OUR TOP 3 PICKS FOR THE BEST SUV TENTS
If you’re looking to spend some quality time in the great outdoors, a quality tent is a must-have. However, if an outdoor-themed road trip is your favorite way to get out and explore, an SUV tent is your best choice.
Fun, practical, and oh-so-comfortable, SUV tents allow you to camp in style without having to go outside to access your vehicle at night. With so many great SUV tents to choose from, however, it can be tricky to find the right option for your needs.
We know how important it is to select the perfect car tent for your adventures. That’s why we’ve reviewed 15 of the best SUV tents available and created a comprehensive buyer’s guide to help you make your decision.
Best SUV Tents for Camping Review
Napier Outdoors premier SUV shelter
Napier Outdoors premier SUV shelter, the Family Tent, is a go-to model for adventurous families that don’t want to sacrifice comfort or functionality.
This tent has a spacious 10’ x 10’ (304 x 304cm) floor plan, which offers plenty of room for up to 6 adults. It also comes with a 6’ x 7’ (182 x 213cm) screen room for outdoor dining and relaxation without all the bugs, as well as 3 windows for ventilation.
In addition to a screen room, the Family Tent has a 6’ x 6’ (182 x 182cm) awning for hanging out on sunny days. The fully seam-taped rainfly and the built-in window and door storm flaps also provide the perfect amount of water protection when the weather just won’t cooperate.
- Large screen porch
- Fully seam-taped rainfly
- Spacious floor plan
- Includes an awning
Napier Outdoors Sportz Cove
When camping on a budget, you need an SUV tent that offers a great mix of value and practicality. That’s where the Napier Outdoors Sportz Cove enters the picture.
This conversion-style SUV tent is designed to fit in the back of your vehicle to create a sheltered sleeping space for up to 2 adults. It’s quick and easy to pitch and has a universal design that’s meant to accommodate all mid- to large-sized crossovers, SUVs, and minivans.
The Sportz Cove has a built-in storm flap to protect you from the elements as well as a mesh door to keep the bugs at bay. Meanwhile, the 2’ (61cm) overhanging awning provides shade from the sun and shelter from the rain.
- Universal design
- Waterproof construction
- 2’ overhanging awning
Napier Outdoors Backroadz SUV Tent
Blending affordability and quality into one great package, the Napier Outdoors Backroadz SUV Tent is our overall best choice for campers who need one tent to do it all.
You get a revamped version of a traditional dome-style tent for easy set-up, complete with a universal vehicle sleeve that can fit on any crossover, SUV, or minivan.
The tent itself has a 10’x10’ (304 x 304cm) ground area and boasts up to 7’ (213cm) of headroom, making it perfect for up to 5 adults.
Each Backroadz SUV Tent has 3 mesh windows for ventilation. It also comes with a set of integrated storm flaps for waterproofing and an internal lantern holder so you can illuminate your tent on rainy nights.
- High ceiling
- Universal sleeve design
- Spacious interior
- Large windows for ventilation
KingCamp Melfi Plus
An innovative take on an SUV tent, the KingCamp Melfi Plus is a solid choice for anyone who values livability above all else.
The Melfi Plus has a 2-room layout that can sleep up to 6 campers with ease. Throughout the tent, you get 7.5’ (228cm) of headroom and oversized windows that provide ample airflow for added comfort.
You can relax inside the massive screen porch on buggy days, or you can hang out under the tent’s 3 awnings on sunny days. Plus, the Melfi Plus packs up into a convenient included carrier bag for simplified transport to and from your campground.
- Oversized living area
- Large windows throughout the tent
- 2-room layout
- Space for up to 6 campers
Napier Outdoors Sportz Dome-To-Go
Crafted specifically to fit on smaller SUVs, crossovers, and hatchbacks, the Napier Outdoors Sportz Dome-To-Go is a comfy option that doesn’t slack off on style.
The Dome-To-Go has an 8.5’x8.5’ (259 x 259cm) footprint with over 6.5’ (198cm) of headroom to provide maximum comfort for up to 4 adults. It comes with 2 large doors and 3 windows for ventilation and ease of access at night, as well as a fully seam-taped rainfly for waterproofing.
For ease of use, you can quickly convert the Dome-To-Go into a freestanding tent if you need to drive away from your campsite. Within the tent, you also have access to an internal gear loft, gear pockets, and even a lantern for organization and functionality in camp.
- Can fit smaller SUVs
- Space for 4 adults
- Quickly converts to a freestanding tent
- High ceiling
Rightline Gear SUV Tent
Providing you with all the luxuries of home while you’re on the road, the Rightline Gear SUV Tent is a popular option for comfy living.
This freestanding tent has an integrated car sleeve, so you can use it with or without a vehicle as your trip needs change. It boasts panoramic views out of its 2 large no-see-um mesh netting windows, as well as ample airflow on warm days.
The Rightline Gear SUV Tent also has space for up to 4 adults inside its fully seam-taped construction. All of the tent’s windows and doors come with storm covers, so you can batten down the hatches when it rains.
- Versatile design
- Panoramic windows
- Freestanding design for use with or without a car
DAC Explorer 2
A simple way to transform your SUV into an adventuremobile, the DAC Explorer 2 is a conversion-style SUV tent that takes just a few minutes to set up.
Simply unpack the Explorer 2 from its included carry case and drape it over the rear of your SUV. After you tighten the integrated straps, you’ll have a fully-featured tent for 2 adults who value sleep and relaxation.
This tent comes with an innovative inverted ‘T’-shape layout that provides a large mesh front door for breathability. On rainy days, you can also zip up the outer door panel to stay dry when the weather won’t cooperate.
- Simple-set-up design
- Large mesh front door
- Compact carry bag included
Napier Outdoors Sportz SUV Tent
Functional as can be, the Napier Outdoors Sportz SUV Tent is a comfort-focused model for campers who want a no-frills solution for their adventure needs.
This tent features Napier Outdoors’ GoBe Dry rain protection system, which uses fully seam-taped polyester taffeta fabrics to keep you dry. It also includes storm flaps in each of the tent’s large mesh doors so that you can prevent water from getting in your tent.
In addition to a roomy floor plan with high ceilings and space for up to 5 campers, this tent has a Cyclone Venting System to encourage airflow. Plus, you can quickly transform this shelter into a more traditional camping tent simply by removing the included vehicle sleeve.
- Cyclone Venting System included
- Built-in GoBe Dry rain protection
- High ceiling
- Roomy floor plan
Patio Joy SUV Tent
A solid option for the budget-conscious camper, the Patio Joy SUV Tent is designed to help you get outside without draining your bank account.
It has a tunnel-style design that uses fiberglass poles to create a durable domed roof for windy conditions. Inside, this tent can accommodate up to 5 adults in its spacious central living space, which has a 7’ (213cm) central height.
With the Patio Joy SUV Tent, you get one large mesh door with an integrated storm flap for protection from the rain. Meanwhile, the durable polyester rainfly is fully removable in good weather, allowing you to expose the mesh roof for increased ventilation on hot days.
- Tunnel-style design
- 7’ (213cm) center height
- Integrated storm flaps
- Full mesh roof
Napier Outdoors Family Sportz SUV Tent
For family camping trips that don’t skimp on adventure, the Napier Outdoors Family Sportz SUV Tent is a sure bet. It’s designed to work with minivans, SUVs, and crossovers for maximum flexibility, regardless of the type of vehicle you own.
With over 7’ (213cm) of headroom, this tent can accommodate even the tallest of campers without encroaching on their comfort. Its sturdy structure and burly pole design also allow it to withstand high winds, despite its lofty center height.
When it comes to breathability, the Family Sportz SUV Tent doesn’t disappoint. It has massive mesh-screened D-shaped windows and doors on all sides to keep air flowing on muggy days.
Plus, its full-coverage rainfly can become an awning when the sun is shining, providing you with the perfect living situation regardless of the weather conditions.
- Full-coverage rainfly
- Sturdy pole construction
- High ceiling
- Large windows
Honda Genuine OEM SUV Tent
Honda lovers everywhere can rejoice with the Honda Genuine OEM SUV Tent. Made by Honda, for Hondas, this tent is suitable for many early- to mid-2000s Odysseys, Elements, Pilots, and CR-Vs.
It has sleeping space for up to 6 adults, making it a nice choice for family camping trips. The tent also comes with an integrated awning, which covers a 6’x6’ (182 x 182cm) area for maximum protection from the rain or sun.
Constructed from double-coated ripstop polyester that’s waterproof rated to 1,200mm, this tent is rugged enough for regular summertime camping adventures.
Each of its 2 screen windows and 2 screen doors also has roll-down rain flaps to keep you warm, cozy, and dry, even when the weather has other plans for your trip to the great outdoors.
- 6-person sleeping capacity
- Integrated awning
- Designed for Hondas by Honda
- Durable construction
Hasika SUV Tent
Budget-friendly to the core, the Hasika SUV Tent is light on the wallet and big on adventure.
This conversion-style SUV tent has a universal-fit construction that allows it to fit over the hatch of nearly any small- or mid-size SUV, crossover, or minivan.
The Hasika SUV Tent comes with a full-coverage mesh screen that helps keep bugs away from your sleeping space without restricting breathability.
Its oversized awning also provides plenty of protection from the wind and creates a comfortable outdoor seating space on sunny days. When the rain won’t let up, you can zip up the integrated storm flap for protection without having to get out of bed at night.
- Highly affordable
- Easy to set up
- Universal design
- Weatherproof construction
Jeep Genuine OEM Tent
Built specifically with Jeep SUVs in mind, the Jeep Genuine OEM Tent is a comprehensive shelter option for life on the road.
The tent has a large 10’x10’ (304 x 304cm) sleeping area that’s coupled with an oversized screen room for added living space. It’s made from extra-burly ripstop polyester for ruggedness, even after years of use, and it has a full-coverage rainfly for water protection.
Inside the tent, you have access to an assortment of organization options for your smaller bits of gear, such as an overhead loft and mesh pockets. Plus, the tent’s 2 skylights and 3 panoramic screen windows provide excellent ventilation in the summer.
- Gear organization options
- Large sleeping space
- Built-in screen room
- Made specifically for Jeeps
ARB Awning Room
The ARB Awning Room is a unique option for campers who need an SUV tent that can be pitched on the side, rather than the back, of their vehicle.
Crafted to cut down your pitching process to the absolute minimum, the ARB Awning Room is mounted directly onto your vehicle’s roof rack for quick deployment when you arrive at camp. As soon as you’re there, simply pull out the awning to unravel it, pitch the legs, and set up the floor/walls.
Inside, the awning room has enough space for 2-3 campers and plenty of ceiling height for added comfort. It comes with midge-proof side panels and even various cable access ports if you want to set up an interior lighting system within your tent.
- Super-quick set-up
- Allows for side access to your car
- Midge-proof bug netting
REDCAMP Car Shelter
Designed to turn your SUV into a versatile go-anywhere abode, the REDCAMP Car Shelter is an affordable choice for camping in bug-free environments.
This SUV tent is essentially an oversized awning that allows you to sleep comfortably in the back of your vehicle without fear of rain.
While many other conversion-style SUV tents offer awnings, too, this model from RED Camp extends outward over 10’ (304cm) from the back of your car, not only protecting your sleeping bag but also creating a covered area for lounging and relaxation.
The Car Shelter is made from 190D ripstop nylon with a PU waterproofing coating that’s rated to 3,000mm. It also comes with a set of steel pipes for easy pitching and added ruggedness while you camp.
- Massive awning-style tent
- Lightweight design
- Easy pitching process
- Highly durable
What Is an SUV Tent?
An SUV tent is a type of camping shelter designed to be attached to the trunk or side of your car after you set it up. SUV tents allow you to sleep on the ground or inside the trunk of your SUV or another mid-sized vehicle.
It’s important to note that SUV tents are distinct from truck tents. How exactly do they differ?
Well, truck tents are designed to be pitched on the bed of a pick-up truck. They use the sides of the truck bed as walls and offer a canopy to protect you from the wind, rain, and bugs.
However, these can be set up only in trucks with an open bed and are generally limited in capacity to about 2 adults.
Why Use an SUV Tent Instead of a Regular Tent?
If you’ve never used an SUV tent, you might be asking yourself: Are SUV tents better than regular tents?
While both SUV and regular tents have their merits, SUV tents have several key advantages over more traditional models when it comes to car camping.
Here are some benefits of using an SUV tent:
Drier Gear. SUV tents are designed to connect your vehicle and your sleeping area. Therefore, if you set up your campsite in the rain, your gear is less likely to get wet because you don’t have to walk from your car to your tent with your gear in hand.
Extra Convenience. Because an SUV tent connects your sleeping space and your vehicle, you don’t have to leave your tent at night to grab a piece of gear from the trunk of your car.
That means you can stay warm and dry throughout the night, even if you left your puffy jacket in your vehicle.
Versatility. Most SUV tents can be used as stand-alone tents or sleeping areas when you’re camping far from your car. So, you can pitch your SUV tent in whatever way works best for your particular camping trip.
Plus, unlike a standard truck tent, most SUV tents are versatile enough to work with a range of vehicle types, from SUVs to crossovers, and even most station wagons and sedans.
Increased Weather-Resistance. With an SUV tent, your shelter is linked to your car. As a result, your vehicle provides extra structure and protection from the elements, especially on windy nights.
More Gear Storage Space. If you’ve ever gone car camping with a large group, you know how messy and cluttered a tent can get. All that gear has to go somewhere, and when you’re camping, your gear usually ends up in your sleeping space.
SUV tents allow you to store your gear in your car so that you have more space to stretch out and relax inside your tent.
Who Sells the Best SUV Tents?
There are many great SUV tent companies out there, each of which makes models that are perfect for specific types of camping. Therefore, it’s difficult to say that one company produces the best SUV tents for every situation.
That being said, one of the most popular SUV tent companies is Napier Outdoors. This is a Canadian tent manufacturer that revolutionized the world of car camping when it first introduced truck tents back in 1990 and its first SUV tent in 2001.
These days, the company sells a wide range of vehicle-compatible tents under its Sportz and Backroadz brands. Many of its products are also designed for certain vehicle manufacturers and are labeled as genuine Ford, Honda, Chevy, Nissan, and Jeep accessories.
How to Install an SUV Tent
Every SUV tent is slightly different but they generally have a similar installation system. However, how you install your SUV tent depends on whether you’re pitching a stand-alone model or one that converts your trunk into a sleeping space. Here’s what you need to know.
How to Install a Stand-Alone SUV Tent
For stand-alone SUV tents, the pitching process is fairly straightforward. You’ll pitch the tent according to the manufacturer’s specifications, much like you would with a regular tent.
Then, you’ll need to connect the tent to your vehicle’s trunk using the included sleeve. Most of these sleeves have elastic bands and adjustable straps so that they can fit nearly any mid- or full-size vehicle.
Simply place the sleeve around the rear of your car, tighten the strap, and open the rear door. It’s as quick as that!
Conversion SUV Tents
For conversion-style SUV tents, which transform your vehicle’s trunk into a sleeping space, you’ll do the following:
- Remove the tent from its carry bag and lay it flat on the ground next to the trunk of your car.
- Assemble the tent poles and have them ready.
- Slide the tent sleeve over your vehicle’s rear door.
- Connect the tent to your vehicle’s roof rack and wheel wells using the included straps.
- Insert the tent pole to give the tent some structure.
- Anchor the guylines to the ground using stakes, trees, rocks, or other anchoring devices.
What to Look for When Buying an SUV Tent
Buying an SUV tent can be a difficult task because there are so many great options to choose from. Also, SUV tents are surprisingly complex pieces of gear.
Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind when shopping for your next camping companion.
First things first. An SUV tent is useful only if it fits your vehicle. Indeed, vehicle compatibility is perhaps the most important feature to look for in an SUV tent.
The good news is that the vast majority of SUV tents are designed to fit a wide range of vehicle makes and models. Because most tent sleeves have elastic bands and adjustable straps, you just need to find one that fits your general vehicle size (e.g., mid-size SUV or full-size SUV).
If you’re not sure whether a particular model will fit your vehicle, it’s always worth contacting the tent manufacturer for more advice. They’ll help you determine whether their models are compatible with your car so that you can get right out and enjoy your next camping adventure.
SUV Tent Style
As we briefly mentioned before, there are 2 main types of SUV tents: stand-alone models and conversion models. Each has its unique advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, the most important thing is to find one that’s best for your needs. Here’s what you need to know.
Stand-Alone SUV Tent
The primary advantage of a stand-alone SUV tent is that it can offer sleeping space for a large number of people. Depending on the model you purchase, you may be able to accommodate upwards of 6 or even 8 campers.
These tents will also provide plenty of head space and they often come with added features, like screen porches or awnings for enhanced livability. Moreover, stand-alone models can often be used as regular tents, even if you’re camping far from your car.
The downside? Stand-alone SUV tents are often heavier, bulkier, and more expensive. They also tend to take longer to set up. However, if livability is your primary concern, a stand-alone model is hard to beat.
Conversion SUV Tent
With a conversion SUV tent, you essentially transform the rear of your vehicle into a bonafide sleeping area.
These tents are usually much more affordable and easier to set up than their stand-alone cousins. Plus, you don’t have to worry about finding a flat patch of ground to pitch your tent each night.
That being said, the main disadvantage of conversion SUV tents is the limited interior space. Because they simply convert your hatchback into a sleeping area, you’re constrained by the overall dimensions of your vehicle.
Therefore, these tents are ideal for solo or couples camping when convenience is key.
Sleeping Capacity & Interior Space
If you decide that a stand-alone SUV tent is your path forward, you’ll next have to determine the size you need. Of course, this is a fairly subjective decision, as the amount of space you need is determined by the number of people with whom you plan to camp.
Keep in mind, however, that you usually won’t need to store too much of your gear inside your tent, as you’ll have access to the trunk of your car throughout the night.
Therefore, the general car camping advice of “consider sizing up your tent” for added gear storage doesn’t really apply here.
That said, you may find that you’d prefer to get a larger SUV tent than you need, as it provides more room to kick back and relax.
Another space-related feature you might consider when shopping is the internal ceiling height of the tent, which affects how easy it is to stand upright while inside.
Weather-resistance is a key consideration for a camping shelter, and SUV tents are no exception.
When evaluating potential SUV tents for your upcoming adventures, you’ll want to take a close look at their construction and materials.
As far as construction goes, SUV tents often have a bit of an advantage in terms of durability because they get the added support of your vehicle.
Therefore, they tend to perform better in the wind than traditional stand-alone car camping tents because you can use your car to block some of the prevailing winds.
For materials, you’ll want to look for a model that’s built from heavy-duty ripstop nylon or polyester. Because weight isn’t much of a concern with SUV tents (you probably won’t need to carry it very far), thick, burly materials are ideal.
Also, keep an eye out for models with taped seams and nylon paneling for extra weatherproofing over windows and doors.
You’ll also want to ensure that you get a good seal between your car and the tent using the tent sleeve. However, this is often related to how well you pitch the tent, rather than an issue with the tent itself.
Ventilation is a primary concern for any camping tent, including SUV tents, because it directly affects how comfortable you’ll be at night.
As you shop for an SUV tent, your primary concern when it comes to ventilation is the number of windows and doors that the shelter has. Most tent windows and doors are made from micromesh, which allows for ample airflow, even on warm nights.
Ideally, as we’ve mentioned previously, these windows and doors will also have zippered panels to keep you dry in the rain.
Additionally, you may want to look for an SUV tent with a built-in ventilation system. These ventilation systems provide fresh air, even when you have to zip up your windows and doors for protection from the rain.
FAQs About Tents That Attach to SUVs
What’s the difference between a rooftop tent and an SUV tent?
Rooftop tents and SUV tents differ in where they’re pitched in relation to your vehicle. Although you can use some rooftop tents on certain SUVs, rooftop tents, as the name suggests, are meant to be pitched on top of your vehicle.
This means that you will need to climb a ladder to access your sleeping space each night.
What is the purpose of an SUV tent?
The purpose of an SUV tent is to make your car camping experience more convenient.
By connecting your tent and your vehicle, you obtain easier access to your gear, more storage space, and plenty of room to stretch out and relax.
Plus, because SUV tents are connected to your car, they can provide more structure and durability in the wind when pitched properly.
If you’re the type of camper who values simplicity and functionality in your camping set-up, then an SUV tent might be just what you’re looking for.
If we had to choose just 1 of the 15 excellent SUV tents that we reviewed, we’d go with the Napier Outdoors Backroadz SUV Tent. We particularly like that this tent provides plenty of sleeping space and a high ceiling for maximum livability, without sacrificing durability, breathability, or affordability.
Though, If you want a more budget-friendly option, the Napier Outdoors Sportz Cove is an excellent choice as it offers a great mix of value and practicality.
However, there are plenty of great models to choose from, so what’s important is that you find the one that’s compatible with your vehicle and your unique camping style.
About the author
Gaby is a professional outdoor educator, guide, and wilderness medicine instructor. She holds a master's degree in outdoor education and spends most of her time hanging out with penguins and polar bears in the polar region. When she's not outdoors, you can find her traveling, reading Nietzsche, and drinking copious double espressos.