Best Truck Tents
What are truck tents? Even though they have been around for decades, this does not feel like a popular recreational activity. 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. So, instead of renting a hotel for the night, you could simply stop anywhere and sleep in your truck tent. Again, truck tenting is not the most popular form of camping in the world. Thus, the sample size is fairly small as compared to other types of tents. But, that did not stop us from constructing a list of the best models on the market. Factors considered throughout this list, besides the ones labeled, included user feedback, general quality, and customer reviews.
Our Top 3 Picks
- NAPIER BACKROADZ
- Extra storage
- Sewn-in floor
- SPORTZ SUV TENT
- Can be transformed
- Extra shade rain fly
- DAC FULL-SIZE
- Easy setup
- Great ventilation
10 Best Truck Tents
To accommodate for your truck bed, there are several options available including 5 feet 5 inches, 6 feet, 6 feet 5 inches, 8 feet, and 9 feet.
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.
The straps easily attach to the bottom of your truck and will not affect the finish or damage it in any way.
It will properly accommodate for two people, not including small children.
Overall, it is easy to set-up with four shock-corded fiberglass poles and an accompanying storage bag for transport.
Some minor downsides aside, this is as good as it gets for truck tents. The fact that there are several size options to accommodate for several people makes it even better.
- 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
SPORTZ SUV TENT
There is a sleeve that attaches to the end of your SUV or mini-van and it measures 10 feet x 10 feet.
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.
Sleeve wraps around the end of your SUV and the straps are attached to the bumpers and provide no harm.
Will properly fit five to six people with over seven feet of headroom.
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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you have a properly sized truck, then this is the highest recommendation. If not, look elsewhere.
- Set-up is very easy and should only take a few minutes
- Great ventilation
- The roof could be made from better material
- To keep bugs out, may have to fill the gaps next to the tailgate
NAPIER SPORTZ COVE
The sleeve is universally designed and will fit all minivans and SUVs.
Its mesh screen keeps all bugs out and its built-in storm flap offers a great deal of privacy and weather protection.
No worries here, with 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.
It depends on the size of your vehicle, but (in general) around one to three people.
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.
While the set-up is a little complex, there is nothing but quality here.
- 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
GUIDE GEAR FULL-SIZE
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.
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.
Anchored to the vehicle are tension straps that will not alter the paint in any way.
Will properly sleep two people, with room for small children.
Its lightweight nature and four-pole design make it fairly simple to construct.
Very, very stellar model here. You truly can’t go wrong if you go this route and it will be particularly ideal if you have a full-sized bed.
- 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
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 interior is durable, watertight and breathable. Its tunnel-shaped design maximizes the space of the interior and the five windows provide superb ventilation.
The clamp-on rails easily mount on the bed of the truck for a secure and safe fit.
Will adequately fit two people.
With more than one person, it is not much of a hassle to set-up. Plus, there is a carry bag that is included.
If you are with another person, this is a tremendous truck tent. But, because of the hassle of setting it up by yourself can be a pain with no help.
- 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
SPORTZ TRUCK TENT
There are options available for full-sized, mid-sized and compact beds with boxes between 5.5 feet and eight feet.
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.
For extra vehicle protection, there is a set of strap protectors against the straps of the tent.
With over five feet of headroom and a spacious interior, it will properly sleep two people.
The pole and sleeve system is color-coded which allows for an easy set-up.
At this point in the list, only a few downsides are preventing these models from climbing. Despite the flaws in this model, it is still great.
- 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
RIGHTLINE GEAR FULL-SIZE
Options for tall and regular beds are at your disposal and sizes between five and eight foot.
The fabric is water-resistant and the tent it 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.
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 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.
- 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
EXPLORER 2 SUV TENT
This tent will fit minivans and SUVs without an external spare tire and with liftgate rear panels that are less than 67 inches wide.
For great ventilation and breathing, the outer door will fold up. Two-way zippers provide easy access in and out.
The bungee cords that connect to the tire wells will not cause any damage.
It depends on the size of your SUV, but it is ideal for one to two people.
In 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.
- 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
SPORTZ AVALANCHE III
This is specifically designed for Chevy Avalanches and Silverado’s.
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.
It is strapped underneath your vehicle and will not cause damage in any way.
It has a roomy interior and will fit two people; with plenty of headroom.
A carry bag comes included and color-coded fiber glass poles provide a fast and easy construction.
While it does not fit a wide range of trucks, if you have an Avalanche then this could absolutely be for you.
- 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).
Criteria for Evaluation
What Sizes of Trucks That It Will Fit
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 for 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.
The Design of the Interior
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.
If the Construction Will Potentially Damage Your Truck
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.
A number of People that Would Fit Inside
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, as 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.
How Simple the Tent is to Construct
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.
One Last Aspect to Look Out For
One last brief factor that you could look out for, that was addressed in some truck tent’s positives, is how the tailgate is accommodated for. For extra breathing room and space, it is nice when it is designed for the tailgate to be down. If it not, you will have to keep the tailgate up for the tent to fit properly. This really goes back to the size requirements, so just keep in mind the measurement from the end of your tailgate to the rear window of your truck. If your truck and the tent accommodate for that size, then you are good to go.
Q: Can You Drive with the Tent Erected?
A: Surely, somewhere down the road, this question has popped into your head. Technically, the answer to this question is yes. But, not without some serious limitations. If you have the tent fully erected, rain fly and everything, it is not advised that you go on the road. However, if you are at a campsite you could crawl through it at no more than five miles per hour. For example, if you set it up and then find a better spot you could travel slowly to it. If you want, though, you can simply take the poles down and place something heavy over top the tent itself while it sits in your cab.
In general, truck tents are not designed to be driven with. Yes, they are securely strapped on your truck and will hold up to a relatively strong wind. But, traveling several miles per hour will put way too much stress on the top of the tent and it will either fall off or rip altogether. If you choose to disobey and do it anyway, if there is an included warranty, it is highly likely that stupidity will not fall under it.
Q: Why Tent in the Back of a Truck, Anyway?
A: 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 compartment.
Q: Do They Keep Mosquitoes and Bugs Out?
A: 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.
Q: Will They Work with a Tonneau Cover?
A: 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.
Q: Do You Put the Tent Together on the Ground?
A: 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.
Q: Will It Work with a Toolbox in the Bed?
A: 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).
While a truck tent may sound like an invention that someone made when they were plastered with alcohol, they actually make for a convenient means of camping and shelter. While many will vary, just remember that most will adequately sleep a few people. If you have no other way for other people to sleep and you are accompanied by a group of people, truck tents will typically not be the answer. But, they are sufficient for a few people or an additional tent.