The TentBox Lite and Crua AER are some of the most in-demand rooftop tents on the market but are great for different reasons. Between these two is a great battle of the Soft-shell roof tents.
Great job coming this far to narrow it down to these two. This comprehensive comparison guide will tell you everything you need to know to make choosing between the two easier.
In this in-depth review we compare the two rooftop tents based on the space, comfort, price, weather resistance and a few other factors both have to offer that we believe are important to know before purchasing.
Additionally, we have a handy product comparison chart at the end so definitely hang around til the end.
(Click the links below to jump ahead)
TentBox Lite vs Crua AER Rooftop Tent
Here is our comprehensive overview of the key features you can find on the TentBox Lite and the Crua AER. We're sure if you use the information we provide you will determine which one is best suited for your needs.
1. Comfort and how they compare
With TentBox all their models come with some of the best mattresses in the market straight out of the box and thats no different with the TentBox Lite.
The TentBox Lite comes with a 6cm memory foam mattress that covers the entire floor of the tent once opened. It's cut out perfectly to fit the entirety of the roof tent floor space to cover every inch. Your back sinks into the mattress and doesn't get too hot in the summer which we like a lot.
The downside is that you cannot purchase a mattress topper from TentBox that fits the TentBox Lite like you can with their other models. You can purchase an insulation pod that would increase the comfort slightly.
At Crua Outdoors one of their focuses throughout their entire tent range is the comfort of their mattress. Designed with heavy usage in mind the mattress provided is high quality density foam to ensure great comfort. It's not quite a memory foam mattress but it is a 10cm thick foam mattress which is luxurious by rooftop tent standards and is designed for you not to need an additional mattress topper.
As an additional extra you can add in a the Crua Haul inner insulation tent which is amazing at adding additional insulation, noise cancelling and blacking out the light for a good nights sleep.
Winner: Crua AER
Both the TentBox Lite and Crua AER provide great comfort with the mattresses provided. However, we cannot look past the 10cm thick foam mattress that Crua Outdoors offers with the AER as this is just unheard of in the Rooftop Tent industry!
If sleeping comfort is your main thing and you plan to do many trips then the Crua AER is the one for you.
2. Tent Space and how they compare
TentBox Lite – 3-person sleeper
The TentBox Lite has a great sleeping area for those who want to bring their children along or even their pet! If not it's perfect for those you like their space and like to roll around in their sleep.
With a sleeping dimension of W: 140cm by L: 240cm allows you to comfortably sleep up to three people.
The fold-out design allows you to stretch the tent to create enough space. Additionally, it comes with a peak height headroom of 112cm, making it ideal for tall people.
Crua AER - 3-Person sleeper
The Crua AER can sleep between 2 to 3 people providing a sleeping area that measures W 129cm by L 227cm which can also sleep up to three people.
We think its best for two people who love their own space or for small families or even their furry little friend along with them on holiday.
Need more space? No problem!
You can attach the Crua AER Multi-functional awning for extra privacy or use it for a large area for your camping set up!
Winner: TentBox Lite
Both sleeping areas are similar in the TentBox Lite and Crua AER. Both tents can sleep a maximum of three people, the Crua AER offers an added expandability option since it can attach to an awning and extension for extra space. However, if you like your space and are only looking at the sleeping space inside the roof tent we recommend the TentBox Lite with a sleeping dimension of 140cm x 240cm.
For reference the standard for a UK double bed is 135 x 190cm.
3. Setup time and how they compare
If you are an avid camper, how long it takes to get your tent up and ready is a significant factor to consider.
The TentBox Lite takes some time to set up & install. This is because you require to fold open and close the tent each time you assemble and pack it away.
However, with practice, you can set up the TentBox Lite in under 5 minutes.
The tent also needs more space around the car, as the windows and doors open outwards.
Additionally, you need to allow time for setting up the rain flys for each of the windows on the TentBox Lite.
The Crua AER is can also be set up in less than 5 minutes with practice. The Crua AER requires you to remove the protective cover, unstrap and fold out the telescopic ladder and lock the ladder in place.
Next we need to attach two support poles either side of the ladder for extra support for the roof tent. Finally, the porch poles need to be extended and locked in place and you're all set up!
Both rooftop tents are very close in terms of set up time so this isn't a major factor in deciding between the two.
Both tents feature several setup steps that can take time to complete before the tents can be ready for use.
However, if we had to choose in terms of pure speed then the TentBox Lite can be ready in a fraction faster as it has less steps in place in order for the rooftop tent to be assembled but it is a close one.
4. Storage space and how they compare
TentBox Lite storage space
The TentBox Lite has good storage pockets inside the the roof tent.
As you can see in the picture below there are convenient storage pockets below the windows, enough for storing shoes and any small items you need while relaxing in the roof tent.
Crua AER storage space
The Crua AER features loads of storage space and really handy hanging hooks. These are especially handy if you want to hang your toiletry bag of shoe horns making it easy for you to get into your hiking shoes!
There are also outer pockets that can be used to hang Shoes off the Tent, ensuring the inside of the tent remains debris and mud free.
Winner: Crua AER
Both tents come with storage pockets that can be used to store shoes or other items that can fit. However, the Crua AER goes a step further and includes outer shoe pockets and numerous hanging hooks to ensure enough storage when outdoors.
5. Weather Resistance and how they compare
TentBox Lite weather resistance
4-season weather rated: The canvas fabric is Waterproof, yet breathable, and the additional fly hood keeps you dry in even the heaviest of storms.
The TentBox Lite has been tested in extreme winds of up to 39mph (that’s a pretty big storm!).
Main hood: Breathable 280gsm rip-stop canvas, with a 2000mm Hydrostatic Head Rating
Outer hood: 600D Nylon with 4000mm Hydrostatic Head Rating. Waterproof silicone-taped seams throughout
Crua AER weather resistance
The Crua AER features a one of a kind state of the art anti-wind noise technology that keeps the noise out.
The outer fly sheet and bead & rail system keeps wind out of the tent while preventing the ever annoying flapping noise that keeps most campers up at night.
Weather resistant layers
The outer layer of the Crua AER is also created for all year round use.
It features a 210D rip-stop polyoxford PU coated Outer Fly with HH3000mm water repellant level and full dull silver UV 50+ coating.
It keeps the air out when needed and protects the interior from harsh weather conditions, including rain and strong winds.
That’s not all, the inner layer of the Crua AER features bug-mesh protected windows that can be open when using the tent in sunny weather or closed at night. This ensures versatility and protection on a tent you can use all year round.
Winner: Crua AER
While both tents are fantastic at resisting the natural elements in the UK. Both tents provide great water resistance as you're bound to run into rain the UK.
However, the anti-wind noise design by Crua Outdoors is something we adore as they've really designed it to bury down the hatches when it's windy. If you're a light sleeper and have ever experienced that annoying flappy wind sound all through out the night then we definitely recommend the Crua AER for when it really gets choppy outside!
6. Price comparison
TentBox Lite is a soft-shell tent best known for its price since it is cheaper than other rooftop tents in the market.
The Crua AER is also a soft-shell tent comprising a tough outer sheet that retails at a higher price.
TentBox Lite - £1,250
Crua AER - £ 1,800
Winner: TentBox Lite
If price is a significant factor in your case, then the TentBox Lite is the option to go for as it is the entry-level TentBox Model offered at a good price.
It does not compromise on comfort, durability, and ease of setup to give you a bang for your buck.
Product Comparison Chart
Take a look at our product comparison chart for the TentBox Lite and Crua AER models.
Hopefully you will find this useful when deciding which is the best model for you based on the categories we discussed earlier.
Feel free to share this with a friend who needs help deciding!
What other factors do you need to consider?
The size of the tent vs. the size of your car
Tent size vs. car size is an essential consideration when choosing a rooftop tent. You need a tent that meets your car’s roof rack weight and dimensions guidelines. This information is available in the vehicle user manual.
How often do you plan to use the tent, and what are the conditions for use?
Investing in an all-weather rooftop tent is ideal if you camp all year round. Thick water-proof canvas walls and insulated roofs offer ideal protection from harsh weather, especially in the British winter.
Also, temperature and light control can be ideal for comfortable camping in summer.
Ultimately, the best choice for you between the TentBox Lite and Crua AER depends on how much weight you place on the factors mentioned above:
Set up time
Durability and the frequency and intensity of your camping adventures
Weight limit of your car, SUV, or 4x4
We think if you're just getting your feet wet with rooftop tents and you want a more affordable option to test if it is right for you then maybe the TentBox Lite is the option for you.
But if you want a more comfortable mattress and want to make sure you get better sleep with reduced wind noise when camping for multiple days then the Crua AER is the choice for you.
Both these rooftop tents made it into our top 10 rooftop tents of 2023, check out our in-depth guide.