Roofnest Pulls a Fast One: World's First Child-Destined Rooftop Tent, but There's a Catch

Hatchling and Meadowlark 9 photos
Photo: Roofnest / Edited by autoevolution
HatchlingMeadowlarkMeadowlark InteriorMeadowlarkMeadowlarkMeadowlarkMeadowlarkMeadowlark
Most parents know what it means for their child to beg and beg to drive a car, motorcycle, bicycle, or carry out any other activity the bigger kids are doing. The same holds true for camping and other outdoor activities because here we are, staring down at what I can only consider the world's first child-oriented rooftop tent.
When I woke up this fine morning, I found an e-mail in my inbox telling me all about the outdoor living accessory we have before us. It's called the Hatchling, a device created by Colorado-based Roofnest, a crew that has focused all their attention only on rooftop tents for outdoor living. What better team to build something like this?

Now, the Hatchling is nothing more than a downsized version of another trinket in the Roofnest lineup, the Meadowlark, which is this manufacturer's most affordable tent. Nothing more than a $1,595 (€1,470 at current exchange rates) option to get you into outdoor living now. as for the Hatchling, there's functionality to this thing.

For example, it mounts on top of just about any pint-sized SUV out there, and best of all, it can do everything the Meadowlark can, assuming the tinker toy that your child is driving around the backyard, neighborhood, or camping ground can support the weight of this 60 lb (27 kg) tent. Sounds like you're going to need to strengthen a chassis before mounting this onto a miniature Jeep or Rivian.

However, once you figure out how to mount this bugger onto a ride, it's suitable for up to three toddlers or two older kids. Overall, the interior space offers a headroom of 30 in (76 cm), is 44 in (112 cm) long, and 48 in (122 cm) wide. More than enough space for the kids to play around while you get some shut-eye. That's pretty dang big, so it looks like you might need to also add a platform to your kid's ride.

Photo: Roofnest
What does all this mean for you and your child? Well, as I mentioned, you can ditch the kids into their very own habitat and rest your bones without screams, yelling, and being woken up because someone thought it'd be a great idea to spread peanut butter on dad. Let them destroy the Hatchling. Heck, even Roofnest will help them achieve maximum creativity by throwing in things like crayons and fruit snacks with your purchase of a Hatchling.

All that brings me to my next point. This bugger's price. Let me point out a few things. First of all, if you visit the manufacturer's website, this thing is completely sold out. How!? It has a price tag of $4,123 (€3,800)! That's nearly three times the price of the adult Meadowlark! What gives?

Well, if you've been working hard and don't know what day it is, it's April 1st. You know what that means, April Fools! Fortunately, and unfortunately, this is all a ruse. And the only way to really know that is to read articles like the one here or try and place an order for a Hatchling. You can't. If you check the Materials & Construction section, the words "April Fools!" stare you right in the face.

I thought things were off once I saw that price tag. Up to that point, I felt that this whole thing was a rather neat idea, and I still do. Just imagine your kids having something like this strapped to their little Escalade, Hummer, Jeep, or whatever they use to pretend they're one of the adults. As long as Roofnest can devise a safe trinket for kids, I'm all for it. But that price has to be more in tune with reality.

Meadowlark Interior
Photo: Roofnest/Youtube Screenshot
And that's really all there is to the Hatchling. However, that e-mail I received also did something else: it brought this manufacturer to my attention. Until today, I hadn't heard of Roofnest, so I decided to take a closer look at the inspiration for this April Fool's stunt, the Meadowlark.

Now, the Meadowlark is a very real machine and also priced in a very real ballpark, a tad under $1,600. Here, we're looking at a 90 lb (41 kg) tent that can accommodate two adults and boasts 36 in (117 cm) of headroom when open. Instead of crayons and fruit snacks, you'll be getting a 2.5 in (6.3 cm) foam mattress, a tent cover, a ladder, mounting kits, and interior LED lighting. Sounds a whole lot more credible now.

As for materials used to build this bugger, we're looking at an aluminum frame and 190GSM coated polycotton with a rain rating of 2,000 mm. The tent cover, on the other hand, boasts a rating of 5,000 mm, thanks to PVC-coated Polyoxford fabric. Then there are all the user ratings and feedback. Folks really like their Meadowlark. It's also the most affordable option in their lineup: other tents start at around the $3,000 range.

Since I now have another outdoor gear manufacturer on my radar, be sure to see more of what Roofnest has in store in the near future. As for today, kick back, let your kids be kids, and taste the peanut butter. Who knows. Maybe the Hatchling sparks an idea, and you end up camping in the backyard tonight. Why not the living room? All you need are some bedsheets and pillows. Arina, if you're reading this, that last idea is for you.

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Editor's note: Images in the gallery showcase the Hatchling and Meadowlark campers.

About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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