In a call for simpler tents that are easier and faster to set up, manufacturers have responded. Using carefully crafted steel wires, ingenious designs, and a healthy dose of modern engineering pop up tents have become a new viable design for campers.
If you want simple, fast, and lightweight then a pop up tent is begging for your attention!
The best pop up tents are self supporting, construct themselves, and pack down into their own bag. They have a semi-rigid frame and can be set up in just seconds, instead of 20-30 minutes like many complex tents.
If you’re tired of dealing with tent setup while juggling the kids, unpacking the car, and registering for your campsite then a pop up tent might be appealing to you.
Quick Answer: The 7 Best Instant Tents For 2018
- FiveJoy Instant Pop Up Dome Tent
- Coleman Pop-Up Tent
- Toogh 3 Season Sundome Pop Up Tent
- Coleman 6-Person Instant Cabin
- theNORTHblu Pop Up Tent
- Always Outside Pop-Up Tent
- Winterial Instant Pop Up Tent
Let’s get right into it!
Best Pop Up Tents
|FiveJoy Instant Pop Up Dome Tent||Coleman Pop-Up Tent||Toogh 3 Season Sundome Pop Up Tent|
|Capacity:||4 Person||2 and 4 Person||3 Person|
|Weight:||8 lbs||7 oz||8.5 lbs|
|Packed Size:||1 x 36 inches||1 x 30 inches||7 x 9 x 31 inches|
|Rating:||4.1 / 5.0||3.9 / 5.0||4.4 / 5.0|
Pop Up Tent Reviews
- 4 Person tent
- PU coated polyester fabric
- Tent pegs, guy lines, and carrying bag included
- 2 door design
This pop up tent is made with polyurethane coated fabrics that are heavily water resistant. It has room for up to 4 people, and it’s ready to setup and use in almost no time flat.
While you won’t want to take this pop up tent into extreme weather, it does fit the bill for casual use and one of the best 4 person pop up tents.
This tent features a dedicated vestibule area which is great for gear, wet shoes, and other stuff that doesn’t belong in the sleeping area. There are two easy to access doors located on either end of the oblong tent.
There are several generous windows located opposite the doors which can be converted to rain flys using tie-outs.
I would have liked to see them put a little more effort into the waterproofing of this tent. If you want to be sure it’s going to survive a night of rain, you’ll want to use a freestanding tarp cover for the tent.
In some situations this won’t be an issue, but don’t be surprised if a freak rainstorm makes this water resistant tent quickly leaky.
One thing that you will get by using a simple pop up tent with a freestanding tarp is a lot of versatility. If rain threatens, move the tent under the tarp quickly and easily.
During hot sunny days, move the tent outside and sit under the shade of your tarp with folding chairs.
- 2 or 4 Person capacity
- Pre-assembled poles for easy 10-second setup
- Multi-position rain fly
- Taped seams
Coleman has been making camping gear since the dawn of time itself, it seems. This pop up tent is a simple design that can be found in two or four person capacity. It features waterproof seams and a rain resistant design that can help keep you dry.
Coleman offers this tent in either a 2 or 4 person capacity but the design remains unchanged between the two. I wish they would have made the 4 person a little more accessible, but a single door can be managed with just 4 people.
There are two internal storage pockets for headlamps, equipment, and sleeping gear. On top of the tent is a rain fly that can be arranged based on your needs.
For full rain protection, adjust the fly and you’ll be dry as a bone. When it’s hot and sunny, move the fly for more ventilation by exposing the mesh tent ceiling.
While the floor seams are taped, the tent is also offered in a package that includes waterproof sealer. While users rate the tent as mostly waterproof, it might not hurt to order the seam sealer and add some extra protection.
Video: See how fast and easy it is to setup the Coleman Pop Up Tent.
It’s never a bad thing to have extra waterproof tent seams. If anything users rate the tent as smaller than advertised, so go a size up when ordering. Overall, I think this is the best pop up tent!
- Accommodates 2-3 adults
- Dual doors
- Included rain fly
- Included carry bag
This pop up tent takes a little different approach than the others. Instead of spring metal frames, this tent utilizes a system of hinged tent poles that can be deployed and retracted in just about 60 seconds. It’s a solid design that campers think is the best instant tent.
This waterproof tent is made with seam taped waterproof fabric that will stand up to just about anything. Thanks to the beefy tubular frame design this tent will be able to easily handle heavy weather without leaking or buffeting about.
There are two large entry door with a mesh window, mesh sidewall vents, and tons of options for arranging the view to your liking. The vented roof is covered with a single, small rain fly which I would have liked to see made larger.
If you get into really nasty weather, you may have rain and mist blowing in through openings.
The tent is rated for 2-3 people but most users find that two people is plenty. With two adults and a small child you may be able to still remain comfortable, but 3 adults is a bit much.
Overall, this pop up tent is best suited for casual weekend adventures. It may not stand up to the hardcore needs of campers in extreme weather.
- 3 Sizes available 4,6, and 8 person
- Large, durable tubular frame
- Included carrying case
- Massive floor space
This large 6 person tent from Coleman features rave reviews, a stout frame construction, and thick durable fabric. It’s a massive 10 x 9 feet of floor space and can be set up in just minutes.
Like the Toogh tent above, this is a quick setup tubular frame design.
This instant set up tent takes just a minute to put up and yet provides a massive 90 square feet of sleeping space. Not only that, the tent itself is 6 feet tall on center.
Unlike most tents standing room is definitely an option in the Coleman Instant Cabin. Maybe that’s why the call it a cabin.
Made from thick 150 denier polyester with taped seams, this tent is meant to handle wet weather with ease. I still would recommend the optional rainfly and tent footprint for guaranteed waterproofness, but the tent itself is quite robust.
Because of the tall ceiling and roomy tent, the walls of this tent are near vertical. That means you don’t have to squeeze into a corner. The tent is designed more like a house with a flat ceiling and walls.
Video: See how easy it is to setup the Coleman Instant Cabin.
Ideal for luxurious camping and larger groups of people. Overall this tent is the best 6 person tent and made more robust with the additional purchase of the extra rainfly for optimal use.
- Room for 2 people
- Ideal for fair weather camping
- Tons of ventilation to keep bugs off
- Single entrance door
This simple tent has room for two people, features tons of ventilation, and has a single entry door. It’s small and lightweight which makes it perfect for walking to the beach, or picnic. It is not, however, waterproof or robust enough for camping in bad weather.
Because of the lightweight and affordability of this tent, it makes an ideal shade shelter on the beach or fair weather camping tent to keep the bugs off. Make no mistake, however, as the tent won’t stand up to harsh weather and driving rain.
The amount of ventilation is ideal for hot days as there are two side mesh walls with sealable fabric windows. The door itself can also be sealed or left open for more view and ventilation.
There are 4 guy lines that need to be staked out to help hold down the tent and provide the structure with rigidity.
Because this tent is simple, small, and lightweight it makes a great portable option. It’s easy to fit in small cars, take on trips to the beach, or carry down the boardwalk.
While larger tents feature more rugged options, sometimes all you need is a sun or bug shelter. If that sounds like you, this is an affordable option to get you started!
- Room for 2 people
- Lightweight pop up design
- Water resistant design
- Included nylon bag with carrying straps
This water resistant pop up tent is suitable for one or two people (if you don’t mind cuddling). It’s water resistant (not waterproof) and fits in a small, lightweight carrying bag.
There’s nothing too fancy here, but a great option for many situations where you don’t need extreme camping protection.
When you need a little protection in a lightweight package and your budget is tight, you look here. This simple tent sets up by itself in seconds and offers light rain protection, sun protection, and bug protection.
There is a single, large entry door that features bugproof mesh to keep out the insects. On one side is an adjustable mesh window that can be opened or closed based on conditions.
Unfortunately you’ll have to get out of the tent to open or close it. This seems to be a major design oversight on the part of the manufacturer for obvious reasons.
Of course, once its set up you can stake the tent down using the four included guy lines. This gives the tent stability and prevents the whole thing from taking off in a stiff breeze like Dorothy’s house in the tornado.
You don’t want your tent blowing away!
Overall users give the tent positive feedback and rate it highly as a bug and sunshade shelter. While it is water resistant, it won’t stand up to a torrent so don’t plan on surviving a massive storm in it.
- Room for 2 people
- Tall 42” design
- 2 windows and 1 large door
- 190T polyester fabric
This pop up tent sports many similar features of some of the sun and bug shelter tents we’ve reviewed. But where it excels in class is the height of the tent.
This pop up tent has a bit more height (42”) than many others which makes it feel a bit more relaxing and a bit less cramped.
While the durable and lightweight polyester fabric isn’t waterproof, it will keep off light showers. Like other tents in the category, it comes with 4 guy lines that support and anchor the tent in winds and weather.
Gain access to the outside world using the large door with mesh bug net option. There are also two windows which can be zipped to keep out wind and sun, or left open without worry of bugs thanks to mesh screens.
There’s enough floor space for two people, but you’ll be packed in a bit tight. At just 50” wide, it’s enough to fit two people but not so much that you’ll feel roomy. Of course, it’s a tent so we can’t expect tons of space.
Don’t forget this tent comes with its own carrying bag. Pack the tent into the bag to prevent it from springing open inside the car and scaring your pants off!
Ideal for taller users seeking bug and sun protection.
Instant Tent Comparison Table
|Instant Tent||Capacity||Rain Fly Included||Weight||Packed Size||Rating|
|FiveJoy Instant Pop Up Dome Tent||4 Person||No, optional||8 lbs||1 x 36 inches||4.1 / 5.0|
|Coleman Pop-Up Tent||2 and 4 Person available||Yes||7 oz||1 x 30 inches||3.9 / 5.0|
|Toogh 3 Season Pop Up Tent||3 Person||Yes||8.5 lbs||7 x 9 x 31 inches||4.4 / 5.0|
|Coleman Instant Cabin||4, 6 and 8 Person||No||24 lbs||N/A||4.2 / 5.0|
|theNORTHblu Pop Up Tent||2 Person||No||5 lbs||1.4 x 28.5 inches||4.3 / 5.0|
|Always Outside Pop-Up Tent||2 Person||No||4.3 lbs||1 x 30 inches||4.7 / 5.0|
|Winterial Instant Pop Up Tent||2 Person||No||4.8 lbs||1 x 31 inches||3.9 / 5.0|
How to Choose the Best Pop Up Tent
Tents have evolved a long way over the years. Presumably at some point in history they were animal skins hung over crude lashings. Eventually canvas, waterproof materials, then nylon, and advanced cordage, lead to the modern synthetic tent.
These tents have created the backbone of lightweight camping equipment for years and they’ve been relatively unchanged in any radical fashion.
Picking out a pop up tent isn’t rocket science, but you do need to pay attention to a few critical factors. Make sure you get the right pop up tent for you by following these guidelines.
How Much Room Do You Need?
Of course, one of the first considerations with any tent is figuring out how many people will be camping with you. If you’re a family of four, your pop up tent should probably have room for all of the family.
Don’t forget about the dog, extra gear, and other stuff that might need to go inside the tent. You may want to buy a tent with room for 1 or 2 more people than you actually have to make room for unexpected changes.
If you’re using the tent for other purposes, make sure you pay attention to how much space you’ll need. For tailgating, beach days, festivals, and other events you probably want room for coolers, extra clothes, food, etc.
Pop up tents come in almost any size. Because they’re not necessarily great backpacking tents, there’s no need to scavenge for the smallest and lightest possible tent.
That means erring on the side of larger or more spacious shouldn’t be too much of a problem. When in doubt, maybe consider going a size up with your choice
Number and Placement of Doors
This factor is considerably more important with larger groups. If you have a big tent with 4+ people, pay attention to where the doors of your tent are located.
Depending on the design of the tent, I would usually recommend at least two doors for comfort.
Why do you need more than one door? Imagine sleeping in the middle of the night, finally getting some rest, when someone clambers over you to get the only door in the tent.
They step on your face, fall on the next person in line, and wake up the whole tent on the way to the door.
Having two doors means there’s an easy way out for anyone in the tent when you have larger groups. If it seems like a small factor, remember how grumpy you can get when you’re on a few hours of sleep and getting rained on.
You’ll thank me later.
It’s a tent, they said. It will be waterproof, they assumed.
Don’t get caught with your pants down. Make sure to do your homework when it comes to finding a waterproof tent. Not all tents are made waterproof. In fact, you’d be surprised how many pop up tents aren’t actually waterproof at all.
Make sure your tent has sealed seams, or includes some way for your to seal the seams. Water can quickly leak in through holes in the fabric where seams are sewn if those holes aren’t sealed up.
Not all tents are inherently waterproof either. The fabric itself must be made from certain types of material and surprisingly, not all tents are made to be waterproof.
Check user reviews and manufacturer specifications to be sure. Usually the waterproof fabrics used will be either silnylon or silpoly.
As a final note on waterproofness, I will say that not all tents have to be waterproof. If you’re using your pop up tent as a sunshade on the beach, chances are that you won’t care if it’s waterproof.
Tent Stakes and Guylines
All tents rely on stakes and guylines to perfect the pitch of the tent. With pop up tents, the frame is created by spring steel wires that are self supporting.
However, in order to keep the tent in the proper shape and prevent a blown away tent in the wind, you’ll need stakes and guylines.
Most tents come with the guy lines, or ropes, that stake out the upper parts of the tent. One thing worth noting here is that you may want to add reflective string, or hang objects off the guy lines.
People tent to trip over these at night, and it can tear the fabric of the tent – ruining the tent altogether.
Many tents don’t come with stakes, or come with poor stakes that are too easy to break. When putting stakes in the ground, never pound them with objects.
If the stakes won’t go in with hand pressure, try applying steady, even pressure with your shoe using the ball of your foot. Still won’t work?
Try trying down to a rock, root, or other object instead of the tent stake. If all else fails, move to a new campsite.
If your tent doesn’t come with stakes or if you need replacements, I recommend the MSR Mini-Groundhog Stakes.
Forcing tent stakes into hard or rocky ground will result in broken and bent stakes.
Whether you need a waterproof rugged shelter or a sun shade, there’s something on our list of pop up tents for you. Not all pop up tents are rated for severe weather, so be sure that the tent you’re looking at has the features you want.
Pop up tents make ideal shelters for picnics, beach days, or backyard fun. While some tents on our list take things a bit further and feature all weather durability.
Don’t forget that most pop up tents are meant to be simple, lightweight, and ultra easy to use.
When looking for a pop up tent, be sure to review the “how to buy” section above. Then, get started by checking out some of the most popular pop up tents available today in our reviews section.
I hope this guide was helpful for finding the best pop up tents to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend a tent I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.
Have fun and be safe out there!