Going camping doesn’t have to be something that’s labor intensive, stressful, or time consuming. Car camping tents are an old, but wonderful addition to the camping world, because they mean that you can just grab your stuff, put it in the car, and be on your way for an impromptu camping trip.
If the weather is bad, if you forgot something vitally important, or if your family is becoming bored, you can simply come back home immediately, without having to worry about how many days hike it is to turn around and haul your things all the way back up the trail.
I recommend to every camping family that they try car camping at least once. It doesn’t have all the luxuries of a home base tent that took a lot of time and energy to assemble, arrange, and organize, but for what car camping tents lack, they make up for in the sheer swiftness of setting up camp and casualness of the low-pressure, low-key camping experience.
Today let’s talk about the best 4 person car camping tent, and why I feel that one tent in particular excels above all the rest.
Best 4 Person Car Camping Tent
There are many car camping tents but I found the one that you should enjoy also.
Sportz Dome-To-Go Tent
My favorite car camping tent is the Sportz Dome-To-Go Tent by Sportz By Napier, which is a 4 person tent with a full rainfly, in the color blue. The tent measures 8.5 ft long by 8.8 ft wide, and about 8 ft high. It is made of 185t polyester taffeta with 1200 water resistance, and is also fire retardant, with the rainfly being made of similar material.
It even comes with a 6 ft by 6 ft awning, similar to an RV, so that you can set yourself up a little porch or shaded spot. The awning can be placed on one of two sides, rolled up, or stretched out, or simply removed for another time. There are 2 very large doors, and 3 large mesh windows, so that the side that doesn’t have a mesh window is where your vehicle’s rear end would go. The tent also includes some stowing pockets on the inside, attached to the fabric, as well as a mesh hammock at the top of the tent where you could put your smaller things, like personal electronics and wallets.
Even though the tent says that it is 4-person, this only includes the inside of the tent, so you can reasonably fit 1 or 2 more people if they can sleep in the back of the vehicle with the hatch up, especially for longer, less compact vehicles. The tent weighs less than 24 lbs, which some experienced hikers may balk at until they remember that this tent isn’t for carrying around in your back, but inside your car. All folded up and packed in its bag, the tent’s dimensions are 3.5 ft by 1 ft by 1 ft.
Car sleeve wrap
The car sleeve wrap is the part that goes around the rear end of your open hatchback vehicle, extending the inside of the tent into your car’s interior, and it measures 4 ft wide by 6 ft high and 2ft deep. This wrap is actually removable from the tent and is made of the same polyester tent material, so it won’t scratch your vehicle. The word ‘wrap’ is deceptive as this is more like a nice skirt that gently falls onto your foot, covering the ankle, as there is no elastic or other tight-fitting mechanism that tries to get a closer fit. While this may seem annoying to some, this ‘blanket fort’ style where your car goes is plenty to keep the bugs out.
The Sportz Dome-To-Go Tent fits many cars, but is mostly designed to fit smaller hatchback vehicles. Here the official list of cars that it will fit:
- Acura – RSX hatchbacks, ZDX
- Audi A3, A4 Avant,A6 Avant,
- BMW 3 Sport Wagon, 5 Sport Wagon
- Cadillac CTS Wagon
- Chevrolet Aveo, Volt
- Chrysler PT Cruiser
- Dodge Caliber, Magnum
- Ford Fiesta, Focus Hatchback
- Honda Accord, Crosstour, CR-Z, Fit
- Hyundai Accent, Elantra Touring
- Kia Rio 5, Rondo, Spectra 5
- Lexus IS300 Sportcross, CT 200
- Mazda 2,3, Protégé hatchback, Demio
- Mercedes E320 Sport Wagon
- Mitsubishi Lancer Sport back
- Nissan Juke, Rogue, Versa Hatchback
- Pontiac Vibe
- Saab 9-3 SportCombi, 9-3X
- Saturn Astra,L-Series Wagon
- Scion iQ, xD
- Subaru Forester, Impreza Sport
- Subaru Legacy, Outback
- Suzuki Aerio,SX4 Crossover/Sportback
- Suzuki Forenza Wagon, Reno, Swift
- Toyota Matrix, Venza, Yaris
- Volkswagen Golf, Jetta SportWagen
- Volkswagen Passat Wagon
- Volvo C30, V50, V70
So even if a vehicle is not on the list, it may still fit if it’s similar enough to others.
What’s good and bad about this tent?
I’m always a fan of tents that have extra pockets and gear hammocks, utilizing otherwise ignored or wasted space, and the Sportz Dome-To-Go tent meets that criteria wonderfully. I also love that you can take off the car wrap and just use the tent like a normal tent – say, if you discover that you can’t get your vehicle’s interior lights to turn off and don’t want a dead battery in the morning, you could salvage the night by taking off the wrap and using it as a normal tent.
As far as tents go, it’s pretty solid and has all of the normal bells and whistles. It’s very easy to set up this tent and I was able to set it up in five minutes without instructions, things going pretty much as you would expect.
The one thing that I didn’t like about this tent is that if it rains and you’re using the car wrap band, you’re at the mercy of your car’s back end shape to determine whether or not rain will enter your camping tent. But, this is easily solved by simply pulling your car out, removing the band, and using the normal door zipped up.
Final Thoughts on the Sportz Dome-To-Go
I liked this tent and my vote goes to it for the best 4 person car camping tent. The Sportz Dome-To-Go tent is perfect for when I want to simply get on the road camping, especially for impromptu trips and not have much to worry about. It’s a solid tent and it does what it says, and I like that.