No matter how good tent mattresses are nowadays and how comfortable sleeping bags can be, sleeping on the ground isn’t everybody’s idea of a fun camping trip. That doesn’t mean you should give up camping altogether, though.
All you need to do to get your camping plans back on track is find a truck tent that will suit your needs.
But how to choose the best truck tent for the job?
Stick around and find out!
Buying A Truck Tent: Here’s All You Need To Know
If you decide to sleep on your truck's bed instead of putting up your tent on the ground, there are a few immediate improvements you can expect, one of them being the ability to stay warm easily. Also, you won't have to worry about bugs anymore, which is especially helpful if you're going camping with someone who's not a big fan of all the creepy-crawlies.
Now, there are a lot of things to consider before you decide on buying a truck tent; all of these factors will ultimately determine if a particular tent is a right choice for your specific requirements.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important things to consider when searching for the best truck tent for your camping adventure:
1. Tent Size And Vehicle Model Compatibility
There's no way around it – these two just have to match.
If you own a smaller truck, you can't choose a big tent because it just won't fit. Luckily for you, most sellers offer several tent sizes – some of them go even further by determining the right fit according to your truck's model (you'll see what I'm talking about later) – so measure everything out before you make a purchase. If the tent doesn't fit the truck's bed, it's pretty much useless.
Also, keep in mind that most truck tents can only accommodate two people, three at most, so don't expect more than that.
There are two types of tents in general:
Three-season and four-season ones. As you can probably guess, the three-season camping tents are made to be used in spring, summer, as well as early fall. These are, actually, the most common tents of all, and you can recognize them by many „windows" (or mesh panels, to be exact) which serve both as a way to keep cool and to keep the annoying bugs out of the tent.
Four-season tents, on the other hand, are meant to be used during all four seasons – so, three I already mentioned, plus winter. The problem is that these are somewhat of a rare occurrence on the market, especially when compared to the three-season ones, mostly since they're way more expensive, bulky, and overall not a very good choice for summer camping trips. Since they have only a few smaller „windows," as well as a rainfly that reaches all the way to the ground, they tend to do an excellent job at keeping you warm in winter, but keeping the tent cold during the summer? Not so much.
Nowadays, most tents come with a rainfly, but remember to check if the one you like does, in fact, have one – just to be on the safe side. Otherwise, you'll have to buy a rainfly separately. And don't think this is a step you can skip when preparing for a camping trip – rain-flies are essential when it comes to staying both dry and warm during sudden rain showers and heavy wind.
Pay attention to the size of the rainfly, because that will determine how much of the actual tent is it able to cover and protect. Of course, choosing a tent with a rainfly big enough to reach all the way down is the best option, especially in colder climates and areas where rain is a common occurrence.
If you're wondering why mesh panels on a tent are such a big deal, you've apparently never spent a hot summer day anywhere near a tent.
You'll need a truck tent with at least a couple of large windows (mesh panels) which will allow fresh air to circulate inside the tent and not make it feel like a sauna. Trust me, an insufficient number of windows can turn any tent, no matter how great it is in every other aspect, into a chamber full of unbearably hot (not to mention stale) air, especially with the rainfly on top.
There's one more thing to pay attention to here: the zippers. You should be able to close these mesh panels when you need some privacy or when the temperature suddenly drops, so pay attention to this little detail.
5. Ease Of Use
I think it's pretty obvious why this is such an important thing to consider before buying a tent. You don't want to get to the campsite and spend hours trying to figure out what goes where – opt for a tent that you can set up quickly, without too much struggle. Most importantly, two people should be able to do the job; if the truck tent requires more than two pairs of hands to be put up, in my book, that means it's too high-maintenance for a casual camping trip.
Before I start discussing the price tag, let's get one thing out of the way:
Truck tents tend to cost more than regular ones, that's just how it is, so if you do want to buy a truck bed tent, you should be prepared to spend some extra cash on that.
Now, does that mean you have to spend a small fortune on your tent? It absolutely does not.
Buying the most expensive truck tent out there doesn't promise you the best user experience or premium quality, nor does going for the cheapest option means you're getting a poorly made tent. The secret is in getting the best value for the price, so set an upper limit of your truck tent budget and find one in that price range that suits your needs the best.
Top 5 Best Truck Tents In 2018: Reviews
#1 BACKROADZ SUV TENT – Choose Between Privacy And Ventilation
If you're looking for a truck tent that combines quality and affordability, you're at the right place.
As you'll find out soon enough, not every truck tent has a sewn-in floor, but the Backroadz SUV tent does – if you don't want to sleep on the ground, why would you want to sleep on your truck's cold bed, right? Also, I feel like that tents with a sewn-in floor tend to do a much better job at keeping bugs away.
Four large windows, plus the door, will provide ample ventilation, which means you're in for a comfortable camping experience. On top of that, the tent does feel roomy (and with 5.5 feet of headroom how could it not?) and is reasonably easy to set up – it probably won't take more than 15 to 20 minutes.
One major issue that I need to address is the lack of window covers. When you take the rainfly off – which means pretty much every day during summer camping trips – don't even think about having any privacy. The lack of ability to zip up these mesh panels also means it's somewhat harder to stay warm during night time temperature drops – even when the rainfly is on, cold air will find its way inside the tent.
#2 Rightline Gear 110730 Full-Size Standard Truck Bed Tent – Finding The Perfect Fit
If what you're looking for is an affordable, water-resistant truck tent, you should check out the Rightline Gear 110730 model – it certainly has the potential of being the perfect fit for you, as well as your truck.
Now, let's take a look at the tent; you'll notice mesh panels – the one on the ceiling is my favorite – and a large entrance, which should provide plenty of ventilation during the day. The tent itself is made from a water-resistant material and topped off with a rainfly, which you can use according to weather conditions.
This model is a floorless tent, though, which could be viewed both as an advantage, and a disadvantage. Here's why:
Setting up a floorless truck tent is way faster since it doesn't require you to move all your stuff from the truck's bed to make space for it – this way, you can work your way around them. On the other hand, it also means that you'll have to bring a separate floor mat if you don't want to sleep on the truck's dirty, cold bed.
#3 Guide Gear Full Size Truck Tent – The Cheap Option
Another great addition to my round-up of the best truck tents is this model by Guide Gear. What sets it apart from all the other truck tents on this list is how affordable it is. I'm talking $100 cheaper than the second most affordable one here, which, I think, is significant, as it gives those with a tight budget a chance to buy a good, reliable truck tent.
Again, big windows paired with an equally large front door will provide sufficient airflow to keep you comfortable during summer days, as well as nights. And in case it suddenly starts raining, the rainfly (which comes with the tent) will make sure you – and everything else inside the tent – stay dry and warm.
Storage pockets (two of them) are an excellent addition to the truck tent's interior, as they allow you to keep some valuable personal belongings close by, where you can quickly access them.
While it's a great tent, you should pay attention to the straps – they may be able to damage your truck's paint job, which will end up costing a lot more than a more expensive tent with strap covers. I guess you'll just have to pick your battles.
#4 Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent – It Will Be Money Well Spent
If your truck tent budget is limited, you should probably look away now; the previous model I reviewed was the cheapest one, and this Kodiak model is the most expensive one on the list. But as you'll soon see for yourself, it will be money well spent. Given the fact that this is a four-season tent, it will most likely be the only one you'll need, which will save you money in the long run.
The tent is made out of Hydra-Shield canvas (note that I'm talking about 100% cotton here), which means it's more than able to keep you dry during rain showers – it's entirely waterproof, while still being breathable.
On the other hand, if you're a fan of camping during the summer, five windows, as well as a large door, will create enough airflow to keep you comfortable. One of the windows is located in the back, making it extra easy to reach inside the truck's cabin whenever you need to get something.
If you're wondering if it will fit your vehicle, I decided to include a list of models it's compatible with: Ford F Series, GMC Sierra, Chevy Silverado, Toyota Tundra, Dodge Ram, and Nissan Titan.
#5 Sportz Truck Tent Blue/Grey – The Main Attraction At The Camp Site
Another slightly pricier model on this list is this Sportz's model – a spacious tent with plenty of headroom (5.6 feet, to be precise, which is pretty impressive for a truck tent) and a sewn-in floor.
Just by looking at the tent, it's pretty obvious you can expect plenty of fresh air from this model – two huge windows are paired with side vents, as well as a large door. I think it's safe to say you'll stay comfortable even during the long, hot summer afternoons. The awning is also an excellent addition, as it will provide some much-need shade, or protection from the rain, depending on the weather conditions you'll be dealing with on the campsite.
For ultimate convenience, the rear window is placed so you can access the truck's cabin quickly, without actually having to leave the tent.
I've pointed out earlier that some of these tents have straps that can do a number on your truck's paint. Well, not this one – each of its straps come with a protector, so there's no need to worry about your camping trips ending with expensive touch-ups of your truck's paint job.
Wrapping It Up
So, which one's the best truck tent on the market?
While this is entirely up to you, I would certainly recommend you to take the Sportz Truck Tent Blue/Grey into consideration. It's easy to set up, provides plenty of ventilation, and has an overall excellent design – what's not to like? Yes, it's a bit more pricey, but with all these features in mind, it would be the right investment.
One more tip before I go:
Practice assembling the tent before you go out into the wild. Give it at least a couple of tries, so that you can be sure you'll be able to do it when you arrive at the camping site. Trust me on this, and you'll thank me later.
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