Are Truck Tents Worth It? A Comprehensive Guide

1846 words|Published On: April 19, 2023|

If you’re an avid camper, you may have considered purchasing a truck tent. But with so many options available, you may be wondering: are truck tents worth it?

In this guide, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of truck tents, as well as the factors you should consider before making a purchase.

What is a Truck Tent

A truck tent is a tent designed to fit in the bed of a pickup truck, creating a sleeping area that’s off the ground and protected from the elements. They typically attach to the bed of the truck using straps or clips and feature a variety of entry points, windows, and mesh screens for ventilation.

Benefits of Using a Truck Tent

Here are some benefits you can get with a truck tent.

1. Say Goodbye to Sleeping on Roots and Rocks with Truck Tents

For enthusiastic campers, uneven terrain is a frequent obstacle, especially for those who prefer to explore off the usual routes.

Setting up a traditional tent on such a terrain can be time-consuming as you may have to spend an hour clearing the area of debris and rocks.

Even after clearing the ground, roots and branches can still make it difficult to pitch a tent evenly, forcing you to either compromise on the tent’s stability or search for another spot.

Thankfully, with a truck tent, all these inconveniences are eliminated. You always have a clean and even surface to set up your shelter.

2. Truck Bed Tents Provide a Comfortable Alternative to Sleeping on the Cold Ground

Camping is meant to be a rustic experience, but that doesn’t mean it has to be unbearably uncomfortable. After a long day of hiking and exploring, a comfortable place to rest your head is essential.

Rather than settling for a thin sleeping pad in a ground-level tent, consider investing in a truck bed tent. With the added height and support of your truck bed, you can enjoy a more comfortable and restful sleep.

For even more comfort, add a layer of insulating foam underneath your bed mat. This extra layer will help keep you warm on chilly nights and provide a more cushioned sleeping surface.

Don’t subject yourself to the discomfort of sleeping on cold, hard ground. Upgrade to a truck bed tent and enjoy a more comfortable camping experience.

3. Prevent Encounters with Snakes, Spiders, and Other Creepy Crawlies

Why assume that campers are fearless in the face of creepy crawlies? Enjoying nature doesn’t mean you’re immune to fear.

And it’s understandable. Nobody wants to wake up to a venomous snake or spider crawling around their tent.

According to statistics, there are approximately 5.4 million cases of snake bites worldwide each year, and disturbing their habitat while setting up camp could increase the risk.

That’s why opting for a truck bed tent might be the safer choice. You can still explore during the day but have a secure place to rest at night without worrying about unwanted visitors.

4. Set Up the Perfect Camping Spot Anywhere with a Truck Tent

Truck bed tents offer a unique advantage with their ability to set up camp wherever you desire.

If you dislike camping in crowded areas such as parking lots, you have the freedom to choose your perfect spot and drive right to it.

Want more shade or a scenic view? Dream big and as long as you can park your truck, you’re set for the night.

This feature is especially useful for long-distance trips where finding a peaceful campground nearby is not always an option.

5. Worried About Rain Pools Under Your Tent? Truck Tents Have You Covered

Although rainwater leakage is a possibility with truck bed tents, it is significantly less compared to ground tents.

This is because most truck tent models come equipped with a rain fly that channels water outside of the bed, preventing any pooling on the fabric.

In case of heavy rainfall, you can park the truck in a slightly tilted position to allow the water to drain easily.

If you have a floorless truck tent, placing a tarp on the bed will help in catching any leakage that may slip through the rain cover.

6. Enhanced Scenery and Views from Truck Bed Tents

Imagine this:

You wake up in your tent and see an uneven terrain, bugs crawling on the ground, and tall trees blocking your view. It’s not a pleasant sight to greet you in the morning.

But when you camp in a truck bed tent, you can enjoy a better view.

Being elevated off the ground allows you to catch a glimpse of the sunrise, sunset, and everything in between.

Of course, the quality of your view also depends on the surrounding landscape and the position of your truck.

7. Ensuring a Level Sleeping Surface with Truck Bed Tents

While setting up a regular camping tent on a slope is not entirely impossible, it can be time-consuming and risky.

The same applies to pitching a tent on sand, as the ground is often too unstable to support the tent.

Truck tents eliminate all of these hassles.

While they may be more expensive, you can rest assured that you will always have a flat surface to sleep on.

Drawbacks of Using a Truck Tent

Let’s examine some of the drawbacks of truck tent camping, as nothing is without its flaws.

1. Setting Up the Tent Requires Emptying the Truck Bed

Emptying the truck bed is a common issue people face when switching to truck tents. It can be a daunting task and may even deter some from using them altogether.

Fortunately, there is a straightforward solution to this problem. Simply pack all your gear into a sturdy box with side handles.

When you need to set up the tent, unroll your tonneau cover (if you have one) and move the box into the cabin. This not only simplifies the pitching process but also helps keep your pickup truck clean and organized. It’s a win-win situation.

2. Truck Tents Are Often Pricier Than Traditional Tents

The cost of truck camping equipment can be a significant disadvantage for some people.

In comparison to regular two people camping tents, truck bed setups can be more expensive.

In addition to the initial cost of the tent itself, you may also need to purchase a storage box to keep the bed clear, as well as a mat for comfort while sleeping.

If you opt for a rooftop tent, you may also need to purchase a kit that includes a ladder and other fastening attachments, which can add to the overall cost.

3. Truck Bed Tents Limit You To The Size Of Your Truck Bed

Unlike regular ground tents, which can be as large as you need, truck tents have limited space that depends on the size of your truck bed.

You may not have enough room for more than two adults to sleep comfortably.

Additionally, tall people may have trouble standing upright, although this is not much different from most camping tents.

If you need more space, you can consider roof tents, but they may not be as conventional as ground tents.

4. No Driving Allowed When Truck Tent Is Pitched

While it may seem like a small issue, having the ability to drive without disrupting your camping setup is a benefit. In some cases, you may need to leave the campsite temporarily for supplies or for a drive, while not wanting to take down the tent completely.

If you are using a truck tent, you would have to dismantle it before you can start driving, which can be inconvenient for you and your fellow campers.

However, driving with your tent set up can be dangerous as it may obstruct your view or even fall off, posing a threat to other drivers.

5. Camping Locations Restricted to Accessibility by Truck

While it’s great to be able to escape overcrowded campgrounds with your pickup truck, it’s not without its limitations.

On foot, you can easily venture into the woods and discover secluded areas tucked away in hidden nooks and crannies. However, that’s not feasible with a truck, regardless of your driving skills.

Additionally, some campsites along hiking trails may not allow vehicles on the land, which could be a significant setback if you don’t have an extra portable tent.

6. Replacing Your Truck? Consider Replacing Your Truck Tent

Another expense you might face with truck bed camping is the need for a new tent when you switch to a different vehicle. Truck bed tents are not designed to be a universal fit, so each time you get a new pickup truck, you might have to purchase a new tent as well.

However, you can try to match your new truck with similar bed measurements to your old one. For example, the Toyota Tacoma, Chevy Colorado, and Nissan Frontier have similar bed sizes.

But if you’re upgrading to a full-size truck like the Ford F-series, your old tent won’t fit. While it’s unlikely that someone would choose a vehicle based on their tent size, it’s still something to keep in mind, especially for rental purposes.

7. Getting In and Out of the Tent Requires Some Skill

While a truck tent can provide a great view, it can be difficult to get in and out of, especially when you need to use the bathroom at night.

Many people forget that the tent is elevated and might even trip or stumble off the truck bed.

If you have kids with you, it might be helpful to invest in a stair support or use a sturdy stool or small ladder instead of a spare tire.

After a few nights, you’ll likely get used to the process of entering and exiting the tent. Additionally, having a floorless model can serve as a reminder that you’re off the ground.

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Truck Tent

Size: Consider the size of your truck bed and the number of people you’ll be camping with when choosing a truck tent. Some tents are designed to fit specific truck models and sizes, while others are more versatile.

Materials: Look for a truck tent made from durable and high-quality materials that can withstand the elements. You’ll also want to consider the weight of the tent, as well as how easy it is to set up and take down.

Weather resistance: Choose a truck tent that’s designed to handle the weather conditions you’re likely to encounter on your camping trips. Look for tents with a rainfly or waterproof coating for added protection.

Features: Consider the features you’ll need in a truck tent, such as ventilation, windows, and mesh screens. You may also want to look for tents that come with a storage bag or other accessories for added convenience.


So, are truck tents worth it?

Ultimately, the answer depends on your camping needs and preferences. If you’re looking for convenience, off-the-ground sleeping, and protection from the elements, a truck tent may be a great option for you.

However, if you’re camping with a larger group or on a tight budget, a traditional camping tent may be a better choice. Consider the factors

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