The dome tent is a fixture of ground camping, traveling to camp by way of backpack or car trunk. Gently domed ripstop is not something you see in the roof-top tent market, however, where design tends to borrow more from cabin tents. Australia's Moab Rooftop Tents is fixing on changing that, pulling the stakes out of the dirt and lifting the dome tent onto the vehicle roof.

If Moab roof-top tents sound familiar in name but don't look familiar, it might be because you're remembering seeing a roof-top tent in Moab, a natural born destination for roof camping, or because you're thinking of Mother of All Bivouac (MOAB) trailers, from Arizona-based BCT. BCT's MOAB trailers are often equipped with roof-top tents, and BCT distributes Tepui tents.

Australia's Moab Rooftop Tents has something a little different to offer.

The vast majority of roof-top tents out there fit into two primary categories: hard-shell or canvas fold-out. Each style has its own pros and cons, but both tend to have some number of straight, broad walls, which are great for maximizing interior space, not so great for standing tall in rough wind.

The dome tent, in contrast, has become an icon of ground camping partly because of its superior performance in high winds – arched construction means that there are no straight, broad sides standing right in the path of oncoming wind. That's not to say that a dome tent won't flap, shake and rattle, but it'll shed wind better than broad-sided tents.

For five years, Moab has been working to bring the dome tent up to the car-top, and it has created a roof-top tent that splits the difference between hard-shell and canvas fold-out. Its design is sort of a life-sized camping jack-in-the-box, offering the promise of aerodynamics on the road and at camp. The tent's polyethylene case looks much like other hard-shell tents, only instead of a lid that pops or folds up to work as the roof, the Moab's lid splits in half and lets the dome tent flip out and stand freely.

To set it up, one simply unlatches the four locks, opens the front half of the lid, which stands in place with help from a metal stay, then flips the other half of the lid out, opening the tent up along with it. The camper then sets up the ladder and attaches the guy lines between the tent and the ladder to help stabilize everything. Moab tells us that one person can set the tent up in a minute or two.

Moab's tent is a double-walled design with inner and outer canvas walls and a waterproof index of 3,000 mm. The inner canvas includes mesh ventilation panels, and these can be left open by rolling back and securing the outer canvas.

One of the advantages of hard-shell roof-top tents is their sleeker, more aerodynamic packed design when compared to fold-out tents, which tend to fold in half into a block. This factors in during driving, helping to boost fuel economy and smoothen the ride. Hard-sided construction also improves durability, something to think about when taking the tent through the brush and rock.

The Moab tent weighs roughly 106 lb (48 kg) and measures 62.2 x 54.7 x 13.8 in (1,580 x 1,390 x 350 mm, L x W x H) when packed up. When pitched, it offers an interior that stretches 78.7 x 43.3 x 57 in (2,000 x 1,100 x 1,450 mm).

Moab doesn't have an online store set up but says that the tent is available now and those interested can contact it through the "contact us" feature of its website (linked below). The tent retails for AU$1,799 (approx. US$1,415), and Moab will be offering a AU$1,599 show special at this weekend's National 4x4 Outdoors Show in Melbourne.

New Atlas will be attending the Melbourne show and will bring you more information about all the latest in 4x4, overlanding, camping gear and more.

View gallery - 9 images