Spending a couple nights camped out under the open sky is one of the best ways to decompress and relax. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the best ways to get up close and personal with some local wildlife or small pebbles under your sleeping bag. Truck bed tents are an innovative new offering in the camping space that allow you to use the bed of your truck as your campsite. Today we’re covering the best truck bed tents to help you find the one most suited to your camping style.
Best Truck Bed Tents
- Napier Outdoors Sportz Truck Tent
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- Napier Backroadz Truck Tent
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- Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent
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- Rightline Gear Truck Bed Tents
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- Guide Gear Full Size Truck Tent
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- Off Roading Gear Granville Truck Bed Tent
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The biggest benefits of truck bed tents are convenience and protection from the elements. You end up with a perfectly smooth and level campsite pretty much anywhere you can drive your truck.
Choosing the best truck bed tent is a bit trickier though. The type of truck you drive and where you’re camping will narrow it down, but you’ve still got a few decisions to make.
Napier Outdoors Sportz Best Truck Bed Tent
The Napier Outdoors Sportz Camo Truck Tent is a hunter’s dream. It’s a fully weatherproof 3-season tent that comes in a hunting ready Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity camouflage pattern.
It has a spacious interior with just over 5’ 8” of head room. It’s a bed only truck tent but does offer an extendable awning that gives you 16 square feet of covered space to work with behind it.
The tent itself uses shock corded fiberglass poles and is made from polyester taffeta with taped seams and a waterproof coating. They pop together quickly and are easy to attach to the tent with quick snaps. This is a whole lot easier than the old full sleeve pole arrangement.
It offers a significant amount of ventilation with two full windows plus a pair of side vents to let in every possible breeze. The vents come with storm flaps to help keep the rain out during especially strong storms.
The Sportz Camo has a full floor and requires no tools to assemble. You just ratchet down a few straps around the body of your truck to keep it flush with the truck bed.
One thing we really loved was the rear access flap. It lets you get into the cab window and use the interior of your truck as extra storage space.
All in all the Napier Outdoors Sportz is a high quality truck bed tent with a lot to offer. It’s not the largest option available but it does a good job covering the most in demand features.
Napier Backroadz Truck Tent
The Napier Backroadz Truck Tent is a full-floor truck bed tent designed to fit the majority of pickups on the market. It’s made from polyester taffeta with a polyethylene floor.
It covers your truck’s bed from the back of the cab all the way to the end of the tailgate. This, combined with it’s 5’ 8” of headroom, makes it quite spacious for a bed only truck tent. It fits two comfortably with room left over for a bit of gear.
The Backroadz offers good ventilation with two mesh windows and the large entrance. This makes it a good 3-season tent that helps keep you cool in the late spring and summer months. It uses shock corded fiberglass tent poles and easy to set up ratcheting straps.
The poles are color coordinated to make putting the tent together basically foolproof. Some other really cool features include a built in lantern hook and several organizational pockets.
Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent
The Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent is an old school truck tent made designed to fit full size trucks. It’s made from waterproofed duck canvas and offers a retro look that adds a lot of stability to the actual tent.
It uses a tubular steel frame to create a tunnel-like interior space. It’s 5’ tall and includes an awning that extends off the tailgate of your truck. This is short enough that most adult campers are going to have to pretty seriously duck down to move around inside or crawl.
The tent attaches to your truck bed through the use of clamp on rails. These are a lot easier to install than you would think at first glance and give you a really strong attachment to your truck. The downside to this design is that the Kodiak Canvas Tent lacks an interior floor.
If you’ve got anything on the bed of your truck or if it rains on your way to the campsite this can make for a messy and or wet sleeping situation. The benefit of this system is the substantial added strength.
This is a true 4-season tent that’s capable of keeping you comfortable year round. For the spring and summer months it offers 5 mesh windows including the large D-style front opening. The zippers are all YKK for smooth movement throughout the years.
As long as it isn’t snowing like crazy you’ll be fine in cold winter weather. You can even access the cab window for added storage space alongside the two organizational pockets.
The Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent isn’t for everyone. It doesn’t have a floor and is a bit on the short side. For those who want a quality 4-season tent and like the look of traditional canvas though it can be a great choice.
Rightline Gear Truck Tents
The Rightline Gear Truck Tent line includes a number of very similar tents designed to fit various trucks. They’re available in short bed, mid size, and full size truck models and offer one of the easiest setups on the market.
The tent body is made from water resistant fabric with taped seams. It uses a floorless design combined with an attachment system more commonly found on floored tents. This makes it a lot easier to set up than either full floored tents or rail clamp models.
Just snap the color coded poles into the appropriate spots and buckle the smooth straps down. It creates a comfortable tent with plenty of room for two to sleep with their gear.
Guide Gear Full Size Truck Tent
The Guide Gear Truck Tent is a value priced offering designed to fit on full size trucks. It’s made from waterproofed polyester and designed to go up without clamps or tools.
It uses color coded fiberglass poles that are shock corded together. Once you’ve got the body of the tent assembled you just set it in place and use the provided poly straps to cinch it down tightly to the bed of your truck.
The Guide Gear Tent gives you 5’3” of head room, enough for most to move around comfortably, and features several large mesh windows for ventilation. It uses a fusion design of a dome style tent with a tunnel entrance. This maximizes your usable space without affecting the setup of the tent.
Some of our favorite features include organizational pockets conveniently located near your sleeping space and internal ties that can double as lantern hooks. All in all the Guide Gear Full Size Truck Tent provides one of the best values for your money you can find in a truck bed tent.
Off Roading Gear Granville II Pickup Truck Bed Camping Tent
The Off Roading Gear Granville II is a truck bed tent built to fit into just about any short bed truck. It has a fully sewn floor and offers a lot of in demand features.
The tent itself goes up with a combination of color coded tent poles and elasticized straps. These are designed with no-scratch buckles that protect the side and body of your truck from dings and scratches.
Once up, you’ve got a roomy 2-person tent with plenty of space for your gear and even an air mattress. It features 3 mesh ventilation windows including one that lets you access your cab window. This adds a whole lot of extra storage space to your tent.
Other things we love include a full storage loft able to hold things like pullovers, tablets, or phones, and a small awning to help keep the rain out of the front door.
The Off Roading Gear Granville II is a very well thought out truck bed tent. This is especially true given it’s remarkably affordable price.
Buyers Guide to Buying the Best Truck Bed Tent
Picking out the best truck bed tent comes down to the type of truck you drive and what kind of camper you are. Some campers will prioritize easy setup and comfort enhancing features while others need extra space and greater ventilation.
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Like a lot of big ticket outdoor gear there’s a pretty large range of prices you can pay. Smaller truck bed tents start around the $100 mark, but you can find yourself spending many times that on models that are larger or made from more premium materials.
Type of Truck Bed Tent
There are two basic types of truck bed tents available. The first rests purely in the bed of your truck and is limited by the overall size of your truck bed.
The second adds a large vestibule area that extends out from the back of your truck or SUV. This gives you a lot of extra space and can be really useful for things like storing gear, changing clothes, or just hanging out in.
Compatibility with your Truck
Before you look at any other options, features, or benefits of a truck tent you need to make sure it fits your model truck. Different trucks can have significantly different truck bed footprints, even with something as simple as a model year difference.
Most truck bed tent makers will list the trucks their tents are compatible with right on the purchase page.
Size, Length and Height
The overall size of your truck bed tent is less dependent on the type of truck you drive than you would think. If you want one that’s purely in the bed of your truck it’s restricted, sure, but if you’re okay with having it extend out on the ground behind your truck you’ve got a lot more usable space available.
Height wise you want to avoid feeling cramped. If you’re taller than average you probably won’t be able to stand up fully, but you at least want to be able to move around without imitating the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Whether you choose a 2-, 3-, or 4+-person tent is going to really affect the size and length. Match the size of your truck bed tent to the number of campers you usually have with you.
Seasons and Waterproofing
Once you know what tents are compatible with your vehicle and have an idea of the size you need it’s time to consider warmth and weatherproofing. There’s a world of difference between a true 4-season tent and your basic summer weight tent.
If you plan to do camping during winter in a cold climate like the American Midwest or mountainous areas you’re going to need a lot more protection from the cold. Likewise, areas with wet and rainy climates demand greater levels of waterproofing and wind protection.
Make sure you know how cold your average camping trip will be and how waterproof you need your tent to be. With tents the level of protection they provide is generally measured in seasons.
A 4-season tent is one that’s rated for winter weather camping. You can also use a 4-season tent in spring, summer, or fall, though it will be a lot warmer than lighter tents. The vast majority of truck bed tents fall in the 3-season category.
These are good to go for spring, summer, and fall camping. If you live in an especially warm climate these are also fine for winter camping.
One of the biggest benefits of a truck bed tent is that weight really isn’t an issue. By definition you’re going to drive your tent to your campsite so the poles can be as heavy duty as you like.
This also means there isn’t much benefit to using lighter, and more expensive, materials like carbon fiber. You can get along just fine with fiberglass or aluminum poles.
One really nice feature you’ll see in just about every truck bed tent are color coded poles. This allows you to immediately see where each set of poles is supposed to slot into place.
With truck bed tents you have the option to get both floored and floorless models. Those with floors are a lot like regular tents and have a thin layer of material between you and the bed of your truck.
Some people prefer this design as it gives you a barrier between your body/sleeping bags and anything that might be on your truck. Floorless truck bed tents offer significant benefits in convenience and setup.
If you’ve got tools, gear, or other supplies in your truck you don’t have to move them with a floorless tent. You can just set it up around them and make space for your sleeping bags.
Windows and Ventilation
Ventilation is just about the biggest factor in determining how comfortable a tent will be. There’s nothing worse than a stuffy, humid tent when you’re trying to get a nights sleep.
For 3-season tents we always recommend you look for as many windows, flaps, and mesh ventilation spots as possible. You want to let every possible breeze in while venting out the moisture from your breath.
If you’re planning a winter hike the opposite applies. Every opening allows heat to escape from your tent. At the very least you want to make sure all the mesh windows have the ability to be securely zipped or velcroed closed.
The last thing to mention with windows concerns your trucks cab window. It’s really nice to have an opening in your tent that lets you access this window. It opens up a ton of extra storage space and lets you more easily use things like your trucks DC outlet.
When talking about traditional tents As with poles, you can go way over onto the durability side of things at the expense of greater weight.
With that in mind, it’s a good idea to pick out the toughest and most durable materials for your tent. High denier ripstop nylon is a great place to start. Check for things like sealed seams as well. This improves the overall waterproofing of your tent.
With standard tents you secure them to the ground with guy lines and tent pegs. For a truck bed tent those methods don’t really work.
Instead you’ve got straps, buckles, and connectors that attach your tent to your truck. When comparing different truck bed tents look for things like padded straps and connectors.
The last thing you want to do is scratch or ding your truck because of poorly placed straps without protection.
Ease of Setup
There’s no getting around it, truck bed tents have a more involved setup process than traditional ones. There’s the added step of attaching them to the body of your truck that you just don’t have with a standard ground tent.
We highly recommend you look up the manual of any tent you’re considering and see how complicated it is to set up. Some involve little more than throwing a strap under your truck and ratcheting it down, while others need a lot more tlc.
Make sure you consider what kind of camping you plan to do when looking at setup. If you’re the type of camper who enjoys spending a whole weekend in one spot a little extra setup isn’t a big deal.
If you’re going to be setting up and taking down your tent once a night it becomes more of a hassle.
How you can enter and exit your truck bed tent is a major consideration as well. Some are fully in the bed of your truck and require you to climb up inside. Others use the bed of your tent as a raised sleeping/storage area and extend out to the ground behind your truck.
If you’ve got older campers or those with mobility issues it’s probably a good idea to have a ground level access point. If you’re worried about water flow or other issues having your sole access point off the ground can be beneficial.
If you’ve been in any tent in the last decade or so you know that storage pockets are all the rage. They allow you to keep things like flashlights, your phone, maps, etc, in an easy to access location.
Truck bed tents benefit from these storage pockets in the same way. Some larger tents even offer space for things like clothes and other items you want to keep off the ground.
A lot of truck bed tents require a few specialized tools to set up. You’ll commonly see things like mounting rails, clamps, and eye hooks pop up.
Most of the time these will come with your tent but sometimes you’ll need a few wrenches or other basic tools to initially set things up.
Picking out the best truck bed tent is actually pretty easy all things considered. While there are several choices you have to make, the type of truck you drive and the conditions you’re camping in really help narrow it down.
So long as you know what extra features you value and how you intend to camp you’re sure to choose a great truck bed tent.