Whether you are a backpacker, hunter, or beach goer, nothing is more frustrating than getting to your destination and having to spend 20 minutes sorting out your tent. It doesn’t have to be that way with today’s best pop up tent options. Instead of 20 minutes, you can be set up and ready in 20 seconds!
While there are a few downsides to a pop up tent, they are mostly offset by the absolute ease of getting everything set up. Most of them are lightweight, portable, and fairly easy on the wallet. Before we dive into some of the best options on the market today, we should look at what makes a great pop up tent.
Table of Contents
- What to Look for in a Pop up Tent?
- Top 8 Best Pop Up Tents on the Market Review
What to Look for in a Pop up Tent?
One of the major issues with pop up tents is their size. With a traditional tent, everything breaks down and gets stored separately. This maximizes the use of space and minimizes the overall size of the package. When you have a tent where everything has to be kept in place, you are likely to end up with a larger and more strangely shaped.
With modern materials and construction, the weight of pop up tents has declined which is good news for those who want one for backpacking. The downside will always be the size. The current best option are those that fold into a flat pack. Even a reasonable sized tent can fold down to just a couple of inches thick. It may be a couple of feet wide though.
You need to think about how you will transport your tent. If it is in a vehicle all the way to your destination, the flat pack actually works quite well. If you want to shove it in a pack for hiking, it’s going to be a little more difficult.
Because a tent is a pop up, don’t fall for believing that they go up instantly and fully by just opening the pack. While this is actually very close to true with some models, others may require a bit more work. No matter which you have, you will still have to add stakes, rainfly, and guy lines.
Many of these tents can go up in less than a minute. Even the slow pop up tent will go up in 3 minutes or less. You may see those that use a spring action called instant-up tents or just instant tents. They all refer to the same thing. The slower tents usually have two points that are pulled opposite directions to get the tent into shape. These will be much easier with two people.
There is a seasonality rating on tents. Usually 3-season for those that are good from mid-spring to mid-fall, and 4 season for year-round tents. You will rarely find a 4-season pop up tent and may see some that are only intended for summer use.
More important than that is how the tent deals with poor weather. Tents need some design features for rain resistance. Usually this will be sealed seams and waterproof fabrics but that may not be enough. Standard tents usually have a removable rainfly for these occasions. A pop up tent may have a separate rainfly or one built into the tent.
If you get a pop up tent with a removable rainfly, realize that this will have to be packed and assembled as a separate piece. This isn’t much of an issue but if you plan on having a one-step setup, this may disappoint you.
Top 8 Best Pop Up Tents on the Market Review
1. Core 9P instant Cabin Tent
There is nothing like a cabin tent when it comes to space and luxury on a camping trip. In the case of the Core 9P, you get a large tent that can fit an entire family and then some. This is a 9 person tent but could be used as a 10 person tent with creative sleeping arrangements. It's even better when you have a tent this size that can be fully assembled in less than 2 minutes.
To get the tent up, you will optimally have two people. All you have to do is spread the attached supports at one end of the tent and then repeat at the other end until everything snaps in place. Attach the rainfly and get it buttoned down for any wind you may experience and you are done. Could not be easier.
The doors and windows all have mosquito netting and the body of the tent is rain resistant polyethylene. Assembled, the tent measures a massive 14x9 feet but packed down its just a 4-foot long tube about 11 inches across. Total weight is about 30 pounds which is quite light for a tent this size.
This is the perfect option for camping with all your family. It is among the best rated tents of this size and works well almost anywhere in most weather conditions. It is not suitable for winter but any other season should do just fine.
2. Gazelle T4 Pop Up Hub Tent
When it comes to an easy up tent, Gazelle is one of the best pop up tent brands on the market. No one makes a tent quite like them with its cubic shape and easy setup. This particular model works great as a 4 person tent but is more comfortable with 3 or less.
To get this tent up, pop it out of the duffle bag, put it in place and gently tug the center of all 4 walls. The poles will spring into position and give you a rigid structure. Attach the waterproof rainfly if needed and get it all staked down and you are done. In total, about 90 seconds will have everything ready to go.
Assembled, the tent measures about 8x8 feet. Collapsed it is a tube about 5 feet long measuring 8 inches across and weighing about 30 pounds. The extra weight comes from the durable materials which are easily among the best quality used by any tent company.
This is a feature loaded tent with gear loft, large wall pockets, and smaller storage pockets around the tent. The floor is removable for easy cleaning. Every window and both doors use a fine mesh with water tight closures for bad weather. They even use YKK zippers because nothing second rate belongs on their product.
3. Timber Ridge Instant Cabin
The Timber Ridge is a classic shaped cabin tent but its far more innovative in how it sets up. You can see many 6 person tents with these measurements but none will go up faster than this tent. It makes a great tent for camping and could make a great pop up hunting trip with extra space. You could easily fit a 3 man expedition and all their gear with room to spare.
To get this tent into proper shape, slip it out of the carry bag and pull all 4 corners apart until they snap. Each leg will have to be elevated to get the tents height. Toss on the waterproof canopy and snap it into place and you are done. This is a one minute job if you have at least two people.
The total measurements of this tent are 10x10 feet assembled and, in the duffle, it’s about 4x1x1 feet. The total weight is only 25 pounds with everything included. Probably more than you want to carry for any distance on foot but strapped to an ATV or camping near your vehicle, this is about perfect.
This is a better fair weather tent than cold weather tent with 4 mesh windows and a large door with mesh screening. At 6.5 feet tall at the center, it has a lot of space and a very airy feel. Whether with just a couple of friends or the whole family, this is a great little tent that will last season after season.
4. Coleman Instant Cabin
The instant cabin by Coleman is a staple on campgrounds around the country. It comes in three sizes from a 4 person to a 10 person and all of them work exceedingly well. They go up super-fast, especially considering the size, and are amazing quality.
No matter the size, these tents go up in about a minute by simply flexing the attached tent poles outward. Once they snap into position, move to the next one. Once everything is in its proper shape, elevate each leg and stake it down. No rainfly to worry with, it's built into the tent structure as a double skin.
Depending on the model, you will get different stats but the smallest is 8x7 feet and the largest is 14x10 feet. All of the models are quite light with the 4 person tent weighing just 16 pounds and even the largest one only coming in at 20. They pack down rather small all things considered.
Coleman is well known for one thing and that is keeping the weather out. All models of the instant cabin use sealed seams and a tub style floor. It should be noted that the largest model does not have a built-in rainfly but that is hardly an issue. These are among the most affordable quality tents out there and will work for most of the year but probably not winter.
5. Teton Sports XXL Quick Tent
For the solo camper out there, this is without a doubt the best option. This would make a great tent even without the fast setup time. The quality is spot on, the features are all there, and the price is nearly beyond belief. It may be worth buying a couple because bargains like this don’t come around too often.
Setup is super quick and super easy, probably about a 2-minute job. Simply lay the tent flat, fold out both legs and snap them in place and then pull the drawcord. It's close to automatic how the tent takes shape. You will have to attach the rainfly but even that is quick.
Measurements are about 7.5 feet by 3 feet when assembled and about 24 inches by 5 inches when packed. The total weight is less than 5 pounds which is staggeringly light for a tent of this type. It's only a pounds heavier than their ultralight tent!
Other than the easy assembly and complete rain protection, this is a pretty bare bones tent. It has a ton of mesh for ventilation and works well for most of the year. This is one of the few pop up tents that are really viable for backpacking and the only one that you can get for anywhere near this price.
6. Coleman Pop-Up 2P
If you want an instant up tent, well this Coleman is about as instant as it gets. But, because it’s a Coleman, that isn’t all it does. The quality is still there as is the weatherproofing. And you get all of this for a price far less than most of their competitor's tents. This is a great option for camping or just as a playhouse for your kids.
How do you assemble this tent? Take it out of the pack and let it go. Its assembled, or about 75% assembled. You still need to attach the rainfly but even with that, you can get this tent up in 30 seconds with very little practice. It’s almost like magic!
The final measurements are about 7.5x4.5 feet which works well for two people with not a lot of gear. Packed down it is a disc shape about 2 feet across and an inch thick. Total weight is just 6 pounds for everything, rainfly included.
Even though it's light and fast, it still has everything you expect from a Coleman. The seams are all sealed and the rainfly can be repositioned depending on the weather. You can get a lot of ventilation or a lot of rain protection. And you can get all of this for a Colman price with a Coleman warranty.
7. Sportneer Automatic Tent
Sportneer is one of a growing number of companies that sell exclusively through Amazon. While this may make them seem cheap, it can be quite the reverse. By allowing Amazon to handle the logistics, you can get solid products for a great price. This is definitely the case with Sportneer.
Setting this tent up is the classic snap pole design. Each corner pole unfolds and locks into position. With all 4 done, you have a tent. The rainfly is integral to the design so all you have to do is stake it down. Easily under a minute to get this tent fully set up.
The tent is square, measuring about 7 feet to a side. This would be somewhat small for three adults but works quite well for two. Add in your pet or a young child and you will still have plenty of space. It should be noted that the tent is a little saggy and can be noisy in the wind.
The best thing about this tent is the design. With a double rainfly that keeps a vent open at the top, you don’t have to worry about overheating. It still protects well in wet weather and the extra airflow prevents condensation. For the price, this is simply an awesome little tent!
8. Zomake Beach Tent
Not all tents have to be for camping. Some can be for beach goers or those that don’t need all the extra weather protection and fancy features. If you want something simple, lightweight, and very easy to set up, the Zomake checks all the boxes.
Setting up this tent is more just allowing it to take its shape on its own. Take it out of the bag and let it go. You are done. That’s it. About 5 seconds on a good day. That is what makes this perfect for beach trips or just those wanting an outdoor space for their kids to play.
Inside there is comfortable space for 3 people napping. For adults, it may be a little cramped but with a couple of adults and a couple of kids, it's about perfect. You can even throw in an air mattress. Measurements are about 8x6 feet set up or about 2 feet across when folded flat. The total weight is only 5 pounds.
This tent has no rainfly but has a rain cover on the roof vent that will keep you dry unless it gets really bad. All 4 sides open for amazing ventilation. It does have mesh covers so you can keep it open but keep the bugs out. You could use this for some camping trips and be just fine but it excels as a shelter for day trips.
Pop up tents are one of the best camping inventions of the last 20 years. Setup on some tents can be a downright nightmare but not on any of the best pop up tents. It may take you 10 seconds or 2 minutes to get everything ready but that beats fighting with tent poles and narrow looks for half an hour any day!