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Updated Aug 1, 2022 10:25 AM

A truck bed tent is a unique option for setting up camp. Essentially, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a typical ground tent, just in the bed of a pickup truck. But this kind of camping offers some major advantages. It keeps you off the ground, where there’s less worry about water, rocks, bugs, colder temps, and most models allow you to make–and break–camp quickly. There are a lot of options out there to turn your truck into basecamp, but what’s best for a Toyota Tacoma may be different from what works on a Nissan Frontier. I tested some of the most popular products on the market and talked to campers, hunters, and anglers to find the best truck bed tents for a wide range of trucks and campers.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Truck Bed Tent

Materials

The first step to choosing the right truck bed tent is deciding what kind of camping you plan to do and the best materials for the job. If your main concern is a lightweight tent that takes up little space inside the truck bed, polyester and fiberglass may be the best bet. If you plan to camp in especially wet or wintery conditions–and don’t mind hauling a heavier tent–classic canvas might be a better option.

Compact or Full-size

Truck bed tents are sold in different sizes to fit specific truck beds of varying lengths. The Chevy Silverado, Toyota Tundra, and Ford F-Series, for instance, are considered full-size, with beds between 5-feet, 5-inches and 8-feet, 2-inches. Compact trucks, such as the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, Nissan Frontier, and Chevy Colorado, have either short or regular beds, ranging from 5 feet to 6-feet, 1-inch. Before you start shopping, measure your truck bed to make sure you’re getting the correct fit.

Floor or No Floor

Unlike a typical ground tent, not all truck bed tents have a sewn-in bottom panel. A tent with a floor offers more protection from the elements and puts something between you and the metal of your truck bed. And some of these tents can even be used on the ground. An option without a floor is convenient when there’s other stuff in the bed you don’t want to move; the tent goes right over top.

Headroom and Footprint

There’s a ton of variation when it comes to truck bed tent size and shape. Some are roomy enough for tall campers to stand up inside. Others are lower-profile and a bit more subtle, offer a snugger sleeping space, and if you’re camping in windy places, they won’t be as buffeted. In terms of footprint, tents range from a simple half-dome shape to more spacious accommodations with extras like awnings or vestibules.

Best Overall: Napier Outdoors Sportz Truck Tent

Napier Outdoors

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Key Features

  • Interior height: 5.8 feet
  • Capacity: two adults
  • Materials: polyester; fiberglass poles
  • Built-in floor

Why It Made the Cut

The Napier truck bed tent is super popular, and for good reason. It’s a roomy tent with a thoughtful design that’ll perform well in almost any conditions.

Pros

  • Huge mesh windows and doors provide great cross-breeze
  • Pockets, loft, and rear access panel for gear storage
  • Awning nearly doubles the footprint

Cons

  • Initial set-up can be complicated
  • Uncovered seams aren’t totally weatherproof

Product Description

The Napier Outdoors Sportz Truck Tent is a crowd-pleaser. It’s easy enough for even the most novice camper to set up and sturdy enough to provide a pleasant shelter through almost any night, almost anywhere. Everything about the tent’s design feels thoughtful from the color-coded poles and matching pockets to the gear loft and rear access panel between the tent and truck. A full floor separates you from the bare metal of your truck bed, and the addition of an awning means you have a covered space to cook, place a camp chair, or just take off your shoes and backpack before climbing in.

The Napier Truck Bed Tent
Setting up the Napier isn’t difficult, but it does take some adjusting to get it just right. Kate Morgan

Set-up isn’t difficult, but it can require a lot of adjusting to get the fit just right. The Sportz tent is held in place by three nylon straps on either side of the bed, plus three more that wrap around the tailgate. When I set it up on my friend’s shiny, garage-kept truck, I was a bit anxious about the braided nylon straps sliding across the paint. I didn’t actually spot any scratches, but Napier does produce compatible strap protectors, if it’s something you’re worried about.

Overall, the tent is comfortable, with lots of room to stretch out (though I’m barely 5-feet, 2-inches). Big mesh windows make it comfortable inside even on warmer days, and while I wouldn’t choose it for frigid mid-winter camping, it certainly holds up in a decent rain and chilly nights.

Best All-Weather: Kodiak Canvas

Kodiak Canvas

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Key Features

  • Interior height: 5 feet
  • Capacity: two adults
  • Materials: Hydra-Shield™ 100% cotton duck canvas, steel frame
  • No built-in floor

Why It Made the Cut

There’s nothing more classic than a canvas tent. It’s been the choice of many outdoorspeople for years thanks to its ability to handle anything Mother Nature throws at you.

Pros

  • Breathable fabric reduces humidity
  • Sturdy steel frame
  • Tunnel shape uses space well

Cons

  • Set up could be easier
  • Extra clamps might be required

Product Description

The Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent’s cotton duck canvas and 3/4-inch steel tube frame make it a fairly heavy lift at around 30 pounds. But that’s the trade-off for the tent’s extreme durability and year-round usefulness. It’s not designed to support more than a few inches of snow accumulation, but the canvas is fully watertight and will hold heat in during colder months. It’s also very breathable and has windows on either side for ventilation in warmer weather.

Quickest Set-Up: Fofana Truck Tent

Key Features

  • Interior height: 6 feet
  • Capacity: two adults
  • Materials: polyester, aluminum poles
  • Built-in floor

Why It Made the Cut

Set-up literally couldn’t be easier with the Fofana Truck Tent, which is easily the quickest pop-up tent on the market.

Pros

  • Super-fast set up
  • Tons of headroom
  • Fits a wide variety of truck bed sizes

Cons

  • Thin, flimsy material is easy to tear
  • Unreinforced seams

Product Description

If you’ve got a need for speed–when it comes to setting up or breaking down camp, that is–the Fofana Truck Tent is the clear champ. It’s a quick and easy pop-up, and five minutes after parking the truck, you’ll be rolling out your sleeping bag. But there are some trade-offs for that convenience. Namely, sturdiness. The lightweight material is more than acceptable for temperate camping, but some testers have reported tearing after just a few uses. Still, for ease of use the Fofana is tough to beat.

Best for Hunting: Napier Backroadz Camo Truck Tent

Napier Outdoors

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Key Features

  • Interior height: dependent on truck model
  • Capacity: two adults
  • Materials: polyester; fiberglass poles
  • Built-in floor

Why It Made the Cut

A great truck bed tent can easily turn your truck into a mobile hunting camp, and the Backroadz Camo is perfect for getting comfortable without giving yourself away.

Pros

  • Spacious
  • Sturdy construction
  • Weatherproof

Cons

  • First set-up can be a challenge
  • No cab access

Product Description

This spacious offering from Napier Outdoors has quickly become one of my favorite places to sleep. The Backroadz Camo Truck Tent makes great use of the available space, easily accommodating an air mattress to make things even comfier. And there’s plenty of room to store your hunting gear or pack. The large rainfly keeps things dry, and the sealed seams keep moisture and bugs out.

Napier Backroadz Tent
With the Napier Backroadz, you can take your hunting camp on the road. Kate Morgan

The dark pattern and sealed seams are light-blocking for those mornings you don’t want to get up right at first light. It also means your lantern doesn’t announce your presence to the whole forest, making it that much easier to roll out of bed at dawn and go hunting. The combo of the interior blackout layer and the rainfly can make it rather humid inside, so this tent is ideal for slightly cooler weather during most hunting seasons, but even on a muggy East Coast day, I found it comfortable.

Most Versatile: Rev Pick-Up Tent by C6 Outdoor

C6 Outdoor

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Key Features

  • Interior height: 3-feet, 2-inches
  • Capacity: two adults
  • Materials: polyester and nylon, anodized aluminum poles
  • Built-in floor with mattress

Why It Made the Cut

The Rev Tent by C6 Outdoors is designed for a truck bed, but it can just as easily be used as a rooftop tent or even on the ground.

Pros

  • Built-in mattress
  • Multiple setup options
  • Fully waterproof

Cons

  • Low ceiling
  • Big price tag
  • Only one size

Product Description

Campers’ styles can sometimes evolve over time, or even change season to season. In addition to being one of the best truck bed tents, the Rev Tent by C6 Outdoors can be used on any platform-style roof rack or right on the ground. Plus, a built-in 4-inch foam mattress ups the comfort-factor and is one less piece of gear you have to pack.

Set-up is quick, with a half-dozen poles to snap together, and the dual-layer, fully coated fly (which comes in three different colors) makes it a true four-season tent. Inside, there are lots of hooks and pockets to keep things organized, which is important in a fairly snug space, with a ceiling just over three feet at its highest point.

Best for Compact Trucks: Guide Gear Compact Truck Tent

Guide Gear

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Key Features

  • Interior height: 4-feet, 9-inches
  • Capacity: two adults
  • Materials: polyester and polyethylene, fiberglass poles
  • Built-in floor

Why It Made the Cut

The Guide Gear Compact Truck Tent makes good use of its space with a small, low profile foot print.

Pros

  • Low price tag
  • Good ventilation
  • Lightweight but sturdy

Cons

  • Average headroom
  • Unsealed seams
  • Zippers can catch

Product Description

The Guide Gear Compact Truck Tent is designed to fit trucks with beds measuring 72-74-inches from the cab to the end of the lowered tailgate. With a center height of just 4-feet, 9-inches, most folks can’t stand inside, but the low-profile works well in a smaller truck and the footprint makes good use of the space in the bed.

The construction is decent, and despite unsealed seams, the water-resistant polyester should stand up to light rain showers. Mesh windows provide lots of ventilation, but you should use caution when zipping and unzipping the tent, as not to catch the fabric. The Guide Gear Tent isn’t fancy, but it’s a very solid option with a small price tag.

Best for Full-Size Trucks: Rightline Gear Truck Tent

Rightline Gear

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Key Features

  • Interior height: 4-feet, 10-inches
  • Capacity: two adults
  • Materials: polyester, aluminum poles
  • No built-in floor

Why It Made the Cut

This floor-less tent provides a ton of room for full size trucks and campers who prefer larger mattresses.

Pros

  • Sealed seams
  • Lots of ventilation
  • Large sleeping area

Cons

  •  Not designed for cold weather

Product Description

The Rightline Gear Truck Tent is a convenient floor-less option that doesn’t require you to empty your truck bed of any other cargo before set-up. The design leaves the entire truck bed open as sleeping or storage space, and mesh panels on the sides and roof provide a great breeze and a view of the stars. 

This is definitely a three-season tent. While the material itself is waterproof, the seal between the truck bed and the tent isn’t tight, and depending on the model of your truck you may get some gaps near the tailgate. As long as temperatures don’t dip super low, it’s a perfect fit for anyone who prefers a floor-less tent for a full-size truck.

FAQs

Q: How can I make my truck bed more comfortable?

Even if your tent has a floor, the ridges in a truck bed can make for a bumpy sleeping surface, so you’ll need to make it more comfortable. A piece of plywood offers a quick fix. Just lay it in the bed under the tent, then use your normal camping pad or air mattress inside.

Metal truck beds can also stay uncomfortably hot or cold, depending on the temperature outside. Give yourself a layer of insulation by using a piece of carpet under the tent.

Q: What size mattress fits in a truck bed?

A full mattress, at 54 inches x 74 inches, will fit in most truck beds, including compact trucks, with the tailgate down. Larger trucks can accommodate bigger mattresses, like a queen at 60 inches x 80 inches. Just make sure the dimensions of your mattress are smaller than those of your tent’s interior. Several companies make air mattresses designed specifically for truck beds that either fit between the wheel wells or have recesses to fit over them.

Q: Can you use a truck tent on the ground?

Some truck bed tents can be used on the ground, and some can’t. The Rev Tent by C6 Outdoors is designed to be used on the ground, in a truck bed, or on the rooftop. But others use the truck as a structural component and won’t work on the ground. Floorless tents don’t stand on their own, so they can’t be used anywhere but the bed of the truck.

Q: Can you use a truck tent with a tonneau cover?

It depends on the truck and the tent. Some tents fit well in the bed, even with a tonneau cover, though you may have to make some adjustments. The Kodiak Canvas Truck Tent, for instance, can be used with a tonneau cover in most beds, as long as you have some deep C-clamps to secure it.

Methodology

To find the best tent for every kind of truck bed camper, I tested several different options in both my own beat-up, shortbed Chevy Colorado and a buddy’s newer Ford F-150 with a tonneau cover and other bells and whistles. I considered how each tent might perform in different circumstances, landscapes, and weather conditions based on the materials each one contained, as well as their overall fit inside the truck beds.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot to love about camping in the best truck bed tents. You’re up off the ground, there’s no dirt or mud to shake off in the morning when you’re packing up, and it can feel super comfortable and secure. Plus, depending on your flexibility, it can be a lot easier to climb in and out of a truck bed than to get up off the ground. The Napier Sportz checks just about every box when it comes to durability, comfort, and ease of use. That said, small modifications can go a long way toward making any truck bed tent extra comfortable, like using a canopy (if you go with a model that doesn’t have an awning), and insulating the bed below your tent. The most important thing to consider when truck bed tent shopping is fit; as long as you’re choosing a truck bed tent that works with your truck, you’re bound to have a good trip.