Smittybilt Overlander ($1,137)

From budget-friendly softshells to rugged hard-top designs, we break down the year’s best rooftop tents

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36.9 sq. ft.

51 in.

2+, 3+

A functional design at a very reasonable price point.

Not as user-friendly or durable as the more expensive softshells on this list.

At just under $1000 at the time of writing, the Smittybilt Overlander is one of the most affordable options in the market, and our top budget-friendly rooftop tent of 2022. However, despite undercutting the majority of the competition by nearly 50 and a half, the Overlander remains a solid overall performer. Just like the Kukenam above it, the Smittybilt can accommodate three or more campers comfortably, and is constructed of heavy-duty materials, including 600-denier ripstop rainfly that is 420 denier, strong fly poles and zippers as well as a variety of useful features like the integrated lighting strip, as well as a the rubber boot bag that hangs your shoes that are dirty outside of the tent. When you add it all up, you’ll be difficult to find a more comprehensive model for less.

But you have to have to sacrifice some features on the Smittybilt. First, the ladder of the Overlander is susceptible to slipping and is difficult to fix, which is a different experience from the sleek telescoping design that you can find on models such as Thule Tepui above or CVT Denali below. Thule Tepui above, or CVT Denali beneath. The storage cover connects using Velcro instead of zippers, is able to slide completely off (most remain attached to the opposite side) It’s also hard to get back on (this may seem like an insignificant issue however those who regularly move camp will be able to see the added burden). The installation of the Smittybilt isn’t as easy as we’d like , and takes some MacGuyvering from the box. If you’re in a tight budget and aren’t averse to the extra effort then the Overlander does the job at a lower cost than other softshells. We should also note that Smittybilt has now introduced the GEN2 model, which is an upgraded edition of their model featured here , featuring a better ladder, a bigger rainfly and a skylight, all for $1,400. However, the original-generation tent remains available and is the best choice for budget-minded buyers, as long as supplies last.