- This article contains affiliate links and we will be compensated if you purchase something after clicking on them.
- Check out our review guidelines.
A truck bed tent, not to be confused with a rooftop camper or a truck camper, is a tent designed to attach to the back of a pickup truck, using the bed of the truck as the ground. It is one of my favourite ways to camp because you’re off the ground and, with a good air mattress, it’s as close to sleeping in an actual bed as you get outdoors.
Want a list of 150 of the most unique nature and wildlife travel experiences?
One of the best ways to make rugged camping easier, you just pull up, pitch the tent and you’ve essentially got a mobile house that you can take with you wherever your heart desires. Truck tent camping has become incredibly popular post-pandemic as people look for vacation and holiday options closer to home.
Read full reviews below:
Best overall: The Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent
The Kodiak Canvas Truck Tent is definitely one of the best truck tents out there and a great piece of camping gear for anyone who likes to take their pickup truck into the bush.
Made from 100% cotton duck canvas, it’s waterproof, extremely durable and breathable. A three-quarter-inch steel tube frame is easily attached via clamp-on rails to your truck bed and body.
While this Kodiak tent advertises itself as a year-round piece of camping gear, you shouldn’t let a lot of snow pile up. Still the best affordable truck tent for winter camping.
I really like the fact that this truck tent has five mesh windows, including a special rear cab access window. I would take this over any ground tent, every day of the week, and the tunnel design makes for a nice spacious interior.
In terms of quality, comfort and insulation, definitely one of the best canvas tents out there.
- Entire tent is 100% cotton duck canvas
5 mesh windows
Expanded usable space when tailgate down
Cab access window
- One of the recurring complaints seems to be that it’s kind of difficult to set up. You might have to try setting it up a few times and potentially deviate from the set up instructions if it doesn’t fit right on your first try. I’d advise a trial setup (or 2) before heading out with it.
- It also doens’t have a sewn in floor. Your truck bed is your floor with this, which isn’t a big deal, I’d be using a nice sleeping pad anyway.
Still, three quarters of owners and reviewers around the world love this truck bed tent enough to award it 5 stars.
Truck bed tent #1: FOFANA Truck Bed Tent
- 1000-1500mm waterproof rating
Full (fits 5.5’, 6.5’ and 8’ beds): Ford F150, Dodge Ram 1500, GMC Sierra, Chevy Silverado, Nissan Titan, Toyota Tundra
– Full coverage weatherproof rainfly
– Sewn-in waterproof floor
– Cab access port
– full-height windows
– Gear storage pockets
- Rainfly touches the tent, trapping moisture inside
- High profile (6 ft) makes it vulnerable to wind
Still 69% 5-star reviews indicating easy setup, good water resistance, and sturdy design.
Truck bed tent #2: Napier Backroadz Truck Tent
- Wall and Roof: Polyester Tafetta
- Window: Polyester mesh
- Floor: Polyethylene
- Rainfly: Polyester Tafetta
- Poles: fibreglass
- Waterproofing: 800 polyurethane coating
options for compact short bed (5’-5.2’), compact regular bed (6’-6.3’) and full size long bed (8’-8.2’)
compact short: 13.35lbs, compact regular: 13.4lbs, and full size long: 16lbs
– Full coverage weatherproof rainfly
– Color coded poles and sleeves for 10 min assembly
– Gear loft, pockets and lantern holder
– Full tent floor to keep truck dirt off
– Window and door storm flaps for added protection
While 3/4 of the more than 1,600 global reviewers awared the Napier Backroadz Truck Tent 5 stars, there are complaints about the quality of some of the components, including the zippers and the tent poles.
Truck bed tent #3: JoyTutus Pickup Truck Tent
- 150D polyester
- Fibreglass poles
- 2000mm polyurethane waterproof coating
ideally a truck bed tent for a regular compact bed (5.5-6’).
– Waterproof floor layer
– Adjustable shading layer for windows to block out light
- Lack of rainfly is a major demerit with this truck bed tent
- Some reviewers mentioned that the poles tore at the fabric
Despite the complaints, two-thirds of the more than 108 reviewers lauded this affordable little truck bed tent for how easy it was to set up, the quality of the sewing, and how easy it is to lift onto and off of the truck bed.
You would definitely want to consider purchasing a rainfly if you opt for this truck bed tent as it is pretty much a must-have for camping unless you’re in the middle of a drought or somewhere with a predictable dry season
Truck bed tent #4: Guide Gear Truck Tent
- 190T polyester
- 1500mm water-resistant coating
- Fibreglass tent poles
Compact (72-74″) and full size (79-81″)
Compact=4.75’ full size=5.25’
– Sewn-in polyethene flooring 2 storage pockets
– Water-resistant coating
Some users have indicated that the instructions are hard to follow, which means it can take a while to set up this truck bed tent. Other reviewers have indicated that the poles are weak, which is always a problem with fibreglass.
Out of 921 total reviews for this very popular truck bed tent, 70 percent were five-star, and many even directly contradicted the more negative reviews indicating that the setup was indeed easy and referenced the part of the instructions where it cautions people against letting the poles snap together.
Truck bed tent #5: Rightline Gear Mid Size Short Bed Truck Tent
- 2000mm polyurethane waterproofing
Available for all bed sizes
– Waterproof rainfly
– Protective straps and buckles for your truck
– Color-coded poles and pole pockets for easy assembly
– Lantern hanging hook
– Glow-in-the-dark zippers
– Sky-view vent
The floorless design of this Rightline Gear truck tent means that a) you absolutely need an air mattress (which you need either way) and b) you are more prone to moisture from underneath and c) without proper floor insulation, this truck tent can only be used in the summer.
Some other reviewers indicated that the instructions were difficult to follow and others lamented that it wouldn’t fit their truck bed size.
With nearly two-thirds giving this truck bed tent 5-star reviews, lauding everything from the quality of the rainfly to how well it fits their truck bed, it seems clear that some people just weren’t following the instructions correctly.
Truck bed tent #6: EighteenTek Truck Tent
- 2000mm polyurethane waterproofing
- Plastic ribs
Adjustable to all bed sizes (5-8’)
– PU2000 rainfly
– Wheel well hooks and guylines
– Compact carry bag, Lamp hook
– Pop-up (no assembly required)
– Adjustable for different truck bed lengths
– Glow-in-the-dark zipper ropes
– Electrical access port for easy connection to outside power sources
- Directions are difficult to follow
- Only two mesh windows, so some people complained about ventilation,
All in all, nearly three-quarters of the reviews for this truck bed tent are 5 stars with people commending everything from how lightweight it is, to its spaciousness, to the quality of the construction and materials.
What Went Into My Selection Process for the Best Truck Bed Tents List
In addition to growing up on the west coast of Canada, where I spent my childhood and youth camping, for the last 7 years, I’ve been traveling the world as a wildlife photographer, wildlife guide and nature enthusiast sleeping outdoors everywhere from Colombia Raja Ampat Indonesia.
I’ve always liked truck bed tent camping whenever possible because, at the end of the day, while I love the wild and being as close to nature as possible, I’m a bit of a sleeping beauty. When given the opportunity to sleep in or try out a truck bed tent, I almost always take it.
I also spent many hours reading reviews, watching setups and tutorials on YouTube and trying to aggregate both the positive and negative comments from across the web to provide fair and accurate breakdowns of these products.
Main Evaluation Criteria to Choose the Best Truck Bed Tent
There are a few things you want to keep in mind when choosing a truck bed tent:
- Bed size
- Season rating
- Rainfly included or not
Bed size (especially truck bed length) is probably the most fundamental consideration when buying a truck bed tent because if it doesn’t properly fit your truck, you’re not going to be fully protected by the tent/rainfly and you might end up ripping it in the process of trying to get it to fit.
Pay close attention to the bed size specifications when choosing any of the truck bed camping tents on this list and make sure you have selected the size you want before purchasing.
Some truck tents are adjustable and can be made to fit a variety of truck beds while other truck bed tents are only designed for a single bed size.
All of the truck bed tents on my list are polyurethane treated (to varying degrees depending on the model) for waterproofing. If something is PU2000mm, for instance, it means that 2000mm of water would have to fall before the waterproof coating would lose efficacy.
It’s always a good idea to apply an additional waterproof coating to a rainfly and tent before using, including to the seams and the underside of the rainfly. Here’s a great video from tent experts REI showing you how to waterproof a tent and rainfly.
Season rating is always important when choosing tents, whether it’s a truck tent or a ground tent, because it lets you know the kinds of conditions you can use it in.
Most truck bed tents are rated for three seasons (spring, summer and fall) which means they aren’t really going to provide protection from winter elements, especially if you live somewhere that gets tons of snow and wind.
Truck tent manufacturers almost always tell you for how many seasons you can comfortably use their product(s).
Rainfly included or not
Paying attention to whether or not a rainfly is included with the truck tent is important because you absolutely need a rainfly to sleep in the bed of a truck.
With truck camping, you’re more limited with where you are able to set up, so choosing spots that provide optimal cover and shelter from the elements can be a bit harder.
A rainfly is a necessity anytime you’re camping somewhere where rain and wind are realities, and even more so when you are exposed in the bed of a truck. Also, pay attention to what current and previous owners have to say about the quality of a rainfly.
Sometimes truck bed tents will include the rain fly, but my experience with included rainflies is that many of them are not as good as some of the third-party ones out there are.
Some additional considerations
The above are what I would consider to be the primary considerations, but there are other things that might sway you towards one or another.
A gear loft or ample storage pockets are things to look out for. Does it have a rear access panel so you can access your truck’s cab?
Does it have a full tent floor or is the floor your truck bed? Is it a lightweight tent that is easy to pack up and store? Does it have a lantern hook (or multiple) so that you can hang a light at night?
The Advantages of Truck Bed Camping
Grabbing your truck tent and heading out on a truck bed camping trip one of the most freeing things ever, and there is an entire subreddit called TruckCampers dedicated to sharing truck camping tips, stories and set-ups.
The most obvious upside of truck bed camping is the comfort factor.
I’ve slept in hammocks, ground tents and truck bed tents and the truck tent is by far the most comfortable option. If you’ve got a good air bed and some nice pillows, sleeping in the bed of a truck is second only to sleeping in a bed.
A truck tent is also nice because camping out in truck beds means, depending on your truck, you might have access to the truck cab via the rear window.
Depending on where your truck tents mesh windows are located, you could potentially have access to the air conditioning if you need to cool down or heat up the tent. You could also potentially run a cable for charging from inside the vehicle to inside the tent.
Truck bed camping also keeps you off the ground and away from animals, morning dew, or flash flooding–things that regular tents don’t.
Sleeping in the bed of pickup trucks is also preferable in inclement weather. A good pickup truck tent will almost always have a sewn in floor–something like the Napier Sportz Truck Tent or a Kodiak Canvas Tent.
Some of the Additional Accessories That Make Truck Bed Camping Better
Camping out in the back of your truck is great, but there are a few things you either need to buy after market or make sure they come with your tent. They are:
There are two mattress options. You can either opt for an air mattress like the Pittman Outdoors AirBedz Lite.
Or, if you have a bad back and are feeling fancy (i.e., you’re me), you can get something like the Matrix Air Cell Memory Foam Camping Mattress.
Not all tents have a comfortable built in floor, so you kind of need something comfortable to sleep on.
A Rain fly
A lot of truck bed tents include a rain fly, but some don’t. Or, the rainfly that comes with the product has bad reviews–bad waterproofing, doesn’t fit properly.
Your rainfly is an essential piece of gear for truck tent camping because of how exposed you are.
Something like the ARAER Camping Tent Tarp is PU3000mm rated and will pick up the slack if your included rainfly isn’t up to snuff.
I like to have a pillow when I’m camping, whether it’s in a hammock, in a tent on the ground or truck bed camping.
A pillow is particularly necessary for the back of a truck bed, even if you’ve got a mattress in there already, because you might wake up to find your head resting on hardened fibreglass or metal.
One (or two) Wise Owl Outfitters Memory Foam Camping Pillows should do the trick if you don’t want to bring pillows from home. The whole pillow is machine washable and dryer friendly.
**bear in mind that memory foam is temperature-sensitive and if it’s cold in your truck bed, memory foam can turn quite hard, which can end up rendering your memory foam pillows quite uncomfortable.
A Sleeping Bag (For Cold Weather)
I’m not a big fan of sleeping cocooned in a sleeping bag (I feel way too restricted), so I prefer using it as a quilt/blanket. For this reason, I usually opt for two-person bags like the TETON Sports Celsius Mammoth Double Sleeping Bag.
It’s over 62 inches wide, and the two halves of the bag can be completely separated to create a quilt.
If you’re taking your truck tent into the wild for any length of time, especially if you’re going to be quite remote, have a look at my bushcraft gear list curated from the recommendations of legendary BBC bushcraft and survival presenter Ray Mears.
Truck Bed Tent Camping Tips
Whether you’re just taking the truck out for a weekend getaway or you’re on the road indefinitely, there are right and wrong (and unsafe) ways to camp in your truck.
- Keep your valuables out of sight.
- Know where the camping spots are.
- Get a gym membership.
- Understand your power setup.
- Get a beware of dog sign
Keep your valuables out of sight
This should go without saying but don’t leave anything valuable in the cab overnight. Not only do people smash and grab van dwellers and car campers all the time, but the world is an incredibly volatile place right now.
Desperation is on the rise in pretty much every continent, largely sparked by a cost of living crisis, and desperate people do desperate things.
I know, from following a lot of people camping in truck tents and living out of truck beds, that plenty of people are living out of their trucks full time all over the world–including places like Latin America.
Any expensive gear that makes you a target should probably be kept inside your truck cab.
Know where the camping spots are
This is more a recommendation for people who are planning on camping or living in their truck long-term. Here is a list of websites that provide camping spot info:
If you’re camping on private land or public land that is not authorized for camping, you could get smacked with an illegal parking or loitering charge.
Why Investing in Good Quality Truck Bed Tent Makes Sense
Being able to set up a tent in the back of a pickup truck is a huge luxury, especially if you do it right and invest in things like a quality mattress, rainfly and pillows.
Having a 4×4 vehicle also makes getting into remote spots much easier and provides added protection and safety. A ground tent is sometimes the less safe option, depending on where and when you’re camping.
I’ve definitely enjoyed all of the times I’ve slept in a truck tent, and I hope the above guide has, if not convinced you to pick up one of the truck bed tents on the list, opened your eyes to a whole new way of camping and potentially even living.
- The 5 Best SUV Tents for Campers and Roadtrippers
- The 7 Best RV Grills for Every RV Cooking Scenario
- The 5 Best Van Tents For Campers and Van Life
- The 7 Best Campervan Stoves for Van and Outdoor Life
- The 4 Best Van Cameras to Keep You and Your Belongings Safe on the Road
- The 6 Best Van Mattresses: Sleep Style, Body Type and Budget
- The Essential Glamping Accessories for Any Occasion: A Wildlife Guide’s Picks