The 8 Best Truck Bed Tents

Updated February 26, 2018 by Chase Brush

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We spent 47 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. So you want to go camping, but you're not crazy about the idea of sleeping on a cold, hard ground that may be covered in bugs or other undesirable materials. If you've got a pickup, you can avoid all that by easily converting it into a comfortable and secure bedding area using one of these truck bed tents, which attach to your vehicle and serve as a temporary outdoor shelter from rain or sun. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best truck bed tent on Amazon.

8. Guide Gear Compact

7. Napier Outdoors Sportz

6. Rightline Gear Standard

5. Napier Sportz Camo

4. Guide Gear Full Size

3. Napier Sportz Avalanche III

2. Napier Outdoors Backroadz

1. Kodiak Canvas

Truck Bed Tents Versus Traditional Tents

Truck bed tents have become increasingly popular in recent years because they offer all of the benefits of a truck bed, and a full-size tent, with none of the downsides. Many people already enjoy driving their truck out to a camping site and simply sleeping in the bed of it. Unlike the other campers, those in truck beds don’t need to lie on the hard ground, and risk having insects and other critters crawling into their sleeping bags.

Truck beds do, however, leave one vulnerable to rainfall, the wind, and other natural elements from which a full-size tent protects a camper. A truck bed tent solves both of these problems, delivering all of the protection of a tent, on the safe and elevated platform of a vehicle.

Truck bed tents typically take much less time to set up than a standard one, too. Full-size tents need to be secured into the ground via a hammer and pegs, but truck bed ones can usually just be tied to the vehicle. A truck bed is also far more stable than the ground, which can shift if it becomes damp, causing a regular tent’s pegs to become loose. One won’t encounter that issue with a truck bed tent.

Hazards like snake bites and poisonous insect bites are major concerns for campers. In fact, between 7,000 and 8,000 people in the United States are bitten by venomous snakes each year. Snakes can’t climb up the side of a truck, so sleeping in a truck bed tent instead of on the ground could save a camper a trip to the hospital.

How To Match The Tent To Your Truck

Those who carry a lot of gear in their truck bed might want a floorless tent. These do not line the bed of the truck, so they don't require the user to clear the bed out to install them. Campers should ensure that their tent is the correct size for their truck bed. Some tents can comfortably accommodate three sleepers, so long as the truck bed is wide enough. Some people like the added protection of a solid truck bed cover and, fortunately, there are truck bed tents designed to work with those. Campers don't usually want to be confined to their truck bed during the day, so many tents have a flap that extends past the zippered entry, providing a nice shady place for people to sit.

Avid campers who spend a lot of time sleeping outdoors need to make sure that their truck bed tent has airtight zippers. Being regularly exposed to cold air can result in several health problems. Having a tent that is well-insulated can prevent some health concerns. Truckers should also look for a sturdy steel-tube frame that will hold up the shape of their tent. There is nothing more frustrating than a tent that collapses in the middle of the night, or in a wind storm. Those who camp in more extreme climates should look for a camp made from durable canvas that will not puncture easily.

Campers should take all of the right precautions to avoid bears while camping, and not attract them to their campsite. If a bear or any wild animal does, however, make it onto one's site, they will be grateful if their truck bed tent has a small window through which they can look so they know when it is safe to leave. Having a small window in one's truck bed tent is generally helpful for surveying the campground without having to exit the tent.

Additional Tips For Truck Bed Camping

When one's truck bed is also their sleeping area, they need to treat it with special care and keep it as clean as possible. Campers should take off their boots before getting into the bed, so as to keep mud and dirt out. Before driving to the campsite, ensure that all hatches and hardware on the truck bed are sealed so that rocks and debris don't fly up into it on the road. Drivers should also keep the windows rolled up on dirt roads since this can also dirty the bed. Keeping a battery-operated handheld vacuum in the car can also help keep the bed area clean.

Floor space can become an issue when the bed of one's truck is also where they are sleeping. What once was a storage area becomes a giant bed. If you purchase a truck bed tent tall enough, you can fit a small cot inside of the bed. This will provide extra storage area beneath the cot, while still offering a clean space to sleep. For extra space, put gear inside of weather-proof bags and store them underneath the truck at night.

Campsites may not have running water or electricity. One should always bring more than enough water for the days they have planned in case they extend their stay or, due to severe weather, cannot make their way safely out of the woods. Campers should always keep a GPS on hand and charged, too, considering the number of people who get lost in the woods each year.


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Last updated on February 26, 2018 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.


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