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Best Tent for Car Camping – Top Tents for Fun in 2022

You can still go camping if your only vehicle is a car. Some people use trucks to pull their trailers, but car campers can enjoy comfort and protection by using a quality tent. We’ve reviewed the best tent for car camping available on the market to help you find the right one.

In a hurry? Check our tops picks

Top rated with cheap price, small size for easy pack in small cars, versatile for all weather conditions, Coleman Sundome Tent

Highly waterproof for rainy days, hot sale with affordable price, durable fabric and frame, Night Cat Hydraulic Tent

Spacial design for rooftop of cars, strong fabric for 4 season use, best choice for glamping car trip, Smittyblit Overlander Tent

 

What makes a good car camping tent?

Before you buy a tent for car camping, it’s important to consider your needs, preferences, and which tent will be the most suitable.

Here is a complete list of considerations to ensure that you find the best tent for car camping.

– Size

The size of the tent you choose for car camping is one of the most important considerations. A few things to think about include how many people will sleep in a tent.

It needs to be large enough for everyone to fit inside comfortably for sleeping and when the weather is foul outside.

Also, consider the height of the ceiling of the tent. If you are a tall person and you want to stand comfortably inside, choose a tent that is high enough to meet your requirements.

– Quality of materials

  • Tent fabric

The best car camping tents are made of high-quality materials. Compare the material types of tents that you’re considering.

Cotton canvas is strong and durable, but it is also much heavier and harder to handle.

Nylon and polyester tents are more lightweight and although they generally lack the strength of cotton canvas, they are also strong and durable.

The higher the denier, the more dense and sturdy the material.

  • Tent poles

Tent poles are usually made of aluminum or fiberglass.

Aluminum comes in different alloys and grades. The same is true of fiberglass. make sure that the poles are made of premium quality materials that will hold up under repeated use.

  • Seams

Make sure that the seams are inverted and it’s even better if they are double stitched for reinforcement. Welded corners also add strength to the structure.

– Waterproof

Waterproof tents are treated with a special coating that repels water and moisture.

The best waterproof tents also feature water-resistant zippers, inverted and taped seams, and welded corners.

A rainfly can also help to keep water from running down the sides of the tent and collecting in the corners.

– Tent style

The style of the tent that you choose is a matter of personal preference.

Do you want a tent that is easy to set up or do you prefer one that sets up and breaks down traditionally?

If you want fast and easy setup, then it’s a good idea to choose an instant tent or pop up style tent that goes up in mere seconds.

Do you prefer a car tent that mounts to the top of a car or a ground tent? Both are excellent choices but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each before you make your final choice.

  • Dome or cabin?

In addition to the setup style, there are other considerations for the different kinds of tents available.

Dome style tents usually have a lower ceiling height than cabin style tents.

– Number of rooms

Tents are made with a range of special designs. Some feature a large single room, and others are made with 2, 3, or even 4 rooms.

This can allow for extra privacy for changing clothes or attending to personal grooming needs.

Related Reading:

>> Top Pick Tents with 2 Rooms

>> Reviews and Guide on the Right 3 Room Tents for Your Needs

– Special features

Another consideration to make is what kind of features you desire.

Some tents are made with built-in pockets for storing camping gear. Other useful features include a screened porch, large mesh zippered windows, double-entry and exit flaps at both ends vs single, and more.

Pay attention to the special features of each car camping tent that you are considering to make a comparison when making your final decision.

Choose one with the features that you would find the most useful.

 

Benefits of using a car camping tent

There are several advantages to using a car camping tent. If you choose the right type, it will make camping a more enjoyable experience.

Here are the main benefits of choosing a tent suitable for car camping:

– Fast and easy setup and takedown

The pop-up style ground tends can be set up in just a minute or less. The car mounted type requires less hardware and they are just as easy to set up and to take down.

– Compact and lightweight

Tents that are made for car camping are usually made of lightweight material. This makes it easier to carry.

They are also more compact when broken down and folded into the carrying bag. You can easily fit this type of tent into a car to take it along with your other camping gear without using up much vehicle space.

– Available in multiple sizes and styles

There is a broad range of car camping tents made. Any tent that meets our criteria for what makes a good car camping tent is included in the following category.

You have a choice of many different styles, sizes, and designs to choose from. This gives you more tents to examine to find the one that has the most useful and enjoyable features.

You can also find a car camping tent in the right size to accommodate your entire family.

 

Reviews of the 5 best car camping tents

#1. Top rated – Coleman Sundome car camping tent for a family of 2 with the best price

The Coleman Sundome tent can be bought at a starting price of under $1o0 depending on the size you choose. It’s a great choice for car campers.

Coleman car camping tent for small and medium size family

 

Capacity: 2/3/4/6

2P Base Size: 7′ x 5′

2P Peak Height: 4′

Windproof: 35+ mph

– Fast and easy setup

The Sundome tent is designed for fast setup. it takes 10 minutes or less to erect this freestanding tent.

– Wind and rain resistant

You’ll be protected from the wind and rain inside the Sundome. It has been tested to hold up in winds over 35 mph. This is thanks to the ultra-strong frame made from sturdy materials.

– Weatherproof

This tent features welded corners and the seams are inverted to prevent moisture from seeping in. The rainfly that is included gives you extra protection from rain and wind. The zippers are also treated with waterproofing.

– Ventilated

The Sundome tent is made of 75 denier flysheet polyester taffeta material. It allows air to flow in but it keeps the breeze out.

A ground vent is built into the tent to enhance the flow of fresh air to prevent condensation.

Large windows can be unzipped to let even more air in through the mesh screens.

– E-Port opening

There is also an opening to run an electrical cord inside the tent. This can help you to stay connected when you’re camping near an electrical source.

– Handy storage bags

The Sundome tent comes with a bag for storing the tent, and a separate bag for keeping the shock-corded fiberglass poles together in a compact bag.

What We like

  • Ideal tent for warm weather use
  • Keeps you dry even when it’s raining outside
  • Folds down into a small size for packing in a car

What We Don’t

  • Takes 10-15 mins to get it in shape

Check Price on Amazon

 

#2. Quick setup – Coleman instant cabin shaped 4 person camping tent

The Instant Cabin 4-person tent by Coleman is great for sleeping a family of four or two couples on a camping trip. It folds down into a compact size for storage and travel. The inside is spacious when the tent is set up.

Coleman instant 4 person car camping tent review

 

Capacity: 4/6/10

4P Base Size: 8′ x 7′

4P Peak Height: 4’11”

Materials: Polyester & Steel

– Instant setup

This tent goes up faster than any other tent on the market today. It can take as little as one minute to set up this freestanding ready to go tent.

– It’s weatherproof

The corners are welded and the seams are inverted and taped to prevent moisture from seeping in. It also comes with an integrated rainfly to protect you from the weather.

– Sturdy construction

The tent is made with 150 denier polyester material that is doubled in thickness. It holds up for many seasons of camping.

– The inside is spacious

When the Coleman tent is set up the interior is 4 ft 11 inches at the center adn it measures 8 x 7 feet, which gives you plenty of room for 4 comfortably.

What We like

  • The air flaps provide excellent ventilation
  • The material keeps sunlight out so you can sleep in
  • This pop-up style tent sets up fast. It folds up fast too

What We Don’t

  • A second zipper would improve entry and exiting

Check Price on Amazon

 

#3. Highly rainproof – Night Cat automatic pop up 3 person tent for car camping

The Night Cat automatic pop up is a 3 person tent that will keep you warm and dry on rainy days and nights.

Night Cat 3 person car camping tent with pop up design

 

Capacity: 1-2/2-4

Peak Height: 4.6′

Base Size: 6.23′ x 6.23′

Pack Size: 33.5″  x 6.7″ x 6.7″

– Rainproof

The tent is made of special 190T PE + with PU 2500 fabric in double layers. It’s waterproof to keep out moderate rainstorms.

– Easy setup

The tent comes with instructions to manually set it up. It is fun for the family to join together and to learn how to set it up as a team effort.

– Single space quarters

This tent is designed with one large space that comfortably sleeps between 1 and 3 persons.

It measures 6 ft in length and 6 ft in width with a ceiling height of 4.6 ft. There is also room inside the tent for your personal items.

– Wind Resistant

The poles are made of high-grade fiberglass for resistance to the wind. It’s held firmly in place with metal stakes and strong nylon ropes.

– Compact storage size

The tent folds into a small size and it comes with a small bag for the ropes and stakes and a larger carrying bag fo the tent and poles. This makes it convenient to carry and to transport in your car.

What We like

  • The setup is easy. It goes up in less than 30 seconds
  • Zipper access on both sides makes it easy to enter and to exit
  • The windows have zippers to let fresh air in and to see outside
  • The tent is well constructed and sturdy. It holds up in wind and rain very well

What We Don’t

  • Not for large family

Check Price on Amazon

 

#4. Hot sale – Coleman 6 person dome tent with bug-free lounging

The Coleman Evanston dome tent is ideal for escaping flying insects.

Coleman 6 person camping tent with screened porch for car

 

Capacity: 6/8

6P Peak Height: 5’8″

6P Lounging: 10′ x 5′

6P Interior Size: 10′ x 9′

– Weatherproof

This tent features welded corners with the seams inverted and taped to keep the rain and wind on the outside. An additional rainfly gives you even more protection in heavier storms.

– Great protection from bugs

You can lounge in the 10 x 5 ft screen room that features a screen from the floor up. It keeps flying insects and other bugs on the outside.

– Spacious interior

The inside of this tent is roomy when setting up. The center height is 5 ft 8 inches with a 10 ft length and a 9 ft width for plenty of room for 6 to sleep or sit inside comfortably

– Easy to carry and transport

This tent comes with a carrying bag that holds the tent in a compact size that is easy to carry and to transport in a vehicle.

– Conventional setup

This is a traditional tent that features a conventional pitch. It sets up in just 15 minutes.

What We like

  • Reasonably priced for its deluxe features
  • You stay warm and dry during a rainstorm
  • The screen room keeps you ventilated on hot days and keeps out insects
  • It’s made of sturdy materials with a great design that is comfortable to sleep in

What We Don’t

  • The screen porch may let moisture in if you don’t use the rainfly

Check Price on Amazon

 

#5. High End – Smittybilt Overlander car camping tent with a heavy-duty waterproof top

The Smittybilt Overlander is made with a rugged aesthetic. It’s one of the most attractive and functional high-end rooftop tents on the market today.

Smittybilt Overlander car top camping tent

Season: 4

Capacity: 2-3

Peak Height: 51″

Base Size: 95″ x 56″

Weight Limit: 661 lbs

Waterproofness: 1500mm

– 2-3 person tent

This is a standard sized tent that accommodates 2 to 3 adults. It’s ideal for small camping parties.

– Waterproof

The fabric of this tent is 600 denier heavy-duty that features a waterproof ceiling and a rain fly for extra protection from the elements.

– Ventilated

Mosquito netting on the windows allow air to flow in for ventilation while keeping out flying insects

– Mounts to a vehicle top

This tent comes with mounting brackets for mounting on top of a vehicle. This raises occupants above the ground in cold weather.

– Telescopic ladder

The ladder is telescopic and folds into a compact size when it’s not in use. It has a capacity of 265 pounds for getting in and out of the tent with ease.

What We like

  • The fabric is thick and waterproof
  • Ladder access into the tent is easy
  • Setup is easy and the tent is secure by D straps
  • The sunroof at the top is a useful feature for watching the stars at night

What We Don’t

  • Takes more time to set it up than the ground tent

Check Price on Amazon

 

Normal ground tents vs car top tents for camping

Are regular ground tents better for car camping or are car top tents the best choice? There are advantages and disadvantages to each type.

One is not better than the other. It’s a matter of personal preference.

Here are the facts to help you decide which may be the best option for you.

best tent for car camping reviews

– Setup

Ground tents require a covering of some type to place on the bottom. This prevents moisture from getting inside the floor of the tent. Car top tents don’t need anything on the bottom.

– The hardware requirements

Ground tents require more hardware to set them up than rooftop tents. You need to have tie-downs and stakes in most cases.

The advantage of car top tents is that you don’t need to stake them down.

– Car top tents are easier to pitch

It’s not as difficult to pitch a car-top tent because it simply folds open. All that you need to do is to put the supports in the correct position. It only takes one person to set up a car-top tent.

In most cases, ground camping tents require the setup of poles, tie-downs, and stakes and they are usually harder to set up.

– Car top tents are easier to take down

When you tear down a car stop tent, you don’t need to roll up the bedding and remove it.

They are designed to allow you to leave the bedding in place and rolling it up before breaking down a ground tent.

– The verdict

Car top tents usually go up faster than most ground tents. they require less hardware to set up, and they take less effort to take down. On the other hand, the ground camping tent is far cheaper than the roop top tents.

 

Importance of choosing the right car tent for camping

When using your car to drive to your chosen campsite, it is important to choose a tent that is suitable for taking with you in a car. Here are the reasons why it is so important to choose carefully

– Not all tents are suitable for car camping.

Some are too large or heavy. This makes it difficult to carry, and the tent may take up too much space in your car if it is very large.

– Car tents can save you time and effort

When you’re car camping, your tent will become the shelter that you need to protect you from the elements. You may need to get it set up quickly if the weather is harsh when you arrive at your campsite.

Car tents go up quickly with little effort and you can have an instant shelter with some models.

– Safety

It’s important to choose the best possible tent for car camping to ensure that you are protected from the elements. Make sure it’s made of quality materials and that it features high quality in design and construction.

You need a strong and dependable shelter that won’t let you down.

– Convenience

It’s more enjoyable to get the tent set up fast so you can move on to more pleasurable camping activities.

Tents that are difficult to set up can leave you frustrated and can take hours to set up if you don’t know how to do it right.

Car tents are made for the sake of convenience.

 

How to care or maintain your car camping tent?

Your car camping tent can last for years if you follow the recommended maintenance steps. These are the recommendations for caring for your car camping tent:

getting the right car camping tent

1. Avoid stretching the fabric too tightly

This can increase the wear and tear on our tent. Also, make sure that there are no sharp objects set against the sides of the tent or on the floor to avoid tearing or poking holes in the fabric.

2. Clean the tent before you put it away

When you’re breaking down the campsite, sweep out the tent to make sure that all debris is removed from the floor and that it is empty.

If any liquids have been spilled, clean with a damp cloth and allow to dry before folding or rolling it up.

3. Wash and air dry

When you get home, it’s important to clean your tent outdoors and air dry before you store it away:

  • Set the tent up.
  • Inspect for signs of mold, mildew or stains.
  • Gently clean stains with a soft cloth and mild detergent.
  • Treat mildew and mold stains with a solution of 1/4 cup vinegar and 1 cup of water. This will kill the growth of mold and/or mildew to prevent the spread.
  • Allow the tent to air dry naturally.
  • Fold tent up and put away.
  • Inspect for damages.

While your tent is clean and dry it is time to inspect it for any tears, poke holes, or signs of wear.

Also, check the zippers and the seams. If there is any damage, this is the ideal time to make small repairs before the damage becomes worse.

Following these maintenance tips can help to extend the life of your car camping tent for years.

 

Conclusion

When car camping, it’s important to choose the right tent for the occasion. The best car tent for car camping is large enough for your party, but not oversized. They are lightweight, compact, and easy to transport.

It’s more enjoyable when the tent is easy to set up and easy to tear down. Watch for quality in construction and materials and choose a tent that comes with useful features.

Following these tips will help you to avoid disappointment.

Photo Title Buy
Coleman 2-Person Sundome...image Hot sale - Coleman Sundome car camping tent for a family of 2 with the best price Buy on Amazon
Coleman Cabin Tent...image Best for quick setup - Coleman Instant Cabin shaped 4 person camping tent Buy on Amazon
Night Cat Camping...image Best rainproof - Night Cat automatic pop up 3 person tent for car camping Buy on Amazon
Coleman 6-Person Dome...image Best with screen porch - Coleman 6 person dome tent with bug-free lounging Buy on Amazon
Smittybilt Overlander Tent High End - Smittybilt Overlander car camping tent with a heavy-duty waterproof top Buy on Amazon
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