An in-depth look at the rise of the Tentbox


As an entrepreneur and business writer, I’m constantly trying to think less logically, because that’s where a lot of the real innovations lie. When I see an illogical yet genius product, I tend to become obsessed.

The Tentbox is my latest obsession. I've become so obsessed that if I see one in public I'll immediately point at it and shout "Tentbox!!", much to the confusion of whoever I'm with or whoever is around me. Probably to the confusion of the driver too, who sees an excited middle-aged man pointing at their car.

The Tentbox is a genius product because, like the air fryer and the Quooker, it makes very little logical sense and the genius of it is only revealed once you've tried it. For those who don't know, this is a tent that sits on the top of your car, the price for which starts at around £1500. For that price, you could buy 15 very decent pop-up tents. Hell, for that price you could probably pay for 2 weeks at an Airbnb with a hot tub and just do away with the whole camping thing for good.

Despite this price, a lot of people are buying a Tentbox, and I feel like I'm seeing them everywhere, even in the city that I live in.

I'll admit, until I tried the Tentbox, I thought it was utterly ridiculous, and to be honest I'm still worried that I might be suffering from some kind of confirmation bias. I'm also happy to accept that although I do think the Tentbox is a genuinely great product, there could be some other less logical reasons why it has become so popular. Here are a few I've thought of:

  • It's a bugger to get off your car - once you've fitted the Tentbox onto your car, you'll never want to take it off because it's such a hassle. You'll always think to yourself, "We better keep that tent thing on our car in case it's sunny this Saturday". The Tentbox then turns into a permanent fixture on your car, meaning wherever you drive, people see it. You've turned your car into a Tentbox billboard.


  • The name and design is great - other car roof tent brands are available, such as the iKamper, but there is a bit of genius to the Tentbox brand name and design in that it says exactly what it is and the logo is simple (look at the image at the top of this article). If you're walking down the street and you see a car with an 'iKamper' tent on the top, you might just think it's a big roof box. But when you see the 'Tentbox' logo, you think to yourself - "wait, did that car have a bloody tent on its roof?! WTF??"


  • Compare it to a motorhome rather than a pop-up tent - I think your feelings toward the Tentbox will depend on what you compare it to. A Tentbox seems like a rip-off when you compare it to a £100 pop-up tent, but an absolute bargain when you compare it to a £15k motorhome. And that's essentially what a Tentbox does - it turns your car into a motorhome. Keep in mind that many people might have decided to buy a Tentbox for their car instead of buying a motorhome, so rather than feeling like they've chucked £2k down the drain, they feel like they've saved £10k


Like many of these interesting products which need to be used to be understood,  Tentbox is not an overnight success - the brand has actually been around since 2014, quietly waiting for people to catch on. Just look at this graph from Google Trends:



You can see how people didn't really start taking an interest in Tentbox until very recently. Tentbox had to wait almost 10 years before people started to take a punt on them.

This is not a post trying to convince you to buy a Tentbox, I'm simply trying to explain why I think this product has become so successful. It's partly because it's great, but also partly because of the illogical reasons I outlined above. I might offend Tentbox by saying these things, as I'm sure you'd like to think that people buying your £2000 tent are acting entirely rationally. I'm here to tell you that they definitely aren't, but that's ok too.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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