How Do You Attach A Tent To An SUV?

Updated Aug 5, 2023

Hey there, adventure-seekers! Ever thought about turning your trusty SUV into a cozy basecamp for your outdoor expeditions? If you’ve got an SUV and a love for camping, you’re halfway to creating an epic, mobile camping setup. SUV camping brings together the best of both worlds, blending the convenience and comfort of your vehicle with the allure of sleeping under the stars.

In this guide, we’re going to explore how you can attach a tent to your SUV, effectively expanding your living space while out in the wilderness. This can be a game-changer for your camping trips, providing a versatile setup for everything from weekend getaways to extended road trips.

Stick around and let’s unlock a whole new level of outdoor adventure, where the journey is as enjoyable as the destination itself. Whether you’re an experienced road tripper or a first-time SUV camper, you’re in the right place to turn your vehicle into a comfortable home-on-wheels. Let’s dive in, shall we?

How to Attach an SUV Tent

Step 1: Choose the Right Tent. First and foremost, make sure you have an SUV tent designed to fit your specific vehicle. These tents are built to seamlessly integrate with the rear of your SUV, providing a weather-tight seal that standard tents can’t offer. You’ll want a tent that matches your SUV’s size and design for optimal comfort and functionality.

Step 2: Find a Suitable Campsite. Look for a flat, open space where you can park your SUV and set up the tent. The area should be free of sharp objects that could damage the tent. Make sure the spot you choose is safe and legal to camp in.

Step 3: Prepare Your Tent. Unpack your tent and lay out all the components. Most SUV tents come with the main tent body, poles, stakes, rainfly, and straps for attachment to the vehicle. Check to make sure all parts are present and in good condition.

Step 4: Attach the Tent to Your SUV. Begin by draping the tent over the rear of your vehicle. Usually, the tent’s broadest end with a large opening should align with your SUV’s rear. This opening allows access to the vehicle from inside the tent.

Step 5: Secure the Tent. Most SUV tents have straps or sleeves designed to fit around the rear of your vehicle. Secure these around the roof racks, rear wheel wells, or under the chassis, depending on your tent’s design. Ensure the tent fits snugly against your SUV to create a tight seal.

Step 6: Assemble the Tent. Now, assemble the tent poles and insert them into the corresponding sleeves or clips on the tent. Raise the tent, and ensure it’s fully expanded.

Step 7: Secure the Tent to the Ground. Next, use stakes to secure the tent to the ground. Pay special attention to guylines; these ropes help stabilize your tent against wind and should be staked at a 45-degree angle away from the tent.

Step 8: Attach the Rainfly. Finally, attach the rainfly if it’s expected to rain or if you want additional protection from the elements. Secure it to the tent using the provided loops, straps, or buckles.

Voila! Your SUV tent should now be successfully attached to your vehicle. It’s time to move in your camping gear and start enjoying your spacious new camping setup. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t worry if the setup takes a bit longer the first time. With each setup, you’ll get quicker and more efficient.

Types of Tents

There are various methods for attaching a tent to an SUV. A popular option is using rooftop tents that can be mounted on your vehicle’s roof rack. These tents provide elevated sleeping arrangements, shielding you from uneven surfaces and critters, and offer breathtaking views. Plus, they are simple to set up and take down, saving you valuable time. For this kind of installation, read on how to mount a rooftop tent.

Another method is using SUV-specific tents. These tents attach directly to the rear of your SUV. They are held in place by straps or channels, creating a smooth transition between living space and vehicle storage. This setup is especially useful if you need frequent access to items stored in your SUV.

It is important to check that your chosen attachment method is compatible with both your SUV model and the tent. Inspecting weight restrictions and compatibility guidelines from the manufacturer will protect you from accidents or damage during your trip.

Related Post: Best SUV Tent for 2023

In addition to considering attachment methods, selecting a suitable tent size is essential for comfort. There are many sizes available from two-person options to large family-sized tents. Choosing one that suits your needs will improve your camping experience.

It is essential to follow manufacturer instructions carefully when attaching a tent securely. Each tent model may have different guidelines for installation and detachment. By following these instructions carefully, you can guarantee stability while driving and reduce any risks from strong winds or unexpected movements.

Tent Selection

When it comes to selecting a tent for your SUV, there are a few things to consider. First, size. How many people will need to fit in the tent and what are the dimensions of your SUV? Second, weather resistance. Make sure the tent material is waterproof or water-resistant and the construction is sturdy. Lastly, ease of use. Look for a tent that is easy to set up and take down with simple instructions and minimal parts.

Plus, some tents come with attachments specifically designed for SUVs. Others may feature awnings or screened-in rooms for extra comfort. Before buying, measure the roof rack or cargo area to ensure compatibility.

Safety Considerations

Safety is paramount when installing an SUV tent, or any tent for that matter. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

Stable Ground: Choose a flat, stable area to park your SUV and set up your tent. Avoid steep slopes or areas near water that could flood.

Overhead Hazards: Check for overhead hazards like dead tree branches (often referred to as widow-makers in camping lingo) that could potentially fall on your tent or vehicle.

Wind Direction: Pay attention to the wind direction. Ideally, the rear of your SUV should face into the wind, helping prevent the wind from driving rain into your tent.

Clear Area: Make sure the area where you’re setting up the tent is clear of sharp objects that could damage the tent fabric. This includes rocks, sticks, and other debris.

Tent Setup: When setting up your tent, ensure all poles, stakes, and guy-lines are secure. A poorly set up tent can collapse or blow away in the wind.

Exhaust Fumes: Always turn off your vehicle once the tent is set up. Never run your vehicle with the tent attached as it could fill the tent with exhaust fumes, which can be dangerous.

Emergency Access: Make sure there is a clear path to the driver’s door of the SUV in case of emergencies that require quick evacuation.

Animals and Pests: Lastly, keep food and other attractants sealed and away from your tent to avoid attracting wildlife.

Tent Maintenance and Care

  1. Brush off dirt and debris from your tent regularly.
  2. Spot clean stains with a mild soap and water solution.
  3. Make sure it is completely dry before packing it away to avoid mold and mildew growth.
  4. Inspect your tent before each use to check for tears or broken zippers – repair them quickly!
  5. Consider using a waterproofing spray to enhance the water resistance of your tent fabric.

Ground sheets or footprints can protect the bottom of your tent from sharp objects or moisture. It’s important to take care of these small details – they make a big difference.


And there you have it, the complete guide to attaching a tent to your SUV and transforming it into your very own mobile basecamp. As we’ve discovered, the process is relatively straightforward, and with a bit of practice, you’ll be setting up your cozy SUV-camp in no time at all. Here’s to countless adventures and many restful nights in your SUV tent. Happy camping, and safe travels on all your journeys, both near and far!


Can any tent be attached to an SUV?

No, only specific models designed as SUV tents can be attached to vehicles. These tents come with straps or sleeves that fit around the rear of your SUV, creating a tight, weatherproof seal.

Will an SUV tent fit any type of SUV?

Most SUV tents are designed to fit a wide range of SUV models, but it’s crucial to check the tent specifications to make sure it will fit your particular vehicle.

Can I drive with the tent attached to my SUV?

No, you should not drive with the SUV tent attached. The tent needs to be disassembled and packed away before you move your vehicle.

Can I install an SUV tent by myself, or will I need help?

While it’s possible to install an SUV tent alone, having an extra set of hands can make the process easier and faster, especially for larger tents.

Can the SUV tent be attached to the side of the SUV?

Most SUV tents are designed to attach to the rear of the vehicle, but there are models available that can attach to the side. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions.

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About the Author

Hey there!

We are Derek and Ashley of Know Nothing Nomads. Whether it is hiking, camping, climbing, or just generally being outside, we love it. We are so happy that you have found our little blog and hope that you stick around a while.

Safe Travels,

Derek and Ashley


Know Nothing Nomads

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