Cybertruck customers receive first batch of rear bed Basecamp tents – but they’re a bit of a letdown

Tesla Cybertruck in action
(Image credit: Tesla)

Tesla has started shipping its $2,975 (around £2,330/AUS$4,500) Basecamp tent for Cybertruck, which originally promised a sleek integrated finish and angular styling that neatly complimented the truck’s exterior design… but that doesn’t seem to be the case with the production version.

Images have been posted by some of the tent’s first customers and they show an ill-fitting, heavily creased mass of nylon and other manmade materials that awkwardly drape over the rear bed like a limp tarpaulin when not awned out; check out the YouTube video below for a closer look. 

Original renderings (as seen in this article's main image) touted a much more integral design that consisted of a number of simple triangles, but things changed when Cybertruck was officially announced. The tent had grown considerably in size and the light safari fabrics had been replaced by black plastics. 

Plus, all of the images used at launch showed the awning neatly pegged out and many of the creases stretched taut.

But one owner has posted early opinions of the $3,000 production-ready system on the Cyber Truck Owners Club website. User TownBiz stated that they first had to visit a Tesla Service Center to attach the tent’s all-important brackets, which resulted in some damage to areas of the rear bed - or Vault, as Tesla calls it.

Once installed, TownBiz also went on to state that the stowed Basecamp unit took up more than a third of the rear stowage area, which impeded the ability to transport adult-sized bicycles. TownBiz went on to state that setting up the tent isn’t “significantly easier than setting up a standard tent on the ground”.

What’s more, the Basecamp manual then states users must activate “Tent Mode” via the Cybertruck’s infotainment system - a feature that is yet to be introduced. 

The software is rumoured to automatically level out the suspension so Basecamp users aren’t rolling around when parked up on uneven ground, but Tesla is yet to announce a release date.

A disappointing erection

Although much of the opinion so far is based on one customer’s experience, it's difficult to get excited about the overall look and finish of production-ready Basecamp, especially when you consider it costs a staggering $3,000.

Much more handsome when the awning is properly pegged out, it still looks a lot like an afterthought and a far cry from the stylish system, complete with extendable kitchen, that was teased in early renderings put out by Tesla.

The entire install and set-up process also sounds like a faff, with the source of the early review stating that getting in and out requires climbing up onto the tailgate, which not all owners will be able to do.

Granted, the installation of any aftermarket roof or rear bed-mounted tent often requires some professional intervention. But there are systems available that - once fitted - simply pop up thanks to hydraulic struts, and therefore require zero effort from the user when it comes time to set up camp each night.

Furthermore, lots of options from TentBox, Thule, Tuff-Trek and countless other providers attach to a tent roll bar system that sits above the pick-up bed, meaning owners still have access to all of their load lugging capacity.

However, we’d like to point out that for much less than $3,000, you can buy a very good tent that inflates in a matter of minutes and once in situ, doesn’t take up any room in your Cybertruck. 

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Leon Poultney

Leon has been navigating a world where automotive and tech collide for almost 20 years, reporting on everything from in-car entertainment to robotised manufacturing plants. Currently, EVs are the focus of his attentions, but give it a few years and it will be electric vertical take-off and landing craft. Outside of work hours, he can be found tinkering with distinctly analogue motorcycles, because electric motors are no replacement for an old Honda inline four.