Setting up a traditional camping tent can be quite an ordeal. The process is time consuming and, depending on the tent, can be pretty complex. If you arrive at the campsite later in the afternoon, you will often find yourself racing the sun, trying to pitch your tent while there is still natural light available. Additionally, setting up a large traditional camping tent often requires the help of another person, which can complicate things even further. Luckily, there is an easier way: introducing the pop up tent.
Thankfully, tent technology has advanced over the last decade. Many modern camping tents now feature an instant, pop-up design that simplifies the setup process. Once unpacked and unfolded, these tents essentially pitch themselves. The poles automatically snap into place and the tent forms its shape. Pop up tents are incredibly convenient, time-saving, and worth every single penny. Let’s take a look at the five best pop up tents.
The 5 Best Pop Up Tents
1. Coleman 2 Person Pop-Up Tent
The 2 Person Pop Up Tent from Coleman is one of our favorite pop up tents. This small tent is built to comfortably fit two people. In fact, for couples and/or camping groups of two, it is our most highly recommended pop-up tent. As expected from the trusted Coleman brand, the tent is high quality, well-made, and built to last.
Featuring Coleman’s high quality pop up design, this tent is incredibly easy to assemble. From start to finish, it can be pitched in about ten seconds, which is awesome. When it is time to wrap things up, the tent easily breaks down, folds up, and packs into a convenient carrying bag. After you practice a few times, taking the tent down and packing it up should only take you about thirty seconds.
To ensure that you stay comfortable and dry, the 2-Person Pop Up Tent is packed with weather-proof and water-resistant features. The inverted seams prevent water from leaking in around the corners and edges. In addition, to provide the tent with the necessary stability to withstand strong wind gusts, the structure is built with a wind-strong frame, guy-out triangles, and carefully engineered poles. Also, the zippers feature fabric cuffs to further prevent any leaks during rain showers or snow storms. The included rainfly can be attached in several different positions, allowing you to adjust it as necessary for maximum protection.
Measuring 7’6″ by 4’5″ (90 by 53 inches), the tent provides more than enough horizontal space for two people to lay down comfortably. For most people, this should also be enough room to safely store a few bags of gear. However, the center height only measures 2”11’ (35 inches), so standing up inside is not an option.
Pros and Cons
2. Hui Lingyan Pop Up Tent
The Hui Lingyan Pop Up Tent is another one of our favorites. It is a great option for small families and camping groups of four people or less. It measures 9.5 feet by 6.6 feet with a center height of 4.3 feet.
With four large mesh windows, the tent offers excellent ventilation and air circulation while keeping the bugs out. The two large doors provide multiple points of entry and additional ventilation. This is a great option for people who enjoy camping in hotter climates, especially during the summer months.
Like most pop up tents, it is incredibly easy to set up. The process is truly instant, and only takes about 20 seconds from start to finish. The quick set up also makes cleaning the tent a breeze, since you can simply pitch it and then wipe down the interior.
Pros and Cons
3. Coleman Cabin Tent with Instant Setup
For camping groups of six people, you won’t find a better option than the Coleman Cabin Tent with Instant Setup. Unlike many of the smaller pop up tents, this tent features a cabin style design, which provides much more vertical space inside. With a six foot center height, you are actually able to stand up inside. There is also plenty of horizontal space, as the interior measures 10 by 9 feet, providing enough space to fit two queen-sized air beds inside.
Despite its larger size and cabin style design, the Coleman Cabin Tent can be set up in about 60 seconds. This is accomplished by using 4 corner poles and roof poles that are pre-assembled and ready to snap right into place. The process is quick, easy, and smooth — even when you pitch it for the first time.
When it comes to weather protection, the Cabin Tent lives up the Coleman reputation. It features a built-in rainfly and waterproof coating. Additionally, the tent features Coleman’s signature WeatherTec system, with waterproof tub-style floors, inverted seams, and welded corners. You will stay dry throughout the night, even during heavy rainfall and storms.
In addition to the rain, this tent also stops the sun right in its tracks. Our absolute favorite feature is the “darkroom technology.” The fabric along the walls and ceiling block an incredible 90% of the sunlight from shining through. This is a fantastic feature that really makes it a whole lot easier to sleep in past sunrise.
Pros and Cons
4. Qomotop Instant Cabin Tent
For families of 8 or less, we recommend the Qomotop Instant Cabin Tent. With a spacious interior measuring 13 feet by 9 feet, there is plenty of room inside. You could easily fit two queen-sized air mattresses and still have plenty of room to space. However, if your group consists of eight adults, we definitely recommend opting for a bigger tent. While this will fit everyone, it likely won’t provide enough personal space for each person, especially if the group plans to store their gear inside.
Additionally, with a center height of 6’6” inches (72 inches) and a cabin style design, there is plenty of room to stand up inside and walk around.
In addition to being a pop up tent with instant set up, this model also features a unique freestanding design. The free-standing ability means that you do not have to stake it to the ground in order to set it up. This gives you many options regarding where you can set it up since you will not have to worry about the terrain. For instance, it can easily be pitched on sand or loose dirt that would not normally support a stake.
The Qomotop Instant Cabin Tent is packed with awesome features. Our absolute favorite feature is the attachable room divider. In just a few seconds, you can attach the divider and create two separate interior rooms, which is great for privacy.
Pros and Cons
5. Core 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent
For groups of up to nine people, there is absolute no better choice than the Core 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent. Measuring 14 feet x 9 feet, it can accommodate up to 9 adult sleeping bags. Alternatively, there is enough room to easily fit two queen sized air mattresses, still leaving plenty of space to spare. With a massive height of 6 feet 5 inches (78 inches) and straight cabin-style walls, most people will be able to stand up and walk around inside.
In terms of weather resistance, the tent performs well and will definitely hold up during heavy rainfall and storms. Featuring Core’s “H20 Block Technology,” all of the seams are heat sealed on both the tent and rainfly. Additionally, the fabric and floor are both water resistant to prevent any water from leaking or seeping inside.
The Core 9 also provides a few unique features that we really love. First, one side of the tent consists of a huge T-shaped door. The door is nearly the size of the entire tent wall and features mesh large windows that function as a screen door. The screen can also be opened which creates an awesome patio style enclosure. Alternatively, opening the door and closing the screen will provide a ton of air flow and ventilation while still keeping out the bugs.
Another one of our favorite features is the room divider. It is removable and can be attached in just a few quick seconds. Because of the huge interior space, the divider can create two separate, private rooms that are still large enough to fit four adults in each.
Pros and Cons
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Pop Up Tent
When choosing a new pop up tent, these are a few of the different features that it is important to consider.
Most popup tents are made of the same materials and fabric as traditional tents, primarily utilizing nylon and/or polyester fabric. However, we do recommend taking a look at what material the tent poles are. Most pop up tents will feature fiberglass poles because they are durable and long-lasting while remaining very lightweight. We recommend making sure that the tent you choose has fiberglass poles.
Pop-up camping tents are available in a variety of sizes, with capacities ranging from 1 person to 10 people. To determine which size is best for you, it is important to consider the number of people who will be using the tent, as well as how much gear and supplies each person is going to bring with them.
At first glance, tent sizes can be a bit confusing, so be sure to take a few moments to think about your size requirements. For instance, a four person tent is usually not big enough to comfortably fit four people along with each person’s gear. Even without the gear, there will be very little personal space available inside.
We recommend choosing a tent that is a size up from the size of your group. Typically, a four person tent is ideal for two people, while a six person tent will be ideal for four people. This way, you will feel comfortable and have a personal space. The main exception to this is for those who go on solo camping trips — because one person tents are actually an appropriate size for just one individual.
One of the most important factors to consider in a pop-up tent is the weight. If you plan on backpacking, hiking, or carrying your gear down any trails, you should absolutely choose a tent that is as lightweight as possible. Fortunately, most pop-up tents feature a fiberglass pole structure, which makes them lightweight, portable, and very easy to carry. Many pop up tents come with an included carry bag. Additionally, many of these carry bags and packed up tents can be conveniently hooked to a backpack or belt loop via carabiner.
Another important factor to consider is ventilation. Doors, windows, and vents provide air flow and circulation, which bring fresh air into the tent and reduce the interior temperature. Proper ventilation is extremely important, especially when camping in warmer climates. On hot days, the circulation and cooling breeze are essential for sleeping comfortably. A good example are pop up beach tents, many of which feature walls that are entirely mesh or are removed all together.
Smaller pop-up tents often feature less windows, doors, and vents, so this is especially important to keep in mind when looking for a smaller model. Regardless of the size, most pop up tents feature a door and at least one window to increase the air flow and circulation. Many larger camping tents also have additional air vents around the base of the tent. Another great feature to look for is mesh paneling or a window on the ceiling, which allows hot air to escape as new air circulates inside.
Although the majority of pop-up camping tents provide some waterproofing and weather resistance, not all are equally equipped. Most camping tents will have some sort of waterproof coating on the fabric, and will include a rainfly — both of these are absolutely essential, make sure that the tent you choose has both. For many campers, this may be enough. However, if you plan to venture out into an area where rain, snow, or high winds are common, you should consider choosing a tent that has a few more weather-resistant features.
Window covers, inverted seams, and welded corners are effective at preventing rain from leaking in through the walls. Additionally, it is a good idea to also opt for a waterproof, bath-tub style floor as well. When camping in areas prone to rain, we highly recommend laying a tarp down first, pitching your tent on top of it.
Pop Up Tent FAQs
What size pop up tent do I need?
We recommend choosing a pop-up tent that is a bit larger than the size of your group. For instance, if you are a family of four, we recommend opting for a tent that has a capacity of six people. If anyone needs to store any gear or belongings inside of the tent, that extra space is absolutely crucial. Additionally, the increased size will allow each person to have a bit of much needed personal space.
Are pop up tents flame resistant?
Most outdoor products in the US, especially outdoor shelters and camping tents, are subject to strict regulations for fire resistance. In the US, the set standards are known as CPAI-84 and are meant to protect consumers against dangerous fires. Typically, all tents manufactured and/or sold in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia are fire resistant. However, in order to be safe, we recommend checking the product specifications for more specific information and details.
How difficult is it to break down a pop up tent?
While pop up tents can be set up in seconds, folding them up and putting them in their carrying case can be a bit challenging at first. Many pop-up tents have their own specific procedure and process for folding and packing. In most cases, after you practice a few times, the tents are very easy to fold up and insert into a carry bag or case. We recommend practicing a few times at home before you head out on your next camping adventure.
YouTube is a great resource for learning how to properly fold and pack a specific tent. There are model-specific tutorials available for most of the popular pop up tents on the market. Additionally, tents usually come with instructions for both pitching and breaking down.
Pop up tents are, without question, the future of camping. Compared to the set up process of traditional camping tents, they are an incredibly significant improvement. Pop-up tents take a fraction of the time to pitch, and are often capable of being completely set up in less than a minute. In recent years, the instant pop-up technology has even become available in large ten person cabin tents, which is truly an amazing feat.
In the past, a ten person tent would take multiple people and no less than twenty minutes to fully pitch. Today, with a pop up tent? One person and one minute. It’s time to upgrade!
Is there a pop up tent that you love to bring camping? Let us know, we would love to try it out! Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!