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Friday, June 21, 2024

3-Person Rooftop Tent Showdown: Is a Hardshell or Softshell Right for You?

Image by mr_bom via ShutterStock

When it comes to camping, a 3-person rooftop tent offers the perfect balance between space and practicality. These tents are a game-changer for adventurers who crave the flexibility to camp comfortably with one, two, or three people. But with choices between hardshell and softshell tents, which one suits your needs best?

In this article, we’ll compare two leading models from reputable brands known for their quality and reliability: the Roofnest Condor XL Hardshell Tent and the Tuff Stuff Ranger Softshell Rooftop Tent. These tents are the best examples of their kind, and luckily, BTR Outfitters stocks both of them. 

Let’s get started so you’ll know exactly which tent is the right fit for your adventures and why a 3-person rooftop tent is a fantastic choice for any camping trip.

Table of Contents

Why a 3-Person Rooftop Tent is Ideal

Man looking at the ocean next to his Jeep with a rooftop tent

Image by simona pilolla 2 via ShutterStock

Many campers prefer a 3-person rooftop tent. It’s compact enough to be easily handled by one or two people yet spacious enough to comfortably fit a third person when needed. This flexibility makes it an excellent choice for various adventures and settings.

These tents also strike a great balance between space and weight. They offer enough room to sleep comfortably and store your gear while remaining manageable in terms of setup and vehicle load. You won’t struggle with an overly heavy tent or one that takes up too much space on your vehicle.

Furthermore, many 3-person rooftop tents come equipped with features that enhance your camping experience. Built-in mattresses, effective ventilation, and ample storage options provide a more enjoyable and organized camping trip. 

Specs and Features of the Roofnest Condor XL Hardshell Tent

roofnest condor xl review

Image Credit: BTR Outfitters

The Condor XL is designed with durability and convenience in mind. This fold-out hardshell tent can sleep up to four adults, offering plenty of space for small groups or families. When closed, it measures 55 inches wide by 74 inches long, and when open, it expands to 74 inches by 93 inches, providing ample room to stretch out.

The Condor XL’s ASA/ABS plastic shell makes it weather-resistant and durable. The walls are made from a polyurethane-coated polyester and cotton blend, which offers additional warmth and reduces noise, making your camping experience more comfortable. 

Roofnest Condor XL Hard Shell Roof Top Tent Specs

It also includes an 8.5-foot telescoping ladder for easy access, a custom-shaped 2.4 inch foam mattress for a good night’s sleep, and detachable interior LED lighting for added convenience.

The Condor XL is also versatile, compatible with various accessories like awnings, solar panels and extra storage. It is a great choice for those who want a reliable and spacious rooftop tent that can be customized to their needs. Check out our Roofnest Condor XL review here if you want to learn more about this awesome tent. 

span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Specs and Features of the Tuff Stuff Ranger Softshell Rooftop Tent

Tuff Stuff Ranger Roof Top Tent Specs

Image Credit: BTR Outfitters

The Ranger Softshell tent is designed for campers who need extra space without sacrificing comfort. This tent offers a generous footprint, providing 65 inches by 96 inches of sleeping space, which is perfect for up to three adults. The additional overhang further increases the usable area, making it ideal for longer trips where extra room is appreciated.

Crafted from 280G poly/cotton rip-stop fabric, the Ranger is built to withstand tough weather conditions. The rainfly, made from 420D polyester/oxford PU coated material, offers excellent protection against the elements. Inside, you’ll find a 2.75-inch thick foam mattress, ensuring a comfortable night’s sleep. The tent also includes a sliding ladder, a shoe bag, and an under-tent storage hammock to keep your camping gear organized and easily accessible.

Tuff Stuff Ranger Roof Top Tent folded

Weighing 164 lbs and with a weight capacity of 800 lbs, the Ranger is robust yet easy to install. Its durable construction ensures it can handle various outdoor environments, while thoughtful features like efficient ventilation and sturdy zippers enhance the overall camping experience.

The Tuff Stuff Ranger Softshell Rooftop Tent is a great choice for those looking for a spacious, comfortable, and durable camping solution. For more details, check out our Tuff Stuff Ranger review here.

Comparing 3-Person Rooftop Tents

Roofnest Condor Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

When it comes to 3-person rooftop tents, the choice between a hardshell and a softshell model brings different advantages and disadvantages. The Roofnest Condor XL, with its hardshell design, offers excellent durability and weather resistance. Its sturdy construction ensures it can withstand harsh conditions, making it a reliable option for frequent campers.

The Tuff Stuff Ranger, a softshell tent, excels in providing more flexibility and lighter weight. It’s easier to mount on various vehicles and often offers additional overhang space for gear. However, it may not be as robust in severe weather as its hardshell counterpart.

One of the key advantages of the Condor XL is its quick setup time. The hardshell design allows for a faster and more straightforward setup and takedown process, which is ideal for campers who move frequently. On the downside, hardshell tents are generally heavier and bulkier, which can be a disadvantage if vehicle load capacity is a concern.

Tuff Stuff Ranger Roof Top Tent

Tuff Stuff Ranger; Image Credit: BTR Outfitters

In contrast, the Tuff Stuff Ranger’s softshell design makes it lighter and easier to handle. This tent is great for campers who prioritize ease of transport and versatility. However, the setup can be more time-consuming compared to a hardshell tent, and it may not provide the same level of insulation and protection in extreme weather conditions.

At BTR Outfitters, you can find both the Roofnest Condor XL and the Tuff Stuff Ranger, backed by a team dedicated to helping you make the best choice. Known for their exceptional customer service, they always offer expert advice to ensure you get the right equipment for your needs. 


What is a hardshell rooftop tent?

A hardshell rooftop tent features a solid, aerodynamic shell that offers enhanced durability and weather resistance. These tents are known for their quick setup and takedown. They provide excellent protection against the elements, making them ideal for all-season camping.

What is a softshell rooftop tent?

A softshell rooftop tent is made from durable fabric and folds out from a compact base. These tents generally offer more interior space and can include extra overhang for storage. They are lighter and easier to mount on various vehicle types.

Is it worth getting a rooftop tent?

Yes, getting a rooftop tent is worth it for most campers. They provide the convenience of camping anywhere your vehicle can go and offer a comfortable sleeping area. Rooftop tents also keep you elevated off the ground, away from uneven terrain and insects.

Just so you know, some of the cool stuff we mention comes with affiliate links, meaning we earn a commission if you buy (no extra charge to you!). Plus, we occasionally feature sponsored content, but rest assured, we only shout out products we genuinely stand behind.

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