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Pop up camping tent at the park

Let’s face it: Setting up a tent can be one of the most frustrating parts of camping.

Thankfully, there’s a simple solution to all your tent pitching woes – a pop up tent.

Pop up tents (a.k.a. instant tents) are popular for car camping and backpacking adventures because they can cut your pitching time down to just a few minutes.

However, with so many different pop up tents available, it can be hard to know which one is right for your needs.

To get you started, we’ll introduce you to the 20 best pop up tents on the market today. At the end, we’ll even offer some essential advice for selecting your next instant camping tent.

Let’s get to it!

Best Pop Up Tents for Easy Camping & Backpacking Review

Ozark Trail Instant Cabin 9

Premium Pick
Ozark Trail 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent
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For all-around comfort and simplicity at your campsite, the Ozark Trail Instant Cabin 9 is hard to beat.

The winner of our premium pick award, this model takes just 2 minutes to set up, thanks to its pre-attached pole configuration. It also boasts a 7’ (213cm) ceiling height, which creates ample headroom, even for the tallest of campers.

Inside the tent, you have space for up to 9 people in their sleeping bags or 2 queen-size airbeds. Moreover, the Ozark Trail Instant Cabin 9 comes with a removable divider that lets you split your living space into 2 separate rooms.

In addition to having a rainfly and factory-sealed seams for waterproofing, this tent comes with a set of large windows for airflow on muggy days.

It also has a spacious screen room, which serves as an excellent lounging and dining area when the bugs just won’t cooperate.

Pros:

  • High ceiling height provides plenty of headroom 
  • Spacious screen porch living area
  • Includes a removable room divider
  • Fully sealed seams for waterproofing 

Cons:

  • High center height isn’t great in the wind

CORE Instant Cabin 9

Best Choice
CORE 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent
$249.99
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09/21/2021 03:47 pm GMT

A time-tested classic, the CORE Instant Cabin 9 has been a popular model ever since it hit the market.

While it’s a bit heavy for a 9 person shelter, this tent does come packed in a nifty carry bag for easy transport to and from the car. When you get to camp, the Instant Cabin 9’s pre-attached pole construction means that it can be pitched in as little as 60 seconds.

Additionally, this tent is made with CORE’s H2O Block System, which uses a PU-coated waterproof fabric and fully taped seams to ensure that your sleeping area stays as dry as possible in the rain.

It also has an adjustable ventilation system that allows you to control how much airflow you need on hot days.

The Instant Cabin 9 even comes with a room divider so that you can create separate living and sleeping spaces. 

Finally, it has plenty of strategically-placed storage pockets to help everyone in your group stay organized while in camp.

Pros:

  • Storage pockets for gear organization 
  • Adjustable ventilation system for airflow 
  • H20 Block waterproofing system
  • Included room divider

Cons:

  • Fairly heavy, but it does come with a carry bag

CORE Instant Cabin & Organizer 6

Best Value
CORE 6 Person Instant Cabin Tent with Wall Organizer
$195.50
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09/21/2021 10:55 am GMT

Budget-friendly but high in quality, the CORE Instant Cabin & Organizer 6 offers a great mix of features for the intrepid camper.

Despite its reasonable price, this tent offers a lot in terms of livability. In particular, it has a 6’ (182cm) center height and space for up to 6 campers at night.

For breathability in the summer, CORE gave this tent an adjustable ventilation system and oversized mesh windows.

Moreover, each of these windows has a zippered fabric panel that can be used for privacy in the campground or for protection from the rain.

What really sets this tent apart from the competition, however, is its integrated gear storage system. On the back wall of the tent, there’s a built-in wall organizer, plus an overhead gear loft to help you declutter your floor space.

Pros:

  • Affordable price point
  • Built-in organization system for gear 
  • Adjustable ventilation technology
  • Windows have storm flaps for water protection

Cons:

  • No screen porch or outdoor living space

Ozark Trail Instant Lighted Cabin 10

Ozark Trail Instant Cabin Tent with Built in Cabin Lights
$349.99
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09/21/2021 10:44 am GMT

Crafted specifically with warm weather in mind, the Ozark Trail Instant Lighted Cabin 10 is a solid choice for summertime family car camping trips.

Offering space for up to 10 campers and a 6’6” (198cm) center height, this tent is a comfortable yet practical abode for families and large groups.

Plus, Ozark Trail built this tent with an integrated LED lighting system, giving you instant nighttime illumination at the push of a button.

Thanks to its oversized mesh windows and doors, this tent also conjures up plenty of much-needed airflow on hot days.

Also, each door and window comes with a waterproof fabric panel that can be zipped up to prevent an influx of water during stormy weather.

Moreover, inside the Ozark Trail Instant Lighted Cabin 10, you get a removable room divider. You can use this divider to convert half of the tent into a screen porch for plentiful gear storage or extra outdoor living space on a sunny day.

Pros:

  • Well ventilated, thanks to large mesh windows
  • Convertible screen porch
  • Poles have built-in LED lighting
  • Storm flaps on windows for weatherproofing

Cons:

  • Tall ceiling height isn’t ideal in windy conditions

CORE Lighted Instant Cabin 6

Core Lighted 6 Person Instant Cabin Tent - 11' x 9'
$399.99
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09/21/2021 03:22 pm GMT

A versatile option for small groups and families, the CORE Lighted Instant Cabin 6 provides a seamless way to enjoy yourself in the great outdoors.

Inside, it features a wide-open floor plan, which provides ample space for hanging out and relaxing at night. Meanwhile, the shelter’s 6’ (182cm) center height is taller than average for a tent this size.

When it comes to functionality, this tent doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it has a built-in LED lighting system that can be set to 3 different brightness levels.

This lighting system is also wholly battery-powered, which means you can always illuminate your tent, even if you’re far from the nearest hookup.

For weather protection, the CORE Lighted Instant Cabin 6 comes with the company’s proprietary H20 Block technology, which is designed to keep water out of your tent in heavy rain.

The tent’s adjustable ventilation system also encourages airflow on those hot summer nights, making it a nice retreat at the end of a long day of adventure.

Pros:

  • Battery-powered LED lighting system 
  • High center height for a 6 person tent 
  • Adjustable ventilation system
  • H20 Block technology for waterproofing

Cons:

  • No included room divider for privacy

 Quechua 2 Second Tent

Quechua by Decathlon 2 Second, 2-Person Waterproof Pop-up Tent
$143.79
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09/21/2021 10:47 am GMT

If backpacking is more your style, the Quechua 2 Second Tent might be what you need. As one of the few pop up backpacking tents on the market, this shelter is a popular choice for more remote adventures.

Thanks to its flexible pole style construction, this tent can be pitched in just a few seconds. In fact, to set up the 2 Second Tent, you simply need to remove it from its carry case and then stake it to the ground.

Another nifty feature of this tent is its blackout technology, which turns the interior living space into a cool, dark, and comfortable place to relax and unwind at any time of day.

Plus, this tent is made with a fully waterproof and extra-rugged Ti0² coated polyester fabric for increased durability on the trail.

If that weren’t enough, the 2 Second Tent’s flexible pole structure also makes it suitable for use in windy conditions. As a result, it’s a reliable and versatile option for campers who like to get off the beaten path on more remote mountain adventures.

Pros:

  • Very quick set-up design
  • Blackout technology provides a better sleeping space
  • UPF 50+ fabric for sun protection
  • Tested for use in high winds

Cons:

  • Heavy for a 2 person tent
  • Low center height, even for a backpacking tent

Coleman Pop Up Tent 2

Coleman 2-Person Pop-Up Tent
$100.84
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09/21/2021 10:57 am GMT

Specifically designed to help you get outside for a short, fair-weather camping trip, the Coleman Pop Up Tent 2 is a no-nonsense camper’s best friend.

Featuring a 65D ripstop polyester rainfly, this tent is built to hold up well in light rain and moderate winds.

It also has a fully seam-taped floor to help prevent water from seeping into your sleeping area when the weather won’t cooperate.

Inside the tent, you have access to 2 integrated storage pockets, which make it easier for you to keep your gear organized on the go.

As far as breathability is concerned, this tent gives you multiple options for ventilation on muggy days.

In particular, the tent comes with a nifty multi-position rainfly, which can be rolled back to reveal a full mesh canopy for ample airflow during the summer months.

At the end of your camping trip, the Coleman Pop Up Tent 2 is also quick and easy to pack, as its flexible pole-style construction is simple to fold up and tuck away inside the included carry case.

Pros:

  • Highly affordable
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Integrated storage pockets
  • Multi-position rainfly for ventilation

Cons:

  • Low center height
  • Not great in very windy or rainy locales

Quechua 2 Second 3 Person Tent

Quechua 2 Seconds Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent for 3 Man
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The Quechua 2 Second 3 Person Tent is a solid camping companion for anyone looking to enjoy a backcountry adventure.

In fact, one of the key benefits of this tent is its weather-resistance, which is of the utmost importance for remote camping trips.

Quechua built this model with an extra-thick layer of its proprietary PU coated flysheet, which is rated to 2000mm water-resistance for increased protection in the rain.

It’s also specifically engineered to withstand wind speeds of up to 30mph (13.4 m/s), so it’s a nice option for alpine environments.

For increased livability, this shelter features the company’s proprietary blackout technology, which offers UPF 30 protection from the sun’s harsh rays.

If you happen to be camping in a hot locale, you can also use the tent’s integrated ventilation system to encourage airflow throughout the night.

Plus, as the name indicates, the Quechua 2 Second 3 Person Tent can be pitched in just a few seconds.

Its guided folding system also makes packing up camp as easy as can be, saving you valuable time in the morning when you’re trying to get out on the trail.

Pros:

  • Blackout technology for UPF protection
  • Rear ventilation system
  • Tested in winds up to 30mph (13.4 m/s) 
  • Guided folding system for quick packing

Cons:

  • Fairly bulky when packed

Coleman Pop Up Tent 4

Coleman 4-Person Pop-Up Tent
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A go-to choice for festival camping and small family campground adventures, the Coleman Pop Up Tent 4 is a budget-friendly model for convenience-minded campers.

Like its smaller sibling, i.e., the Coleman Pop Up Tent 2, this model has a set of flexible poles that allow for a sub-10-second pitching process. When you’re not camping, it also packs down to a flat, compact size for more convenient storage and transport.

The Coleman Pop Up Tent 4 comes complete with fully sealed seams to keep out rain at all costs. It also has a multi-position rainfly that can offer shelter from the elements in light rain.

When it’s not raining, you can roll back this rainfly to expose the tent’s mesh-paneled roof for increased ventilation.

Additionally, this model comes with 2 interior storage pockets for organization.

Overall, although the center height on this tent is a little low, its open floor plan, spacious interior, and plentiful gear storage options provide an impressive amount of livability for a 4 person shelter.

Pros:

  • Taped floor seams for waterproofing 
  • Multi-position rainfly for ventilation
  • Affordable for a tent this size
  • Interior storage pockets provide organization options

Cons:

  • Low center height in a 4 person tent

Coleman Instant Cabin Tent 4

Coleman Cabin Tent with Instant Setup | Sets Up in 60 Seconds
$159.99
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09/21/2021 10:51 am GMT

Cozy yet functional, the Coleman Instant Cabin Tent 4 is designed to help adventurous groups and small families make the most of their outdoor experience.

Thanks to its double-thick Polyguard 2X fabric construction, this tent can provide you with a fully waterproof shelter without the need for a separate rainfly.

Additionally, it features Coleman’s proprietary WeatherTec system, which integrates welded floors and inverted seams to help you stay dry when the weather won’t cooperate.

For easy entry and exit, the Coleman Instant Cabin 4 has a large hinged front door that can be propped open on calm nights.

Meanwhile, its 4 strategically-placed large mesh windows provide everyone with plentiful ventilation during the summer months.

Last but not least, this tent comes with multiple interior storage pockets. These pockets can be used to stash your smaller bits of gear, like your headlamp, to clear up floor space for lounging at the end of the day.

Pros:

  • Coleman WeatherTec waterproofing technology 
  • 4 large windows for breathability
  • Hinged door for easy entry and exit
  • Interior storage pockets for small bits of gear

Cons:

  • Low ceiling height for a car camping tent

Ozark Trail Dark Rest Cabin Tent 6

Ozark Trail Six-Person Dark Rest Cabin Family Tent
$187.42
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09/21/2021 10:56 am GMT

When getting a good night’s sleep is your priority, the Ozark Trail Dark Rest Cabin Tent 6 is a no-brainer.

This 6 person pop up camping tent uses Ozark Trail’s innovative Dark Rest system to prevent an influx of sunlight on summer days. As a result, the inside of the tent stays cooler for longer, allowing you to sleep in late and enjoy your vacation.

Moreover, the Dark Rest Cabin Tent 6 comes with a set of skylights that let in natural light and a bit of air whenever you need it most.

This cabin-style tent also has 3 large windows plus a ground vent, all of which provide air circulation in the summer months.

For convenience, Ozark Trail designed this shelter with a whole host of useful accessories. This includes an electrical port access point, a hanging gear loft, and a large wall-mounted gear organizer to make it easier for you to enjoy your camping trip.

Pros:

  • Integrated skylights for natural light
  • Dark Rest technology provides a better night’s sleep
  • Plenty of ventilation and air circulation
  • Multiple gear organization options available

Cons:

  • No vestibule or screen porch for gear storage in the rain

CORE Instant Dome 3

CORE 3 Person Instant Dome Tent - 7' x 7'
$99.99
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09/21/2021 06:44 pm GMT

Simple as can be, yet highly functional, the affordable CORE Instant Dome 3 is a budget-conscious camper’s best friend for small-group outdoor adventures.

It comes ready to go with CORE’s patented H2O Block technology, which combines durable water-repellent fabrics and fully taped seams to keep you dry, even during an afternoon thunderstorm.

The tent’s advanced cooling system and strategically-placed vents also work to keep interior condensation at a minimum at all times.

Although it’s not the largest or most spacious option around, the CORE Instant Dome 3 does have a built-in gear storage system, which helps maximize your usable floor space for lounging and sleeping.

For added convenience, the tent comes complete with an overhead lantern hook that can instantly convert your headlamp into a snazzy lighting fixture for your entire group, without the need for bulky equipment.

Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Overhead gear storage system and lantern hook 
  • CORE H2O Block technology for waterproofing 
  • Large windows provide ventilation

Cons:

  • Limited interior floor space

Coleman Instant Family Tent 8

Coleman 8-Person Tent | Instant Family Tent
$301.00
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09/21/2021 10:45 am GMT

A spacious abode with a simple design, the Coleman Instant Family Tent 8 makes it easier to get out and go on any car camping trip.

It features a 14’x10’ (4.3x3m) floor plan and pre-attached poles that you’ll simply extend to set up your tent for the night. Plus, because there’s an integrated rainfly, you don’t have to separately assemble the weatherproofing on your tent.

This family-centric tent uses Coleman’s WeatherTec system to keep rain at bay. It has fully welded floors and inverted seams to prevent moisture from dampening the inside of the tent, as well as extra-thick Polyguard 2X fabric for overall weather protection.

You can access the inside of the tent through a set of large double doors, which have oversized mesh panels for ventilation on sunny days.

Though it doesn’t have a separate sun porch or vestibule area, the tent does have several gear storage pockets on its interior to help maximize your living space.

Pros:

  • Integrated rainfly simplifies set-up 
  • Large double doors for entry
  • Extra-thick and durable Polyguard 2X fabric
  • Internal gear storage pockets

Cons:

  • High center height is problematic in heavy winds

CORE Instant Cabin 10

CORE 10 Person Instant Cabin Tent with Screen Room
$321.57
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09/21/2021 03:12 pm GMT

For versatility and functionality at the campsite, the CORE Instant Cabin 10 is hard to top.

Designed to accommodate up to 10 campers in sleeping bags or 2 queen-size air mattresses, this tent is a family-focused option for summertime fun. It has a 7’ (213cm) center height throughout to provide plenty of headspace for everyone in your group.

Moreover, this tent comes with a removable room divider for maximum flexibility in terms of how you want to organize your living space.

Adding to the tent’s overall livability is a set of zippered panels over all the mesh windows and doors, which serve double duty as a privacy shield and as weather protection in the rain.

If that weren’t enough, this tent has a built-in oversized screen porch that acts as a great outdoor relaxation area on buggy evenings.

At night, you can also use the screen porch as a gear storage area, or you can use the included organizers to stow away smaller bits of gear.

Pros:

  • Large screen porch for relaxation 
  • Plenty of gear organization options 
  • Removable room divider
  • Privacy and weather shields on all windows

Cons:

  • Can be split into 2 rooms, but there's only 1 door

Moon Lence Pop Up Family Tent 4

MOON LENCE Instant Pop Up Tent 4-5 Person
$99.99
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09/21/2021 10:42 am GMT

Affordable as can be, the Moon Lence Pop Up Family Tent 4 is a simple solution for quick trips into the mountains.

Crafted to host 4 adults, this tent has a surprisingly high 52-inch (133cm) center height and a spacious floor plan.

It also has a fully waterproof rainfly to protect you and your gear on a stormy day, as well as an extra-durable 210D oxford ground sheet for added ruggedness while outside.

For ventilation, this tent comes with a set of large mesh windows throughout the exterior to encourage airflow on stifling hot days. Each window also has a zippered storm flap to seal out the rain when the weather isn’t being cooperative.

Plus, when it comes time to pack up camp, the relatively lightweight Moon Lence Pop Up Family Tent 4 comes with a durable carry bag, which makes it easy to transport to and from the car.

Pros:

  • Highly affordable
  • Large mesh windows for ventilation 
  • Durable materials and construction 
  • Holds up well in the wind

Cons:

  • Cone-shape design limits headroom on the edges of the tent

Ozark Trail Instant Cabin Dark Rest 10

Ozark Trail 10-Person Dark Rest Instant Cabin Tent
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If you need a value-packed large-group tent that doesn’t break the bank, the Ozark Trail Instant Cabin Dark Rest 10 is here to help.

In just 60 seconds, you can set up this spacious tent, which is large enough to comfortably house 10 adults in sleeping bags or 2 queen-size airbeds.

Inside the tent, you can choose between a single open-floor-plan interior or you can set up the removable room divider to give everyone the privacy they want at night.

This tent comes with Ozark Trail’s Dark Rest technology to help keep your living space cool and comfortable, even when the temperatures are approaching record highs.

It also has a set of skylights that can be opened or closed to provide natural light and airflow when you need it most.

Thanks to its electrical cord access, you can bring electricity into this tent to charge your electronic devices. Meanwhile, the tent’s durable rainfly and factory-sealed seams help to keep water away from your gear on rainy days.

Pros:

  • Skylights provide natural light and airflow
  • Dark Rest technology keeps the tent interior cool 
  • Electrical cord access port for convenience
  • Factory-sealed seams on the rainfly provide waterproofing

Cons:

  • Very heavy

CORE Instant Cabin 12

Core Two Room 12 Person Instant Cabin Tent with Side Entrance
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Featuring an innovative design, the CORE Instant Cabin 12 allows you to make the most of your camping experience without closing you off from the outdoors.

What makes this tent stick out among the competition is its optional screen room.

Although it’s designed to sleep up to 12 campers, you can use the internal divider to close off one side of the tent to create a screen room if you’re camping with a smaller group. This screen room has full mesh paneling, making it an ideal place to relax on a buggy day.

Alternatively, you can keep the tent’s open floor plan and enjoy the plentiful space that this affords.

Regardless of how you set up the tent, you’ll get access to an abundance of storage pockets and large mesh windows to keep air flowing on humid nights.

Plus, this tent has 2 sets of large double doors, which make it easier for everyone in your large group to get in and out at night. That means less time spent crawling all over each other to answer nature’s call at night and more time getting the rest you need.

Pros:

  • Has an optional screen room 
  • Extra-large interior space
  • Massive mesh windows throughout 
  • Plenty of gear storage pockets

Cons:

  • Expensive

OT QOMOTOP Instant Cabin Tent

OT QOMOTOP Tents, 4/6/8/10 Person 60 Seconds Set Up Camping Tent
$139.97
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09/21/2021 12:51 pm GMT

Blending durability, weather-resistance, and a spacious interior, the OT QOMOTOP Instant Cabin Tent is a pop up shelter that thrives in warm environments.

With 2 people, this tent can be pitched in under a minute, providing near-instant sleeping space for up to 10 adults. The tent has an open floor plan with a high 6’4” (193cm) ceiling to give everyone plenty of space to move around.

OT QOMOTOP designed this tent with a durable exterior fabric that is fully seam-sealed and that has a waterproofing rating of 6,000mm. It even comes with welded corners for enhanced protection during a storm and a rugged rainfly to keep you dry.

A unique aspect of this tent is its large front double doors. You can completely open these doors and tie them back to create plenty of airflow as well as an indoor/outdoor living space on nice summer days.

Pros:

  • Durable and waterproof fabrics
  • Large double doors can be propped open
  • Tall ceiling height
  • Lots of mesh windows for breathability

Cons:

  • Minimal gear storage space

Coleman Instant Cabin Tent 10

Coleman Dark Room Instant Cabin 10
$355.29
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09/21/2021 10:53 am GMT

One of Coleman’s largest pop up shelters, the Instant Cabin Tent 10 is a family-oriented model for weekend car camping trips at your favorite outdoor destination.

It comes with the company’s Dark Room technology, which is made to block out up to 90% of sunlight to reduce the temperature inside the tent during the day.

This makes it easier for you to sleep in on sunny mornings and allows for daytime naps in the midsummer heat.

Moreover, the Coleman Instant Cabin Tent 10 has WeatherTec system technology that includes welded floors and inverted seams for protection on rainy days.

In addition to having a Polyguard 2X rugged exterior fabric, it comes with a purpose-built rainfly that can be removed to expose the mesh roof for increased airflow on hot nights.

To ensure that everyone in your family gets the privacy they need while camping, the Instant Cabin 10 also has an included room divider that can be zipped open or closed with ease.

At the end of your camping trip, this tent even packs up into a convenient carry bag for simplified transport to and from your home.

Pros:

  • Dark Room technology is ideal for sunny locales
  • WeatherTec system is designed to keep rain at bay 
  • Convenient carry bag included
  • Room divider can be zipped open or closed with ease

Cons:

  • Fairly expensive

Ozark Trail Instant Hexagon Cabin 11

Ozark Trail Instant Hexagon Cabin Tent 11
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A unique offering for large families and groups, the Ozark Trail Instant Hexagon Cabin 11 is a veritable castle at the campground.

Aptly named, this tent does, indeed, have a hexagonal shape, which gives everyone maximum room to stretch out at the end of a long day of adventure. The tent can comfortably sleep up to 11 adult campers, making it a nice option for family get-togethers.

In addition to having 2 doors, which allows for easy entry and exit, this tent has a large mesh window on each of its 6 sides. Therefore, it provides great ventilation and airflow for everyone to enjoy.

One of the coolest parts about this tent is that the front door features a large overhanging awning. This awning can be quickly opened and closed to provide shade when you need it or weather protection when it starts to rain.

Pros:

  • Spacious interior
  • Plenty of mesh windows for ventilation 
  • Large awning for shaded outdoor living 
  • 2 doors for easy entry and exit

Cons:

  • Very heavy and bulky
A yellow 3 Man Pop Up Tent in the forest

What to Look for When Buying a Pop Up Tent

With so many great pop up tents to choose from, you need to know what to look for as you shop. Here are some key things to keep in mind before you buy your next instant tent.

Hub vs. Flexible Pole Style

As you shop for a pop up tent, you’ll start to notice that 2 main “styles” of tents are available: hub-style tents and flexible pole models. 

Each of these styles has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, so let’s take a deeper look at what they mean for your camping experience.

Hub-Style

Hub-style pop up tents are by far the most common variety. Companies like CORE and Ozark Trail almost exclusively make hub-style tents, which use rigid, pre-attached poles that are all connected at one central hub.

With hub-style models, you simply have to unfold the tent, extend the poles, and stake the tent to the ground to set up your camp for the night.

Overall, hub-style tents tend to be quite large and spacious, which makes them ideal for big groups.

However, they also tend to be heavier and pricier, and to take slightly longer to set up (about 30 to 60 seconds), than their flexible pole-style cousins.

Flexible Pole Style

Flexible pole-style pop up tents, such as the Quechua 2 Second Tent, are relatively new to the camping scene, though they’re becoming increasingly popular each year thanks to their simple yet functional design.

While both flexible pole-style and hub-style tents have built-in aluminum poles, the poles on flexible models don’t expand and contract.

Instead, they are designed to pop open as soon as you remove the tent from its stuff sack. Then, when it comes time to head home at the end of your camping trip, you simply need to fold up the tent and place it back in its carry case – no assembly required!

For a better idea of how these flexible poles work, check out this short video from Quechua, which shows how to set up the 2 Second Tent:

As you can see, flexible-style tents tend to be exceptionally easy to pitch, even when compared to other types of instant tents. Moreover, they are often much lighter than their hub-style counterparts.

However, these tents are generally quite small, so they’re usually best for short camping trips. Indeed, their lack of interior space makes them less than ideal for large groups or longer camping adventures.

Weather-Resistance

Another key consideration with a pop up tent is weather-resistance. Of course, no one wants to get soaked in a rainstorm when they’re sitting inside their tent, so having a tent that protects you from the elements is imperative.

The good news is that most pop up tents are made from durable, waterproof fabrics and taped seams, which help to keep rain at bay. Many also have zippered storm flaps on the inside of their windows to prevent water from seeping inside.

Waterproofing is just one part of the weather-resistance equation, though, particularly when you're camping in an exposed, windy environment.

In fact, a tent’s wind-resistance is of the utmost importance because structural deficiencies within a tent can cause issues during a storm.

That being said, pop up tents are often less durable in the wind than their more-traditional counterparts. This is a factor affecting the collapsible nature of many hub-style pop up tents, which provides them with less overall strength in the face of extreme winds.

On the other hand, flexible-pole-style models tend to be better in very windy locales because their poles can’t snap in stormy conditions. Instead, the poles in these tents bend and move with the wind, providing you with a warm, comfortable, and durable place to wait out the storm.

Ventilation

Because the vast majority of instant tents are meant to be used in the summer months, adequate ventilation is critical for a comfortable camping experience.

When shopping for a pop up tent, you’ll want to consider what it offers in terms of ventilation. Many models have oversized mesh windows and mesh doors, both of which provide ample circulation on hot days.

Better yet, many other models also come with purpose-built ventilation systems. These systems are particularly helpful in rainy conditions, as they can provide airflow into your tent, even in the middle of a storm.

Gear Storage Options

Camping is a gear-intensive pursuit, so you need a shelter that can easily store all of your gear.

Thankfully, many pop up tents come with plentiful gear storage in the form of interior gear organization pockets and overhead lofts.

Alternatively, some models also have a screen porch, which can be a particularly good place to stash wet gear after a day of hiking in the rain.

Many pop up tents camping in the forest

Why Pop Up Tent Instead of Any Other Tent

Pop up tents are a popular option for car camping and short backpacking trips. But, are they right for you?

Here are some of the reasons why an instant tent is a better choice for family adventures as compared to any other type of tent.

Fast Set Up

Aptly named, instant tents are, well, fast to set up. They all feature some sort of integrated pole system which greatly cuts down on your set-up time when you arrive at camp.

As a result, you can spend less time pitching your tent and more time enjoying your outdoor adventures.

Speedy Take Down

In addition to being simple to set up, pop up tents are often quite easy to take down at the end of your camping trip.

While this might not seem like a big deal, packing up camp can be a tedious, time-consuming chore. Therefore, having a tent that’s easy to fold up is certainly an asset.

Harder to Forget Gear at Home

The vast majority of instant tents have pre-attached poles. While they do certainly help to speed up the tent pitching process, these pre-attached poles simultaneously make it nearly impossible for you to accidentally leave behind part of your tent when you’re packing for your upcoming camping trip. 

This allows you to avoid the dreaded sinking feeling that results when you drive for hours to your campsite, only to realize that you left an important piece of gear – like your tent poles – back at home.

Straightforward Pitching Process

The straightforward pitching process for an instant tent is particularly great for folks who are new to camping. Whether it’s your first time camping or you’re looking to teach your kids about the great outdoors, an instant tent can be a fun, convenient, and hassle-free way to get started.

Pop Up Tent vs. Instant Tent - Any Difference?

Nope, not at all! There’s no difference between a pop up tent and an instant tent. In fact, these 2 terms are pretty much interchangeable.

That being said, keep an eye out for any tents that claim to have a “fast pitch” system. More often than not, these somewhat deceptively named shelters aren’t true instant tents, and they can take upwards of 10 minutes to set up!

Weaving nature from inside a pop up tent you can stand up in

FAQs About Pop Up Tents

Here are answers to some of the most common questions about pop up tents.

Are Coleman Instant Tents waterproof?

Most Coleman Instant Tents are waterproof, particularly those made with Coleman’s WeatherTec system. This system uses waterproof fabrics, inverted seams, welded floors, and zipper flaps to keep you dry during stormy weather.

What is the best waterproof pop up tent?

Most of the tents on our list offer a decent amount of waterproofing in regular rainy conditions (i.e., what you’d expect in a typical summer afternoon rainstorm).

If we had to pick just one of them to take on a rainy camping trip, our premium pick, the Ozark Trail Instant Cabin 9, would be our choice.

We like this tent’s waterproofing abilities because it comes with a rugged rainfly, fully taped seams, and storm panels on all its windows.

Its screen porch also serves as a nice place to store wet gear to help you avoid bringing moisture into your tent after a day of hiking in the rain.

What is a pop up tent made of?

Pop up tents are generally made from the same fabrics and materials as more-traditional camping tents. Indeed, most models feature ripstop nylon or polyester fabrics and aluminum poles, just like you’d find on a non-instant tent.

What makes a pop up tent unique, then, isn’t its materials, but its construction. Nearly all pop up tents have pre-attached poles that make your set-up time just a fraction of what it would have been if you were using a standard model.

However, at the end of the day, they’re made from the same materials as pretty much any other tent.

Are pop up tents good in rain and wind?

Yes and no. Most pop up tents are, indeed, crafted with rainstorms in mind, thanks to their rugged fabrics, zippered window storm flaps, and taped seams.

However, many pop up tents struggle in the wind due to their hubbed pole design. These collapsible poles generally aren’t as sturdy as their shock-corded counterparts, which are found in more traditional tents.

Our advice? It’s best to use pop up tents in areas where high winds aren’t very common, such as in a forested campground. If you’re going to travel into the backcountry or in harsh environments, check out a rugged waterproof camping tent, instead.

Can you camp on the beach with a pop up tent?

You can certainly camp on the beach in a pop up tent, though you may want to consider a more traditional model instead.

Why?

Well, most pop up tents aren’t very stable in the wind, and beaches tend to be pretty windy places, especially at night. If the forecast calls for particularly high winds, it’s probably best to not camp near the water in a pop up tent unless you’ve already tested its durability in foul conditions.

Conclusion

A pop up tent is a sure-fire way to simplify your camping experience. With the right tent in tow, you can get to camp, set up your shelter in just a few minutes, and then go about enjoying your adventures.

Although there are dozens of great instant tents on the market today, one on our list stood out above the rest: the Ozark Trail Instant Cabin 9.

Premium Pick
Ozark Trail 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent
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We particularly liked this model because it has plenty of interior living space, a waterproof construction, ample ventilation, and a great screen porch for relaxing at the end of the day.

However, what’s most important is that you find the pop up tent that’s best for your needs.

Whether that’s a spacious cabin-style tent for car camping or a highly packable backpacking tent for your upcoming expedition, there’s sure to be an instant tent out there to help you make the most of your outdoor adventures.


About the author

Gaby

Gaby is a professional outdoor educator, guide, and wilderness medicine instructor. She holds a master's degree in outdoor education and spends most of her time hanging out with penguins and polar bears in the polar region. When she's not outdoors, you can find her traveling, reading Nietzsche, and drinking copious double espressos.

Gaby - Writer for The Camper Lifestyle

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