If sleeping on the ground is your least favorite part of camping, perhaps it’s time you thought about getting a truck tent. The best truck tent sets up easily over the truck bed, allowing you to sleep on an even surface. Not only is this arrangement more comfortable, but it also greatly reduces the insect problem.
As you probably know, truck bed dimensions can vary significantly between different truck models. Because of this, it’s very important to get the right-sized tent that fits properly over the bed. Other factors worth considering are tent breathability, durability, and water protection.
To make your choice easier, our truck tent reviews will take a close look at the best truck tents currently on the market. We paid special attention to the tent size, so you’ll be able to find a good fit for almost every truck model. Hopefully, this will make camping more enjoyable and allow you to easily set up camp anywhere you park your truck.
How To Choose The Best Truck Tent – Buying Guide
Size (Length and Height)
One of the crucial things to do when buying the best pickup truck tent is to choose a size that fits your truck bed properly. As you probably know, truck beds range in size from 5 to 8 feet, and a tent that is too small or too large will be very difficult to set up.
As for the height, it’s important for overall comfort. While you won’t be able to stand up in any of these tents for pickup trucks, the ceiling should still be at least 50 inches tall to give you enough headroom when you sit upright.
Seasonality and Weather Protection
Like all other camping models, tents for trucks come with a season rating that shows you how it performs at different times of the year. Most of the models we’ve featured are 3-season truck camping tents, meaning they are breathable during the summer and provide decent rain protection. If you plan to go camping in cold winter weather, we advise that you go with the Kodiak Canvas 4-season truck tent.
Construction and Materials
The choice of materials for your pickup bed tent is directly responsible for its performance. The tent canopy and rainfly are usually made of polyester. If you choose this material, look for the highest Denier rating available and preferably PU coating on the fabric. Canvas is also a good option, but this type of pickup tent tends to be very heavy.
Related Review: Canvas Tent
As for the frame, the most common choice is fiberglass. These poles are strong, elastic, and don’t add too much to the overall weight. In heavier models, it’s not uncommon to see steel reinforcements in joints and other weak spots.
When it comes to the sleeping capacity, tents for pickups don’t offer many variations. All of them are limited by the size of the truck bed and have just enough space for two people. However, larger truck tent beds will often leave you some extra space to stash your gear.
Ease of Installation
Most truck tents for camping are fairly easy to install, but there are still some differences between the models. We advise that you look for a tent that comes with a color-coded system of poles and sleeves so you can easily connect the pieces.
Also, you should pay attention to the straps and buckles that come with the tent for pickup. They should be elastic and easily adjustable, so you can tighten them without damaging the tent or your truck. Generally speaking, the setup process takes less than 10 minutes for most truck tents.
To make your stay in the tent more comfortable, manufacturers equip their models with an abundance of great features. While these aren’t entirely necessary, they can have a huge impact on whether you like the tent or not.
- Sewn-In Floor: Depending on the model you choose, even the best truck bed tents can come with or without a tent floor. A tent floor gives you an extra layer of protection between you and the truck bed, which eliminates gaps, reduces drafts, and prevents leaks. On the other hand, a tent without a floor is convenient if you don’t want to clear out the truck bed before installation.
- Storage Compartments: Having some organized storage in your tent is always useful as it allows you to keep important items within a hand’s reach. In this regard, many truck tents come with pockets that are attached to the walls. Additionally, it’s a plus if the tent comes with an overhead storage compartment (gear loft) too.
- Cab Access Panel: To make accessing the truck easier, some tents for truck beds come with a rear door that directly connects to the cab. This way, you can get in the truck without going outside. This is especially convenient in bad weather.
- Ventilation: Regardless of the type of tent you get, good ventilation is crucial for comfortable sleeping. Because of this, you should look for a tent that has several windows and dedicated vents to allow the air to circulate.
- Mesh Screens: As far as insect protection goes, mesh screens are the best addition a tent can have. All the doors and windows should come with these, so you can let air inside without having mosquitos and other insects annoy you.
- Awning: An awning is a piece of fabric that extends over the front door and provides additional protection. It can work as a rain shelter for your gear, or it can provide additional shade and keep the tent truck bed cool on bright sunny days.
- Removable Rainfly: A rainfly is a barrier that keeps the inside of the tent dry when it starts to rain. However, if the weather is hot, you might want to remove it to boost air circulation or have a look at the night sky.
Q: What is a Truck Bed Tent?
As its name suggests, a truck bed tent is a special type of tent that mounts over the bed of your truck. It comes with a system of straps and buckles that secure it to the sides. Some full-size truck bed tents even feature built-in floors to provide a high comfort level while sleeping inside.
Q: What are the Benefits of Using a Truck Tent?
The main benefits of using tents for truck beds are sleeping off the ground, quick and easy setup, and the ability to camp anywhere you can park your truck. With a tent in the pickup bed, you will no longer have to look for a suitable campsite or wake up tired because you slept on uneven ground.
Q: Do Truck Tents Keep Mosquitoes and Bugs Out?
Truck tents are constructed the same way as regular tents and usually feature mesh screens on doors and windows to keep insects out. Also, the fact that they’re lifted from the ground makes it even harder for non-flying insects to get inside.
Q: Do You Put Together the Tent on the ground or the Truck?
Due to the system of straps and buckles that keeps it in place, the truck tent needs to be assembled directly on the truck bed. Luckily, most of the setup can be finished while you’re standing on the ground, which makes things a little bit easier.
Q: Will the Tent Work With a Toolbox in the Truck’s Bed?
Yes, if you get a tent without a built-in floor. This type of tent only has a canopy that attaches to the sides, so you can leave the gear in your truck. However, this might reduce the comfort you’ll get in your tent.
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Truck camping is a wonderful alternative to sleeping on the ground as it offers a higher comfort level and prevents unwanted visitors from getting into your tent. Setting up a tent for a truck bed is easy — the only thing you have to do is get the right model for your truck type. Hopefully, our reviews of the best truck bed tents have helped you with this, so you can experience firsthand all the benefits that this type of camping can give you.
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