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The 7 Best Truck Bed Tents of 2020

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If you’re a truck owner like me, you probably love using it to explore the world and get closer to nature. You also probably thrill at finding new and useful ways to put your truck bed to work. Truck bed camping is a perfect way to combine the two. 

In a truck bed tent, you get all the benefits of tent camping without some of the difficulties. Imagine being able to set up and take down in an instant, and having an elevated and impossibly comfortable tent already waiting for you once you do.

Imagine even having the luxuries of electric and heat or air conditioning set up right in your tent, no matter how off the beaten path you travel. 

That is just the start of what is possible with the best truck bed tents. Intrigued? Well, keep reading. We’ve got all the info you’ll need to know to start your search for the perfect truck bed tent, and we’ve even picked out some of the best truck bed tent campers on the market to help get you going.

Thinking you might want a truck camper? Check out this post: The Best Truck Campers for an Awesome Adventure

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What is a truck bed tent camper?

The best truck bed tents are probably exactly what you’re thinking. They’re simply tents that fit into the bed of a truck. They come in many different sizes and styles but most of them look like a standard ground tent that’s been put into a truck bed. That simple elevation offers a whole lot of perks.

Pickup truck tent campers tend to be larger than you might expect, easily fitting 2-3 people with a surprising amount of headroom. They set up and take down in a flash and offer a slightly more elevated (pun intended) camping experience. 

Napier Sportz Truck Bed tent opened on the back of a pickup

See the Napier Outdoor Sportz Truck Tent on Amazon

The positives and negatives of a truck bed tent

Pros to a truck bed tent:

  • Quick setup. The initial installation of your truck bed tent might take a bit of time, but once it’s installed in your bed, set up and take down are a breeze. This is especially beneficial if you plan to be moving locations frequently, as you can pull in and get set up in a new spot much quicker than you could with a standard tent.
  • Weather protected. A few feet of elevation might not seem like much, but in poor weather conditions, staying high and dry away from impending rain or snow is a huge plus.
  • Protection. The height of the best truck bed tent campers also means not only protection from the elements but from critters or crawlers that might otherwise try to sneak their way into your tent. 
  • Privacy. Whether you’re staying at a campground or in the wilderness, people that camp are seeking solitude. With a truck bed tent, you’ll find you feel a bit less open and exposed than you might in a traditional ground tent. 
  • Portability. If you can get there with your truck, you can now comfortably and conveniently camp there, too. Truck bed tents tend to set up and take down much quicker and easier than standard tents once they’ve been installed, and much of your gear can remain inside your closed tent in the truck bed. That increases your packing space a ton and means a huge amount of time and effort saved.
  • Access to amenities. Being in your truck also means direct access to your truck’s amenities. This varies widely based on different truck models, but if your truck is equipped with outlets or lights in your truck bed, those are hugely valuable resources to have camping. If your truck has an opening window to the truck bed, you can also feed warm or cool air into your tent, dramatically increasing comfort in extreme weather.

Cons to a truck bed tent: 

  • Confusing setup. While popping up your tent once it’s in your bed is a breeze, actually getting it into your bed might be a different story. This factor varies a lot depending on the actual truck bed tent, and some are much easier to install than others. But in general, installing this in your tent will be more difficult than setting up a standard tent. Similar to a rooftop tent, if you can install once and leave it for the season, this is not a huge factor, but if you need to be taking the whole tent in and out of your truck bed frequently, this could be a big annoyance. Beyond the initial install, setting these up isn’t quite as intuitive as setting up a standard tent, and there might be some learning curves until you get the hang of it. 
  • Truck bound. As mentioned in the point above, once your truck bed tent is installed, you’re not going to want to take it out until you’re home and done. There’s no way to set it up on the ground to standalone, it stays in your truck for the whole trip. For some people, this is a non-factor. But others can’t imagine having their truck bed filled up and unusable for an entire camping trip. If this is you, a truck bed tent is probably not your best option.
  • Uncomfortable floor. I’ve mentioned the comfort of truck bed tents a few times. I should probably clarify. Most people use sleeping mats, cots, or inflatable mattresses in their truck bed tent. Sleeping directly on the floor of a truck bed is going to be ridiculously uncomfortable. That’s not what these tents were designed for. If you plan to sleep with just sleeping bags, you will be very, very uncomfortable on a hard, corrugated metal floor.
  • Stepping in/out. This depends a lot on how high your tailgate sits, but some users find the height uncomfortable for getting in and out of a tent. With a traditional ground tent of course, you’re having to get all the way on the ground and back up, so this factor really varies person to person. 

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The best truck bed tents for sale

Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent – $340-$424

kodiak truck bed tent on a truck in a fieldPrice: $340 – $424
Height: 5 ft 
Floor: No

Quick look:

  • Sturdy, 100% cotton duck canvas
  • Durable, watertight and breathable.
  • 3/4-inch steel frame
  • Interior pockets

The Kodiak tent does a great job of maximizing a truck bed’s footprint. The main frame is three half-circle awnings that canopy over the truck bed. Compared to a more standard peaked tent design, this really opens up the tent into a much more functional space. 

This truck bed tent clamps on to the sides of your truck bed, rather than sitting inside of it. That means the floor of your truck bed is the floor of your tent. This design gives you more room and can mean more convenient access to things, but also has a bad reputation for not being totally waterproof and causing leaks. 

SEE ON AMAZON

Napier Backroadz Truck Tent Camper for Sale – $145-$251

Napier Backroadz Truck Bed Tent

Price: $145-$251
Height: 5’ 6”
Floor: Yes
Quick look:

  • 800mm PU Polyester Taffeta
  • Fits most truck beds, even with tool boxes
  • Large viewing windows
  • Optional rainfly

As with all Napier tents, the Backroadz truck tent camper includes a full, waterproof floor. This is really important if you plan to camp in intense weather or rain.

Many of the best truck bed tents are really more of a rainfly, providing a roof and cover that extends past the edges of your truck bed but doesn’t actually seal anywhere. In heavy rains, this can fail and be an absolute detriment to your trip. 

Napier solves this with a full floor, like a standard ground tent. In fact, the whole design of this tent from its color-coded poles to its rainfly exterior is strikingly similar to a standard tent and is a great option for someone looking for a happy middle ground between the two. 

SEE ON AMAZON

Napier Outdoor Sportz Tent – $236-$290

Napier Sportz Series Truck Bed Tent

Price: $236-$290
Height: 5’ 8”
Floor: Yes
Quick look:

  • 800mm PU Polyester Taffeta
  • Convenient extended awning
  • Fit for compact 5 ft. truck beds
  • Works with sprayed or prefabricated liners

The Napier Outdoor Sportz Tent has a distinct feature that makes it uniquely desirable to some. Its large, extended awning provides weather protection outside the confines of your truck bed. This might not seem like a big benefit to some, but to others, this small space acts as a mudroom of sorts and is absolutely essential to a clean and therefore enjoyable camping trip. 

SEE ON AMAZON

Napier Outdoor Sportz Avalanche Truck Bed Tent Camper for Sale – $230-$250

Napier Sportz Avalanche on a truck with a waterfall in the background

Price: $230-$250
Height: 5’ 5”
Floor: Yes
Quick look:

  • 2 interior pockets and gear loft
  • Convenient 6’ x 6’ extended awning
  • Rear cab access door

The Avalanche is the slightly smaller sister to the standard Sportz tent but is still packed with useful features and amenities. A rear access door is a huge convenience for accessing your truck cab without having to get out of your tent and go all the way around.

If you’re planning to hijack your truck’s heat or air conditioning, this is even more valuable for creating an efficient passage of air. 

SEE ON AMAZON

Napier Outdoor Sportz Camo – $290-$300

Camo truck bed tent on a pickup near a lake

Price: $290-$300
Height: 5’ 6”
Floor: Yes
Quick look:

  • 2 interior pockets and gear loft
  • Convenient 4’ x 4’ extended awning
  • Rear cab access door

This exclusive edition of the popular Napier Outdoor Sportz helps you truly immerse in your surroundings with full camo print. You’ll still get all the access and convenience with features like a rear cab access door. 

SEE ON AMAZON

Guide Gear Full Time and Compact Truck Campers – $90-$100

The Compact truck bed tent

Price: $90-$100
Height: 5’ 3”
Floor: Yes
Quick look:

  • 190T polyester 
  • 1500mm water-resistant coating
  • Fits most full-size truck beds

Yes, you read that right. No, it’s not a typo. You really can get a fully-lined truck bed tent for under $100 with the Compact Truck Camper. This truck bed tent seems too good to be true, and it might be, but the several hundred positive reviews suggest otherwise.

While this isn’t the roomiest tent on the market and it doesn’t have some of the features as the others, it seems to be extremely reliable, easy to set up and take down, and totally water/weather resistant. And at this price, it’s kind of a steal.

SEE ON AMAZON

Rightline Gear Truck Bed Tent – $130-$250

Rightline Gear truck bed tent offers a skyview

Price: $130 – $250
Height: 4’ 10”
Floor: No
Quick look:

  • Sky view vent
  • PU 2000mm weather resistant
  • Glow in the dark zipper pulls
  • 1-year manufacturer warranty

This sleek tent offers some fun and thoughtful features. When the rainfly is off, you can take advantage of this tent’s unique sky view vent, offering upward views of the sky and stars while you sleep. A big plus for those looking to get a bit closer to nature. 

SEE ON AMAZON

Q&A about truck bed tent campers

Q: Will a pickup truck tent camper damage my truck?
A: No. If installed correctly, truck bed tents can be removed without leaving any lasting damage. There is no need to install any extra mechanisms as you would with a 5th wheel camper hitch. Truck bed tents simply clamp into your truck bed. 

Q: How do you set up a truck bed tent?
A: Truck bed tents all have unique installation instructions. If you don’t have your model’s specific instructions, you should try to find them online. You will also likely be able to find helpful installation videos and guides to help make the process even easier.

Q: Can you use a truck bed tent on the ground?
A: No. Truck bed tents are designed to be used in the truck bed and use the walls of the bed as part of its framework. That means there’s no way for it to stand alone on the ground. 

Q: How do I measure my truck bed?
A: Take a tape measure out to your truck. To measure the length, determine the distance from the inside of your tailgate to the inside of your truck bed’s bulkhead. Divide by 12 if you want to know the distance in terms of feet and inches. This is the measurement you’ll need to know to purchase the proper truck bed tent. 

Thinking you want something a little more solid? Check out The 11 Best Mini Truck Campers On The Market.

Conclusion on the best truck bed tent campers

Bright blue truck bed tent camper with a ground tent extension
Photo courtesy of Napier

Truck bed tents offer a great and simple step up (again, pun intended) from traditional tent camping. With the added comfort and increased convenience of a truck bed tent camper, you might find yourself making more time to get away and go camping.

Whatever your reason for getting out there, a good truck bed tent can help you do so more often and more enjoyably. 

This article is a great place to get going, but it’s just a start. Comment with any questions and let us know what else you’d like to know about truck bed tents.

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