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Published Feb. 3, 2021

Part of the struggle of camping is choosing the perfect tent. You need one that can double as both a shelter from the elements and that’s a comfortable and cozy place to sleep. But not all tents can’t stand up to these needs. There is another option, however. If you own a minivan, you can camp inside your vehicle. Minivan tents, which are tents that attach to your van, allow you to stay inside a sturdy structure and still enjoy the great outdoors with all of the benefits of a traditional tent. You can maximize your camping space by expanding your minivan’s interior, creating the perfect home away from home with a minivan tent that offers shelter and comfort. Discover some of the best minivan tents available right here. 

The Best Minivan Tents

Although the Rightline Gear SUV Tent might sound like it only works for SUVs, it’s a fantastic minivan tent that offers both impressive roominess and high-quality materials. Built with a universal fit, this tent is designed to easily attach to SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks both small and large. And it provides enough space to comfortably sleep up to six people. Constructed out of water-resistant fabric with tape-sealed seams, this tent provides extra space onto your minivan’s cargo area. Four adults can fit in the tent’s area, and two more can sleep inside your van. A sewn-in bathtub floor made out of PE material keeps you — and your gear — dry and dirt-free. You don’t even need to place a ground tarp underneath this minivan tent. It’s easy to install and attaches to your van in just minutes.

Key Features
  • Made out of water-resistant material
  • Taped seams prevent moisture from getting inside
  • Universal fit works on minivans of all sizes
  • Tent is freestanding
Specification
  • Brand Rightline Gear
  • Model 110907
  • Weight 19.8 pounds
PROS

Easy enough for just one person to put up

Includes no-see-um mesh windows and doors

Storm- and weather-ready with rainfly and storm covers

CONS

Zippers catch easily

Included stakes are quite weak

Material can rip easily

The KingCamp Car Shelter is a great budget-friendly option. Not only is it priced significantly lower than many other minivan tents, but this product is also versatile and customizable. While it isn’t a full tent, it’s a convenient outdoor shelter that’ll attach to any minivan. You can set it up as an overhead awning for shade, or set it up at an angle to create a half-tent shelter that provides shade and space to lounge. Made out of highly durable 210T polyester fabric with 1,500 millimeter PU coating, this minivan tent will last a long time. And it offers coverage from the sun’s UV rays as well as wind and potential rain. There are even a large side mesh window and a ventilated peak to allow breezes. You can use this minivan shelter on the cargo area or even the side doors, and it offers enough space for four adults.

Key Features
  • Attaches to most minivans as well as cars, trucks, and SUVs
  • Measuring 124 x 85 inches
  • Instructions are sewn into the shelter
  • Made of 210T polyester fabric
Specification
  • Brand KingCamp
  • Model N/A
  • Weight Nine pounds
PROS

Adds shade and overhead protection

Can be set up in multiple ways as a shelter, offering coverage from sun and weather

Can be used at the rear or sides of your van

CONS

The included bag is pretty small

Poles are flimsy

Stakes are lower-quality

If you’re looking for a high-quality tent that brings the great outdoors right to your minivan, it’s hard to beat the Napier 13100 Backroadz SUV Tent. This is so much more than a tent for SUVs — it’ll fit minivans and other vehicles, including CUVs. It attaches to the cargo area of your van, and once set up it offers a spacious 9 x 9-foot area with seven feet of headroom to sleep up to five adults. It does have a higher price, but the quality is truly premium. This roomy minivan tent gives you space for people and camping gear, with a large door and storm flap for easy access and weather protection. Three mesh windows offer great ventilation, and you can even convert this minivan tent into a standalone tent if you remove the unique detachable sleeve. Ideal for all-weather camping, you’ll be prepared for anything.

Key Features
  • Measures 9 x 9 feet
  • Fits minivans as well as SUVs and CUVs
  • Fits up to 5 adults
  • Attaches to the cargo area
Specification
  • Brand Napier
  • Model 13100
  • Weight 13.2 pounds
PROS

Comes with a rainfly and storm covers

Offers impressive center height

Can be converted into a standalone tent

CONS

Can be difficult for one person to set up

May have gaps around the edges

No storm flaps for windows

The Napier Sportz Cove Shade Awning Tent is a perfect product for campers who need an easy-to-set-up shelter they can pull out at any time. If you’re a fan of last-minute camping trips, this tent is your ideal companion. You can carry it in your minivan and set it up whenever you need a shelter — and if you wind up staying overnight, it’ll turn your minivan into a convenient sleeping space. Designed for three-season camping, this universal-fit tent fits minivans, CUVs, and SUVs. It attaches to a vehicle’s cargo area and provides over two feet of an overhead awning, giving you shade and shelter from sun and rain. A mesh screen door lets you experience the outdoors without bugs, and you’ll have easy access inside your van. A built-in storm flap keeps you well protected, and you’ll love the convenience of this tent whether you’re tailgating, fishing, or camping at a bonfire.

Key Features
  • Over 2 feet of overhead awning
  • Mesh screen keeps bugs away
  • Provides shade and protection from wind and rain
  • Made of polyester taffeta and polyester mesh
Specification
  • Brand Napier Sportz
  • Model 61000
  • Weight 7 pounds
PROS

Universal fit is perfect for minivans of various sizes

Compact yet offers protection in all types of weather

Includes a screen door for easy access

CONS

Included storage bag is a bit small

Zippers may break

Not ideal for rough weather

If you’re looking for a fully enclosed tent room that you can set up anywhere, the ARB Awning Room is the perfect pick. This heavy-duty option gives you a temporary shelter that can survive everything from the sun’s harsh rays to rain and mud — and it attaches right to your minivan. When set up off the side or rear of your minivan, this awning room gives you total shelter and coverage from the great outdoors. It features a heavy-duty polyethylene floor that’s waterproof and side walls made out of 300D oxford polyester that’s UV-treated. A cross-flow ventilated mesh roof covers you overhead, while midge-proof mesh side panels give you the option to add “windows” or more ventilation. Inside the tent, you’ll find heavy-duty nylon hooks and an internal mesh pocket organizer so you can store your critical camping gear.

Key Features
  • Made out of heavy-duty materials
  • The tent floor is waterproof
  • Sidewalls are treated to withstand UV rays
  • All four walls have zipper access doors
Specification
  • Brand ARB
  • Model 813208A
  • Weight 3 pounds
PROS

Can create a complete four-sided shelter or attach it to your minivan

Exterior walls roll up to give you flexibility and ventilation

Highly durable materials can survive any camping scenario

CONS

Difficult to get back in the storage bag

Needs to air out before being packed

Setup takes time

If you’re looking for a seriously spacious minivan tent, it’s hard to top the Napier 19100 Backroadz SUV Tent. This tent defies its name — it’s designed to fit all minivans, which gives you endless options so you can use the tent with any make or model. Adjustable sleeve straps ensure a bug-free, watertight fit against the cargo area of any van. When set up, this tent measures a spacious 10 x 10 feet, with over seven feet of headroom at the center. It can sleep five adults comfortably. This minivan tent even includes a connection to power outlets so you can set up lanterns and charge electronics while you camp. One large door and three mesh windows give you great ventilation, and a full rainfly with taped seams alongside built-in storm flaps over the windows and door offers secure weather protection.

Key Features
  • Measures 10 x 10 feet with 7 feet of center height
  • Includes a full tent floor
  • The universal sleeve fits all minivans
  • Includes two shock-corded fiberglass tent poles
Specification
  • Brand Napier
  • Model 19100
  • Weight 2.2 pounds
PROS

Can be set up in just 10 minutes

Weather-ready with rainfly and storm flaps over all access points

Great ventilation with multiple windows and a large door

CONS

Can’t withstand bad weather

Lets rain inside

Insects can easily get inside

If your least favorite thing about camping is sleeping on the ground, the DAC Explorer 2 SUV and Minivan Tent will make camping more fun. This is no traditional tent — it’s one that turns your minivan into your sleeping area and expands your cargo area into a tent that’s camping-ready. Easy to set up, this tent attaches to your van’s underframe with bungee cords and hooks. But the biggest benefit of this tent is that it doesn’t touch the ground. It keeps you away from potential mud, dirt, and crawling bugs and drapes of your van’s rear liftgate. Made out of durable 5-ounce polyester fabric, the entire tent weighs just 5 pounds and comes with a storage bag. It offers two outer door panels that can be folded up and tied back when you want to see the outdoors, then zipped closed when you want privacy.

Key Features
  • Made with 5-ounce polyester
  • No-see-um mesh panels
  • Includes a convenient storage bag
  • Fits any minivan liftgate or cargo area
Specification
  • Brand DAC
  • Model DA-E2T
  • Weight 4.49 pounds
PROS

Features very few parts and pieces

Lightweight yet durable against bugs and weather

Allows for ventilation and as much privacy as you need

CONS

Seal around your vehicle may not be perfect

Can be difficult to set up

The Patio Joy Tailgate Tent gives you choices, and that makes it a must-have if you’re a camper who wants to have options. While most tents can only be set up away from your vehicle and most minivan tents must attach to your van, this tent lets you choose. It can be set up and attached to your minivan, or you can choose to use it as a freestanding tent. With fiberglass poles, a removable rainfly, and an entryway vestibule that protects from wind and rain, this all-weather minivan tent is very versatile. When assembled, it offers great space, measuring 14 x 9 x 7 feet in size. It’s roomy enough for multiple adults, kids, and all of your gear. Inside the tent, there’s even a media pocket and multiple storage pockets built right into the walls so you can easily keep your most important items handy.

Key Features
  • Measures 14 x 9 x 7 feet
  • Can be attached to cargo area or set up independently
  • Includes a vestibule with rainfly
  • Made out of 185T polyester
Specification
  • Brand Patio Joy
  • Model N/A
  • Weight 22.5 pounds
PROS

Setup directions are sewn into the included carry bag

Features two doors and entryways if not attached to a van

Includes rainfly, mud mat, and other weather-ready accessories

CONS

Quite heavy

Can leave gaps

Best for smaller minivans

The Napier Sportz Dome-To-Go Tent is one seriously tough tent. If you’re looking for a minivan tent that’ll withstand the element, survive many nights out under the stars, and offer enough room for a family, it’s an excellent product to pick. Designed to sleep four people and offer extra storage space, this tent measures 8.5. X 8.5 feet when set up. It attaches to your minivan’s cargo area with a removable vehicle sleeve, which converts your van into a ground tent. Shock-corded fiberglass tent poles make setup a breeze, and the tent includes two large entrance doors, three large no-see-um mesh windows, and interior pockets for off-ground storage space. You’ll have ventilation and protection from bugs. A 6 x 6-foot shade awning is included, along with a full-length rainfly. The entire tent is made out of high-quality polyester taffeta and polyethylene so you can camp in any season.

Key Features
  • Measures 8.5 x 8.5 feet with 6.5 feet of headroom
  • Can be attached to a van or used as a standalone tent
  • Includes shade awning
  • Comes with moisture-ready rainfly
Specification
  • Brand Napier
  • Model 86000
  • Weight 25.15 pounds
PROS

Takes just 15 minutes to set up

Designed to last in any season or weather

Durable material protects against sun, rain, and other outdoor elements

CONS

Tarp is weak for heavy rain

Minivans with curved back ends may see some water leak into the tent

Don’t let this tent’s name scare you away — the North East Harbor Universal SUV Camping Tent is perfectly suited for any vehicle. Designed to universally fit SUVs as well as minivans, wagons, crossovers, and even pickup trucks, this versatile tent will turn your van into a six- or eight-person sleeping space. The tent measures 8 x 8 x 7.2 feet in size when set up, giving you room for four to six adults in the tent alone and up to two more inside your van. Made out of polyethylene and polyester taffeta material, this minivan tent allows you to sleep off the ground and turns your van into critical storage or sleeping space. If you want, you can remove the vehicle sleeve and turn the tent into a standalone shelter. Included with the tent are a rainfly, a hardware bag for storing poles and stakes, an interior gear pocket, and a lantern hook for easy hanging.

Key Features
  • Measures 8 x 8 x 7.2 feet
  • Sleeps 6 to 8 people
  • Features multiple mesh windows
  • Includes rainfly
Specification
  • Brand North East Harbor
  • Model N/A
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Universally fits minivans and other types of vehicles

Can be attached to cargo area or used as a standalone tent

Roomy enough for large families and groups to share, with gear

CONS

Doesn’t come with instructions

Best Minivan Tents Buying Guide & FAQ

Minivans are inherently roomy, and they’re a great vehicle for long road trips. They offer comfortable seats and plenty of interior amenities — and they’re designed to carry both passengers and gear everywhere. And if you’re a fan of the great outdoors, you can give your minivan even more versatility and purpose with a minivan tent. You can enjoy all of the cool perks of tent camping and take advantage of the space inside your van. 

A minivan tent offers the best of both worlds. If you’re looking to make your minivan more camping-friendly, one of these versatile tents is a great choice. Follow our buying guide to find the perfect product for your needs.

Why Do You Need a Minivan Tent?

A minivan tent offers a wealth of benefits, even if you’re a seasoned camper. For starters, your minivan is quite the sturdy shelter — and it can survive everything from the hot sun to torrential rain. Adding a minivan tent to the side or rear of your van can level up its versatility, giving you more room, a tougher shelter, and all of the perks of sleeping out under the stars in a breathable, ventilated tent. 

Road Trip with Tent Camping
Minivan tents allow you to stay inside a sturdier structure and still enjoy the great outdoors with all of the benefits of a traditional tent.

Whether it’s safety and security or convenience that you’re looking for, a minivan tent can offer it all. With access to all of your gear and luggage, a minivan tent is an easy and convenient way to expand your available interior space while you’re setting up camp.

  • A minivan tent gives you increased safety from wildlife, particularly large animals.
  • You’ll have protection from inclement weather, as you can climb inside your van when the weather takes a turn.
  • You can sleep more people inside a minivan tent, using your vehicle as an extra interior space.
  • Minivan tents are versatile, and some can be detached to become standalone tents.

Types of Minivan Tents

Minivan tents are all pretty similar. These products all attach to your vehicle — either via the rear cargo area or a side door — and they offer a lightweight,   portable shelter. But there are several different types of tents to choose from. The following are some of the most popular types of minivan tents you’ll find.

Shade Awnings

Shade awnings are the smallest and lightest option when it comes to minivan tents. These aren’t full tents; they don’t have four walls and may not provide total privacy. They’re more of a covering that protects against harsh sunlight, rain, and rough winds. An awning allows you to use your minivan’s cargo space for seating, and it’s the perfect place to hang out if you’re tailgating, fishing, or having a picnic.

A minivan shade awning can be set up in various ways. You can use it overhead, extending from your van’s rear liftgate to create shade. Some awnings can be angled to block out wind from different angles. 

Standalone Tents

A standalone minivan tent is an option that most closely resembles a traditional tent. These look just like a regular tent, with mesh windows, a zippered door, a rainfly, and tent poles and lines. However, there’s one primary difference: one end of the tent attaches to the rear or side of your minivan, making the tent an extension of your van’s interior.

Standalone tents can typically also be converted and used alone, without being attached to your van. This gives you great versatility, as you’ll have a tent you can use when you need additional space or when you aren’t bringing your minivan along for the trip.

Off-Ground Tents

An off-ground tent is another option. These minivan tents attach to the rear of your vehicle, extending a few feet beyond your liftgate. They allow you to sleep and store your gear off the ground, and they typically feature one big door so you can easily reach or climb into your vehicle. You can use your van as a sleeping space, and the tent portion will provide extra shade and coverage.

Off-ground minivan tents are smaller and more compact than standalone tents, but they can offer great coverage if you’re dealing with rain or hot sunlight. They allow you to extend your van’s space, getting more shade and overhead protection while fully utilizing your van’s interior room.

What to Look for When Buying Minivan Tent

As you search for the perfect minivan tent, you have a lot to consider. First and foremost, though, you’ll want to look for a tent that fits your minivan. Plenty of minivan tents promise to offer a universal fit, but it’s a good idea to double-check the measurements or fit requirements. If the tent won’t securely fit against your vehicle, it can have gaps that let in cold air, rain, and even bugs.

It’s also a good idea to look for a durable material. Tents have to withstand all kinds of outdoor elements, from rough camping conditions that can cause rips and tears to harsh sunlight and dirt. Look for a minivan tent that features hardy, well-protected material. Water-resistant and waterproof tents, as well as tents that are coated for UV protection, are all great choices.

Care and Maintenance for Minivan Tent

Taking care of a minivan tent is pretty much the same work as maintaining any other tent. Minivan tents are typically made of the very same materials as all other standalone tents — polyester, taffeta, and polyethylene. These materials can easily be rinsed clean when they collect dirt, mud, and debris. Just make sure you sweep or vacuum your tent before collapsing it; you’ll have to set it up again to reach all the nooks, crannies, and corners. 

It’s also a good idea to neatly store your tent when it isn’t in use. Keeping the tent and all of its parts and pieces together in one bag or kit will ensure you don’t lose any critical components. 

  • Many minivan tents come with storage bags, which easily fit the tent and its stakes, poles, and other accessories.
  • A rainfly or tarp is important to have with your minivan tent to block out rain and keep it from sneaking inside.
  • An entryway mat or tarp can help prevent campers from tracking mud and dirt into your tent and van.
Camping by the sea
If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, you can give your minivan even more versatility and purpose with a minivan tent.

Best Minivan Tents FAQ:

You probably have quite a few questions as you look at different tent choices. From tent size and fit to maintenance and care, there’s a lot to consider as you look for a tent that’ll work for every camping scenario. Discover answers to some of the most common questions asked about minivan tents right here.

Q: What is the best tent to attach to a minivan?

Our choice for the best minivan tent is the Rightline Gear SUV Tent, which easily attaches to most minivans regardless of make or model.

Q: How much is a minivan tent?

These tents can range in price from $100 to well over $250. It all depends on how large of a tent you choose and how many extras it includes.

Q: How does a minivan tent work?

A minivan tent features a vehicle sleeve, which is sized to fit the rear or side opening of your van. Some will secure with bungee cords and hooks; others use magnets that lay against your van’s exterior.

Our Top Pick

The Rightline Gear SUV Tent is our choice for the best minivan tent. This tent offers so much room that it’ll feel quite comfortable, even if you’re camping with six adults. It has enough room to sleep and store your gear, and it’s prepared for anything thanks to its water-resistant material. An extra-tough tent floor keeps the great outdoors at bay, and it’ll keep you dry in any conditions. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for the best of the bunch, it’s hard to top the Rightline Gear SUV Tent. And the KingCamp Car Shelter offers great bang for your buck if you’re searching for an affordable minivan tent.

Sources:

  1. How to Camp – Wikipedia

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