Kelly and I just got back from a horse camping trip to Pt. Reyes National Seashore north of San Francisco. Kelly usually stays in the back of her horse trailer when she camps, but for this trip, she decided to get a tent for her truck. I hadn’t heard of such a thing but it sounded like a great idea. She did some research and decided that the Kodiak Canvas truck tent had the best reviews and seemed like it had the features she wanted.
The Kodiak Canvas Truck Tent
The Kodiak Canvas truck tent comes in two sizes. The regular size fits 5.5 to 6.8 foot beds and the long bed size fits 8 to 8.5 foot beds, which is the size Kelly got for her dually with an 8-foot bed.
The tent is made of Hydra-Shield 100% cotton duck canvas that is durable, watertight and breathable. Unlike tents treated with paraffin or oil, the Hydra-Shield lets moisture escape, minimizing humidity and condensation. We didn’t have any rain but it was pretty foggy and damp one morning. There wasn’t a hint of moisture in the tent.
The frame poles are 3/4 inch sturdy steel. They are like regular tent poles with the elastic in them so they are quick and easy to put together. No hunting for which piece goes where.
There are five windows that provide great ventilation and lots of light. There is a cab access window so you can run a cable to charge electronics but we didn’t use that.
We did a dry run at home the week before the trip. When we laid the tent out on the bed, we were very impressed with the quality of the material, the solid seams and reinforcement in all the right places.
Setting Up the Kodiak Canvas Truck Tent
The interior poles of the tent attach to rails that are clamped to the side of the truck. The 8-foot version comes with extensions that have to be screwed into place. This part took us the longest to do but, once it is done, you never have to do it again, unless you have some need to take the rails apart.
Clamps hold the rails securely in place on the truck.
The tent is set up with the tail gate down which really adds to the space inside. It also makes getting in and out pretty easy. It was especially easy for me since it was hooked to the horse trailer which provided a second step.
Once the awning poles are in but not set in place and the straps are loosely attached, you go inside to put up the poles. The poles slide into place fairly easily and are held securely with Velcro straps.
Once the interior poles are in place, the front and back awning poles slip into grommets. In the photo below, you can see the rear awning pole stretched out but not yet in place.
Once all the poles are in place, you tighten down the straps that attach to the body of the truck and voila!
It took us a little over an hour to set it up that first time, including putting those rails together. When we got to the campground, it only took about 15 minutes to put it up. It took even less time to take it down. It’s easy to fold up and comes with a carrying case.
Additional Thoughts on the Kodiak Canvas Truck Tent
When Kelly ordered the tent, her plan was for both of us to sleep in it, but before we left, she changed her mind and decided to stay in her trailer as usual. That left me with the tent all to myself! There was more than enough space for my cot, bags, and ice chest with plenty of room left to move around. Keep in mind that the tent is only 5 feet high so you can’t stand up straight in it. I’m only 5’2″ so I just had to tilt my head. I forgot all about using the gear pouches but you can see one behind the big lantern.
The tent is incredibly quick and easy to put together. One person could do it quite readily but it does go quicker with two people. It is extremely sturdy and well made. I have no doubt it could withstand strong winds and even a snow load as they claim. I loved that I was up off the ground and away from the critters — especially since we had a hoard of very brazen raccoons in the camp. It is very roomy for one person. It would be adequate for two with an air mattress rather than cots. I was totally comfortable and would not hesitate to camp in it again.
The only negative that came up during the trip is that once the tent is up, your vehicle is out of commission until you take the tent down. Just the idea of taking everything out of the tent, taking it down, putting it back up and putting everything back in was more than enough to make a trip to town not worth the effort. We were glad we were camping with friends and could go into town with them.
What is your favorite way to camp? Have you seen a truck tent before?