The thought of sleeping out under the stars, far away from the noise and stresses of civilization, is something that appeals to all of us from time to time. The only problem is that when you do find yourself sleeping out in an old-fashioned tent, the chances are that you will be lucky if you get more than 6 hours sleep due to the discomfort. Everything from uneven floors to sticks and stones can really ruin the enjoyment of sleeping out, and that’s not to mention all those frightening insects and animals that can end up crawling inside your tent at night.
The great news for all you pick up owners is that now there is a tent that you don’t have to put on the floor but rather fits right in the back of your truck. The huge advantage of this is that it means you don’t have to spend time searching around for a level bit of ground on which to pitch your tent. And an added bonus of these truck bed tents is that many people find them easier to assemble, especially as it avoids a lot of bending down.
It’s not hard to see why so many people are now choosing to get themselves a truck bed tent, which is why we have put together a list of the best ones. All the truck bed tents you will find on this list are the very best in their class, guaranteeing that no matter which one you choose, you won’t be disappointed.
How to find the best truck bed tent
Since trucks come in so many different shapes and sizes, it is inevitable that there are lots of different types and sizes of tents to fit them all. Many truck bed tents have been designed to incorporate a certain amount of adjustability into their design in order to fit better. Despite this, you will need to get a tent that is about the same size as your truck bed, otherwise, it won’t fit. The nice thing about these tents is that they don’t require to be pegged to the ground in any way, and instead are designed to be secured by straps that connect to the bottom of the vehicle.
How to get the right tent for your truck
The easiest way to make sure that you are getting the right truck bed tent is to go out and measure the exact measurements of your truck. Most products will have the tent measurement listed in feet rather than meters. The added bonus of doing this is that you can also use these measurements when buying a good quality camping mattress. So far as mattresses go, be sure to buy one that is over 5cm thick or preferably an air mattress as these are the most comfortable.
The name of the game is to find one that fits flush with the bay of your truck and extends out over the tailgate as most designs do. This will not only mean the maximum possible space for you to stretch-out in but also will offer a little storage room where you can keep your stuff.
If you find a tent that you really like but is not available in a size that matches your truck bed, then you don’t make the mistake of buying it hoping that you can make it fit. The size is more important than anything else when it comes to tents for truck beds as if they are either too big or too small, then they won’t fit and will be useless to you.
Generally, tent sizes (measured in length) range from 5 foot to 10 feet. Tents are designed for most types of vehicles including Mid-Size Trucks, Full-Size Trucks, and Compact Trucks. Provided you have your measurements to hand, you will have no problem making sure that the tent you buy is the right size for your truck.A few other features to look out for:
Sewn in floor
It is definitely a good idea to try to find a tent with a sewn-in floor. Most truck beds only stay completely clean for about 5 minutes after they have been driven off the sales floor. A combination of the weather, dirty tools, and dust from the road tends to keep them nice and dirty for most of their lives. Unless you enjoy the thought of sleeping on a dirty truck bed, then get a tent with a sewn-in floor.
Large rear access panel
Sadly, most of us are not in our 20’s anymore so being able to jump in and out of the back of our trucks is definitely not something we look forward to. A large rear access panel will not only make it easier for you to get in and out of the tent but will actually give you a better view while you are inside too. Now, this might not sound very important to some people, but the day you are trapped inside while there is a downpour going on outside, you are going to be really happy you bought a tent with a large rear access panel.
Pick a design with good ventilation
Make sure you get a design that has plenty of ventilation points as this will help prevent condensation from building up. Some designs have windows too, which is definitely a nice little bonus, especially if you need to be in the tent on a hot summer’s day.
How to set up your truck tent
It would certainly be wise, once you get your tent, to spend a little time practicing putting it up and taking it down again. Not only will this allow you to make sure that it fits your truck properly but it will also be good practice for when you are out in the middle of nowhere.
You should receive a set of instructions with your tent that includes step-by-step instructions on how to put it up correctly. If you didn’t, then here are a few important steps to follow to make sure you get it assembled correctly:
- If your tent has a frame that attaches directly to the truck, then start by setting up the frame first.
- Lay the tent out or floor so that it is the right way around and ready to set up.
- Starting at the tailgate unroll the tent into the truck bed or over the frame you have already set up.
- Make sure it is in the right position.
- Attach straps but don’t tighten excessively.
- Put in the poles so that the tent gains its full shape.
- After your tent is erected, fully tighten the straps.
- Try to remember to use strap protectors to protect your truck’s paintwork.
- Do not smoke or cook in or around the tent as it is flammable and so is your truck.
- After using the tent you should always make sure that you have aired it out properly to prevent mold.
- Never forget to take down your truck bed tent before you drive. Failure to do so could not only destroy your tent but get you in trouble with the law as well.
Top truck bed tents reviewedEditor’s Choice
Napier Backroadz Truck Tent
Available in 5 different sizes, this great tent is everything you could possibly need a good truck tent to be. It is a colorful design that has 4 large windows, a large rear access panel and a sewn in floor. It has been well-designed to allow it to be put up in a matter of minutes, with very little effort.
Made from polyethylene, it is a 3 season design, making the perfect option to have aboard your truck. It is a 2-person capacity tent, though you could certainly fit 3 in an emergency. The tent is really durable and you can tell by the stitching that it has been manufactured to a really high standard. This tent comes with a 1-year limited manufacturer’s warranty, just to give you that added peace of mind that if anything goes wrong, you can get it replaced.
- Poles are not as strong as they could be
DAC Full – Size Truck Tent
For those people who have a full-sized truck, this great tent is certainly the best choice. It is really easy to set up, only requiring a small amount of fastening before it is up and running. Really handy elastic shock cords attach to the truck body via plastic coated hooks which prevent any scratching. This tent can be set up in a matter of one or two minutes, something which is good news for people who hate putting up tents.
The design has two mesh windows and a nice big door that is nice and easy to get in and out of. The door also folds away nicely for those times when you want the tent fully open. This is an excellent tent that can also be used with certain SUV’s and some camper vans as well.
- Be careful to check the height of your truck back as many customers have found it is too small
Sportz Truck Tent Blue/Grey
This tent is a nice open design making it excellent for summer days when you just want to sit and watch the world go by. Too many truck tent designers forget that people often want more than a tent to sleep in, they want one they can relax in too.
It has a large rear access that includes a porch cover that keeps you out of the rain while you take off your muddy boots and clothing. This is a feature that many other tents don’t have, so it really helps make this design a better choice for lots of people. This is a superb all-round tent that thankfully has a sewn in floor.
- Door doesn’t unzip on the bottom, so frequently gets in the way
Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent
Available in either 5.5 foot or 8-foot sizes, this tent is made from really high-quality canvas that certainly makes it the most durable tent on this list. The 100% cotton canvas is breathable so avoids any condensation building up inside, while at the same time being fully waterproof.
Both designs feature plenty of windows and a large rear access that has a small porch cover to keep you at least partially covered from the rain. If there is any single drawback to this design, it is that it has a ¾ inch, steel tube frame that is a little difficult to get set up. Otherwise, this is a great choice for those campers who want a great tent that is definitely going to last.
- Quite a pain to set up
Rightline Gear 110730 Full-Size Standard Truck Bed Tent 6.5′
With 7 different sizes available that can fit everything from a compact truck to a full sized one, there is no doubt that there is a size here that will fit your truck. This is one of the least expensive tents on the market, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it is poor quality, because it is not. It is an excellent tent for the money, being easy to set up, durable and has an all-round good design.
So far as drawbacks go, it does lack windows and sadly doesn’t have anything in the way of an effective porch cover over the entrance. That aside, however, this is a really good tent and is made all the better considering it is ½ the price of some of the others.
- Floorless design
- No door porch cover should it rain