Sometimes a truck is a vehicle; other times, it’s a vessel for adventure. When it’s just you, your pickup and the open road, you’re unstoppable. Go anywhere, see anything… until night falls, and you’re left scrambling to find the nearest motel.
Instead, consider a truck tent. With the best truck tents for camping, you can sleep anywhere, and they make excellent spaces for multi-day hunting trips, too.
The best truck tents for camping right now are:
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: $$
- Tough, weatherproof canvas.
- High ceiling so you can assemble a chair.
- Lots of windows and vents.
- Protected doorway in case of rain.
- 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 thick 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.
Capacity: 2 | Weight: 26lbs | Height: 5’8 | Bag Dimensions: Unspecified | Doors: 1 | Power Cord Vent: No | Hydrostatic Head Rating: N/A | Price: $
- Sewn-in full floor.
- High ceiling height for sitting and some walking around.
- Large awning to relax under.
- Cab access window.
- 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 circulation 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 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.
Overall it’s a pretty good tent if you don’t count setup, which can be a pain.
Capacity: 2 | Weight: Unspecified | Height: 5’5 | Bag Dimensions: Unspecified | Doors: 1 | Power Cord Vent: No | Hydrostatic Head Rating: 1200 mm | Price: $
- Tons of lighting options.
- Large awning makes a great space to hangout.
- 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 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 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.
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.
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: $
- Mesh ceiling.
- Easy setup.
- Comes in various sizes.
- 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 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.
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.
Can Truck Bed Tents Damage 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.
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.
How We Decided
Truck tents are a special thing with features different from regular tents. Here’s how we chose the picks above.
Are There Extra Features?
Winner: Sportz Avalanche Truck Tent III
Truck tents are usually basic, but the Avalanche has a hook for a lantern 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.
Is Setup Quick?
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 horror show. 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.
How Durable Is It?
Winner: Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent
Truck tents aren’t always utilized in the best conditions, so how long can it feasibly last for use on the road? A few years for the Kodiak. The canvas material is sturdy, and the poles are heavy-duty, so long as you stay out of storm-level winds.
Oh, and don’t leave snow on the roof because when it piles up, the tent isn’t strong enough to handle it. Apart from that, it’s an excellent truck bed tent.
What’s the Value for Money Like?
Winner: Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent
You want to be sure your truck tent is worth the money, right? Well, you can’t go wrong with the Kodiak. It’s canvas, so it’ll last an age, and you can take it out in all four seasons while still being warm.
It’s also a truck bed tent you’ll be able to repair easily if it rips thanks to the high-quality fabric, making it a prime choice for value.
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.
Can It Withstand Weather?
Winner: Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent
Truck tents aren’t always the most equipped to withstand harsh weather conditions, but the best truck bed tents will at least try to work.
Canvas tents are the best at taking the brunt—hence the winner of this category. Ensure you don’t let it get buried under a heap of snow, and you’ll be fine in all weathers.
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.