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Raise the Roof With These Overland-Ready Rooftop Tents

The new Roofnest Sparrow XL turns any car into a camper.

Ed TahaneyWriterManufacturerPhotographer

As warm weather returns to most of the United States, there's no better time than the present to plan for a summer retreat and camping excursion. Alternatively, if this self-quarantine thing sticks around through summer, then there's no better time than the present to plan a summer camping in the driveway or backyard. Fortunately, a number of companies offer hard-shell fiberglass rooftop tents that are easy to install to the roof racks of most vehicles. The tents open or close in less than a minute and give new meaning to a room with a view.

Roofnest of Colorado is rolling out its latest hard-shell tent called the Sparrow XL. It offers even more interior volume relative to its predecessor thanks to an additional eight inches in overall width. Automobile tested a similar two-person Sandpiper Roofnest last year and found it quite roomy—even for one of our tallest of staffers.

Living off the grid is getting easier, too, and the top shell of the latest Sparrow model can accommodate a 100-watt flexible solar panel. Opt for the XL model, and there's enough room for a 160-watt panel. It certainly won't recharge a Tesla, but it will allow you to run low-watt electrical gear without a power hookup.

The polyester-cotton canvas tent is waterproof, plus it comes with a built-in three-inch foam mattress pad and a detachable pocket system for shoes and other gear. Roofnest claims the tent will comfortably sleep two adults and a child or dog. It also comes with a collapsible ladder to climb in and out of, although you might need a really long ramp to get your dog into it.

The tents include free shipping in the continental U.S. Pricing starts at $2,895, while the larger XL model clocks in at $3,095.