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Best truck tents for camping on the go

Most Versatile Option
Sometimes you travel with a group, so if you want a tent that can expand to accommodate, this one works.
Best Overall
If you want a tough canvas tent to withstand the winter, the Kodiak will do nicely.
Best for Group Trips
The Sportz Avalanche has an excellent awning you can hang out in, perfect for group trips.

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Last Updated: April 22, 2021

Welcome to our review of the best truck tent for camping this year!

Whilst we might not be experts about trucks, we know what we’re talking about when it comes to tents. We’ve looked at all sorts of truck tents and decided on these four as the best of the best.

If you want to make the most of your truck on a road trip, why not sprawl out under the shelter of a tent in the truck bed. If you’ve got the space for it, now you just need the tent.

So hop along for the ride as we cover everything you need to know about these truck tents.

Product

Review

Rating

Price

Best Overall

If you want a tough canvas tent to withstand the winter, the Kodiak will do nicely.

5.0/5.0

Most Versatile Option

Sometimes you travel with a group, so if you want a tent that can expand to accommodate, this one works.

5.0/5.0

Best for Group Trips

The Sportz Avalanche has an excellent awning you can hang out in, perfect for group trips.

4.0/5.0

Best for Big Trucks

If you have a hefty pickup, this tent is ready to fit.

3.0/5.0
Table of Contents

Quick Recommendation

Are you in a hurry to drive off into the sunset with the best truck tent we found? Don’t want to stick around to find out why it’s so great? That’s fine!

Overall, the Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent impressed us the most. It’s super durable and able to withstand some pretty harsh weather.

Value for Money

When it comes to value for money, it’s hard to beat the Rightline Gear Truck Tent. It’s more affordable than the Kodiak for new campers.

However, the Kodiak is also excellent value for money. The tent is will last for years, giving you enough use to get your money’s worth. But it isn’t a budget-friendly option for campers trying to save some dough.

Overview of the best truck tent for camping

Capacity: 2 | Weight: 30lbs | Height: 5’ | Bag Dimensions: 48 x 10 x 10 inches | Doors: 1 | Power Cord Vent: No | Hydrostatic Head Rating: N/A | Price: $$

Overall:

Pros

  • Tough, weatherproof canvas
  • Tall campers will appreciate the peak height
  • Lots of windows and vents
  • Protected doorway in case of rain

Cons

  • Difficult setup
  • You may need to replace the C-clamps

There’s no sturdier fabric for a tent than a heavy-duty canvas, so consider this truck bed tent. There’s very little chance it’ll rip and almost no chance it’ll leak.

Canvas is also a durable material that ensures you stay warm when camping in winter—but it’s breathable, too. Don’t count out the 100% cotton duck canvas for summertime.

If the naturally breathable element of canvas isn’t enough in your opinion, there are also vents on the tent for additional airflow for you and a potential partner sleeping in the truck tent.

The fine mesh windows will also help let some air in, while keeping the bugs out. You can open the windows if you’re still baked in the truck tent.

You can easily escape the tent for a while to avail yourself of fresh air through the large D-shaped door. Or, if you’re warm and it’s raining, you could potentially open the door anyway as it’s got a small awning to keep the rain away.

Try to stay inside when it’s windy, though. The steel poles are tough enough to withstand the wind, so you’ll stay protected. The only extreme weather you’re not safe from is snow, as it’s not sturdy enough to withstand buildup.

For the most part, snow will run right off the tent as it’s designed like a tunnel. This is to maximize ceiling space, which gives you 5 feet of headroom. You could easily assemble a chair and sit under the tall ceiling, but it’s not quite high enough for you to walk around.

Its high ceiling height and unique pole design make it not so easy to set up, though, so watch out for that. Setup is easier with two people, but even then, it’s not the simplest tent to erect in the world.

Some people found they needed to buy larger C-clamps for setup, too, but it depends on your truck.


Most Versatile Option

Napier Sportz Vehicle 2 Person Truck Tent

Sometimes you travel with a group, so if you want a tent that can expand to accommodate, this one works.

Capacity: 2 | Weight: 26lbs | Height: 5’8 | Bag Dimensions: Unspecified | Doors: 1 | Power Cord Vent: No | Hydrostatic Head Rating: N/A | Price: $

Overall:

Pros

  • Sewn-in full floor.
  • High ceiling height for sitting and some walking around.
  • Large awning to relax under.
  • Cab access window.

Cons

  • Not great for heavy rain.
  • Unpleasant setup.

This brand has many tents, like the Napier Backroadz truck tent, but the Sportz truck tent is by far their most premium model, according to the public.

The tent proves itself premium with its use of sturdy fiberglass poles in its setup and its large awning. The poles ensure it withstands wind where the awning keeps water from dripping into the bed of your truck when you open the door.

The awning also makes a wonderful place for you and your road trip partner to sit and watch the sunrise or take a break in the afternoon in the shade. It’d be a great place to hang out and chat with other campers as you all stop for the night, with a cooler of beers and some stories to get you through.

Once you get inside the Sportz truck tent, no matter the season, it’s well equipped to deal with your needs. The tough nylon keeps out drizzle and moderate rain, but it won’t do well under harsh showers. Meanwhile, the windows allow for plenty of air flow should you go truck bed camping in summer.

Zippers allow all the windows to open and close so you can let in as much or as little air as you like. You don’t have to open them all the way.

One of the windows isn’t for ventilation, but for your truck cab, letting you reach inside to grab any gear you’re storing in there. You can also reach through and fire up the radio or do anything else your heart desires.

Cab access aside, there’s plenty of room in the bed to store your camping gear if you’d prefer. You can stand a backpack tall under the 5’8 ceiling height, which is tall enough for short people to stand up under.

Average and tall people will be able to set up a chair and sit down inside the tent or get around on their knees on the sewn-in floor with plenty of headroom to spare.

If you need more room outside of height, the tent offers an add-on so you can extend your tent to the ground, although it’s sold separately. The add-on sleeps two additional people for a fun camping experience. 

I stayed in Taos NM for three nights, it held up really well to the wind and light snow. It was cozy in the 0 degree sleeping bag, no heat or anything overnight. I’m adding reflective insulation for my trip this weekend, should be able to keep it in the 60s with my little propane heater.

Review

Overall it’s a pretty good tent if you don’t count setup, which can be a pain.


Best for Group Trips

Sportz Avalanche Truck Tent III (2 Person)

The Sportz Avalanche has an excellent awning you can hang out in, perfect for group trips.

Capacity: 2 | Weight: Unspecified | Height: 5’5 | Bag Dimensions: Unspecified | Doors: 1 | Power Cord Vent: No | Hydrostatic Head Rating: 1200 mm | Price: $

Overall:

Pros

  • Well-ventilated.
  • Tons of lighting options.
  • Large awning makes a great extra space to hangout.

Cons

  • Incredibly difficult setup.

If you’d like another premium truck tent from Sportz, consider the Avalanche. It’s almost as tall as the tent above, but there are several notable differences.

One difference is the awning, which is an improvement on the last. It measures 6 by 6 feet and is raised, so any rain will run down and off of it, away from your tent’s entrance. The awning makes this tent great for group road trips, so you can all hang out under it when you stop.

It’s great to spend time under in rain or shine as it’s nearly impenetrable, as is the truck tent. The mesh windows are a little flimsier than the rest of the truck tent, but the rainfly hides them well.

When it’s sunny, the two mesh windows and rear access panel add excellent ventilation while keeping things private. They’re tinted dark, so you can’t see through them. There’s further ventilation in the truck tent besides the windows, though.

These aren’t the only two windows you’ll find in the tent. There are two near the floor that allows the truck’s cargo lights to stream in. You can also see into the cab and access lighting that way—both great options if you don’t want to use the tent’s internal storage pockets for torches.

However, there’s a hook lantern holder from at the top of the tent if you’d prefer that. 

I have a Napier as well. Works awesome for summer and early fall. It’s perfect for me and the wife when we’re hauling my ATV. ATV rolls out, tent goes in, wife unloads the backseat of the truck while I go riding.

Consumer review

It’s a great tent for staying lit up and hanging out. Though it’s still just a 2P tent, so the hangouts should stay only in the daytime—so long as you get it set up by night. Some users found the setup so difficult that it took two hours—even with the color-coded fiberglass poles.


Best for Big Trucks

Rightline Gear Truck 2 Person Tent

If you have a hefty pickup, this tent is ready to fit.

Capacity: 2 | Weight: 7.65lbs | Height: 4’8 | Bag Dimensions: 23.3” x 14.2” x 14.2” | Doors: 1 | Power Cord Vent: No | Hydrostatic Head Rating: 2000 mm | Price: $

Overall:

Pros

  • Mesh ceiling.
  • Easy setup.
  • Comes in various sizes.

Cons

  • Weak seams.
  • Flimsy material.

If you’re looking for a full-size truck tent that’s perfect for couples, here’s one you may like. The Rightline Gear is nothing fancy and not one you’ll be able to stand up in, but its mesh ceiling makes it perfect for stargazing from your air mattress.

On colder nights, you can equip the rainfly and stay warm, but make sure you have lots of blankets on the bed of your truck as the truck tent lacks a floor. On the one hand, you can take the truck bed tent down without moving your gear, but on the other, those pickup truck beds can get cold.

Speaking of setup, unlike the others, the Rightline Gear full-size truck tent is easy to assemble. The color-coded poles and pockets help a ton, with users saying it was neither confusing nor difficult to figure out.

Unfortunately, though they were impressed by the setup, they weren’t as pleased with the tent’s quality.

Although it’s decent and will protect you from rain, it’s thin, and they say it feels flimsy. You want to be sure this tent will fit your tent without too much stretch to avoid straining the material. This is the biggest size of this Rightline Gear truck tent, so if it doesn’t fit your truck bed, you’re out of luck with the brand.

The weakness extends to the seas, which some users found started to come undone after only three uses. Consider having them reinforced by a professional.

I have a tent for a 5′ Tacoma bed and the fit is extremely tight. It definitely wouldn’t work on a bed even a couple inches larger.

It’s a Rightline tent, not sure about other brands. It works well for what it is, but I’m tired of emptying the gear out of the bed every time I want to sleep. Going to be upgrading to a RTT soon.

Reviewer

Who are these truck tents for?

Which pick ups do these truck tents fit?

These pickup tents are available in a wide variety of sizes to fit your truck. However, here’s an overview of the trucks the models we reviewed were compatible with. 

TentTrucks
Kodiak Canvas Truck TentToyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Chevy Colorado, Dodge Dakota and Ford Ranger
Napier Outdoor Sportz 2 Person Truck TentChevy Colorado, Ford Ranger, GMC Canyon, Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tundra, Toyota Tacoma
Sportz Avalanche Truck 2 Person Tent IIIChevrolet Avalanche and Cadillac Escalade
Rightline Gear Full Size 2 Person Truck TentChevy Silverado, Dodge Ram, Ford F-Series, GMC Sierra, Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra

If none of these tents fit in your truck, check out the different size options to see if other tents fit your truck’s size bed.

Are these truck tents good for family camping?

Unfortunately, truck tents don’t make good family camping tents. All of the tents we reviewed had a two person capacity. They are too small for family camping.

However, they would be an excellent choice if you needed a sheltered area to store gear. They are roomy enough that you can leave plenty of equipment in the truck tent, where it will keep dry.

Campers making the most of their Napier Sportz Truck Tent with a washing line and camping chairs

These tents don’t offer enough additional storage space for family camping. We’d recommend looking for a standard tent with a larger capacity for family tents.

Is It Good for Couples?

Winner: Rightline Gear Full Sized Truck Tent

A road trip can be a wonderful thing for couples, especially one where you end up camping out under the stars. The Rightline makes this possible by providing a mesh ceiling, giving you an almost unobstructed sky view.

Plus, lacking a floor means you’ll have to cuddle up under a ton of blankets, which just adds to the overall mood. It’s a great tent for two people to use on a romantic trip.

Which tent is best for festivals?

Winner: Napier Sportz 2-Person Truck Tent

If you’re looking for a portable party pad, truck tents can be a good option for festival camping. The easy cab access in the Napier Sportz 2-Person Truck Tent makes it an ideal choice for festivals.

You can use the cab access to charge devices like phones or cameras overnight in preparation for the next day. You don’t need to worry about running out of juice thanks to the cab access.

Which truck tent is easiest to setup?

Truck tents are often more difficult to setup than regular models. In fact, most of these tents come with a difficult setup.

Can it be done by one person?

Winner: Rightline Gear Full Size Truck Tent

At the end of a long day of driving, you don’t want to deal with a long, difficult setup. Unfortunately, most of these tents are nightmarish to assemble, according to the customers.

The Rightline is the only tent that’s setup isn’t a challenge. Users report that it takes about 30 minutes the first time and isn’t confusing, but as time goes on, they got it down to seven minutes. You won’t find much better than that with most truck tents; they’re not exactly instant pop-up cabins.

The color-coded pole and sleeve system helps speed up the simple setup process for this type of tent.

Will any of these tents scratch your truck?

If used incorrectly or if you use the wrong size, then yes, truck bed tents can damage your truck. The rest of the time, you can put them up and take them down without damaging your truck. 

Be careful with the clips and avoid scratching your paint job, and you should have no issues.

Are these trucks easy to store?

These tents are all small enough to be easily stored and packed into the truck for car camping trips. They’d be too heavy and bulky to be backpacking tents – but we’ve got to wonder why you’re taking a truck tent backpacking…

They are easily packed into the truck for your trip and can be securely stored out of way when you aren’t using the tent.

Weatherproofing

Our pick for best truck tent for camping, the Kodiak Canvas Truck Tent.

Waterproofing and protection Against rain

Winner: Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent

All of these tents should keep you dry in light rain. However, in bad weather conditions, you will need something a little more durable.

That’s why we’ve gone for the Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent. We’ll save you some time here as well and say you can expect that tent to pop up a LOT in this section.

The Kodiak is made using high-quality material which is extremely durable and has awesome weatherproofing features. Kodiak Canvas tents come with their premium Hydra-Shield technology. They claim you should be able to stay completely dry inside your tent, even through a downpour in rainy weather.

However, canvas first needs to be soaked to allow the fabric to expand and fill the needle holes made in manufacturing the tent. Pitch it in your backyard and spray it with a hose, then leave it to dry. Your fabric should now be ready to keep you dry.

Over the lifetime of the tent, waterproofing can weaken. Kodiak recommends getting silicone-based waterproofing spray like the Kiwi Camp Dry to treat any affected leaky areas.

King of condensation: Which tent will keep you dry?

Winner: Sportz Avalanche Truck Tent

This tent comes with plenty of ventilation to cycle air through the tent. The mesh windows are great for letting warm, damp air escape and the vents bring in cool air from closer to the ground.

The optimal ventilation is not impacted by the rain fly so you can expect this tent to stay dry even if it’s raining outside.

Standing up in strong winds

Winner: Napier Sportz 2-Person Truck Tent

The sturdy shock-corded fiberglass poles are well reviewed by customers who found this tent was impressive at dealing with strong winds.

In windy weather and light rain, the Napier will be fine. However, in heavy rains we’d recommend the Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent. The durable canvas is better at dealing with harsh weather.

Keeping cool in the warm weather

Winner: Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent

Canvas isn’t just a great material for protecting you from the cold and damp. It is also great for summer time as well.

The insulation in canvas tents means that the inside of your tent is protected from the sun and is cooler than synthetic tents. In hot weather, the Kodiak canvas can keep your tent cool inside.

The floorless design of the tent means that the metal truck bed can get cold as temperatures chill. Consider getting an insulating truck bed mattress that offers extra protection for winter camping.

Does the truck get too cold for winter camping?

Winner: Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent

This tent is great for winter for the same reasons that canvas is great for summer. The insulation helps to keep the inside of the tent warmer as the temperature outside starts to drop.

The cold weather doesn’t stop you from camping in this quality tent.

Which tent is the most durable?

Winner: Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent

If you want a tent that will last for years, there’s only one tent you should consider. If you want to go far, go with canvas! It will outlast the other tents and give you a long enough lifetime to justify the higher initial cost.

The canvas material is sturdy, and the poles are heavy-duty, so long as you stay out of storm-level winds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Truck Bed Tents Worth It? 

Truck bed tents are worth it if you want the freedom of sleeping anywhere, anytime you need to. They’re also worth their weight in gold for long road trips, multi-day hunting trips, or for people who dislike sleeping so close to the ground.

Can You Drive With a Truck Bed Tent? 

Even the best truck tent isn’t designed to withstand high speeds or the winds generated by driving. You must always take down your truck tent before you hit the open road again. 

However, if you’re sleeping in a parking lot or at a campsite and need to readjust, then it’s safe to drive with your truck tent still assembled.

Can a Truck Bed Tent Be Used on the Ground? 

In theory, you can use a truck bed tent on the ground, but you can’t keep it standing. The slightest wind will knock it down since you can’t stake it like camping tents. The only way a truck bed tent will stay standing is if you use the system designed for clipping it into the truck.

Some truck bed tents come with a ground extension, though, so you can use the truck bed area as storage and sleep on the ground instead.

Is There Any Way to Make Truck Bed Tents More Comfortable for Sleeping? 

Here are some tips to add comfort to truck beds:

  • Use thick blankets under and over you.
  • Consider using a sleeping pad.
  • Use real pillows, fluffy and comfortable.
  • Clean your truck bed thoroughly before camping—small pebbles and other debris can go unnoticed until you lie on them.


Are Truck Bed Tents Universal? 

Some, but not all truck bed tents are universal. You should always measure your truck bed before purchasing a truck tent to ensure you obtain the correct fit. Even if a tent claims to use universal sizing, take measurements and match them up.

There are also tents that specify what truck models they work with so pay attention to that too. Alongside that, never assume that a tent that fit a previous version of your truck’s model will fit yours. That’ll lead to wasted time and money.

Toyota truck driving through the desert

Unfortunately, you can’t use a regular tent as a truck bed tent. Sorry to disappoint anyone who got this far hoping they could just use their dome tent in the back of the truck.

Are There Extra Features?

Truck tents are different from standard tents with additional features distinctive to their cunning designs.

The Avalanche has a lantern hook so you can light up the place from the center of the tent. You also have access to your cargo lights if you want to get daylight that way.

Lighting is vital if you want to leave your spot in the early morning—you need to be able to see to get yourself ready for the day.

We also really liked the cab access window in the Napier Sportz Truck Tent. This feature lets you bring electricity into your tent for charging devices or powering lights.

Putting It to Rest: Best Pickup Truck Tent

The best pickup truck tent is the Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent. The Kodiak canvas truck bed tent is a sturdy truck tent that could last you years of trips in all seasons without you getting wet or blown down. 

It’s particularly great for hunters who want to get game year-round or couples who wish to go on a winter road trip and avoid unpleasant motels. The Kodiak canvas truck bed tent is an all-rounder best truck bed tent that just can’t be beaten.

Author at Wilderness Redefined camping website
James Black

James has been escaping to the outdoors for as long as he can remember. This first started in family camping trips but soon turned into adventure camps and hiking through the Scottish Hebrides. Now he has turned towards trying to make camping more comfortable and accessible.