Roofnest Sparrow Review (Roof Top Tent)

A well-built hard shell roof top tent that's extremely well-designed and a breeze to set up.

Roofnest Sparrow Roof Top Tent
Roofnest Sparrow Canopy
Roofnest Sparrow Rooftop Tent Side
Roofnest Sparrow Closed
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Roofnest Sparrow Roof Top Tent
Roofnest Sparrow Canopy
Roofnest Sparrow Rooftop Tent Side
Roofnest Sparrow Closed
Roofnest Sparrow Roof Top Tent
Roofnest Sparrow Canopy
Roofnest Sparrow Rooftop Tent Side
Roofnest Sparrow Closed
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  • The 2018 Roofnest Sparrow is an updated version of the original Sparrow with an improved outer shell design, upgraded lining material, and thoughtful interior changes.
  • The compact and aerodynamic design of the Sparrow means that your car’s mileage should not be significantly affected, and that it can sit comfortably on your roof rack without frequently being removed and reattached.
  • The sleep experience in the Sparrow is top-notch: the mattress is very comfortable, and the tent material provides enough insulation to keep the interior warm even in below freezing temperatures.

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Roof Top Tent
Adventure travel, camping
Roofnest’s Official Website

Roof Top Tent Details

45″ wide x 80″ long x 36″ tall
47″ x 82″ x 11″ tall
120 pounds
Sleeps 2 adults

Written Review

Going camping in the great outdoors is a passion and a hobby for most of us, but let’s face it: sleeping on the ground gets old after a while. Even if you can find a perfectly leveled surface where you will not be bothered by plants, tree roots, or rocks, no number of padded mats can be as comfortable as sleeping on an actual mattress. A camper van may be a nice way to be comfortable in long camping trips, but the cost of buying one is a little beyond what most people are willing to spend. This is where rooftop tents such as the Roofnest Sparrow come in.

The new Roofnest Sparrow is an update to an older model which retains most of what made it work and makes a lot of significant improvements here and there. It is a hard shell rooftop tent with an exterior fiber-reinforced ABS shell. The updated bomber design makes the Sparrow more aerodynamic in its folded form, which means that it will have minimal effect on your car’s mileage. Moreover, the Sparrow only adds 10.5 inches to your car’s height when it’s closed, so you should not have a problem clearing overpasses when traveling.

Installing the Sparrow on a standard roof rack can be a bit tricky. It’s actually a straightforward process, with each of the four brackets requiring two bolts to be attached. Reaching these bolts is the tricky part, made worse by the small clearance between the roof and the tent. Fortunately, the Sparrow has such a small footprint that there really won’t be a need to frequently remove and reattach it from your car.

One of the things we like about the Sparrow is the fact that it opens up into a 2-person tent in less than a minute (for those in need of additional space, we’d recommend checking out the roomier Roofnest Eagle). You’ll have no more need for a traditional tent that takes a few minutes to prop up with the effort of two people. The pneumatic rods inside the Sparrow means that this tent is good to go with just a few strategic snaps. This can be very useful especially when it’s already raining, and you have to set up camp really quickly.

Once you pop the top of the Sparrow, you will be greeted with a spacious sleeping area that comes with a built-in 3-inch thick high-density foam mattress. Let me go on a tangent here and elaborate on the mattress – it’s even more comfortable than my bed at home, and I have probably never slept so well in a camping trip before we tried the Sparrow. The walls of the tent are made from a composite cotton and polyester material that provides some insulation and waterproofing. With the Sparrow, you will never have to worry about the weather. With a down mattress and standard sleeping bags, we have slept comfortably in the Sparrow even in below freezing temperatures.

We also like how well-thought the interior of the Sparrow is. The tent opens on either side with zip enclosures and has two mesh windows at the front and back, providing sufficient air circulation in hot and humid conditions. An option for mesh windows on the tent openings prevents entry of insects while still maintaining air circulation. As with the older model, the canvas doorway can be extended to form an awning supported by poles that are also included in the Sparrow, for those times when you want to hang outside the tent.

The vertical space of the tent leaves just enough headroom to sit up, but you probably won’t be super comfortable sitting up inside the tent for a long time. The interior of the tent has several storage spaces, notably a netted loft at the ceiling, several hooks located at the corners, and several interior pockets. A nice upgrade in the 2018 Sparrow is that these interior pockets are now removable, which gives you the option of storing items outside the tent, such as smelly socks or wet clothes.

All in all, the Sparrow provides a comfortable sleeping space in a compact and lightweight package. We really like the sense of security that we will always have a safe and comfortable space to sleep, whatever conditions we might find ourselves in. If stargazing happens to be your thing, the Roofnest Sparrow Eye is also a great option to consider.

 What’s Included

  • Telescoping ladder
  • Mattress
  • Mounting hardware


Roofnest provides a 1-year warranty period on the Sparrow, during which they will do repair and replacement of parts at no extra cost. This only covers defects stemming from manufacturing and workmanship which came about from normal use of the item. Problems due to human error, willful neglect, or acts of God are not covered by the warranty. Beyond the warranty period, Roofnest still promises utmost customer service to assist you in suggesting repairs and getting spare parts for your Sparrow.


  • Durable and lightweight build with aerodynamic design
  • Deploys into a full-sized tent in under a minute
  • Built-in mattress ensures a comfortable sleep
  • Well-designed interior with lots of storage space
  • Weather-proof material with good insulation – you will be comfortable even in below freezing temperatures


  • Installation on your car’s roof rack is a little challenging
  • Will only fit 2 adults comfortably; any more than that and you’ll have to buy the bigger models such as the Roofnest Eagle
  • The headroom is a little too small to sit up comfortably for long periods
  • Lacks an integrated roof rack system as you see on Roofnest’s Sandpiper tent

 Final Thoughts

We have always longed for a rooftop tent that is affordable, easy to carry around, easy to use, and provides a comfortable space to sleep, and we couldn’t be happier with the Roofnest Sparrow. It’s sufficiently rugged and intelligently designed, allowing you to sleep comfortably and safely wherever you might find yourself in. There are a few issues with its installation and headroom space, but that’s nitpicking at this point. In any measure, the Sparrow is an excellent product for any regular camper.

Click Here to Buy the Roofnest Sparrow


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