Hard Shell vs Soft Shell Roof Tents: Which One is Best for You?
Hard Shell vs Soft Shell Roof Tents: Which One is Best for You?

Hard Shell vs Soft Shell Roof Tents: Which One is Best for You?

Last update by Oliver
May 23, 2023

When it comes to roof tents, TentBox offers some of the best on the market. But deciding between getting a Hard Shell Roof Tent or a Softshell Roof Tent can be a challenge in itself.

Here we have listed the pros and cons of both Soft Shell and Hard Shell Roof Tents to make it easier for you to figure out which is right for you.

What is a Roof Tent?

A roof tent is a tent that attaches to the roof of a car and offers a great way to make it easy to travel and explore. The roof of your car becomes a home for you when you need it. Car roof tents are a convenient alternative to traditional tents as they are easy to set up and reduce the amount of luggage in your car whilst you travel.

Here at TentBox we offer two roof tents for your next adventure: the Hard Shell Roof Tent and the Soft Shell Roof Tent. They both offer a range of different benefits that suit different needs and that is why choosing the right one is essential for successfully turning your car into a camper and to get you out on the road exploring your next destination.

The Hard Shell Roof Tent

TentBox’s Hard Shell Roof Tent has a sleek design and can sleep two people. It also comes with a ladder and memory foam mattress included, making it super comfy. This tent can attach to almost any car roof, making it a versatile adventure tent.

The obvious difference between the two roof tents that TentBox has to offer is the different roof materials. The TentBox’s Hard Shell Roof Tent is manufactured from reinforced fibre glass, allowing rainwater to simply flow right off the roof and away from the fabric material. However, the true difference between these rooftop tents lies in other areas.


  • The tent will lie flatter when stored on the car roof, making it more stable over long journeys; this means less impact on mileage and driveability.
  • Easy to set up and takedown, with setup taking mere seconds, whilst it can also be done singlehandedly.
  • The vertical walls mean that the space is optimised for living in.
  • The fibreglass roof makes the car tent more durable and long lasting.

If you are exploring areas with unpredictable weather and rough roads the TentBox Hard Shell Roof Tent is the better option. It will be easy to unpack even in tough weather and provides a comfortable living space to rest after a long journey.

The benefits of the Hard Shell car roof tent are:

  • Aerodynamic
  • Easy set up/takedown
  • Vertical walls that optimise space
  • Long lasting


Due to the material of the Hard Shell Roof Tent, the tent is ever so slightly heavier than the Soft Shell Roof Tent, however the tent can still be lifted and installation with 2 people and once in place only require one person a couple of seconds to erect. And whilst the design of the car roof tent is optimised for two people, a TentBox may not be suitable for larger groups who all wish to share accommodation in a larger shared tent.

The Soft Shell Roof Tent

The Soft Shell Roof Tent by TentBox is also supplied with a ladder and memory foam mattress, as well as a camping light, and is one of the lightest roof top tents on the market. The material of the tent is fully waterproof and is manufactured from a rip-stop poly-oxford PU3000mm fabric, preventing the fabric from ripping and the 3000mm means that the fabric ca withstand 3000mm of rain over a 24h period. And to put that into context a standard waterproof jacket is PU1500mm. This Soft Shell Roof Tent from TentBox is a fantastic example of an alternative to a traditional tent.


  • The Soft Shell Roof Tent is much lighter at only 50kg. The lightweight nature of the roof tent makes it easier to install onto the roof of a car.
  • The Soft Shell Roof Tent is slightly cheaper than the Hard Shell Roof Tent, making it the perfect beginner’s roof top tent. Great if you want to turn your car into a camper but without a huge cost.
  • Those looking for an alternative to a standard tent while keeping the look and feel of a traditional tent will enjoy the style of the Soft Shell Roof Tent. As it looks more like a traditional tent it also feels much more spacious.

Benefits of the Soft Shell Roof Top Tent are:

  • Cheaper
  • Traditional look
  • Lightweight


The Soft Shell Roof Tent doesn’t fold down completely flat, which makes the roof tent less aerodynamic and less stable when driving. When driving across less explored roads this can become more of a concern.

While the TentBox Soft Shell Tent has a gas assisted opening mechanism that makes it quicker to set up than other soft shell tents on the market, it is not as simple to set up and put away compared to the TentBox Hard Shell Roof Tent. When on a long road trip a tent that takes longer to set up can be annoying, especially when all you want to do is put your head down to rest after a long day exploring.

Choosing the Roof Tent for You

When looking into tent alternatives the type of roof tent you decide to buy depends on your preference. If it’s a cheaper roof tent that is waterproof and traditional looking that you’re after then the TentBox Soft Shell Roof Tent is for you. A great adventure tent for light weather explorers. For those who want something sleeker and durable then the TentBox Hard Shell Roof Tent is an investment worth making!

Visit TentBox today to find your perfect adventure companion!

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