Time for reading: 4 min.

The Five Best Reasons to Spring For an Automotive Tent

Automotive tents offer benefits of traditional tents while serving as an extension of your car or truck. Here, we examine five advantages you may not have considered.
The Five Best Reasons to Spring For an Automotive Tent
Jeep Gladiator With Awning On Roof

Since time began, camping outdoors has had a strong allure. Once a necessity, it's now a rejuvenating way to get back to our roots by experiencing the wonders of nature firsthand. Yes, camping offers breathtaking views, fresh air, and pleasant scents found only in the woods. But for every upside of outdoor camping, a downside lurks to make the experience less enjoyable.

RVs and enclosed campers are great if you've got the money to spend. Conversely, tents you carry and pitch are inexpensive and enjoyable too - if you don't mind lugging a lot of gear and being completely subject to the mercy of Mother Nature.

Automotive tents Main Banner

Automotive tents provide an innovative and affordable solution to camping. They offer all the benefits of traditional tents with flexible lightweight fabric, zippered sections, screen windows, awnings - and an added bonus.

They also provide roomier, more comfortable configurations by serving as an extension of your vehicle itself. They attach firmly in place to any pickup, minivan, SUV, hatchback, or wagon with a tailgate configuration.

In this article, we'll examine five advantages to buying and using automotive tents, and we'll look at available styles.

Protect Yourself From The Elements

To avoid the not-so-fun side of camping, you need full protection against blistering sun, rain, wind, and bugs. Automotive tents have you covered on all of these fronts.

Tents With Prop Up Awnings

Most of our tents come with prop-up awnings that create a shaded area to sit or lay in when you want to enjoy a full panorama of outdoor splendor. Additionally, many offer mesh rooms that attach to those awnings should you prefer screened-in comfort.

Tents With 2-3 Screens

All tents come with 2 to 3 screens that are strong and tear-resistant. Also known as "windows", these keep flying and crawling bugs just where they belong - outside. When you want to seal up your tent completely for sleep or to prevent rain from entering, simply roll down the window cover flaps, then zip them and other sections closed. And if you've got food stored inside, a sealed-up tent will buffer most odors from attracting unwanted wildlife attention.

Tents Made Of Waterproof Materials
Ground Tents With Floor Surfaces

All of the tents we offer are made from waterproof polyethylene or polycotton materials. Ground-level tents also feature floor surfaces that block out moisture from the earth.

Wind, another major enemy of campers, isn't an issue with automotive tents either. Because the tents anchor firmly to your vehicle, they won't blow away during setup or when you're asleep.

Camp Almost Anywhere

Smittybilt Overlander Coyote Roof Tent
The Smittybilt Overlander Coyote Roof Tent.

Because automotive tents are an extension of your vehicle, the need to lug your camping gear and supplies any distance is eliminated. Anywhere you can legally park is where you can set up camp.

Save Money

Money Saved On Costly Hotels

When you can camp almost anywhere, you won't be limited to designated campsite areas that charge a per person entry fee. Combining a long road trip with camping along the way? You won't be reliant on costly hotels if no campgrounds exist when your driving limit for the day is reached.

Add Room

Checkboxes With Tent Carrying Capacity

Forget sleeping in cramped positions in the back of your truck, because automotive tents let you comfortably spread out. Whether you've got camping for two or for your family in mind, these tents let you customize. Checkboxes along the left side of the screen allow you to narrow your search to 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-, and 7-person configurations (many 4-person tents are expandable to sleep 6).

Rightline Gear SUV Tent
The Rightline Gear SUV Tent.

Be Safe

Because automotive tents are directly connected to your vehicle, additional safety benefits are inherent. This is especially true if you've got a hatchback or SUV style tent setup. Even with pickup bed tents, it may be possible to squeeze through an open rear cab window in an emergency.

Napier Hatchback Tent
The Napier Hatchback Tent.

In the event that bad weather conditions such as thunderstorms and lightning arise without warning (it happens), it's extremely easy to retreat to the safety of your automobile. There, you'll be fully protected from lightning strikes, big falling tree branches, and other unavoidable hazards.

Harsh Weather With Lightning
Bear Sniffs Tent

Having your automobile available for use as an adjacent retreat room can also serve as vital protection from bears, wolves, or other large wildlife that appear unexpectedly. So if you've got friends or family that are afraid to try camping for this reason, the safety reassurance of automotive tents may persuade them to give it a try. Or, maybe it gives you the confidence needed to push deeper into the woods and find that remote camp spot you've been envisioning.

Tents We Offer


Rooftop Tent In Use
Rooftop Tent Detailed Description

If you've got an SUV or van and prefer to camp off the ground, we've got universal-fit rooftop tents such as the Smittybilt Overlander Coyote Roof Tent, iD Select Soft Rooftop Tent, and Overland Nomadic Extended Roof Top Tent with Annex (for 4 people) just to name a few These anchor in place on top of the roof, with approximately 1/3rd of their length extending over the vehicle edge - supported by an aluminum ladder that's included.

iD Select Trustmade Hard Shell Rooftop Tent
The iD Select Trustmade Hard Shell Rooftop Tent.
iD Select Trustmade Hard Shell Rooftop Tent Inside View

We also recommend the iD Select Trustmade Hard Shell Rooftop Tent as a great value for those who prefer a higher level of structural integrity with a hard roof that can stand up to the worst weather. We've also got Thule's Hardshell Tent.

Acme Auto Headlining Westfalia Top Tent.
Got a Volkswagen Transporter/Microbus, Vanagon, or Eurovan? Check out the Acme Auto Headlining Westfalia Top Tent.

Many rooftop tents offer the option of an "Annex" section that extends downward to cover the ladder area. We recommend Thule Explorer Series Kukenam 3 Tent (3 people), ARB Simpson III Rooftop Tent, Thule Ruggedized Series Autuna Tent (3 people), and Thule Tepui Explorer Autana Tent With Annex (4 people).

ARB Simpson III With Optional Aannex Section
The ARB Simpson III, with optional "annex" section.

Pickup Beds

Rightline Gear Truck Tent
The Rightline Gear Truck Tent.

If you've got a pickup truck, we've got vehicle-specific tents designed to fit in the bed area (with tailgate down) such as the Rightline Gear Truck Tent, and a number of stylish designs from Napier. Many of the Napier tents are available with a section that extends further out onto the ground.

Variety Of Napier Truck Tents Designed Specifically For Pickup Beds
The variety of Napier truck tents designed specifically for pickup beds.

Ground Level Tents for Wagons/Hatchbacks and SUVs

We've also got ground-level tents designed as extensions of the rear SUV tailgate area from Napier and Rightline Gear. These offer a wealth of size and color choices, and are available with add-on sections for sleeping up to 6.

Ground-Level Tents Designed As Extensions Of The Rear SUV Tailgate Area From Napier And Rightline Gear

These automotive tents are perfect whether you're an experienced camper, or are about to take the plunge for the first time. Once you've decided on an automotive tent that best fits in with your vehicle, be sure to check out all the other camping supplies you can find on our Outdoor & Recreation online store, CAMPERiD!

Shop Now
CARiD FacebookCARiD XCARiD YouTube ChannelCARiD PinterestCARiD Instagram
Inspiration Gallery
All manufacturer names, symbols, and descriptions, used in our images and text are used solely for identification purposes only. It is neither inferred nor implied that any item sold by CARiD.com is a product authorized by or in any way connected with any vehicle manufacturers displayed on this page.