Looking for a great way to camp with your Subaru Outback? Check out our list of the 7 best roof top tents for Subaru Outback! We’ve got everything from budget-friendly options to luxurious models, so you can find the perfect fit for your needs. Plus, our top pick even comes with a built-in kitchenette – perfect for making meals on the go. So whether you’re looking for a simple overnight option or a full-fledged camping setup, we’ve got you covered.
Why Choose a Roof Top Tent for your Subaru Outback?
Roof top tents are a great way to camp, providing a comfortable and convenient place to sleep while keeping you away from the ground and any potential critters. They’re also generally much easier to set up than traditional tents, making them a great option for camping trips where time is limited.
Subaru Outbacks are one of the most popular vehicles for carrying roof top tents, due to their excellent combination of off-road capability, comfort and space with plenty of ventilation.
Pros & Cons of Purchasing a Roof Top Tent for Your Subaru Outback?
1. No More Sleeping On The Ground
With a roof-top tent at your side, you’ll never have to sleep on the ground again. Because RTTs are designed to be attached to a moving vehicle or trailer, you will be sleeping at a higher altitude than usual. In addition, a built-in, ultra-comfortable mattress is standard on most modern roof tents.
2. Easy to Setup
When compared to roof top tents, ground tents have the major drawback of being difficult to erect. RTTs may be established in a matter of minutes. A hard shell tent may be erected in about one minute, whereas a soft shell tent typically takes between two and five minutes to erect.
3. Safety from wildlife
Protecting yourself and your belongings from wild animals is a top priority for any camper. Everyone has heard the unbelievable tales of bears or wolves breaking into a camp and helping themselves to the food and supplies within. A roof tent, however, eliminates this concern entirely. Since your tent is mounted on top of your car, it will be difficult for animals to gain access to it.
4. Camp Almost Anywhere With a Great View
It’s possible to set up camp almost anywhere scenic: You no longer need to search for a flat area in which to pitch your tent. You can set up shop pretty much anywhere with an RTT. The lofty vantage point provides a breathtaking panorama of your camping site.
5. Not Easy To Steal
Stolen roof tents would be a major hassle due to their weight and size, making them a poor choice compared to ground tents. There are scarcely any documented thefts of rooftop tents.
1. Drop in Fuel Efficiency
In my opinion, there is a lot of room for debate on this subject. Some folks have reported worse gas mileage after installing a roof top tent on their Subaru Outback, but I have never seen a difference in my own driving. Whether or not you can do so will depend on the size and bulk of your rooftop tent. You may lose as much as three to five mpg in worst-case scenarios.
2. Poor choice for Big Dogs
Don’t bother bringing your large dog camping in a roof-top tent; it won’t fit. Getting a large dog to go up a flight of stairs might be challenging. On the other hand, roof top tents are not usually particularly spacious, so if you and your dog do manage to get inside, you may find yourself in a bit of a squish.
3. High in Price
If money is tight, a rooftop tent may not be the best option. It’s a hefty price tag when compared to regular ground tents. Generally speaking, you should expect to pay between $1000 and $4000 on average. Rooftop tents may be found for less than $900, but the quality is usually poor.
Here are seven of the best roof top tents for Subaru Outbacks in 2022, perfect for your next camping trip.
Best Roof Top Tents for Subaru Outback - Comparison
Affordable Roof Top Tent for Subaru Outback - Review
1. IKamper Skycamp Mini 2.0 Roof Top Tent
All of Ikamper’s goods are made in-house in their South Korean plant, which they also own. Three years after the release of the groundbreaking Skycamp 1.0, the company has upped the bar once again, this time by completely reimagining the roof-top tent industry.
Without meaning to seem partial, we have to say that this is our favorite tent for our Subaru Outback. This hard shell roof top tent is my favorite since its design and color scheme are so well suited to the wooded environment. This upgraded Skycamp 2.0 is more portable and comfortable for three persons or a family of four.
The rain won’t bother this family roof top shell, which is great for camping in any season. The canopy design that shields the windows is quite stunning. You may add an extra dose of illumination by rolling them on at any time or by using spring rods. The tent can be erected on the roof of the car in less than a minute, making it a very practical option. Amazing!
The tent’s inside is what initially drew me to it. Rest periods spent there are always pleasant and relaxing. The thicker mattress has high-density memory foam and a global map pattern. What a beautiful scenery!
Plus, you shouldn’t ignore this! The 1″ of air insulation between the outside FRP (Fiber Reinforced Plastic) layers keeps you safe and toasty even in the heaviest downpours. Plus, the initial layer may be rolled whenever you wish, even while the sun is up. The stainless steel construction of the brackets and locks makes them durable and less cumbersome to set up. The ladder has also been improved upon to make climbing it less hazardous and more pleasant.
Perhaps it seems expensive to you, but trust me when we say it’s well worth the cost.
What we like
What we don't like
2. FSR High Country 55” Roof Top Tent
Freespirit Recreation, which has been around since 2004 and is often called “Go FSR,” is based in Oregon, USA. Their goal is to start over with the roof-top tent and make industry-leading designs that take your adventure to the next level.
People know that FSR changed the market for roof-top tents. Their different edition series are always full of surprises, and their newest one is called “High Country.” I’m very hopeful and sure that all of their tents that go on top of cars will work on your Subaru. But I want to say that the High Country 55″ Edition is the best.
It has UPF 50+ protection, which means that you can take a quick nap inside the tent even when the sun is up. Do you think that’s true? And because it’s made of 100% waterproof PVC, you stay dry and warm when it rains.
This family rooftop tent is great for all seasons, and the inside is also pretty cool. It has a large living space, built-in pockets, and lots of places to hang your gear. With the help of the built-in awning, you can enjoy the view from your tent.
This RTT is very useful and perfect for a newlywed couple or a couple with a child or baby, since it can hold up to 3 people. Wide side windows and a door that rolls from the top down give you a great way to let air in and keep cool.
This roof tent has a ladder that can be removed and used on both sides of the tent to make it easy to get in and out. It also has a 3″ high-density memory foam mattress with a removable, washable cover that will protect you from body pain.
What we like
What we don't like
3. Thule Tepui Low-Pro Roof Top Tent
Its low profile and sleek design set the Low-Pro from other softshell versions (the type we tested was barely 7 inches tall when packed), and its lightweight construction (105 pounds) makes it relatively simple for two people to carry.
The Low-Pro 2 from Thule Tepui explorer kukenam is a great option for people in need of convenient rooftop camping without the hassles of poor gas economy or a weighed-down automobile because to its trustworthy build quality, lightweight but sturdy materials that can handle cold temperatures, and cheap price tag.
The Low-Pro is about $500 more expensive and has far less living space than the cheaper Smittybilt. Overall, the Thule Tepui’s construction quality is better, and the Low-simplicity Pro’s will appeal to most recreational campers more than the Smittybilt’s overlanding-focused design (especially considering that the tent is just $1,300 when bought directly from Thule).
Moreover, the Low-Pro is easier to carry and takes up less space while not in use. Roofnest’s new Meadowlark and Front Runner’s Roof Top Tent below $1,169 and 93 lbs. There are two more designs in this tiny category, however they are not as compact when packed and can be hard to locate in your area.
Don’t discount the Low-Pro just because it’s the most basic Thule Tepui tent; our testers spent a night in the midst of a blizzard and slept well, safe from the elements.
What we like
What we don't like
4. Guana Equipment Wanaka 55" Roof Top Tent
Their rooftop tents are so much more than a simple tent that they are sometimes referred to as camping “setups.” Wanaka 55 “the annex is large enough to accommodate two adults, store a table and chairs, or serve as a spare room, making it one of the largest in the business. Your camping footprint may be expanded even more thanks to the three awning doors.
That being said, a first-rate business that excels in both product quality and customer support—right down to the tiniest of finishing touches. They are a well-known and renowned brand for a reason, and that’s why their products are exported to many other continents.
This softshell roof top tent may be seen on top of a trailer being pulled by a Subaru, but rest assured that it will fit easily over any Subaru, be it a Forester, Ascent, Crosstrek, or Outback. The Guana Wanaka 55 Equipment “Your Subaru is well-suited for RTT since it can comfortably seat three passengers on top and, if necessary, two more in the annex.
This item is well worth the price because it is constructed for year-round usage and has several useful extras. The inclusion of convenient features like boot bags, an LED light, an anti-condensation mat, and other similar additions elevate this camping gear to the level befitting a family vacation.
This is the appropriate tent on this list if you’re looking for all the extra gear.
What we like
What we don't like
5. Overland Vehicle Systems TMBK 3-Person Rooftop Tent
If you’re looking for a roof top tent and you’re on a limited budget, we highly recommend the Overland Vehicle Systems TMBK 3. It’s built to withstand any climate and comes equipped with a plethora of extras you won’t find on other products in this price range.
The TMBK Subaru tent’s body is constructed from 600D rip-stop polyester, while the rainfly is built from 420D polyester oxford. There will be no leaks in the event of a severe downpour because these textiles are both long-lasting and impervious to water.
However, the TMBK’s frame is composed of lightweight anodized aluminum, making it robust even in windy situations, and its base is made of durable insulated aluminum, making it comfortable even on the coldest of winter nights.
When it comes to sleeping area, the TMBK Subaru Outback Tent is surprisingly roomy for its small size. You can fit two adults and two children in here without any trouble at all. However, it will be quite a squeeze for three full-grown individuals to fit in.
The TMBK comes with a high-density foam mattress that is around 2.5 inches thick. The cover is easily removed and may be washed in the washing machine. It’s a decent bed in general, but it doesn’t quite cut it. If you want to sleep more soundly, you should definitely put a sleeping pad on top of it.
The TMBK roof top tent for the Subaru Outback is simple to set up and requires just a couple of hours of your time. When you’ve got everything set up, opening and closing it takes only a few minutes.
What we like
What we don't like
6. Badass Packout Molle Tent Rooftop Tent
The BadAss Packout Molle tent, often known as PMT, is among the most low-profile and lighter weight best Subaru outback roof top tents on the market today. It’s so thin that many people won’t even realize that your Outback has a tent attached.
When closed, the MT weighs around 90 pounds and is 3 inches tall. Badass PMT is so thin and lightweight that it has no effect on your Subaru Outback’s MPG. Molle straps and D-rings are integrated into the tent’s side walls, making it simple to attach backpacks and other Molle-compatible gear.
The body of the BadAss PMT Subaru outback tent is constructed with 420D Nylon Oxford Fabric and an extruded aluminum frame that makes the tent stable in inclement weather. Even though the cloth is waterproof, it has a waterproof shell on top to prevent water leaks during heavy rain.
This tent is available in sleeping sizes for two and three people. Both sizes have thermally regulating, 100% recycled mattress covers to keep the nighttime chill at bay. The pad is quite effective in keeping you warm, however it is not pleasant to sleep on. You will need to cover it with bedding or sleeping bags.
The BadAss PMT has windows on all three sides. All of them are constructed with a sturdy, micro-weave black mesh to keep bugs out at night and increase ventilation during inclement weather. When you open these enormous windows, you have a breathtaking 270-degree perspective of your surroundings.
The tent’s clamshell form and gas struts make setup and breakdown a snap. You can perform it without assistance in about two to three minutes. In addition, the necessary hardware for putting this tent on your Outback is included in the purchase price.
What we like
What we don't like
7. Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 4 Extended Rooftop Tent
The Nomadic 4 is the best rooftop tent for Subaru Outback. It’s spacious, comfortable, and composed of superior materials. The combination of its affordable luxury and manageable size has made it a favorite with young families.
The Nomadic 4 has a 600D poly-cotton rip-stop body and a 420D polyester oxford rainfly, so you can sleep soundly and dryly no matter the weather. It doesn’t matter how much it rains, this cloth will keep the water out.
The Nomadic 4’s structure is composed of robust anodized aluminum and weighs around 183 pounds, making it quite stable even in high winds. Moreover, there are two layers of protection and a single black plate at the tent’s base to ward off the chill.
Approximately four people can sleep in the Nomadic 4. There’s room for five people, but they won’t be comfortable. Nomadic 4 can sleep four, but an additional room may be added if you need to accommodate five guests or simply want extra living space. There’s a floor, walls, and a single bed in the auxiliary space.
Nomadic 4 includes a high-density foam mattress that is around 3 inches thick. The cover is quilted and black. That bed looks like heaven. The tent’s mesh windows prevent annoying insects from interrupting your slumber.
In spite of its size, Nomadic 4 is surprisingly simple to assemble and disassemble. It takes less than 5-10 minutes to set up and take down by yourself. It’s slow, yet easy to use. However, you will want the assistance of another person to install it on your Subaru Outback.
What we like
What we don't like
8. Smittybilt Overlander Tent
The Smittybilt Overlander, which retails for a little over $1,000, is our pick for the best low-cost rooftop tent design of 2022. Over half the price of its nearest competitors, the Overlander nevertheless manages to deliver decent performance.
The Smittybilt is similar to the Kukenam in that it can accommodate two or three campers, is made of durable materials (600-denier ripstop polyester, 420-denier rainfly, robust zippers, and fly poles), and includes helpful extras like an LED lighting strip and a rubber boot bag for storing your dirty shoes. When everything is considered, you won’t be able to get a more comprehensive design for less money.
However, there are trade-offs to using the Smittybilt to cut costs. To begin with, unlike the elegant telescopic design you get with models like the Thule Tepui above or the CVT Denali below, the Overlander’s ladder tends to stick and is difficult to attach.
Second, the storage cover is not fastened with a zipper but Velcro, and it is difficult to put back on once removed (this might seem like a small gripe, but those who move camp daily will notice the extra burden).
Finally, the Smittybilt’s assembly is not as simple as we’d like and calls for some MacGuyvering straight from the box. However, if you are on a tighter budget and don’t mind putting in a little extra effort, the Overlander will save you money compared to comparable softshells.
We should also mention that Smittybilt now offers an upgraded version of this trailer (the GEN2) for the same price ($1,428) that has a better ladder, a bigger rainfly, and a skylight. However, the original tent design is still on sale while supplies last and is the best option for those on a strict budget.
What we like
What we don't like
Why Choose a Roof Top Tent Hard Shell for a Subaru Outback?
Aerodynamic hardshell rooftop tents are great. They deflect wind around your tent by tapering from front to rear. On high-speed road journeys, hardshell tents fold down and are stable, saving petrol.
Rooftop tent strong shells are easier to set up than soft shells. The tent can be unzipped and secured to your roof in minutes. Most roof top tents have beds inside, so you don’t have to worry about fitting them in your vehicle or carrying them up at night.
Hard-shell roof top tents are also weatherproof. These tents have virtually vertical walls, unlike soft shell roof tops with sloped walls, and may last longer. Vertical walls improve tent space and mobility.
Mounting a Roof Top Tent
The Subaru Outback rooftop tent is easy to set up, but you can’t just throw it up and go. Install a tent mounting rack instead.
Yakima supplied our mounting rack. Yakima is a recognized car accessory company, however our Skycamp Mini sat too high off our Subaru Outback.
We bought the Yakima skyrise roof top tent before discovering the Spider Rack. Spider Racks on Subaru Outbacks are blessedly lower. Your roof top tent’s weight can also modify the crossbars.
The iKamper you buy determines the roof top tent rack parameters.
Are Roof Top Tents Worth It?
In a perfect world, when tent camping, you’d find a nice, dry site to set up your shelter, the tent would go together without any problems, and a wet night wouldn’t result in water leaking through your improperly fastened rainfly or collecting beneath your sleeping bag. This kind of classic camping setting is probably rare to find even for first-time campers. Tents mounted on the roof can be a lifesaver in such a situation.
Below are some considerations that may sway you toward “vehicle camping” with a roof-top tent.
Staying off the ground
In all honesty, even if it doesn’t rain and muck up your campsite, your fearful camping buddies may keep you up all night with their reactions to the sounds of the great outdoors. Tenting on the ground can be unpleasant due to the presence of mud, and worrying about a bear clawing down your tent is unnecessary if you have a roof top tent.
Less tenting equipment to carry
No longer will you need to stress over whether or not you remembered to bring your inflatable camping mattress. Mattresses are usually already included in roof tents. Those beds up there on the roof are likely to be more comfy than your previous sleeping pad, however this is not always the case. And the bonus? The mattress is firm enough that you may roll about without fear of toppling off.
Everyone has laughed at the sight of campers in a movie or sitcom fumbling with the classic tent. Sure, it’s entertaining to watch from the comfort of your own home, but if you’ve ever had to deal with the poles, hard dirt, and rain flies personally, you know it’s anything but humorous at the moment. Unzipping the tent, flipping it open, and latching the guylines are all that’s required to set up a roof top mattress.
You can set up camp just about anywhere
When camping in a conventional tent, the location of your camp site is of the utmost importance. Tents might get damaged or the camping experience can be unpleasant on rocky or uneven ground. You’ll also want to avoid any muddy spots, and you could have to compete with other campers for a prime viewing location for your tent.
You can sleep anywhere you park your car if you have a rooftop mattress. When you’re up high, you can take in the scenery like never before.
Make use of the extra space
The interiors of tents set up on rooftops are surprisingly roomy. Additionally, the weight of a tent isn’t necessarily an issue with roof top tents as it is with conventional tents. Which means you can pitch a 4-person tent up there. Whether you’re taking a solo trip or a trip with a friend, you’ll appreciate the added room.
How Set up a Roof Top Tent on your Subaru Outback
Here, we’ll walk you through the steps of installing a roof tent atop your Subaru Outback. We’ll also throw in some pointers for streamlining the procedure for your convenience.
The first thing you need to do is remove the front and rear seats from your Subaru Outback. You can do this by unscrewing the bolts that hold the seats in place. Once the seats are removed, you can now access the roof of your vehicle.
Next, you need to install the roof rack on your Subaru Outback. This will provide a sturdy platform for your roof top tent. If you do not have a roof rack, you can purchase one from your local automotive store.
Once the roof rack is installed, you can now place the roof top tent on it. Make sure that the tent is securely fastened to the roof rack before proceeding.
Now, you need to open up the tent and set it up according to its instructions. Once the tent is set up, you can now invite your friends or family members inside and enjoy a good night’s sleep under the stars!
Roof Top Tents for Subaru Outback – FAQs
Q: Do I need a roof rack to install a roof top tent?
While some models of roof top tents come with their own dedicated rack system, others require that you already have a compatible roof rack installed on your vehicle. Be sure to check the specifications of the model you’re interested in to ensure that you have the necessary equipment.
Q: How much weight can my vehicle’s roof support?
The load capacity of your vehicle’s roof is determined by its make and model — you can usually find this information in your owner’s manual. When in doubt, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and choose a lighter-weight model of roof top tent.
Q: How do I know if a particular model of roof top tent will fit my vehicle?
Most brands offer a fitment guide on their website, but if you’re still unsure, it’s always best to contact customer service for assistance. They will be able to tell you definitively whether or not a particular model will be compatible with your vehicle.
Q: How easy is it to set up a roof top tent?
Roof top tents are designed for easy, one-person setup — even models that are large enough to accommodate multiple people can usually be erected by one person in just a few minutes. Be sure to practice setting up and taking down your tent at home before hitting the road so that you’ll be confident in your skills when you need them most.
Roof Top Tents for Subaru Outback - Final Thoughts
For what it’s worth, we agree with everything that has been said up to this point, and I also know that there are several rooftop tents available. On the other hand, the four Subaru roof rack tents that we’ve listed here all perform above and beyond our wildest dreams. Longevity, well-known manufacturers, and an affordable price tag are only the beginning. Now they have it.
However, you may want to check out our website, since we stock a wide variety of various brands. Spend some time browsing our site to figure out which roof-top tent best meets your needs and requirements.
You may also read our article about choosing the right rooftop box for your Subaru.