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Camping from the comfort of your van can be exciting. However, if your vehicle is a bit small to accommodate you, it might be a bit inconvenient.
Luckily there’s an excellent solution to this problem. Van tents for camping will help you extend the space of your camping area without making drastic changes to your camper, minivan or van.
If you’re looking for the best van and minivan tent camper, you’re in for a treat! In the following article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know before picking your ideal fit. So without further ado, let’s dive in!
How Do You Camp in a Van or Minivan?
Camping in a van or Minivan is a great way to enjoy the wilderness while staying highly secure and able to travel without the hassle of heavy unpacking and loading.
However, the small space inside your minivan alone won’t always help you achieve the comfort you get in a camping tent. That’s where a van tent comes to the rescue.
What Is a Van Tent?
Van tents are tents attached to vans. The tent comes with a special sleeve that allows you to connect it to the backside of the van to create a sleeping space or extra room inside your van.
Why Choose a Tent That Can be Attached to Your Van?
If you’re still skeptical about using a van tent for camping. Here are some reasons that make it an excellent idea!
A minivan tent camper gives you excellent benefits without weighing you down or taking a huge space within your luggage. In fact, a lot of these tents can easily fit in a storage pack when they’re not installed.
Protects You from the Environment
Camping in the woods is a chance for you to become one with nature. However, taking that term too far isn’t always great.
At some point, you’ll need a comfortable shelter to keep you secure from the harsh sun rays or the heavy rain.
Keeps the Bugs Away
Finding crawly critters around you is never fun. Van tents will always keep you from bug and mosquitos bites.
The Best Van Tents to Buy in 2020
With all the options available on the market, finding the best campervan tent isn’t a walk in the park.
To make things easier for you, we’ll walk you through some of the best tents for vans that you can find out there. This can help you pinpoint the ideal one that fits your bill the most!
Kicking off the list with one of the most popular tents for minivans and campers out there. Napier Sportz Family Tent with Screen Room.
This highly versatile tent has ample space to accommodate up to 5 or 6 people sleeping at the same time.
It has dimensions of 10 feet by 10 feet as well as 7 feet of headspace, which makes it suitable for almost all people without the need for bending over while standing.
Additionally, it has an extra floorless room screen room with dimensions of about 7 feet by 6 feet. The best part about the screen room is that you can easily detach it whenever you want.
The versatile part here is that you can remove the vehicle sleeve to convert it into a regular ground tent. This makes the tent a great value for its price!
- Large space tent
- Steel and fiberglass pole system for durability
- You can easily detach the screen room or the whole tent from the van
- Premium price tag
Another van tent from Napier Sportz, which shows the level of quality that they offer in their tents.
The Cove Tent is ideal if you’re looking for smaller camping tents for minivans while maintaining the durable structure and elegant features of Napier Sportz.
The tent is made of excellent quality polyester taffeta and mesh, which will stand the test of time and last for years to come.
The camping van tent extension is also quite lightweight, so you can easily fit it in your storage back while you’re on your way.
The tent has over 2 feet of an awning, which will guard you against the sun rays as well as the rain. Not only that but it also comes with built-in storm flaps in the door, for quick privacy while changing and protecting you from the elements of the weather.
- The mesh screen allows you to enjoy the view while avoiding the bugs
- Highly affordable price for its durability
- Ideal for privacy and protection from the weather
- Fits a wide range of SUVs, minivans, and camping vans
- Might leak in extremely rainy conditions
Patio Joy’s van tent attachment is another option that also works as both a van tent extension and a standalone camping tent.
This makes it a great investment if you’re going to get a free-standing camping tent. It has one entry while attached to the van and two entry points when it’s detached.
The minivan tailgate tent is easy to set up when compared to its size, as it’s supported by a durable pole system that makes its installation a one-man operation.
The tent is roomy enough to fit 2 to 3 people with a full level of comfort. However, it’s designed to accommodate up to 5 people while sleeping.
The tent comes with mesh windows that can be covered to provide decent ventilation while protecting you from the sun. Moreover, the tent has a built-in mud mat to help you keep its interior clean.
- Excellent value for its price
- Easy to set up
- Has a decent headspace
- Doesn’t fit some vehicles
If you’re looking for a side tent for a van, you should consider this one from ARB. The 813208A model is an awning room that you can attach to the side of the van.
One of the things that makes this awning room special is that it comes in various sizes to fit your needs.
Also, the walls and floor of the van side tent are pretty durable with 300 denier polyester and outer treatment against water and ultraviolet light to protect you from the sun and rain.
Not only that, but the side panels and roof are also treated against mosquitoes, midges, and other bugs.
The wall of the tent also has a nylon accessory storage pocket to store your belongings and media tools to keep them secure.
- The independent design makes it suitable for a lot of vehicles
- Various zippers for easy access in and out of the tent
- Available in 2 different sizes
- Durable roll-up walls for protection against weather and insects
- Can’t be detached to work as a standalone camping tent
Ending on a high note, the Napier Sportz Dome to Go Tent is an excellent option that acts as a middle ground between the Cove Tent and the Family Tent.
This one is 8.5 feet by 8.5 feet tent that gives you enough space to accommodate up to 4 people inside the tent while sleeping.
However, it would be comfortable for 2 people during the day. This makes it an excellent van tent for couples who are going through a hiking retreat.
It’s also ideal if you’re going for various activities, such as fishing or attending festivals. Similar to the Family Tent, you can remove the vehicle sleeve to convert it into a standalone camping tent.
It also comes with the durable pole construction that relies on steel and shock-corded fiberglass for flexibility and durability.
- Excellent durability against weather
- Can be converted into a standalone camping tent
- Highly ventilated with privacy-friendly mesh screens
- A bit pricey for its size
How to Choose Van Tents for Camping: Buyer’s Guide
While shopping for a good van tent for your camper or minivan, there are some critical aspects that you should always consider.
These points will help you get the best van tent for camping, so you can make the most out of your purchase. Let’s have a brief overview of these points.
Number of Campers Determines the Right Size of the Tent
The first thing that you need to consider while looking for a tent that attaches to a van is the number of campers that will use the tent.
The bigger the tent, the more difficult it’ll be to set it up on your own. Also, it’ll be more expensive and offer you more space than you might ever need. This also makes it harder to stay warm on colder days.
For that reason, proper planning and considering the number of campers is one of the golden rules that determine how big a tent should be.
Ideally, a camping tent with 8 feet by 6 feet would be enough to accommodate 2 to 3 people comfortably with enough headspace for them to stand inside the tent (about 7 ft).
The Right Tent That Fits Your Car
Unfortunately, not all tents are created equal. Depending on the style and size of your car, a camping van tent might not be always compatible with your vehicle.
Although some van tents are designed to fit specific vehicles due to special points of attachments and sleeves, some tents are created to be universal fit to work with a wide variety of vehicles on the market.
Even if a tent is a universal fit, It’s always crucial that you make sure that the tent will fit your vehicle nicely.
Even the best tent with the most intuitive features on the market would be useless if it’s flimsy and can’t resist the harsh outdoor environment.
The materials used for making the camping tent for a minivan has a huge impact on the quality and durability of the tent you’re getting.
Make sure that the walls of the tent are made of high denier polyester or nylon to protect you from wear and tear as well as sun rays, rain, and wind.
It won’t take you long while browsing the available options on the market until you realize that the price is dependent on the previously mentioned aspects.
A good rule of thumb here is to keep your budget in mind while researching for your potential van tent.
However, make sure to avoid excessively cheap options, as they lack the required quality to last you for various trips.
How to Connect a Tent to a Van?
Attaching a tent to a van varies depending on the type of the tent and how you’re going to attach it. Ideally, most tents come with instructions guides that show you how to get the job done. In most cases, you need to set up the tent first depending on its style.
To connect the tent to a van, you either connect the sleeve to the vehicle using a rail that comes with the tent or you just tie and peg the tent down. You’ll only need to pull the rail or strip to disconnect the tent from the vehicle.
Disadvantages of Using a Van Tent
There aren’t many disadvantages and drawbacks that you’ll face while using a van tent, especially if you get a high-quality one.
However, most van tents will generally take a bit longer to set up than regular camping tents. That’s because, in addition to setting it up, you’ll also need to securely connect it to the vehicle.
Also, it’s usually not durable enough to stay deployed if you move with the van. So, you’ll need to either detach it or fully break it down when it’s time to move to a new location.
Short Recap/Summary for Van Tents
To summarize what you should keep in mind. Using tents to attach to camper vans is a great idea if you opt for the right option.
They’re easy to set up and give you ample space to further enjoy your camping trip. Remember to always look for a durable tent and ignore the flimsy ones.
There you have it. A full guide with reviews of the best van tents for camping. We recommend Napier Sportz Family Tent as the overall best one if you’re going with a large family.
However, if you need a durable but smaller tent, you can go for the ARB 813208A Side Tent for Minivans.