How to Choose the Right Camping Tent – An In-Depth Analysis on Truck & SUV Tents

Truck and SUV tents have revolutionized the camping tent industry ever since they were first designed by Roman Napieraj back in 1990. They directly attach to your vehicle and reduce your camping limitations as you do not necessarily have to find a flat ground to set up your tent. Today, the SUV and truck tents are classified into three broad categories – Truck Bed, Rooftop and Ground Attachment tents. Each type comes with its own pros and cons.

How to Choose the Right Camping Tent An In-Depth Analysis on Truck SUV Tents 2

If you are on an online marketplace and looking at a list of truck bed tents, first you need to know your preferences. In this guide, we will talk about these camping tents in detail that will assist you in making a better purchase.

Truck Bed Tents

Truck bed tent is a perfect way to set up your camping tent anywhere your truck goes! Without having to worry about the ground terrain or any other outside conditions, these tents can be set up inside the truck bed.

Some people do not like to sleep on uncomfortable or uneven ground with the added inconvenience of all those bugs and critters. Truck tents allow you to convert your truck into a comfy, fully covered sleeping space.


  • Truck tents are quite affordable – a perfect choice for those who have just started with their truck camping experience.
  • Due to the good ground clearance that you get in most trucks, you will have the height advantage to protect you from bugs or other wildlife.
  • These tents are quite easy to set up and remove. If you do not like your campsite, not a problem at all – simply remove the tent, park your truck at a better place and install the tent again.


  • The downside of this type of tent is that it requires you to empty the bed of your truck before you can install the tent. You might have a lot of camping gear or other stuff in your truck bed, and it might not be too convenient to unload all of that, especially if you are on a solo camping trip.
  • These tents are specifically designed for trucks, so if you trade your truck with an SUV someday, your tent will be unusable.
  • If the weather gets too bad, you might face the issue of water pooling inside the truck bed – a big hassle that could ruin your night`s sleep.

Ground Attachment & SUV Tents

If you want to use the extra ground space and be able to fully stand up inside the tent, ground attachment tents will do the job.

These tents are quite similar to the regular ground tents – made with polyester fabric and have lightweight, easy-to-erect poles and hubs. The removable one side of the wall can be wrapped around your SUV or hatchback, allowing you to use your entire vehicle cargo space.

You can also use these tents as regular ground tents by simply re-attaching the wall.


  • Ground attachment tents allow you to use your vehicle cargo space, in addition with the extra space that you get using the ground terrain.
  • If you want to take your vehicle for a ride, you can simply unstrap the tent from your vehicle and convert it into a regular standalone tent without having to completely taking it down.
  • These tents are perfect if you have a large family with kids or toddlers.
  • You do not require any ladders or stools during setting up this type of tent, making it real easy and hassle-free.


  • It is not always easy to find the perfect spot for both, the vehicle and the tent, especially if your campsite terrain is wet or uneven.
  • You will need to bring along extra gear such as padding, tarps, bedding, bug sprays, etc., as you will be exposed to ground elements – similar to a standalone ground tent.

Rooftop Tents

Rooftop tents have gained massive foothold in the truck tent camping industry since the past many years. Whether you own a mid-sized SUV or a long bed pick-up truck, these tents will add a whole lot of fun to your camping adventure.

These tents are further divided into two types:

Soft-side or Soft Shell Tents – These are usually made of canvas or a similar material. A soft shell tent gives you more space, so it is a good option for a small family.

Hard-shell Tents – These are more aerodynamic, easy-to-setup and weatherproof as compared to the soft shell tents. However, these tents do not allow much space. It is a good choice if you are camping with only your friend or your partner.


  • Rooftop tents take the ground terrain element completely out of the equation, just like truck tents. You can set them up wherever your vehicle can park.
  • Since these tents are erected on the top, your entire vehicle storage area remains usable.
  • Easy to set up and take down.


  • Due to their build material and other elements such as aerodynamic capability for hard shell tents, ladder extender, canopy, etc., rooftop tents will cost you more than other tents.
  • If your vehicle doesn`t come with a built-in roof rack, you will need to have it installed separately.
  • Much heavier than ground or truck tents.
  • Not recommended for those with physical disability as you have to climb a ladder to get in or out of the tent.

Final Word on SUV and Truck Tents

Prior to making a purchase, always analyze the camping location, ground terrain, number of people, weather forecast and other relevant factors, so that you can buy the tent that meets your requirements.

You do not necessarily have to go with the expensive ones. Start with a reasonably priced tent and after a few outdoor trips, you will be able to make a better, rational decision in accordance with your preferences.