Attaching a tent to a minivan when you go camping is a great way to save space, achieve more privacy in a campsite, and ensure you have some creature comforts.
Just because you’re roughing it, it doesn’t mean you should feel like you don’t have enough space or privacy. That said, it’s not always easy to know what kind of tent is best for your minivan and camping needs.
What features are important to look for in minivan tents?
Generally, you want durability, spaciousness, and protection against the elements, but there are also some extra features that will make your camping experience more comfortable.
For example, you could opt for a minivan tent that also has a screen room or a tent that provides you with more storage space in the form of useful holders.
Let’s start with the winner on our list of SUV tent reviews which fits SUVs and can accommodate up to six people, so it’s perfect for taking along when you’re going on a camping holiday with friends.
Rightline Gear SUV Tent: Best Overall SUV Minivan Tent
Napier Family-Tents sportz SUV Tent: Runner Up SUV Minivan Tent
KingCamp Awning Sun Shelter SUV Tent: Alternative SUV Minivan Tent
Napier Sportz Cove 61500 SUV Tailgate Tent: Best Overall Minivan Tailgate Tent
Backroadz SUV Tent: Runner Up Minivan Tailgate Tent
Best Overall SUV Minivan Tent: Rightline Gear SUV Tent
- Type: SUV tent
- Size: 8’ x 8’ x 7.2’ (2.4 x 2.4 x 2.1 m)
- Material: Water-resistant fabric
- You might fear that a minivan tent is going to be clumsy or impractical. But this one is the most practical SUV minivan tent because you don’t always have to use it when it’s attached to your vehicle. It can also work as a freestanding tent.
- This minivan tent attachment is spacious because four adults can sleep it in, plus you get two extra sleeping spots in the vehicle cargo area. This is perfect for those family vacations where you want everyone to feel comfortable.
- This minivan tent is built to last so it’ll accompany you on all your future camping trips. It’s made with water-resistant fabric, so you don’t have to worry about a sudden rainstorm taking you by surprise while you’re sleeping and soaking you to the core. It’s also got tape-sealed seams to add further protection against the harsh elements.
- One of the features you’ll love if you camp often is that this tent comes with a sewn-in bathtub floor. This keeps the water out and also repels pests from getting close to your tent.
- The zippers tend to catch on things and are sometimes difficult to use.
- While it’s easy to install, people who have purchased this minivan tent have reported that it does require more than one person to install it.
- I love minivan tents that are easy to install and use, and this one makes installation a breeze – all you need to do is attach the vehicle sleeve to the back of your vehicle. As a bonus, the tent comes with some extras included to make it even more user-friendly, such as a carry bag and rainfly.
If you’ve invited five people along to your camping trip, you won’t have to worry about where you’re all going to sleep or if your sleeping conditions are going to be too crowded.
This SUV minivan tent is a must to purchase because it will offer you tons of space. You can fit it onto any SUV, Jeep Wrangler hard top, wagon, pick-up truck with cap, or minivan.
Runner Up SUV Minivan Tent: Napier Family-Tents sportz SUV Tent
- Type: SUV tent
- Size: 10’ x 10’ (3 x 3 m)
- Material: Polyester
- If two-person minivan tent installation isn’t good enough for you and you want something a little less stressful, such as because you’ve never installed a minivan tent before, then this minivan tent by Napier is worth considering. It’s beginner-friendly because it features poles made of fiberglass and steel that can be used by one person. Easy installation within minutes!
- This minivan tent is really spacious: it can accommodate five to six people with over seven feet of headroom in the center. It offers 10 x 10 feet (3 x 3cm) of space in the tent, so you won’t have to feel cramped. That’s something you want to avoid when you’re on holiday because it can increase your stress levels.
- You won’t have to worry about your minivan tent getting rained out because it makes use of GoBe Dry – this is a rain protection system to keep you dry and happy, preventing rainy conditions from making you want to cut your camping trip short.
- You don’t want to feel claustrophobic in your minivan tent, but now you won’t have to because this one offers two skylights so you can see more of what’s around you. This has the added benefit of ensuring you have better ventilation inside the tent.
- While the minivan tent extension does have a screen room, which is a perfect spot in which you can pull up some chairs and relax, it doesn’t have a floor. This means you might have to purchase a screen room floor separately.
- The screen room is completely open so you don’t get any protection from the elements when using it. Still, if the weather’s good and you want to feel a bit more immersed in the outdoors, it’s a great place to chill.
- This tent that attaches to minivan vehicles comes with an expandable carry bag so you can easily store it when it’s not in use. This also makes packing for your camping trip much easier, and packing up when you head back home a breeze.
This convenient minivan tent is a game-changer because it makes camping so much more comfortable. Use it attached to your vehicle or opt for leaving it as a standalone tent.
Price depends on the size you choose. You can choose a tent that’s 9 x 9 x 7.25 feet (274 x 274 x 220 cm) or one that’s 10 x 10 x 7.25 feet (304 x 304 x 220 cm), which gives you even more options.
Alternative SUV Minivan Tent: KingCamp Awning Sun Shelter SUV Tent
- Type: canopy
- Size: 124 x 85 x 0.5 inches (315cm x 215cm)
- Material: polyester
- This product is a sun shelter more than a full tent, but it’s made out of strong polyester and PU coating to prevent it from experiencing scuffs and tears, and this material also increases its UV protection to keep you safe from the harsh sun.
- There are various ways in which you can use this canopy – attach it to the side of your vehicle or at the back, depending on where you want it.
- It offers a 60-square foot to 76-square foot area (5.5 m2 to 7 m2) of shade, so you’ll easily be able to provide shelter for tables, camp chairs, and other camping goods.
- Some people who have purchased this canopy have reported that its poles are not very strong and can be damaged easily. That’s something to be mindful of when using it.
- It might be a bit too unstable to use for wind protection, so try to avoid using it in very windy camping conditions.
- I love it when tents or canopies can be conveniently stored in a bag or drawer when they’re not in use. This one can be folded up for the ultimate convenience, plus it comes with a zipper bag that’s got a handle.
This canopy is worth investing in if you like the idea of having a relaxing spot by your car that isn’t troubled by too much exposure to the harsh sun.
It can be used on trailers, pickup trucks, vans, SUVs, hatchbacks, sedans, and MPVs, so it’s highly versatile. It’s the perfect alternative to a full-size camping tent.
Best Overall Minivan Tailgate Tent: Napier Sportz Cove 61500 SUV Tailgate Tent
- Type: Awning
- Size: 25 x 6.5 x 6.5 inches
- Material: Polyester taffeta and polyester mesh
- This awning offers two feet of space under which you can relax, sit around a campfire, or do other camping activities while being sheltered from the sun and wind. It’s the perfect middle ground between not having a tent attached to your vehicle and having a full tent, because the awning is convenient and practical.
- It’s built with a mesh screen to keep pests and insects out of your vehicle, as well as an integrated storm flap also helps to offer you a bit more privacy while obviously keeping you protected against the weather. You’ll feel totally secure when using this awning during your camping trip.
- If you’re camping in an area that’s prone to critters, you’ll want to be able to have easy and fast access to your vehicle. You never know when you’ll need to lock yourself in to be safe. This awning offers you that option, which is sure to give you peace of mind when camping in unknown territory.
- This minivan awning is in a round shape that might not fit well on all vehicles and could leave some gaps being formed between the vehicle and awning.
- The instructions that come with this awning are lacking, so you’ll have to ensure you find videos or other sources to help you set this up. This can make it tricky if you’ve never set up an awning before.
- This awning offers you a variety of uses that are not limited to camping. Thanks to the shade and comfort it provides, you could use it when you do other activities outdoors, such as fishing. Simply drive right up to your fishing spot, set it up, and then relax and enjoy the peace and quiet. Perfect!
This awning is the perfect practical solution when you’re partaking in outdoor activities but want to have a bit of shelter to protect you against the UV rays or sudden thunderstorms, as well as provide you with privacy when you’re relaxing at the campsite.
Runner Up Minivan Tailgate Tent: Backroadz SUV Tent
- Type: SUV tent
- Size: 10’ x 10’ (3 x 3 m)
- Material: Polyester
- This five-person tent attaches to the vehicle sleeve of your minivan, CUV, or SUV with ease.
- It’s been built with adjustable straps to give you a snug and watertight fit that also keeps bugs out of your vehicle by reducing how much space there is between the tent and your car.
- To protect you against the weather, this tent comes with a rainfly that’s got taped seams as well as built-in storm flaps for the door and windows. As a bonus, this can also be useful for creating more privacy in your tent, such as when you want to relax or get dressed in the morning.
- When I go camping, I like to immerse myself in nature but I have to admit that I also like being able to check my smartphone and other devices that connect me to loved ones back home, so I love that this minivan tent has a connection to power outlets.
- You might have to weatherproof the tent’s seams yourself to properly protect the tent against the elements. This is also mentioned in the tent’s manual, which means you will have to do some work before using this tent on your next camping trip.
- The door zipper of this minivan tent camper keeps getting stuck, which can prove frustrating to have to deal with.
- Extra storage is always welcome, but sadly not seen that much in minivan tents on the market. This one is a game-changer because it has a gear pocket and lantern holder included in its design.
This convenient and useful minivan tent offers you everything you need in a minivan tent, plus extra features that really should come standard with other tents, such as connections for your devices and storage space inside the tent for valuables and other important items.
Best Minivan Tent FAQ
Before you go ahead and purchase a minivan tent, you need to ensure that you know some important information about these products.
With that in mind, let’s explore some common FAQs about minivan tents.
How does an SUV tent work?
SUV minivan tents are really easy to set up, although some do require you to have the manpower of a second person!
When setting up a minivan tent, you must make use of the poles that come with the tent. These are used to ground the tent. Then, you’ll need to fasten the tent onto the back of your SUV. This is usually done with the use of bungee cords or even velcro straps that are put around the roof racks and wheel arches of your car.
Many types of SUV tents can be attached to the vehicle or used as standalone tents, like the best SUV minivan tent on our list, the Rightline Gear tent.
How do I set up an SUV tent?
- Make sure you park your car in an area of the campsite where there is no debris on the ground and the ground is level.
- Remove the tent from its carry bag and lay it out on the ground
- Put its vehicle sleeve in the direction of the vehicle’s cargo area.
- Assemble the poles that have come with the tent. Take the fiberglass poles and put these into the appropriate holes of the tent roof. One end of the pole must be inserted into the central hub and the other end must be put into the end of the center joint.
- Repeat this for the other fiberglass poles.
- Then, take one steel pole and insert one end into the joint and the other end into the pin that’s found in the bottom corner of the tent. Repeat this for the other steel poles.
- By now your tent should be standing upright.
- Attach the plastic clips to the poles.
- Then, stand inside the tent and unzip the fabric door of the tent that’s facing the car. You might have to move the tent over to the cargo area of the vehicle.
- Slide the sleeve underneath the car’s bumper and over the roof. You’ll also need to hook the straps onto both sides of the vehicle – you can use any part of the wheel for this.
- Make sure the exhaust pipe is outside of the sleeve.
- If you don’t have a roof rack, you’ll make use of long straps that are attached from the sleeve to the hood frame. If you have a roof rack, attach the two short straps around the roof rack.
Summit Racing has an excellent video tutorial that explains the above steps (it might help you to see them being done) and also shows you how to attach the minivan tent’s screen room.
What is the advantage of a roof top tent or awning?
There are lots of benefits to using a minivan rooftop tent or awning. These include the following:
- They offer you protection against the elements, such as winds and UV rays.
- They give you more privacy when there are other people around the campsite.
- They enable you to enjoy the views of the campsite from higher ground.
- Having a tent on the roof of your vehicle frees up space inside it for other camping items.
- They enable you to stay safe from bears and other wildlife, as well as raccoons or scorpions that would have easier access to you on the ground.
Can minivan tents protect against bears?
If bears have learned that they can get food from campsites, they will become bold and sometimes even aggressive about getting their paws on the food, such as by damaging vehicles and tents.
Therefore, it’s important to follow safety precautions, such as not keeping food outside or near the tent and ensuring that you set up your minivan tent away from berry patches and trails. You should also store food in a bear canister, which is a hard-sided food container that is bear-proof.
The benefit of a minivan tent is that you do have quick and easy access to your vehicle if a bear is nearby, and this can be much more secure than if you’re in a standalone tent.
Tents that are used for camping sometimes don’t give you everything you want from them.
This is why the best minivan tent can help you to enjoy your camping holidays more by offering you greater protection from the elements and privacy to enjoy your time in nature with your loved ones.
There are tons of minivan tents to choose from, such as the Rightline Gear tent that’s not only resistant to the elements but can fit up to six people, and the Napier family tent that has a screen room attached that you can use at your leisure.
In this buying guide, we’ve outlined the best minivan tents to choose from for the next time you hit the road to an exciting camping location.
It’s clear to see that the Rightline tent is the overall winner, thanks to how it goes the extra mile by providing a water-repellent bathtub floor.