Hard Versus Softshell Rooftop Tents: Which One To Choose? thumbnail image

Hard Versus Softshell Rooftop Tents: Which One To Choose?

Aug 24, 2021

There are few images more synonymous with camping than a tent. It calls to mind images of summer camp as campers pitch their tents and prepare to brave the elements.

We may not be young enough for summer camp anymore, but that doesn’t mean pitching a tent has lost its thrill. It just means we can be a little choosier about how we do it. In other words, we can set aside the standard-issue tent in favor of one that fits our preferences. This may lead you to consider the differences between hard versus softshell rooftops. Which one to choose is up to you, but we can help you.

What’s the Difference?

If you think there must be more to it than the name, let us put your worries to rest—there isn’t. Hardshell tents have hard outer shells made of fiberglass or aluminum. Softshell tents are more of your standard tent, as they consist of soft fabric. Each type of tent has its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks.

Hardshell Tents


This isn’t your average summer camp tent. Hardshell tents can handle all kinds of weather. This makes them perfect for off-roading every season of the year and keeps you comfortable even when the weather turns sour. Hardshell tents are sturdier, faster to set up, and you can use them for storage space even when they’re closed.


All good things come with a price—including hardshell tents. These tents run a higher price tag than their softshell counterparts. They’re also heavier, which can be cumbersome during loading and unloading. It’ll also add weight to your vehicle if your camping trip includes any off-roading.

Softshell Rooftops


Naturally, softshell tents are lighter. If you’re mounting the tent to the roof of your car during travel, its lightness will make your life easier when it comes to loading and unloading it. Softshell tents are also a little bit cheaper while still offering you a waterproof place to sleep.


Even though softshell tents are waterproof, that doesn’t mean they’re four-season. They aren’t going to keep you as warm in the winter, and they aren’t as durable against rough conditions. Plus, even though they’re lighter, they require a few more steps to set up than hardshell tents.

Which Tent Should I Choose? Hardshell or Softshell?

There isn’t a wrong choice in the great debate between hard and softshell tents. It all depends on your goals and your experience.

If you’re new to the world of off-roading wilderness camping, or you just want to take a quick weekend trip in the summer, a softshell tent may be best. If you’re leveling up your camping experience or camping in the winter, hardshell is worth the investment. Whichever you choose, Ironman 4x4 has the off-road truck tent perfect to bring you back to your fun summer camp days.