How to Choose the Right SUV Tent
Choosing an SUV tent shouldn’t be a rushed judgment. There are factors you need to consider in order to make sure that you meet all your housing needs while car camping. The last thing you want to happen is to have an unusable tent in the middle of the wild, so we’ve provided plenty of information in this SUV tent review to help you make the right decision.
Type of SUV Tent
Some SUV tents are only suitable for certain vehicles. Others may come in styles that you may or may not be interested in. Some of the most popular SUV tent types are:
- Truck tents – for use on bed of pickup trucks
- Hatchback tents – uses the hatchback of the vehicle as a support structure
- Roof tents – this tent sits on the roof of your vehicle
Out of the three types, hatchback tents tend to be the most popular. These are the tents that we’ve focused on for this guide.
The average tent is a three-season tent. Anything four seasons and above is geared more towards expedition or extreme camping. Anything less is probably not for the serious camper but may be suitable if you’re hanging out with the family in the backyard during favorable weather.
It goes without saying that you need a tent big enough for the family to hang out in. However, you need to pay attention to more than the sleeping capacity of a tent. While the sleeping capacity will significantly narrow down your choices, the factors below will further refine them as you discover what you need out of the tent’s size.
The most important measurement will be the tent opening that connects to the vehicle. Find out how tall your hatchback is and how wide your hatchback door is. Make sure your tent opening can accommodate this height and width. You should also pay attention to the floor space and make sure you have enough room for your people as well as any gear or furniture you’ll have inside the tent.
Look for indicators of high-quality construction. This includes things like taped seams, a high waterproof rating, bucket floors, covered zippers that zip easily, thick fabrics, and protective fabric coatings (see the fabric section below). While having these types of features does drive up the cost of a tent, you’ll know that you’re getting a great shelter that will safely and comfortably house you and your family for many camping trips to come.
Some tents come with excellent warranties. A good warranty can help you rest assured that the manufacturer has you covered in case of defects. It also shows good faith in the quality of the tent on the manufacturer’s part. After all, a tent is an investment – you don’t want to have to buy a tent repeatedly with each camping trip.
Your tent’s fabric is something you should discern before making a tent purchase. Certain materials are better for specific situations. More importantly, the fabric thickness, measured in deniers (D), and the thread count (T) should be on the high end of the spectrum. The three main fabric types for tents are:
- Polyester – a great, all-around fabric that can stand up to a lot of extremes, but it’s less breathable than the other fabrics and prone to developing condensation inside the tent
- Nylon – extraordinarily lightweight and tends to be inexpensive compared to the other two, but can get sun damaged and sags in heavy rain
- Cotton – extremely durable and doesn’t get damaged in the sun, but it’s high-maintenance and heavy
There are a lot of different blends and spin-offs of these fabrics, but they all boil down to these three materials. Although each material seems to have a negative side to them, these negatives are usually alleviated during the manufacturing of a high-quality tent.
In many cases, the price of a tent will indicate its quality level, but there are often exceptions to this rule. As such, the price of a tent shouldn’t be your main deciding factor. Of course, we understand that you may have to stay within a specific budget, but you can still get a high-quality tent with some discretion.
As stated before, certain features can drive up the cost of a tent. You must be careful with this because you may spend a fortune on a tent with a bunch of features but then find out that the tent is manufactured poorly and probably won’t last through your first trip. If possible, try to consider the points that we’ve mentioned above first and let price be your last deciding factor.
Now that you know how to choose the best SUV tents for camping, it’s time to start searching. We’ve provided a few suggestions to get you started. After reviewing several selections, here are the five best tents that attach to SUVs.
The Best SUV Tent – The Results
Napier Outdoorz Sports SUV Tent with Screen RoomSaleSportz SUV Blue/Grey Tent with Screen Room (10 x10 x7.25-Feet)
- Roomy 10- by 10-foot tent sleeps 5-6 people with over 7 feet of headroom;…
- Sleeve attach to your vehicle to convert cargo space into sleeping space
- Transform the vehicle tent into a ground tent by fully removing the vehicle…
- Features new steel and fiberglass pole structure for one-person set-up
- Includes an expandable carrying bag for storage
The Napier Sports SUV tent is a great all-around, three-season tent that gives you ample space for up to six people. It measures 17′ x 10′ (includes a screen room) and is over seven feet tall so you can easily stand and walk around inside of the tent. The tent weighs 53 pounds, so it’s cumbersome. It will probably be practical to have more than one person setting it up.
From our research, we would recommend this for almost any type of weather, except for heavy rain. Although the tent does have taped seams and a 1200mm waterproof rating, it tends to leak in the center floor seam and the zippers. Other than this, it’s a good tent and fits almost any vehicle.
- One-year warranty.
- It has a gear loft, lantern holder, and mesh pockets.
- It has two doors and three windows.
- The tent tends to leak in heavy rain.
- It’s heavy and awkward to set up.
KingCamp Melfi Plus SUV Tent
The Best SUV TentKingCamp Melfi Plus 3 Season 5 Person Multifunctional SUV Car Tent (Blue 2 Room (Side Screen Room))
- FIRM AND EASY UP: With 6pcs steel poles, 3pcs fiberglass poles, 4psc steel…
- Roomy: The size of the SUV tent (72.8+114.1×114.1×90.5/68.8inches) is big…
- Multi-purpose: The flysheet is made of special silver coated UPF 50+…
- Portable And Durable: The weight is 37.3 lbs and packaged size only has 28…
- Attentiones: Please Carefully Watch The Instruction Attached To The Carry…
This tent is called King Camp for a reason. It’s enormous, durable, and convenient. The tent measures 15.5 x 9.5 feet (includes the screen room) and stands over 7.5 feet tall. It’s suitable for up to four people inside of the tent, plus two additional in your car’s cargo area if needed. There’s plenty of room to move around in, sleep in, store gear in, or anything else you’ll use your tent for. On top of this, it only weighs a little over 36 pounds, so it’s lightweight compared to similar tents like the Napier Sports tent.
We were impressed with the dual-use of the tent doors. You can use poles to prop them up as awnings, giving you even more covered space to sit or store things. This, along with large mesh windows, provides the tent with adequate ventilation. Pair that with the breathable, 190T polyester wall fabric, and you have a very comfortable interior that won’t produce condensation.
- You can choose to have your screen room on the front or the side.
- The tent has a waterproof rating of 3000mm.
- The fabric is fire-retardant.
- Fiberglass poles will splinter if folded improperly.
- The instructions are minimal and unclear.
Rightline Gear SUV TentSaleRightline Gear 110907 SUV Tent
- SLEEP OFF THE GROUND: Nothing beats the comfort of your vehicle; plus the…
- 1 YEAR MANUFACTURER’S WARRANTY: Shop confidently; our service team is based…
- FAMILY SIZED: Tent comfortably sleeps (4) adults and vehicle cargo area…
- QUALITY WEATHERPROOF CONSTRUCTION: Water resistant fabric with tape sealed…
- UNIVERSAL FIT: The Tent’s vehicle sleeve attaches to any size SUV, minivan,…
This three-season tent is a comfortable and neat/tidy looking tent. It’s a bit compact compared to others on the list. It measures 8 x 8 feet with a height of just over 7 feet tall. The manufacturer suggests that the tent is good for up to four people with two more in your cargo area. Sixty-four square feet is a bit snug for four people–we wouldn’t recommend more than three people (two if you want some wiggle room).
Although the listed capacity is ambitious, the tent is still a high-quality tent. The tent walls and rainfly are made of a 68D polyester that has a 2,000mm PU waterproof rating. The bucket floor also has a 2,000mm PU waterproof rating. The tent has taped seams and quality construction so it will hold up well in a downpour.
- It has glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls.
- One-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- It’s lightweight (for an SUV tent), weighing only 19 pounds.
- The only storage space is two small, mesh pockets.
- There is only one door and one window.
- The included stakes are flimsy.
Napier Backroadz SUV TentSaleBackroadz SUV Tent
- Spacious 10’ x 10’ tent providing over 7’ of headroom and sleeps 5…
- he universal vehicle sleeve ﬁts all CUV’s, SUV’s, and Minivans. The…
- Full rainﬂy with taped seams and built-in storm ﬂaps in the windows and…
- Seamlessly connects to the cargo area of your vehicle, creating additional…
- 1 large door and 3 mesh windows oﬀer optimal ventilation
This tent is essentially the same as the Rightline Gear SUV tent, but with a different color and name on it. It measures 10 x 10 feet, so it’s slightly bigger, which is helpful if you want to add that fourth person in the tent. The differences in the tent are in the quality, not the construction.
One significant difference is that the Napier tent only has an 800mm PU waterproof coating. This is a meager rating compared to most other tents. That means you probably don’t want to use this tent if you’re expecting rain.
So why would you choose the Backroadz tent over the Gear tent? The Napier tent is at a slightly lower price range than the Backroadz tent. If you like this style of SUV tent and you want to save a few dollars, the Backroadz tent is a great choice.
- One-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.
- Easy setup and clear instructions.
- The tent has two doors for easy entrance/exits.
- The rainfly blocks ventilation flow of the mesh windows.
- Rainfly tends to dump water right onto the bottom of the door.
Napier Sportz SUV TentSportz SUV Tent (Medium)
- 10-feet x 10-feet tent is designed to fit most SUVs, vans, or trucks with…
- Unzip the removable vehicle sleeve to convert the vehicle tent into a stand…
- 2 shock-corded fiber glass poles for a fast and easy set up=
- Includes a rain fly with taped seams for extra protection
- Fire retardant material C.P.A.I. 84
Here is another Napier tent that we’ve included in the list. This tent is like the Napier Backyardz tent, but with a few added features. One major feature is the 1200mm PU waterproof rating. This is much better than the Backyardz tent, so you’ll have a better chance in the rain.
This tent has a gear loft in addition to the mesh pockets. The tent also has two overhead skylights which are pleasant if you’re going to be stargazing.
The floor space is compact–9 x 9 feet–so we wouldn’t recommend the tent for four people. However, if some of your group will be sleeping in your vehicle, then the tent would be okay for the remaining people. Overall, it’s an excellent tent for good camping memories.
- Easy setup instructions.
- One-year limited warranty.
- Storage bag is expandable for easy repacking.
- The rainfly kills most of the ventilation of the tent.