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For many years, campers had been constructing makeshift truck tents from conventional tents. Truck tents provide the experience of camping outdoors with the added protection and comfort of sleeping off the ground. They are similar in look and function to roof tent and sport utility vehicle (SUV) tents. The obvious limitations of using a truck tent are that the campsite is limited to where the truck can go, and that one must own a truck to use one.
Camping with truck tents is a growing movement among less extreme campers that still enjoy the outdoors. Family campers seem to value truck or SUV tents because they provide better protection from getting wet, supply an instant and portable campsite, and allow for increased packing space.
Truck tents are basically conventional 2-3 person tents that are rigged to hook up to a truck bed. Most truck tents are designed with a particular type of truck in mind, or a truck with certain features — those with dropgates, liftgates, camper tops, short beds, or long beds, etc. The tents either hook in or strap in to several locations around the truck. The initial set up may take some time, but is fairly simple after one or two attempts. Once the tent is fitted to a specific truck, setting up is as easy as setting up traditional tent. Many proponents choose to put a mattress in the bed of the truck for a more comfortable experience. These mattresses are available in various sizes to fit all trucks. A zip up window provides access to the cab for trucks that have a rear window. Another type of the truck tents is umbrella-shaped car tents that can be used either as car cover in the shape of umbrella, or as a tent, when taken off the vehicle. Such car tents feature remote controls and can be set up automatically. Such car tents can also work as an awning located right above the truck bed. They feature metal framework which makes such tents wind-resistant.
- Sportz by Napier
- Rightline Gear
- Kodiak Canvas
- Adventure Truck Tent by ENEL, LLC
- Car Umbrellas
International quality standards for tents require the following materials usage for the car tents, as well as for the other kinds of camping tents: PU 68D polyester; 68D breathable polyester. To meet the American and Canada CPAI-84 tents regulations, all polyester fabrics used for tents manufacturing has to meet the fire resistance standards. The shape and design, however, are not restricted by the standards, as well as the manufacturing technology and materials used for straps and stitches. Normally, truck tents feature tape sealed seams for water installation and weather protection. The poles are made of aluminum, steel or shock-corded fiberglass. Straps are polypropylene ropes of the diameter that’s convenient for installation.
Because truck tent camping is a somewhat novel idea, few companies produce them. Napier and The Adventure Truck Tent are the most notable names in truck tent camping, followed closely by Rightline Gear, which brands their truck tents under the name CampRight. Although most truck tents are fundamentally the same, they do contain some variation. Napier’s truck tents are completely enclosed, which means there is a layer of tent that covers the bottom of the truck bed. In contrast, the Adventure Truck Tent and CampRight truck tents leave the bottom open and bare. Napier tents also include a small awning for added rain protection. Kodiak is known for its tunnel shape design which promotes a roomier camping.