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Hard shell vs Soft Shell Roof Top Tents

Duncan Burke

May 31, 2024

Hard shell vs Soft Shell Roof Top Tents

Weighing the Pros and Cons

Roof top tents have revolutionized camping, offering a comfortable and convenient way to enjoy the great outdoors. However, when it comes to choosing between hard shell and soft shell roof top tents, campers often find themselves in a dilemma. Each type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, catering to different preferences and needs. Let's delve into the debate and explore the pros and cons of both options.

Hard Shell Roof Top Tents:


  1. Durability: Hardshell tents are typically constructed from sturdy materials like our ASA/ABS Plastic with Line-X exterior or our all aluminum Overlands, providing excellent durability against harsh weather conditions and wear and tear over time.
  2. Quick Setup: One of the main advantages of hardshell tents is their quick setup and takedown process. Most hardshell tents feature a simple mechanism that allows them to be easily opened and closed within minutes, making them ideal for spontaneous camping trips or overnight stays.
  3. Aerodynamic Design: Hardshell tents often have a sleek and aerodynamic design, which can improve fuel efficiency and reduce wind noise while driving.
  4. Gear Storage:: Many hardshell tents come with accessory channels and crossbar options for accommodating toys and gear.


  1. Weight: The solid construction of hard-shell tents is mostly a boon for outdoor enthusiasts. However, they weigh more than their soft-shell counterparts, which makes both installation and removal more of a two-person job.
  2. Cost: Hardshell tents often come with a higher price tag compared to soft-shell tents, which may be a deterrent for budget-conscious campers.

Soft-shell Roof Top Tents:


  1. Lightweight: Soft-shell tents are usually lighter in weight than hardshell tents, making them easier to install and remove from the roof of your vehicle.
  2. Affordability: Soft-shell tents are generally more affordable than hardshell tents, making them a budget-friendly option for campers who don't want to break the bank.


  1. Setup Time: Setting up a soft shell tent may take longer compared to a hardshell tent, as it typically involves unfolding and securing the fabric and poles.
  2. Weather Resistance: While many soft-shell tents offer adequate weather resistance, they may not be as durable or weatherproof as hardshell tents, especially in extreme conditions.
  3. Maintenance: Soft shell tents may require more maintenance over time, including regular cleaning and waterproofing to ensure longevity and performance.

In conclusion, the choice between hardshell and soft-shell roof top tents ultimately depends on individual preferences, camping style, and budget constraints. Hardshell tents excel in durability, quick setup, and aerodynamic design, while soft-shell tents are lightweight and more affordable. By weighing the pros and cons of each option, campers can make an informed decision that best suits their needs for outdoor adventure.