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Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3 Review: A Great, Affordable Rooftop Tent

I can't exactly say camping in this tent counts as "roughing it."

jeep with the nomadic 3 extended rooftop tent on top
Mary Singler

These days, it seems like luxury camping options are coming from every direction. Sure, social media (ahem, TikTok) is making #vanlife seem like a viable option for those working remotely. But for the overlanders —or maybe even the less outdoorsy campers — the rooftop tent has entered the chat with panache.

Rooftop tents have been designed for a wide range of cars and are extremely functional. It may seem a bit wimpy to want to get off the ground while camping. But after sleeping in a rooftop, I had no issue with ditching the idea of "roughing it."

When shopping for a rooftop tent, my husband and I were looking for something roomy for two people that will last for many years to come. As a couple of 20-somethings, we aren't going to be in the market for a $4,000 tent just yet, so we settled on the more affordable Nomadic 3 Extended Rooftop Tent from Overland Vehicle Systems. After a few months of using it, suffice it to say, we've been satisfied with our purchase.

Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3 Extended Roof Top Tent
cabelas.com
$1,549.99

  • Spacious
  • Easy to set up
  • Free and quick shipping

  • Annex sold separately

The Nomadic 3 is easy to install and set up

To dive deeper into this rooftop tent, we trucked out to Big Bend National Park in Texas for some testing. But before all the fun, we mounted it on the bed rack of our Jeep Gladiator. The installation required minimal know-how, and a basic set of tools will do the job. It was a two-person job, admittedly, and a lost screw added some time due to a trip to Home Depot. But all told, the process only took a few hours.

nomadic 3 rooftop tent on a jeep truck bed
Mary Singler

When it came time camp for the night, setting up the Nomadic 3 was quick. The rubberized cover (made of 1000G PVC) is strapped tightly on the tent for the drive, but is simple enough to pull off. The complete unfolding process took us less than 15 minutes the first time and has become much easier after doing it a few times.

Once unfolded, the telescopic ladder is easily adjusted to meet the ground at the right height while providing the proper support to the overhanging half of the tent. There are windows on all four sides that are set up using tension rods that provide a solid cross breeze for a hot summer night. If you're lucky enough for a clear night, the zippable skylight gives a great look at the stars.

The Nomadic 3 is comfortable and convenient

When it comes down to it, the first priority for any tent is to help you get a good night's sleep. The mattress included with the Nomadic 3 is three inches thick, and a quilted cover you can wipe down makes it easy to clean. I've heard of other rooftop tents needing an extra mattress topper to add some comfort, but we didn't find that necessary.

The Nomadic 3 is advertised as a three-person tent, but it's certainly super-comfortable for two. We bought a queen-size fitted sheet to go over the mattress to negate the sticky nylon feeling; the sheet ended up being too small, which speaks to how much space you have. (Buying an annex can add more space for storage or even another sleeper.)

The accessories that come with the tent definitely had some thought put into them. There are boot bags, pillows and too many gear pockets and nets to count. Like wearing a good pair of cargo pants, the storage pockets make it easy to stay organized. A 40" velcro light strip is included and can easily be hooked up to whatever power station you have handy. We didn't need auxiliary lighting as the strip had no issue illuminating the whole tent.

But the Nomadic 3 does have a few drawbacks

The metal bars that go on the underside of the bed rack when mounting aren't the sturdiest; there is significant bend and flex. The tent has held position and hasn't moved, but we may end up drilling some new bars out of thicker steel and replacing the ones it came with at some point down the road.

If you plan on keeping the tent mounted on a taller vehicle, you might want to measure your garage or carport for clearance, as that has presented us with some problems. We probably shot ourselves in the foot on that one with the Gladiator's suspension lift, tires and full-height bed rack. The tent also sits high on the rack and can reduce your gas mileage.

The polyester rainfly is sturdy and offers full coverage, but you can count on it flapping all night long in heavy winds, even when cinched down all the way. This is a pretty standard problem; a tent on top of a car won't offer much wind protection by nature. That said, the cover was super-easy to remove when the weather was clear.

Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3 Extended Roof Top Tent: The Verdict

Even with a few nitpicky issues, we're very happy with the tent — it's a considerable upgrade from ground camping. It sits at a pretty nice price point (especially with its free shipping), but a few small things keep it from being one of the high-end tents. Still, the cons are pretty minimal; I would absolutely recommend it.

Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3 Extended Roof Top Tent
Cabela's
$1,549.99

  • Free and quick shipping

  • Annex sold separately

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