Truck Tent Review

truck bed tentThe good people at Sportz by Napier sent me a truck tent to use in the field and review for my readers.  Being a fan of anything free, especially anything for the outdoors, I happily complied however I let them know that if I was going to write a review of their truck tent, it would be a completely objective and unbiased review regardless of how thrilled I might have been to receive the tent.

Well, they don’t have to worry about that!  The truck tent was easily one of the best pieces of equipment I have had the pleasure of using in a long time, and let me tell you, we put this thing through the ringer in just three days.

Napier is offering 25% off Truck Tents using the coupon code/discount at the end of this writeup so make sure you use the promo when ordering your truck tent.

I had taken my video camera and tripod along with the intentions of videoing myself putting up the tent so that I could document ease (or lack thereof) of use.  Of course, I neglected to charge the battery so you are spared the option of watching me attempt to do anything for the first time.  Surprisingly though, the tent was very easy to put up.

I put the tent up by myself.  The rest of my crew was either already on the lake fishing, or still on their way to camp.  A pretty nasty storm was on it’s way so I was in a hurry but I wanted to make sure I got the tent put up right.  I timed it, and it took me 38 minutes start to finish.  I had not even taken the tent out of the box until I arrived so I feel like this was pretty good time.  I had no trouble figuring out any of the step by step directions, which is surprising because it seems like I’m putting something together for one of my children late at night on Christmas Eve and it never fails that whatever I do, it’s going to end up being undone at some point.

I did really struggle getting the rain fly put up on the tent however, and this accounted for quite a bit of the set up time.  The wind was blowing pretty good and it was swirling, so I couldn’t get but one side of the fly attached.  I had to open the back door of my pickup truck, and climb up on top of the cab to get the fly over to the other side without it blowing back.  Next time I think I will find something soft but heavy that I can attach to one of the ends to throw over so it will stay.

The tent fit perfectly snug to my truck.  I was worried with the storms coming that the tent might be leaky or might blow off or something, but it was actually very snug.  In fact, we all decided that it was more stable and secure than the regular tent my brother in law and his buddy were using…one I have used with him on many a camping trip.

You might see in the photo that I did not use the soft strap covers that protect your truck from getting scratched.  There are two reasons for this.  I was in a hurry due to the weather, and I’m lazy.  They weren’t needed however, and there were no scratches on my truck after I removed the tent.

There is room for two people to sleep in the tent so long as those two people can lie comfortably in the bed of your pickup truck.  I slept in the tent by myself, and I think that is the ideal situation.  I had my cpap machine in there (for my sleep apnea) and since it zips to the bottom I just ran the cord right out the door and had the battery sitting on a 5 gallon bucket below the tailgate.  I also had my suitcase, a couple of sacks of food, a handle of Jim Beam (don’t go camping without one) and some beer and pop in there along with of course my sleeping bag, a mat to sleep on, two pillows and a blanket.  It was perfectly cozy.

If you want to be comfortable, you are going to need something to sleep on top of.  I do not recommend sleeping directly on the bed of the truck.  I took a mat that rolls out under my sleeping bag.  You can open the air thingy on it (yes, the air thingy) and it will fill up slightly with air to give you more cushion.  This was just enough that I didn’t notice the bed of the truck underneath me.  I would highly recommend though, that instead you purchase the inflatable mattress that Napier sells to fit your truck bed.  air up truck bed mattress

It sells for $59.95 and is custom fit to the size of your truck bed based on whatever model of pickup you own.  They did not send me one, but I will definitely be buying one soon.  I think if you’re going to sleep two people in there, it only makes sense.

I had some concerns that the wind would blow the tent or the fly around just enough that rain would get in and soak everything I had in there, but despite up to 40 mph wind gusts, heavy rain at times, and nickel sized hail, the tent held up nicely and stayed completely dry.  In fact, while all of us in my boat were getting caught on the wrong side of the lake in the storm, everyone back at camp was busy putting everything they wanted to stay dry in the back of my truck!  I got back to camp to find that my truck tent served as refuge to everything that was at one time sitting on the ground.  I wasn’t thrilled but I don’t blame them.  It was definitely smart thinking on their part and it turned out to be a really good move.  Everything not in my tent got soaked, which is a testament to the fact that that tent is not sitting on the ground, obviously!

As great as I think this thing is, I’m actually having to try and temper my enthusiasm somewhat because I don’t want anyone to read this and think I am just shilling for Sportz by Napier.  I am not.  This thing is just AWESOME.  I told my brother in law before I even got to the lake that if this thing did not fit back into the bag it comes with, it’s going to be really hard for me to write a positive review no matter how good it is.  That’s a real pet peeve of mine.  Sleeping bags are the worst.  Have you ever bought a sleeping bag that actually fit into the bag they expect you to put it in after use?  I’ve got an awesome sleeping bag from Cabelas but you nearly have to put a vacuum on the dang thing to get it to fit into the bag.  It literally takes two people to get it in there!

Thank goodness though, there is plenty of room for the truck tent in the bag it comes with!

It took me exactly 38 minutes to take the tent down and get it all in the bag.  Yes, I timed it, and yes that is coincidentally the exact same amount of time it took me to put it up.  I’d say I could probably do it in 20 minutes easily, but the rain fly was all wet from the rain so I had to dry it off with a towel before putting it up.  I just took it down, folded it up randomly and stuffed it in.

I don’t have a single complaint about the tent, but I do have a concern for next time.  A couple of the poles in the tent are slightly bent in the shape of the tent.  I don’t think this will be a problem because that’s the same way they will be next time I put it up, but still something I’ll keep my eye on.  I think this is the result of me way over tightening the straps on the tent because having not used the product before I wasn’t trusting enough yet that it would stand up to the bad weather.  (note to users: Don’t over tighten!  It’s not necessary)  Other than that, one of the end caps came off one of the poles when I was taking the tent down.  It wasn’t an issue and I already glued it back on.

Ventilation.  With the rain fly on I was pretty worried about ventilation in the tent but it wasn’t a problem.  If it was 100 degrees outside and there was no wind, I think it might get a little stuffy but no different than any other tent.  With the rain fly off, I don’t think there would be any worries about that as there are two very good sized windows, one on each side of the tent and of course you can unzip the door of the tent and leave open the screen.

In conclusion I have to say this tent is absolutely awesome!  I would have never considered buying a truck tent had Sportz by Napier not asked me to do a review.  Man I am glad they did.  For the rest of my life, I can honestly say I will own a truck tent.  I’ll likely switch the make and model of the truck I drive quite a few times over the course of my life (If you know me or my habits and laughed while considering the possibility of my longevity that’s not cool!  I’ve made it to 33.  I’ve got another solid 10 in me at least!) and when I do I’ll buy another tent custom fit to my truck.

It will be money very well spent and I highly recommend them to anyone who is serious about camping.  Sportz by Napier sells them for only $249.95 on their website and you can buy one using this link: Best Truck Tent.

Sportz Tents- 25% off.  To purchase, call Napier at 800-567-2434 or 905-935-0427.  Must quote promo #201006 when ordering.