The Best SUV Tents and Awnings, According to Car Camping Experts

The Best SUV Tents and Awnings, According to Car Camping Experts

25 Models Considered
51 Hours of Research
4 Experts Interviewed
198 Reviews Analyzed

SUV tents significantly enhance the car camping experience. If you love using your vehicle for sleeping and storage while camping, choosing the best SUV tent will increase your whole setup’s efficiency.

An SUV tent attaches to the back of a wide variety of vehicle types, including (but not limited to) minivans, capped pickup trucks, and numerous styles of SUVs. Some tents are universal, fitting to multiple vehicle types, makes, and models. Others are designed with specific vehicles in mind. They add extra space for sleeping, add storage to your car camping setup, protect against the elements, and increase ventilation.

We took 25 SUV tents and conducted extensive research and testing. What we have for you now is our list of the top 6 SUV tents based on space, ease of setup, material quality, and price.

The Fastest Set Up on an SUV TentNapier Backroadz

Max. Occupancy: 5 person
Rainfly: Included
Max. Height: 7 feet
Tent design: 1 room

If you’re looking for an SUV tent that’s fast and easy to set up, the Napier Backroadz is about as quick and straightforward as they come.

Unlike some tents, which are difficult to set up unless you’re a seasoned camper, this tent is easy to put together, even if you’re entirely new to camping.

Once we set up this tent, we were impressed by how spacious it is. It’s over 7 feet at a max height, which provides some serious headroom. And thanks to a large floor plan and windows on 3 sides, it has an open, roomy feel to it that’s capable of sleeping up to 5 adults.

Considering how big the tent feels when set up when it’s packed down, it only weighs 2.2 lbs. This means it does not only work as an SUV tent, but it’s also well suited for any other type of camping, even backpacking.

One thing we noticed about how the tent connects to the SUV is that it leaves a small gap between the side of the tent and the side of the car. If you’re camping in a buggy area, this gap could let some bugs in.

The floors are also on the thinner side. We can see this leading to some premature rips and tears. Using outdoor matts or carpeting could be a solution to this problem, but it will require purchasing and packing extra gear, which is far from ideal.

One of the best things about this tent is that it doesn’t matter what kind of SUV you own. This tent comes with adjustable sleeves that fit can fit all car models.

The versatility and ease of use of the Napier Backroadz make it an excellent choice for many campers.

  • Tall and roomy
  • Fits all car models
  • Only weighs 2.2 pounds
  • Thin floors
  • Gap between sides of car and tent

Best Poles on an SUV TentNapier Sports

Max. Occupancy: 6 person
Rainfly: Rainfly+awning
Max. Height: 7 feet
Tent design: 1 room + screen room

The durability of a tent is mostly affected by the type of poles the manufacturer chooses to use. For the Sports SUV tent, Napier has chosen to use steel poles instead of aluminum or fiberglass.

Steel is far more reliable and durable than the alternative options. This means your tent’s structure will last longer and will also be able to withstand more abuse.

The downside of using steel as the material for tent poles is that they weigh significantly more than aluminum and fiberglass poles. However, if you’re car camping, the added weight shouldn’t be much of an issue because you won’t need to carry it far from your vehicle.

The weight does limit the versatility of the tent, though. You probably won’t want to do any other type of camping with this tent, essentially making it a dedicated car camping tent.

The durability of steel does come at a bit of a price. Compared to other SUV tents, it’s pretty expensive. However, the justification for the price is that the reliability of steel poles and the quality of construction will increase the tent’s longevity, making it cost-efficient in the long run.

Unlike the Napier Backroadz, the Sports model isn’t a tent with a footprint resting on the ground. It’s essentially a large awning with a tent door. It extends from the back of the SUV but doesn’t touch the ground like many other SUV tents do.

The rainfly provides efficient coverage from rain as well as shade from the sun. The tent door sun as well as the tent door, which closes off the back of your vehicle.

Altogether, it’s a more minimalist design with a lower profile than most of the tents on this list.

For the camper who values durability and simplicity in their car camping setup, the Napier Sports is the tent for you.

  • Reliable, durable steel poles
  • Minimalist setup
  • Pricey
  • Only suitable for car camping

Best SUV Tent for HondaHonda Genuine Factory

Max. Occupancy: 6 person
Rainfly: Rainfly+awning
Max. Height: 6 feet
Tent design: 1 room

Anyone with a Honda should consider this tent made by the car company itself. It’s designed specifically to fit Honda SUVs that are ideal for car camping, such as the CR-V, Element, and Pilot.

Similar to the Napier Sports, this is a very heavy camp. Realistically, it’s only suitable as a car camping tent. If you wanted a bit more versatility out of this tent purchase, the Napier Backwoodz provides the ability to use other types of camping.

The tent itself is very roomy. There’s plenty of headroom for an adult to stand upright. Its floorplan was designed to fit 6 people, making it an ideal size for a family.

When it comes to weatherproofing, this tent falls a bit short. It’s prone to leak during heavy rains, which limits the weather this tent is suitable for. However, it does come with an awning that provides cover during light rain and shade from the sun.

The fiberglass poles aren’t the best either. They break pretty easily, which can be a big disappointment if it happens during a trip. The upside of this flaw is that Honda dealerships will replace broken parts of the tent. So, although you may be inconvenienced in the event of a broken pole during one trip, you’ll be good to go for your next trip at no additional cost.

In addition to the ventilation provided by the door and 2 windows, Honda has included floor vents for even more efficient airflow. Summer campers will appreciate the difference provided by these extra openings.

Honda has created their SUVs with car camping in mind. It makes sense they’d want to provide you the ability to take your car camping game to the next level. So if you have a Honda, why not complete the transformation with a tent designed specifically for your vehicle?

  • Tall and Roomy
  • Great Ventilation
  • Honda replaces broken parts
  • Leaks in heavy rain
  • Poles break easily

Best Family SUV TentKingCamp Melfi Plus

Max. Occupancy: 5 person
Rainfly: Rainfly + 2 awnings
Max. Height: 7.5 feet
Tent design: 1 room + screen room

The KingCamp Melfi Plus is the perfect SUV tent for families looking for extra living space and protection from the elements.

It’s one of the most unique and versatile designs out of all the tents on our list. Besides the main sleeping/living area, there’s also a room that acts as a porch hangout area. The flysheet that closes off the porch from the outside also doubles as an awning. This creates an open-air room with extended coverage from rain and shade from the sun.

It’s also worth mentioning that there’s a second awning on the tent’s side, providing coverage options depending on the sun’s angle.

The tent comes with a rainfly and is constructed using a material with a high waterproof rating, making it a reliable option in wet weather.

When the weather is nice, you can open the windows in the tent’s main room and porch room without letting bugs in, thanks to the mesh covering.

Just like the Napier Sports model, the tent poles are made of durable steel. This increases the reliability of the tent but also adds some extra weight to the car camping setup.

One of the drawbacks to this tent we discovered during testing is that the zippers are unreliable. They’re poorly made and very liable to break.

KingCamp has included a few features we find pretty useful, like a ceiling hook for hanging a lantern and wire holes for running power cords to the interior.

This tent provides a balanced mixture of space, durability, and protection from the elements. So if you’re looking for an SUV tent with ample living space that efficiently meets the needs of a variety of weather conditions, look no further than the KingCamp Meifi Plus.

  • 2 rooms
  • Multiple awnings
  • Durable steel poles
  • Poorly made zippers

Best Bang for the BuckRightline Gear

Max. Occupancy: 6 person
Rainfly: Included
Max. Height: 7 feet
Tent design: 1 room

Rightline Gear has done a great job of creating a budget-friendly tent that delivers significant value.

To start, this tent is incredibly spacious. Considering the price, we wouldn’t have expected it to be as roomy as it is. It sleeps 6 people, which makes it great for families or mid-sized groups.

The waterproofing features on this tent are also very impressive. It comes with a reliable rain fly and a PE (polyethylene) bathtub floor, which prevents water from leaking in at the corners of the tent. The bathtub floor also means you won’t need to use a tarp or footprint.

One of the nice things about this tent is that it’s freestanding and easily detached from the vehicle. This allows you to keep your camp set up while using your SUV to explore throughout the day. When you get back at night, the process of reattaching is just as simple.

However, what is not very simple is the initial setup process. It’s more complicated to put together than every other tent on our list. Part of the problem is the mesh that holds the poles catches to the pole connectors. This makes it a tough tent to put up and take down.

It doesn’t matter whether you have an SUV, capped pickup truck, jeep wrangler, or minivan--the tent is a universal fit and works with just about any make or model.

The tent features no-see-um mesh windows that keep even the smallest bugs out and provide efficient ventilation control.

Although it’s a small perk, it’s worth mentioning that the zipper pulls are glow in the dark. It’s a pretty unique feature that makes nighttime entry into the tent just a bit easier.

Although this tent isn’t the easiest to set up, it’s a great option for campers looking for a mix of value and savings.

  • Budget-friendly
  • Roomy
  • Universal vehicle fit
  • Difficult to set up

Best SUV Shade Awning TentNapier Cove

Max. Occupancy: 2 person
Rainfly: Single awning
Max. Height: n/a
Tent design: n/a

The Napier Cove is an interesting SUV shelter option and much different than most of the tents on our list.

It’s not exactly a complete tent. It’s more of a shade awning that provides additional protection from the elements at the back of your vehicle.

We could see this being a convenient shelter for fishing, tailgating, and backyard BBQs. Essentially, it’s an excellent option for a little shade and protection from some light rain, but it’s far from a full-blown camping setup.

After the day is done, the awning packs down into a compact storage bag. This allows it to be stored conveniently in your SUV without taking up much space. Considering the lack of room required to store it, you could easily keep it in your vehicle just if the need for some additional shelter presents itself.

The awning includes a storm flap that will help keep the inside of your SUV dry if it starts to rain. However, we wouldn’t trust this awning tent for wind resistance, so be careful about using it if the wind begins to pick up.

As far as compatibility goes, this awning fits an impressive variety of makes and models. It fits 127 SUV models post 2004, so there’s a good chance it’ll fit your car camping vehicle.

One of the best things about this awning tent is that it won’t break the bank. Its relatively cheap price point makes it a very affordable purchase considering how useful it is.

If you’re not looking for a full tent and just want a little extra coverage in the back of your SUV, we highly recommend the Napier Cove awning tent.

  • Very compact when broken down
  • Inexpensive
  • Fits 127 SUV models
  • Not very wind resistant


You won’t be disappointed with your decision to purchase an SUV tent. Regardless of what kind of SUV, minivan, or capped pickup truck you have, they’re a great way to maximize your sleeping and storage space while car camping.

The KingCamp Melfei Plus is our top recommendation. With multiple rooms and two included awnings, it provides one of the best living space situations out of all the tents on our list. We loved the front porch room’s versatility, which can be opened or closed depending on the weather. Its steel poles’ durability and excellent weather resistance make it a very reliable SUV tent option.

Buyer’s Guide

Now that you’ve decided to purchase an SUV tent, there are a few considerations you’ll need to take into account. SUV tents are designed with specific types of campers in mind. You’ll need to be conscious of your camping needs to ensure you get the SUV tent that’s right for your purposes.

Take a look at our buyer’s guide to SUV tents. We’ve outlined the key factors you should be thinking about while deciding which SUV tent is best for you.

Vehicle compatibility

This is a consideration that is somewhat unique to SUV tents. Not every tent will fit the make, model, or style of vehicle you plan to use for car camping, so you’ll want to be sure the tent you buy is compatible with your car before you buy.

Many SUV tents come with adjustable connection points and are universally compatible. Like the SUV tents made by Honda for certain Honda vehicles, some will only be compatible with particular vehicles.

The manufacturer should mention in the description what types, makes, and models the tent is compatible with or if it’s a universal fit. It’s also a good idea to read through reviews and make sure no people are complaining that the tent didn’t fit their specific vehicle.

Living Space

SUV tents come in a wide range of interior space options, from extended tent awning to full-blown, multi-room tents.

If you’re looking for the most compact, low-profile SUV tent, the awning tents are the way to go. They extend slightly from the back of your vehicle, allowing you to keep the end of your car opening without sacrificing privacy or protection from the elements. However, you will be sacrificing living and storage space compared to what is offered by larger SUV tents.

If you need to sleep more people and/or would like to unpack gear from your vehicle and store it in a protected space outside your car, the full-blown SUV tent is your best option. It’s essentially a regular tent that connects to the back of your vehicle, so you’ll be able to expand the space typically provided by each camping setup significantly.

Many of these tents also come with awnings that extend off the tent, providing even more living space. With these types of tents, you’ll want to keep in mind that it will take more time to set up and break down. It is also a lot larger profile, so it may not be suited for using certain camping spots. Keep in mind that these tents touch the ground and are subject to all the same issues that a standard ground tent is subject to, unlike the awning SUV tents. This means you’ll may deal with more bugs entering from the ground, leaks from water pooling along the bottom, and the need for firm, even ground to set up and stake down the tent.

Ease of set up

Some SUV tents are faster and easier to set up than others. They may either be larger, with more poles and parts. Or the design may be more complicated than some simplistic, minimalist designs.

If you plan on moving around quite a bit with your setup, you’ll want to choose an SUV tent that is faster and easier to break down and set up. This could mean you’ll sacrifice some living space an amenities like awnings and vestibules, but it will drastically cut down your time spent messing with your tent. These tents will also be better suited to beginner campers whose lack of experience with tents may make larger, more complicated tents difficult and frustrating to set up.

On the other hand, if you don’t plan to move from one spot each camping trip, you may prefer to take a little more time with the set up and break down processs if it means additional, more efficient living space.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What is the point of an SUV tent?

The point of an SUV tent is to efficiently combine the space in the back of a vehicle with the space and conveniences of a tent. SUVs and other vehicles compatible with SUV tents typically have one or multiple backseats that fold down into a flat surface. This flat surface provides an ideal spot for sleeping that keeps you off the ground. You can also use the space in your SUV to store gear. Attaching a tent to the back of an SUV essentially extends the sheltered space provided by your vehicle. This means an SUV tent will provide additional room for sleeping and store gear protected from the elements and hidden from the public. Also, because an SUV tent connects directly to a vehicle with little to no gaps between the two, it allows you to keep the back of your vehicle open without letting bugs in or compromising your privacy. This means you’ll be able to increase ventilation within your vehicle significantly. SUV tents also act as an extended awning, shading the back of your vehicle from sun and rain.

q: How do I set up an SUV tent?

The process for setting up an SUV tent depend on the style of SUV tent you purchase. For the most part, however, setting up an SUV tent isn’t much different than setting up a standard tent. The frame of the tent is constructed with a series of poles, and sheltered is added by attaching the included tent fabric material. Similar to the set up of a traditional tent, the SUV tent is then staked into the ground to secure it in one place. The main difference between the setting up of an SUV tent and a standard tent is that on one side of the SUV tent, there is an opening with a sleeve that extends from the tent. On the end of the sleeve there is typically an elastic band or some other means to adjust the sleeve opening to fit it around the opening in the back of an SUV. Once you have erected the tent and attached it to the vehicle’s back, the setup is complete.

q: How do you camp in a car?

In order to camp in a car, you need to find a balance between sleeping space and gear storage space. Most people will fold down one or multiple rows of seats to create a flat surface in the back of their vehicle where they will sleep. Depending on the headspace and your budget, you can either use a mattress, mattress pad, inflatable mattress, or sleeping pad to cushion the sleeping area. People who have more headroom in their SUV who want to increase storage space will build a raised platform out of wood to put their mattresses on. This creates space underneath the sleeping platform for additional storage. It's possible to hang gear from the ceiling or stuff it underneath or in front of the collapsed row of seats, depending on the vehicle you are car camping in. Consider keeping gear in plastic storage containers that can fit in the driver’s and/or front passenger’s seat. When moving, you can store these containers in the sleeping area, and then when camping, move them to the front seats. There are also specialty storage containers that can secure to your vehicle’s top rack for even more efficient gear storage. Using these techniques in combination with an SUV tent will provide the most storage and sleeping arrangement options.

The Best SUV Tents and Awnings, According to Car Camping Experts
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