Best SUV Tent: Trialed & Tested [2024 Update]

Looking for an SUV tent for your next car-camping trip, whether with friends, family, or alone? Explore the best SUV tents through our reviews of 7 top options, equipped with all the information needed to make the right choice for your situation.

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Written by: | Reviewed by: Brian Conghalie
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Equipping your vehicle with an SUV tent is a convenient way to spend nights outdoors, whether you’re road-tripping or car camping. Besides SUV-tent compatibility, there are several factors to consider when selecting the right vehicle tent for your needs.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 7 top SUV camping tents, each offering unique benefits, ranging from budget options to premium waterproof models. While we favor the KingCamp Melfi Plus overall, we also recommend the Napier Backroadz, Napier Outdoors Sportz Family, Rightline Gear SUV Tent, North East Harbor Universal, DAC Explorer 2 SUV & Minivan Tent, and the Napier Sportz Dome-to-Go.

In addition to our reviews, we also cover how an SUV tent differs from a freestanding tent or rooftop tent, and provide buying advice on features to consider, including tent seasonality, size, quality, fabric, price, and warranty.

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At a Glance: Quick Recommendations

What is an SUV Tent?

An SUV tent is a shelter designed to connect to SUVs, crossovers, or similar vehicles. It extends living and sleeping areas by merging the vehicle’s interior with the tent, offering extra space, comfort, security, and protection from the elements.

The benefit of an SUV tent over a freestanding tent is the extra living space that is generated from using the rear hatch of your vehicle.

SUV tents are substantially cheaper than a rooftop tent, which attaches to your vehicle’s roof rack.

What are the best SUV tents?

The following are our top picks for the best SUV tents, with the KingCamp Melfi Plus leading the way.

  • KingCamp Melfi Plus
  • Napier Backroadz SUV Tent
  • Napier Outdoors Sportz Family SUV Tent
  • Rightline Gear SUV Tent
  • North East Harbor Universal SUV Camping Tent
  • DAC Explorer 2 SUV & Minivan Tent
  • Napier Sportz Dome-to-Go SUV Tent

KingCamp Melfi Plus

Editor’s Choice

Size: 81 sq. ft. ⸱ Height: 7 ft. 6 in. ⸱ Weight: 37.7 lbs. ⸱ Season: 3 ⸱ Waterproofing: 3,000 mm flysheet

In our pursuit of this year’s top SUV car tent, we sought a waterproof, easy-to-set-up, durable, roomy model with value-adding features – enter the KingCamp Melfi Plus.

The Melfi Plus measures 15 x 9 feet (including the screen room) and stands over 7.5 feet tall. This means it can accommodate 5 adult sleepers in the main sleeping space and squeeze in another four if the screen room is used as an “overflow” sleeping area. If not needed for more sleepers, then that extra space is great for evening drinks and games of cards!

Despite its size, the Melfi Plus weighs just 37.7 pounds, so it’s lightweight compared to similar tents like the Napier Outdoors.

Size aside, the Melfi Plus has a lot to offer. Its heavy-duty, 190T, 3,000mm hydrostatic head polyester fabric is both durable and highly waterproof, so it’s suitable for 3-season use and is truly built to last. The double doors can also be extended to create two large awnings under which you can store extra gear or kick back in the shade on sunny days.

  • PROs

    • Roomy
    • Huge screen room can be attached to the front or the side
    • Waterproof rating of 3,000mm
    • Fire-retardant fabric
    • Two doors with large awnings
    • Easy setup
  • CONs

    • Fiberglass poles will splinter if stored incorrectly
    • Setup instructions are minimal and unclear

Bottom-Line: A well-made, waterproof SUV awning tent that provides plenty of room for all the family plus gear.

Napier Backroadz SUV Tent

Runner Up

Size: 100 sq. ft. ⸱ Height: 7 ft.  ⸱ Weight: 25 lbs. ⸱ Season: 3 ⸱ Waterproofing:

After testing the highly popular Backroadz SUV tent, it’s evident why Napier has emerged as a premier SUV tent manufacturer.

The Backroadz offers a generous 100 square feet of floor space and has a peak height of just over 7 feet. This makes it roomy enough for 6 adults plus gear and has enough headroom for even the tallest of campers. While there’s no vestibule, there’s plenty of extra room for gear if occupied by only 5 or 6 sleepers. And, of course, there’s always the cargo space of your vehicle.

While the Backroadz isn’t as waterproof as the Melfi Plus, it’s equally robust and durable and uses a full-coverage rainfly with an opening at the front. This design boosts airflow and prevents condensation in wet conditions whilst allowing you to shed the fly for added ventilation in warmer weather.

  • PROs

    • Roomy (100 sq. ft.)
    • Peak height (over 7’)
    • Universal vehicle sleeve fits all CUVs, SUVs, and minivans
    • Full-coverage, waterproof rainfly
    • 1 large door and 3 large mesh windows
    • Relatively lightweight (27 lbs.)
  • CONs

    • Quite pricey

Bottom-Line: A well-made, versatile 6-person tent that fits all CUVs, SUVs, and minivans.

Napier Outdoors Sportz Family SUV Tent

Best for Livability

Size: 81 sq. ft. ⸱ Height: 7 ft. ⸱ Weight: 30 lbs. ⸱ Season: 3 ⸱ Waterproofing: 1,200 mm

The Napier Sportz Family SUV tent is a versatile three-season tent providing ample space for up to nine people. It measures 15 x 9′ (including the screen room) and stands over seven feet tall, so you can easily stand and walk around inside.

This tent weighs 53 pounds, so it’s cumbersome and requires two people to set it up, but for some, all that extra space will be worth the additional weight.

We would recommend this one for almost any type of weather, except for heavy rain. Although it does have taped seams and a 1200mm waterproof rating, its use of a partial-coverage rainfly means you’re sure to spring a leak in anything other than light showers.

  • PROs

    • One-year warranty
    • Has a gear loft, lantern holder, and mesh pockets
    • Two doors and three windows
    • Main sleeping area can accommodate 5 sleepers
    • Huge screen room can accommodate 4 sleepers
  • CONs

    • Tends to leak in heavy rain
    • Heavy and awkward to set up

Bottom-Line: Not ideal in bad weather, but great for summer camping in a large group.

Rightline Gear SUV Tent

Honorable Mention

Size: 57.6 sq. ft. ⸱ Height: 7 ft. 2 in. ⸱ Weight: 20 lbs. ⸱ Season: 3 – 4 ⸱ Waterproofing: 2,000 mm

This three-season SUV tent from Rightline Gear earns it’s place in our list due to its durable construction, user-friendly setup, and a design that optimizes interior space.

This tent measures 8 x 8 feet with a center height of just over 7 feet. While the manufacturers suggest that it can accommodate up to four people with two more in your cargo area, this wouldn’t leave much room for gear. As there’s no vestibule or screened room, we’d recommend a max occupancy of 3 under the “canvas” and 2 in the cargo.

Although the listed capacity is ambitious, this is still a high-quality tent. The tent walls and rainfly are made of 68D polyester with a 2,000mm PU waterproof rating. While the rainfly offers only partial coverage, a slight awning ensures the body will remain dry unless the wind is blowing the rain sideways. The bucket floor also has a 2,000mm waterproof rating.

  • PROs

    • Glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls
    • One-year manufacturer’s warranty
    • Lightweight (19 lbs.)
    • Waterproof
  • CONs

    • Only has two small mesh pockets
    • Only one door and one window
    • Included stakes are flimsy

Bottom-Line: A pricey but high-performing 4-person shelter.

North East Harbor Universal SUV Camping Tent

Best Value

Size: 64 sq. ft. ⸱ Height: 6 ft. ⸱ Weight: ⸱ Season: ⸱ Waterproofing: 1,200 mm

If you are looking for an affordable SUV tent that outperforms several of its pricier competitors then the North East Harbor Universal is worth considering.

This NEH Univeral’s 8’ x 8’ dimensions and 7.2’ center height make it plenty roomy for four adult campers. Add on space for two more in your cargo area, and you’ll have room for six sleepers.

Like the Rightline Gear model, the NEH Universal’s rainfly offers only partial coverage, but its decent waterproof rating (1,200mm) and large awnings mean it will keep you dry in light to moderate rain showers.

What we love about the Universal is that it works just as well as a standard tent. This versatility could save you a small fortune on a second tent and gives you the option of camping at dispersed backcountry sites if you feel like venturing farther from the roadside.

  • PROs

    • Easy to pitch
    • Two huge doors
    • Universal fit
    • Great ventilation
    • Can be used as a stand-alone tent when not attached to SUV
  • CONs

    • Not as rugged as the KingCamp Melfi Plus or Napier Backroadz

Bottom-Line: An affordable option that works just as well as a standard stand-alone tent as it does an SUV tent.

DAC Explorer 2 SUV & Minivan Tent

Best Budget

Size: 72.25 sq. ft. ⸱ Height:⸱ Weight: 5 lbs. ⸱ Season: 4 ⸱ Waterproofing:

If you’re a solo camper or a camping couple seeking a basic backcountry shelter to attach to your vehicle, the DAC Explorer might be just what you need.

Unlike other tents on our list, the Explorer relies on the roof of your vehicle to provide most of the sheltered sleeping space. It fits over the trunk door of your vehicle to form a water-tight seal, whilst also extending coverage by an extra few feet.

The pole-free design of the Explorer makes it an absolute breeze to set up. All you do is pull it over the trunk door, attach a duo of bungee cords to the vehicle’s underframe, then hop in!

The Explorer’s door panels can also be closed for privacy, or tied back to maximize ventilation. When tied back, a no-see-um insect screen keeps your skin safe from airborne biters.

  • PROs

    • Sets up in roughly 1 minute
    • Weighs just 5 lbs.
    • Waterproof
    • No-see-um big mesh
  • CONs

    • Provides no added capacity to the cargo space of your vehicle

Bottom-Line: This SUV trunk tent is worth the modest investment!

Napier Sportz Dome-to-Go SUV Tent

Best 4-Person

Size: 72.25 sq. ft. ⸱ Height: 6 ft. 5 in. ⸱ Weight: 31 lbs. ⸱ Season: 3 ⸱ Waterproofing:

The Sportz Dome-To-Go is the ideal choice for smaller families of four or camping couples who appreciate some extra space.

This tent’s dome-style design means it performs well in wet and blustery weather. The steep, curved walls shed water quickly and their curvature provides added stability when things get blowy.

The Dome-to-Go fits nearly all hatchbacks and small CUVs and can be attached to your vehicle in around 10-15 minutes. Inside, you’ll have 72.25 square feet of living or sleeping space, meaning you could accommodate up to 6 campers if two sleep in the vehicle’s cargo area.

The Dome-to-Go also has a full-coverage rainfly, so is suitable for 3-season use. In the summer months, its two large doors and 3 large no-see-um mesh windows help to keep things cool.

For further brownie points, this hatchback tent for SUV camping features a duo of large gear pockets. You get an oversized gear loft and a huge extendable awning that creates an exterior space shelter for lounging or gear storage.

  • PROs

    • 72.25 square feet of floor space
    • 6’ 6” peak height
    • Fits all CUVs and SUVs
    • Full-coverage rainfly
  • CONs

    • Quite tricky to set up

Bottom-Line: A spacious, 3-season shelter with great features.

How to Choose the Right SUV Tent?

Before buying a new SUV tent below are the main factors to consider.

  • Tent Seasonality
  • Size
  • Quality
  • Tent Fabric
  • Price 
  • Warranty

Tent Seasonality

Tent seasonality refers to the suitability of a tent for different seasons and weather conditions. Tents are typically categorized as two-season, three-season, or four-season, indicating their ability to withstand different weather elements associated with each season. Like traditional tents, the seasonality of your SUV tent indicates how well it will perform in different weather conditions.

2-season tents are the least weather-resistant of the bunch but typically offer better ventilation on account of using a partial-coverage rainfly. As such, these are more suited for fair-weather camping in summer or warmer days in the shoulder seasons.

3-season tents are the most versatile. These tents usually have a full-coverage rainfly and are waterproof enough to resist sustained rainfall. Because these tents have a removable fly, you can use them sans fly on dry nights in summer months or with the fly on wet nights in spring and fall.

4-season tents exist under a bit of a misnomer. While the name suggests they are suitable for use in all 4 seasons of the year, they’re actually geared towards use in winter only.

Water drops on rain fly
The weather versatility of your tent will depend upon when and where you plan to camp


Tent size should be large enough for your family to hang out, sleep comfortably, and store all your gear. As a general guideline, each adult sleeper requires about 14 square feet of space. By dividing the total square footage of the tent by 14, you can better determine how many campers can fit inside.

Example: 100 square feet ÷ 14 = 7.1. So, a model with 100 square feet of floor space can accommodate 7 sleepers or 6 plus gear. Bear in mind, however, that the beauty of an SUV tent is that 1 or 2 more sleepers can sleep in the cargo/trunk area of your vehicle or you can stash your gear in there to save space inside the tent.

The sleeping capacity stated by manufacturers should be taken with a pinch of salt. For starters, many are apt to include the cargo space of your vehicle in the capacity, dubbing their products “4-person” tents when in fact the tent portion can only accommodate 2 or 3 sleepers. Some are also prone to underestimate how much space an adult sleeper really needs. 

The best way to avoid selling yourself short on sleeping space is to find the tent’s floor plan, where the overall square footage should be stated to work out the sleeping capacity for yourself.

Also, bear in mind that not all SUV tents are compatible with all SUVs. Before buying, make sure the product in question is either ‘universal’ or that the tent opening will fit your hatchback door.

Need an extra-roomy tent? If so, we recommend the Napier Outdoors Sportz Family SUV Tent, which offers 135 square feet of space inside the tent portion alone.

Sleeping bags inside a two man tent
A tent may be sold as ‘two man’ but this may mean that literally, two sleeping bags can fit in


Signs of high-quality construction include taped seams, aluminum tent poles, a high waterproof rating, bathtub floors, easy-to-zip covered zippers, high-denier fabrics, and protective fabric coatings such as PU.

Tent Fabric

The tent fabric’s thickness and thread count are the primary factors that determine durability.

Fabric thickness is measured in denier (D), and the thread count is shown in product specifications by a ‘T’. If durability is a concern, your tent’s fabric should be on the high end of the spectrum, which means over 20D for the rainfly and body. While thread counts are less frequently stated, anything over 150T is a safe bet. 


Features like gear lofts, or a screen or awning room can increase the cost of a tent. Therefore, it’s wise to determine your priorities before creating a shortlist. Do you want a more expensive tent with added features or a reliable, basic option that fulfills essential needs?

In many cases, the price of a tent in itself is a good indicator of quality, but there are exceptions to this rule. The North East Harbor Universal, for example, is a bit of a steal, matching most of its pricier competitors in every important metric. 

SUV tent with awning out attached to the back of a vehicle
List what your priorities are before shopping around. Is an awning important to you or just an extra you can do without?


A reliable warranty provides assurance that the manufacturer will address any defects. It also demonstrates the manufacturer’s confidence in the tent’s quality. After all, a tent is an investment – you don’t want to have to buy a new one every few seasons! 

Which model should you take SUV Tent Camping? The Verdict

Our top choice for an SUV tent (by a long shot) is the KingCamp Melfi Plus. It performs exceptionally well in all weather conditions, offers ample space, and includes numerous features that enhance comfort and convenience.

If the Melfi is a little too pricey for your budget, the North East Harbor Universal is a solid alternative. While it isn’t the top performer in wet weather, its huge interior and versatility make it ideal for summer camping trips with the whole family. 

So, how did you like our post? If you have any thoughts or questions, drop us a line in the comments box below. And please feel free to share this post with your friends!

Last update on 2024-03-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Kieran Avatar

Kieran James Cunningham is a climber, mountaineer, and author who divides his time between the Italian Alps, the US, and his native Scotland.

He has climbed a handful of 6000ers in the Himalayas, 4000ers in the Alps, 14ers in the US, and loves nothing more than a good long-distance wander in the wilderness. He climbs when he should be writing, writes when he should be sleeping, has fun always.

Kieran has taught mountaineering, ice climbing, and single-pitch and multi-pitch rock climbing in a variety of contexts over the years and has led trekking and mountaineering expeditions in the Alps, Rockies, and UK. He is currently working towards qualifying as a Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor and International Mountain Leader.

Kieran’s book Climbing the Walls—an exploration of the mental health benefits of climbing, mountaineering, and the great outdoors—is scheduled for release by Simon & Schuster in April 2021.

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