Best SUV Tent: This Year’s 7 Best SUV Tents Reviewed

Need a “bolthole” for a car-camping trip with your friends, family, or even solo? Find the best SUV tent for your needs with our reviews of 7 awesome contenders, along with all the info you need to make the right choice for you and your family.

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Best SUV Tents for Car Camping Adventures

Looking for a great SUV tent?

You’re in the right place! In this guide, we will be covering the following:

    • Advice on how to choose the best SUV tent
    • Reviews of 7 of the best SUV tents out there
    • A selection of budget, mid-range, and premium SUV camping tents

Whether you’re road-tripping or car camping kitting your vehicle out with a great SUV tent is one of the most convenient ways to do overnighters in the wilds.

There are dozens of good SUV tents on the market, but why settle for ‘good’ when you can have great?

To help find the ideal SUV tent for you we’ve put together a list of our 7 favorite SUV camping tents. Our list includes everything from budget tents to top-end waterproof tents, as well as our pick for this year’s best tent for SUVs overall.

If you still aren’t sure how to choose, scroll down to our detailed buying advice which will provide all the info you need to make the right choice.

Editor’s Choice

KingCamp Melfi Plus

KingCamp Melfi Plus SUV Car Tent 3 Seasons 4-6 Person Multifunctional, Suitable Camping Traveling Family Outdoor Activities

The KingCamp Melfi Plus is one of the most spacious SUV tents on our list, measuring 15 x 9 feet if you include the screen room. This means it offers 135 square feet of floor space, more than enough room for 9 adult sleepers.

The sheer size of the Melfi Plus does, of course, make it a little heavy (37.3 lbs.), but it’s easy to set up if you have two or more people doing the pitching. The added weight also helps keep it anchored down in strong winds.

One of the most lovable features of this tent is the screen room which is perfect for enjoying the great outdoors while safely enclosed inside a no-see-um mesh bug net. We also found this addition to boost overall livability by reducing “cabin fever” that can arise when spending all your time in one room (i.e. the tent portion or sleep area).

Unlike most tents on our list, the Mulfi Plus is also capable of keeping you dry in a deluge thanks to its full-coverage rainfly and 3,000mm hydrostatic head rating.

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

At a Glance: Quick Recommendations

Best Tents for SUVs: Our Top 7 Picks

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

When searching for this year’s best SUV tent, we wanted a model that was waterproof, easy to set up, durable, roomy, and full of value-adding features. This, folks, is the KingCamp Melfi Plus in a nutshell.

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 36 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 spacious, waterproof tent that offers just a little more quality than its top competitors.

Napier Backroadz SUV Tent

Runner Up

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

In recent years, Napier has become one of the leading manufacturers of SUV tents. After trying out their hugely popular Backroadz SUV tent, it’s easy to see why.

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 great all-around, three-season tent that gives ample space for up to nine people. It measures 15 x 9′ (including the screen room) and is 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 tent measures 8 x 8 feet and has 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

Want an affordable SUV tent that outperforms several of its pricier competitors? If so, the NEH Universal is well 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 looking for 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: Well 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 or camping couples who like a little 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, the Dome-to-Go SUV tent 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, here are the main factors to consider: 

Type of SUV Tent

The most popular types of SUV tents are:

  • Truck tents – Fit to pick-up truck beds
  • Hatchback tents – Use the hatchback of the vehicle as a support structure
  • Roof tents – Attach to the roof rack of your vehicle

Out of the three types, hatchback tents are the most popular, mainly because they’re more affordable and easier to set up. For those reasons these are the tents we’ve focused on in this guide.

Tent Seasonality

2-season? 3-season? 4-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.

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

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.

Size

It goes without saying that you need a tent big enough for all the family to hang out and sleep in, and to accommodate all of your gear.

The sleeping capacity stated by manufacturers, however, 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. Given that each adult sleeper needs around 14 square feet of space, divide the total square footage by 14 and you’ll have a better idea of how many campers you can squeeze in.

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.

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

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.

Quality

Indicators of high-quality construction include things like taped seams, aluminum poles, a high waterproof rating, bucket floors, covered zippers that zip easily, high-denier (thick) fabrics, and protective fabric coatings like PU. 

Warranty

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 new one every few seasons! 

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Tent Fabric

The thickness and thread count of the fabric used in your tent is the main determinant of 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. 

Price

In many cases, the price of a tent is a good indicator of quality, but there are often 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. 

Features like awnings, screen rooms, and even gear lofts can also drive up the cost of a tent. As such, it’s prudent to decide what your priorities are before drawing up a shortlist. Do you want a pricey tent with all the bells and whistles or a more basic, solid performer that simply covers the important bases? 

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?

Best SUV Tent: The Verdict

Our favorite SUV tent out there (by a long way) is the KingCamp Melfi Plus. The MelfiPlus performs well in all weather conditions, is extra-spacious, and boasts a wealth of features that boost 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 2022-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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.

3 thoughts on “Best SUV Tent: This Year’s 7 Best SUV Tents Reviewed”

  1. Are any of the tents above designed to truly keep out mosquitos? I assume the connection between back of the vehicle and tent may have some cracks where mosquitos would get in.

    Reply
    • Hey Barbara, we’d probably say the tent from North East Harbor is the easiest to set up – although it’s feasible to set all of them up yourself. It’s just maybe a little trickier than if you’ve got help.

      That said, if you’re a solo camper is an SUV tent the right choice? This type of tent is typically designed for families so you’ll have a lot of space to yourself which may be what you need, but if you don’t then it may be worthwhile choosing a smaller dome tent to set up next to your vehicle – these will be much easier to pitch for a solo camper. The REI Passage or Quarter Dome (reviews here) or the Coleman Sundome 4 (review here) are all great entry level tents.

      Reply

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