Camping is an adventure and takes you out of your comfort zone. But who says that you can’t actually be comfortable? Truck bed camping is an easy way to redefine how you set up camp at night and is an excellent solution for those who have a hard time settling in. If you are trying to get away from cold earth, want to expand the space of your campsite, or have additional protection overnight, then truck bed tents could be the solution.
Since truck bed tents are available in all sizes, shapes, and materials, deciding which one is right for you can be difficult. That’s why today I’m recommending the top 5 truck bed tents and discussing how to choose.
Top 5 Truck Bed Tents
There is a great number of truck bed tents on the market, each of them with advantages and disadvantages. However, not all of them hold up as well as the top 5 truck bed tents I have listed here.
1. Napier Backroadz Bed Tent
- Four large windows
- Durable color-coded poles for quick set-up
- 5.5 feet of headroom
- One-year warranty
- Full rainfly
- Polyester taffeta construction and polyethylene sewn-in flooring
- 3-season tent
- The vestibule pole has noted strength issues
There is a reason Napier Backroadz is number one on this list. First, the tent is excellent quality and is backed by a one-year warranty. Set-up can be completed in mere seconds. Further, the color-coded, shock-corded fiberglass poles are very resilient. Four large windows allow for superior ventilation, and the waterproof rainfly means that you stay dry, even during downpours. Lastly, the 5.5 feet of headroom is ideal.
2. Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent
- D-shaped door that comes with YKK zippers and convenient door pockets
- 5 well-placed windows, including a cab access window
- Setting up is a piece of cake
- Offers excellent ventilation for warmer months
- Bows and straps are well designed and strong
- Compatible with trucks that have long beds, such as the Ford F series, Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, Dodge Ram, Toyota Tundra, and Nissan Titan.
- A 3-season tent, so it isn’t very well insulated for colder days
The Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent (also available in a car compatible edition) is a favorite among campers who are looking for shelter in warmer climates or during the summer months. The Hydra-Shield cotton duck canvas is highly durable and breathable despite being completely waterproof.
The tunnel-like design is also perfect for taller individuals, since the height (5-foot) and length has been maximized. Also, don’t be afraid to leave the tailgate down, for this tent has a unique tailgate feature, giving you even more room.
3. Guide Gear Full Size Truck Tent
- Weighs only 11.3 lbs
- Comes with 2 storage pockets to keep you organized
- Fits various full-sized truck beds
- Comes with shock-corded poles and tension straps for excellent anchoring to your truck
- Quick setup and breakdown – fast shelter
- Plenty of ventilation – mesh windows and D-shaped door
- 190T polyester for excellent waterproofing
- Color-coded poles
- Runs a little low in the center of the tent, which can be annoying for taller campers
The Guide gear Full Size Truck Tent is an excellent option for those who need a lot of room and comfort. The set-up process is probably the easiest on this list. The floor is sewn-in polyethylene, giving the tent unbeatable comfort and dryness; and the 5.25” head space is more than enough for most people. Further, the ventilation makes the tent very breathable, so even families can gather inside.
4. SportZ by Napier Avalanche Truck Tent III
- Can withstand windy environments
- Highly durable
- Large carry bag offers extra storage space
- Comes with two interior pockets and a gear loft for enhanced comfort and storage space
- Shock-corded, color-coded poles
- Large awning
- Two entrances/exits
- Not the easiest tent to pitch
Those searching for an extra-roomy tent should take a look at the Sportz Avalanche. There is 5.5 feet of headroom, a sewn-in floor, and enough space for two. The design is also excellent.
Two entrances increase ventilation and also allow for quick access to the truck cab, meaning you won’t have to leave the warmth of your shelter on colder days. For sunny days, there’s a 6”x6” awning that attaches to the tailgate.
5. Napier Outdoor Truck Tent
- Super quick and easy to pitch thanks to color-coded poles
- Polyester material is very resilient and durable
- Inexpensive given the quality, making it a perfect choice for those on a tight budget
- Includes a set of strap protectors to keep the paint on your truck from getting scraped off as well as an expandable carrying bag to increase storage.
- Appropriate size for compact truck beds
- Not completely waterproof. Be careful using this tent during rainy seasons.
- Instructions are noted to be confusing.
Looking for a tent that doesn’t have your scraping the bottom of your pockets? Then the Napier Outdoor Truck Tent is going to get the job done. This tent is made of polyester taffeta, giving it unrivaled toughness and superior durability. Two people can fit inside comfortably and will set-up quickly in a truck bed that is up to 5-foot long.
There is also 5.6 feet of headroom. For summertime use, the tent comes with 2 mesh windows and side vents for extreme ventilation. Lastly, the 4’x4’ shade awning attaches to your tailgate so it can be used anywhere.
How to Choose a Truck Bed Tent
Now that you have seen the top 5 truck bed tents available right now, you might be wondering which one to select. Here are some factors to consider when shopping around:
Height and Length
Getting a tent that is too big for your truck bed is going to create problems, so it is best to know the area, length, and breadth of your truck bed before you go shopping around. Also, if you or someone you go camping with is tall, you will want to look for a tent that has a length of at least 90 inches. You should also search for a domed tent, since the height will be higher than other roof types.
Truck beds aren’t the most comfortable places to lay down. Usually a truck bed has some kind of corrugation that needs to be covered up in order to be tolerable. In other words, you don’t want a truck bed tent with thin flooring. Pay special attention to what the floors are made of and how well they are rated for comfort.
These will support the tent. Most poles are constructed of a lightweight aluminum. Some are made of fiberglass. When shopping, pay attention to what the poles are made of. You are going to want poles that are made of something sturdy and that can hold against strong winds. If you can find a tent with telescoping poles and awnings, you are in luck!
Rainflies & Storm Flaps
Most truck tents will come with a least one rainfly. If you plan on camping in areas that get a lot of precipitation, you should search for a tent that comes with a full coverage rainfly. Also, some flaps have windows. If you want privacy, you will want to look for flies and flaps that don’t come with windows.
Ventilation is a big deal, especially in the summer. During warm weather camping, you will want a truck bed tent with more than three mesh panels to keep you cool.
Not known to many is the fact that truck bed tents have seasonality. There are 3-season tents and 4-season tents. Depending on the seasons that you are most active, you might need a heavier tent than someone who only camps in the summer. 3-season tents are only designed to be used during spring, summer, and very early autumn. 4-season tents add in winter. Since the latter can be used year-round, the cost is much more than a 3-season tent.
Ease of Use
Always keep in the back of your mind that you might have to pitch this tent in the middle of inclement weather or in the dark. Because of this, you want to buy a tent that is easy to set up and break down. Before you purchase a truck bed tent, have a look at the instructions or read reviews to gauge how fast you can pitch it.
Lastly, never forget your budget. The price for a truck bed tent is variable, depending on seasonality, size, and other features. Weigh what you want with what you need then choose the tent that balances quality with cost.
Love camping but hate sleeping on the ground? Have a truck and want to use it too? Then the truck bed tent will fit your camping style. All you have to do is pitch one of these convenient tents within the bed of your truck to get a safe, warm, and cozy place to enjoy the great outdoors.