Reviews

LAST UPDATED: November 5, 2019

Best Car Camping Tents: Indoor Comfort in the Great Outdoors

Combine outdoor and indoor space for a unique camping experience with these top car tents

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The Review Team

  • Product Network

    20 Products

  • Clock

    10 Hours

  • Reviews

    12 Reviews

How We Decided

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PUBLISHED ON November 5, 2019

With most models attaching directly to the back of your SUV or minivan, car tents are the ultimate combination of outdoor and indoor space. Whether you want access to power points, the peace of mind that comes from knowing the kids are safely locked in, or just need somewhere dry to sit when it’s raining, there are plenty of car camping tents to meet your needs.

  • Best Overall
    Rightline Gear SUV Tent
    Summary
    Summary

    This SUV tent is conveniently designed to fit any size vehicle with rear hatch or rear barn door and sleeps up to four adults. It comes with rainfly, carry sack, and sewn-in construction guidelines. Includes a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.

    Pros
    Pros

    Made from a water-resistant fabric with a bathtub-style groundsheet to keep water out and remove the need for a separate ground tarp.

    Zip-up windows improve ventilation.

    Cons
    Cons

    Heavy at 20 pounds and difficult and time-consuming to set up or takedown. It only has one tent access door on the driver’s side of the vehicle.

  • Best Overall
    Rightline Gear SUV Tent
  • Best Value
    Backroads SUV Tent
    Summary
    Summary

    A car tent to sleep five people with easily adjustable straps and universal design for seamless, easy fitting on any SUV or minivan. Built-in storm flaps and taped seams provide protection from the elements, while large door and mesh windows provide optimal ventilation.

    Pros
    Pros

    The tent includes a lantern holder and pockets for better organization and off-ground storage. More than sufficient headroom for tall adults with a max height of 7 feet.

    Cons
    Cons

    Poles are bamboo,  super lightweight, and flexible, but not very sturdy in high winds. Rainfly may not adequately cover the door, and water can leak in at bottom of the door.

  • Best Value
    Backroads SUV Tent
  • Honorable Mention
    KingCamp Melfi Plus SUV Car Tent
    Summary
    Summary

    An oversized, two-room SUV tent with over 7.5 feet of headroom, removable floor, and adjustable internal doors and windows for maximum ventilation, access, and versatility. Made from quality, quick-drying materials, this tent is water- and fire-resistant, and built to last. Includes carry bag with handles for easy storage and transport.

    Pros
    Pros

    The inner lining is made of breathable polyester to ensure the inside stays dry and comfortable in all conditions. Flysheet and doors roll up to serve dual functions as canopy and awnings.

    Cons
    Cons

    Setup instructions are minimal, making already relatively complicated construction difficult for anybody not familiar with tents. Velcro attachments between the wall and removable floor are not sufficient for poor weather.

  • Honorable Mention
    KingCamp Melfi Plus SUV Car Tent

    With most models attaching directly to the back of your SUV or minivan, car tents are the ultimate combination of outdoor and indoor space. Whether you want access to power points, the peace of mind that comes from knowing the kids are safely locked in, or just need somewhere dry to sit when it’s raining, there are plenty of car camping tents to meet your needs.

    Why Trust Us


    All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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    Tips

    • Park somewhere flat and level with enough space for your tent to sit behind the SUV. Check with the campsite to see if it has restrictions or rules on parking next to your tent.
    • If you’re only planning on using it in good weather, a three-season car tent should be sufficient. Four-season tents are designed for camping no matter what the weather and offer more protection from the elements.
    • If you need to drive your car during your camping trip, look for a car camping tent that can be detached and left to stand alone without any issues.

    FAQs

    Q: How big does my car tent need to be?

    A: This depends on how many people will be using it. Small tents are easier to erect than extra-large tents, but you also need enough space for everybody in your party to sleep, sit, and get dressed comfortably. As a rough guide, try to provide each person with approximately 30 square feet of space. 

    Q: What is no-see-um mesh?

    A: This is the lightweight netting used to cover tent windows. The super tiny mesh lets air through but keeps even the smallest bugs and insects out of your tent.

    Q: How do I clean my SUV camping tent?

    A: We don’t recommend the washing machine. Instead, shake it out as best you can to remove any dry dirt and debris. Then sponge it down with warm soapy water. Make sure it’s completely dry, inside and out, before packing it away.

    Final Thoughts

    With a waterproof, universal design and space to sleep six adults, the Rightline Gear SUV Tent is our best overall car camping tent.

    The 7-foot high Backroads SUV Tent is our best value pick.