Best Truck Tents: Sleep Comfortably off the Ground
Say goodbye to sticks and rocks in your back, bugs in your tent, and sleeping on the cold, hard ground.
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Anywhere can be a campsite if you try hard enough, especially if you have a truck tent. Choose a spot, park your truck, set up, and voila! You are truck camping. In all seriousness, a truck bed camping setup gives you more comfort without pushing you into glamping territory. Think of it as the sophisticated man's take on roughing it. It is like using the best truck GPS instead of a paper map or a Bluetooth speaker instead of a crank radio. So, isn't it time you elevate your camping experience and broaden your adventure horizons by converting to a truck bed tent? These truck tents are worth the investment to turn your pickup into the ultimate adventure vehicle.
Rightline Full Size Truck Tent
- Single wall design
- Fully sealed seams
- No floor
- Vent design could be better
ProZ Premium Truck Tent
- Fully sealed floor
- Large mesh windows
- Long setup process
- Fiberglass poles
Ford Genuine OEM Sportz Camping Tent
- Sewn-in floor
- 4x4 shade awning over the tailgate
- Limited truck compatibility
Best Overall: Rightline Full Size Truck Tent
Best Budget: ProZ Premium Truck Tent
Honorable Mention: Ford Genuine OE Ford Sportz Truck Camping Tent
Best Sustainable: Thule Basin Wedge Tent
Best Waterproof: Kodiak Canvas Truck Tent
Most Durable: Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 4 Extended Rooftop Tent
Best Compact: Napier Backroadz Truck Tent 19 Series
When gathering your car camping essentials, the tent is one of the most important pieces of equipment. Unfortunately, you can't throw your ground tent in the truck bed and hope for the best. The team at The Drive is dedicated to helping you find the best tent and truck camping accessories. I started with well-known brands with an established reputation in the camping world. I then looked for tents that would work for various truck beds and in different camping conditions. That way, the final list would be inclusive with a solution for everyone. For example, an open-floor tunnel tent could be best for one person, while a compact hardshell tent may be ideal for someone else. When it came to features, I considered overall design, mesh panel placement, internal storage, awnings, and setup difficulty.
Best Truck Tents: Reviews & Recommendations
Best Eco Pick, Most Sustainable
If you're going to spend time out in nature, the equipment you're using should be environmentally friendly. That way, you make as little of a negative impact as possible on the nature you are enjoying. While there have been some impressive advancements, camping tents seem to have lagged behind. There are some truck tent manufacturers that have made an effort, though. Thule's sustainability efforts are worthy of recognition, with improved manufacturing processes, longer-lasting products, and lower impact during customer use. Napier has tried to make an effort, but unfortunately, it's more focused on education than actually improving its products. When looking for a sustainable or eco-friendly tent, opt for aluminum poles over fiberglass. The canopy and rainfly fabric should be cotton or natural fabric without chemical treatment. The construction should be durable, helping the tent to last as long as possible and reduce replacement needs.
My top pick for the best truck tent is the Rightline Full Size Truck Tent with its single wall design and fully sealed seams. There are enough vents to give you plenty of breathability. Inside, you'll find gear pockets and hooks for hanging items.
For a more affordable option, the ProZ Premium Truck Tent features simplicity that doesn't sacrifice quality. It has a fully seamed floor and plenty of headroom.
When we start shopping for tools and products, we never overlook the secondhand market. In fact, it’s usually the first place I look. Whether you’re scrolling through Amazon’s Renewed section, eBay for car parts or tools, or flipping through the pages of Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, you have hundreds of thousands of used tools, parts, and gear ready to be shipped to your doorstep. Refurbished to like-new status, they’ll be willing to give you many more years of faithful service all while saving you money.
If those options don’t have what you need, your local salvage yard is great for car parts, while swap meets are a great resource you should tap. Just Google either and head on down.
To make your secondhand search easier, here are two tips to finding the best deals and making sure your new-to-you stuff wasn’t destroyed by the previous owner.
- Consider the level of use and maintenance care the previous owner gave the tent.
- Confirm that the manufacturer still produces the tent so that you can order replacement parts for anything that is worn out.
Things to Consider Before Buying Truck Tent
The design needs to match your intended camping style. For example, some truck bed tents don't have a floor, so your truck bed needs to be clean, or getting in the tent will be gross. Your tent should also have cab access. This allows you to access the cab through the rear window without getting out of the tent. Now you can access more storage space and charge your electronics. Awnings are nice to have because they provide you with better rain protection so you can open windows and not give up ventilation in inclement weather. Look for zippers to secure the door and mesh coverings to prevent bugs, rain, and dirt from getting in. Finally, having storage pockets and hanging hooks inside the tent make it easier to keep your tent clean and organized.
Just like any other type of camping, your tent needs to work with the climate you're camping in. You're already at a disadvantage because you are lying in the truck bed with walls on three sides of you. This means there needs to be plenty of mesh panels in the upper half to give you cross ventilation. Having an adaptive rainfly is also nice. Some have windows that you can open and awnings for extra coverage. A thicker rainfly is nice when camping in cold climates because it will provide a layer of insulation to keep heat in.
Measure your truck bed and know its exact dimensions. For example, a five-foot bed may not be exactly 60 inches in length. Then beds come in a wide range of widths, depending on the manufacturer and model. The camping gear for trucks that you buy needs to fit both the width and length, or you will end up with a tent that doesn't fit quite right. In addition to size, look at the attachment method. Some tents use a rail system while others use straps. The attachment system needs to work with your truck bed design.
Truck Tent Pricing
You can buy a basic truck tent for $500 or less. These tents resemble a standard ground tent with a fabric canopy and rainfly that are supported by poles. More affordable options are made from treated nylon or polyester. More expensive options are made from sturdy cotton or duck fabric. Another option is a rooftop-style tent. These tend to hover above the truck bed and are supported by a metal frame with a ladder leading up to the tent. These tents typically start at over $1,000 and can easily be a couple thousand. There are more parts and materials to these tents. Because the supportive frame needs to be strong enough to hold a couple of hundred pounds, they tend to be more expensive.
You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.
Q: Are truck bed tents easy to set up? How long does it usually take?
A: Most modern truck bed tents come with detailed directions and color-coded poles, making for a simple setup process. Depending on the type of tent and your experience level, tent setup can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes.
Q: How can I make my truck bed tent more comfortable?
A: To make your tent more comfortable, start by investing in a high-quality air mattress or foam sleeping pad. This gives you more cushion and support while sleeping. Next, purchase a sleeping bag with the right amount of insulation to keep you warm or cool. Other items to consider are a portable inverter, lighting, heater, and shower.
Q: Can a truck bed tent be used on the ground?
A: Technically, you can set up some truck bed tents on the ground. However, they don't have a way of securing the tent to the ground, which makes them vulnerable to wind. In addition, some truck bed tents don't have a floor, so they would be open to the ground when inside.
Q: How do you measure a truck bed tent?
A: Most tents have broad compatibility, so all you need to know is the truck bed length. Your vehicle information should be able to tell you this. If you want a precise fit, measure from the edge of the bed at the tailgate towards the cab. Measure the floor of the bed, not at the top near the rails. Then measure the width. Account for any irregularities, such as wheel wells or storage boxes.
Q: Where can I recycle my truck tent?
A: You can donate usable tents to a charity. If the tent is no longer usable, recycle aluminum poles. Repurpose the tent material by turning it into stuff sacks or patches for your next tent. Some services specialize in eco-friendly recycling, such as LoadUp and TerraCycle.