Roof Top Tents: Hardshell vs Softshell?
Spring is here and so is camping season and are you trying to decide which RTT is right for you? Come by Apex Overland and check out our display tents. We have the 23Zero Walkabout 72 and the Roofnest Falcon on display on our rigs for you to see in person.
HARD SHELL vs SOFTSHELL
Our favorite thing about an hardshell tent is the compact design and quick set up and take down, But you can get a lot more people in the bigger softshells!
OPEN SIZE AND SLEEPING FOOTPRINT
Most Hardshells offer the ability to add crossbars for additional storage so you don't lose all functionality of your roof rack
You can also mount solar panels to the tops of hardshells and other accessories
INSIDE GEAR STORAGE
You can store some sleeping gear inside of the taller hardshell tents when they are closed, this frees up storage space inside of your vehicle.
Regardless if it is soft or hardshell, the 3 or 4 season tents will be made with higher end materials, thicker canvas, and often an internal insulation layer that is built in or can be added.
Mattresses have improved in both the hardshell and soft shell tents over the years. Most of the soft shell tents we carry have a 3" mattress, and the hardshells have 2" - 3" memory foam mattresses.
Roofnest also has a 5" self inflating featherbed that you can add to some of the models to make it extra cozy.
SET UP & TAKE DOWN
Hardshells are simpler to set up and to put away. Softshells often require multiple trips around the vehicle to unzip, then pull the cover off, and then open up. Then you usually have rainfly and window poles to insert.
Yes some hardshells have window rainflys as well, but often these are simpler to set up.
LIFESPAN OF TENT
EXTERNAL ANNEX ROOM
The 23zero Walkabout series softshell tents have the largest annex rooms that you can add to the tent where the ladder is inside the annex. The Breezeway series also allows for an annex room under the tent, but the ladder is on the outside.
Typical pop-up or clamshell tents do not have the ability to add and annex to the tent, but you can achieve this similar function with an awning and walls, like the 23Zero Peregrine awning and walls, or the Rhino Rack Batwing awning and add on walls.
The Roofnest Condor Hardshell series tents do come with an awning room making external space simple to set up.
DIMENSIONS AND SPEC SHEET
And because I am a spreadsheet nerd, I created a quick reference spreadsheet of the most popular tents we carry at Apex Overland. You can check it out here.
Our favorite soft shell tent: 23Zero Walkabout 72 with annex
Still aren't sure which tent style is right for you? Contact us or come by and check these awesome tents in person at Apex Overland Retail Shop in Reidsville NC.
We also still have our offroad trailer with 23Zero Walkabout 72 for rent so you can test out if RTT life is for you! All RTT/trailer rental fees go towards the purchase of tent if you decide to buy a RTT after your trip. Go to our Rental page for more details on this awesome little trailer.