Hiking and camping should be fun–not complicated. It’s a time to enjoy the outdoors and escape from the complexity and rushed pace of life. Camping equipment needs to be easy to assemble, functional, and quick to take down and pack away.
Instant camping tents (or popup tents) make it simple for campers and hikers of all skill levels to quickly set up a campsite and enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors instead of struggling to put up a tent.
With so many options available on the market, it may seem challenging to choose the best instant camping tent. Here are some tips and best practices to make the selection process much easier.
General tips and recommendations
Backpackers and hikers should choose a lightweight tent that fits easily in or on their pack. In many cases, the lightweight tents are made from more modern, technologically advances materials and could be a bit more expensive than their heavier counterparts.
Also, consider the size of the hiking or camping group when choosing a tent. There are instant camping tents for two, all the way up to a family of six or more. Allow plenty of room for each person to stretch out their sleeping bag or cot comfortably.
There are several types of instant camping tents to consider. While most are made of weatherproof materials, the construction of the tent walls makes a difference in how waterproof and well-insulated the tent will be.
Single-wall tents offer a single wall to keep out rain and other elements. Double-wall tents wrap the rain fly around a second layer of materials to offer greater protection from bad weather and thermal insulation.
Pros and cons of instant camping tents
One of the most obvious benefits of instant tents is their quick assembly. In many cases, it can take less than ten seconds to put up a tent and just a few minutes to take it down. That quick teardown may come at the cost of portability, however, since instant tents are often heavier and bulkier than other types of camping tents.
Simplicity is another favorite feature for instant tent owners. One simple sleeping structure means less to pack. On the other side of the coin, instant tents may require campers to bring additional weatherproofing materials to remain comfortable in inclement weather or extreme temperatures.
How many people do they sleep comfortably?
Instant camping tents come in a range of sizes–from single-person tents to models that accommodate entire families or groups of six or more. Space is generally measured by how many adults will fit on the floor of the tent with room for their sleeping bags and pillows.
How long does it usually take to put up an instant camping tent?
Even larger, multi-person tents hold true to their name of “instant.” Depending on additional features like rain flaps and screens, it can take just seconds to assemble the tent and stake it down.
What is the easiest tent to set up?
According to instant camping tent reviews, single-room, small model tents are the simplest to assemble, requiring only one person and just a few seconds. Some models only need to be taken out of their case to unfold themselves and return to their fully assembled shape.
Here are four of the best instant camping tents to consider, along with reviews from consumers who have already tried them.
Coleman Sundome Tent
The Coleman Sundome Tent is an all-weather tent that takes less than ten minutes to set up. It’s recommended as an instant camping tent for four but makes a comfortable sleeping and living space for couples or single campers, too. The tent comes in two colors and features a patented Weather Tec floor to keep bugs, rain, and mud outdoors where they belong.
Most of the five-star reviews for this model mention its excellent ability to keep the rain out and keep occupants dry. Some campers report that the ventilated walls allow too much cold air and light to come in since they don’t have zippered flaps to cover them.
Ropoda Portable Pop-up Beach Tent
This lightweight tent is a departure from the usual camping tent. Designed for a day trip to the beach, it unfolds in seconds, offers UV-protection against the sun, and has enough room for two or three people.
Users love how light it is and easy to stow in a beach bag or wagon. They also love the sunshade and tie-downs to keep the tent from blowing away in the wind. Some reviewers had difficulty folding the tent after use and getting it back in the travel case.
Coleman Steel Creek Fast Pitch Dome Tent
This instant camping tent for six is favorite among campers for its separate screened-in room and its watertight rain fly. Assembly takes seven minutes or less and includes color-coded poles to streamline the process.
Users rave about the tent’s ability to keep bugs and bad weather out while letting fresh air and natural light in. Some campers caution that the included stakes are not effective in extremely windy conditions and that the poles and clips may break if not handled and stored carefully.
Ayamaya Pop-Up Tent with Vestibule
Roomy enough for six people, this Ayamaya tent features a separate vestibule for campers to relax or enjoy the fresh air outside of the sleeping area. The tent features a large door and two large ventilation areas, plus four, zippered mesh windows.
Reviewers love the ability to run electricity through the access port. They also report that the tent requires only seconds to assemble and is easy to fold up and put away. Some users report that the tent may leak during extreme downpours and that the material is prone to tearing if it gets snagged on branches or other rough objects.