Choosing Your Off-Road Oasis: Camper Shells vs. Rooftop Tents

For the adventurous soul, transforming your vehicle into a mobile home is an exciting prospect. But when it comes to selecting the ideal shelter, two popular options emerge: camper shells and rooftop tents (RTTs). I'm here to help you navigate the pros and cons of each, guiding you towards the perfect fit for your outdoor expeditions.


Camper Shells: The All-Weather Armor

A camper shell is a hard-shell fiberglass or aluminum structure that mounts on your truck bed. It provides:

Permanent Shelter: A camper shell offers year-round protection from the elements, allowing you to set up camp quickly and easily.

Secure Storage: The enclosed space provides valuable lockable storage for gear, protecting your equipment from the elements and potential theft.

Versatility: Camper shells come in various sizes, allowing you to customize the sleeping area and integrate additional storage solutions like drawers or cabinets.

However, there are limitations:

Reduced Maneuverability: The added height of a camper shell can affect the vehicle's center of gravity, potentially impacting handling and fuel efficiency.

Limited Headroom: Depending on the shell size and your vehicle, headroom inside the bed can be limited, especially for taller individuals.

Accessibility: Accessing gear stored beneath the shell might require climbing or using additional equipment.

Rooftop Tents: The Elevated Escape

An RTT is a foldable tent that mounts on your vehicle's roof rack. It offers:

Unmatched Views: The elevated position provides breathtaking panoramic vistas and allows you to camp almost anywhere with a sturdy roof rack.

Quick Deployment: Setting up camp involves simply unfolding the tent, making it a breeze to transition from driving to relaxing.

Minimal Impact on Driving Dynamics: The lower profile of an RTT compared to a camper shell has a lesser effect on the vehicle's handling and fuel efficiency.

However, RTTs also come with drawbacks:

Weather Vulnerability: While some RTTs offer good weather protection, they might not be ideal for harsh weather conditions compared to the enclosed space of a camper shell.

Limited Space: The sleeping area is generally smaller than a camper shell, offering less room for additional gear or amenities.

Potential Security Concerns: Gear stored on the roof rack is more susceptible to theft compared to the locked storage of a camper shell.

Choosing Your Champion:

The ideal choice boils down to your camping style and preferences:

Opt for a camper shell if: You prioritize year-round protection, secure storage, and the ability to customize the bed space for extended off-road adventures.

Choose a rooftop tent if: You value the quick setup, breathtaking views, and minimal impact on driving dynamics, and prioritize short camping trips or fair-weather adventures.

Check out our new selection of RTT’s on our website here!



Consider your vehicle's capacity: Ensure your vehicle's roof rack can handle the weight of an RTT.

Factor in weather conditions: If you plan on camping in extreme weather, a camper shell might offer better protection.

Think about your budget: Camper shells generally require a larger initial investment compared to RTTs.

Embrace the Adventure:

Both camper shells and rooftop tents offer unique advantages for off-road enthusiasts. Weigh the pros and cons based on your needs and preferences, and get ready to transform your vehicle into the perfect mobile base camp for your next adventure!


Do you have a question you’d like answered? Others might too! Please comment below to help us spread information on driving safety, vehicle maintenance, and informed purchasing! -TORCH

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published