While it is a great idea, not everybody has the tools nor the patience to construct such a work of art. Plus you are also limited on space as the custom bed box takes up the whole back of the car.
The other alternative is to simply take a air mattress designed for SUV camping. This again is a wonderful idea, but it isn’t the most practical when you want to take on long campaign trips and stay at one location for several days.
The better option in this case is to set up a SUV tent for camping. Attach it to the back of your car and presto, an instant campsite on the go. Now you are not limited by the location you can camp, nor are you limited to just the back seat of your SUV. Now you have a full blown camping tent with the benefit of a 12 Volt power source close by if needed. Having this 12v (Cigarette lighter outlet) power source is a great feature to have when camping. You can use the power from your car to power many camping related goods including the air mattress pump.
*Do note: These tents are for the back of SUV’s, not Pick Up Trucks. If you need a tent for your truck, please see Pick Up Truck Tents.
The Best Family Tent For SUV Camping
Sports Napier 5 Person 10×10 Foot Tent Review
The largest SUV camping tent that attaches to the car that I could find is the Sportz by Napier.While claiming something sleeps 5 to 6 people may be a good guide, I find it best to look at the footprint of the tent.
In this case, the Sportz is 10 by 10 foot with just over 7 feet ceiling clearance. There is also a 7 by 6 screened room which can easily be turned into a separate room with the addition of a tarp beneath. Finally, are yourself with a relevant SUV air mattress and us Parents can sleep up high in the cargo bay of the car. In terms of shear living space, the Sportz is the best I’ve seen.
What I Love About The Sportz SUV Tent
- Once use to setting up (I recommend a trial run at home), I reckon two people can knock this thing completely together in 15 minutes. Don’t want the screen room?. Make it in under 10 minutes then.
- Doesn’t need to be attached to the vehicle. Can be used as a stand alone tent. When used on the SUV, there’s no need to unpack luggage or bags. Simply attach it like described in the instructions.
- Comes with a very nice awning for resting in the shade while breathing in the fresh ones.
- Huge in size. Standing is not an issue in this tent.
- A net can be found in the main area ceiling. This is used to hang a light and keep your valuables safe. Great idea.
- Included rain fly works wonders at keeping you dry inside the tent. One of the better ones I have seen.
Summing The Sportz By Napier Up
A few minor alterations I believe the Sportz model could boast to make this the perfect SUV camping tent. I would love to see some pre made attachment pieces for the screen area. This would make holding the tent down to a tarp much easier. A hanging hook would also be nice in the same area. Extra storage pouches would be the icing on the cake.
I may be asking for too much at a price range like this. But regardless, I still believe the Sportz to be the best family tent for vehicle camping. It’s shear amount of space, high quality materials and ability to attach to the car is what makes this the best tent in my opinion.
The Best SUV Camping Tents For A Smaller Family
The Rightline Gear 110907 Tent – 4-6 Peopletent for a pick up truck, go here. Measuring in with a footprint of 8 feet by 8 feet, this is still a somewhat spacious tent thanks largely to the 7 foot ceiling height.
There’s two things I love about the Rightline Gear SUV Tent (Besides the cheaper price tag), they are the floor tarp and zippers. With this tent you wont need to buy an additional tent tarp/footprint to stay dry, as its pre installed into the tent. A small but convenient feature that I cant get enough off (Neither can the kids) are the glow in the dark zippers. This makes it extremely easy to find your way out of the tent in the middle of the night.
The Awesome Features Of This Tent
- Seams are sealed, which is great for longevity and waterproofing. Not as common as you may think.
- We found the car boot door can be closed with the tent still attached. This is great for being able to lock the vehicle up while going for a fish, hike, rest etc.
- Can be used as a standalone tent. Detached from back of SUV which can be sealed. This is great if you want to go on a day trip and come back to a tent already set up.
- Zip Up window covers are a bonus I found. Not all tents do this. Many just use the rain fly as a privacy feature. But this tent has actual privacy windows that zip up.
- Great price tent for 2-4 ground sleepers. Leaving room in the back of the car for sleeping Adults or cargo.
- Big windows to provide excellent air flow and reduce condensation in the tent area.
- Suitable for many vehicles including: Chevy Duramax, 4 Door Jeep Wrangler/Renegade, Subaru Outback/Forester, Saturn VUE, RAV 4, Ford Expedition, Hyundai Elantra, Santa Fe etc.
My Recommendations For The Rightline Gear SUV Tent
While a great tent for giving the kids room to play and sleep in the tent area, it does come with a couple little defects in my opinion. The stakes that come with the tent, my suggestion: Buy heavy duty ones if you predict any sort of wild weather. They easily bend if the ground is hard as well.
If you are planning on going solo camping with your SUV, then I highly recommend practicing the set up at home. It can be quite tricky balancing everything while setting it up alone. With 2 people its a breeze, but one is a struggle. Other than these couple defects, I find the Rightline Gear SUV tent the second best option behind the above Sportz tent.
The Budget Friendly SUV Camping Experience
The Explorer SUV Tent With A Twist
This style of tent is ideal for 2 people traveling across country via their SUV. This is becasue it offers a way to let fresh air in while keeping the bugs out. After you drive for the day, you simply set up shop and go to sleep ready for the next days adventures.
Setting up is easy, which is kind of a necessity with this kind of tent. You don’t want to spend an hour setting this thing up every day just to pull it down again. Fortunately, it will take you just a few minutes to be all set up. All you got to do is drape the tent over the back of your SUV door (Door must fold up and be within 67 inches wide to work). Lift the door after you have attached the bungee cord like clips to the wheel arches.
While you don’t get any extra foot space in this tent, the area under the raised door acts as a pouch. This is where you can store your clothes or gear while you sleep.
There is only one real concern when buying this tent to be used as a n attachment to your SUV and that is gripping. While the bungee cord style attachments work, in my opinion there needs to be improvements. Something as simple as putting a few cheap magnets inside the edges that run down the vehicle. This will hold the tent in position much more thoroughly. So if you like the idea of this tent, I would also suggest buying a couple magnets for a few bucks. This will ensure you have next to no chances of the tent moving out of position.