in Roofnest Tips & Features / by Nick Jaynes
What’s the best rooftop tent for a Subaru Outback?
Few vehicles project the ‘I am one with nature’ image quite as strongly as the Subaru Outback. Perhaps that’s why they’re so ubiquitous in the western U.S.
The Outback is a utilitarian wagon with a soupcon of quasi-luxury mixed in. Underneath its understated looks lies a four-wheel drive system so stout it’d make a rally car green with envy. That means, from behind the wheel of an Outback, you can reach most any trailhead and do so in relative comfort.
Sure, Subaru Outbacks aren’t an overlander’s dream rig. Nor are they as fuel efficient or reliable as some people might lead you to believe. But they’re pretty tough and offer a reasonable amount of interior cargo volume. And that’s what counts most in outdoor adventure, right?
If you’re a well-heeled, adventurous urbanite, you likely have an Outback in your driveway. And if you do any camping you are likely considering a rooftop tent to top your Subie with. That makes sense. With your Subaru’s cargo area full of gear and dogs, you’re wise to utilize the long roofline for tent duties.
If you’re picking a roof top tent for your Outback, it makes sense to match its rugged refinement and go-most-places attitude. So, let us suggest the best rooftop tents for the Subaru Outback.
Your Outback’s roof might be long, but it’s not humongous. So, we’ll start with our most compact — but best-selling — tent, the Condor. We recommend it for precisely the reasons it gets chosen above all other Roofnest tents: its compact size when closed and its ability to expand into one of the roomiest tents we make in about a minute.
It measures a meager 60 inches long, front to back, and 48 inches wide. The Outback’s usable roof space, without overhang over the windshield, is about 60 inches. This makes the Condor a great option for an Outback. You have to mount the Condor a bit further forward than you might instinctively want to, though. That’s because the rear hatch, especially if it’s fitted with a spoiler, might conflict with the tent, if the tent were mounted too far to the rear of the vehicle. So keep that in mind.
With Condor on Outback, you have a tent that looks purpose-built for your car. But you also get a tent that opens up to comfortably sleep two to three people. It’s a real win-win combo.
Although Condor is 12 inches tall when closed, the Outback isn’t terribly tall, all things considered. So you don’t really need to worry about running into low-clearance garages. Nevertheless, it never hurts to measure the overall height of your Outback with gear on its roof. That way, you never run into clearance issues — literally or figuratively.
The next best rooftop tent for the Subaru Outback is the Sparrow Eye. It’s a clamshell tent that has the design and benefits of a pop-up tent. Namely, Sparrow Eye has a big interior, like the Sparrow pop-up. But since Sparrow EYE opens like a clamshell, it’s much easier to manage alone.
Sparrow EYE measures 85 inches long and 58 inches wide. This makes it a bit longer than the Outback’s roof. It’s a great fit. It’ll just have a bit of overhang over the windshield. Again, you have to mount it a bit forward to avoid it conflicting with the rear hatch.
Sparrow EYE is quick to open and close. It boasts more benefits than that, though. Because of the shape of its top and bottom shells, there’s room inside for the standard — and quite plush — 2.5-inch mattress in addition to your bedding. That’s right, you can leave your sleeping bag and pillows inside Sparrow EYE even when it’s closed.
Leaving your bedding inside the tent frees up much-needed space inside your Outback for extra gear. What’s more, it makes setting up and closing down ca
Lastly, we come to the all-aluminum Falcon Pro. It’s Roofnest’s halo product. That’s because it combines all the best features of our other roof top tents in one premium design. Like your Outback, Falcon Pro has been engineered to withstand the harshest conditions and keep a smile on your face mile after mile and year after year.
Falcon Pro measures 83.5 inches long and 54 inches wide. This makes its footprint slightly smaller than Sparrow EYE and even a better fit for the roof of the Outback. Falcon Pro’s top shell is shaped from a single piece of aircraft-grade aluminum. This means it’s both incredibly strong as well as waterproof — there are no seams for water to sneak in at.
The top shell has an accessory channel to which we mount the standard crossbars. This enables the tent to carry 75 pounds of gear when open and 150 pounds when closed. Falcon Pro allows you to bring more than just a rooftop tent on your roof. Falcon Pro is just 8.0 inches tall when closed (not including crossbars). This makes it the slimmest tent on this list and one you’ll need to worry least about causing height clearance issues.
Despite its slim profile, Falcon Pro boasts a three-inch memory foam mattress (ours is true memory foam, unlike the competition). This makes the Falcon Pro as comfortable a place to sleep as your 4Runner is to drive off-road.
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