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The 6 Best SUV Tents for Convenient Outdoor Camping in 2021

What is the purpose of an SUV tent

Last Updated on April 16, 2021 by Tent Reviewer

If you are considering the idea of purchasing a tent for your SUV, do not just rush out a buy the very first one you see. Not all SUV tents are created equally.

Different manufacturers offer varying degrees of product quality and features. You do not want your tent to fall down on you or your loved ones!

There are so many SUV tents out there, it can be difficult to choose. Be sure to do some research first. You can use this article as a good starting point.

It’s nice though to have such a selection. This guide attempts to narrow down the selection to the 6 best SUV tents that we have chosen.

In a hurry? Check our tops picks of best SUV tents.

Large capacity for at most 6 persons, strong resistance to high winds, a good rest place for your car camping trip, Kingcamp SUV Tent

Easy to fold and set up, easy access, a no-see-um screen providing bug and privacy protection, DAC Explorer SUV Tent

Deluxe car camping tent, set up on the rooftop, 4 season for all weathers, strong fabric and frame, Smittybilt Rooftop SUV Tent

 

What is an SUV Tent?

An SUV tent is a tent that is designed to attach to one’s SUV. It is an innovation in camping because it offers a lot more comfort to the user.

SUV tents can be rooftop, which is generally more expensive, or they can be attached to the SUV’s back. Generally, people fold down their seats in the back and then put in air mattresses to sleep at night.

People love the concept of this tent, whether it is to look at the stars at night on the rooftop tent, or just to have air conditioning and heating. People should be aware that they need the proper vents as well to prevent toxic gases from building up.

When it comes to SUV tents, you should do research to select the type of features that you want to have. Some even have shaded patios that attach to the tent to sit outside in the shade and have a drink.

what is an suv tent

 

Different Types of SUV Tent

  • SUV tailgate tent

If you need an SUV tent that secures you slightly away from your vehicle, this is the right model to choose. The SUV tailgate tents connect at the back of the car, and in this case, you get to sleep on the ground.

  • SUV rooftop tent

If you plan to sleep in a raised space for your comfort and safety, the SUV rooftop tent is the best tent to get. As the name states, these are the types of tents attached to the vehicle’s roof for total safety and your luxury.

  • SUV awning tent

The SUV awning tent is the tent that is set next to the stationed vehicle. So, you can use the tent as a vehicle extension if you want to create a large space to sleep or if you want space to keep items that cannot fit in the vehicle.

Depending on the design, the SUV awning tent is quite spacious and provides more space than other SUV tents considering it is not fitted on the car.

What Are the Benefits of An SUV Tent?

What can an SUV tent provide for you? Let’s have a look!

Provides ample protection

With an SUV tent, you and your car get ample shelter. First off, the tent is secured to the car, which means that it provides shelter for your car as well.

Also, the tent’s connection to the car ensures you are protected when accessing your car from different points. So, when raining, you will never get wet when you want to access something from your car.

Additional space

The SUV tents are not only suitable for providing shelter while camping or away from home, but you can also set this tent to create more space.

The tent allows you to maximize the space around your vehicle as you can use it to store your clothes and other personal necessities. For example, if you travel with items that cannot fit in your car, you can store them in the SUV tent.

They Are versatile

Another benefit of an SUV tent is the versatility in use. The tents are made to fit in most car models easily.

So, you can use one tent with different car models. If you own different camping cars, an SUV tent is the best choice for camping as it does not limit your travel needs.

 

How to Find the Right Tent for Your SUV?

1. Material

Most automotive tents are composed of polyester walls and rainfly and polypropylene straps. A lightweight tent is composed of fiberglass whereas a more durable build will contain a more heavy frame made primarily of polyester and fire retardant material.

2. Size

Sizing varies but each model will list which vehicles it’s compatible with. Be sure to read a thorough product description and several reviews before you decide to buy. This way you can be sure to select the correct product for your vehicle’s size.

3. Straps

Through frequent use, SUV tent straps can scratch the paint on your vehicle. Some companies, like Napier, make covers specifically for those straps.

4. Poles

Sportz offers shock-corded poles for easy setup. Rightline’s poles are composed entirely out of fiberglass so just about anyone can set up their lightweight tent. Napier offers poles made of steel or fiberglass, however, steel poles will weigh considerably more than fiberglass.

5. Stakes

The number of stakes varies depending on what brand you decide to purchase. Napier, for example, has 20 stakes in its 84000 model tent. Rightline offers 16 stakes. Either model is perfectly safe and dependable despite the difference in the number of stakes utilized in the product’s design.

 

The 6 Best SUV Tents in 2021 Review

1. Best Roof Top Tent –  Smittybilt 4 Season SUV Tent

suv roof tent
Best Waterproof Rooftop SUV Tent

 

Season: 4

Capacity: 2-3

Weight: 116.5 pounds

Capacity Upper Limit: 661 lbs.

The Smittybilt Overlander tent is a rooftop tent. It also has a portion on the side for camping in. The purchase comes with a foam double mattress. This makes it great for a one-and-done purchase.

You can expect to pay $900 to $1000 for this number when you factor in the taxes. You can customize the size and upgrade to a three to four-person tent as well.

Enjoy looking up at the stars at night from the comfort of the tent from the sunroof. The side windows have mosquito nets.

Check Price on Amazon

 

2. Large Space – KingCamp 3 Season SUV Tailgate Tents for 4-6 Person

3 season suv tent with 2 room
Best SUV Tent with a Screen Room for 4/6 People

Capacity: 5-6

Peak Height: 7.5′

Bedroom Size: 9.5′ x 9.5′

Screen Room Size: 9′ x 6.5′

Waterproof Rating: 3000 mm

Then KingCamp SUV car tent is meant for all three seasons. It fits four to six people. Expect to pay around $450 for this tent when all taxes are factored in. The reason this tent is the best is that it has a shaded patio-like structure.

The polyester is breathable as well. You can enjoy a room where you look out into the wilderness at the front. The best part of this tent is the easy setup. You can have it up and running in 15 minutes flat.

Check Price on Amazon

 

3. Patio Joy SUV Tent Cabana for 5 People

best suv tents for camping
Best Tent for Back for SUV

 

Capacity: 5

Peak Height: 84″

Weight: 22.5 lbs

Material: Polyester & fiberglass

The Ozark Trail 5 man SUV tent has a lot of space and is a sturdy build. This tent looks like a full-sized tent coming out from the back of the SUV. It comes with a lot of neat features like a mud mat. It also has pockets for storage.

You can put some chairs at the front with a small overhang that will shade your head. This is the perfect tent for any adventures that you are going on. You get the benefits of an SUV with the structure of a regular-looking tent.

Check Price on Amazon

 

4. Ultralight – DAC Explorer SUV Tent

tent for back of explorer suv
Best SUV Tent with Screen Mesh

 

Capacity: 2

Weight: 5 lbs.

Material: Polyester & steel

This Explorer 2 SUV and Minivan Tent is a smaller tent but it will utilize your vehicle. You will end up camping in your vehicle but it will be all closed off from the world.

There is a see-through screen covering the trunk so that you can see out into the beautiful nature you are surrounded with.

Ultimately, you will enjoy that you can hang out in your SUV and still get a lot of fresh airflows. Those that are scared of bears and other wildlife might feel safer that they can stay up elevated from the ground.

Check Price on Amazon

 

5. Best Honda SUV Tailgate Tent

suv screen tent
Best SUV Tent Cabana

 

Capacity: 6

Rainfly Size: 6 x 6 feet

Floor Size: 10 x 10 feet

Material: Polyester & fiberglass

It is a great tent that has the option of sleeping in the SUV or the spacious tent attached. You can feel assured either way that you are protected from the rain as it is waterproof up to 1200 mm of rain.

One prime feature of this tent is that it can be standalone as well as attached to the SUV. You can expect to pay around $500 for this tent when everything is said and done.

Check Price on Amazon

 

6. Awning Tent – KingCamp SUV Canopy

Best SUV canopy tent sun shade
SUV Tailgate Tent Canopy Sun Shelter

 

 

Weight: 9.7 lbs.

Pack Size: 24″ x 6″ x 6″

Waterproof Rating: 1500 mm

Material: Polyester & PU & fiberglass

The KingCamp tent has a lot of features worth writing home about. It may not be great for sleeping under, as it has no walls, but it is perfect for the beach or any other outdoor adventure you have where you need shade.

It provides enough shade where you can fit a table, chairs, kids, pets, and a cooler. It also has a UV coating protection layer. You can also put this canopy on the ground to cover where you’re sitting for the perfect picnic. You can expect to pay around $200 when all is said and done.

This lightweight canopy will give you the climate control that you need at a price point that is not over the top. It’s much better than searching for a gazebo that may or may not be available.

Check Price on Amazon

 

Why Use an SUV Tent?

One of the best reasons to use an SUV tent is to shelter yourself or your loved ones from the outdoor weather. Bugs can also be a problem. Tents allow complete protection from those little pesky insects.

Furthermore, you’ve got the convenience of being near your vehicle in case of an emergency. It also allows you to camp virtually anywhere you want.

 

What Are the Best Brands of SUV Tents?

The leaders in automotive brands are Napier, Rightline Gear, KingCamp. The three brands offer different perks to their products so you will want to spend a little time considering what works best for you.

Some things to consider are how many people are going to be using the tent, the ease of setup, and what is the durability of the product?

It’s always good to save some money on an economic purchase, but each automotive tent is sized differently you don’t want to buy one just to find out that one of your friends or family members doesn’t have room enough to sleep.

Rightline Gear

This brand seems to be the leader in tent designs and durability but one of the downsides is that it only sleeps up to two people.

The Rightline Gear tent designs are lightweight and even people new to setting up tents can use them with ease.

However, being that the tents are made with a fiberglass frame you would do well to avoid extremely windy areas. The tents are likely to just blow away!

Napier

Napier has more design options than any of the other brands and besides how easy it is to use, it is also compatible with more trucks but it does have some downsides.

The Napier tent is not as weatherproof as other brands. Its waterproof ratings are fairly average and could pose a problem if it starts to pour while you’re out and about. Like Rightline, you can fit up to two adults in Napier models.

 

How to Set up An SUV Rooftop Tent?

  1. Get the tent from the bag and spread it on the ground. Observe the tent for the area with four holes in the base’s middle as this is the mounting section.

  2. Then open the tent to access the interior, and then get your tent connecting accessories.

  3. Close the rooftop tent with the part connecting the surface facing upward direction; remove the four holes’ caps to connect.

  4. Make sure the tent base is aligned well with the mattress so you can slide the bolts to the pre-drilled holes to connect.

  5. Add your washers to the bolts and tighten the bolts on the tent. A side tip ensures the mounting parts are at 90 degrees to the hinges when connecting to the sides and for the rear side, ensuring they are parallel. Make sure all the areas that need connections are fixed, and the bolts tightened.

  6. Attach the ladder by connecting it to the pre-drilled holes at the edge of the tent base. Ensure the tent is installed at a 60 degrees angle to create stability, especially when climbing.

 

Tips for SUV Camping

  • Make sure you have a large SUV tent to maximize space in your car, especially if you have multiple luggage

  • If you opt for a tent installed next to the vehicle, choose a space that is well leveled for easy connecting the tent to the vehicle.

  • Consider the rooftop SUV tent if you plan to camp in areas that you are not familiar with

  • Always choose a tent to withstand different weather elements considering the weather may easily change while you are in the woods.

  • If you plan to go camping with other people, make sure the tent you choose is large enough to accommodate all people.

 

How to make your SUV camping more comfortable?

  • Sleep with your head to the front of the car to ensure you have more elbow room

  • Always choose a tent that has a windscreen to secure you from bugs and pests.

  • Invest in a comfortable bed to ensure you are safe and comfortable while sleeping in the car.

  • Have a lighting accessory like a headlamp just if you need visibility at night or to access something in the tent.

  • Ensure you have enough ventilation inside the room. You can open the window or choose a tent that provides ventilation.

 

FAQs

1. Are the SUV Tents Freestanding?

When people see others camping with their SUVs, they often assume that the tents can only attach to the SUVs. Could the SUV tent be freestanding?

In fact, SUV tents can be attached to an SUV or they can be freestanding. It is freestanding if it could be set up not attached to the vehicle without a gaping hole.

The main purpose of an SUV tent is that you have access to the amenities that the SUV has to offer. For example, the SUV can have air conditioning. If you get the proper vent for the tent, you can even have an air-conditioned tent.

Additionally, the SUV can provide heating. This can be ideal for camping on colder nights.

This is probably why all the people prefer to hook up the SUV tents to their vehicles. It’s ideal to utilize it this way since the tents were meant to be hooked up this way.

2. How Much Is an SUV Tent?

Generally, people look for SUV tents that fit their budget and lifestyle. It’s good to know exactly what you’re getting into when you commit to camping.

For the most expensive of the bunch for tents that attach to the back, you can expect to pay around $400 for such a model. If this is out of your price range, have no fear.

You can even get tents that are $100 to $300. Generally, you can anticipate that you will pay somewhere between $200 and $500 for what you are looking for.

There are rooftop tents that retail at around $2000. These ones have skirts that you can purchase for $200. These prices are just the start because you will also need air mattresses if you want to sleep in them.

3. Does the Cheap SUV Tent Mean Poor Quality?

An SUV tent is something that people want to be sturdy. They don’t want to get out to a campsite and find out that the tent is not worth its salt.

However, people also want to save money, so understandably, they look for a deal.

A cheap SUV tent does not always mean poor quality. Sometimes people can look for quality used tents that there is nothing wrong with.

After all, not everyone is a camping person, and some people just want to get rid of their gear after they try it.

4. Does it Reduce My SUV Battery Lifespan If I Install An SUV Tent Frequently?

There are so many advantages to an SUV tent. It is the happy medium between an RV and a free-standing tent.

However, when it comes to your SUV battery, you might be concerned. After all, SUVs are not designed with tents in mind.

The expert states that the SUV lights are usually low power. This means that even if you leave the lights on in your SUV all night, it will not drain the battery.

This is good news for those that want the advantages that the SUV offers, such as indoor living, while they are out camping in the woods.

 

Final Words

Can I buy a used SUV tent? People don’t always want to buy things for camping that are new. This includes the actual tent itself. Camping gear is expensive and sometimes people can’t always afford the brand new name brand pricing.

When it comes to an SUV tent, there are plenty of used options out there. There are many tents on certain sites that are used. A person can scroll through the listings to find what they need.

One nice feature of these sites is that you can often narrow down your selection based on color and capacity for the SUV tent. There may also be other features such as brand, season, material, price, and delivery that you can select from.

Another option is to buy from a local place. This means you can pick up the tent right away and start to learn how to set it up. You might even get someone to demonstrate live how it is done.

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