How to Build a Truck Tent

Written by chris moore
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A truck tent will turn the bed of your pickup truck into a campsite on wheels, eliminating the need for ground space to set up a tent. Truck tents can be very elaborate, may extend to outside the bed itself, and can be more expensive than regular tents. But with some ingenuity, you can transform any good-size tent into your own truck tent to store within the truck and set up as soon as you reach your next campsite.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Tent
  • Straps with hooks
  • Knife
  • Liquid adhesive
  • Tarp
  • Comforters

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Purchase a tent that will fit completely on top of--not within--the truck bed. Measure the bed's length, including the sides, before making your purchase. You also need a tent supported by arching poles. You'll tear this tent up, so find an inexpensive but durable one.

  2. 2

    Assemble the tent on top of the truck bed to make sure it completely covers the bed and sides. Make sure the tent's front end faces out, away from the cab. You may need to fill the bed to the brim to make this easier. This may also require at least two people to assemble, with one person standing on the opened tailgate.

  3. 3

    Attach sturdy straps with hooks to the tent through the loops where the tent stakes would go. Attach the hooks on the other ends to the truck's undercarriage. You should now remove everything you used to fill up the truck bed.

  4. 4

    Cut off the tent bottom from underneath. This is usually made from strong synthetic material like polyurethane, so you'll need a strong knife to cut with. Remove the tent's front end also.

  5. 5

    Create a new front end to the tent with the tent's bottom. Affix it to the tent ceiling and side edges with a strong epoxy glue, but leave enough space so you can lift it up like a flap to enter and exit the tent easily. Don't worry if there isn't enough material to drop all the way to the bed floor; it only needs to drop past the closed tailgate.

  6. 6

    Store cushioning in the truck bed for more comfort in the new truck tent. Multiple comforter sheets should work very well. You should place a tarp on the bed floor underneath the comforters, unless you keep the bed of your truck very clean.

Tips and warnings

  • Installing and disassembling the tent should be easy. Hook the tent to the undercarriage with the straps, then assemble the tent poles.
  • You should never drive the truck while the tent is installed.

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