Roofnest Sparrow XL Roof Top Tent – Awesome and Convenient Camping
The Roofnest Sparrow XL Roof Top Tent is the biggest of the plastic hardshell tents. Featuring 3 doors and awnings, and the ability to store bedding inside. We loved the Roofnest Eagle and decided to invest in the Sparrow XL for a few reasons. All that and more below!
From Eagle to Sparrow XL
My wife and I love the Roofnest rooftop tents. We have used the heck out of our Eagle (our review here), from warm summer days to snowstorms, it has been one of our favorite tents. I had been an avid tent camper for decades, so rooftop tents were not on my radar. Once I tried the Roofnest, I was impressed.
My wife liked it so much that we wound up using it more than any other tent we have (and we have a lot of great tents!) The fact that the tent is always with you, sets up fast, stays warm and you can leave your bedding in it are just added bonuses.
I reached out to Roofnest to see what was new in their rooftop tent world. There were several awesome tents that we were interested in. It was hard to decide between the metal body Falcon XL and the Sparrow XL. I was really impressed with the construction and low profile of the Falcon series. Plus, you can mount additional cargo boxes and gear to the metal body. Very cool!
The thing that drew us to the Sparrow series, was that you can leave your bedding inside the tent. Now, that may not seem like a big deal, and it might not be to you. But, I love the fact that I don’t have 2-3 sleeping bags and pillows taking up space in my 4Runner. More room for more gear!
It is also very nice to have the bedding already in the tent. Think about rolling up to your camp spot and it is raining or snowing. Even with tents that set up from the outside, you are still going to have a little carryover of the weather getting into the tent. Plus, you still need to inflate your sleeping pads.
You can leave your bedding in the tent!
With the Sparrow line of tents, you can leave all your bedding in the tent. This keeps things dry, saves time with inflating sleeping pads, and you can have full-size pillows. That right there is about as easy of a set up as you can get. Plus, you can leave it all set up the way you like it. In fact, I ran some AAA powered LED lights around the perimeter of the roof and made a nice little love nest.
Roofnest also throughs in a nice rechargeable lamp that you can leave in the tent. Heck, they through in a lot of stuff! There are two mesh bottomed storage bags that are great for shows and gloves. There is a large cargo net that can hold plenty of items to air out. A telescoping ladder (this is how you get into the tent) and storage bag.
A new feature that I really like, is the rooftop channel for a solar panel and the cargo area (complete with waterproof gear bag) that you can latch onto the roof. A great place to store your camping gear. Plus, they through in a mat to put at the bottom of the ladder. Lots of extra items that I did not anticipate when we picked this up.
Comes in a large cargo box
The last time I worked with Roofnest, I went up to Boulder to grab the tent. This time I went through the same process you would be doing, and ordered it online. I wanted to see how the order and shipping went as a consumer. I was impressed that the shipping was free and that a 3rd party delivered the tent to my garage. It comes in a large wooden crate (see the pic of that). It is a two-person job getting the tent out and onto the vehicle, so recruit someone ahead of time.
Mounting is very quick and easy to do. Simply mount it to the crossbars with the two screw caps and bolts. The mounts are foam-padded too, which is great at absorbing some shock from offroading. All in all, it is a very fast set up, just make sure you have a friend that can lift 75lbs overhead.
The little things add up
I noticed several things that were a nice update. Not that there was anything wrong with the Eagle, and I would use that tent again in a heartbeat! But, I did appreciate the attention to detail on a lot of things. Tim and the Roofnest crew really put a lot of thought into these features.
This is a great feature! I love the ability to have the doors and awnings open during rain and snow. Plus, you can lower the awnings down to a few inches from the window to seal in warmth and keep moisture out. On top of that, you can now use the ladder on three sides. I am not able to take advantage of this feature as my 4Runner has a hunk of plastic on the top of the tailgate. But, you may be able to enjoy this feature.
Latches to keep is shut
I appreciate the locking latches on the Sparrow series. This really gives me confidence that the tent remains closed. It creates a very secure closure on the 4 latches. It also kept me from overstuffing the tent with lots of sleeping bags LOL. Something I was guilty of in the Eagle.
There is a burly rubber seal around the roof of the tent. It creates a very secure closure and keeps rain and snow out (and car washes too!) I have had no issues with moisture getting inside the tent when closed. It has been through a few snowstorms and car washes and nothing got inside the tent.
Yes, that is correct, a built-in mattress! And a nice one at that. This was another feature that sold us on the Roofnest tents. The mattress is legit! It is 3 or 4″ thick and super comfortable. It even has a removable and washable cover with a nice fuzzy pattern on it. No need to inflate a mattress, just enjoy the memory foam one that is built-in.
Under the mattress, is a nice conversation mat that keeps the mattress from making contact with the insulated shell. Now, this feature is great as we have split drinks in the last rooftop tent, and the mattress then got wet. Whoops LOL. What can I say, we like to have a beverage up in the tent and watch the stars.
Venting a tent is crucial for moisture management. Have you ever had your tent sealed up all the way, to then wake up to a bunch of moisture in the tent? Thought so. Everyone does it at least once. It is a great learning opportunity though! I like that you can ventilate on all four sides of the Roofnest tents.
Just for the heck of it, I sealed it up completely, on a windless night, in a snowstorm. Not something I would recommend, but, we are detailed about testing gear over here. Of course, there was some condensation in the tent. But any tent would have condensation. My friend I was camping with was soaked with condensation. so keep that in perspective.
How do you fix that? Just crack the windows and doors. In colder temps, I lowered the awning to the little bump on the pole and that worked great. The tent stays remarkably warm and the moisture escapes with ease.
Sparrow XL Roof Top Tent | Roofnest.com
Review of Roofnest Sparrow XL Roof Top Tent
As you can gather from this write-up, I am a very big fan of the Roofnest Sparrow XL tent. We were already big fans of the Eagle. But the new features on the Sparrow really have me impressed. The fact that my wife and our two 60lb dogs can sleep in this tent and stay warm in a snowstorm is just awesome.
The added headroom is great too. At 6’1″ I can appreciate being able to sit up all the way in the tent. The new struts are burly as heck too. Roofnest even though in an extra one in case you break one. The first time I put the tent down, I could tell how strong the new struts were.
We have really been enjoying the Sparrow XL and would recommend it to anyone looking for a hard shell rooftop tent that they can leave their bedding in. If leaving your bedding inside the tent is not a big draw, I would recommend the Falcon series from Roofnest.