What are Side Tents and Their Various Uses?

Side Tent for Camping on Eurovan RV

Side tents are versatile outdoor shelters that attach to vehicles or stand alone, offering a range of uses from camping to events and emergencies. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the types, uses, and advantages of side tents, helping you choose the right one for your needs.

Side Room Shelter on Happier Camper


Different Types of Side Tents

When searching for a side tent for your vehicle you might find there are a couple of different options that come up:

Side Awning

Not really side rooms per se, side awnings get an honorable mention as convenient pull-out shades fixed to vehicles, providing instant sun protection and shelter. They usually only provide overhead protection from the weather and need to be stowed away in order to operate the vehicle.

Side Awning/Tarp


Tailgate Tent

Gazebo-style side tents designed for versatile use with vehicles or as standalone shelters. They offer ample standing room with an overhead canopy, side walls and some even have zippered doors. These tents offer and ideal blend of features making them great or everything from summer camping and tailgating. 


Vehicle Camping Tent

Similar to standard camping tents, these vehicle camping tents integrate with SUVs and trucks to offer direct access from the tent to the vehicle and providing a comfortable camping experience. More enclosed than tailgate tents, camping tents offer less modular features but a tighter weather seal.

Generic Camping Tent


Camping and Outdoor Adventures

Side tents are essential for outdoor adventures, providing shelter and creating a comfortable basecamp in the wilderness. Whether navigating rugged terrain or relaxing at a campground, these tents shield campers from sun, rain, wind, and insects, ensuring a safer and more enjoyable experience. Families and solo adventurers appreciate the additional living space and organizational convenience. Vehicle camping tents seamlessly integrate with SUVs and trucks, offering direct access and added storage space for enhanced convenience and comfort during outdoor activities.

Side room tent for camping


Side Tents for Family Gatherings

Family gatherings outdoors become more enjoyable and practical with side tents. These versatile shelters expand seating areas and provide shaded spots for outdoor meals, games, and relaxation. They effectively protect food and beverages from the elements, ensuring that meals remain fresh and enjoyable. Side tents also create designated play areas for children, offering a safe zone away from direct sunlight and potential hazards. Additionally, they enhance privacy, allowing families to enjoy intimate conversations and relaxation shielded from wind and sun exposure.

Side room tent for family gatherings


Using Side Tents for Events and Festivals

At events and festivals, side tents serve as multifunctional hubs that significantly enhance attendee comfort and operational efficiency. These tents provide essential booths and vendor stalls, offering sheltered spaces where vendors can interact with customers and showcase products directly from their vehicles. Attendees benefit from shaded rest areas provided by these tents, offering a tailgate retreat from the sun and a comfortable spot to relax amidst the bustling festival grounds.

ArcHaus Side Room Shelter at the festival


Side Tents in Emergency Situations

During emergencies, side tents play a crucial role in providing temporary shelter and operational support. Attached to vehicles like ambulances, they can serve as designated first aid stations, offering a secure environment for medical assessments and treatments. Command centers utilize side tents as central hubs for emergency response teams, facilitating effective coordination and communication. In evacuation scenarios, these tents provide temporary shelter for evacuees, ensuring their safety and comfort during uncertain times.

Disaster Relief


Side Tents for Outdoor Markets and Fairs

For vendors participating in outdoor markets and fairs, side tents offer practical advantages that enhance business operations and customer interactions. These tents provide essential weather protection, shielding merchandise and displays from sun, rain, and wind. The attachment of side tents to vehicles enables quick inventory management and easy access to products, enhancing efficiency during setup and breakdown. Functional space within these tents allows vendors to showcase products, conduct transactions, and interact with customers efficiently. This setup not only ensures a professional appearance but also attracts foot traffic to their booths, creating a welcoming environment for potential customers.

Tailgating with Side Tents

Tailgate tents enhance the tailgating experience by transforming parking lots into vibrant gathering spaces before sporting events, concerts, or other outdoor festivities. Attached to vehicles, these tents provide shaded seating areas where tailgaters can relax, socialize, and root for their favorite team in comfort. They serve as designated spots for setting up chairs, grills, and food stations, centralizing refreshments for convenience. Tailgate tents foster a sense of community among fans and enthusiasts, promoting camaraderie and shared experiences in a lively atmosphere.

Tailgate side room tent for gameday


Advantages of Using Side Tents

Side tents offer numerous advantages that make them an excellent choice for various outdoor activities and environments. Their versatility allows them to be used in a wide range of settings, from tailgating and camping to events and emergencies. These tents provide reliable protection from the elements, shielding you from sun, rain, wind, and insects, ensuring a comfortable and safe outdoor experience. They are designed for ease of use, featuring quick and straightforward setup and maintenance. Additionally, side tents extend usable space, adding valuable extra room to vehicles or outdoor areas, enhancing both functionality and enjoyment.

At Let's Go Aero, our preferred side tent style is the Tailgate tent, and for good reason:

  • Versatility: Side tailgate tents are incredibly versatile, adapting seamlessly to various activities and environments. Whether you're camping in the wilderness, tailgating at a sporting event, or setting up at an outdoor market, these tents provide adaptable shelter and space.
  • Protection: They offer robust protection from the elements, shielding users from sun, rain, wind, and insects with sidewalls and screened windows. This comprehensive coverage ensures comfort and safety in changing weather conditions, enhancing the overall outdoor experience.
  • Space Extension: Tailgate tents effectively extend usable space, whether attached to a vehicle or set up as standalone shelters. They create additional room for seating, dining, and storage, maximizing convenience and functionality wherever they are used.

 Moon Unit - Overland Edition

The perfect camping companion for families with kids. This spacious, easy-to-set-up shelter provides ample room for everyone to relax and enjoy the great outdoors, offering reliable protection from the elements. Designed with convenience and comfort in mind, it ensures a hassle-free camping experience, allowing more quality time with your little adventurers.

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Choosing the Right Side Tent for Your Needs

Choosing the right side tent depends on your specific needs and the environment in which you plan to use it. Consider factors like size, material, setup mechanism, and intended use to ensure your side tent meets your requirements and enhances your outdoor experience.

Side Awning

  • Best For: Those who need a super quick setup and basic sun protection.
  • Ideal Use: Perfect for short stops, day trips, or activities where minimal setup is desired. Great for providing shade during picnics, beach outings, or quick breaks on road trips.
  • Protection Level: Offers overhead protection from sun and light rain but not suitable for heavy weather conditions.
Side Awning


Tailgate Tent

  • Best For: Individuals seeking versatile shelter options that can adapt to multiple environments.
  • Ideal Use: Excellent for tailgating, camping, and outdoor markets. These tents offer ample standing room, an overhead canopy, side walls, and sometimes zippered doors, making them suitable for a variety of activities.
  • Protection Level: Provides a good balance of features, including protection from sun, rain, wind, and insects, while extending usable space for seating, dining, and storage.
Stand Alone Side Room Shelter


Vehicle Camping Tent

  • Best For: Campers looking for an integrated setup with their SUV or truck for a more enclosed and weather-resistant experience.
  • Ideal Use: Best suited for extended camping trips where a more secure and weather-tight shelter is necessary. These tents allow direct access to the vehicle, providing comfort and convenience.
  • Protection Level: Offers tight weather sealing and more enclosed space, making it ideal for harsher weather conditions and providing a higher level of comfort and security.


Car Camping View out of the Window


By understanding the unique benefits of each type of side tent, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your lifestyle and outdoor activities. Whether you need quick sun protection, a versatile tailgating setup, or a comfortable camping solution, there’s a side tent that fits your needs perfectly.

Setting Up and Maintaining Your Side Tent

Follow manufacturer instructions for assembly and maintenance to prolong the lifespan of your side tent. The manufacturer will have specific instruction on maintaining and storing your tent but here are some basic maintenance tips for any tent: 

      • Regular Cleaning: Clean the tent with mild soap and water to prevent dirt buildup.
      • Dry Thoroughly: Ensure the tent is completely dry before packing to avoid mold and mildew.
      • Inspect for Damage: Regularly check for holes, frayed seams, and damaged zippers, and address issues promptly.
      • Repair Kits: Keep a repair kit handy for quick fixes like patching holes and sealing seams.
      • Proper Storage: Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, using a ventilated storage bag.
      • Pole Maintenance: Check poles for bending or cracking and replace slack shock cords if necessary.

    Following these concise setup and maintenance steps will keep your side tent in top condition, ready for any outdoor adventure. 

    The Versatility of Side Tents

    From outdoor adventures to events and emergencies, side tents adapt to diverse situations, offering comfort, protection, and convenience wherever you go. Whether you're camping, attending a festival, or preparing for an emergency, side tents like those from Let's Go Aero provide the versatility and quality you need. Explore our range today and enhance your outdoor experience with reliable shelter solutions.



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    About the Author

    Amanda Kennedy

    Camping Enthusiast & Product Tester

    Amanda Kennedy is an avid camper and captivating storyteller. Whether exploring new trails or writing about them, Amanda brings adventure and inspiration to every aspect of life.