Before we jump in, this article is about “pop-up” tents for camping or backpacking that basically pitch themselves. Beyond the setup method, they are designed for the same utility as a regular tent. If that’s what you are looking for, you’re in luck. We’re not covering off pop-up canopies, also referred to as gazebos, but we can tell you where to find some…
Camping and enjoying the outdoors is definitely one of the best ways to clean your head and have some fun. However, buying camping equipment can be a real drag for many people, and they often decide to ignore the camping scene. This might keep people from living out their true outdoor passion before realizing the amount of fun they can have.
Best 2 Person Pop-Up Tent – Abco Tech Portable Cabana Pop-up Tent
The Abco Tech Portable Cabana Pop-up Tent is designed from high-quality polyester and it is available in 2 colors. It sleeps 2 people and won’t break your budget. Setup is simple and easy which makes it ideal for beginners wanting to get into camping or backpacking.
Best 4 Person Pop-Up Tent – Gazelle T4 Pop Up Tent
Serious adventurers will definitely find some love for the Gazelle pop-up tent. It is a Portable Camping Hub Tent. The tent pops up to be ready in just under 90-seconds, but you still need to make a couple of additions to ensure that it is fully supported and stable on the ground. With a hub-like shape, you should have more than enough protection from the elements and room on the inside for 4 people.
Best Biggest Pop-Up Tent – Oileus XL Instant Pop Up Tent
If you have multiple people taking a joint trip, the Oileus XL Instant Pop Up Tent is one of the best options on the market today. It is designed to sleep up to 6 people, though it works better for 5, and sets up relatively quickly.
A pop-up tent is one of the best ways to get you outdoors without too much effort. Unlike the standard tent that needs to be set up, these tents are much easier to use, and they “pop up” once they are opened. Additionally, they are also much lighter and can be used by backpackers when it comes to keeping their gear weight to a limit.
We have done some in-depth research and tested a couple of the top pop-up tents to see how effective they are. In this article, you should learn a little more about how these tents work and how much they can simplify your outdoor life. Since they are versatile and functional, you can also use them in virtually any situation. They even add an element of fun for kids in the backyard.
The 10 Best Pop-Up Tents
A pop-up tent doesn’t have too many intricate special features you need to look for. They are considered an easy purchase for beginners and knowledgeable outdoor enthusiasts. However, we have pointed out some important features that you can find in our buyer’s guide. This should help you make the best-formed decision when it comes to purchasing your first pop-up tent.
Having something portable for the beach is always a great bonus, and people often underestimate the use they have for a small pop-up tent. The Abco Tech Portable Cabana Beach Tent is designed from high-quality polyester, and it is available in 2 colors for those who need a new tent that meets their gear composition and color.
The setup for this tent is straightforward, and it is comfortable to use for 2 people. However, the size won’t be ideal for living and only for sleeping. You can use it at the beach to keep the sun out of your face and take a little break from the waves. 2 doors have been included so 2 people won’t disturb one another when entering and exiting the tent.
Nylon flaps are added to cover up the windows, and the benefit of this is that the tent will give you complete privacy from the outside world. If you find it a little too hot, the breathable mesh is handy to keep all the unwanted bugs from entering and surprising you. You will get a bag with this tent, but a smaller accessory bag is added for even more functionality.
Durability is not the best part of this tent, and it does lack a little in this department. The tent is designed for casual use and not for those who are enduring tough conditions. Yes, it will keep the water out but to a limit. We recommend adding your very own type of waterproof sealer to ensure that the seams are fully protected.
In terms of the price, it is small and really affordable. The tent won’t break your budget, making it ideal for beginners to get into camping or backpacking. We do also recommend it for backpacking with the lighter weight it offers. This should be an excellent budget find for a couple or single people backpacking in the backcountry.
Coleman is one of the leading brands in outdoor gear, and they have a wide variety for people to choose from. The Coleman 2-Person Pop-Up Tent is not only designed for 2 people, but you can also find it in larger versions that range up to 6 people if you have an extended family that comes along on the trip.
Designed from 185T 65D PU coated polyester. The tent is not only durable and capable of resisting rain and wet conditions. It can also resist fire to a certain degree if you have been caught in a bad accident on the trip. Depending on the size of the tent, you have enough sleeping pads for each person, and these tents are actually true to the size they offer.
A rainfly is included, and this can be positioned in various positions to optimize the ability to let the rain slide off. While the 2-person version only features one entry point, this is rather large, and it ensures that you have the ability to enter and exit as you desire. 2 storage pockets have been added to keep all your personal belongings and electronics safe from any danger.
Taller people might find the sizing of the 2-person tent to be a little too small. If you are a little taller than average, you might want to consider buying a larger 4-person version. An additional size-up is also included for these larger individuals to ensure that you do get the desired size that you have expected to have.
Coleman is a durable and reliable brand, and the tents are not very expensive either. This tent is actually really affordable for one of the leading brands in the world. If you plan to buy something durable and reliable, this tent should be the perfect fit for your needs and budget. We definitely stand by it for the avid outdoor enthusiast as well.
First, on this list, we have the stylish and elegant PeakTop Instant Tent. This pop-up tent has been specifically designed for camping purposes. The tent has been constructed from a 3000MM Waterproof and PU-coated polyester with a 4000MM Oxford groundsheet to keep you out of the water.
The poles of the tent have also been designed to keep the weight down as much as possible. Fiberglass might lack the durability of steel, but since these tents are generally not used for long periods at a time, this should be perfect. It sets up in seconds, and you can release it mid-air to do everything that you need to sleep in the best comfort at night.
Once again, the tent is constructed with 2 mesh windows and 2 doors. While it might not mean much to someone with limited experience, it does make the tent more accessible. It also allows for ventilation. You can decide to open all the windows and doors in the hot summer months to have the air pass through and keep you cool.
Once again, the problem with the tent is to get it back into the original packaging once you are done. It might be harder than you think, but the tent does come with a decent carry bag if you are to use it for backpacking purposes too. If you have problems getting it back into the bag, you should consider consulting the instruction manual.
As one of the cheaper models, we like the tent and believe it will be really beneficial for anyone looking to go camping. It might not be the most durable tent out there, but beginners can enjoy what camping feels like without the hassle. This tent is definitely one of the top pop-up tents that we would recommend for every beginner.
The Bravindew Waterproof Pop Up Tent is one of the tents you can look at if you have a larger family. The tent is designed for around 6-people, but we have seen that it sleeps comfortably if you keep it down to 5. 210T polyester has been used for the tent’s overall construction, which adds to overall durability and waterproofing.
Since the tent is large, it also features a couple of things that will add versatility. You can use loops near the windows for your lighting, but it is also perfect for adding a rainfly. Yes, this tent does come with a rainfly included, saving you the effort of buying a new one once you have experienced camping without one.
Multiple storage pockets are also added, and these have been tested to be completely waterproof. If you are caught up in a storm, you now have the option to store all the electronic devices from the rain. However, we felt it beneficial to go over them with a durable waterproof coating to make sure that there won’t be any leaks in your time of crisis.
The sizing could be the biggest issue. Yes, the tent is marketed for 6 people, but we have found it a little uncomfortable and cluttered if you are that many. We recommend it for between 4 and 5 people to have the best possible comfort and enjoy the spacious design. It is also worth noting that the tent is actually easy to fold and get back in the original bag.
Price should not be an issue, and the tent is really not too expensive, which means that it can be afforded by beginners exploring the world of camping. The tent is also really lightweight with the materials used for the construction, but it might lack a little when it comes to the durability factor. Still, we would recommend this tent to most beginners, but not the experts looking to put a lot of strain on the tent.
If you have multiple people taking a joint backpacking venture through the woods, the Oileus XL Instant Pop Up Tent is one of the best options on the market today. It is enormous and sets up correctly in seconds, but you still need to add some of the attachments. The steel stakes included will stabilize the tent and add to its durability.
With a ripstop diamond-patterned construction, the tent is extra durable and features a waterproof polyester coating to ensure that you are fully protected from the conditions. You can also turn the windows into a rainfly if you decide to have that extra little bit of protection outside the tent. This saves you from buying a new rainfly.
As with many of the others, we found the 2 doors to be a great feature. This makes it much easier for you to access the tent without causing too much disturbance to anyone. However, the best feature for us is the amount of mesh that has been added. Even the skylight can be opened for added breathability when used with the mesh from the windows.
The tent is functional, but it might be a little too large for some people. Beginners should also understand that you need to help with the setup, which is indicated in the instruction manual. The manufacturer also recommends adding a tarp to keep the bottom of the tent protected from damage and rain.
For a 6-person tent, it is actually affordable to buy. Not many people might consider it for lightweight and effortless trips, but for those longer stints, the tent should be really sufficient and keep you covered in all conditions. This tent is ideal for those looking for something larger and more durable.
If you and a couple of mates plan to camp at the festival grounds and have some fun, the FiveJoy Instant Pop-up Tent is one of the best options you can consider choosing. It is also designed from PU-coated polyester, and the seams have been designed to be fully waterproof in all wet weather conditions.
Much like many of the other tents, this one is versatile. The windows offer loops that you can use to turn them into a rainfly for added protection. Additionally, the mesh should keep out any bugs or other insects that you don’t like to have in the bed. We also found the hang loops perfect for those looking to hang the power source or lights.
As you might have noticed, most of the pop-up tents we choose have the double door feature. This feature is really comfortable, and it allows you to have complete privacy when exiting and entering from either side. It is also worth noting that fiberglass is used to construct the poles to keep the overall weight down to a bare minimum.
A tent footprint or a tarp is recommended for this tent when you know the conditions will be wet. This should keep the bottom from becoming soaked and offer you more durability as well. Some users have also noted that it can be rather hard to pack up once you are done. However, we have seen that with some practice, this does become a little easier to do.
The tent is a little more expensive than some of the others we have seen, but this should not deter you from buying it. If you are serious about great quality, the tent does stand out for excellent durability. While we won’t recommend it for backpacking long distances, it perfect for those longer stay camping trips.
We have listed this unique pop-up tent specifically for backpacking in dorms and looking for something slightly different. Designed from durable materials, this tent-like object will perfectly fit over your bed, and it can be closed to ensure that you have the optimal amount of privacy needed.
The pop-up tent can also be opened on both sides, making it possible for anyone to exit without frustrating or disturbing the other person when they sleep. You find a window on each end, which enables you to have some ventilation on warmer days. The addition of mesh should keep out any bugs or creatures that could be in your way.
Once you are done with the pop-up tent, it can be folded and stored with relative ease. We also found the color to be quite perfect, and it definitely reduces the light from the outside. You still might need to add a tarp or a tent footprint to ensure that it is perfectly protected from wet weather conditions. You also need to add your own mattress.
On the inside, it is not that big. The tent is not designed for you to have some fun and move around a lot inside, but rather for sleeping and giving you the best possible comfort. It would be best if you also were sure to check the dimensions of the size that you are buying. These tents tend to be pretty large and often even too large for smaller beds.
We have found this little tent bed ideal for the kids to potter outside on warm summer days. You could take this camping with you, but it is not recommended. It is important to note that the weight of the mattress and your belongings is the only thing holding the tent down, so you cannot use it in windy conditions.
The price could be an issue for the features that you get. Compared to some of the other self-standing tents, this one tends to be a little weak in the features department. However, if you need to have your own privacy and section off a certain area, this could be a perfect investment. With the right mattress and bed, you should not need to worry about any discomfort.
Serious adventurers will definitely find some love for the Gazelle pop-up tent. It is a Portable Camping Hub Tent. The tent pops up to be ready in just under 90-seconds, but you still need to make a couple of additions to ensure that it is fully supported and stable on the ground. With a hub-like shape, you should have more than enough protection from the elements and room on the inside.
The tent also includes a rainfly that has been specifically designed for the model, and it fits like the perfect match. You can also remove the floor if you want to use it on the top as protection at your party, giving you the best when it comes to versatility. We love the durable polyester design, and it is capable of withstanding most of the elements with ease.
While it is really stable and simple to set up, you still need to put in a little work to integrate the poles correctly. The breakdown process takes a bit more time, but you will master this, and you will speed it up as you continue using the tent. Most users can have it set up in under 90-seconds without any previous experience.
One of the downsides is definitely the weight. The tent might be perfect for 4 people but not ideal for backpacking purposes. If you are using it for camping and you are traveling by car, it should be fine. It is also worth noting that the design does not really allow for much privacy on the inside, and the beds might be a little squeezed together.
As a durable and elite tent, you can expect to pay a little more than others. However, this is definitely for a good cause, and we would recommend it to the avid outdoorsmen to enjoy. You might not yet utilize all of the features as a beginner, but you will eventually start to as you get used to the tent and the mechanics.
What You Should Look For When Buying A Pop-Up Tent:
Now that you have seen what we have picked, you might be wondering how we picked them and which features were the most important. To ensure that you always buy the best tent for your needs, we have compiled a list of the top features. These features should not only help you with a pop-up tent but also work for your conventional tents.
The size for us is one of the most important features to consider. It will dictate the number of people you can squeeze into the tent and use the tent to store your luggage. The price is also dependant on the size, and you should consider buying a tent that meets all your size needs. There is no used to waste money on a large tent if you will not be using it.
Interestingly, it would help if you also kept in mind that three people should only use a 4-person tent for the sake of comfort. However, if you won’t spend much time in the tent when you are out backpacking, the 4-person tent is perfect for 4 people.
When it comes to the overall size, height is also significant. We understand that you will not be standing in the tent, but that extra little bit of size is always beneficial to have. All of the tents we have selected include the overall dimensions when it has been set up. This makes it easier to see if the tent will work for you.
Materials play a huge role in the durability aspect of the tent. Should you choose something like canvas, the weight will be much heavier, but you have much more durability. Nylon is a lightweight material but can easily catch fire, and polyester might not be as durable, but it lowers the tent’s weight and cost. Depending on the use and where you will be going with your tent, you should keep the materials in mind.
Another factor many people forget about is the temperature and this is also regulated by the materials. Canvas is once again the top material as it has much better heat retention. We recommend deciding on the purpose for buying a tent and what you will be doing with it. This should give you a clear indication of which tent is the best option for your needs.
Much like normal tents, the pop-up tent is also available in a wide variety of different shapes. The shape plays a massive role in helping you get what you are looking for. If you are not quite sure what each shape does, we have done some research. Here is a small breakdown of each shape and the intended purpose:
- A-frame: The A-frame is one of the most common tent choices you could make. It might be a little heavier, but the taller design enables you to store more things. However, these tents are generally quite large and recommended for large families or groups.
- Dome: The dome shape is not as large, and it is also much more wind resistant. These tents are generally quite small, and they have only a little bit of packing space. If you are only 2 people or need something lightweight for backpacking, this is the tent to go with.
- Geodesic: Geodesic tents can be the perfect fit for those who love to have some extra coverage. These tents are much similar to the dome tent, but you can set up a rainfly with extra attachments. However, they also tend to be a little heavier and only best for camping.
- Umbrella: While there are not many umbrella pop-up tents, they are still the perfect option for those with larger families. These tents offer a lot of extra standing room, and they can make life easier if you do have many things that need to be stored. If you are an avid camper, this will be one of the types to consider.
When searching for the ideal type of tent, you should also note why you are buying it. Friends and family might join you, and this requires a larger tent. In addition, the tents might all be pop-up types, but they will need to have a little additional setup work if you choose a larger option.
No matter which product you choose in life, we all have a certain brand that we are loyal to or are drawn to. When you buy outdoor gear, you might have a brand in mind, but it is also important to do some diligent research about the brand. Brands with good reputations will go out of their way to ensure that you get a great product.
Since these brands like Coleman have a reputation to protect, you will also find much better warranties and customer support to be on par. Nevertheless, you can always give a new brand a go and see how their equipment might benefit you. New brands are always breaking into the market, and from time to time, they do offer top-quality products.
When you think of a pop-up tent, you think of something light that you can easily carry for miles. This is definitely one of the reasons why many people choose the pop-up tent as well. When you search for a new tent, you should keep the weight and the packed dimensions in mind, especially if you plan on backpacking with the tent.
We recommend not going over the 8-pound mark for backpackers if you need a large tent for around 4 people. 5-pounds should be more than enough for those in need of a smaller 2-person tent. It is essential to find the perfect balance ratio between quality and weight. You don’t want a lightweight tent that won’t last.
Pricing and Warranties:
If you have read the materials section, we have already touched on the price, and it is definitely related to the size and the materials used. In general, your pop-up tents aren’t too expensive, and this why many people choose them. As we have also mentioned, you should not buy something too large, or you will only be wasting money and space.
The warranty is great to have, and even though most of them are limited to a couple of years, this will still give you some peace of mind. Should the product not live up to your expectations, you have the ability to ask for a repair or a replacement. The warranty is also great for when you experience some frustrating leaks that should not be there.
Last but certainly not least, several things go into making a great tent. The protection is not limited to durability, but you need to ensure a PU coating and waterproof base have also been added. Having these two additions can help you withstand most of the elements with much more ease. Some tents also offer fire protection, but polyester has a decent reputation for withstanding a little bit of fire.
Mesh is one of those things you expect to find in your tent. It is generally added already and can make a massive difference. The mesh will keep out any unwanted creatures, and it allows you to keep the doors and the windows open. Since most people prefer camping in the hot summer season, you can make good use of the ventilation to cool you down.
Finally, the tarp or rainfly is an excellent addition, and finding a specific one for your tent is often not that easy. Rain flies are predicated on the size and the shape of the tent. Those with oddly shaped spheres might make it hard for you to find the ideal tarp. If your tent does give you the rainfly added to the deal, it is definitely a great option to consider.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Scouring the web, we found that many people still have a few unanswered questions, and they are struggling to find the answer. To help you understand a little more and perhaps even answer a couple of your questions, we have isolated the top questions that many people have. Here are a few things that you might be wondering about.
What is the difference between a conventional tent and a pop-up tent?
This is probably the first question on most beginners’ minds when they are looking to buy a new tent. The difference is quite significant, and you have the ability to set up your tent much easier now. The pop-up tent is smaller and lighter, and it simply pops up in an instance when you release it. We have seen tents that will set themselves up in under 30-seconds.
The conventional tent is the traditional way to go, which puts you in full control of the setup. Yes, it might take a little longer, but this only ensures that everything is set up correctly. Storing things like your camera is much easier with these tents, and they should offer you more storage. However, the drag of carrying all the bits and pieces might be enough to discourage many campers.
Are pop-up tents hard to pack up?
Occasionally, these tents might be a little tricky to fold back into the bag, which many beginners have a problem with. However, as you get more and more used to doing it, you will find some tips and tricks that could significantly simplify the process. As a rule of thumb, we recommend that you try popping up the tent once you receive it and play with it for a while before attempting to pack it up. This should be the perfect test run for the big camping day.
Is there a difference between camping and backpacking tents?
While all backpacking tents can be used for camping, not all camping tents can be used for backpacking. The backpacking tents are a little lighter, making them much easier to carry around for longer distances. However, they are also smaller, and you won’t be able to add as many things to the tent as you might like.
Nevertheless, any avid backpacker will understand the importance of light packing, and this means that a smaller tent, like the best pop-up camping tent, is great for backpacking. They are much more suitable now that the tents are available in larger sizes, whilst the weight is kept to a minimum.
Are they all waterproof?
One of the intended goals of any manufacturer is to make the tent resistant to weather conditions. However, this does not always go to plan, and you might occasionally have a couple of leaks to deal with. Fortunately, many sealing products are available at affordable prices, and we generally buy them for the seams.
With a couple of years of backpacking and camping experience, we can tell you that it is better to be safe than sorry. Nothing is more frustrating than dealing with a downpour of rain and not having any real protection. It is also wise to invest in a rainfly or a tarp for better protection and to help guide the rainfall ways from your tent. There are numerous ways to waterproof your tent as well.
Why should you buy a tent footprint?
No matter which tent you have, the tent footprint is an essential part of the setup. It is generally placed underneath the tent, and it exceeds the size as well. The purpose of the footprint is to keep the floor from being soaked. Should your floor be soaked, it becomes harder to keep all the things placed on the floor dry as well.
If you don’t feel like buying a specific tent footprint, the tarp can also make a huge difference. It is versatile and can be placed overhead or underneath. Those looking for the best element protection will have one overhead and one for the tent to stand on – And it makes cleaning the tent afterward much easier and less of a drag.
The pop-up tent is one of the most innovative inventions that have been made for outdoor enthusiasts, and it does make a massive difference. Whether you are a beginner or an expert in the field of the outdoors, we would recommend each one of these tents for you to meet your specific needs. We have put a lot of effort into testing and researching to find out which ones are the best whilst also keeping an eye on the budget.
We want to thank you for reading this article and encourage you to comment if you have any other questions. Let us know if you think we might have missed any of your favorite options and how they have worked for you to improve your camping experience. We look forward to reading a couple of these comments.
Jean lives in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa. He is an outdoor enthusiast with years of experience reviewing gear. Jean holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from North-West University.