Note: Not to be confused with roll out campervan awnings, which we wrote about at length, in another post.Just about everyone who travels in a camper van has felt this way. It’s an issue that often has us thinking “I need a bigger van!”. Well, let’s not get carried away. There’s a great way to add more space without going to the expense of upgrading to a larger vehicle: The tent attachment.
It’s the perfect choice if you find yourself camping a lot, especially, if you’re more than one person. I think there are some great reasons to add a tent attachment to your van travel kit.
Advantages of Campervan Awning Tents
Add a whole room (or rooms) to your van! Your added tent space will provide more precious sleeping space for you and your travel partner, kids or friends while keeping them close by. It’s also nice to have some space to stand up and move around. Make sure the tent attachment you choose is tall enough for that.
One of the great joys of camping is being outdoors, breathing fresh air. A van tent gets you out of the van at night and allows the fresh air experience of tent camping, while still giving you direct access to the stuff in your vehicle when you need it.
Drive away and leave it standing
If you tend to camp in areas where you’re comfortable leaving your stuff at the campground while you go hike or ride bikes, go out to dinner or go play at the beach, some models can be left standing. Consider a drive away tent.
Bugs, rain and heat, oh my!
If you’re sleeping outside, it’s important to have protection from bugs.Good campervan tents have mosquito netting, which is often lacking on van windows and doors. Your tent is also going to keep you safe from rain and direct sunlight. Get out of the weather, play a game of cards, prettty soon it will be time to go play outside!
Hey! No looking!
Whether you need to change out of those wet swim trunks, take a daytime nap, or use your campervan toilet, the tent attachment will give you the quick, stand up privacy you need now and then.
Tent attachments are not perfect. Here are some disadvantages you should be aware of.
Setup and break down
Setting up and breaking down your tent does take time. It could be a problem if you’re skipping through camping locations and never staying long. If you do a lot of stealth camping, you probably won’t want to set up a tent as it will totally blow your cover. Okay to use it on government access safe camping land, but not in downtown San Francisco ;^)
While storing equipment in your attached tent is a good idea, there is one problem. the tent is definitely not Fort Knox. It would be easy for anyone to enter and steal from it when you’re not around. The locking doors of your van offer better security.
My mantra for packing is, if I’m not going to use it pretty much every day, I don’t bring it. If an awning tent isn’t going to get daily use, it might be a waste of space (even though they pack down pretty small). So I’ll leave it behind when I’m not traveling with friends, kids…
Some models leave a space around the bottom. This misses the point of a tent: It needs to offer full protection from bugs, wind and weather. Avoid models that don’t fully enclose and don’t include a floor that’s attached to the walls of the tent.
Now, all that being said, I still think that a vehicle attached tent is a great choice.
Which campervan do you have?
You will find that the tents in on the market are made for specific SUVs or vans. For example, if you have a Toyota Sienna, a Napier Sportz minivan tent attachment could be perfect since it’s made specifically for such a car model.
Here’s another example that’s very highly rated for the Honda Odyssey.
You might have to search on Amazon for your make and model, but you can be sure there is an awning tent which is suitable for your van. If you can’t find one for your specific van, no worries, there are many universal styles and shapes that will fit. Again, read those Amazon reviews!
Quality is crucial
Cheaper brands are mostly poor quality. There are many knock-offs on the market and it does not pay to take chances on a tent that’s meant to keep you safe and comfortable. It’s definitely worth extra money for the better quality options that are available.
What do the reviews say? You can read about people’s direct experience using the tent you want to buy.
- Campervan awning tents are a great way to add space
- Fresh air, outdoor sleeping without leaving the van
- Drive away simplicity
- Keep the bugs, rain and heat away
- Private space
- Set up/break down can be a pain
- Not too secure
- Only take it if you’re going to use it
- Get the full floor model!
- Get one that fits your van
- Don’t go cheap
- Read Amazon reviews
The VanSage Recommended Campervan Awning Tents
OLPRO Cubo Breeze Inflatable Camper Van Awning Tent
- A Breeze to inflate and set up with the inflatable beams
- 10 minutes set up
- Easier to pitch than a pole built awning
- Fits vans between 190cm – 240cm
- Packed dimensions 82cm x 37cm x 37cm
- 2 doors: 2 Windows:
- Pegs and Pump Included
AddaCabana Minivan Tent
★ VanSage Top Pick
- Fits over lift gate of your van for extra room
- 6 feet interior height
- All orders shipped priority at no extra cost
Rightline Gear 110907 SUV Tent
- 8′ x 8′ x 7.2′ High
- Sleeps 4
- Water resistant fabric, tape sealed seams
- Vehicle sleeve attaches to any minivan
- Full floor; no ground tarp required
- Includes tent, rainfly, carry bag, and set up guide