Truck Bed Tent Camping.

The 5 Secrets To Truck Bed Tent Camping

Camping in the outdoors just got a whole lot easier with truck bed tent camping. Imagine being elevated off the ground for a fraction of the cost of a camper. No more bugs or dirt getting into your tent or cold, hard ground with rocks jabbing you in the back.

No matter if you’re taking a road trip across the states or escaping for a weekend camping trip, camping out of the bed of your truck has a handful of benefits.

Ever since I purchased my truck bed tent and camped out if it I’ve been hooked. You’ll never catch me pitching a tent on the ground right beside my truck again.

In this guide we’ll walk through all things regarding truck bed tent camping, including the best tents to purchase!

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This Guide Includes:

  • What truck bed tent camping is
  • Pros & cons of camping in a truck tent
  • Why just any old tent won’t work
  • Best truck bed tents on the market
  • How to measure your truck for a truck tent

What Is Truck Bed Tent Camping?

Of course truck bed tent camping is exactly as it sounds- a tent pitched in the bed of a truck. But you shouldn’t use just any tent. To benefit the most from this set up I highly suggest purchasing a truck bed tent made specifically for the bed of your truck.

We’ll go over the benefits of doing so here shortly, but before we do I want to at least acknowledge that this isn’t the only way to utilize the bed of your truck.

There are other methods to camping in the bed of your truck:

  • Use a camper shell – $$
  • Purchase a pop up tent and attach it over the bed – $$$$
  • Makeshift a tent/cover – $
  • Just sleep in the back without covering

I’m one who wants a simple and quick setup that doesn’t cost much. Therefore I am team actual truck bed tent all the way. I used to dream of having a pop up tent setup but after looking into them I realized how inconvenient it is to always have it on your truck or to take it off and store it somewhere.

Maybe after you learn on the secrets to camping in a truck bed tent you’ll agree with me. Or maybe not, to each their own.

5 Secrets To Camping In A Truck Bed Tent

So let’s get to it. Why do I love camping in an actual truck bed tent so much? Keep scrolling to find out.

1. It Elevates You Off The Hard Ground

Truck Bed Tent Camping.
My German Shepherd and I camping in our truck bed tent.

The most obvious and probably beneficial thing is the fact you’re elevated off the ground. Yes you can use sleeping pads, blow up mattresses, etc. to help mitigate the uncomfortable earth, but being off the ground in entirety greatly helps that.

You no longer have to worry about clearing out rocks or finding a spot without a large rut. You also will be less likely do get condensation build up in the bottom of your tent therefore keeping you dry and warm.

It is true that sleeping on the ground is much colder!

2. Gets You Away From The Critters

Of course in the outdoors you can’t escape bugs and critters completely, but being elevated off the ground decreases your chances of unwanted interactions.

Spiders, snakes, lizards, and all the other creepy crawlies have easier access to you and your tent if you’re on the ground. It is more difficult for them to trespass when you’re sitting higher up.

Of course you still need to keep the door zipped shut so flies and mosquitos don’t fly in. They are inevitable no matter where you are. But at least now you can sleep soundly without being in the direct path of critters during the night.

3. You Have More Room

Truck Bed Tent Camping.
View camping out of our truck bed tent in the Four Peak Wilderness.

My husband is 6 foot 2 and having the extra room is probably one of his favorite perks of the truck bed tent. I was surprised myself when we set it up for the first time- I could almost fully stand up in it!

The thing about truck bed tents is they not only have a higher pitch because they are more secure, but they also utilize the full square footage of the truck bed. This means tailgate and all!

When you go truck bed tent camping your tailgate will be left down and covered by the tent. This means you have plenty of room to fully extend your legs plus have space for your gear and shoes at the foot of your bed.

4. Smaller Campsite Footprint

One of my favorite things about truck bed tent camping is you can camp anywhere you can park! This makes it so much easier to find campsites in the backcountry, especially when dispersed camping.

With a normal ground pitched tent you’d need to have a little bit of a clearing to be able to comfortably set up camp. Having a smaller footprint means you have more space to set up a table for cooking, cornhole, you name it.

5. Cost Effective

All of the camping gear can get pretty pricey. A good quality tent can run anywhere from $200-$500+ and if you’re thinking of a pop up tent then you’re looking at thousands of dollars. Don’t let the big dream of having a fully decked out setup keep you from actually getting out to camp.

I purchased my truck bed tent for less that $200 and have used it several times since. It was cost effective, is good quality, and has lasted with the hot Arizona sun. I don’t plan on replacing it anytime soon!

If you’re looking for a way to begin camping without breaking the bank, this is it. Then, as you learn what type of camper you are and save up, you can splurge on improving your setup.

Cons Of Truck Tent Camping

Of course we can’t just take a look at all of the positives. There are three major drawbacks to having a truck bed tent versus hard-shell or pop up tent.

1. You Can’t Really ‘Leave’ Camp

One major drawback for me is that I have to take the tent down and pack it up if I want to drive anywhere. I haven’t tried driving off with my tent set up before, but it just seems like a terrible idea.

It will most definitely catch in the wind and maybe snap a pole. You won’t be able to drive on the main highway with it set up, but if you needed to slowly go down the road I’m sure you could make do.

2. The Weather Has To Be Right

Being elevated off the ground really helps, but you still don’t get any insulation or air-conditioning. I haven’t been in my truck tent yet when it’s rained, and I’m convinced it would do just find, but I definitely don’t want to camp in it when it is 100 degrees outside or even 30 degrees.

Just like any other tent- it doesn’t fully protect you from bad weather elements. I’m sure you could purchase a rain fly or rig something up yourself, but from what I’ve seen these tents aren’t typically sold with a rain fly.

3. You Need Level Ground

One annoying thing is if you can’t park your truck to be level, well, you won’t be sleeping level either. When camping in the back of your truck you feel the slightest angle because you’re used to sleeping flat in your bed at home.

Usually it is easy enough to find a level area to park, but sometimes it isn’t. Just keep this in mind when choosing your next camping spot!

Top Picks: Truck Bed Tents

Truck Bed Tent.

Best Overall:

JoyTutus Pickup Truck Tent

Best Compact Truck Tent:

Guide Gear Compact Truck Tent

Best Hunting Truck Tent:

Backrodz Waterproof Camouflage Truck Tent

Best Tent With Awning:

Napier Sportz Truck Bed Tent

Tent With Removable Rain Fly:

WASAGUN Truck Bed Tent With Removable Shelter

Best For Quick Assembly:

Truck Bed Tent Quick & Easy Setup

How To Measure Your Truck For A Truck Tent

The thing with truck bed tents is they aren’t one size fits all. It can seem a bit confusing at first trying to find the right size for your truck bed, but hopefully when I break it down for you below it helps.

Typically pickup trucks come in 3 different sizes- full-size, mid-size, and compact size. And beyond that each truck bed is generally either a long bed, short bed, or compact size.

First step is knowing the make and model of your pickup truck then knowing the size of your bed. But just knowing the size of your bed isn’t going to do it because long beds, short beds, and even compact beds can have a range of measurements.

To measure your truck bed do the following:

  • Let your tailgate down.
  • Measure along the bottom of your bed from the very back of the cap to the edge, not including the tailgate.
  • Be sure to leave the tailgate out of your measurement.
  • Take that measurement to the tent manufacturer listing and confirm what range your measurement falls in-between.

It really is quite simple so don’t overthink it. Worst case just always refer back to the tent manufacturer’s guidelines.

Final Thoughts On Truck Bed Tent Camping

I hope this guide has helped you decide whether truck bed tent camping is for you or not! I truly believe it is a great way to start camping if you have a truck of your own. No sense in waiting for that ‘perfect setup’ and prolonging your outdoor adventures.

Gone are the days of sleeping on the cold, hard ground with critters. Now you can sleep elevated and away from all the creepy crawlies, probably have a better view out your door, and minimize your footprint for a fraction of the cost.

Let me know in the comments if you’re team truck tent camping or prefer a different setup!

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