Best Truck Tents
If you are planning some cross-country travel or just want to head up to a backcountry camping spot to check out the stars and are driving your truck, well then you definitely want to check out getting a truck tent. What are truck tents? Even though they have been around for decades, they seem to be uncommon for mainstream campers. For the average person, it may sound completely ridiculous to camp in the back of a pick-up truck. However, for non-camping aficionados, it can actually prove to be a meaningful way to camp. Or, if nothing else, propping up a tent in the back of your truck, or SUV, can provide a way for you to sleep during long journeys. Instead of renting a hotel for the night, you could simply stop anywhere and sleep in your truck tent.
- SPORTZ SUV TENT
- RIGHTLINE GEAR FULL-SIZE
- NAPIER BACKROADZ
- SPORTZ TRUCK TENT
- KODIAK CANVAS
- DAC FULL-SIZE
- GUIDE GEAR TENT
- SPORTZ AVALANCHE III
- NAPIER SPORTZ COVE
- EXPLORER 2 SUV TENT
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. SPORTZ SUV TENT
Can be transformed into a traditional tent by removing the attachment
Full-length tape-seamed rain fly with a 6 x 6 awning for extra shade
The airflow could be better, the ceiling is only 50 percent mesh
The Sportz SUV tent is perfect for SUV and mini-van owners. For people sporting a large family, this is also a perfect choice.Read more
This tent, as its name suggests, is made for SUVs. There is a sleeve that attaches to the end of your SUV or mini-van and it measures 10 feet x 10 feet. It can properly fit five to six people with over seven feet of headroom. The sleeve wraps around the end of your SUV and the straps are attached to the bumpers and provide no harm.
Wrapping around the cargo area, it allows access to plenty of storage. To bug proof it, there is a removable screen room; while the GoBe Dry ultimate rain protection system prevents you from getting wet.
Ease of Use
For a one-person set-up, it features a steel and fiberglass pole structure. In addition, an expandable carry bag comes along with it. Standard truck owners will have little to no use for this, but SUV owners (which is still technically a truck) will not find a better truck tent.
2. RIGHTLINE GEAR FULL-SIZE
Includes a rain fly and stuff sack for transport
Do not have to remove excess equipment from the bed
The clips are weak in nature
The tent itself does not have the best material and quality
With many size options and a simple and protective design, the Rightline Gear Truck Bed Tent finds its rightful place on this list.Read more
This tent will fit many trucks with options for tall and regular beds are at your disposal and sizes between five and eight foot. The nylon buckles and protective heavy-duty straps will not damage the finish of your truck. Depending on the size of your bed, it will properly sleep two people.
The fabric is water-resistant and the tent is outfitted with gear pockets, a lantern hanging hook, a sky-view vent and glow in the dark zippers. While there is no floor, you do not have to remove excess equipment from your bed if you do not want to.
Ease of Use
The poles are all color-coded and ensure the easiest set-up possible. The overall quality of the tent is not as great as other models and the lack of a floor could be a problem, but it still does a terrific job with what it was designed to do.
3. NAPIER BACKROADZ
Allows you to use your vehicle’s cargo for extra storage
Sewn-in floor for a comfortable surface
The tent goes over the tailgate and prevents you from sitting on it
The windows do not close, but there is a full rain fly
Through intense searching, the Napier Backroadz Truck Tent managed to stand above the rest. Although it is not absolutely perfect, it has good reason to be the king.Read more
To accommodate your truck bed, there are several options available including 5 feet 5 inches, 6 feet, 6 feet 5 inches, 8 feet, and 9 feet. It will properly accommodate for two people, not including small children. The straps easily attach to the bottom of your truck and will not affect the finish or damage it in any way.
There is a sewn-in floor made from polyethylene that allows you to sleep comfortably off the ground. In addition, four large windows that provide ample ventilation and a storm flap in the door that enhances privacy.
Ease of Use
Some minor downsides aside, this is as good as it gets for truck tents. The fact that there are several size options to accommodate several people makes it even better. Overall, it is easy to set-up with four shock-corded fiberglass poles and an accompanying storage bag for transport.
4. SPORTZ TRUCK TENT
Assembles in less than ten minutes
No need to worry about cleaning out your bed with the sewn-in floor
The front door does not unzip from the bottom which could lead to damage by accidentally stepping on it
In general, the poles are a little too long
Sportz makes another appearance on this list and even though this is not as efficient as their previous model, it still possesses many of the goods.Read more
There are options available for full-sized, mid-sized and compact beds with boxes between 5.5 feet and eight feet. For extra vehicle protection, there is a set of strap protectors against the straps of the tent. And with over five feet of headroom and a spacious interior, it will properly sleep two people.
A large rear access panel allows you to access the truck’s cab and the sewn-in floor provides a great surface. In addition, side vents and mesh windows enhance ventilation.
Ease of Use
The set-up process of this tent takes less than 10 minutes. The pole and sleeve system is color-coded which allows for an easy set-up.
5. KODIAK CANVAS
Sports large D-shaped door that has top-of-the-line zippers
The design allows the tailgate to be down for extra space
The Velcro is below-average and does not grab well
It is very difficult to set it up without any help
While not perfect, the Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent is still well above-average and utilizes the tailgate tremendously.Read more
This will fit full-size trucks, with short beds, from 5.5 to 6.5 feet. But, there is also an option for eight feet. The clamp-on rails easily mount on the bed of the truck for a secure and safe fit. This tent will comfortably fit two people.
The interior is durable, watertight and breathable. Its tunnel-shaped design maximizes the space of the interior and the five windows provide superb ventilation.
Ease of Use
If you are with another person, this is a tremendous truck tent. But, because of the hassle of setting it up by yourself, it can be a pain with no help. With more than one person, it is not difficult to set-up. Plus, there is a carry bag that is included.
6. DAC FULL-SIZE
The set-up is very easy and should only take a few minutes
The roof could be made from better material
To keep bugs out, may have to fill the gaps next to the tailgate
The DAC Full-Size Truck Tent is a terrific model and great for everyone. Its lack of size options is the only aspect that keeps this from going any higher.Read more
This will properly fit trucks that have a tailgate of at least 58 inches (wide) and will not fit any that possess an external rear-mounted spare tire. Elastic shock cords, with plastic hooks, hook into the underframe and wheel wells. This is perfectly safe for your truck. It is ideal for one to three people.
With two windows behind the doors and an outer door that folds up, there is great ventilation. Also, the walls and roof are coated with polyester.
Ease of Use
Once you arrive at your destination, all you need to do is raise the rear window, lower the tailgate and place the tent over the opening. For storage, a carry bag is included.
7. GUIDE GEAR TENT
Holds up very well in the rain
It deploys in minutes
Be wary of the included olive pole as it can be easily broken
The zipper on the door is slightly crooked
Speaking of quality, how about the Guide Gear Truck Tent? Its design alone makes it worth the money.Read more
This truck tent will fit full-sized pickups from various car manufacturers (Ford, GMC, Toyota, etc.). It will fit most full-sized beds but will fit differently from truck to truck. When anchored to the vehicle are tension straps that will not alter the paint in any way. This tent can properly sleep two people, with room for small children.
The construction is top notch and provides excellent ventilation with its mesh windows. Plus, a sewn-in polyethylene floor and water-resistant coating provide a nearly-impeccable interior.
Ease of Use
This is a great product and will be particularly ideal if you have a full-sized bed. Its lightweight nature and four-pole design make it fairly simple to construct.
8. SPORTZ AVALANCHE III
There are two small windows in the floor that utilize the Avalanche’s bed cargo lights
For gear-organization, there are interior pockets and a gear loft
It does not fit a wide range of vehicles
Although the poles are color-coded, the anchor pocket colors are hard to identify in the dark (even with a flashlight)
Capping off this list is a model that does not necessarily bring anything new to the table, but one that will still provide you a great place to sleep.Read more
Great for some and not for others, this is specifically designed for Chevy Avalanches and Silverado’s. The tent is strapped underneath your vehicle and will not cause damage in any way. In terms of capacity, it has a roomy interior and will fit two people; with plenty of headroom.
Besides an obvious entrance door, there is a rear access door that allows you to enter through the cab. Included in the interior are two pockets and a gear loft. Meanwhile, a sewn-in floor prevents you from having to clean your bed.
Ease of Use
A carrying bag comes included and color-coded fiberglass poles provide a fast and easy construction. However, some reviewers have had trouble differentiating the colors in the dark of the night.
9. NAPIER SPORTZ COVE
Over two feet of awning coverage
Entrance that includes a storm flap
The set-up is a little difficult at first
Works more like an awning and may not be what some are looking for
Napier makes another appearance on our list, they must know what they are doing. Their Sportz Cove SUV Tent adapts to minivan owners, however.Read more
This product will work with virtually any large vehicle. There is an elastic-like band that wraps around and two anchor straps that attach to the roof rack (and to the hood if you do not have a roof rack) there is no concern for vehicle damage. The sleeve is universally designed and will fit all minivans and SUVs. How many people this is good for you really depends on the size of your vehicle, but (in general) around one to three people.
This tent features a mesh screen keeps all bugs out and its built-in storm flap offers a great deal of privacy and weather protection.
Ease of Use
At first, the set-up can be a little tricky but it becomes much easier over time. An included lightweight carrying bag provides perfect storage.
10. EXPLORER 2 SUV TENT
It can be used even if the vehicle is attached to other trailers
Sets up in mere minutes
The fabric is relatively thin and the seams are not great
May need magnets for proper side fit
Yet again, SUV owners deserve a truck tent too and while the Explorer 2 is not as great as others, it is still great overall.Read more
This tent will fit minivans and SUVs without an external spare tire and with liftgate rear panels that are less than 67 inches wide. The bungee cords that connect to the tire wells will not cause any damage. Depending on the size of your SUV, this tent is ideal for one to two people.
This tent is fairly simple. For great ventilation and breathing, the outer door will fold up. Two-way zippers provide easy access in and out.
Ease of Use
n less than five minutes, you will have this bad boy set-up. Simply, drape the tent over your vehicle and connect the bungee cords to the tire wells to secure it. Sure, it may not be as sufficient as the above models but it will still more than suffice and serve its purpose.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
No matter what you look for in a tent, the price, quality, design, simplicity, portability, or fitting capacity, it is all proven irrelevant (for truck tents) if the tent itself does not fit over the bed of your truck (or SUV). When searching for your next truck tent, you need to tread carefully and be 100 percent certain that you are selecting a model that accommodates for your truck. Some manufacturers will give you multiple size options so everyone can get a properly sized tent. In the instance where you have options at your disposal, run over the measurements of your truck to ensure it will fit. Also, take into consideration if your bed is a full-sized, mid-sized or a compact-sized version.
Of course, these size options are not always at your convenience. Some truck tents are sold in one size and if so, will not fit every single truck in America. Sellers may even specify a minimum bed-size or if a rear-mounted spare tire will prevent it from working. In a rarer situation, you may even come across tents that are specifically designed for a certain car model. Either way, do what you need to make sure you know the truck tent will fit your truck.
Then, there are some tents that work strictly for minivans and SUVs. These types are a little less strict as most will have a sleeve that can be attached to the rear of the vehicle. Thus, adapting to a wide number of SUVs and minivans. When it comes to which trucks/SUVs will fit certain models, you can take great pleasure in knowing that most sellers will not leave you in the dark and will specify which ones will work.
Tents are designed to be a portable form of residence, allowing people a place to live on the go (for a certain amount of time). Thus, it is quite important how well the interior is designed. Different design choices will hold different values from person to person. But, in general, there are some factors you want to look for when analyzing the interior design of a truck tent.
Firstly, decide which kind of floor you would like. For truck tents that have an attached sleeve that connects to SUV’s, this is not so much of an issue. But, for traditional truck beds, the sleeping area is in the bed of your truck. Typically, manufacturers will either sport their tent with or without a sewn-in floor. Looking at it through objective eyes, both hold their advantages. With a sewn-in floor, you do not have to sweep out the bed of your truck. The air mattress, if small enough, could then rest comfortably on the floor. But, without a floor, you can leave some of your heavier equipment in the bed without moving it (as long as it is not in your way).
Next, the amount of ventilation will be paramount for some people. On hot summer nights, you will want a breeze coming inside to make it breathable and possible to sleep. The amount of ventilation will strictly depend on the number of mesh windows installed and also if the outer door folds up. Also, keep a special eye out for tents that have a storm flap as this will enhance privacy and provide a good deal of protection against the weather. Speaking of weather, included rain flies and water-resistant fabric are also nice in the instance where you must sleep in the tent in a downpour.
Although not nearly as important as other interior design choices, for extra storage and organization some sellers will outfit their tent with gear pockets; which is a nice touch.
When it comes to any sort of work, it is beneficial for people when it is as simple as possible. Clearly, when you pull off to the side of the road and are ready to sit back and rest you do not want to spend several minutes setting up a tent. Traditional tents are one thing, but truck tents will (depending on how you use them) often times require you to set-up and disassemble multiple times. As with any process, the more times you take part in it the simpler it will become in the proceeding instances you do it. But, some tasks will remain difficult no matter how many times you complete them.
Some prior experience constructing tents will help, but novices should still be able to put them up with little to no hassle. Versions that have color-coded poles and a sleeve system are always a good way to achieve this. But, a key for some people will be if the tent is easy to put-up with one person. Depending on the way it is designed, some will be a complete hassle with one person and completely unbearable. In the instances where you are by yourself, this can prove to be a huge issue. When disassembling, it is also convenient when a storage bag comes alongside the tent itself to allow a place for storage.
A little piece of advice, in general, is to set-up your truck tent before you commence on your journey. This way, if you run into any speed bumps you can sort them out in the pleasure of your own driveway. Plus, you gain some practice so when you construct it in real-time you can achieve it even quicker than you would have before.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
It is easy to get carried away with all the bells and whistles. Take some time to sit down and really think about what is important and useful when camping. You might be able to fit everything in the bed of your truck on the way out but once you're sleeping in there, where will you put it?
Be cautious where you set up camp and where the fire will be. Besides the fire hazard, you also don't want the wind blowing smoke into your tent while you sleeping. These tents can keep out quite a few elements, but smoke isn't one of them.
Other Factors to Consider
Before you even read another word, you should know something. In case you have not figured it out yet, truck tenting is not the best way to camp with a family. What it is good for is occasions where you need a place to sleep on the road but do not want to rent a hotel or sleep in your vehicle. With your family, it can be difficult for all of you to fit inside of a normal truck tent. There are a few factors that will decide this, though, and the first one is how large the bed of your truck is.
Again, for most, this is where you will sleep. Average-sized beds can fit two people and if you have small children, should fit them as well. Of course, for SUV owners, there are a few that will actually accommodate for five to six people. This is accomplished with the extra attachment that will transform it into an actual tent (while still connecting to your vehicle). But, in general, if you are looking to sleep five to six adults then a truck tent is probably not going to work for you.
How tall the tent stands can also come into play, but you are really not going to want people stacked on top of one another! This is more if you wanted to stand up for any reason at all. However, like most, even with a full-sized truck bed, will ideally fit one to three people (with room for smaller children), shoot to use this if you only have a few people that need to sleep. Or, if you have people that can sleep in other tents/places.
While this is an important criterion, it is not one you will need to concern yourself with most truck tents. That sounds like a contradictory statement, but it will be clear in a moment. Not everyone is like this, but some people treat their vehicles like their babies. Is this a bad obsession? Well, that is a different story for a different day but the point is some owners will have a panic attack if anything happens to their vehicle. This makes it essential for manufacturers to design their truck tents in a way to avoid this.
Thankfully, most, if not all, construct the tent to be secured with material that will not cause chips, dents, or alter the paint of a truck in any way. Some will even build their straps with protectors on them for extra protection. For anyone who has secured a load in the bed of their truck before, such as furniture or wood, they know that it is harmless. You will know if there is a red flag for this if multiple people are complaining about the damage that the tent is causing. Otherwise, you should be in the all clear when it comes to vehicle protection.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hearing “truck tent” can initially be meant with a lukewarm response. To the average person, why would you want to tent in the back end of your truck? When you dig a little deeper, you will find that it comes with some convenient advantages over ulterior methods. Most obvious is the ability to set up camp anywhere you want at any time. Instead of paying multiple hundreds of dollars to stay at a hotel for one night while on the road or sleeping in an uncomfortable vehicle, you can sleep in a tent.
Okay, but you could simply just buy a traditional tent and sleep in that? Surprisingly enough, truck tents hold specific advantages over traditional versions. Firstly, you do not need to concern yourself with finding even ground or dealing with uneven ground. The bed of your truck will be flat, every single time. Secondly, you are away from bugs and critters that are on the ground. Thirdly, on cold nights it is a little warmer and lastly, during rainstorms, you are off the ground and away from the moisture. When it starts raining, tenting on the ground can be utterly unbearable at times. Being three to four feet above ground helps tremendously in this department.
Outside of the overall purpose, truck tents work the same way as regular tents. If you have ever gone camping with one, you know some of the tricks to keep bugs out. The material itself is strong enough to keep them out, granted that there are no holes present, and all it takes is a little self-consciousness. Just like you would with a regular tent, do not leave the entrance door opened any longer than it needs to be. When getting in and out, try to do it fairly quickly to prevent any from sneaking inside.
However, be sure to exit and enter as little as possible. The fewer times you give the mosquitoes a chance to enter, the less that will sleep with you. For those keeping score at home, that would mean it does keep bugs out on its own. But, through unawareness, you can easily allow them access.
So, let’s say that you are a little worried that all this is rendered useless because you have a tonneau cover on the bed of your truck. Yes, these tents are designed to consume the entire bed of your truck. In short, you will want to remove your tonneau cover as you do not want to construct it over top (and it may not even secure that way). Even if it could properly fit that way, would you really want human bodies to be sitting on top of your tonneau cover?
Clearly, you will have to roll it up. However, you are still not in the clear yet. If your tonneau cover makes the bed rails wider than they originally were, then it may not fit properly. It will vary from model to model, but ensure it mounts between the rails for a higher probability of success. Also, so you do not end up wasting an ample amount of your time be sure to roll-up the cover before you strap in the tent. Although you may be able to roll it up with the tent attached, it is immensely more challenging and annoying.
Do not worry, manufacturers do not expect you to jump into the bed of your truck to construct these types of tents. As you would with a traditional version, you can erect the tent directly on the ground. Once you have conquered that step, you can then carry it over and place it on the bed of your truck. Most are lightweight enough for you to do this by yourself, but you may seek assistance in this area. From there, you simply attach the straps and buckles to the underside of your truck (depending on the type of tent you get).
While assembling it on top of your truck will skip the lifting step, it will make the process insanely irritating and problematic. Do yourself a favor and stay on the ground until needed.
This plays right along with the question alluding to tonneau covers and those of you who have a toolbox in the bed of your truck, you may need to work around it. With tents that do not have a sewn-in bottom, it is possible that you could leave it in your truck. If the toolbox sits flush in your bed and not on the rails, then you are probably in the clear. But, things start to get a little more complicated for the versions that have a sewn-in floor.
Honestly, for ones with a floor, the simplest solution would be to remove the toolbox. If you are content with it being there, you might be able to make a smaller tent work. But, truthfully, if you want your toolbox inside then you should invest in one that does not have a sewn-in floor. It would be significantly easier for you to do it this way, as the tent can sit right over top of it (if it sits on your bed).