How to Pick a Truck Tent

Having a truck tent is a great alternative to something that you can simply put on the ground or mount on a roof rack, especially when you’re off camping or normally on-the-go.

In this article, we’ll help you consider important factors in buying a truck tent, so you get the winning match of convenience and functionality, in your every adventure. If you opt for a rooftop tent, click here.

1.  Truck Tent Fabric

Learning about the weather condition of where you’ll be going, lets you know what to expect as it eliminates the element of surprise.

With this in mind, choose the right truck tent fabric for the job. If you’re going to a rainy place, look for truck tents either made from Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC-coated) or Polyurethane (PU-coated) Canvas because they’re extra resilient against water.

If you’re going somewhere sunny, getting truck tents with polyester fabric is an excellent choice because it has a special Ultraviolet (UV) layer that preserves its lifespan against the sun’s heat.

Some Popular Truck Tents and What They’re Made Of

A. Napier Backroadz Truck Tent

Made from Polyurethane (PU) Polyester Taffeta (Photo from Amazon.com).

B. Kodiak Canvas Truck Tent

Made from Pure Cotton Duck Canvas (Photo from Amazon.com).

C. Guide Gear Full-size Truck Tent

Made from 190T Polyester (Photo from Amazon.com).

D. Sportz by Napier Avalanche Truck Tent

Made from Polyester and Nylon Taffeta (Photo from Amazon.com).

E. Rightline Gear Truck Tent

Made from 2000-mm Polyurethane (Photo from Amazon.com).

2.  Sewn-in Floor vs No-Floor

Offroading Gear’s truck tent sewn-in floors keep you comfortable and dry during rainy nights.

Truck tents are generally going to come in two types: those with a sewn in floor and those without a floor. For example, the SportZ Truck Tent from Napier that has a sewn-in floor that prevents worms and other creepy crawlies from ruining your sleep and are generally ‘cleaner’ On the other hand, Rightline Gear’s Truck Tents have no sewn in floor but are also more affordable.

3.  Truck Size

Overview

Truck Bed Model Length Width
Full-size Long Bed 8’ 63′-66′
Full-size Standard Bed 6.5’ 63′-66′
Full-size Short Bed 5.5’ 49′-63′

How big is your truck bed?

Truck tents will typically accommodate one of three truck bed sizes: 8′ lengths, 6.5′ lengths and 5.5′ lengths (they are NOT one size fits all). You need to pick the model according to your truck bed length. Remember, your bed length is always measured excluding the tailgate.

Truck bed widths are fairly standard, except in smaller compact trucks, so width isn’t as big of consideration as the truck length.

For detailed discussions on sizes, visit Truck Bed Dimensions.  

4.  Sleeping Capacity

Given the standard widths of trucks, unfortunately, truck tents can only accommodate two adults comfortably (and perhaps one child).

If you need something larger, unfortunately you may want to consider a traditional ground tent or larger roof top tents.

5.  Budget

Overview

Truck Tents Price Range
Branded Tents $259-$339
Affordable Tents $164-$210
Cheap Tents $94-$135

Spending more than a few bucks for a truck tent is normal but going after what you truly want is a different thing. The truth is, truck tents can cost more than $300 but can also be inexpensive at around less than a 100. Prices are determined according to the design and other bonus features they bring to the table.

Usually, what makes other truck tents expensive is how they’re designed. If they come with many extras like a full rainfly, PU or PVC coating, and color-coded poles for quick setup, those automatically add to the cost because of the increase in lifespan and usefulness.

Truck tents with large entrance, windows and toolbox containers or mini drawers, are also a plus because they mimic the natural concept of home.

Although be very careful with truck tents that can be made from pure nylon because they don’t provide much elemental protection (especially from rain) and are only good in the short run.

6.  Installation

Is your truck tent easy to install or just the exact opposite? If you usually go on a solo adventure, go for a truck tent that can be set in a snap. After all, none will be there to assist you and you don’t want to be in panic mode, in case weather unpredictability happens in the middle of setting it up.

Some truck tents can take up to three minutes to set up. On the contrary, if you’re lucky enough, you might come across others that can be installed in less than a minute.

However, the golden rule is you should practice setting up your truck tent before the big camping day arrives. This lets you figure out if what in its instruction manual says is true or if you still need improvising, to make the setup easier and faster.

7. Interior Pockets

Now, if you’re the kind of person who loves bringing small items on the side or if you can’t get rid of your digital camera despite having an iPhone, your truck tent should have interior pockets.

The interior pockets will help you organize your belongings by keeping them in place and prevent your truck tent from looking messy. A standard truck tent contains 1-2 interior pockets. But if you’re looking for large versions, they’ll have 4-6 interior pockets.

One thing to note about interior pockets though is choose those with deep-hole designs, especially if you’re planning on stuffing them with some of your valuables such as; memory card, flashlight, extra batteries, etc., to prevent them from sliding and getting lost. Interior pockets with long sleeves are also essential against the unpredictable weather.

8. Cabin Accessibility

Easy access to the cabin area lets you instantly charge electronic devices.

Not all tents come with a rear access window. Why is this important? A rear access window allows you to access your cabin and easily charge devices (I know- you would never check your phone while camping)

If you expect to need to access your truck’s cigarette lighter for charging purposes, look for a tent with a rear access window such as Offroading Gear’s Granville II truck tent.

Conclusion

These are the factors you must always consider in picking a truck tent. Doing so, helps you invest in the one that matches your camping or on-the-go requirements and give you peace of mind, wherever you are. Share us your thoughts below.

References:

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