If you love living life on the open road, then there’s no better travel companion than a truck bed tent. Quick, simple, and super convenient, a quality truck tent can instantly turn your vehicle into a mobile home with all the comforts you know and love.
However, with so many different truck tents to choose from, we understand if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with all of your options. Thankfully, we’re here to help.
We realize that finding the best truck mounted tent isn’t the simplest task, so we’ve set out to create the ultimate guide to truck bed tents. Coming up, we’ll walk you through the basics of pickup truck tents and give you some advice for choosing the best truck pop up tent for your needs.
We’ll teach you how to match a pick up truck tent to your vehicle and even review some fo the best models on the market today. What are you waiting for? Let’s get to it!
If you don't have time for the details, here are our picks for the best rated truck tents:
- 1Guide Gear Full Size Truck Tent
- 2Napier Backroadz Truck Tent
- 3Rightline Gear Truck Tent
- 4Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent
- 5Napier SportZ Truck Tent
- 6North East Harbour Truck Tent
- 7Napier SportZ Avalanche Truck Tent III
- 8ARB Series III Simpson Rooftop Tent and Annex
- 9Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 4
- 10Guide Gear Compact Truck Tent
Table of Contents
- What is a Truck Bed Tent?
- How to Choose a Truck Tent?
- Best Truck Tent Brands
- Best Truck Tents on the Market Review
- 1. Guide Gear Full Size Truck Tent
- 2. Napier Backroadz Truck Tent
- 3. Rightline Gear Truck Tent
- 4. Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent
- 5. Napier SportZ Truck Tent
- 6. North East Harbour Truck Tent
- 7. Napier SportZ Avalanche Truck Tent III
- 8. ARB Series III Simpson Rooftop Tent and Annex
- 9. Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 4
- 10. Guide Gear Compact Truck Tent
- Tips for Installing Truck Tents
- How to Match a Tent to Your Truck?
- The Verdict
What is a Truck Bed Tent?
Simply put, a truck bed tent is any tent that can be mounted to the bed of your pick up truck to give you a comfortable, sturdy sleeping platform, wherever life’s adventures might take you. Although truck bed tents come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, they all have the same general advantages when compared to traditional tents.
For example, a truck tent gets you up and off the ground, which is a large benefit if you’re camping somewhere with venomous snakes or insects. Plus, you never have to sleep on the ground with a truck tent, which means you can stay dry, even in a deluge. If all of that wasn’t good enough, with a truck bed tent you can set up camp wherever you park your vehicle, so you don’t have to spend hours looking for a flat place to pitch your shelter for the night.
How to Choose a Truck Tent?
Alright, now that you understand what a truck tent is, it’s time to dive into the specifics. Up next, we’ll discuss the main features you should keep an eye out when shopping around for a truck tent. Since truck tents come in many different varieties, here are the key characteristics you should consider before you buy one of your own:
As with any camping tent, the capacity of your truck bed tent is of the utmost importance as you don’t want to invest a lot of money in a two-person tent only to find that your entire 5 person family wants to go camping, too. However, you are the only person who can decide what tent capacity you really need.
Our advice? If you find that you frequently travel alone or with just one other person, a two-person tent will probably suffice. However, if you like to camp with a family or a large group, we recommend getting a tent that’s sized for 1-2 people more than you expect to have. This way, you have plenty of space to move around and to store your gear at night, so you don’t feel cramped in your own tent. That being said, you’ll be partially constrained by the size of your truck bed, so keep this in mind while shopping.
It turns out that there are many different shapes of truck bed tents out there, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here’s what to look out for:
No one wants to get soaked in a rainstorm, so the best truck bed tents come complete with a quality rainfly. Plus, the best waterproof tents will have taped seams for maximum weather protection, even in the worst conditions.
Ease of set up
One of the benefits of a truck tent over a traditional tent model is that truck bed tents are usually quite easy to set up. However, the fancier your tent, the more complex its set up might be. So, if you’re not keen to spend an hour messing around with your tent each night, you can always search for a truck pop up tent to speed up the pitching process.
A durable tent is worth its weight in gold. While a less durable model will likely need to be replaced after a year or two of moderate use, a quality truck tent can last for decades, especially if it’s treated well. Our recommendation? Opt for a more durable model and be willing to spend a little bit extra now to get a tent that will be with you for dozens of adventures to come.
Best Truck Tent Brands
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with all of your truck tent choices, we understand. Thankfully, buying from a trusted brand is a good way to know you’re getting some value for your money. Here are our top 4 truck tent brands on the market today:
Kodiak is known for making full 100% cotton canvas tents that last a lifetime. These tents are fully waterproof and a unique clamp-on design that provides them with unparalleled sturdiness for all season-use.
Napier Outdoors has a whole selection of truck tents with a variety of amazing features, like full awnings, multiple rooms, and screen porches, so you can find the truck tent that’s right for your needs.
Rightline Gear makes simple, yet functional truck tents with a floorless design. Truck tents from Rightline Gear come with sky view vents, lantern hooks, gear pockets, and other great features for a more comfortable camping experience.
Affordability is the name of the game for Guide Gear, a truck bed tent company that makes fantastic shelters for a great price. Guide Gear makes an assortment of tents, but their full-sized truck bed tents are functional, yet budget-friendly for all campers.
Best Truck Tents on the Market Review
Okay, you’ve stuck it out with us this far, so let’s get right to it - here are the ten best truck tents on the market today!
1. Guide Gear Full Size Truck Tent
This affordable truck tent from Guide Gear is designed to be installed in the bed of a full-sized pick up truck with ease. With a set up that takes just a few minutes, as well as a top-notch construction, the Guide Gear Full Size Truck Tent will have you converted to the truck tent lifestyle in no time.
The Guide Gear Full Size Truck Tent features a sewn-in floor, a large D-shaped door for easy access, and mesh windows for plenty of breathability. Plus, the Guide Gear Full Size Truck Tent has 5.25’ of headroom and a water-resistant coating, so you can stay warm, dry, and comfortable inside the tent, regardless of the weather outside. Plus, the Guide Gear Full Size Truck Tent is super affordable, so what’s not to love?
2. Napier Backroadz Truck Tent
Napier is one of the most beloved truck tent manufacturers around, and their Backroadz Truck Tent is no exception. The Napier Backroadz Truck Tent comes with a full floor so you can stay clean and dry, whatever the conditions. Plus, the Napier Backroadz Truck Tent can fit most trucks - even those with a toolbox or bedliner - so you don’t have to worry about removing your gear from your truck bed.
If that wasn’t enough, the Napier Backroadz Truck Tent features a full rainfly for weather protection as well as a spacious interior area with up to 5.6 feet of headroom for maximum comfort. Oh, and it’s also one o the more affordable truck tents out there, so you can get out and explore with the Napier Backroadz Truck Tent and not break the bank.
3. Rightline Gear Truck Tent
Rightline Gear makes a wide range of truck tents to match any truck. With options for full, mid-sized, and compact truck beds, the Rightline Gear Truck Tent is perfect for any adventure.
The Rightline Gear Truck Tent has a unique floorless design that makes set up a breeze and allows you to keep your toolbox in place while you camp. Plus, the Rightline Gear Truck Tent has a fully waterproof construction with fully taped sealed seams for staying dry in a rainstorm. If that wasn’t enough, the Rightline Gear Truck Tent is easy to install, thanks to its color-coded straps and poles and an included stuff sack with a sewn-in set-up guide.
4. Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent
As one of the longest-running truck bed tent manufacturers around, when you buy a Kodiak tent, you know you’re getting quality. The Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent is made with Hydra-Shield re-inforced 100% durable cotton canvas for maximum breathability and waterproofing in any conditions.
The tent itself has a unique tunnel-shaped design for maximum interior space and comfort while camping. Two gear pockets make it easy to stay organized with the Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent and five windows provide campers with plenty of ventilation in the summer months. Oh, and the Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent’s steel tube frame means it’s perfect for all-season use!
5. Napier SportZ Truck Tent
The Napier SportZ Truck Tent is roomy enough for two but compact enough to fit in the back of your truck bed. With over 5.6 feet of headroom and a sewn-in floor, the Napier SportZ Truck Tent is designed for comfort but doesn’t skimp on quality.
The Napier SportZ Truck Tent features a large rear access panel that’s covered by a sturdy awning for easy entrance and exit from the tent. Plus, the Napier SportZ Truck Tent has two large mesh windows and side vents for ample ventilation during the warmer summer months. Oh, and with a color-coded set-up system, the Napier SportZ Truck Tent is one of the best truck pop up tents around!
6. North East Harbour Truck Tent
Looking for a quality truck bed tent that doesn’t break the bank? Look no further thank the North East Harbor Truck Tent, which combines a compact size with a whole lot of liveable space. The North East Harbor Truck Tent mounts easily into the back of an open-bed pick up truck and helps keep you clean and dry while camping in the great outdoors, thanks to its full tent floor.
With a two-person sleeping capacity, the North East Harbor Truck Tent is warm and cozy, but also has plenty of space for organizing your gear thanks to its internal gear pocket. Perfectly sized for compact pick ups with regular length beds, the North East Harbor Truck Tent is a great truck tent for the money.
7. Napier SportZ Avalanche Truck Tent III
With over 5.5 feet of headroom and enough space to comfortably sleep 2 adults, the Napier SportZ Avalanche Truck Tent III is a roomy truck tent for any camping adventure. The Napier SportZ Avalanche Truck Tent III comes with a set of color-coded, shock-corded fiberglass poles that make set up quick and easy.
Plus, the Napier SportZ Avalanche Truck Tent III has a large front entrance door for easy access, while the rear exit door allows you to climb directly into the truck’s cabin for those cold, rainy mornings. Oh, and with a large 6 foot awning that extends over the front of your truck’s tailgate, there’s a lot to love with the Napier SportZ Avalanche Truck Tent III.
8. ARB Series III Simpson Rooftop Tent and Annex
When it comes to luxury, you’d have a hard time beating the ARB Series III Simpson Rooftop Tent and Annex in the truck tent category. This truck tent from Simpson mounts to a bar on the top of a pick up truck and allows campers to sleep high above the ground below.
The ARB Series III Simpson Rooftop Tent and Annex features a large insect screen room with plenty of space for gear storage or relaxation. Plus, it comes with a 2.5-inch foam mattress for extra comfort while you sleep. If you want the best in comfort and luxury while car camping, the ARB Series III Simpson Rooftop Tent and Annex can’t be beaten!
9. Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 4
For those of us who like nice views while we camp, the Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 4 is the perfect option. This Marine Grade 600D polyester cotton canvas tent mounts to the top of a bar over your truck’s bed and creates a tall platform for sleeping at night.
Plus, the Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 4 comes with a telescoping ladder, built-in storage pockets, and plenty of other accessories to help you stay comfortable, warm, and dry while camping in the great outdoors. What more could you ask for?
10. Guide Gear Compact Truck Tent
The Guide Gear Compact Truck Tent is the ultimate in affordable and versatile shelters, making it one of the best truck tents for the money. Thanks to the Guide Gear Compact Truck Tent’s small and compact design, this shelter can turn any pickup truck into a camper in just a few minutes!
This mounted tent features a sewn-in floor and a fully water-resistant coating so it’s perfect for that shoulder season camping trip. Plus, it has a large D-shaped door and mesh windows for maximum ventilation in the summer months. With a feature list this good, what’s not to love about the Guide Gear Compact Truck Tent?
Tips for Installing Truck Tents
Setting up a truck tent might seem confusing, but most can actually be pitched with minimal aggravation. Here are some top tips for getting the job done:
Make sure it fits your vehicle
We’ll discuss precisely how to match a tent to your truck in our next section, but when pitching a truck bed tent, needless to say, you should be sure to use a tent that actually fits your truck. If it’s too big or too small for your truck, it just won’t work.
Check to see if you need to make any truck modifications
Some truck tents require you to make minor modifications to your truck to install the tent. If this is necessary, it’ll say so in the installation guide that your tent comes with. Should you have to make any modifications, be sure to do this before you start setting up the tent.
Find a level parking spot
No one likes to sleep on a slanting slope, so when you use a truck bed tent, you’ll want to be sure that you find a level parking spot to sleep for the night. Once this is done, put on the parking brake and you’re ready to get started.
Get a second pair of hands
While many truck tents are designed to be pitched by one person, if this is your first time pitching a truck tent, it’s very helpful to have that second pair of hands so you can work out a system for doing it on your own.
Lie the tent flat on the ground in front of the tailgate
Get your tent out of its carrying case and lie it flat on the ground in front of your truck’s bed. Be sure the tent door is facing away from the cab of the truck and then lower the tailgate.
Attach the straps and set up the poles
Once you’re ready to put the tent itself into the bed of the truck, connect the straps of the tent to the truck bed itself. After this is complete, you can set up the poles according to the instructions. Then, you’re basically all set and you just need to add any accessories to the tent, such as a rain fly, gear loft, or awning!
How to Match a Tent to Your Truck?
The last thing you want to do when buying a truck tent is to buy one that doesn’t work for your vehicle. Thus, it’s important that you pay particular attention to the specifications of each tent before you commit to buying one.
In general, truck tents are made for either pick up trucks, minivans, hatchbacks, and SUVs, so you need to get the tent that’s appropriate for your vehicle. If you have a pickup truck, we highly recommend you go out and measure your truck bed so that you have these dimensions handy while shopping.
Here are our answers to some of your top questions about truck tents:
What are the benefits of using a truck tent?
Truck tents have a lot of advantages over regular tents for car campers. First and foremost, they get you up off the ground (if you’re sleeping in one that attaches to a pickup truck), which means you can stay off the wet ground and away from any poisonous snakes and insects. Plus, truck tents allow you to pitch camp wherever you park your vehicle, so you don’t have to spend time searching for a tent site at night.
Do truck tents keep mosquitoes and bugs out?
If a truck tent has a mosquito net body, it will keep bugs and mosquitos away from you. Since most truck tents come with a mosquito net body, they will do a pretty good job at protecting you from the creepy crawlies.
Do you put together a truck tent on the ground or on the truck?
As you can read in our instructions, you’ll start by laying out your truck tent in front of your truck’s bed, but then you’ll assemble the tent itself on the truck. This way, the tent will be ready to go as soon as you pitch it.
Will a truck tent work with a toolbox in the truck’s bed?
While it’s possible to use a truck tent while having a toolbox in the truck’s bed, we don’t really recommend it as it will take up some of your liveable space. Plus, based on the dimensions of the tent, the toolbox might hinder the pitching process, so it’s best to remove the toolbox, if possible.
At the end of the day, you’ll probably choose just one truck bed tent to take with you on your adventures. If we had to choose just one of the ten great tents we reviewed, we’d have to go with the Napier Backroadz Truck Tent, due to its full-floor design, simple construction, affordable price, and comfortable living space.
What’s most important here, of course, is choosing the best truck tent that’s right for your needs. Happy camping!