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A truck bed tent can be the perfect accessory if you want to sleep outside without having to lie down on the ground like a peasant or a bear. Joking aside, for a relatively small investment it really can help turn a normal pick up truck into a comfortable place to spend the night. That combination of comfort and mobility can in turn be extremely useful for any outdoor enthusiast or even just someone who fancies spending a few nights sleeping beneath the stars.
As a relatively new invention, there aren’t that many companies that sell these products. But as usual, you don’t have to worry about searching high and low to find the best ones because we found the best truck bed tents on the market.
The Best Truck Bed Tents
Boasting no less than four windows and a lovely, large door, this tent from BackRoadz certainly has no issues with ventilation. It also has a number of other features that combine to make it a pretty useful product.
Chief among them is a “bathtub” style sewn-in floor. This protects against dirt and debris, so you don’t have to bother sweeping out the truck bed before putting up your tent. It also provides an extra level of waterproofing, protecting you even if the truck bed starts to pool rainwater.
Fiberglass poles are strong but flexible and combine well with intelligently placed strapping that makes putting the tent up nice and easy while also providing sufficient strength to stand up to wind and poor weather.
It is also available in a wide range of sizes, everything from 5 x 5 foot to a monster 9 x 9 foot version that’s bigger than the bedroom in a Manhattan apartment.
Sewn in Floor
Quick & Easy to Set Up
Tough but Breathable Polyester Construction
- Weight12.5 to 23.8 lbs
Sewn in Floor for Extra Protection
Excellent Strapping and Poles
Lot of Mesh – May be unsuitable for Cold Weather or High Winds
This tent from Kodiak Canvas is particularly strong and durable, making it ideal to use in just about any weather conditions with the exception of heavy snowfall – and, frankly, who wants to camp in heavy snowfall?
This is due in part to the excellent material that has been used in the construction. Called Hydra-Shield, it is a 100-percent pure cotton canvas. This thick canvas is durable and watertight enough to stand up to extreme weather like wind and heavy rain.
It is also breathable and has five windows, which means this tent also has the ventilation to be used in hot weather too. Steel poles are heavy but secure, adding to the overall very strong construction, and well-placed straps add a final level of security.
This is certainly a premium priced model, but it’s justifiable with its excellent design and construction.
Made of 100% Cotton Canvas
Tunnel Shaped Design to Maximize Internal Space
5 Windows for Ventilation
- BrandKodiak Canvas
- Weight30 lbs
Heavy Steel Tubing
This product from Rightline is an interesting design that brings quite a few useful features to the table, many of which are primarily designed to allow for a very quick and easy installation. After all, if you’re on a camping trip that requires you to put up/take down the tent multiple times, you want each time to be as easy – and fast – as possible.
The first big feature to acknowledge is the fact that Rightline decided to omit a floor. This does make installation a little faster and also greatly lowers the overall weight (combined with fiberglass poles, this tent design weighs less than nine pounds).
The poles are also color coordinated with the pockets that they slip into, making install incredibly easy and straightforward. Strapping adds an extra layer of solidity, and the straps are coated in soft polypropylene to protect your vehicle’s paintwork.
A sky view vent allows decent ventilation (and a lovely view to fall asleep to), while the Rainfly can be quickly clipped over the tent to provide waterproof protection.
Color Coded Tent Poles
- BrandRightline Gear
- Weight8.6 lbs
Quick & Easy to Set Up
Not Waterproof Unless You Add the Rainfly
This product from Guide Gear has an air of a budget model about it. It’s a pretty simple, basic design lacking in the bells and whistles that you can find on a higher priced, premium model.
That being said, it has a solid polyester construction (with added waterproof protection), and it includes a floor for added protection from the elements and whatever accumulates at the bottom of your truck bed.
The design is a simple D shape of overlapping poles that won’t provide enough strength for extremes of weather (especially snow) but are more than capable of standing up to normal conditions – this is probably best seen as summer and spring tent.
Weighing in at around 11 pounds, the tent is certainly not the lightest on the list, but it’s not the heaviest either, and the simple design should make installation pretty straightforward.
One thing to note is that for some reason it doesn’t come with any instructions, so maybe practice putting it up at home before you venture out into the wilderness.
Includes Polyethylene Flooring
Polyester Construction with Water Proof Coating
Mesh Window for Ventilation
- BrandGuide Gear
- Weight11 lbs
Simple, Basic Design
If you are looking for a tent that will serve you well in hotter climates, we strongly suggest taking a look at this offering from Sportz. While they may not be able to spell very well, they certainly can design a tent and the level of ventilation on this model makes it perfect for keeping cool in a summer sleep out.
You have double Mesh windows on each side and built-in air vents. Add to that the large door and a rear window that opens up into the truck cabin and that is a lot of potential airflow to keep you cool.
Color-coordinated poles and pole pockets make installation nice and straight forward, while the design also incorporates a built-in floor. Plus, look at that cool awning on the rear. This is not just a pitch and sleep kind of tent, it is a base camp kind of design that you can actually enjoy using throughout the day.
The downside is the price tag. Still, there are a lot of clever designs ideas and features incorporated into this product, so at least it justifies its price tag.
Color Coded Poles & Sleeves
Multiple Mesh Windows & Vents
- Model570-Truck Tent
- Weight25 lbs
This is another attractively priced, simply designed tent from Guide Gear. It is very similar in fact to the other product of theirs on this list (see above), except this is the compact version.
So we have the same construction here, meaning polyester with a waterproof treatment used for the body and roof and polyethylene for the built in floor. Mesh windows provide ventilation; whilst a Rainfly folds down to cover the windows to protect from high winds or rain.
Just as with the other product from Guide Gear, the poles are deployed in a D shape that provides a reasonable amount of internal space, though nowhere near as much as some other products on this list. Still, it is a compact design, so some compromise on space is to be expected.
All in all, this is a pretty decent, if somewhat basic, tent design that will give you change from a hundred dollar bill.
- BrandGuide Gear
- Weight10 lbs
Small Internal Area
Best Truck Bed Tents Buying Guide & FAQ
As you will also have seen, there can be a big difference in design, in materials used and – most importantly – in price when it comes to choosing the right truck bed tent.
So in our guide section here, we’ll take a closer look at this product. We’ll take a look at what all those features are, which ones may be the most beneficial (and maybe a few you can do without)!
But first we’ll kick off with a quick look at just what a truck bed tent is – and why you really do need to pick one up for your outdoor adventure.
What is a Truck Bed Tent?
Very simply a truck bed tent is a tent that instead of pitching on the floor, you pitch it up on your truck bed.
That brings a number of advantages, but the main one, quite clearly, is the fact that you are raised up off the ground. That can help to protect you from the weather – for example, if you pitch in the rain you are sleeping up off the ground instead of in a puddle!
It can also provide some protection from wildlife, with the fact you are raised up from the ground, added to the solid sides of the truck itself making it harder for smaller animals or bugs to attack your tent – after all, no one wants their camping trip to be interrupted by a raccoon attack.
It’s also just that bit more comfortable too. If you’re up in the air, you’re suspended on your vehicle’s suspension, which is going to give you a little bit more comfort that the cold, immovable ground.
For real comfort of course, you could also add a Truck Air Mattress to the mix…
What is the Interior like of a Truck Bed Tent?
What does the inside of your home look like? Every tent has a different finish and a different design. Even tents that have been produced by the same manufacturer will often look pretty different inside.
One of the features that will make the biggest difference to the interior appearance is the amount of windows that the tent design includes. These will be mesh, in either single or double layers. The more windows, the more light and airy the interior is going to look. The windows are also going to help with ventilation so if you are camping somewhere warm, it could be an idea to look into a design with plenty of windows.
A floor is also going to a have a big bearing on the internal appearance. Most (but not all) of the models on our list include a built in floor. This helps to create a feeling of being secured in the tent, which can make it seem more comfortable – the fact that you are almost creating your own safe little bubble that you’re climbing into.
As any serious camper knows though, the view inside the tent is very much secondary to the view when you pull back the door every morning.
Factors to Consider When Buying Truck Bed Tents
There are a number of factors and design elements that should be borne in mind whilst considering which model of tent to go for.
Some of the keys ones are:
Ventilation Points – Whether windows, air vents or a combination of the two, ventilation is a very important consideration. Without good ventilation you are going to be trying to sleep in what is essentially a giant plastic bag, which is going to be exactly as comfortable as it sounds.
Strapping – All of these items are going to employ strapping to ensure a secure fit and keep the tent in place during wind. The placement of those straps will differ slightly, so look at the illustrations of the tent in place on a vehicle to see the exact strapping points. Also keep an eye out for strapping that has been coated with a softer material to protect your trucks paintwork.
Installation – They are all relatively straightforward to get up and down, and most people will be able to get a tent up and ready in about 10 to 30 minutes depending on the design, the size and the weather conditions at the time – trust us, wind is not your friend when you are putting a tent up! There are a few little features to keep an eye out for that can make the installation even simpler however. For example, a couple of the tents on the list employ color-coded pole tips and pole pockets, which is a great idea for faster installation.
Size – In terms of length and width, the size of the tent will be limited by the size of your truck. However, height is only limited by the tent design itself. Compact tents are of course going to be smaller, and products from the lower end of the price range are often designed with poles that cross to form a D shape. These are going to give a bit less internal room than some others, and in particular won’t have the height of more premium models. Just bear that in mind if you’re worried about feeling too enclosed or claustrophobic in a smaller design.
Poles – Most of the tent poles used in the products on this list are aluminium, which gives a good middle ground of strength and low weight. Fiberglass is wonderful and light, but may not provide the strength to stand up to hardcore winter weather or very high winds. Steel poles are very strong, but also very heavy.
Materials – Broadly speaking most of the tents are made from plastic. Typically this is going to be polyester (which has then been treated for added waterproofing), and most of the products on this list are made of this or similar. You may have noted that one is made from canvas. This really is a premium material, one that allows the tent to breathe (cutting down on condensation or other problems with poor ventilation) whilst also holding heat to protect against winter chills. It’s a great material in every respect but one – the price tag!
Built in Floor – Some models will come with a built in floor, and some will omit it from the design. We have included a mixture of both in our list above to suit your needs. As we mentioned above, a floor can help to create a more enclosed environment, meaning that a tent with a floor will provide more protection from the elements. It can also provide an extra layer of protection between the truck bed floor and either you or the air mattress. On the other hand, the floor needs to be clear of obstructions before you can lay the tent down, so it may be best to get a design that omits the floor if you store a lot of stuff in the truck bed during trips.
Storage Pockets – Built in pockets can be useful if you want to bring in valuables like wallets and cell phones, instead of leaving them in the truck cab. A storage pocket will help keep them dry and safe (and stop you rolling over them in your sleep!)
Cab Access – Some models also include a rear-mounted window that hooks up to the back of your cab. If you have a window that opens, you can then access the cab from inside the tent. No, do not be tempted to try to drive the truck from inside the tent! Instead, it can be a useful feature that gives you more storage space whilst you’re in the tent, and you can even listen to music from the radio.
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How to Match the Tent to Your Truck
First off, know that there are several different types of vehicle tent. Some are designed for SUVs, some are designed for Minivans and some, like all of the items on this list, are designed for pick up trucks.
Broadly speaking, these tents are designed to easily fit most models of pick up truck. To make sure yours will fit, simply measure your truck bed, then check the dims of the tent – it’s that simple.
Measuring the truck bed can be a little more complicated than it sounds since there are several points that have to be measured to get an overall size. Here is a great guide to truck bed measuring to help you out if you need it.
Knowing the bed size is really the main thing you need to know before you order your tent. If there is any doubt though, we would suggest simply contacting the manufacturer of the tent you like, telling them the make and model of your truck and double-checking that the tent will fit ok.
How Simple is it to Construct the Truck Bed Tent?
It is pretty simple to install! Most of the products on the list are designed to be put up (and taken down) in a time frame of about 10 to 30 minutes. If you’ve ever pitched a traditional, ground level tent then you will frankly find it a doddle to put up one of these truck tents – they are just so much simpler and easier.
Even if you’ve never pitched a traditional tent, you’ll be fine. There are guidelines or stakes to bash into the ground. It basically just sits in the truck bed, the poles hold it up and the straps hold it down.