DIY Truck Bed Tent: A How-to Guide

Find out if you're getting ripped off on your car insurance in less than two minutes.
Find insurance savings (100% Free)
No long forms · No spam · No fees
Why you can trust Jerry
Jerry partners with some of the companies we write about. However, our content is written and reviewed by an independent team of editors and licensed insurance agents, and never influenced by our partnerships. Learn more baout how we make money, review our editorial standards, reference out data methodology, or view a list of our partners
One of the best things about owning a truck is that it allows you to go places that other vehicles can't (presuming you have four-wheel drive.) Who needs van life when you could have truck life? 
Beyond the benefit of excellent off-roading capabilities, it is quite easy to attach a tent to a truck bed. Whether you drive an F-150 or an obscure truck model, chances are you can build your own truck bed tent. Here's how to do it with the help of CarrierUpgrade.
Medium view of a pickup truck with a DIY tent set up on the bed.
If you’ve always wanted to go camping with your truck well now you can!

Why build a truck bed tent?

Of course, some of you may be asking, “Why should I build a truck bed tent when I already have a good normal tent?” With a trunk bed tent, you'll be better protected from extreme rain or flooding. Anyone who has been camping in rainy conditions knows how miserable a wet tent can be. 
Another convenience is you don't have to stake a truck bed tent into the ground. This is especially helpful if you plan on camping somewhere that has very hard or very soft soil. 
Lastly, you can keep your truck bed tent in the cabin of the car when it's not in use. This would allow you to go on a spontaneous camping trip or be quite helpful in emergencies. Its compatibility is also quite helpful if you want to jump across different camping parks on a whim. 

Material needed for truck bed tent

There are prefabricated truck bed tents that are available for purchase. They can cost anywhere from $80-$370, all depending on how fancy you want to get. However, you can build your own for around $40 and a couple of hours of work. Here is what material you'll need according to CarrierUpgrade.
  • 4 x 10-ft PVC pipes, 1-inch wide
  • 8 x T- connector
  • 2 x 90° fittings
  • 4 x 45° fittings
  • Pool noodle (optional, but worth it)
  • Sketch paper
  • Tarp

Step-by-step instructions

Sketch it out. The best place to start any DIY project is with a pencil and paper. While this project is pretty simple, doing a sketch will help you visualize what you’re building. If you haven't put it together yet, we're making an A-frame tent that fits into the holes around the truck bed.
Cut the legs. This part will require some measurements which may vary between different truck models. If you plan on keeping your truck tent bed stored in a bag, make sure the legs will be able to fit. The first tier of the leg will probably measure 1 ft. On the end, attach the 45° fittings and then T- connectors directly on top of that. 
Shave the noodle. Get the noodle and a box cutter. Cut the noodle so it can fit on the 1ft legs. Then, shave pieces of the noodle so it can fit in the holes of your truck bed. This will better secure the legs, and remove any rattling noises on windy nights. 
Connect PVC to the T-connector. Now, connect a PVC pipe that runs parallel with the truck bed. This will provide added stability to the tent. Cut 4 more PVC pieces that measure about 3 ft to go on the other end of the T-Connectors. Attach the next set of T-Connectors on the open end. 
Repeat. Repeat another row of parallel PVC pipes at this higher level. Connect the upward ends of the T-connectors with more PVC pipe, joined by the 90° fittings.
Add the tarp. With the A-frame completed, all that is left to do is add the tarp and secure it down. Clamps or bungees will help keep it secured. 
If that sounded confusing, no worries. Simply follow the above video for more visualized instructions. 
One thing that isn't confusing is that the Jerry app can save you money on car insurance. A licensed broker, Jerry does all the hard work of finding cheap quotes from the top name-brand insurance companies and buying new car insurance. Jerry will even help you cancel your old policy.

Compare Car Insurance for Your Car

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

√
No long forms
√
No spam or unwanted phone calls
√
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings — it's 100% free