How To Make A Truck Tent | Best 8 Tips, Pros, And Cons

Camping is an absolute joy; it is a lifetime experience. But did you ever stuck with no shelter while out in the wilderness? The first thought to hit your mind must have been how to make a truck tent. Especially if you are with your family and kids are hanging around.

A truck tent is a real-life savior, only if you know how to build one. Additionally, you can use it for a peaceful night’s sleep and as protective gear against scorching sun heat.

Although, a large number of homemade truck tents are readily available in the market. But, the real adventure is to turn one by yourself.

We will discuss in detail how to turn your truck into a tent. 


What Are The Types Of Truck Tents?

Well, there are multiple styles of truck tents available. A vehicle’s type is the primary determining factor. The size made, and loading capacity of your truck eventually determine which type of tent you should prefer.

A few essential types are:

  • Tunnel-shaped truck tent

As the name suggests, a tunnel-shaped tent is perfect for two adults. The frame makes it easy to set up; however, it adds additional weight to the vehicle bed. A truck with an open bed of 8 feet by 5 feet is ideal for this tent

  • Pop-up truck tent

The pop-up tents are ideal for heightened people as they provide extra standing space. Similarly, if you intend to take long sticks like a ladder or something similar, you should prefer a pop-up truck tent. They are easy to build on almost any type of truck and SUV.

  • D-Shaped tent

Although not a very popular design, but is very helpful if you have multiple vehicles at your disposal. You can use it to store food items or other temperature-sensitive equipment. Another pro is that you can arrange these even on smaller trucks.

Truck tents v/s Conventional tents

Homemade truck tents have pros and cons compared to conventional tents. The significant positives and negatives of truck tents are:


  • Truck tents provide freedom of movement
  • They are usually easy to set up and wind
  • These are safer from insects, bugs, water, and snakes
  • You do not need to search for a proper plain area; park your vehicle and set up your tent
  • Truck tents are usually cost-effective


  • Tight space
  • Constantly folding, and unfolding when on a more extended trip
  • Cannot move with a truck tent set up in the back
  • Time taking if you do not know how to make a tent in a truck bed.

When And When Not To Use The Truck Tent

Although it may seem very attractive for adventurers to use a truck tent but is not always advisable. 

So, having a truck tent is not always a viable option. Hence, the question arises when you should use a truck tent.

  • A truck tent is a suitable option if you intend to change your campsite frequently.
  • Avoid requiring much space if you can
  • Use it if you are on a short weekend trip. However, if you plan to stay at a specific place for several days, then opt for a conventional tent.
  • If you are on a rocky adventure where the vehicle is not safe, then avoid a truck tent.
  • A truck tent is a good option for desert exertions.

Are Ready-Made Truck Tents Worth It?

Well, it all depends on your preference. The market these days is flooded with ready-made truck tents. However, since truck tents are highly customizable, we recommend you not go for them.

Fun and adventure are the names of the game when it comes to truck tents. So, you will not like losing it to a pre-installed tent.

Furthermore, you may still require to make adjustments in a ready-made tent, as it may not fit in your vehicle. 

In addition, we are not sure about the material quality used to manufacture it. So, buying separate equipment to assemble your tent offers more confidence. Putting those knots yourself will be fun for your kids.

Material Required For A Truck Tent

Setting up a truck tent does not need a whole warehouse of materials. In your garage, you can easily find all the items you need.

Yes, that is right! Here is a list of materials required to make a sturdy truck tent:

  • Pickup truck
  • Four to ten feet of PVC long pipes
  • 45-degree elbow (four)
  • Corner fitting
  • Side saddle tee
  • Snap clamps (eight)
  • Cable clamps
  • A thick and large tarp
  • Measuring tape
  • Paper and pen
  • Pool noodles (one optional)

Tips On How To Make A Truck Tent?

Usually, setting up a truck tent is not a hefty task, but it becomes challenging if not learned properly. 

So, here is a detailed guide on how to make a tent in a truck bed.

Step 1:

Measure the truck’s dimensions by parking the vehicle and lowering the tailgate. Visualize your desired design of the tent, and make a rough diagram.

Step 2:

Let’s say we will set up an A-frame or canopy shape tent. The four PVC pipes will fit in the four holes along the bed of your truck. Add a tarp on top to protect from possible rain (if there is a prediction). 

Step 3:

Cut the legs of the pipe with an extra length of one foot. Now connect PVC pipes by using a 45-degree elbow. To make the frame sturdy, fix a 45-degree elbow at one end of the 1-foot extra length of the PVC pipe. Similarly, the tee connector also supports the strength of the frame.

Step 4: 

Start fixing four legs in the holes on the truck bed. Cut all four legs one by one.

Step 5:

One side of the truck should have a PVC pipe between the two tee connectors. Keeping the frame firm will be easier with it. 

Step 6:

On the other side of the truck, repeat step five.

Step 7:

Cut four lengths of PVC pipe of three feet each. Connect two PVC lengths using an L-shaped clamp, and fix them to the bare frame of the tent. On the other side of the structure, repeat the process. Bravo! Your A-frame is ready.

Step 8:

The last thing is to place the tarp over the A-frame. Put clamps to make it steady. Use another clamp on the back side to avoid it from flying during gusty winds.

There you go! Your truck tent has been successfully set up.

Additional Tips For A Truck Tent

Here are a few time-saving hacks for making a truck tent.

  • Place a blow-up mattress on the truck bed for extra comfort.
  • You can hang portable lamp light inside the tent.
  • Use a pool noodle to reduce noise from the wind.
  • Park your vehicle at 180 degrees to the blowing wind.
  • Use the tree as shelter during rain to support the truck tent.
  • Safety first, so perform tasks cautiously.


How much does a truck tent cost?

On average, the price of a truck tent varies between $100 to $550. Your final output price will depend on the features you demand. A decent truck costs about $250.

Are truck tents usable on the ground?

Homemade truck tents are not usable on the ground since the make and design of a truck tent do not suit ground usage.

Can I use one truck tent with all vehicles?

Truck tents are not universal but are customizable from vehicle to vehicle. You shall need a separate truck tent for each of your vehicles

How many people can a tent truck adjust?

Usually, a truck tent accommodates one to two adult people.


So, there you have it – you can now quickly answer the question of how to make a tent in a truck bed.

Especially if freedom and flexibility are your main objectives when road, and truck tents are your best option, these are super easy to set up, and you can engage your family in setting one up.

All you need to remember is to weigh your camping requirements and decide accordingly, as you will never end up on the wrong side of the joy. 

We hope the article had enough information to make your tenting decision easy and accurate.

Adios and happy tenting!

David James

Hey there! I'm David George, a seasoned truck driver with a heart for adventure and a love for the great outdoors. For 5 years, I've been hitting the open road, embracing the freedom of the trucking life while indulging in the joy of camping right from the cozy confines of my truck. My passion for truck tent life has led me to create this website, where I'll be sharing my experiences, tips, and insights on all things truck camping. Join me on this thrilling journey as we explore the beauty of nature, discover hidden gems, and learn how to make the most of life on the road. Let's embark on a memorable and unforgettable truck camping experience together!
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