Disclosure: I am compensated for purchases made through some links on this site. Click for details.
Over 13,500 members of a roof-top tent Facebook group were asked why they switched from a soft shell to hard shell roof-top tent.
Sixty answers were provided by members who had made the switch or who were ready to make the switch to a hard shell tent. Their answers have compiled, summarized, and duplicate answers have been eliminated leaving 25 reasons to switch.
I hope the answers from these seasoned roof-top tent owners will help you make your decision if you are considering the switch or in the process of choosing a roof-top tent.
Some answers will not apply to all hard shell roof top tent models.
1. Ease of setup and takedown. On multiple day adventures, this makes a big difference.
2. Less climbing up and down on the vehicle to deal with setup and takedown.
3. Easier setup for one person.
4. Aerodynamics and speed when on road.
5. Less wind noise when on the road.
6. Better gas mileage.
7. The ladder can be placed on either side or back of the vehicle.
9. Better insulation
10. Bedding and other sleeping gear can be kept in the tent at all times which free up more space inside the vehicle.
11. With the low profile design of hard shell roof top tents, many cars can still fit in the garage.
12. Greater durability
13. Can be stored on the roof all year round for many years because the hard shell is superior to a soft cover in withstanding the elements. This is great if you don’t have help to take the tent on and off and when you don’t have a good storage location for the tent when it’s not on the vehicle.
14. Hard shell roof top tents are far more durable when driving through trees and brush. Soft covers can get torn up.
15. There’s confidence against critters chewing through a hard cover when the tent is left on the vehicle year round. Not so much with a soft shell cover.
16. Certain hard shell roof top tents like the Roofnest Falcon XL have racks on top to carry additional gear (kayaks, boards, bikes, bags, etc.) that could damage the cover of a soft shell roof top tent.
17. Some can still be deployed with gear loaded on top.
18. Can mount things on the top and sides of many hard shell roof top tents like awnings, solar panels, lights, and shoe bags.
19. Hard shells look sleeker and cleaner than soft shells.
20. Dirt comes off the hard shell easier than a soft shell cover.
21. Fewer or no straps to deal with.
22. They perform much better in windy conditions.
23. Holds up great during storms.
24. Hard shells are easier to open and close in rain and wind.
25. For most hard shells, you’re able to pull into more camping spots without worrying about a flip out.
For more about roof top tents, check out my posts: