Review: Napier Backroadz Truck Tent

Aug. 01, 2014 By Josh Burns
Napier’s Sportz truck tent comes with everything to set up sleeping quarters in the bed of a truck. Aside from the tent itself (bottom right), the kit comes with color-coded fiberglass poles, a rain fly, instructions and a carrying bag.

With the growing overland off-road segment, the options for the off-road camper have become widely abundant. While there are a number of off-the-ground sleeping products out there – such as high-end camper shells, on-vehicle foldout tents, and trailer tents/campers – many of the products come with a hefty price tag.

Vehicle camping tent maker Napier provides another solution for campers hoping to get of the ground with its Backroadz and Sportz Truck Tents. The company has been producing vehicle camping tents for trucks and SUVs since 1990, and the company lays claim to offering the best-selling trucks and SUV tents in the world. Its products are available in North America, Europe and Australia.

The first step is to unfold the tent and lay it in place. Following the included instructions, Napier outlines where to begin securing the tent to the truck, which includes corners, wheelweels, the tailgate and bumper. On our installation, the only tricky part was the tailgate, though we figured out how to feed the elastic buckle straps through pretty quickly.

We recently got our hands on a Backroadz Truck Tent #13 Series for our half-ton truck. This new “value priced” line from Napier compliments the company’s #57 Series tents, and it is designed for easy setup in the open bed of a pickup truck. Napier offers a few different models to accommodate short-bed, regular-bed and long-bed trucks, and the tents will fit on most trucks on the market. The Backroadz #13 unit we tested fits our full-size regular bed truck and is designed to fit two adults.

On the sides, the tent will hook underneath the wheel wells via adjustable straps. Napier thoughtfully included fabric to pad the plastic buckle in locations where it will come into contact with the truck to protect the paint.

There are only four tent poles in the kit: two longer poles (black) for the frame, one smaller one for the center (tan), and another smaller one (green) for the tent opening.

Before the rain fly is put on, here’s a look at the open-air look of the tent – great for gazing up at the stars.

The Backroadz tent features Napier’s patented sewn-in floor for protection from the elements and water resistance should the weather get rough. Inside, the tent offers up to 5 feet, 5 inches of headroom. It features four windows on the top of the tent, as well as a rear access panel to access items inside the truck cab or for charging electronics. A rain fly provides protection for wet or rainy conditions, and an interior pocket makes for easy storage of important items you’d want with you inside the tent.

The setup of the Backroadz tent is fairly straightforward. The tent itself is the largest piece of the entire kit, and although it can be set up by one person it certainly will go quicker with an added set of hands. The tent is secured to the truck via well-placed straps and hooks, which safely hook to the undercarriage of your truck or wrap around corner sections. Napier also thoughtfully places fabric pieces wherever any of the plastic buckles might make contact with the truck body to avoid scuffing or scraping of the paint.

Although the Napier Backroadz tent secures in some areas to the underside of the truck or bumper, other will secure in place via plastic buckles, such as the tailgate or the rain fly (shown here).

To help secure the rain fly, Velcro straps (top) hold it in place on the tent poles, while the tent poles themselves have nice guide holders (bottom) sewn into the tent to keep them in place.

Once fully installed, the rain fly will keep water and moisture out. Fortunately we didn’t have to deal with any rain since it was summertime, but it’s clear the rain fly appropriately covers the side opening and would direct away moisture.

When it comes time to insert the tent poles, fortunately Napier color-coded the shock-corded fiberglass poles for simple installation (there’s only four, but it does help make the install easier). The pole mounts that are sewn into the tent itself are sturdy and built for durability. With all the poles in place we lifted the tent to height and installed the rain fly, which was relatively install after locating all of the hooks and mounting locations. The directions outline the installation accurately and concisely, and we quickly learned that should one of the parts be installed wrong the hooks and straps won’t line up properly so you’ll quickly notice.

Inside the Backroadz truck tent, there’s ample space for two adults to sleep comfortably. For a comfortable night’s sleep some bed padding is a must, so either individual camping mats would suffice or a blow-up bed designed for truck beds (though some have suggested a twin mattress fits), because the wheel wells will have to be considered for any full-sized mattress.

With 5 feet, 5 inches of vertical headroom at the highest point, there’s plenty of room inside to move around.

The Napier Backroadz Truck Tent took us about 25 minutes to piece together the first time, simply because we kept stopping to read the instructions; the second time was about 15-minute install time. Although one person can set up the tent, an additional set of hands will definitely make things easier.

We’re impressed with the Napier Sportz Truck Tent. It’s well constructed, fairly easy to set up and take down, and it’s a simple solution for two-person off-the-ground camping. If there’s any doubt about its durability, Napier backs the tent with a one-year warranty as well. If you’d like to get off the ground or simply need a simple solution for vehicle tent camping, the Backroadz Napier Truck Tent is a good option at $189.99, especially when considering the price of some of the high-end overland setups on the market. For SUV, minivan and hatchback owners, Napier also offers other tent options as well.

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