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The 6 Best Truck Bed Tents: A Wildlife Guide’s Picks

a truck bed tent is the most comfortable way to camp

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. 

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

With that in mind, below is my list of the 6 best truck bed tents: 


Truck bed tent #1: FOFANA Truck Bed Tent 

Materials

  • Polyester
  • 1000-1500mm waterproof rating

Specs

Truck size:
Full (fits 5.5’, 6.5’ and 8’ beds): Ford F150, Dodge Ram 1500, GMC Sierra, Chevy Silverado, Nissan Titan, Toyota Tundra
Capacity:
2 person
Weight:
6.15kg 
Standing height:
6ft
Included accessories:
– Full coverage weatherproof rainfly
Nice features:
– Sewn-in waterproof floor
– Cab access port
– full-height windows
– Gear storage pockets

Reviewer complaints

  • 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

Materials

  • Wall and Roof: Polyester Tafetta
  • Window: Polyester mesh
  • Floor: Polyethylene 
  • Rainfly: Polyester Tafetta 
  • Poles: fibreglass
  • Waterproofing: 800 polyurethane coating 

Specs

Truck size:
options for compact short bed (5’-5.2’), compact regular bed (6’-6.3’) and full size long bed (8’-8.2’)
Capacity:
2 person
Weight:
compact short: 13.35lbs, compact regular: 13.4lbs, and full size long: 16lbs 
Standing height:
6ft
Included accessories:
– Full coverage weatherproof rainfly
Nice features:
– 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

Reviewer Complaints

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

Materials

  • 150D polyester
  • Fibreglass poles
  • 2000mm polyurethane waterproof coating

Specs

Truck size:
ideally a truck bed tent for a regular compact bed (5.5-6’).
Capacity:
2 person
Weight:
9 lbs
Standing height:
6ft
Included accessories:
none
Nice features:
– Waterproof floor layer
– Adjustable shading layer for windows to block out light

Reviewer Complaints

  • 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 

Materials

  • 190T polyester
  • 1500mm water-resistant coating
  • Fibreglass tent poles

Specs

Truck size:
Compact (72-74″) and full size (79-81″)
Capacity:
2 person
Weight:
11lbs
Standing height:
Compact=4.75’ full size=5.25’
Included accessories:
Waterproof rainfly
Nice features:
– Sewn-in polyethene flooring 2 storage pockets
– Water-resistant coating

Reviewer Complaints

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

Materials

  • Nylon
  • 2000mm polyurethane waterproofing
  • Fabric

Specs

Truck size:
Available for all bed sizes
Capacity:
2 person
Weight:
9.25lbs
Standing height:
61 inches
Included accessories:
– Waterproof rainfly
– Protective straps and buckles for your truck
Nice features:
– Color-coded poles and pole pockets for easy assembly
– Lantern hanging hook
– Glow-in-the-dark zippers
– Sky-view vent

Reviewer complaints

The floorless design of this truck bed 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

Materials

  • Polyester
  • 2000mm polyurethane waterproofing
  • Plastic ribs

Specs

Truck size:
Adjustable to all bed sizes (5-8’)
Capacity:
2 person
Weight:
6.2lbs
Standing height:
42 inches
Included accessories:
– PU2000 rainfly
– Wheel well hooks and guylines
– Compact carry bagLamp hook
Nice features:
– 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

Reviewer complaints

  • Directions are difficult to follow
  • Only two 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:

  1. Bed size
  2. Waterproofing
  3. Season rating
  4. Rainfly included or not

Bed Size

Bed size 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 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 bed sizes while others are only designed for a single bed size. 

Waterproofing

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

Season rating is always important when choosing a tent, 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 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. 

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 the included rainfly is not as good as some of the third-party ones out there are.


The Advantages of Truck Bed Camping

Grabbing your truck bed tent and heading out on the road is 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 mattress and some nice pillows, sleeping in the bed of a truck is second only to sleeping in a bed. 

Truck bed camping also keeps you off the ground and away from animals, morning dew, or flash flooding.


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: 

A Mattress

A mattress. 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.

A Rainfly

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. 

Pillows

I like to have a pillow when I’m camping, whether it’s in a hammock, in a tent on the ground or in the back of a truck bed. 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. 

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. 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. 

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