Road & Track (USA)
THE ULTIMATE CAR CAMPER
ROOFNEST’S FALCON TENT IS BUILT LIKE A BRICK, COMFORTABLE AS A CLOUD, AND EXPENSIVE AS HELL.
for reasons both obvious and numerous, Americans are reexamining escape. More than any other time in recent history, they’re choosing the road trip. And with hotels and Airbnbs off limits, that means many are camping along the way. Airstream sales are soaring, #vanlife posts dominate Instagram, and campgrounds are busier than ever.
Enter the roof tent, a particularly clever segment of the car-camping space. True to its name, this tent lives on the roof of your vehicle. Simply park at a campsite, undo a couple latches, pop up the tent, and get busy roasting weenies. In the spirit of comfy car-bound adventure, we borrowed Roofnest’s Falcon roof tent, an aluminum A-frame two-person model with panoramic windows and a versatile channel accessory system. We strapped the Falcon atop a 2020 Kia Telluride and hit the road. Simplicity itself!
Well, almost. Roof tents are generally heavy, so your car needs a roof rack capable of supporting the tent and a couple occupants. While the mid-sized, mostly aluminum Falcon is a 140-pound featherweight by roof-tent standards, it’s still hefty. Figure 175 pounds for each camper, and you could easily exceed your rack’s weight limit. Also, installing the Falcon is nontrivial; we recommend that at least three people undertake this chore. We strapped the tent to a wheel tractor’s forks, then lowered it onto our Telluride.
Obviously, then, roof-tent ownership is a semi-permanent affair. If you camp a weekend or two every month, the penalties you pay in fuel economy, wind noise, and a higher center of gravity might be worth it. Of course, at $3395, the Falcon is probably not an option for casual campers.
But the tent is, frankly, a marvel. A mere seven inches tall latched shut, the Falcon is as compact as a well-built roof tent could be, making minimal road
In here: the comfiest memory foam on earth. noise at 70 mph and just slightly dinging your fuel bill. Solid construction, sturdy latches, and burly components add to the feeling of quality.
At the campsite, the Falcon pitches in literal seconds, popping open smoothly on twin stainless-steel gas struts and providing instant sit-up headroom and stretch-out sleeping area for two campers. Unlike pole-and-cordage tents, setup in bad weather is no issue whatsoever. And the memory-foam floor of the tent is, honestly, as comfortable as any bed we’ve ever slept on.
There are idiosyncrasies to roof tents, naturally. Camping on a roof means using a ladder, in the dark, for bathroom breaks. Level parking is a skill you’ll develop quickly. And your cozy campfire’s way down over there. But if your partner harbors a fear of, say, bears, the Falcon’s height is of great benefit.
For the dedicated adventurer, the Falcon is a comfortable, livable, beautifully built option for outdoor shelter. If a roof tent fits your road trip plans, you couldn’t do better.