11 Best SUV Tents for Camping On Your Next Road Trip

Reviewed by Jodelle Marx
Last updated:

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TL;DR: The best SUV tent for camping is the Joytutus SUV tent. It conveniently attaches to SUVs and adds 60 sq ft of floor space, has a spacious interior for 4-6 people, 2,000mm waterproofing, and a pop-up setup—all at a budget-friendly price for vehicle-based camping. I do recommend choosing the version with aluminum poles if you can since aluminum is lighter and more reliable than fiberglass in inclement weather.

Are you interested in trying out van life but don’t have a mini-fortune to spend on a Sprinter van? Join the club! Hitting the open road with my car is so freeing, but my current sleeping setup is cramped. 

I am a veteran car camper. I have a short wooden platform in the back of my Rav4, and while it certainly works in a pinch, I’d love more space to sprawl out. 

Enter: SUV tents. This type of tent is different from your average tent. This stand-alone tent attaches to the back of the car and gives you extra sheltered floor space.

SUV tents are usually tall enough to stand in, giving you more privacy than sleeping in your car alone. 

I would have loved some extra privacy when I camped in my mother’s driveway when she had Covid. The neighbor boy saw me scuttle into my car in my PJs like a little roach lady, and I’ve never felt so beautiful (joke). 

The cool thing about these tents is that they’re very adaptable, so regardless of your vehicle type, there’s an SUV camping tent for you. I’ve done my research, and now I’m ready to reveal the best SUV camping tents for every traveler.

Note: this article contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free recommendations.

A man wearing a red flannel setting one of the best SUV tents on the roof of his truck, with trees and a cloudy sky in the background.

#1 Joytutus SUV Tent

Best Pop-Up SUV Tent

Product photo for the Joytutus Pop-Up SUV Tent.

Our Rating: 4.5/5
Floor dimensions: 60 sq. ft
Sleeps: 4-6
Number of Doors: 2
Peak Height: 6.9 ft
Best Vehicle Pairing: Mid-size and full-size SUVs, hatchbacks, and minivans

The Joytutus SUV Tent is the best pop-up SUV tent. This tent has a quick and easy setup. It’s a standalone tent, meaning you can set it up without the stakes, and you can also set it up without using your car if needed. 

The tent is enormous inside: the interior space has 60 square feet of usable storage. 

I also like that this tent has two doors for easy entry and exit. This big boy has more than enough room for four to six people in the tent portion, not including two people sleeping in the car. You’ll definitely need two doors so that you’re not stepping over everyone.  

While this budget-friendly tent won’t break the bank, you may not want to plan on it living for decades. The tent poles are fiberglass, and while the polyester is 150D, many folks complained that it’s pretty thin. 

Finally, I wish there was more cargo space for such a large tent. There are only two gear pockets, and if you’re sleeping four to six people, you’d need more space for everyone to have a pocket.


  • Budget-friendly
  • Quick setup
  • Freestanding tent
  • Stand-alone design


  • Fiberglass poles
  • Lacks gear storage
  • Thin material


#2 North East Harbor Universal SUV Camping Tent

Best Budget SUV Tent

Product photo for the North East Harbor Universal Budget SUV Camping Tent.

Our Rating: 4.4/5
Floor dimensions: 64 sq. ft
Sleeps: 6
Number of Doors: 1
Peak Height: 72″
Best Vehicle Pairing: SUVs, minivans, crossovers, wagons, Jeep Wrangler Hard Top, pick-ups with bed covers

The North East Harbor Universal SUV Camping Tent is the top SUV attachment on a budget. The North East Harbor is one of the cheapest SUV tent models on my list that still has very high reviews. 

This SUV tent has a universal vehicle sleeve, making it useful for almost every type of car. Although the manufacturer doesn’t list sedans as one of the possible vehicles, people use them on sedans with success. 

The entire tent is one big screen room, six feet tall. This tent sleeps up to six, and the tent walls are almost vertical, which is essential for such a large sleeping capacity. 

Finally, this is a freestanding tent, which means you can set it up anywhere. 

On the downside, you get what you get with a budget tent. The setup instructions are not only confusing, but they’re also wrong. 

The tent material specifications say “fabric,” a telltale sign of a budget tent, which casts doubt on how waterproof this tent will be. Further, it lacks gear pockets and only has one small pocket on the tent walls.


  • Freestanding tent
  • It fits a wide range of vehicles
  • Budget-friendly


  • Cheap materials
  • Lacks storage space
  • Setup instructions are confusing

#3 Camp Toad Universal SUV Tent

Best Tent for Hot Weather

Product photo for the Camp Toad Universal SUV Tent for Hot Weather.

Our Rating: 4.8/5
Floor dimensions: 39 sq. ft
Sleeps: 2
Number of Doors: 2
Peak Height: 84″
Best Vehicle Pairing: SUVs, compacts, hatchbacks, vans, trucks with bed toppers

The Camp Toad Universal SUV Tent is the top SUV camping tent for hot weather because it’s an entirely mesh structure– essentially a big screen room.

If you know you’ll be SUV tent camping without a trace of rain (common in the southwest), the Camp Toad is an excellent SUV attachment. 

The Camp Toad uses universal stretchy tent sleeves to wrap around any vehicle and creates a protected screen room with a mesh roof to enjoy the great outdoors. 

This SUV tent is seven feet tall so that anyone can stand upright inside, and uses high-quality material. They brag about their YKK zippers, which, if you’re a tent nerd, you know, are good zips. 

The Camp Toad has an instant setup because it has no poles. You simply unfold it from the carry bag, and it snaps into shape. 

In addition to being great for camping, this would make the perfect tailgating tent in buggy weather. 

Being an all-mesh tent, this won’t be viable in the rain. Further, the tarp-covered interior floor space is slightly on the small side at just 39 square feet.


  • A screen room that provides excellent ventilation
  • Lightweight
  • Instant setup with poleless design
  • YKK zippers
  • It fits many vehicle types


  • Not suitable for rain
  • Small interior

#4 Smittybilt Overlander Roof Top Tent

Best Waterproof SUV Tent

Product photo for the Smittybilt Overlander Roof Top Waterproof Tent.

Our Rating: 4.9/5
Floor dimensions: 36.9 sq. ft
Sleeps: 2-3
Number of Doors: 1
Peak Height: 51″
Best Vehicle Pairing: Jeep Wranglers and trucks

The Smittybilt Overlander rooftop tent is one of the top SUV tents for staying dry because of the 600D polyester. Six hundred is a very high denier rating, and I have no doubt it will keep you cozy in bad weather. The Smittybilt is a true four-season tent. 

Don’t worry if you think that fabric that thick will be stifling. The windows have mosquito nets to enhance ventilation. 

The Overlander is a rooftop tent and is perfect if you’re looking for an SUV tent for Jeep Wranglers. 

Technically the Overlander is not vehicle specific, but it does exceptionally well on Jeeps and trucks because of their built-in crossbars and size. 

This rooftop tent sleeps two to three people and comes with a built-in high-density foam mattress, which is fantastic because no one wants to haul a mattress up the aluminum telescoping ladder. 

The  Smittybilt SUV tent has interior LED strip lights and a maximum load of 661 pounds. 

Honestly, there’s not much to complain about with the Overlander except the price, which is steep.


  • 4 season tent
  • It comes with a high-density foam mattress
  • 661 lb max load
  • 600D Polyester fly
  • Interior LED strips


  • Expensive

#5 Rightline Gear SUV Tent

Best Family SUV Tent

Product photo for the Rightline Gear Family SUV Tent.

Our Rating: 4.6/5
Floor dimensions: 64 sq. ft
Sleeps: 4
Number of Doors: 2
Peak Height: 86″
Best Vehicle Pairing: SUVs, hatchbacks, and trucks with bed covers

The Rightline Gear SUV tent is the best tent for SUV camping with the fam because it’s a budget-friendly tent that sleeps four. 

This family tent has tons of floor area inside and an enormous peak height over seven feet tall. It’s a stand-alone, pop-up tent that fits SUVs, hatchbacks, and trucks with bed covers. 

While the Rightline Gear SUV tent didn’t list any of their fabric specs (and you know how much I hate that), it did say it had a 2,000mm waterproof coating on the fabric, which is something. It will likely do fine in light rain. 

This outdoor tent has glow-in-the-dark zippers so your family can see the pulls at night, and it has thick straps on the inside which attach to the rear of your vehicle. 

Being a budget camping tent, expect the zips and pulls to break easily. Additionally, there is mesh near some pole insertions, which is a lousy design for tent longevity. 

Still, if you’re looking for a quick getaway that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, the Rightline Gear SUV tent is a terrific option.


  • Glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls
  • Ample floor space
  • Thick straps attach to the vehicle 
  • 2000mm waterproof rating


  • Low-quality materials

#6 Napier Backroadz SUV Tent

Lightest Weight SUV Tent

Product photo for the Napier Backroadz Lightest Weight SUV Tent.

Our Rating: 4.6/5
Floor dimensions: 81 sq. ft
Sleeps: 5
Number of Doors: 1
Peak Height: 84″
Best Vehicle Pairing: SUVs, minivans

The Napier Backroadz SUV tent is one of the best hatchback-style tents for lightweight travelers. At just over 13 pounds, this tent is comparable in weight to much smaller tents, yet it sleeps five. 

As with all the highest-quality SUV tent models, the Napier Backroadz SUV tent has a stand-alone design, meaning you can set it up without your car. 

The Backroadz SUV tent has three large mesh windows, which basically makes the tent body one big screen room. The Backroadz has a lantern holder and a whopping 81 square feet of interior space. 

The Napier Backroadz SUV tent also doesn’t list its material specs. Suffice it to say; this is a fair-weather tent. 

For detailed setup instructions, check out this handy video:


  • Lightweight
  • Like a big screen room
  • Stand-alone tent
  • Easy setup
  • Budget-friendly


  • Low-quality materials
  • Fairweather tent only

#7 Kelty Sideroads Car Awning

Best SUV Awning Shelter

Product photo for the Kelty Sideroads Car Awning.

Our Rating: 4.7/5
Floor dimensions: 80.5 sq. ft
Number of Doors: N/A
Peak Height: N/A
Best Vehicle Pairing: SUVs, vans, small wagons

There are several reasons why the Kelty Sideroads Car Awning is the best awning shelter for SUVs. 

We have an awning room in our camping gear collection, and it has major drawbacks that the Kelty Sideroads awning addresses perfectly. 

First, this awning room has a round shape, so you can stake the edges of the awning to the ground so that it better protects you from the elements. A straight-legged shelter can’t do that. 

This awning uses heavy-duty steel stakes, which is *key* with such a lightweight piece of gear.  The Kelty Sideroads is only eight pounds, so it’s easy to throw it in the back of your car. 

The peak height of the Sideroads depends on the vehicle you attach it to, but it has an enormous footprint of 80 square feet. 

The downside to such a simple shelter is that you won’t get complete protection from the elements. Still, it’s a handy little gadget and perfect for camping minimalists.

Note: Others have picked the ARB Awning Room as the best SUV awning, but steer clear. The straight-leg design is flimsy and isn’t as versatile as the Backroads.

I wrote about the Kelty Sideroads in our post, on the best small 2-Person tents. Check it out for more small shelter options.


  • Large floor area
  • Lightweight
  • A rounded canopy offers better protection from elements
  • Sturdy steel stakes


  • Not good in bad weather

#8 Yakima SkyRise HD Small Tent

Best Truck Bed SUV Tent

Product photo for the Yakima SkyRise HD Small Tent.

Our Rating: 4.8/5
Floor dimensions: 28 sq. ft
Sleeps: 2
Number of Doors: 1
Peak Height: 42″
Best Vehicle Pairing: Trucks without bed toppers

The Yakima SkyRise HD Small Tent is my pick for the best tent for a truckbed because of Yakima’s excellent reputation and the SkyRise’s super durable material. 

We have a camper in our truckbed, and while we *love* it, it also prevents us from using the truckbed in the summer. The SkyRise avoids this problem by perching the sleeping platform on elevated beams attached to the edge of the truck’s bed. 

You still get the full functionality of the bed, plus the sleeping space has an extra rail bed on the side for gear storage. 

The SkyRise has a 210D ripstop rainfly and 600D ripstop polyester on the tent body, each with waterproof ratings of 3,000mm. 

Finally, you can go on the Yakima website, put in your specific vehicle model, and they will tell you if the SkyRise will fit. 

For example, if you’re looking for an SUV tent for a Ford Expedition or an SUV tent for a Subaru Forester, you’ll input the year and the type of roof rack you have to find the best fit. 

You can attach the SkyRIse to your truckbed without tools, and while Yakima says the installation is easy, remember that this tent weighs 100 pounds.


  • The truckbed is still usable
  • Extra storage on the sleeping space
  • Very durable tent materials
  • 2.5″ foam sleeping pad included


  • Expensive
  • Heavy

#9 Napier Sportz Dome-to-Go

Best Compact Vehicle SUV Tent

Product photo for the Napier Sportz Dome-to-Go Compact Vehicle SUV Tent.

Our Rating: 4.7/5
Floor dimensions: 72.25 sq. ft
Sleeps: 4
Number of Doors: 2
Peak Height: 77″
Best Vehicle Pairing: Compact vehicles, sedans, hatchbacks, and trucks with bed covers. 

I picked the Napier Sportz Dome-to-Go as the best small vehicle tent because it’s made especially for small cars and hatchbacks. 

The Sportz SUV tent has a universal vehicle sleeve with a 1200mm PU coating on the exterior to repel moderate rainfall. The versatile sleeve is a stretchy elastic, plus there are trunk straps to ensure the tent stays put. 

You might have a compact vehicle, but this vehicle tent is huge! The Sportz Dome-to-go has a generous peak height of over six feet tall, and I love that it has two doors rather than just one. 

This four person tent performs well in three seasons. It has a hubbed pole system, which will be quick and easy to set up. 

One downside about this small SUV tent is that it isn’t stand-alone, meaning you can’t set it up as a standard, stand-alone camping tent without your car. Additionally, the waterproof finish may begin to peel right away.


  • Perfect for compact cars
  • 36 sq. ft awning attachment
  • Hubbed pole design
  • Gear loft


  • It is not a stand-alone tent
  • Waterproof finish may flake off

#10 Raptor Series Offgrid Voyager with Ladder

Best Cold Weather SUV Tent

Product photo for the Raptor Series Offgrid Voyager with Ladder SUV Tent for Cold Weather.

Our Rating: 4.6/5
Floor dimensions: 32.25 sq. ft
Sleeps: 2 
Number of Doors: 1
Peak Height: 48.5″
Best Vehicle Pairing: Full-sized SUVs and trucks

The Raptor Series Offgrid Voyager with Ladder is one of the best SUV tents for cold weather because of the durable tent fabric and the insulating foam mattress. 

The Raptor is a rooftop tent weighing 159 pounds. It’s best suited for full-sized SUVs and trucks. The max load is a whopping 750 pounds, so you can easily pile in your winter gear. 

Despite being a heavier rooftop tent, Raptor engineered this tent for aerodynamics with a low profile. 

A clear benefit of rooftop tent models is their speedy setup time. You just unfold the tent, pull down the ladder, and voila. 

Typically, an issue with rooftop SUV tents is that there isn’t a place to put your shoes. The Raptor addresses this problem with a unique feature: hanging storage pockets for shoes outside the tent. 

The tent portion of this setup is made with such thick fabric that it doesn’t breathe well, so you’ll want to keep the windows open in summer. Additionally, some people experience delivery issues, but this may be a local problem.

Note: I chose the Raptor over the Family Sportz SUV tent because the Family Sportz has unflattering ratings and unimpressive tent materials.


  • 750 lb max load
  • Speedy setup
  • Hanging gear pockets


  • Doesn’t breathe well
  • Delivery spotty (local problem only?)

#11 Thule Tepui Foothill Tent

Best SUV Rooftop Tent

Product photo for the Thule Tepui Foothill Rooftop SUV Tent.

Our Rating: 4.9/5
Floor dimensions: 27.4
Sleeps: 2
Number of Doors: 1
Peak Height: 38
Best Vehicle Pairing: Most vehicles with roof racks

I picked the Thule Tepui Foothill Tent as the best SUV tent for your roof because it shines in multiple categories. 

First, I love that the Tepui only uses half of your roof because you can still store a bike or kayak on top. Second, the Tepui has an aerodynamic profile that won’t affect your vehicle handling. 

The front door is extra wide, and the windows are extra large for panoramic views. Plus, there’s mesh on the upper tent portion for stargazing. 

You can shelter under a 600D polyester canopy and snuggle up on your 1.6″ foam mattress pad when the weather gets bad. 

Finally, this SUV camping tent fits most vehicles with roof racks, so long as the Dynamic Weight Capacity is high enough to carry the 108-pound tent. 

This tent sleeps two comfortably, but it is the size of a standard two-person tent, so if you want more room to sprawl, you’ll need a bigger tent model.


  • Only uses half the roof rack
  • Aerodynamic profile
  • Mesh roof for stargazing
  • Fits most vehicles


  • Small interior
  • Expensive

Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best SUV Tent

A large brown SUV tent on the roof of a vehicle at tree-lined campsite with camp chairs and a table in the foreground.

What to Look for in SUV Tents

There are more and more tent models compatible with SUVs on the market these days. Here’s what to look for in an SUV camping tent. 

Rooftop vs. Hatchback vs. Tailgate Tent

As more folks get into car camping, options for SUV tents have increased to meet consumer demand. There are three main types of SUV tents. 

Rooftop tents: A rooftop tent sits on your vehicle’s roof rack and has enough space to sleep. Rooftop tents are easy to set up and come in hard and soft-sided varieties. 

Tailgate tents: A tailgate tent sits in the bed of a pickup truck. Truck tents may sit neatly within the bed’s footprint or extend over the back of the tailgate. You could lump hard-sided cab-over-campers into the category of tailgate tents, but I’m mostly thinking of soft-sided tents here. 

Hatchback tents: These tents attach to the rear door of SUVs. Most people use the back of their open vehicle as part of the living space (i.e., bed). 

Vehicle Compatibility

With so many different SUV tents, it’s important to make sure that your tent fits your vehicle. The best SUV tent for 4 Runners may differ from the best SUV tent for Subaru Outbacks. 

Be sure to test this out before your car camping trip. Do a dry run at home and practice attaching the tent to your rear hatch. 

Dynamic Weight Capacity

The dynamic weight capacity is the load your car can carry while moving. You can find the dynamic weight capacity in your owner’s manual or from your vehicle manufacturer. Then, if you opt for a rooftop tent, look for ones that stay within that capacity. 

Quality Material

A good quality tent can save a camping adventure. 

One tell-tale sign of a quality tent is that the fabric specs are listed. Look for a Denier rating (D), hydrostatic head rating (mm), and a thread count (T) if you have a canvas tent

As for poles, aluminum and carbon fiber are the gold standards of strength and weight. However, steel and fiberglass poles are also common. Steel is strong but heavy, and fiberglass is a common option on budget tents. 


Standalone tents are the gold standard for easy setup. A freestanding tent doesn’t need to be anchored down with guylines (although almost all freestanding tents benefit from tensioning the fly with guylines) or stakes. 

Interior Space

What do you want to do in your SUV tent? Post up on a picnic table? Lay out for a projector movie night? Watch the stars? All of the above?

Ensure your SUV camping tent has enough room for your planned activities. All tents list their floor dimensions in the specs. 

For extra protection from the elements, I like to have a screen room to shelter from bugs. 


Trust me when I say that your family camping trips will be more enjoyable if you can stand up inside your SUV camping tent. It’s a game-changer. 

Most SUV tents have more than enough room for an average person to stand up inside, but if your clan is particularly tall, check the peak height on your tent model. 

Number of Sleepers

Tent manufacturers are infamous for often exaggerating the sleeping capacity. 

To ensure you have enough space for sleeping bags, mark out the tent’s floor dimensions in your living room and have your family lie down to see how it feels. 


You may think you have the best tent for SUV camping, but then come to find out you need a different tent altogether. Even excellent-quality tents can have factory defects from time to time, but the best car tents will have good warranties on their products. 

Fast Setup

No one wants to fumble with their vehicle tent. Many tent makers claim their SUV-compatible product has an “easy setup.” I recommend scrolling the customer reviews to see whether this is true. 

Generally, a freestanding tent will have a faster setup than a non-freestanding or semi-freestanding variety. 

Types of SUV Camping Tents

A brown SUV tent on the roof of a black SUV, with trees and a lake in the background.

Hatchback Tents

If you have any type of SUV-ish vehicle, consider a hatchback tent. 

These tents attach to the back of your car. They are usually freestanding tents with a screen room to shield you from bugs and such. 

Most SUV tents fall into the hatchback category because they’re relatively inexpensive, and you can easily remove them from the rear hatch. 

Rooftop Tents

Rooftop tents attach to the roof rack of your car. Once installed, they’re easy to set up, but they usually only have enough room for you and a single camping companion. 

Premium models may have a larger sleeping capacity, but it depends on how much weight your car roof can take. Rooftop tents are more expensive than hatchbacks and won’t come off your car easily.

Tailgate Tents

Tailgate tents utilize the bed of a truck for sleeping space. They can be soft-sided or hard-sided semi-permanent installations. A truck bed tent is a good choice if you have a truck and don’t need the bed to carry large items. 

Window Tents

Window tents are a niche product for car camping, and you can use them on all vehicle types, not just SUVs. 

A window tent essentially turns your car into a screen room. It wraps around your car door and has a screen over the window so that when the window is down, you can get airflow without the vulnerability of sleeping with your window wide open.

Window tents are a good option if you have a sleeping setup inside your car (like me!)


Awnings are a minimalistic version of hatchback tents. You can set up an awning room with the hatch open or closed, and the awning will create a protected space for sleeping bags. 

Awnings are best for those who can sleep comfortably in the open. 


When most people imagine a camping tent, they think of a synthetic tent. Synthetic materials are great for tents because they’re lightweight and inexpensive. Common synthetic materials include polyester and nylon. 

Synthetic tents are great for a family tent because they pack up more compactly than their canvas cousins and don’t need as much intensive care as canvas. 


It’s rare to see a canvas tent for an SUV, but they exist. Canvas is a wonderful tent material because it’s highly durable, breathable, and waterproof. It’s the OG tent material. 

Canvas tents fell out of vogue (but they’re making a comeback) because canvas is heavy. As such, the tent poles are often heavy steel. Further, canvas requires thorough drying after each trip. 

Canvas tents are best for serious campers with the time and space to dry the tent out after each trip.


FAQs About Tents for SUV Camping

A brown SUV tent on the roof of a white SUV, seen through a thicket of trees.

Why do people put tents on their SUVs?

People put tents on their SUVs to enjoy the great outdoors with ease. SUV tents allow you to extend your shelter beyond your tailgate while still enjoying the protection of your vehicle. SUV tents come in all shapes and sizes. 

Are SUV tents worth it?

A tent for an SUV is worth it if you want more space for sleeping bags outside your vehicle. SUV-compatible tents allow you to create a shelter beyond the back of your car. You can cook, relax and play games under a private refuge with easy access to the back of your vehicle. 

What’s the difference between an SUV and a standard, stand-alone tent?

SUV tents attach to your vehicle, while traditional tents are stand-alone tents. You can enjoy car camping with either setup. 

Does Coleman make SUV tents?

No. Coleman does not make any tents for SUVs. 

Is it okay to sleep in an SUV tent at a campsite?

Most established campgrounds allow vehicle tent camping in your designated spot; however, there may be limitations on the amount of space in your parking spot. 

Overnight camping in an SUV-compatible tent is not allowed at walk-up campsites, since you aren’t supposed to drive your vehicle into those campgrounds. Always check what’s allowed before you start your camping trip. 

What’s the best vehicle for SUV camping?

The best vehicle for SUV camping depends on the type of tent you have. Most SUV tents will list the compatible cars.

Here’s a list of vehicles that lend themselves to SUV camping:

  • Honda CRV
  • Honda Ridgeline
  • Toyota 4 Runner
  • Toyota Tacoma
  • Nissan Xterra
  • Nissan Pathfinder
  • Jeep Wrangler
  • Subaru Outback
  • Chevy Blazer

How do I know if my vehicle will support a tent?

Most SUV tents will say if they’re designed for compact, mid-size, or full-size vehicles. Some SUV tents even have specific, compatible vehicle models. Check with the manufacturer of the tent if you’re not sure. 

What should I know before trying out SUV camping?

SUV and car camping come with a few must-dos before you set out. 

  1. Find out if your vehicle can support a tent (most can). If you plan to attach a tent to the roof rack, ensure your roof is rated to support the weight. 
  2. Leaving the back hatch open on some vehicles will keep a dash light on. 
  3. You must find a long, flat place to camp with a hatchback tent.
  4. Learn the Leave No Trace principles, and follow them. 
  5. Don’t drive your vehicle off-road to find a camping spot. 
  6. Check apps like Allstays to find safe and legal places to sleep in your car. 
  7. Always make sure you have the correct permits displayed on the front dash if a permit is required. 
  8. Always be prepared with the 10 Essentials
  9. Never leave food in your tent (SUV or otherwise), even while you are sleeping. Always pack everything scented (toiletries included) into your closed and locked vehicle. 

Plus, check out this video on the best car camping gadgets: 

Can you run your car with a tent attached?

No. Never let your car run when camping with an SUV-compatible tent–especially a hatchback tent. Even if you have large mesh windows, the exhaust will build up inside the tent and could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Conclusion: Our Pick for the Best SUV Tent

A nighttime scene of 
a small hatchback SUV tent pitched at a campsite next to a silver SUV, illuminated by string lights.

Of all the SUV tents reviewed on my list, the overall best SUV car tent is the Joytutus.

At just over 18 pounds, the Joytutus SUV tent isn’t too bulky, and has an enormous sleeping capacity for 4-6 people—although I recommend it for 4 adults since you’ll need space for gear.

We also love that the Joytutus is a pop-up tent. It needs two people for setup because it’s so tall, but at least you won’t be threading poles in the dark.

The 1500 Denier material seems thin, but it does have 2,000mm waterproofing. It’s versatile and functions as a stand-alone tent if you can’t find a long enough camping spot.

And to top it all off, this tent is budget-friendly!


author bio - Meredith Dennis

Meredith Dennis

Meredith is a biologist and writer based in California’s Sierra Nevada. She has lived in 6 states as a biologist, so her intel on hiking and camping is chef’s kiss next level. One of her earliest camping memories was being too scared to find a bathroom at night on a family camping trip. Thankfully, she’s come a long way since then and she can help you get there too!

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Hi, I'm Mimi! I'm an outdoorsy Californian who has spent over 28 years immersed in the incredible natural beauty that California has to offer. My goal is to inspire others to get out and find their next adventure in California. Whether it’s escaping to an alpine lake in the Sierras, finding peace among the giant redwoods, or road tripping down the PCH, there’s always more to explore in this beautiful state.


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