Starling Travel

February 12, 2013

VW Beetles with Cartop Tent Campers

Filed under: Camping,Tents — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

A few days ago, when I was feverishly searching the Internet for information about The CarBak Cartop Tent Camper, I found a TON of pictures of VW Beetles with cartop tent campers.

Cartop Tent on a VW Beetle Bug from Starling Travel

As a former Bug owner, I fell in love with each and every photo, wishing I could find a Beetle of my own to camp in.

They all look so good that I thought I’d share them with you. If you want to see the photos on their original websites, just click on them and the link will take you there, but honestly, I found them ALL on The Samba, which seems to be the best place to look for photos of Volkswagens.

This photo was from the classified ads from The Samba and it now has been deleted, which means that it was probably sold.

Cartop Tent on a VW Beetle Bug from Starling Travel

The next few photos are from a forum posting on The Samba about cartop tents for Beetles and Buses. This one was interesting to me because it looks like it only sleeps one person.

Cartop Tent on a VW Beetle Bug from Starling Travel

This photo shows a similar tent, but it has a vestibule on the ground level, which would be nice for changing clothes.

Cartop Tent on a VW Beetle Bug from Starling Travel

This cartop tent camper is called Air Camping and was made by a company in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Cartop Tent on a VW Beetle Bug from Starling Travel

I love this camper because it has a shower (or porta potty stall) attached to the side.

The former owner said:

A few pics of my old Camp’otel on my old ’67 Bug-

It is in Canada now. I hardly ever used it but I sure miss it anyway

Cartop Tent on a VW Beetle Bug from Starling Travel

This one looks like that single pup tent style as before, but with a vestibule. It looks like it’s convertible and could just be an awning if you wanted.

Cartop Tent on a VW Beetle Bug from Starling Travel

This tiny image came with no explanation and it wasn’t even shown on the page that Google images originally found it. I can’t really figure out what’s going on here, but it appears to be a drawing of how to put up one of these kinds of tents.

Cartop Tent on a VW Beetle Bug from Starling Travel

This one looks really good, mostly because the Beetle is so pristine and shiny. I love how the stripes on the tent match the car and those white wall tires just make me swoon!

Cartop Tent on a VW Beetle Bug from Starling Travel

Not quite so swoon worthy is this dusty black Beetle with a cacophony of colors. Red, blue AND black is too much. Choose two. On a side note, I believe this is another Air Camping tent.

Cartop Tent on a VW Beetle Bug from Starling Travel

I don’t know why all of these photos made me nostalgic for my old Beetle. The damn thing never ran properly. It had no heat, so I would freeze in the winter. It had a sun roof that LITERALLY blew off on the freeway one, dark evening. I wouldn’t have trusted it to drive to Provo, much less across the country. It was NOT a good traveling car like my Prius is now, but seeing all of these cartop tents makes me want to take a road trip in my old and broken down Baja Beetle.

Update 05-13-13: I found another picture of an Air Camping tent, this time on a VW Bus: Air-Camping Kombi by zombikombi1959 on Flickr.

Air Camping on a VW Bus from Starling Travel


  1. I happen to be the former owner of the “Not so swoon worthy…dusty black Beetle with a cacophony of colors.” The car happens to be an ORIGINAL 1956 European Beetle. It had many rare accessories and drew a lot of attention from VW lovers nationwide. You obviously know very little about the cars and really don’t deserve to own one. The fact that your own Beetle never ran right is no fault of the car, but probably due the the incompetence of its owner.

    Comment by Beetle Owner — February 17, 2013 @ 1:09 pm

  2. Beetle Owner,

    I’m so glad you found this and was able to give a full description for you car! Where did you get your tent? It looks like it’s an Air Camping. Is that right or is it another brand?

    I’m sure it always drew a crowd at the car shows. Those old Beetles make all of us nostalgic.

    Best, Laura

    Comment by Laura Moncur — February 25, 2013 @ 7:20 am

  3. Hi. Thanks for posting my bug with it’s tent. I’m the tan bug photo after the “This one was interesting to me because it looks like it only sleeps one person.” It actually sleeps 2 – cozy but 2. It was built by Lenny Coop in Southern California. He made 200 replicas of a car top tent manufactured by Dove in the early 60s. Dove’s tent would fit any car with a roof with rain gutters – the rack would adjust to any width of car roof. Lenny called his replica the “Cooltent” and it was featured in a 1997 Hot VW magazine article. I bought mine from him in 2000. The awning is optional and as your other photos show, walls can be snapped to the awning to have a full room tent. I love camping out the night before car shows. Had a rain cover created in case of bad weather which works great. Thanks again for posting about car top tents.

    Comment by Sam Carbaugh — January 1, 2014 @ 4:23 pm

  4. PS – VW bugs are different and need some mechanical attention. Not too hard to work on especially if you have a book written by John Muir. John’s book is so easy and fun to read and the art work (very funky 60s) is great. The VW bug heater works very well – if all the ducts are connected and mechanical bits in order. I commuted to work in Ohio and stayed toasty. Also have to remember that the airflow through the heater is a function of the engine speed as the engine turns a blower that pushes air over the exhaust pipe then into the car. So don’t just putter along in high gear – use a lower gear to keep the engine running faster. And final bit of info is to slightly open the window vent to let some are out of the cabin. If you don’t the engine can’t push hot air in. Most people close all the windows because it is cold and they wonder why the heater doesn’t work – it probably works fine but it doesn’t have a chance. But if you had a “Baja” bug my guess is all the vital heater parts were missing.

    Comment by Sam Carbaugh — January 1, 2014 @ 4:33 pm

  5. What an awesome post! I actually have an Air Camping unit for sale. It is at least 30 years old and has only been opened once, but never actually used. Any idea what I can get for it? Thanks!

    Comment by Jeff Clark — March 10, 2014 @ 10:15 am

  6. A message for Jeff Clark – we would be very interested in your Air Camping Unit. They look amazing and my son has a 1963 Beetle. Please can you let me know how much you want for it. Thanks.

    Comment by Tina Parsons — April 19, 2014 @ 4:36 am

  7. I would love to know what kind of tent is the striped one with the pristine red bug. Can’t find a reference anywhere on my image search. Any assistance would be greatly valued.

    Comment by Vickie — May 25, 2014 @ 6:16 am

  8. Hey, cool to see my old Kombi in this line up! We’ve had a roof tent for a few years now, really makes camping with kids so much easier, love them. Just a drag getting it on and off, as it weighs a ton, and it’s pretty high up on the Kombi. Used it in all weathers, and it’s pretty watertight too. We just ‘fabsil’ it every few years.

    Comment by Mike Johnson — July 3, 2014 @ 9:48 am

  9. Nice to see a couple of other Air Camping tents.Ours used to be on a Subaru, but now just sits in the garage.

    Comment by Donald N Wright — February 7, 2017 @ 10:28 pm

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