7 Best Truck Topper for Camping: 2020 Buying Guide
If you love the great outdoors and sleeping outside but aren’t so keen on the idea of lying on the cold, hard ground, a truck topper is the perfect way for you to experience all the wonders of camping without the discomfort of sleeping on the ground.
A truck topper for camping allows you to fully enjoy the beauty and splendor of nature while providing you with a degree of comfort and convenience.
For your convenience, we have put together reviews of the best truck topper for camping models, along with a buyer’s guide of what you should know before buying.
_Truck Bed Tents: What Are They and Why Do You Need One?_
A truck bed tent, (aka truck topper, truck tent camper, truck tent topper, or truck tent), is a tent that attaches to the bed of a pickup truck. Instead of setting up a traditional tent on the ground, you set up a truck tent on the bed of your truck, so the sleeping space in the tent is dependent on the size of your truck bed (most truck beds will fit two to three people). The fact that the truck tent isn’t directly in contact with the ground keeps you drier and makes the intrusion of curious critters into your tent less likely. You basically sleep in your truck bed with the tent as a cover and protection.
And it’s not just for camping. If you’re road tripping, you can always use your truck tent instead of sleeping in some sketchy motel with bed bugs.
Truck tents offer basically all the benefits of traditional tents, while being much easier to set up and eliminating the necessity of sleeping on the ground or finding a campsite (you just need a parking space). If you own a pickup truck, consider getting yourself a truck tent to enjoy this form of camping or traveling.
_Types of Truck Tents_
Truck tents come in a variety of shapes: A-frame, umbrella-shaped, dome-shaped, and hatchback.
An A-framed truck tent is the most basic shape. It doesn’t offer much headroom and has a low ceiling, but it is packs away nicely and is easy to store.
An umbrella shaped truck tent offers plenty of headroom and cargo space. It comes with a spacious doorway, big windows, and durable screens. It usually doesn’t come with a floor, so it’s easy to set up.
A dome-shaped truck tent comes with a rain fly and durable, flexible poles, making it easy to set up as well. It will have a good amount of headroom, interior support, and light walls.
A hatchback truck tent is designed for use not with pickup trucks but with cars or SUVs with hatchback trunks. Unlike conventional truck tents, it is pitched directly on the ground with one side open to the trunk, acting as an extension of sorts for your hatchback. When deciding which type of truck tent to buy, be sure to consider your needs, such as how much headroom you require (it’s nice to be able to sit up or even stand in your truck tent).
Top 5 Best Truck Topper for Camping Comparison
Napier Backroadz Truck Tent
One of the Best truck topper for camping
84 x 65 x 67 inches
Guide Gear Full Size Truck Tent- Another best truck topper camping
26 x 7.5 x 7.5 inche
Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent
47 x 9.5 x 9 inches
Rightline Gear Truck Tents
Sportz Truck Tent Blue/Grey
29.5 x 9.5 x 9.5 inc
Best Truck Topper for Camping Reviews: Top 7 Picks
Without further ado, here are our picks and reviews for the best truck bed tents for camping.
#1) Napier Backroadz Truck Tent
This truck tent from Napier is a very popular option due to the fact that it includes a full floor. This model has four different sizes, making it very likely that you will find the right size to match your truck bed. It even accounts for pickup trucks that have been equipped with a bed liner or a toolbox.
This truck topper from Napier offers an exceptional 5 feet 6 inches of headroom and a roomy interior. This is great for folks who are on the taller side, as you will be able to move around inside without worrying too much about hitting your head on the ceiling. Some people might even be able to stand inside the tent on the truck bed! The topper also comes with a full rain fly to shield you from the inclement weather you might encounter.
With this model, Napier takes the already easy process of setting up a truck topper and makes it even easier by providing you with a color coded pole and sleeve assembly. There was no frustration whatsoever when it came to setting up this beauty. It was quick and simple.
This model includes large mesh windows that will provide you with plenty of ventilation, allow you to keep tent temperatures down during the hot summer days, and provide you with a view of your scenic surroundings. And it’s made from high quality 800 mm polyester, ensuring that it will last you a good long time. It’s a strong contender for best truck bed tent.
#2) Guide Gear Full Size Truck Tent-
Sometimes, simplicity is king. This model from Guide Gear is a full size truck tent topper that offers a sewn-in polyethylene floor and is both functional and affordable. It manages to be simple, inexpensive, and easy to use and set up without compromising on space, usability, and functionality. It will fit full size pickup trucks from the following brands: Chevy, GMC, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, and many more. However, the fit may vary from truck bed to truck bed. Check with the manufacturer to determine if it is suitable for your particular pickup truck.
This topper has a large, spacious interior area with 5.25’ of headroom. It also comes with a full rain fly to shield you from the elements. Best of all, it provides all this space while being super easy to set up, with only four shock corded fiberglass poles in total. In addition to the four poles, the tent is anchored to your truck bed with tension straps. The whole thing can be set up and taken down by one person in a matter of mere minutes.
The door to the tent is large and D-shaped, and the mesh windows will provide you with ventilation and a view. The tent also comes with two storage pockets for you to keep your gear off the ground. This tent is constructed from 190T polyester and is equipped with a 1500 mm water resistant coating.
#3) Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent
Our first canvas recommendation, the Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent is a sturdy, heavy duty option for those who need their truck topper for all four seasons. This model from Kodiak is compatible with the Ford F Series, the Chevy Silverado, the GMC Sierra, the Dodge Ram, the Toyota Tundra, and the Nissan Titan. It comes in a few different sizes to accommodate the different truck bed dimensions. Check the user manual or contact the manufacturer for more details or to confirm an exact fit for your pickup truck bed.
This truck bed tent is constructed from Hydra Shield, which is a 100 percent cotton duck canvas. It is watertight, breathable, and durable. If you take care of the canvas material on this tent topper, it will keep you warm and dry and will last you a very long time.
The special tunnel shaped design of this topper provides you with a spacious interior and a ceiling height of 5 feet. You can expand the usable interior space within the tent by utilizing the tailgate down design feature.
The door is large and D shaped, equipped with top of the line high end YKK zippers. The entry way is covered, and there are two convenient pockets where you can stow your gear. Its five windows offer ventilation, a view, and cab access.
The frame has a steel tube construction, making it very sturdy indeed. It can be used in the winter but is not designed to accumulate heavy snow.
#4) Rightline Gear Truck Tents
The Gear Truck Tents from Rightline are designed with convenience in mind. They offer various sizes for mid size pickup trucks, full size pickup trucks, and compact pickup trucks as well, so it is very likely that you will find one to meet your pickup truck bed needs. Furthermore, the floorless design of the gear truck tents allows you to cut down on the time needed to set up the tent because it allows you to set up the truck tent without needing to remove any of your gear from your truck bed.
The truck tent offers multiple windows for good ventilation, including a sky view vent that allows more light into the tent and enables you to sleep under the stars. The truck tent is easy to assemble, with its color coded poles and pole pockets for relatively self-explanatory, easy set up. The straps are made of soft polypropylene and the buckles are made of plastic, so they will not cause any damage to the finish of your precious pickup truck. It also comes with a rain fly to provide you with shelter from the elements.
The tent provides plenty of interior space. To save you more floor space, it also provides you with two pockets for your gear as well as a hook from which you can hang a lantern or a flashlight. The entryway is large and easy to access. It even includes glow in the dark zipper pulls!
#5) SportZ Truck Tent Blue/Grey
This Sportz truck tent from Napier offers an exceptional amount of ventilation, making it an ideal tent for those who wish to go truck camping in very warm climates. Also, it has the added benefit of a fully enclosed sewn in floor, which means that you can keep cool camping in the summer while keeping all those pesky mosquitos sealed out of your tent.
Another amazing feature of the Sportz truck tent is the expansive 4 foot x 4 foot awning which covers the entrance of the tent. This not only enables you to sit down on the tailgate of your truck bed in the shade but even allows enough room for a few folks in chairs to enjoy the shade with you.
This truck tent doesn’t skip on the headroom, either. In addition to the generous interior, it offers you 5.6 feet of headroom. And it’s easy and fast to set up, with its color coded pole and sleeve system.
Let’s talk about those windows. In addition to the three mesh windows and the two side vents which offer ventilation, there is also a large rear access panel which grants you access to the cab of your truck, making it convenient to access its contents and elements such as the DC outlet. The huge entryway is another source of ventilation for this tent, providing plenty of airflow to keep you as cool as possible in summer.
#6) Bestop 7630935 Black Diamond Supertop for Truck -
If you don’t like the look of a truck tent and you need an exceptionally well-made, high quality truck topper that provides a cover for your truck bed and maybe enough space for you to sit up but which is also relatively easy to work with, consider this truck bed cover from Bestop. This is basically like a convertible cover for your truck top. It’s made from heavy duty, industrial strength fabric that provides a clean, tight look as it seals your truck bed from the elements.
When it has been mounted on a pickup truck, this truck bed cover looks like a permanent addition to your vehicle (not like there’s a tent sitting on your truck bed). Its look is so crisp and clean that it just looks like a part of the car, a lid designed to protect the contents of your trunk. But it doesn’t just cover your truck bed. It folds forward exactly like a convertible top so you can access your truck bed with ease and versatility. You can even open the tailgate without opening the rear window.
It has several windows. Slide them out for more ventilation. It uses Bestop’s BeltRail attachment system for a secure mounting on your truck bed. It is constructed with corrosion resistant frames and hardware with quick bow releases. You install it simply by snapping it into place. Once it is mounted, the tight fit offers a great, streamlined look for your vehicle. This isn’t some wishy washy floppy tent. This is an exceedingly durable, industrial strength topper made with high quality materials for the best performance possible.
Storage is simple: the cover folds into your truck bed like a convertible. Basically, if you need a place to sleep but you don’t like the tent look, this truck cover provides a great option. Granted, there’s not much headroom, but a taller ceiling would ruin the seamless, aerodynamic, fitted look of this topper.
#7) Napier Sportz Link Ground 4 Person Tent-
This other offering from Napier, the Sportz Link ground four person tent, is not a truck topper in itself but rather an extension of another Napier tent. Obviously, that means that to be able to use this tent, you must also own another tent designed by Napier (such as the aforementioned Sportz Truck Tent Blue/Grey). So what exactly does this supplement to your truck tent do? Well, it provides you with a lot more room. Simply put, it provides additional space for four more people. If your truck bed tent sleeps two people, that is a total of six people under one roof. Or tent/tent supplement.
Now obviously, the fact that this tent supplement is pitched on the ground seems to negate the major benefit of a truck bed, which is the fact that you are kept drier by not sleeping on the ground. But Napier solves this by making the floor of this tent completely waterproof.
It’s a great tent in itself, with a full rain fly included to keep the rain out of your tent. It also boasts a large door and 3 mesh windows to provide you with good ventilation. The floor space is a generous 8 feet by 8 feet, which is obviously more interior space than any pickup truck bed can offer.
Basically, if you’re truck camping and you want your whole family or group of friends under one roof, this Sportz Link allows you to do that. You can also use it for dining or storage space.
_Things to Consider Before You Buy Best Truck Toppers_
Make sure you buy a truck topper that is the correct size for your truck bed. Obviously, if the truck topper doesn’t fit your truck, it won’t be of much use to you. You should know the exact measurements of your truck bed and find a tent topper that fits those exact dimensions. The topper should also have connectors in the right places to fit onto the rails of your truck bed. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s sizing information for the topper before purchasing it, and when in doubt, contact the topper manufacturer. They will help you determine exactly which truck make and models are suitable for their product.
It is always a plus to be able to see outside of your tent while you are camping, so consider models with clear windows and/or mesh windows which are mosquito proof. Mesh windows will provide greater ventilation, which is a bonus when camping during the hot summer months.
A truck tent with a floor will enclose you entirely, seal you off from insects, and keep you from needing to spend too much effort cleaning the bed of your truck before you lie down on it. If you buy a truck tent with a floor, it is still recommended to cover the bottom of your truck bed with a plastic tarp or other such material to prevent holes and other damage to the floor of your tent. But many truck toppers come without a floor, which will enable a dedicated truck bed mattress to fit inside your truck bed. Truck toppers without floors are also generally easier to set up.
The tent poles we recommend most highly are made of aluminum, which will give you the perfect balance between being strong and being lightweight. Fiberglass poles are very light but might not be strong enough to resist high winds. Steel poles are the strongest but also the heaviest by far.
- Avoid Velcro
When choosing a truck topper, consider purchasing one that uses clips instead of Velcro. The repeated opening and closing of Velcro over a prolonged period of time will cause more wear and tear to the seams and the linings of the topper.
Look for a topper made out of a waterproof material that is sturdy enough. A strong polyester material (300 denier or more) or heavy duty canvas is appropriate. If you are looking for something lightweight, the waterproof polyester will be more suitable. Canvas is heavier and requires proper care, but if you treat it and take care of it, military grade canvas will remain waterproof and be one of the most durable materials available. In general, the material in cheaper tents will be of a lower quality and will not last you as long, so don’t make your budget the deciding factor when purchasing a truck topper. If you buy the cheapest one, you may end up spending more money because you will have to buy another topper sooner rather than later due to poor quality materials.
- Additional Accessories
When camping, you will be exposed to inclement weather. Because of that, it is a good idea to purchase a tent topper that comes with a rain fly, which will better shield you from the elements.
A topper with an awning or two is also a plus, since you can set up a chair under the awning and sit in the shade.
Another accessory you might consider is a gear loft, which is a compartment for your gear that attaches to your tent ceiling with hooks and loops. This keeps your gear off the floor and gives you more floor space.
Because you will undoubtedly have a truck when you are truck camping, you may want to purchase an AC/DC inverter, which plugs into the DC cigarette lighter outlet in your truck and supplies you with a normal outlet so you can plug in your electronics and appliances from home using the electricity from your truck.A truck bed is metal and will thus be hard and freezing at night. To make sleeping on your truck bed more comfortable, you can purchase a truck bed liner, which is essentially a heavy duty rug which evens out the surface of your truck bed to create a more comfortable space. You can also buy the aforementioned dedicated truck bed mattress, which is an air mattress that fits perfectly in the bed of your truck
_FAQs About Best Camping Truck Toppers_
- How should I fold my truck tent?
Don’t fold your topper along the original lines (the way it was folded in the package). Repeated folding along the same lines will weaken the tent fabric and cause breakage. Fold it up differently each time. Make sure it’s dry before folding.
- What are three-season and four-season tents? What’s the difference?
Three-season tents are designed for use in three seasons—spring, summer, and autumn. Four-season tents are for the whole year, including winter, and are heavier and thicker to protect from snow and colder weather.
- Is installing truck toppers hard?
Most of the truck tents we reviewed can be set up by one person in approximately 10 – 30 minutes. They’re definitely easier to set up than traditional tents.
We hope that this buying guide with its tips and reviews has helped you pick out for yourself the very best truck topper for camping. Remember to measure your truck bed exactly to ensure that you are getting a truck topper that fits! Don’t hesitate to contact the truck tent manufacturer to determine if the topper fits your particular pickup make and model. Keep in mind the available headroom, ventilation, durability, setup, and other features! Equipped with the knowledge from this guide, you are sure to find a topper that meets your needs. Happy truck camping! Please check our reviews for Best Jeep Winch and Best 4runner roof rack if you need