Sep 21, 2023
Best Truck Tents, Tested By Experts (2023 Guide)
Will Moore has been driving since he was first allowed behind the wheel of a golf cart. He’s written for several major auto sites including Motor1 since 2020, unraveling the intricacies of auto
Will Moore has been driving since he was first allowed behind the wheel of a golf cart. He’s written for several major auto sites including Motor1 since 2020, unraveling the intricacies of auto insurance policies and products for the everyday driver. Will has logged hundreds of hours researching and testing products ranging from child car seats to torque wrenches. After completing a PhD at the University of Missouri, Will moved to North Carolina with his wife, daughter, and two semi-obedient beagles. Will is also Certified by Safe Kids Worldwide as a Child Passenger Safety Technician (#T836339).
A moderately-priced truck tent that’s durable and easy to use.
A built-to-last truck tent that’s exceptionally weatherproof.
A waterproof tent with a built-in bed liner.
A low-cost truck tent that effectively shields from the elements.
An inexpensive truck tent with an awning.
To recommend the best truck tents, our team researched and tested several of the most popular options on the market. In this review, we’ll help you decide if you should get a truck tent and if so, which would work best for your needs and budget.
The five best truck tents in this article went through two rounds of reviews. We started by searching Amazon and RealTruck for top products, looking at factors like weatherproofing, tent material, customer ratings, and prices.
Our product testing team then ordered the truck tents that best met these standards. A team member tested each product on a Ford F-150, taking note of durability, weatherproofing, ease of use, and comfort. Each truck tent was given a rating out of 5 stars based on these criteria.
Each year, we test over 350 auto products on vehicles and in our testing lab. Our team of product testers thoroughly researches top products, unboxes and puts our hands on each component, and tests the items on real vehicles before making recommendations to readers.
We publish hundreds of product and service reviews to bring car enthusiasts detailed guides on automotive tools, detailing kits, car seats, pet products, and much more. For more information on our testing methodology and how we evaluate every product, check out our methodology page here.
The Rightline Gear Truck Tent is our top pick overall because it is easy to install and well-constructed. The vinyl fabric is strong and durable, the seams are well-stitched, and the zippers and buckles are made from high-quality materials. This two-person truck tent is available in sizes to fit almost any truck bed and is among the most secure truck tents we tested.
The Rightline Gear Truck tent differs from most other truck tents because it instructs users to build the tent directly on the truck bed. Most other truck tents are assembled on the ground and hoisted into the truck. In some cases, either is an option. While it is a little easier to build a tent on the ground than in the trunk, it can be difficult to lift a heavy tent above your head.
As with most truck tents we tested, the included instructions are mediocre. The pictures aren’t detailed enough to illustrate each step, though the written instructions are clear. Fortunately, the setup process is not that difficult. We noted that this tent has thick buckles for securing the tent to your truck. All seams are taped to prevent water leakage, the metal zipper heads are high quality, and the tent features a spacious interior.
What most stands out with the Rightline gear are the tent poles. The metal sheaths that connect the fiberglass segments are a bit longer than other tents. This makes the tent easier to disassemble, as you don’t need to worry about accidentally pulling out a joint. This helps make the Rightline Gear the easiest truck tent to disassemble. There are also only three poles to insert, which is fewer poles than most other tents, making setup quicker.
Another unique feature of this tent is that it has more straps for securing the tent to the truck than other truck bed tents, notably near the tailgate. To attach these, however, you’ll need to get on your back underneath the truck.
The inside of the tent is roomy and spacious, with ample headroom. There is no bottom liner, which means you may need to clean out your truck bed before use. With any truck tent, you’ll want to use a sleeping pad, cot, or blow-up mattress anyway.
Amazon Review Score: 4.4 out of 5 based on over 2,000 ratings
Reviewers that like the Rightline Gear Truck Tent say it is offered at a good price, easy to set up, and effectively prevents leaks. Despite the fact that many feel the included directions aren’t especially helpful, they do feel that the tent is easy to pitch once you figure out the process.
A recurring complaint about the Rightline Gear Truck Tent is that there is no awning over the door. Many truck tents have such a feature and it allows campers to keep their tent flap open while it rains. This cannot be done with the Rightline Gear tent if you want to stay dry.
The Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent is made from Hydra-ShieldTM canvas. This material is heavier and more difficult to fold away than polyester tents, but much more durable. Rather than fiberglass, the Kodiak Canvas tent uses metal poles for an overall sturdier tent. The downsides are that this tent is both heavy and expensive.
Choose this truck tent if you are able to handle a heavier tent, have a larger budget, and want to buy the most durable tent, which you’ll likely never need to replace.
Setup for the Kodiak Canvas Truck Tent is among the most difficult of the tents that we tested. The instructions are clear and the process is simple, but you’ll need to be able to lift a heavy tent from the inside in order to erect the poles. If you struggle to lift 60.0 pounds above your head, this may not be the right tent for you. If that task sounds easy, you won’t find this tent too hard to set up.
The tent poles slot into a bar that you connect to the sides of your truck bed with included clamps. This allows the Kodiak Canvas to fit well in different-length truck beds.
Overall, we found that the Kodiak Canvas uses the strongest materials of any tent we tested. The metal poles’ segments are connected with steel cable, rather than fiberglass and string. This is a buy-it-for-life kind of tent. As mentioned, this tent is much heavier than the others so it is hard to pack away and lug around when not in use.
Amazon Review Score: 4.6 out of 5 based on over 470 ratings
Reviewers like this tent largely due to the heavy-duty construction. Many call it out as the strongest, most durable truck tent they have used. In most cases, this tent fits well and at least one person pointed out the large number of windows.
Even positive reviews mention that this tent can be difficult to set up by yourself. Another complaint is that the tent holds heat too well. This is a bonus when truck camping in cold weather, but may make the Kodiak Canvas tent a poor pick for summer camping.
If you want a truck tent that includes a bed liner, consider the Napier Backroadz. This polyester tent is well-ventilated and comes in several sizes so that you can get the perfect fit for your vehicle. The Backroadz is thoroughly (and positively) reviewed on Amazon, with most people finding it reliable and easy to set up.
The Backroadz Truck Tent is easy to set up and comes in a convenient bag with the instructions sewn in. Unlike the Rightline Gear tent, which utilizes a floorless design, the BackRoadz has a sewn-in floor bottom liner, which some may prefer. You won’t need to clean down your entire truck bed before putting things in your tent. A full floor liner also helps seal your tent from insects.
The quality of this tent’s materials varies. The outer tent material is made from a polyester similar to most other truck tents and the fiberglass poles are also typical in quality. The clips that keep the tent attached to the truck are of good quality, made from thick, sturdy plastic. However, the zipper heads are plastic rather than metal and will break easier than the Rightline Gear tent.
Because the tent material is thin, the Backroadz is easy to roll up and store when not in use.
Amazon Review Score: 4.6 out of 5 based on over 4,900 ratings
Some people claim they can erect the Backroadz in a matter of minutes with two people, and fairly easily on their own. You can assemble this tent on the ground or in the truck bed, though most find it easiest to first assemble on the ground. Many note that this tent offers good weather protection with waterproof seams.
The fiberglass poles used to hold up this tent could be of higher quality. For several reviewers, the front pole broke after a few uses.
The Guide Gear Truck Tent is a low-cost tent that is nevertheless weatherproof and comfortable. This lower cost does translate to lower-quality tent materials, however. The polyester tent material is thin and will begin to tear sooner than higher-end tents.
Don’t expect this tent to last a lifetime, but if you are in need of a low-cost truck tent that works well, consider the Guide Gear tent. If you need a tent to last you a decade, you might consider a canvas truck tent instead.
We tested the Guide Gear Full Size Truck Tent and found it easy to set up, with a similar design to the Napier Backroadz. The main difference between the two tents is the tent material, as the Guide Gear tent is notably thinner and the zippers aren’t as robust. That said, the tent is spacious on the inside and features several zipping windows and a front screen.
This tent is not difficult to set up or tear down, partly because it is so light. A benefit to the thin tent material is that it folds down to a very small size and is easy to return to the carrying bag.
Amazon Review Score: 4.4 out of 5 based on over 1,100 ratings
Many Amazon reviewers like this tent because it offers excellent value for the price. The Guide Gear is roomy but can pack down to a tiny bundle. Several reviewers claim to have slept in the Guide Gear during a storm and the tent proved to be waterproof.
“It stormed that night and not a drop was inside the tent. Also with the 40-50 mph winds[,] we didn’t have a single issue.”
– Dylon Knudson via Amazon Reviews
The downside of this tent, which even positive reviews mention, is that the tent material is not especially durable. It can rip easier than other tents and the fiberglass poles aren’t as thick as other tents.
The Quictent Pickup Truck Tent is a spacious, low-cost truck tent that has a rainfly and bed liner to keep out as much water and insects as possible. Zippered mesh windows on the sides and ceiling provide excellent ventilation.
This is a great option for a low-cost truck tent. The tent material is similar to the Guide Gear, but some of the other components, like the zippers and clips, are slightly less robust. The advantage of the Quictent is that it has an awning, which the Guide Gear tent does not.
The Quictent is a compact truck tent that’s among the lightest we tested. We were able to easily erect this tent in about 30 minutes even though it features more cross poles than other tents we tested. The color-coded poles and sleeves make the setup straightforward and simple.
One person was able to build the tent on the ground and lift it into the truck bed without much difficulty. However, some reviewers said they found it difficult to assemble the Quictent solo. The Quictent comes with a small carrying bag and we had no difficulty folding the tent to fit inside.
Amazon Review Score: 4.4 out of 5 based on more than 700 ratings
As with the Guide Gear tent, Amazon users say the Quictent has an easy setup and is effectively waterproof. For a low-cost truck tent, it gets the job done and most reviewers are satisfied.
Also like the Guide Gear tent, the low cost of the tent translates to lower-quality materials. Specifically, the Quictent uses poor-quality zippers, and a number of reviewers commented that the zippers on their Quictent broke after a few uses. The other commonly-mentioned issue is with sizing. The Quictent is available in four sizes, but some have trouble finding the right option for their vehicle.
Truck tents are specifically designed to be set up in the bed of a pickup truck. Unlike standard camping tents – which are staked to the ground – truck tents are secured via straps that connect to the body of your truck.
A truck tent is a good choice if you want to elevate yourself away from the ground, avoid small animals and insects, and lessen the potential of a river or puddle forming under your tent. While you need to park your truck on a mostly level surface to use a truck tent, your truck bed will still be smoother than the ground, which may be covered in rocks and roots.
However, depending on where you hope to camp and the number of people you need to fit in your tent, a truck tent may not be the best option. Keep in mind that with a truck tent, you can only camp in places that you can access in your truck.
Among the biggest downsides to a truck tent are that your truck can’t be used while the tent is installed. This means you’ll need to empty your truck bed before erecting a tent, and you won’t be able to drive your truck until you’ve taken the tent down. You’ll also have to remove any items from your truck bed before it’s time to sleep. This means you may need to find another place to store your other camping gear.
That said, you could return any gear to your truck bed after the tent is installed, depending on how much room you need for people. Many truck tents have side storage pockets, and these gear pockets can be useful for storing smaller equipment.
The most important consideration when buying a truck tent is choosing a tent that is the right size for your truck bed. Most truck tents are available in multiple sizes, but not all. Typically, sizing is not model-specific and so some tents fit certain brands of trucks better than others. In general, you’ll want to measure your truck bed dimensions to make sure you choose an appropriate truck tent.
Aside from sizing, you’ll also need to choose which truck tent material you’d prefer and what extra features are important to you.
Most truck tents are made from polyester and use fiberglass support poles. However, not all polyester is made equal. The best truck tents are made with a durable polyester that won’t easily tear and is protected by a water-resistant coating to withstand all weather conditions.
Another common truck tent material is canvas. Canvas is extremely durable and can be waterproof. The downside to canvas tents is that they are much heavier and more difficult to store. Canvas tents are also less breathable than polyester, meaning they can get much warmer on hot days.
When researching the quality of a truck tent, consider not just the tent material, but also the seams, zippers, and buckles. Well-stitched, taped seams help prevent water from getting into the tent. Zippers are likely to be used a lot and one broken zipper can render an entire tent unusable – if you can’t close the front flap, for example.
While most truck tents have a similar design, they aren’t identical in function. Some have a bed liner and some do not. A bed liner can help keep out moisture and better seal your tent against insect encroachment.
Another optional feature is an awning. An awning provides an extra space outside the tent that is shielded from the rain. This allows you to keep the front flap open for air circulation, even while it is raining. An awning also provides a space to dry wet boots and socks.
All of the tents we tested, and any of the best truck tents, will include a rainfly. A rainfly is an optional topper to a tent that helps repel the weather and is a must-have for any truck tent. Other standard truck tent features are side storage pockets and a lantern hook or similar lantern holder. Both of these are common and useful.
Another thing to consider is the carrying case. A truck tent is more convenient if it can be transported in a convenient bag. A good carrying bag will be as small as possible while still being large enough to fit your tent without too much struggle.
The cost of your truck tent partially depends on the size of your truck bed. Smaller tents cost less money.
Our top-recommended truck tent, the Guide Gear Truck Tent, costs around $200. This is what you can expect to pay for a quality truck tent made with polyester fabric. The Kodiak Canvas truck tent costs around $400, but uses higher quality materials and is likely to last for much longer and hold up to heavy use. If you want a truck tent that you won’t need to replace for decades, it may be worth spending the extra money.
Budget truck tents still cost around $150, or just under $100 for the smaller models. Truck tents in this price range are effective, but made from weaker materials and may tear or break more easily.
In addition to your truck tent, you will want some additional padding or cushion for the floor. While the tent may provide decent insulation from the cold, the bed of your truck will not. Most people who use a truck tent will also use an air mattress for cushion and insulation in addition to a sleeping bag. These can cost even more than the tent.
After conducting research online and in person, our review team thinks that the Rightline Gear truck tent is the best overall truck tent. This tent is easy to use, made from durable materials, and effectively weatherproof.
That said, the Rightline Gear does have its drawbacks. A canvas tent like the Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent is made from more durable materials, though is also more difficult to set up. Those in need of a truck tent with a bed liner should consider the Napier Backroadz Truck Tent.
If you’re in need of a low-cost truck tent, consider the Guide Gear Truck Tent or Quictent Pickup Truck Tent. Both are weatherproof and spacious, though made from lower-quality materials and so will not last as long as our other recommendations.
Depending on the specifics of your planned camping trip, you may not want to use a truck tent. For example, if you have a car, you may be better suited checking out our Best Tents For Car Camping guide. Keep in mind that truck tents are limited by the size of your truck bed and so they typically cannot fit more than two- or three-person tent could fit. Using a truck tent also limits your potential campsites to places where you can drive your truck.
Based on our testing, we think the Rightline Gear truck tent is the best overall truck tent. This tent is reasonably priced, easy to set up, and made from high-quality materials.
If you plan to install a tent into your truck bed, you will want to purchase a purpose-built truck tent. These tents are specifically designed to fit into a pickup truck bed and cannot be used on the ground. Since there are trucks with shorter beds than others, you will need to purchase a truck tent sized for your specific vehicle. Some truck tent brands offer more sizes than others to find the perfect fit.
The primary advantage of a truck tent is that it is elevated from the ground. This can help keep rain from pooling in or under your tent as well as offer protection against animals and crawling insects. Truck beds also provide a more level surface than the ground, especially if your campsite or overland destination has a lot of rocks and roots.
Truck bed tents are designed to fit inside a truck bed. Truck tents are not designed to be versatile in terms of sleeping on the ground or in the truck bed. Unlike a standard ground tent, a truck bed tent is stabilized using clips rather than stakes. You won’t be able to prevent a truck tent from blowing over unless you install it in a truck bed.
You should not drive with a truck tent erected in your truck bed. The most stable truck tents might stay attached during a drive, but this is a potentially dangerous and unnecessary risk.
Truck tents are often sold by size, not by truck make and model, so you will have to measure your truck bed to determine the correct tent size. Rather than searching for a “Toyota Tacoma truck tent,” for example, you may have to first determine which tent best fits your needs and then find whether it is offered in the correct size for your truck.
*Data accurate at time of publication.