Roof Nest: Comprehensive Guide and Tips for Optimal Usage

Last updated on April 20, 2024

Explore the intriguing world of roof nests because they harness innovative technology to dramatically change your outdoor experiences.

Exploring the great outdoors no longer means sacrificing the comforts of home, thanks to the advent of roof nests. These elevated sleeping quarters transform any vehicle into a cozy retreat, ensuring that adventurers can embrace the wilderness without compromising on convenience or comfort.

Whether you’re drawn to the rugged durability and sleek design of hardshell tents or prefer the adaptable space and breezy environment of softshell variants, there’s a roof nest to fit your travel style. With leading models like the Falcon Pro, Falcon 2, Condor 2, and Sparrow 2 climbing the popularity charts, understanding their unique features and benefits is essential for selecting the perfect rooftop companion for your journeys.

Prepare to delve into the world of hardshell and softshell roof nests, where every detail from setup to sustainability is tailored to enhance your outdoor exploits.

Key takeaways:

  • Roof nests are convenient, comfortable, and easy to access.
  • Hardshell and softshell tents offer distinct advantages and considerations.
  • Hardshell tents are durable, aerodynamic, and low maintenance.
  • Softshell tents are flexible, spacious, and offer superior ventilation.
  • Popular roof nest models include Falcon Pro, Falcon 2, Condor 2, and Sparrow 2.

Understanding Roof Nests

understanding roof nests

Roof nests, also known as rooftop tents, are a game-changer for outdoor enthusiasts. These innovative structures attach to the roof rack of a vehicle, offering a secure, elevated sleeping area that’s off the ground and away from potential moisture and pests. The appeal lies in their convenience, comfort, and ease of access. They open up and collapse with minimal effort, transforming a vehicle into a mobile base camp within minutes.

Elevated sleeping platforms like roof nests provide a unique vantage point and often enhanced airflow, a feature particularly welcomed in warmer climates. They come with built-in mattresses, providing more comfort than traditional ground tents. Plus, their sturdy design elements offer a level of safety and privacy not always available with ground-level camping options.

These tents have evolved to include amenities such as built-in LED lights, USB charging ports, and even skylights for stargazing, blurring the lines between the ruggedness of camping and the luxuries of modern convenience. With a variety of models on the market, ranging from minimalist designs to luxurious two-person spaces, roof nests can tailor to every type of adventurer.

Types of Roof Nest Tents

types of roof nest tents

Hardshell rooftop tents are renowned for their robust construction and quick deployment. With a fiberglass or aluminum shell, they provide excellent protection against the elements, making them a durable choice.

On the other hand, softshell rooftop tents offer flexibility and tend to be lighter, which may be more suitable for those with lower vehicle load capacity. They typically feature a fold-out design, which creates a larger sleeping area and can include an annex for additional space.

Both styles have distinct advantages, with hardshells being more aerodynamic and convenient for frequent campers, and softshells offering more space and affordability for casual adventurers. The choice between the two ultimately depends on personal camping style, vehicle specifications, and travel needs.

Hardshell Rooftop Tents

Hardshell rooftop tents offer a blend of convenience and robust protection. Their sturdy outer casing provides excellent durability against harsh weather conditions, from heavy rain to strong winds. The aerodynamic design minimizes wind resistance when driving, which can improve fuel efficiency. Setup is generally swift with hardshells, often popping up in minutes, thanks to the hinged design.

Space is optimized in these tents, with the hardshell serving as both roof and floor when opened, maximizing headroom. They are also known for their insulation properties, keeping you warmer in cooler climates and cooler when it’s hot outside. While they tend to be more expensive than their softshell counterparts, their longevity and low maintenance needs justify the initial investment for many adventurers. Additionally, their sleek design often complements the aesthetic of modern vehicles, making them a favored choice for the style-conscious camper.

Softshell Rooftop Tents

Softshell rooftop tents are a favorable option for those seeking a balance between comfort and convenience while maintaining a sense of traditional tent camping. With a design that typically involves unfolding and extending a fabric-covered tent, they generally offer a larger footprint, potentially accommodating more sleepers or providing added interior space.

The flexibility of the softshell structure allows for the integration of annexes or awnings, extending living space beyond the vehicle’s roof. This can be particularly advantageous for campers who anticipate spending extended periods at a single campsite.

However, it’s important to note that the setup process for softshell tents might be slightly more involved than their hardshell counterparts, often requiring a few extra steps to fully erect the tent structure. Despite this, they remain a robust choice for adventurers looking for an authentic camping experience with the added height and security of a rooftop setup.

Durability and weather resistance are still high on the priority list, with most models made from high-quality, rip-stop fabrics. Ventilation is typically superior in softshell tents, as multiple windows and doors can be opened to create airflow.

In terms of transport, softshell tents are less aerodynamic when compared to hardshell models, which may slightly impact fuel efficiency. When choosing a tent, take into account your vehicle’s roof rack weight limit to ensure it can support the tent when both open and closed.

Popular Roof Nest Models

The Falcon Pro elevates the outdoor experience with its aerodynamic design and spacious interior, redefining comfort for avid adventurers. Meanwhile, the Falcon 2, a fan-favorite, strikes an ideal balance between ruggedness and convenience with its quick deployment features.

For those needing extra room, the Condor 2 offers an expandable design, making it a perfect fit for families or groups seeking generous sleeping space. The Sparrow 2 caters to solo travelers or couples, focusing on a compact footprint without sacrificing the essentials of a restful rooftop retreat.

Each model is designed with distinctive features to cater to different preferences. For example, the Falcon series boasts aluminum shells, known for their strength and lightweight attributes, suitable for frequent use and long road trips. The inclusion of built-in storage in the Sparrow offers added convenience for personal belongings.

When selecting your model, consider how these unique characteristics align with your camping lifestyle and the capabilities of your vehicle.

Falcon Pro

The Falcon Pro sets itself apart with its innovative features that cater to outdoor enthusiasts seeking a robust overhead shelter. Designed for durability, it boasts a reinforced honeycomb aluminum shell that can withstand harsh elements while remaining lightweight.

The tent expands upwards and can be set up in minutes, providing a spacious interior with a high-density foam mattress for enhanced comfort in the wilderness.

Its sleek aerodynamic design minimizes wind resistance on the road, making for a more fuel-efficient journey. Ventilation is a key focus with built-in screened windows, ensuring airflow and reducing condensation.

The accessory channels on all four sides allow for personal customization with additional gear like awnings or solar panels.

Swift accessibility is facilitated by the inclusion of a telescoping ladder, which is designed to work with varying vehicle heights. For those with a love of stargazing, the Falcon Pro also features a sky-view window, offering views of the night sky directly from your sleeping space.

When it comes to storage, the Falcon Pro doesn’t skimp, with pockets and hooks to keep personal items organized, ensuring that adventure seekers can maximize their outdoor living experience without compromise.

Falcon 2

The Falcon 2 stands out for its sleek, aerodynamic design, aimed at adventurers who value both style and function. Constructed from aluminum with a reinforced build, it withstands rigorous travel demands. Its low-profile stance, when closed, minimizes wind resistance, making it an efficient companion on the road.

This model boasts a clamshell mechanism, creating an easy-to-operate setup that transforms from a compact roof addition to a spacious sleeping area within minutes. The inclusion of built-in storage pockets and a USB charging port points to a thoughtful design that prioritizes convenience. Large side windows offer ample ventilation and scenic views, ensuring comfort during various weather conditions.

When considering the Falcon 2, note the following:

  • Sleeps two adults comfortably, with high-density foam mattress included.
  • The annex feature provides additional space below the tent, functional for dressing or as extra storage.
  • Quick-release latches simplify the opening and closing process.
  • Compatible with most roof racks, but always verify your vehicle’s specifications for optimal safety.
  • The keyed locks enhance security, providing peace of mind when away from the vehicle.

A practical choice for those seeking a robust and user-friendly rooftop tent, the Falcon 2 melds innovation with the practical needs of overlanders and campers alike.

Condor 2

The Condor 2 strikes a balance between convenience and spaciousness. This model expands on the success of its predecessor by offering a streamlined setup process — popping up in seconds to provide a cozy sleeping area.

Accommodating up to four adults, it’s an ideal choice for family excursions or group adventures.

Durability is central to the design, featuring a reinforced ABS shell and a weather-resistant canvas that can withstand the elements.

Ample storage pockets and an integrated mattress enhance the experience, ensuring gear stays organized and sleep remains comfortable.

Ventilation is thoughtfully designed with windows and doors that promote airflow to regulate the internal temperature and reduce condensation.

Upgrades like the built-in LED lighting system provide added convenience, eliminating the need to pack extra lanterns.

The Condor 2’s compatibility with most roof racks means that it can be fitted onto a variety of vehicles with ease, making it as versatile as it is functional.

When considering a rooftop accommodation that merges ruggedness with comfort, this model emerges as a robust contender.

Sparrow 2

The Sparrow 2 strikes a balance between the sleek design of a hardshell and the spacious interior of a softshell. It’s constructed with a reinforced fiberglass shell and includes a built-in storage area, offering extra space for bedding when closed. This model can comfortably sleep two adults with its high-density foam mattress, ensuring a restful night’s sleep.

Equipped with a durable, waterproof canvas, the Sparrow 2 is engineered to withstand diverse weather conditions. Its intuitive design facilitates an easy setup and takedown process—popping up in seconds for quick campsite assembly. Large windows with mesh screens provide ample ventilation and panoramic views.

For adventurers conscious of their vehicle’s carrying capacity, the Sparrow 2 is a lightweight option, minimizing the impact on fuel efficiency and handling. It also comes with universal mounting brackets, making it compatible with most roof racks. Accessories, like an awning, can be easily attached to the tent’s built-in rails, expanding your living space.

Environmentally conscious, the Sparrow 2 uses solar reflective shells to keep the interior temperature regulated. The aerodynamic shape of the tent also contributes to noise reduction during travel.

The inclusion of a telescoping ladder means accessing your rooftop haven is always straightforward, regardless of the vehicle height. In summary, for those prioritizing a harmonious blend of convenience, comfort, and resilience, the Sparrow 2 presents a compelling option.

Key Features to Consider in a Roof Nest

When assessing Roof Nests, prioritize space and comfort; more room enhances the camping experience but consider your vehicle’s size.

Durability and weather resistance are critical; quality build and materials withstand diverse conditions, extending lifespan.

Evaluate weight and load capacity to ensure your vehicle can safely support the nest.

These aspects directly affect performance, satisfaction, and adventure quality.

Space and Comfort

When determining the right roof nest for your adventures, consider the tent’s interior dimensions to ensure it accommodates your height and sleeping preferences. Spacious models allow for a more comfortable experience, often providing extra room for gear storage or an additional sleeper.

Look for tents with built-in mattresses for enhanced comfort, and check for features such as skylights or multiple windows which can enhance the feeling of openness. Ventilation systems are vital for maintaining airflow and reducing condensation inside the tent.

Remember, though, that a larger tent will weigh more and may require a stronger roof rack. Your choice should balance your space requirements with your vehicle’s capabilities.


The lifespan of a roof nest is heavily influenced by its construction materials. High-quality tents typically employ UV-resistant and waterproof fabrics, such as ripstop polyester or canvas, to shield against sun degradation and moisture ingress. For hardshell tents, look for robust shells made from ABS plastic or fiberglass, both known for their strength and longevity.

The frame’s material matters as well. Aluminum frames offer a balance of lightness and resilience, holding up against the rigors of travel without adding excessive weight. Stainless steel hardware is a sign of quality, resisting rust and maintaining structural integrity over time.

Examine the zippers and seams closely: heavy-duty zippers and reinforced, double-stitched seams are indicative of a product that’s built to endure constant use and the strain of being pitched and collapsed regularly.

Lastly, seasonal maintenance can extend a roof nest’s life. Regular checks for any signs of wear or damage, especially after encounters with severe weather, and prompt repairs can prevent minor issues from becoming major problems.

Weather Resistance

Robust materials and construction are crucial for withstanding diverse weather conditions. High-quality roof nests feature UV-resistant fabrics and waterproof coatings, ensuring that occupants stay dry during rainfall.

Sealed seams prevent water ingress, a common challenge during persistent showers. Adequate ventilation systems also play a vital role; they help manage condensation, maintaining a comfortable internal environment.

In regions with heavy snowfall, the structural integrity of the nest is paramount. Designs that enable snow shedding and can bear additional weight without collapsing offer peace of mind during winter escapades.

Similarly, for extreme sun exposure, reflective outer materials help keep the tent’s interior cool. Always consider the seasonality of your adventures when assessing the weather resistance of a roof nest.

Weight and Load Capacity

When considering a roof nest, it’s crucial to understand that each vehicle has a specified maximum roof load capacity. This figure includes the weight of both the rooftop tent and its occupants.

Typically, hardshell tents are heavier than softshell models, with average weights ranging from 130 to 220 pounds. It is essential to confirm that your car’s roof can accommodate this weight, taking into account the dynamic load capacity— the weight the roof can carry when the vehicle is in motion—versus the static load capacity—how much it can hold when parked.

The overall weight impacts fuel efficiency and the vehicle’s center of gravity. Thus, lighter models are often sought after for their minimal effect on vehicle handling and fuel consumption. Moreover, the tent’s load capacity—the amount of weight it can safely support when in use—is equally important, typically ranging between 400 to 900 pounds. Be sure to match this number with the combined weight of all potential occupants to ensure safety and structural integrity.

Always refer to your vehicle’s manual for specific roof load capacities and consult with the rooftop tent manufacturer for precise tent weights and recommended usage to guarantee optimal performance and safety.

Installation and Setup

Before beginning the installation process, ensure your vehicle’s roof rack is compatible with the Roof Nest tent’s mounting system. Check your vehicle manufacturer’s specifications for maximum roof weight capacity to avoid any potential issues.

Tools needed typically include a wrench set and a screwdriver, although requirements may vary depending on the tent model. Some Roof Nest tents come with custom-designed tools to aid in installation.

Follow the step-by-step guide provided by Roof Nest, which often involves securing the mounting brackets to the roof rack, lifting the tent onto the vehicle, and attaching it with the included hardware. It’s advisable to have a second person to help with lifting and positioning the tent.

For safety, make sure all mounting points are secure and the tent is centered on the roof to maintain proper vehicle balance. Test the setup by gently pulling on the tent to ensure it’s firmly attached before hitting the road.

Regular checks and tightening of all hardware are recommended, especially before long trips, to ensure ongoing safety and stability of the rooftop setup.

Maintenance and care should include regular inspections for any potential wear and tear, especially the mounting points, after off-road adventures or exposure to harsh weather conditions.

Tools Required for Installation

Before beginning the installation process, it is important to gather the necessary tools to ensure a smooth and efficient setup. Typically, you’ll need the following:

  • A ratchet set: This is essential for tightening the mounting brackets and bolts that secure the tent to the roof racks.
  • An adjustable wrench: Some components may require fine-tuning during installation, for which an adjustable wrench is suitable.
  • A measuring tape: Precise measurements are crucial to evenly space the mounting brackets and prevent future stability issues.
  • A ladder: Ensuring easy access to your vehicle’s roof, a stable ladder is vital for safety and convenience during the installation process.
  • Protective gloves: These provide a better grip and protect your hands while handling the hardware and tools.
  • Torque wrench (optional): For those who want to ensure bolts are tightened to specifications, a torque wrench is a valuable tool.

Always refer to the specific installation guide for your roof nest tent model, as some models may have unique requirements or additional tools needed. Preparing these tools in advance helps streamline the installation process.

Step-by-step Installation Guide

To ensure a successful installation of a roof nest, follow these steps:

  • Unbox the tent and lay out all components.
  • Confirm the presence of mounting tracks, bolts, and tools.
  • Place the mounting tracks parallel on your vehicle’s roof rack or crossbars.
  • Lift the tent onto the roof, with assistance if necessary, aligning it with the tracks.
  • Slide the bolts into the tracks and position them to align with the mounting points on the tent.
  • Attach the tent to the mounting tracks using the provided bolts, washers, and nuts.
  • Tighten all hardware incrementally to distribute pressure equally; avoid over-tightening.
  • Ensure the tent is securely fastened and the vehicle’s doors can open without obstruction.
  • Open the tent to check that it deploys correctly and there’s no movement on the roof.
  • Finally, attach any additional accessories like ladders or annexes as directed.

Periodically check the installation throughout your travels to maintain safety and stability.

Safety Guidelines

Before laying your head down in a rooftop haven, it’s essential to follow safety protocols to ensure you and your vehicle remain unscathed. First, verify your vehicle’s roof load capacity to ensure it can support the weight of the Roof Nest and its occupants; this information can typically be found in the owner’s manual. Exceeding this limit can compromise vehicle handling and safety.

Proper distribution of weight is equally critical. Position the Roof Nest centrally to maintain balanced handling – most mounting systems are designed to aid with this. Furthermore, when climbing into or out of the tent, use the designated ladder only. This isn’t just a matter of convenience; it’s about distributing weight evenly and avoiding injury.

Regularly check and tighten the mounting hardware, as vibrations from driving can sometimes cause fittings to loosen. Do so especially after drives on rough terrain. Also, before setting off, always verify that the Roof Nest is securely closed and latched. This prevents aerodynamic issues or unexpected openings on the road.

Remember that altering the center of gravity with a Roof Nest can affect your vehicle’s handling. Take turns more slowly, and brake earlier than usual to adapt to the additional height and weight. Drive cautiously until you’re accustomed to the new driving dynamics.

Lastly, always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for specific details on your Roof Nest model to avoid any risks associated with its use. These practices will help ensure your adventures with a roof nest remain memorable for the right reasons.

Vehicle Compatibility and Requirements

Before installing a roof nest, check your vehicle’s roof rating to ensure it can support the combined weight of the tent and its occupants. This information is typically found in the owner’s manual. Most standard vehicles, such as SUVs, crossovers, and trucks, are well-suited for roof nests, whereas smaller cars may have restrictions.

Roof racks or crossbars are essential for mounting a roof nest. The tent must be securely attached to these bars, so ensure they’re compatible and rated for the weight. Crossbar spacing is also a critical factor and should align with the mounting points on your specific roof nest model.

Consider the dynamic weight capacity of your vehicle which refers to the weight it can carry while in motion. It’s usually less than the static weight capacity, which is the weight the vehicle can bear when parked. Always abide by the lower dynamic weight capacity for safe travel.

For optimal performance and safety, use accessories and mounts designed for your specific roof nest brand. Non-branded components may not provide a secure fit, risking damage to your vehicle or tent.

Lastly, for vehicles with sunroofs, a roof nest may obstruct its use. Make sure you’re comfortable with this limitation before proceeding with Installation.

Weight Distribution and Dynamics

When choosing and using a roof nest, it’s crucial to understand how the tent’s weight impacts your vehicle’s performance. Here are several points to keep in mind:

1. Check Vehicle’s Roof Capacity: Your vehicle’s manual will list the maximum dynamic weight it can carry while driving and the static weight it can support when parked. Ensure not to exceed these limits.

2. Even Weight Spread: Distribute the tent’s weight evenly across the roof to maintain vehicle balance. Uneven weight distribution can affect handling and increase the risk of accidents.

3. Lower Center of Gravity: While a roof nest elevates weight, aim to choose a lower-profile design that minimizes the change in the vehicle’s center of gravity.

4. Aerodynamics: Weight distribution affects aerodynamics. Consider a roof nest that aligns well with the vehicle’s shape, reducing drag and improving fuel efficiency.

5. Speed Adjustments: With extra weight on the roof, you’ll need to adjust your driving speed for optimal safety, especially during windy conditions or when making sharp turns.

6. Regular Inspections: Periodically check mounting points and roof racks for signs of stress or damage, ensuring that the tent remains securely attached.

Understanding these weight distribution and dynamic considerations ensures a safer and more enjoyable experience with your roof nest.


Is Roofnest made in China?

Yes, Roofnest is manufactured in China.

How much weight can a Roofnest hold?

A Roofnest can hold up to 650 lbs.

What is so great about rooftop tents?

Rooftop tents are highly regarded due to their thick canvas material and hard ABS/fibreglass shell that effectively retains heat, providing a warm and comfortable environment during night-time.

What is a roof neat?

A roof nest refers to a rooftop tent that can be quickly set up on any terrain and in any weather.

How long does a Roofnest tent typically last?

A Roofnest tent typically lasts about five years with proper care and frequent use.

Can a Roofnest be installed on any type of vehicle?

A Roofnest can be installed on most types of vehicles, provided that they have roof racks or cross bars capable of supporting the weight of the tent and its occupants.

What materials are used to construct Roofnest tents?

Roofnest tents are constructed using durable materials such as ABS plastic for the shell and fire-retardant, waterproof 280g poly-cotton tent fabric for the rest of the tent.