Best SUV Tents for Camping (2021): Buyer’s Guide and Unbiased Reviews

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Many reports are showing that the popularity of tents made for vehicles is on the rise. Manufacturers are making tents that are better in quality as well as performance. Tents that are made for the SUV and minivans are easy to attach to the back of the vehicle. In no time at all, you can enjoy a sheltered space that is perfect for storing your gear, for a shaded area to rest, or for a place to sleep.

The Benefits of SUV Tents

If you own a family-sized tent already, you may wonder why anyone would choose an SUV tent rather than the more conventional camping shelters. Well, these tents provide several benefits that may change your next camping experience. Some of these include:

Added Convenience and Weather Protection

When you use an SUV tent, the tent connects to your vehicle. This means you won’t have to worry about carrying all your camping gear to the campsite from your car, and possibly getting wet through this process. At the same time, when your shelter and car are connected, you won’t have to walk back to your car if you have forgotten some of your gear.

Maximize Your Living Space and Storage Area

SUV tents provide a way to make the most out of your storage area and interior living spaces in a way that a traditional tent cannot do. When your car and tent are connected, you can store your spare clothing and daytime gear inside your car, for added comfort and space while you are sleeping.

Added Versatility

Most SUV tents can also be used as standalone shelters. This means you can pitch your tent without your vehicle, similar to traditional tents. Due to this versatile feature, the SUV shelter is a lot more functional when it comes to different conditions. This also means you can use this type of tent wherever your next adventure decides to take you.

Multi-Vehicle Compatibility

Unlike the truck tents that require an open truck bed, the SUV tent attaches to covered bed trucks, crossovers, SUVs, and even some sedans. This makes them especially used for families that may own more than one type of vehicle, that are looking for a tent that works for each of the family members.

Improved Weather-Resistance

The SUV tent offers more stability since it is connected to your vehicle. This is especially important if you plan to camp in very windy conditions. At the same time, you can use the back of the vehicle as a shelter, if the weather starts getting really bad, so you can wait for the storm to pass without having to get out of your vehicle.

Convenience and Security

Since the SUV tents attach to either the rooftop or rear of a vehicle, they make it easier to gain access to your car if you are faced with an emergency. For example, if a bear passes through your campsite, you can pass through the tent into your car using the backdoor.

There Is Very Little Effort Involved

While there is still a bit of set-up work involved with an SUV tent once you have reached your campsite, there isn’t much to do here. Rather than trying to carry all your gear from your car to your campsite, everything is already right there! You can even decide to store everything in your vehicle if you only plan to sleep inside the tent part.

How Do SUV Tents Work?

They generally attach using durable Velcro straps or stretchy Bungee cords around the wheel arches as well as the roof racks. They can also work without a roof rack, but these models usually use magnets that attach to each side of the vehicle.

Similar to the ground tents, you may need to use guy-lines or stake the structure into the ground. Most of these tents also come with storm flaps that enhance security.

These models also usually detach from a vehicle, which means you can use the tent as a standalone shelter, allowing you to use your vehicle when or if needed, without having to jeopardize your shelter.

Best Suv Tents for Camping

  • Napier Family-Tents sportz SUV Tent (Editor’s Choice & Best Seller)
  • Napier Backroadz SUV Tent (Runner-Up)
  • ARB 813208A Awning Room (Attached to the Side)
  • Smittybilt Overlander XL Roof Top Tent (Professional’s Choice)
  • Smittybilt Overlander Tent
  • Napier Sportz Cove SUV Tent (Budget Option)

1. Napier Family-Tents sportz SUV Tent | Editor’s Choice & Best Seller

Sportz SUV Blue/Grey Tent with Screen Room (10 x10 x7.25-Feet)#ad
  • Roomy 10- by 10-foot tent sleeps 5-6 people with over 7 feet...
  • Sleeve attach to your vehicle to convert cargo space into...
  • Transform the vehicle tent into a ground tent by fully...
  • Features new steel and fiberglass pole structure for...
  • Includes an expandable carrying bag for storage

This tent can convert your SUV into a full-fledged campsite. It is perfect for a camping trip with your family or friends. The footprint is 10 feet by 10 feet, with 7.25 feet of headroom. The tent can fit six to seven people comfortably.

This tent provides an impressive amount of space. In addition to the big trunk area, there is a screened space without a floor that is 7 feet by 6 feet. This is a perfect spot to place a couple of chairs where you can sit and relax. If you prefer, you can use this space to store extra gear.

The Sportz SUV Tent is versatile. If you don’t want to attach it to your vehicle, you can take off the vehicle sleeve and convert the tent into a freestanding unit.

The tent is solid and durable. The frame is constructed from fiber and steel poles so you can be assured of its strength and durability. The floor has a “bathtub” design which is very effective in keeping the water out. You will not need to worry about getting wet because of the tent’s GoBe Dry rain protection system.

The tent material is made from tough polyester fiber. It has three large mesh screen windows to allow for plenty of ventilation. Set up is easy and can be done in just a few minutes.

Specification:

  • Size: 10’x10’x7.25′
  • Material: Polyester
  • Item Weight: 53 Pounds
  • Closure Type: Zipper
  • Pole Material Type: Steel
Pros
  • Great waterproof system
  • Roomy and spacious
  • Durable and solid construction
  • Lots of ventilation
  • Bonus screen room
Cons
  • Because of the solid material, the tent is quite heavy

2. Napier Backroadz SUV Tent | Runner-Up

Napier Backroadz SUV Tent#ad
  • Vehicle sleeve designed to accommodate all CUV’s, SUV’s...
  • Spacious 9’ x 9’ ground tent with 7’ of headroom,...
  • Connects to the cargo area of your vehicle offering...
  • Large door with storm flap for weather protection and...
  • Easily converts to a standalone tent by removing the...
Sale
Napier Backroadz SUV Tent, Grey, Green, 10x10 (19100)#ad
  • Spacious 10’ x 10’ tent providing over 7’ of headroom...
  • he universal vehicle sleeve fits all CUV’s, SUV’s, and...
  • Full rainfly with taped seams and built-in storm flaps in...
  • Seamlessly connects to the cargo area of your vehicle,...
  • 1 large door and 3 mesh windows offer optimal ventilation

This type of tent has a total usable area of 120.5 square feet. This is more than enough usable area. The tent has three rooms including the porch/living area.

The Rocky Mountain Tent’s porch features include two large ventilation windows on the sides, and also extra-large windows on either side of the door. The ventilation profile is completed with the extra window at the back of the tent.

The function of the dark layering in the main room is to keep the glare away from the sun. This feature makes the Rocky Mountain Tunnel Tent even more fascinating. With plenty of space and comfort, it is an exceptional blackout tent.

Protection from the sun and the rain is offered by the rainfly on the tent. An SPF of 50 protection is offered from the sun. The tent is an excellent waterproof solution with the presence of a fully sewn-in groundsheet and tape seams in the living area.

Specification:

  • Material: Polyester
  • Shape: Round
  • Closure Type: Zipper
  • Pole Material Type: Fiberglass
Pros
  • The removable sleeve is adjustable to fit a wide range of vehicles
  • Three large windows allow plenty of airflow throughout the tent
  • Big door makes entering and exiting convenient
  • Lots of headroom so you can walk around in the tent comfortably
Cons
  • The tie-downs can be improved

3. ARB 813208A Awning Room | Attached to the Side

ARB 813208A Awning Room Accesory (Deluxe w/Floor 2000mm x 2500mm Heavy Duty) for ARB Awning 814409 2000x25000#ad
  • AWNING IS NOT INCLUDED BUT NECESSARY, Product ONLY...
  • Heavy duty, polyethylene waterproof floor, Exterior walls...
  • Cross flow ventilated mesh roof, Midge-proof mesh side...
  • Heavy duty nylon hooks for awning pole attachment, High...
  • Accessories include nylon stuff sack for storage, 2 guy...

This tent is a bit different in style from the ones above. It is shaped like a cube, which has an attractiveness to it. It is about 6.5 feet by 8.2 feet, which is on the smaller side. Unlike the other tents, this one is attached to the side of the car instead of the back.

The floor material is constructed from waterproof polyethylene. The walls are made from 300 denier (300D) Oxford Polyester which is treated to be UV resistant. The roof is made of mesh material to allow for ample airflow. It comes with a storage bag so you can conveniently pack it and take it to wherever you go.

Pros
  • Floor made from waterproof Polyethylene
  • Walls are made from UV resistant 300D Oxford Polyester
  • Mesh material for the top allows for great ventilation
  • Storage bag is included
Cons
  • Less space compared to others

4. Smittybilt Overlander XL Roof Top Tent | Professional’s Choice

Sale
Smittybilt Overlander XL Roof Top Tent (2883) - Folder With Bedding - Coyote Tan#ad
  • Coyote tan || Stainless steel hinges
  • Heavy-duty 600D rip stop polyester
  • Open size: 122" W x 76" L x 51" H || Load capacity: 770 lbs...
  • Waterproof || Mosquito screens
  • 60mm high density foam mattress with removable cover

This tent is another one that does not attach to the back of the SUV. Instead, you install it on the roof of your car.

Because it is up high, you won’t run the risk of getting invaded by insects, snakes, or wild critters. You also won’t need to worry about getting flooded out because you are high above the ground. The side windows are fitted with a mosquito net, so you are very well protected.

The poles of the frame are made from aluminum. The fabric is high-quality polyurethane. These durable materials enable the tent to withstand even the worst kind of weather. It is made to last. It also comes with a high-density foam mattress that is almost 2.5 inches thick. The tent can fit three to four adults and can hold up to 770 pounds.

The one big drawback is that it is quite expensive. The manufacturer seems to have designed this for serious campers who don’t mind investing more on a premium SUV tent that will last through many camping trips.

Pros
  • Waterproof, tough construction
  • Can stand up to any type of weather
  • Hinges made from stainless steel
  • Thick, high-density mattress included
Cons
  • Heavier than most other styles
  • Expensive

5. Smittybilt Overlander Tent

Smittybilt Overlander Tent#ad
  • Standard size tent (sleeps 2-3) with high-density 92" x 55"...
  • 600D heavy-duty waterproof top and rain fly; sunroof; side...
  • Easy to set up and take down; heavy duty PVC cover keeps...
  • Smittybilt Tent Annex (sold separately #2788) with...
  • Tent also available in Size XL (sleeps 3-4 #2773). Ladder...

The tent is another one that fits on top of the car. It is average in size and can fit two to three adults comfortably. A foam mattress is included for a more comfortable night’s sleep.

The tent is easy to set up. A ladder is included to make getting in and out easy. The ladder and tent poles are solid and quite heavy. The windows are equipped with rain-flies that will keep you from getting wet during a storm.

One bonus feature is the LED strip that provides ample lighting. The skylight allows you to stargaze in the comfort of your tent. Inside the tent are many built-in pockets for storage, which is another plus.

One point of concern is the condensation inside the tent during wet weather that can make the interior feel colder.

Specification:

  • Material: Polyester
  • Special Feature: Waterproof, Rainfly
  • Item Weight: 48 Pounds
  • Closure Type: Zipper
  • Pole Material Type: Aluminum
Pros
  • High-quality materials
  • Simple installation
  • Comfortable foam mattress
  • Handy pockets built-in
  • Convenient LED light strip
Cons
  • Inside of tent might get cold from excessive condensation

6. Napier Sportz Cove SUV Tent | Budget Option

Sale
Napier Sportz Cove 61500 Mid to Full Size SUV Tailgate Shade Awning Tent, Gray#ad
  • Universal fit canopy shade fits mid-to-full size CUVs, SUVs,...
  • Get sheltered from the sun with over 2 feet of awning
  • Mesh screen keeps bugs out of your vehicle
  • Integrated storm flap gives you more privacy and protection...
  • Comes with a convenient carry and storage bag

The Napier Sportz Cove SUV Tent is not like other SUV tents. It is attached to the rear of your car and turns your vehicle into a camp spot.

You sleep in the comfort of your SUV, but you get the enjoyment of the great outdoors while protected by this tent. There is space outside the tent beneath a shade that makes a perfect spot where you can sit and relax.

The door has a mesh screen and storm flaps so you won’t need to worry about invasions from insects or rain. It is constructed from UV-resistant polyester, which is durable yet lightweight. The tent can be easily installed on any model of SUV or CUV in under 10 minutes.

Specification:

  • Special Feature: Lantern Holder
  • Item Weight: 7 Pounds
  • Closure Type: Zipper
Pros
  • Fits all modes of CUVs and SUVs
  • Very affordable
  • Tough but lightweight material
  • Door with bug screen and storm flaps
  • Convenient carrying bag
Cons
  • Shaded area outside of the tent is quite small
  • Not fitted with reflective strips

Buying Guide

Type

There are various SUV tent types available on the market. While each model is designed to attach to an SUV, each type is quite different.

  • The hatchback tents are the first type. This tent attaches to the back part of an SUV’s hatch. Once the tent and truck are joined together, you are left with a spacious interior providing ample space for your gear and to sleep.
  • The next type is a rooftop tent. This style sits on the top of the roof of a car. This style is great since it won’t take up any space at the campsite other than your car. Sleeping this high up, also significantly lowers the likelihood of insects getting inside the tent. To me, this is a priceless feature.
  • The last type is the truck bed tents. These tents only work with the pick-up trucks, where you pitch the tent on the bed of the truck.

Season

Most tents fall under the 3-season category. Anything from a 4-season tent and above will usually be more suited to extreme camping or expedition. Anything less in our opinion is not for serious campers, but may be an option when you decide to camp in your backyard with a group of friends when the weather is favorable.

Size

When it comes to choosing a size for your SUV tent, keep these two factors in mind:

  • How big is your SUV? Many models include universal sleeves so that you can attach the tent to your vehicle from the back. Either way, make sure you check on this before you make a purchase.
  • How many people do you plan to share the tent with? Most SUV tents are only designed to accommodate 2 to 3 people, but there are a few models that can fit more. We always suggest choosing a size for at least 1 more person than the actual number of people that will be using it. Go for a height and size that appears to be both reasonable and convenient so that you all fit in comfortably.

Material

While there may be a few exceptions, these tents are typically made from either canvas, polyester, or, nylon. Each material also comes with its own set of pros and cons.

  • In summary, nylon is breathable, fast to dry, stretchy, and light. But it is not as durable when it comes to UV resistance and general wear and tear.
  • Polyester is a much better option when considering UV resistance and durability, it is also far more resistant to water. However, it is not as breathable when compared to nylon, and it is also more susceptible to tearing since it is not as stretchy.
  • Canvas is not only highly breathable but also provides excellent water and UV resistance (when waterproofed or seasoned). One of the drawbacks of this material is that it makes the tent heavier. It also takes longer to dry, which means it is also prone to mildew.

Water Resistance

Whether you plan to camp in the colder months of winter or during the height of summer, it is impossible to predict when it may rain. When the weather changes and the rain starts pouring down, you won’t be having much fun when your tent is not waterproof.

The 4-season tents are usually always waterproof. But with a 3-season tent, this is not always applicable. Look at the waterproof rating of the tent to make sure.

The top-rated SUV tents also come with a double or single rain fly which will help to keep water from getting inside your tent. The flies that go over the roof of the tent still allow enough light in while providing more protection when it rains. These tents are an excellent choice if you go camping and a heavy rainstorm hits.

Ventilation

You will also want your tent to provide enough ventilation so you stay cool on warm days and to provide enough airflow to prevent condensation. Look for tents that feature more than one mesh window, so that fresh air comes in while the insects stay out.

Richard

Last update on 2021-10-27 / Rating by Author / Affiliate links, Images, Descriptions & Price from Amazon Product Advertising API

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