Looking for an inexpensive way to camp? We were, but we had certain criteria. We wanted to be off the ground, and we wanted to stay dry when it rained. We wanted something with enough room so that we could move around and not feel cramped. We wanted to point and laugh at bugs because they couldn't get to us. Did we mention it had to be inexpensive?
We chose to give Napier Outdoors Sportz Truck Tent a whirl.
Napier developed the first Sportz Truck Tent in 1990, and the company was one of the first companies to produce and market truck tents in North America. By the late 1990s, the company's truck tents were offered as a genuine accessory by GM and Ford, and thus began a whirlwind of growth and new products for Napier. During this time the company added SUV tents to its lineup, and through the years it redeveloped the Sportz Truck Tent.
Napier currently offers a variety of cool ways to camp, including an assortment of truck tents in a number of price ranges. There's even an option like the Sportz Link that connects to a Napier truck tent to offer even more room for sleeping, dining, storage, or just hanging out. Don't have a pickup truck? No worries, Napier also offers a wide range of SUV tents, too. Oh, and the company offers a variety of accessories, including air mattresses and chairs.
We're impressed with the outstanding build quality and fitment of the Sportz Truck Tent. Setup is on par with most other tents. You simply unroll the tent and install the shock-corded fiberglass poles (the poles are color coded with their respective tent sleeves for easy setup). Sportz recommends erecting the tent in the bed of the truck, but since we usually have two people, we've been installing the majority of the poles with the tent on the ground and then setting it into the truck bed prior to installing the final poles. Instead of tent stakes like a ground tent has, the Sportz Truck Tent uses adjustable straps to affix the tent to the truck.
We ordered the 57 Series Sportz Truck Tent (only $279.99 at time of print on the company's website) to use with our long-term Nissan Titan PRO-4X 4x4 pickup. The tent offered everything we were looking for, including two-person capacity, a generous center height of around 5 feet 8 inches so we could move around, three windows to let in natural light and enjoy airflow, polyester mesh screening to keep bugs out, waterproofing and a rainfly to keep us dry, and neat features like a gear loft, gear pocket, and lantern holder. The Sportz Truck Tent is so compact and lightweight (around 26 pounds) when rolled up that we keep it in the truck all the time, because you just never know when the urge to camp will hit. In addition to using the tent as sleeping quarters during backcountry jaunts and camping trips, we've also used it as a base camp during days at the beach or in the woods. It's just what we were looking for.
We like the 4-foot-square awning and its easy setup (it can be rolled up if you don't want to use it). It's held in place by adjustable poles and straps. The poles have stayed planted on even breezier than average days. Here you can see the lower attachment points for the poles and tension straps. Speaking of breezy days, Napier designed the Sportz Truck Tent to withstand high winds.
The Sportz Truck Tent is clearly designed to provide maximum interior space. We dig the tall height. We also like the three mesh windows and two ceiling vents that allow for airflow. And check out that huge entrance door! Further, the tent has a full floor that serves as a barrier to the truck's bed floor, and it helps keep you dry from the elements. Also worth mentioning are the gear pocket and gear loft, which offer places to keep loose items (like cellphones) so they don't have to reside on the floor of the tent.
Here you can see one of the forward mounting locations for some of the poles. The plastic buckle you see is one of four that are mounting points for the easy-to-install rainfly. The rainfly has taped seams to keep out moisture and works in conjunction with built-in storm flaps in the windows and door to keep you dry.
In this photo you can see the driver-side rear corner of the Sportz Truck Tent with the rainfly attached. One of the things we like about the bed tent is that with the tent in the bed it means attachment points, like those for the rainfly, are higher than a ground tent, which makes it easier and quicker to install. Our truck has the stock suspension height, so we use a small stool as a step to enter and exit the tent. Best of all, we're not sleeping on the ground. We typically use a foam pad or air mattress to cushion the floor of the tent.