prepared to pack up the tent each time you need to drive your vehicle? Are you happy to lug around a giant box on your roof? Does the reality of never fitting into a shopping centre car park excite rather than terrify you? If so, roof top tents are for you! So once you know you want a roof-topper, what are your options when it comes to picking the right one? Here is our take on the best roof top tents on the market that could be yours.
ARB SIMPSON III
The Simpson III is the biggest roof top tent in the ARB range, and it’s manufactured from poly cotton fabric with an Oxford polyester flysheet as well. ARB claims the big feature with the Simpson III is just how quick and easy it is to set up and pack down. Internal storage pockets provide safe locations for personal items such as phones or keys, and a solid, retractable aluminium ladder is included for tent access. A major complaint with some roof top tents is the quality of the supplied travel cover that can fall to bits after a few hours on the highway. ARB supplies a laminated PVC cover that is also UV stabilised, which protects the tent and your belongings during transport and storage. An optional annexe is also available if you need more room or protection from the elements.
For more information visit: https://www.arb.com.au/tents-swags-awnings/rooftop-tents/
There is plenty to talk about with the all aluminium South African designed and manufactured Bundutec Bundutop roof top tent. Thanks to its electronic activation set-up takes just 18 seconds with the push of a button. Access to the sleeping area is through all four sides, where you will find a huge 100mm thick mattress inside (most others use 50mm or 75mm thick mattresses). A full mechanical back up is incorporated in the event that there is no 12v power, and there is even a auxiliary outlet inside the tent to power your electronic devices, as well as an internal light if you do have access to 12v.
For more information visit: https://bundutec.com.au/rooftop-tents/bundutop/
(with free delivery Australia wide)
BUSHRANGER OPEN SKY
Bushranger’s Open Sky roof top tents have been on the market for some time now. It is pretty easy to see why they have stuck with this design too, as it has some rather handy inclusions. A good base is the foundation for any roof top tent, and Bushranger has chosen a rustproof aluminium frame with aluminium clad insulated base and stainless steel hinges for this reason. Access is via the front or rear of the tent, which as also covered by a shaded flysheet. Four internal storage pockets hide your valuables, and the integrated flysheet keeps the tent cooler in summer while reducing condensation overnight, according to Bushranger.
For more information visit: https://bushranger.com.au/
DARCHE PANORAMA 2
If you enjoy the freedom of sleeping in a swag, the Darche Panorama 2 could be for you. It features a rather unique zippered sunroof, which when fully opened provides a room with a view. The sunroof also allows for enhanced airflow on warmer evenings. Darche has chosen a checkerplate alloy base construction for strength and rust resistance, and the entire tent has been made from 340gsm proofed poly/cotton double pass ripstop canvas, with an included 210 denier Oxford polyester ripstop annex. The Panorama also arrives complete ready to bolt to your vehicle, with guy ropes, window poles and instructions are all supplied as part of the package.
For more information visit: https://darche.com.au/panorama-1400-2018
You have got to love Aussie engineering and marketing. According to the Dingo Doza team, their roof top tents come with an unwritten warranty – if you have any hassles… call them and they will help you. Kind of hard to argue with that! Dingo Doza roof top tents are made in Australia from Australian Bradmill Supadux, 65 per cent polyester and 35 per cent cotton canvas. Number 10 YKK zippers are used all ’round, which according to Dingo Doza are the best you can buy. A 75mm high-density foam mattress is included, which should comfortably sleep two adults. To keep insects out, midge- and sandfly-proof Finetex mesh has been sewn in, and the whole tent takes approximately one minute to set up.
For more information visit: https://dingodoza.com.au
EEZI-AWN FAMILY T-TOP
If you have a few kids or just want as much tent space as possible high off the ground, the Family T-Top from Eezi-Awn measures up to a huge 2.2m wide! It is also 2.4m deep, so there should be enough room for even the tallest traveller. A unique feature is the centre removable partition that separates the tent into two living spaces, perfect for families or perhaps his-and-her rooms on garlic prawn night. Eezi-Awn tells us the tent is so large it can fit up to four adults, or two adults on one side and up to three children on the other. It also needs to be mounted to open towards the side of the vehicle, as once again, it is rather enormous.
For more information visit: https://www.4x4awning.com.au/
FRONT RUNNER FEATHERLITE
Are you sick of bulky roof top tents creating wind drag and reducing fuel consumption? The Featherlite roof top tent has been designed with this in mind, with a frontal area that Front Runner tells us is 30 per cent smaller than other models, in theory significantly reducing wind drag and fuel consumption. Construction methods also seem to be of importance to the Featherlite team, who have incorporated fully insulated and laminated aluminium floorboards, which are then powder coated in a non-marking ripple finish for added durability. Thanks to the use of poly/cotton fabric on the main tent walls, the entire unit weighs in at just 42kg, too.
If you are into long-distance touring, then Hannibal roof top tents would be familiar to you. The unique feature of the Hannibal Tourer roof top tent is just how much shelter the tent provides whilst set up. Combined with an awning it’ll have you damn near ready for any trip, and Hannibal even provide the option of screening this area with annex walls with windows for more cover. Hannibal has used Australian made 380gsm Dynaproofed polyamide cotton canvas. A 75mm foam high-density mattress provides comfort at night, and if you want even more luxury a dual mattress option is available as well.
Starting From: $3,347
For more information visit: www.hannibalsafari.com.au
HOWLING MOON DELUXE
Howling Moon claim to be the original roof top tent manufacturer, with roots going back over forty years to their beginning in 1972. The Deluxe was one of the first roof top tents they designed, and is still a favourite both here and overseas. Howling Moon recommend the Deluxe roof top tent for those who crave simplicity on weekend or touring trips, as it lacks the creature comfort of a full extension. In saying that there is still an optional shower skirt for occasions where more shelter is required. The use of 380gsm polyester cotton ripstop canvas keeps weather off the included 75mm thick high-density mattress, and Howling Moon insist only superior materials are used throughout, such as anodised aluminium and stainless steel.
For more information visit: https://www.howlingmoon.com.au
The whole point of roof top tents is that they’re quick to set up and off the ground, which also frees up internal vehicle space by storing bulky bedding inside the tent during transit. The Ironman 4X4 roof top tent ticks all these boxes, and they even have a video on their website showing one person completely setting the tent up in eight minutes, including an awning. It’s not just quick to set up though – the Ironman 4X4 tent has some quality inclusions such as YKK zippers, a rugged 1000D waterproof PVC on-car cover and a 65mm high density foam mattress for a comfortable night’s sleep. It is also competitively priced at just $1240.
For more information visit: http://www.ironman4x4.com/products/rooftop-tent-only
JAMES BAROUD EVASION EVOLUTION
If you thought all roof top tents were made just from canvas, think again. The James Baroud Evasion Evolution is the most compact roof top tent in the James Baroud line-up, and like most of their roof-toppers, it is a hard shell design, constructed from an upper and lower reinforced hull. The top section quite literally pops up on AL-KO supporting gas struts once the transport clasps are released, and the James Baroud team insist the tent takes just seconds to set up. The tent walls are constructed from breathable fabric that is UV resistant and 100 per cent waterproof, and once inside there is a high-density foam mattress waiting for you.
For more information visit: https://www.jamesbaroud.com.au/products/evasion-evolution.html
KIMBERLEY KAMPERS MYCUBE
According to Kimberley Kampers, the MyCube roof top tent has been designed to fit almost any roof rack while remaining lightweight enough for smaller four-wheel drives and SUVs to safely carry. The most obvious point of difference with the MyCube lies with the included wind-deflector shield on the front of the tent, which is said to minimise wind drag. The actual tent has been constructed from waterproof Australian-made canvas, which sits on an aluminium honeycomb floor for a balance of weight and strength. Integrated LED lighting makes access at night far safer, and for those who fear cooler weather, an optional under mattress heater is also available.
For more information visit: https://www.kimberleykampers.com.au/
KULKYNE 2 PERSON
Even though the two person roof top tent from Kulkyne is priced at the more affordable end of the scale, you still get some cool features. Firstly, a 65mm high-density foam mattress gets the nod, as well as a retractable aluminium ladder and complete fitting kit with instructions to actually bolt the tent to your roof racks. The tent itself is constructed from 280gsm ripstop canvas, which keeps the weight of the tent down to 53kg. All windows have awnings for protection from the elements and large flyscreens allow for good amounts of airflow in warmer weather. Kulkyne backs its product up with a two-year warranty, and also offers a 30-day money back guarantee if you aren’t 100 per cent stoked with your purchase.
For more information visit: https://www.kulkyne.com/au/Roof-Top-Tents/
Another proudly Australian owned and operated company, Mr Swagman roof top tents are what the head honcho of Mr Swagman describes as multi-use roof tents. Mr Swagman can make the roof top tent to not only fit onto your current roof rack set-up, but also the racks of a trailer or ute back project, too. All they need are a few dimensions and the height of your racks to the ground. Amazingly for such a large tent, the whole package weighs just 55kg, and the main section can be set up in just a few minutes by one person. Optional extras such as a rear awning and side room can also be purchased for those who need to create larger living areas.
For more information visit: http://www.mrswagman.com.au/product/roof-top-tent/
OZTENT JET TENT HANGAR
The Jet Tent Hangar is the first roof top tent from Oztent. The Jet Tent Hangar is the second tent in this buyer’s guide that is electronically operated, and will open or close at the push of a button. Powering the tent is as simple as plugging the extension cable into your 12v socket, and pushing a button on the wireless controller. The Oztent team guarantee the 190g Ripstop polycotton construction is 100 per cent waterproof, and a 75mm high-density mattress should provide you with a solid night’s sleep. The Jet Tent is also compatible with the Oztent Foxwing awning for those who require additional space and shelter, or already own one and wish to incorporate a roof top tent into their camping setup.
POWERFUL 4X4 KALAHARI
Powerful 4X4’s range of roof top tents and accessories goes by the name Kalahari. For those not in the know, the Kalahari is a desert that stretches across Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. In other words, some pretty darn harsh terrain! With a name like that, you would expect some serious cred behind the product. The first point of interest with the Powerful 4X4 Kalahari roof top tent is the inclusion of 600gsm ripstop canvas. Secondly, they include a 220D polyester PU coated annex, which should provide enough space for relaxing during the day or additional sleeping quarters for two adults at night. According to Powerful 4X4 durable zippers are used, and the tent can be shipped to you Australia wide for a fixed $50 shipping fee.
The main selling point for the Shippshape Shack roof top tent is the fact that no poles or pegs are required to set up the main tent area. This makes the Shack one of the quickest to have unpacked and ready for a good night’s sleep, according to Shippshape. The process can even be undertaken with just one person. A massive 2.1m x 3.3m awning provides plenty of shade and shelter, and this awning can also be configured to suit your needs. Shippshape recommends the Shack for those who are often on the move, however if you prefer an even larger tent and awning area, there are two other roof top tent products in the Shippshape range.
For more information visit: http://www.shippshape.com.au/
The Yulara from TJM is the largest roof top tent in the TJM range, and offers shelter via a pull out veranda over the ladder to minimise the chance of getting wet while hopping in or out in the rain. TJM says it has manufactured the tent from a breathable poly/cotton fabric that is also mould and waterproof. A 65mm high-density foam mattress takes care of comfort duties, and all windows and doors are fully screened for insect free evenings whilst still catching a breeze. Thanks to the design, there is also the additional option of a zip on annex, which connects to the pull out veranda.
For more information visit: http://www.tjm.com.au/en/product/tjm-yulara-roof-top-tent