Don't let the lack of comfortable accommodations stop you from camping! Our review of the Smittybilt Overlander rooftop tent for 2023 camping reveals the perfect softshell solution.

Sleep Under the Stars: Our Honest Smittybilt Overlander Rooftop Tent Review 2024

The Smittybilt Overlander rooftop tent is comparable to others in our assessment and even better. Smittybilt thought of everything when constructing this product, including a hanging boot bag for dirty shoes and an LED light strip. The canopy is stormproof, and the mattress is comfortable. This is a good rooftop tent for the money.

Smittybilt Overlander

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Reasons To Buy

Reasons To Avoid

Smittybilt Overlander Rooftop Tent Review

Smittybilt has always been a simple, blue-collar business. Their rooftop tent shows that they sell well-made items that the average person can afford. The Overlander is built to last, has features that other brands charge extra for, and, best of all, costs a lot less. The Overlander is a great choice for someone who doesn’t mind setting it up a little longer or making a few changes.

Performance Comparison

Smittybilt has always been a simple, blue-collar business. Their rooftop tent shows that they sell well-made items that the average person can afford. The Overlander is built to last, has features that other brands charge extra for, and, best of all, costs a lot less. The Overlander is a great choice for someone who doesn’t mind setting it up a little longer or making a few changes.

SpecsSmittybilt OverlanderThule Tepui Kukenam 3Thule Tepui Explorer Ayer 2
Weight65.3 kg | 144 lbs59 kg | 130 lbs48.1 kg | 106 lbs
Max Inside Height130 cm | 51 in132 cm | 52 in96.5 cm | 38 in
Windows3 side, 2 roof3 side, 2 roof3 side, 2 roof
Floor Dimensions56 in x 96 in56 in x 96 in84 in x 48 in
Floor Area3.53 m2 | 38 sq ft3.53 m2 | 38 sq ft2.6 m2 | 28 sq ft
Room DividerNoNoNo
Vestibule Area Dimensionsn/an/an/a
Packed Size12 in x 48 in x 56 in12 in x 48 in x 56 in11 in x 42 in x 48 in
Floor MaterialsAluminumAluminumAluminum
Main Tent Materials420 D420 D260g polyester cotton
Rainfly Materials600 D600 D600 D
Number of Poles888
Pole MaterialAluminum/spring steelAluminum/spring steelAluminum/spring steel
Pole Diameter1/4 in1/4 in1/4 in
Design TypeFold-outFold-outFold-out
ExtrasInterior LED, extension cords, boot bagMemory foam mattressMemory foam mattress

Comfort and Space

Smittybilt Overlander Review

We found the Overlander to be one of the sleekest and most convenient tents available. Within, there’s a maximum height of 51 inches, giving you plenty of headroom to see the scenery or freshen up. Two side windows and two roof windows complement the 38 square feet of floor area, making this unit comparable to its premium counterparts.

Setting up camp in the dark won’t be a problem thanks to the Overlander’s LED light strip, one of the nicest features. In addition, the broad and strong ladder makes getting in and out of the tent more safe, and the supplied rubber boot bag means you’ll never have to carry dirty boots inside.

Smittybilt Overlander Rooftop Tent: Durability

Smittybilt Overlander Review 2023

We compared the technical specifications offered by several brands to find out how well they held up to the elements and how well built they were. After converting each tent 25 times from transport to camping mode, we took each model camping for at least five nights. We opened and closed every single window and door at least twenty-five times to ensure that they all worked properly before leaving. Overall, the Smittybilt Overlander performed admirably.

When it comes to quality, Smittybilt doesn’t risk its reputation by endorsing flimsy goods. The 600D polyurethane canopy can protect you from nearly any storm. We found this ladder to be the broadest of all those examined. The 17-inch height makes it considerably simpler and safer to transport items, young children, or pets to the bedroom area above. In the middle of the night, you never know when or why you’ll need to descend, so having a wider ladder is useful.

The Overlander’s accompanying boot bag, for example, is a handy accessory that helps the backpack last for a long time. There will be less potential for harm to the carpet or bed mattress if you leave your boots outdoors. The zippers on this model aren’t quite as sturdy as those on some of the competitors; we didn’t see any issues with them during our wear testing, but it’s worth noting.

Smittybilt Overlander Rooftop Tent: Ease of Conversion

Smittybilt Overlander tent Review

The Overlander’s camping setup is straightforward. Unfastening just two straps allows you to quickly and easily access the velcro that secures the cover to the tent’s four corners. The sliding shape of the ladder makes it easy to expand once the cover is taken off.

Setting up the awning is a tedious and time-consuming process. If you want the awnings on your side windows and doors to be extended, you’ll need to set up eight poles in total. The Overlander does need a few more seconds to hang or remove the boot bag, but once the LED light strip is mounted, it may dwell inside the tent while in travel mode. Smittybilt employs an internal bungee system to assist with the collapse of the canopy, allowing for a speedy departure from the campsite and onto to your house or next destination.

Smittybilt Overlander Rooftop Tent: Cover Convenience

best Smittybilt Overlander Review

The Overlander cover must be taken off entirely in order to be used as a tent. It’s convenient not to have to worry about the cover, but then there’s the matter of where to put the bulky rubber thing. The cover stays connected on one side of the other softshell versions we tried, making them simple to roll up, store, and re-don before hitting the road. When it came time to break camp, we discovered that if the cover wasn’t tied to the tent, it was more difficult to determine which way it should go.

Ease of Assembly and Installation

Smittybilt Overlander rooftop Review

This is not the simplest tent to set up. The tent is one of the heaviest we tried, making any minor adjustments more of a chore. Unless you already have a ratchet set on hand, the installation will take far longer than expected because just the most basic tools were included in the box. The sliding ladder has two sets of pre-drilled holes, but you’ll need to make your own if your rack isn’t the right height. In spite of having the proper equipment, drilling holes in metal is difficult, especially if you require the holes to be perfectly round. The LED strip takes a little longer to install, but it’s well worth the time spent in the end.

Using primarily Allen wrenches, the Yakima Skyrise Medium makes setting up a rooftop tent much less of a hassle. The Skyrise mounting method does not require any tools, so setting up or breaking down the tent is a breeze. All you have to do is line up the clamps with your crossbars. Check out one of the hardshell types we recommend in our evaluation of the best rooftop tents if you want a tent that doesn’t need any installation at all.

Overlander Tent Instruction Manual

Smittybilt Overlander Rooftop Tent: Value

The Overlander is an excellent choice for anybody who wants to try out rooftop tents without breaking the budget. It’s one of the most affordable rooftop tents available, yet it rivals the quality and features of models that cost twice as much. It’s not only competitive with more pricey tents, but in some aspects it even outperforms them. The tent’s rubber boot bag ensures that you won’t track mud inside, and the tent’s LED light strip replicates the look of your living room lighting. This is a good rooftop tent if you don’t mind that it’s a little heavier, might take a little longer to set up, might need a little tweaking, and takes a few more minutes to convert.

Smittybilt Overlander Review: Final Thoughts

There aren’t many things more tempting than the Smittybilt Overlander as a first or secondary rooftop camping tent. It’s a lot less expensive than comparable hardshell options from Roofnest and iKamper, and it’s cheaper by hundreds of dollars compared to Tepui’s fold-out softshells. The high-quality materials used ensure that it will last for a long time without breaking down. It could be easier to set up, but when you do, it’ll be a useful tool for your camping trip. In light of all this (and the LED light strip, of course), we have no doubts in declaring the Smittybilt Overlander the Best Affordable RTT.

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Daniel Wisdom
Daniel Wisdom

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