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Satisfy your wanderlust (and Instagram) with the best vehicle rooftop tents

Rooftop tents are growing in popularity with camping enthusiasts and for good reason. While Thoreau may have ventured into the wilderness “to live deliberately” and all that; the vast majority of us are simply hitting the ol’ dusty trail looking for a serene weekend getaway and a good time.

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Going camping in the 21st century doesn’t mean going full-on luddite. Who wants to spend an hour setting up camp, cartoonishly wrestling with those notoriously annoying tent rods, and hammering in stakes like a gandy dancer, when one could simply fold open their rooftop tent and promptly open a cold one?

All rhetoric aside, while there’s probably no Boy Scout badge for glamping, we’ll take our solar powered rooftop abodes over an archaic tent any day. Here are our favorite rooftop tents on the market.

James Baroud Evasion ($3,200 – $3,600)

Best Rooftop Tents - James Baroud Evasion

The Evasion by James Baroud may be the most innovative rooftop tent on the market. As anyone who has ever camped in a rooftop tent knows, it can often get very hot — #FirstWorldProblems — fortunately, the Evasion has countered this on multiple fronts.

The exterior dark gray canvas is made of six aluminized coats, each of which reflects sunlight. A series of silent, motorized fans (powered via a solar panel kit) remove condensation and unwanted heating. This creates an optimal temperature environment as well as prevents mold and mildew.

The Evasion is a hard-shell concept, opposed to the more ubiquitous flip-open styles out there. The protective hard shell exterior is aerodynamic to cut down on wind noise and increase fuel economy. Opening and closing the tent takes virtually no effort thanks to the ingenious, kinetically minded structural design. With the help of two AL-KO struts and the sheer elasticized nature of the canvas exterior, you can release the catches and the tent literally unzips itself. To close the tent, just fasten the top half of the shell by hand and the sides are automatically drawn by the elastic seams.

The Evasion comes standard with its own multi-purpose interior lighting. Inside the tent are a series of 15 bright LED indoor lights that can also be easily detached and used as rechargeable flashlights.

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Adventure Ready

Treeline Outdoors Goal Zero Edition ($3,225)

Best Rooftop Tents Treeline Outdoors Goal Zero Edition

The Goal Zero Edition may be the epitome of glamping. Like all of Treeline’s third generation models, the Goal Zero Edition comes solar power ready. The tent includes one Nomad 7 Plus Solar Panel, one Flip 20 recharger, and two Light-a-Life Mini USB lights.

The tent itself isn’t overshadowed by its incorporated tech by any means. Dual skylights, and three extra large awning windows create an airy, open feel. The design gives campers optimal views of the stars while utilizing a natural cross-ventilation for those humid summer nights.

Treeline touts the lightweight aluminum honeycomb base as the “strongest and most durable tent base on the market.” The company’s signature “no-see-um” mesh is used throughout, meaning campers’ privacy is always assured even while they are using the Goal Zero’s built-in unisex emergency urinal.

The tent is resistant to fire (CPI-84 rated) as well as mold and mildew. The Goal Zero sleeps two to three and the annex is included in the not so low price of $3,225.

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Treeline Outdoors

Front Runner Feather-Lite ($1,095)

Best Rooftop Tents - Front Runner Feather-Lite

The Front Runner Feather-Lite is — as you may have guessed — one of the lighter rooftop tents on the market. Some rooftop tents can weigh nearly 200 pounds not including the additional rooftop mounts often necessary. Weighing just 88 pounds, the Front Runner Feather-Lite won’t hamper your gas mileage or require a team of hands to help get the tent set up to begin with.

The light weight is paramount to the its overall functionality. The Front Runner Feather-Lite can be situated in an array of configurations. Campers can choose to open the tent over the rear of the vehicle, either side, or even forward over the hood. Also, unlike many other rooftop tents, the Front Runner Feather-Lite folds open in one smooth motion, so no more fiddling with all of those pesky rods.

The aluminum base beneath the tent is insulated to keep out the cold in winter months. At the comparatively low price of $1,095, the Front Runner Feather-Lite is a steal on wheels.

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Front Runner Columbia Overland

Tepui Kukenam XL Ruggedized ($2,100)

Best Rooftop Tents - Tepui Kukenam XL Ruggedized

The Kukenam XL Ruggedized is the rooftop tent for families and group getaways. The tent is — as it’s XL namesake would suggest — ‘uge. An 8 x 6 foot sleeping platform, combined with nearly nearly 4.5 feet of overhead clearance makes the Kukenam more than capable of sheltering four at a time.

The dual rainfly rods add extra support in high winds, ensuring structural stability in storms, along windy beaches, and open gusty prairies. The underside of the tent platform is platted with raw aluminum diamond panels to protect against branches and rock punctures and dings during transit.

The signature Expedition Orange color scheme may not be for everyone, but this behemoth of a tent does standout in a crowd.

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Tepui

Treeline Outdoors Tamarack Constellation ($2,615)

Best Rooftop Tents - Treeline Outdoors Tamarack Constellation

The Tamarack Constellation follows the base model of the Kukenam XL Ruggedized, although exceptionally less “ruggedized” and significantly smaller. The Tamarack Constellation fits on any vehicle with a roof rack wider than 37 inches. Treeline claims it is possible for the tent to accommodate roof racks smaller than this “with minor modifications.” These modifications presumably being aftermarket housing and mounts, all of which are sold separately.

Like the Kukenam model, the Tamarck Constellation comes with dual skylights and also comes Goal Zero solar ready out of the box to work with the company’s full line of solar accessories. It also comes with the signature Tepui unisex emergency urinal. A seemingly blasé feature, until one is faced with the daunting task of putting on pants and climbing out of bed in the middle of the night.

The tent comes standard with useful condensation sleeves on all exposed metal frames preventing slipping during downpours or as a result of early morning dew. The Tamarack Constellation can house two to three campers and comes in grey, orange, and Treeline green.

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Treeline Outdoors

CVT Mt. Bachelor ($1,295 – $1,495)

Best Rooftop Tents - CVT Mt. Bachelor

This rooftop tent by CVT is a regular nomadic, well, bachelor pad. Although individuals don’t have to go it alone. At 4 feet wide and 8 feet long, there’s plenty of room for a camping companion inside. “The Mt. Bachelor Extended Vestibule,” as it is officially known has a durable waterproof poly/cotton rip-stop canvas with added mold resistant and UV protection.

Broad, steeply angled window awnings keep out the rain and direct sunlight for added insulation and weather protection. The ground level annex comes included with this model adding privacy throughout the day and night. It may lack some of the glitzier accessories, but at $1,295, this model is hard to beat.

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Cascadia Vehicle Tents

Yakima SkyRise ($999 & $1,349)

Best Rooftop Tents - Yakima SkyRise

The SkyRise isn’t available until Spring 2017, but that hasn’t kept us from swooning over this economic rooftop tent. Beside the affordable price, the real kicker with the SkyRise is its sheer functionality. Unlike the vast majority of rooftop tents, the SkyRise requires absolutely no tools whatsoever to install. Additionally, while in transit, the SkyRise folds down into a low-profile unit. Without the lengthy set up and disassembling processes, campers have greater ease of mobility for their next impromptu adventure.

The weather-shedding fly was designed with a long-lasting waterproof PU coating and the nylon exterior is fire-resistant. The Yakima SkyRise may not have full skylight, but campers will still have a spectacular view of the stars thanks to the the wide mesh ventilation panels overhead.

Yakima’s SkyRise is available in two sizes: the medium model can shelter up to three adults and the small unit is designed for two. Both models are extremely light as well, weighing in at only 90 and 75 pounds respectively.

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Yakima