Roof top tents (RTTs) are an excellent way to elevate (both literally and figuratively) your camping experience. In an RTT, you do not have to sleep on the potentially uneven or uncomfortable ground, you are out of reach of wild animals and creepy crawlies, and you can enjoy a killer panoramic view of your surroundings.
However, there are dozens of options for 3 person roof top tents available and they are expensive compared to a ground tent, so you’ll want to do plenty of research before you invest. To help you get started, we’ve put together this list of some of the best options.
Here’s the top 10 best 3 person roof top tents:
1. Thule Tepui Ruggedized Kukenam 3
Tepui’s line of Ruggedized RTTs are built for off-road adventures, with upgraded diamond plate bases, beefier tent fabric, heavier duty internal frames, and sturdier 3-bolt hinges than their standard tents. These tents can go anywhere and handle any type of conditions.
The Kukenam 3 has a sleeping footprint of 96×56 inches, easily accommodating three people, and you can purchase an annex separately to add even more living or sleeping space.
If you are into off-roading and/or plan to mount your RTT on a 4×4 trailer, this may be the perfect tent for you since it can withstand flying rocks and being swiped by bushes or branches as you drive. The tent itself is also built for heavy use and can outlast standard roof top tents thanks to its sturdier construction.
More info: tepui.com
2. Smittybilt Overlander
The Overlander RTT from Smittybilt offers a convenient universal fit that isn’t vehicle specific. It’s made from heavy-duty waterproof ripstop polyester and comes with a built-in LED light strip inside. It’s designed to be easily set up by one person in just seconds and you don’t have to worry about a separate rainfly since the tent itself is waterproof.
All of the doors and windows have awnings that provide shade and protection from rain or snow, while still allowing for an excellent view in all directions and airflow on hotter days.
Another big pro for the Overlander is its very affordable price. You don’t have to sacrifice quality for price with this RTT, and it offers many of the same features as the pricier tents available currently.
More info: 4wd.com
3. Roofnest Condor XL
This hard shell RTT from Roofnest has been recently redesigned to accommodate the addition of a solar panel and storage on top of the closed tent. It features a clamshell design that hinges along the long side and has an internal structure to provide more space than the simplest clamshell tents, which hinge along the short side and provide a triangular interior space.
The sleeping space of the Condor XL is 74×93 inches, comfortably sleeping three or even four people. This can be a great option for families with young children, if you have a dog that will be sleeping in the tent with you, or for a couple who enjoys lots of space.
Hard shell tents have the advantage of being more aerodynamic and lower profile on your vehicle, which can have less of an impact on your fuel economy when compared to soft shell RTTs which are often bulkier.
More info: roofnest.com
4. 23 Zero Breezeway 62
This RTT has a 62×96-inch sleeping space and features 23 Zero’s Light Suppression Technology fabric, which almost completely eliminates outside light and keeps the interior temperature 15-20% cooler compared to average tent material. This allows you to comfortably sleep in even after the sun comes up, which can be a huge deal if you aren’t an early riser.
The mattress in this tent is three inches thick with a comfortable cotton top layer and a waterproof bottom layer that eliminates the need for a separate anti-condensation mat. You can also opt to purchase an annex separately for more space. This 4-season tent is compatible with any vehicle that has the appropriate size roof rack.
More info: 23zero.com
5. iKamper X-Cover
The X-Cover is something of a hybrid between a hard shell and soft shell RTT. It folds completely open like a soft shell tent, but when it’s packed away there is no bulky PVC cover and you can haul up to 65 pounds of additional gear like bikes, skis, or kayaks on the built-in crossbars. Of course, you must remove the gear in order to deploy the tent.
The tent has huge skylights that allow you to enjoy the stars at night and the 69 x 90 inch sleeping space is large enough for three adults. It can be set up in just three minutes and it’s lightweight enough to work with most vehicles.
A detachable rainfly protects from the elements and provides awnings over the door and windows, and it even has clear panels over the skylights to still let light in.
More info: ikamper.com
6. Yakima SkyRise HD Medium
This 4-season tent features oversized doors and windows as well as giant skylights. All openings have a no-see-um mesh layer as well as a layer of tent material so you can enjoy airflow with no bugs or seal it up tight to keep in warmth and provide privacy. The tent itself is waterproof and it comes with a water-shedding rainfly for extra protection from the elements.
You can attach guy lines to the D rings on the bottom of the floor to tie the tent down in windy conditions, or you can hang gear from the rings to keep it dry and out of the way underneath the tent.
Tool-free lockable mounts make it easy to put the tent on your vehicle and you can rest assured that it won’t be stolen if you leave it unattended.
More info: yakima.com
7. Maggiolina Grand Tour Large
This hard shell RTT has a pop top design that cranks open so you can tension it to withstand even strong winds without flapping noisily. The sleeping area measures 63 x 74 inches with 38 inches of interior height.
You can add an optional Fit Kit and piggyback roof rack to carry kayaks, bikes, or surfboards on top of the tent. Since the tent has thick insulation on both the top and bottom, you can sleep comfortably in any weather conditions and noise is kept to a minimum. The doors are convertible so you can let in air through the mesh portion or open the door completely if bugs aren’t a concern.
These tents are more on the expensive end, but the company has been around for over 50 years and they blend luxurious European materials and Italian design into premium roof top tents.
More info: autohomeus.com
8. Freespirit Recreation High Country Series 63” Premium
FSR’s tents are built with an enhanced tri-layer fabric that will keep you cozy even in extreme cold, but it will also be comfortable on warm summer nights. This tent has a small footprint that works well with small SUVs and trucks, and it can be set up in just 60 seconds.
Also read: The 7 Best Roof Top Tents for JEEP Owners
Massive windows and skylights provide a 360-degree view, natural light, and amazing airflow. Built-in interior LED lights allow you to easily see what you’re doing at night.
The sleeping area measures 63 x 98 inches and can comfortably sleep three adults or two adults and two children. Outdoor shoe pockets allow you to store muddy or wet shoes outside of the tent to keep the interior dry and clean.
More info: gofsr.com
9. Tuff Stuff Ranger
This tent actually comes with an annex, which can provide additional sleeping space or it can be used as a changing area, a place to keep gear clean and dry, or as a dining area out of the rain or wind. You can also fold away the ladder for maximum space in the annex, or just use it as an entryway where you can remove dirty or wet outerwear while protected from the elements and keep your tent area pristine.
This tent can be mounted on any vehicle that has two or more crossbars or a bed rack with supports that are 40 or more inches apart.
You can store all your bedding on the bed even when the tent is packed away, which allows you to save valuable cargo room in your vehicle and is more convenient when nighttime rolls around.
More info: tuffstuff4x4.com
10. James Baroud Vision 180
This tent boasts an interior height of just over 47 inches and large windows on all four corners that provide stunning panoramic views. A massive door makes entry and egress easy and provides additional views and airflow.
This tent is one of the few models to have gas struts that assist with opening, making it an absolute breeze to set up. It also requires no rainfly, as the tent itself is fully waterproof.
This model can be mounted to open to the left, right, or back of your vehicle depending on your preference.
More info: jamesbaroud.com
How to Choose a 3 Person Roof Top Tent
While 2 person RTTS are far and away the most popular size, there are more and more options becoming available for 3 person tents. There are several different footprint shapes which lend themselves to various arrangements, such as three adults sleeping in a row, two adults next to each other and a child at the foot of the bed, and so forth.
So, for 3 person RTTS, one of the most important things to keep in mind is the sleeping arrangement that you are looking to achieve. Beyond that, there are a couple of other factors to look at:
Soft Shell vs. Hard Shell
Both types of RTT have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Soft shell tents are often cheaper and have larger interior spaces, but they are generally bulkier which can affect gas mileage and most of them take up essentially all of your roof space.
Hard shell tents are more aerodynamic, have less of an effect on gas mileage, and can withstand inclement weather better, but they are generally more expensive and have smaller interior spaces.
Most roof top tents weigh between 100 and 200 pounds, and they will at some point need to be lifted onto your vehicle’s roof – potentially on and off multiple times if you plan to only use it seasonally or if your vehicle won’t fit in your garage with the RTT on it. If you will be taking it on and off a lot, consider looking for a lighter tent to make this task easier.
Additionally, be sure that your vehicle can handle the weight of the tent you choose. Check your vehicle’s manufacturer specs to determine how much weight your vehicle’s roof can handle. Vehicles are often given weight ratings for both when it’s parked and when it’s in motion, so you can ensure that when you and your family crawl into the tent, you won’t inadvertently crush your vehicle with your collective weight.
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