How to Make a Truck Tent

How to Make a Truck Tent
A great and inexpensive way to make a truck bed into a camp is to use some scrap wood and a tarp. You can experiment with the design, but this one has worked for me in the past as I traveled around running dog trials. After you're done, just fold the three legs into one big board, and stick in the back of your truck over the tailgate.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Build the Frame

Things You’ll Need:
  • Two 2-by-4-by-10 boards Saw Drill 1/4-inch bit Two 4-inch carriage bolts 4-foot level Adjustable wrench Hammer 12-by-12 foot tarp Small rope or 12 bungee cords 12 tent stakes
  • Two 2-by-4-by-10 boards
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • 1/4-inch bit
  • Two 4-inch carriage bolts
  • 4-foot level
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Hammer
  • 12-by-12 foot tarp
  • Small rope or 12 bungee cords
  • 12 tent stakes
Step 1
Cut a length of 2-by-4 about 2 feet longer than your bed and tailgate combined. Measure the distance from the bottom of your hitch receiver (square hole) to the height of your cab top. Cut a length of 2-by-4 about 18 inches longer than this measurement.
Step 2
Level down from your open tail gate to the ground and then measure from the level over to the square hole or receiver and add 12 inches. Cut a length of 2-by-4 to this measurement.
Step 3
Measure the inside of the hitch recover and cut or notch the end of the short 2-by-4 so it will insert into the hole about 6 inches. The 2-by-4 should be narrow side up.
Step 4
Hold the medium-sized 2-by-4 alongside the one sticking out of the hitch, and drill a 1/4-inch hole through both. Attach them together with the carriage bolt. Do not overtighten since this needs to pivot or swing to fold for storage.
Step 5
Lay an old rag or something soft on top of your cab to prevent scratching, and lay the long 2-by-4 on the cab. Stand on the tailgate and attach the long 2-by-4 to the 2-by-4 that is now upright in the same manner as you did in Step 4. Your frame is not complete; all connections should be approximately 90 degrees, and the long 2-by-4 on top should be perpendicular with the truck bed.

Apply the Tarp

Step 1
Roll up the tarp in a roll to make it easier. Stand in the bed and lay the roll on the top 2-by-4 long-ways.
Step 2
Unroll the tarp down on both sides so the long 2-by-4 will be about in the middle of the tarp and both sides will be about equal. Step down from the truck and gather the rope or bungee cords.
Step 3
Tie or bungee each eyelet in the tarp to the ground and stake, or hook to the underside of the truck. I like to let a few feet of tarp stick over the back so I can run a length of rope through the end eyelets and close off the back against the wind and weather.

Tips & Warnings

 
For more stability, you can drill two holes instead of one, and when in the up position, stick another bolt in so it won't fold down in a wind storm.
 
Do not drive off with the tent in the up stage.

Article Written By Dennis Seabright

Denny Seabright has been writing for Trails.com since Nov. of 2008 with most articles being in the "How to" category. Graduating from James Wood High school in 1976 and going straight into the work force left little room for formal education but writing has always been dear to his heart.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.

FREE UPDATES

Subscribe

We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.