The Toyota Tacomas are built for off-roading. Toyota offers plenty of trim levels dedicated to the off-road sport and lifestyle. What do you do when you want to spend the night out in the wild? From weekend camping to serious overlanding, a rooftop tent will make your trip even better.
Why a rooftop tent? Tents that you can put on the ground can take up very little space and can be pretty inexpensive, but rooftop tents offer so many benefits. While more expensive, the size you get is leaps and bounds over most ground tents. When camping, it is always best to stay off the ground if possible to help avoid unwanted critters and weather from joining you. A rooftop tent keeps you high off the ground and safe. They are also very fast to set up compared to ground tents as they normally “pop up.”
Types of Roof Top Tents
There are a few different types of rooftop tents, and they have a few different mounting options too. First, despite the name, some can be either mounted on your roof or over your bed. They usually need a specific mount/roof rack that the base of the tent must attach to. Sometimes you can get these mounts directly from the tent’s manufacturer, and other manufacturers offer mounting options that work with aftermarket racks.
The most basic of the rooftop tents pop up to form one single sized room around the size of the bed or cab of the truck. They generally have a few windows and one entry, similar to a normal single person or smaller two-person tent. These can either pop straight up to a rectangular shape or pivot up on one side to form a wedge.
Larger models have about double the surface area that hangs over the side of your truck. They are supported by a ladder that climbs up to the entry point of the tent. These are similar in size to a large ground tent, but since they are folded up on the back/top of the truck, assembly is as easy as opening it up, and it unfolds and pops up. They can generally be up and ready in less than three minutes.
There are some that are basically mansions. While similar to the larger model described above, these offer different levels and rooms. For example, you can find these with a tall room that surrounds the ladder section. It’s great for a living room to set up some chairs and relax before heading up to the main tent. Since the ground is your floor, you don’t have to worry about weight limits, and the fact it leads up to the main section, you can stand up fully without worrying about hitting your head.
Mounting A Roof Top Tent To Your Tacoma
When it comes to mounting these, you need a rooftop tent rack. Sometimes you can get these with your tent through your tent’s manufacturer, but I would suggest probably getting one you like from outside the tent manufacturer. I did a whole post on Toyota Tacoma bed racks, but in short, they are extremely versatile additions to your truck. Not only can you mount a tent on top, but there are so many storage, lighting, and hauling options. If you get one from the tent’s manufacturer, there is a chance that it may be useful for just the tent, and that’s it.
Bed racks for Tacomas can be found from around $500 to $1000 depending on modular attachment points, finish and color, material, and size.
Roof racks for Tacomas are around $200 to $700. These can be a little trickier to make sure they work with your tent. A common reason people get a roof rack is to have an area to tie down equipment to. For that reason, they don’t have to be level or support excessive weight. Take a look online to make sure the rack you choose supports or can work with rooftop tents if that’s how you plan to mount your tent.
A quick word of advice: the bed of your truck is far more capable of supporting weight. While the A, B, and C pillars can handle the extra weight on the roof, the roof itself is not entirely designed for it. There is a chance the metal can flex and dent. Be careful with your selections.
Popular Brands Of Roof Top Tents
While there are many brands of tents (many are covered in this post), two of the biggest that are most popular with Taco drivers are Cascadia Vehicle Tents (CVT) and Tepui. These and all other tents we cover in this post offer many different sizes and options.
CVT (Cascadia Vehicle Tents)
One tent that will pop up (no pun intended) over and over again in your searches is Cascadia Vehicle Tents (CVT). They make units from $1000 to close to $3000, but they are a favorite for sure. From two-person to four-plus person tents, if you have a tent need, they can cover it. You can also rent their tents as well.
Tepui Roof Top Tents
Another popular full-sized tent is from Tepui (now owned by Thule). For around the same price as a CVT, they offer hard shell and soft tents. They have plenty of different models to fit your needs. Compared to CVT, they offer plenty of tents that don’t hand over the size of the truck.
If you need different options, then different options within those different options, Roofnest will be your go-to brand. They offer three series of tents: Condor, Falcon, and Sparrow. Each series has three to five models to get you exactly what you need. If you’re not sure, they have a little questionnaire you can fill out that will help you find the right one. From “basic” to extreme, they have you covered. Literally. They offer a two year warranty from the factory, and are made right here in the USA!
The people over at Tuff Stuff know a thing or two when it comes to tents. Not only are the prices lower than some of the competition, but they offer a lot of bang for your buck. With eight different models to choose from, the ability to sleep two to four people, multiple levels, and more… You’re bound to find something to fit your needs. Unlike some companies that offer slightly different “models,” these guys make each model unique and ready for a specific task. They offer a one year warranty, but have an excellent chart on their website that will break down every detail of each model side by side so you can make sure you get the right one you need.
If you are looking for a fast tent deployment, iKamper boasts about its patented one minute setup time! The four models they offer are sleek, fast to set up, and come in all the sizes you may need to accommodate what you’re looking for. You can get different finishes on the shell as well. While made in South Korean, time and dedication is put into each one to assure quality, comfort, and durability. They even offer a warranty up to five years should you have any concerns. These guys are quite popular on social media and always seem to be developing new models and improvements based upon the needs of the people!
No, this is not a new DNA analyzing company… It’s based off the coordinates of Alice Springs, Australia, which they claim is one of the toughest places on the planet. 23Zero offers a large selection of different style tents depending on your style of play. One of the key features with each tent is their Light Suppression Technology. With all of the windows closed, these tents allow almost zero light penetration, and they are designed to keep you about 15% cooler! Surprisingly, these won’t have you break the bank either, depending on which model you get. They also have a large selection of other accessories including awnings so you can get the most “indoor space” in your next outdoor adventure. With location their name is based off of being so tough, you can be sure their tents are too.
While an included mattress is not particularly uncommon, the guys at Roam Adventure offer the thickest mattress on the market to ensure you sleep comfortably. Their durable tents come in all the sizes you can need from just yourself to up to four people! Their models with a lower annex gives you an extra room below the tent for storage, chilling, or whatever else you need out of the elements. If you like the gaze at the stars, but don’t want to be outside, unzip the skylight! The tents all come with a five year warranty standard as well!
Offering 11 different tents, both hard and soft shell, Hutch Tents really knows that each adventurer is different and needs a specific home away from home. They offer your small and “basic” hinge open tents, all the way up to pretty much a folding house. They keep all of their tents as strong and as lightweight as possible, and also offer a line of awnings, racks, trailers, and accessories. The company focuses on comfort across all of their products, and what could be better after a long day off-road? Different models have options such as tent colors and standard features like included lanterns, but you’ll find a one year warranty standard on all models.
Big Foot Tents
Big Foot Tents offers a wide selection of models that claim you’ll have the “best night sleep you’ve ever had.” That’s a pretty large claim. They mostly offer hardshell pop-up tents, but do offer some larger, soft ones as well.
Smittybilt offers some “universal-fit” options in the event you have more than just your Tacoma. Make sure the measurements fit your truck. You take a gamble with universal fits when it comes to anything, but sometimes they can be more versatile.
Full-Sized CVT - Tacoma World User trevordavis14
Full-Sized Tepui - Tacoma World User MJonaGS32
Hard Shell Pivot - Courtesy of Gear Junkie
Full Tent - Courtesy of Low Range Off Road
Roofnest - Courtesy of Overland Discovery
Tuff Stuff - Courtesy of Tacoma World user VR812
iKamper - Courtesy of Truck Brigade
23Zero - Courtesy of 23Zero
Roam Adventure - Courtesy of Roam Adventure
Hutch Tents - Courtesy of Trail Tacoma
Big Foot Tents - Courtesy of Bigfoottents.com