11 Best Pop Up Tents – Are They Any Good?

By Emma

We’ve concluded that the OT QOMOTOP 4 Person Pop up Tent to be the best pop up tent.

We reached this decision after doing the tedious research for you. Meanwhile, your decision is as simple and quick as…well, assembling your new pop up tent! Yeah, they’re that fast.

You think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. A lot of pop up tents spring fully into shape the moment you unzip its case.

If you’re not familiar with the world of pop up tents, you may not know how to choose one. So we dug through reviews, articles, and long lists of product specs to bring you our top recommendations for pop up tents.

Best overall: OT QOMOTOP 4 Person Pop up Tent

Best pop up tents for 1-2 people:

Best pop-up/instant tents for 3-4 people – basic:

Best pop-up/instant tents for 3-4 people – luxury:

Best pop-up/instant tents for 4-7 people: 

You may be saying, “wait, that’s a lot of tents! What are the differences? How do I pick one?” Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with this buyer’s guide, where we also explain why we selected these particular tents.

OT QOMOTOP 4 Person Pop up Tent

Best for: car campers of 4-6 looking for a budget-friendly option that still manages to be quite spacious; $$

One of the nice things about the OT QOMOTOP 4 Person Pop up Tent is that when it advertises a 4 person capacity….they actually mean it! No more buying a tent an extra size up.

With a 9.5×7’ floor plan, that’s more than enough room to house a small group of friends for a car camping adventure. One user even decided to include a dog! This tent easily fit a queen bed, the large German Shepherd, with spare room for gear.

With 4 windows and a large mesh door, you get flawless ventilation. And even when weather forces you to zip up, you don’t feel stuffy thanks to the 2 additional roof vents.

Speaking of weather, this guy withstood tropical climate rains without leaking. Meanwhile, it knocked out the competition! 

During a storm that brought 20mph winds, a camper tested the OT QUOMOTOP against a similar (and way more expensive) competitor’s tent. The competitor’s tent was flattened by the wind while this one held strong.

For interior storage, you get two small gear pockets. This is great for your small items. Plus, it’s equipped with a cord access port for charging your devices if needed.

That said, the biggest flaw with this tent is that the material isn’t suited for prolonged sun exposure. If you try to sit inside while in the full sun, the inside heats up to uncomfortable temperatures. Thus, beach camping with this tent is basically eliminated.

Pros:

  • Actually fits the 4 people as advertised; spacious 9.5×7’
  • Roomy headroom of over 4’ means you won’t feel cramped; sit up in a comfortable camp chair and relax
  • Feels durable and heavy duty to the touch; not chincy materials, especially at this price
  • Charging port included

Con:

  • Not the tent for beach camping; material isn’t good in the sun, so pick a shady campsite or risk getting extremely warm inside

Quechua Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Seconds Fresh & Black 

Best for: groups of up to 2 who enjoy the easy camping life: hassle-free tent setup and lazy mornings sleeping in; $$

Do you enjoy catching some extra Zzzz’s on your camping trips? If you don’t appreciate your natural biology waking you at first light, thwart it with the Quechua Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent 2 Seconds Fresh & Black.  

Similar to blackout curtains, the special fabric inside this tent blocks out almost all the light, even in full sun. It’s not 100% dark, but definitely enough that users have been able to comfortably sleep in far past sunrise.

But what about the capacity? Is it comfortable? Although it’s billed as a three person tent, most people agree it’s more suitable for two and their gear. This makes sense when you consider the 6×6’ floor plan – it’s just a little wider than a standard queen bed.

If you want to take the Quechua Pop Up Tent out in the rain, rest assured. It’s been reported by multiple users that it’ll keep you dry. This is to be expected, since it has a 2000mm waterproof rating. Not to mention, it’s PU coated for extra protection.

This tent doesn’t offer the most stellar performance when it comes to insulation. Users say it’s nice and cool in the shade, but if you pick a campsite that gets full sun, the inside gets toasty.

Pros:

  • Blackout fabric blocks sunlight and lets you sleep longer
  • Decently light weight of 11lbs makes it packable into a short-distance campsite; still best for car camping
  • Equipped with a vestibule for gear storage; vestibule is also floored thanks to the extended footprint, which is not often common 
  • Mid-level waterproof rating has been reported to hold up in rainfall without leaks

Cons

  • Not the best for the heat, especially if in direct sun; it gets toasty inside, so pick a shadier campsite
  • Packed diameter is 2.75’ which could be a bit bulky

Abco Tech Pop Up Tent

Best for: a camper on a budget who wants to experience an ultra-fast setup for quick outings without a substantial financial commitment; $

The Abco Tech Pop Up Tent is a good value for anyone looking for a lightweight, instant-setup (like, under 2 seconds instant) and budget-friendly option. Perhaps you aren’t 100% sold on pop up tents yet, and you want to snag a low-commitment cheap one for an upcoming beach trip.

It’s also great as a kid’s first tent and for backyard camping. Get the kiddos into nature with their very own “outdoors fort!” And once again, because it goes for such an attractive price, you can rest easy even if it does get beat up.

The Abco Tech Pop Up is perfect for beach trips! With its lightning-fast setup and meager weight, it’s ideal for throwing in a car (or strapping to a bike, if you can figure out how!) and hitting the sand. 

This tent gives you a 7×4’ floor plan, which is more than enough room for one. But it might be tight for two. Remember though, that for a tent of this weight and price, it’s not too surprising that you’re going to be trading away some living space.

One of the larger downsides is that people say it doesn’t do so well in the rain. No available waterproof specs coupled with chincy and leaky zippers means that it’s best to use the Abco in good conditions.

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly; great as an introduction to pop up tents, or a “beater” tent
  • Lightweight at 3.7lbs; it’s a breeze to transport to your next campsite
  • Plenty of room for one person; 7×4’
  • UV fabric protection so it will last under the sun without the fabric degrading rapidly

Cons:

  • At this price point, not the hardiest
  • Poor performance in rain and other bad weather conditions; use this for fair weather camping

ZOMAKE Pop Up Tent

Best for: groups up to 2 who want beautiful beach views on a budget; $

If you’re a beach camper, the ZOMAKE Pop Up Tent was made for you. Crafted specifically for beach-goers, I was blown away by how well thought-out the details were. This is especially true for such a budget-friendly tent.

To start with, the special anti-UV fabrics mean this tent was designed to handle hours of full, beating sun without degrading. Even those sensitive to the sun have said they can sit inside and feel perfectly cool and protected.

Plus, if you’re bringing the kiddos, the hardy 210D fabric can withstand their roughhousing and excitement from being on the shore.

Maybe best of all, there’s a lot of mesh. And I mean a lot, which is not something I’ve seen a lot of on pop up tents. The door is 100% made with mesh. The walls have two windows…or maybe the two enormous windows have two walls. The windows take up about 80% of wall space!

All this means that if you unroll the fabric covers, you’ll get outstanding panoramic views of the seashore. You even get flawless stargazing, thanks to the mesh window in the roof!

Pros:

  • Amazing views from the mesh windows, door, and roof window can hardly be stressed enough
  • UV protection is suitable for those who may sunburn easily; escape the heat inside this tent
  • UV protected fabrics also mean that this tent will withstand sun without degrading
  • Although you only get one door, all the windows mesh can be rolled up with the fabric; bam! You now have 2 more doors!
  • 8×6’ interior is quite spacious for small groups

Cons:

  • Fits 3 sleeping pads if needed, but they will touch edge to edge with no room for gear; best for groups up to 2

MOON LENCE Instant Pop Up Tent Family Camping Tent 4-5 Person

Best for: groups of 3-4 looking for a surprisingly affordable, decently lightweight, and versatile tent for a variety of camping trips; $

If you need a do-it-all tent for fair weather camping with your buddies, check out the MOON LENCE Instant Pop Up Tent 4-5 Person. It could be considered light enough for hikers. Yet with its nearly 10×10’ floor plan, it’s comfortable enough for spending time inside.

As far as setup goes, it’s straightforward right out of the box. In fact, most people don’t even bother with the instructions. 

Regarding construction, the polyester fabrics feel durable and hardy. The zippers are worth mentioning too. Unlike a lot of tents I’ve come across, multiple users have praised the smooth action of zipping the windows shut. No more snagging zippers in fabric!

The windows and door are covered with both mesh and a fabric panel that zips closed during bad weather if needed. A downside to this is that if everything is zipped up, there’s little ventilation inside. Of course, you can always just leave the windows open. 

This shouldn’t be a huge issue if you’re not camping in crazy weather. But stray too far outside of that temperature “sweet spot” and you’ll probably get stuffy inside.

“Okay, ventilation during bad weather isn’t the best,” you may be saying. “But how about overall waterproof performance?” I’m pleased to say that this tent checks out. One particular camper said that it held up through intermittent storms that lasted for two weeks straight.

Pros:

  • Quality zippers dont snag and feel smooth
  • Fabric panels on windows to open or close; provides ventilation
  • Spacious and fits a queen bed or a full bed plus a dog bed and room to spare
  • Weatherproof enough to stay dry in moderate storms

Cons:

  • If the windows and doors are shut, there isn’t the best airflow
  • Only 1 door for a multi person tent

Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent

Best for: 2-3 people who want a basic, no-frills tent that’s ideal for beginners; $$

If you’re in the market for a basic, beginner-friendly, no-nonsense tent, then have a look at the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent.

At first glance, this tent struck me as nothing special. But looks can be deceiving! Inside, there’s more space than it looks. 

The 9×6’ floor provides enough room for a queen sized bed. However, you probably don’t want to stick 4 people in here; 2 or 3 would ensure there’s room to spare for your gear.

Weighing 7lbs, it’s a perfectly manageable weight for most trips. But like most pop up tents, it folds down into a large disc, so it won’t fit in a backpack.

I was impressed at its true freestanding nature. If the weather is mild, you can ditch the stakes for an even easier setup.

For bad weather, this tent is equipped with taped seams that have the added bonus of being inverted. This helps prevent water from leaking in, since the vulnerable seam faces inward, rather than the exposed exterior.

The rainfly is optional, which is awesome for a pop up tent! Not only does this provide an extra layer of protection in the rain, but it helps with ventilation too. The two mesh windows have room to allow air to pass through and out the fly, meaning you won’t feel stuffy even with the fly on.

That said, it might be wise to bring a footprint along for the floor. With its 68D fabric, it’s a little delicate. Users have even said it feels thinner to the touch.

One of the biggest and universal flaws of the Coleman 4 Person is its zipper. Due to the tension exerted on the tent, especially when it’s staked out, the zipper is difficult to unlatch. Don’t worry too much – apparently, ditching the stakes helps. 

Pros:

  • Optional rain fly is great for ventilation and waterproofing; good breathability with fly on or off
  • Spacious 9×6’ floor; 3.5’ interior height results in taller campers feeling comfortable
  • Taped and inverted seams keep water out
  • Relatively light 7lb weight

Cons:

  • Bad zipper, especially when tent is staked down
  • Delicate 68D floor fabric; consider using a footprint to protect your tent floor

HUI LINGYANG 6 Person Pop Up Tent

Best for: groups of 3-4 looking for a roomy, hardy tent, or a single camper who needs an outdoor “base camp;” $$

The HUI LINGYANG 6 Person Pop Up Tent is a solid option for smaller groups of campers who want a workhorse tent suitable for most functions.

First, let’s address the elephant in the room. Although it’s advertised as a 6 person tent, most people resoundingly disagree on that point. It’s suitable for 3 or 4 people at most.

But on to some good news. At first, I was worried about ventilation because the inner tent is made of the same 190T polyester as the attached rainfly. 

However, my fears were put to rest when I noticed the multiple ground vents and back wall vents. The best part is they all function even when the tent is “closed up” during inclement weather. 

It has impressive waterproof stats, PU coated fabric, and taped seams. It’s earned these ratings too. 

This tent withstood a tropical storm, including sustained 20+mph winds and gusts of 55mph. Some professional photographers and tour guides even use this tent as their outdoor office, and happily sat inside while the storms raged.

Only the tiniest bits of water managed to sneak in, and then only at the very edges. This is most likely caused by the sub-par window closures, which can flap around in heavy wind. Adding extra velcro would likely fix this.

For those of you who can’t bear to be without a device, the HUI LINGYANG is electronic friendly. If you’re at a campground offering amenities like external power, you can run a charging cord into your tent through the dedicated cord port.

Pros:

  • Double-layer construction great for waterproofing; space between the inner tent and the attached rainfly makes it less likely for rain to leak in 
  • Withstood heavy winds without any issues
  • Superb ventilation
  • Large vestibule can accommodate an extra person if needed
  • Electronic port for charging a device

Cons:

  • Not a 6 person tent, despite being labeled as such; suitable for 3 or 4
  • Only 1 door; not the best since multiple people will be sharing the space

OT QOMOTOP Tents, 6/8/10 Person 60 Sec Set Up Camping Tent

Best for: groups from 3-5 (depending on which model you select) who anticipate spending a decent bit of time inside the tent; $$

Maybe you like lounging around inside your tent. But perhaps you’ve ended up roasting inside a poorly insulated tent, or feeling muggy and humid from poor ventilation.

If that sounds true, we suggest the OT QOMOTOP Tents, 6/8/10 Person 60 Sec Set Up Camping Tent

It comes with a separate rainfly that can be removed to stargaze through the mesh roof. The fly only partly covers the tent. 

I was concerned at first about blowing rain, but then I saw that the mesh windows and doors can be fully closed with a fabric covering.

This tent stood through a squall with 30mph winds. At the same time, nearby tents were collapsing and flying across the campground. This surprised me, considering that cabin tents aren’t usually the best in the wind.

There were numerous other wet occasions where campers awoke to puddles outside, but the tent floor was dry. This is likely due to the PU taped seams, along with the bathtub floor that provided a secondary failsafe by keeping the seams elevated.

When it’s storming and you’re stuck inside, you won’t feel stuffy. The tent is equipped with multiple vents. More importantly, campers have confidently and consistently said these vents do in fact keep the air circulating comfortably throughout.

Now all that said, here’s a definite word of caution regarding size. One particular user said that he tried fitting 8 people inside the 8 person model, and failed. It was way too tight. 

In reality, the 8 person model will hold a queen bed comfortably with spare room for gear. Therefore, try halving the number of whichever model you pick – so the 8 person is truly best for 4.

Pros:

  • Tough in the weather when others were uprooted; held through 30mph winds
  • Stayed dry even when the ground outside was soaked
  • Superior ventilation even when the windows and doors are closed

Cons: 

  • True sleeping capacity is actually half of what’s advertised; 8 person is best for 4, and so on

Gazelle GT400GR T4 Family 4 Person Capacity Portable Instant Pop Up Outdoor Shelter

Best for: groups of 2-3 looking for a hardy backcountry shelter for base camp; $$$

This unconventional tent may look funny, but guess what? It serves a purpose. 

It’s performed well in extreme weather; one camper even took it out in the desert during the winter. The tent was subjected to 70mph winds but stood fast. This surprised me, as it’s extremely uncommon for cabin tents, whose vertical walls tend to catch the wind.

During setup, the walls “pop out” by pulling on handles attached to each wall. It’s likely that this contributes significantly to the wind resistance.

Speaking of setup, it was reported to be quick and easy. Simply take it out of its case and extend the poles to their proper height. Then pop out the walls, and presto! Instant tent. 

With 8×8’ feet of space, that’s plenty for groups under 4. This tent is rated for 4 people, but multiple users have complained that the manufacturer overestimates the size.

One nice thing is that you don’t need guy lines. As such, you can technically get away without stakes either, but it’s considered good practice to stake it anyway.

The tent floor is removable, which I thought was an interesting construction decision. Yes, it means you can clean it easily, or convert this tent to a shady canopy. But the downside is that bugs can get in easier. So if you’re the type who hates bugs, maybe look at a different model.

Pros:

  • Durable under bad weather; strong wind resistance
  • Spacious 6’5 peak height
  • Material quality has received positive reactions; consistent reports of it feeling strong and of quality to the touch
  • Windows are mesh with a fabric layer; they can be zipped or left open for ventilation
  • Lots of interior storage for gear; removable gear loft, 2 nets, and 4 pockets, one per wall

Cons:

  • Removable floor means bugs can get in
  • Can get hot during the summer, not the best ventilation due to the tiny vents; leave the windows open
  • Doors are a trip-hazard; the lip comes up high and is easy to stumble over
  • Expensive price will be a turn-off to most

Cinch Pop Up Tent 

Best for: those who need to keep their devices charged and want a premium and novel solution; $$$

As a glamper or car camper, we all know you’re probably not after the minimal, unplugged experience of a backpacker. Maybe you’ve wanted a way to keep your electronics charged while glamping, but have to settle for carrying extra batteries – or worse, letting them go dead.

Well, the new-kid-on-the-block Cinch pop up tent could be exactly what you’re looking for. Why? You can charge your devices using a USB solar powered port!

That said, I admit I was more than a little disappointed to discover that the aforementioned solar panels are considered “extra accessories.” That is, you have to buy them separately. 

If you’re willing to spring for the extra cost, the small (22” in length) solar panels are stored in a special roof compartment. From there, they connect to a USB cable that drops through a port inside the tent. Voila! Instant charging!

And even if you don’t want to buy the panels, the tent does still come with collapsible solar powered lanterns. These are great for illuminating late nights with friends that you don’t want to end.

Speaking of friends, the Cinch Pop up tent houses up to 4 people. With a 7.6’ sq ft floor plan, this is definitely feasible. And get this – you get four doors. Now each person gets their own convenient entry and exit.

Not to mention, each person gets their own unrollable foot mat. This is useful for changing your boots outside on a floor while still not traipsing the outdoors into the main tent. 

Okay so that’s all the “crazy” perks…what about the bare necessities like weatherproofing? 

Well, this tent has some impressive waterproof stats. The bathtub floor is rated at a whopping 12,000mm. The main wall fabric is mid-range rated and composed of tough polyethylene fabric to keep the rain out.

Pros:

  • Optional solar power capability for charging electronics
  • Four doors with four foot mats
  • Impressive stats for bad weather keeps you dry in downpours
  • Two layer doors; one is mesh and one is fabric, and you can adjust them for the perfect amount of sun, shade, and ventilation

Cons:

  • Solar sold separately
  • Expensive for your standard glamper

CORE 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent – 14′ x 9′

Best for: families or groups of 4-7 seeking a truly large, luxurious, yet easily assembled car camping tent for mild weather; $$$

The CORE 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent – 14′ x 9′ is perfect for groups of friends or families who want one of the more spacious instant tents available. It can be the go-to solution for just about any kind of car camper. 

As the name indicates, you get a whopping 14×9 sq ft inside. That’s enough room to comfortably house a large queen bed, several cots, and still have enough room for large pieces of luggage.

Plus, it comes with a room divider that can be put up or taken down whenever you want. You can separate the tent into two rooms, say one for the kids and one for the parents. Or maybe you just want some temporary privacy from your glamping friends.

Considering it’s so large, it’s not a surprise that it comes in at 33lbs. This isn’t terrible for a tent of this size, but it’s definitely too heavy for anything besides hauling it out of your car trunk.

Everyone who has used this tent raves about the easy setup. Apparently, the manufacturer wasn’t exaggerating when they bill it as hassle-free. 

Basically, the entire tent frame is connected. All the poles meet at three spots on the roof. So all you do is lock the corners in place as if you’re raising an umbrella, and then extend the poles to full height. It’s a snap!

A small yet noteworthy annoyance is that the two main zippers at the door sometimes leak under heavy rain. This is probably not a dealbreaker, but it would be smart to store your stuff away to ensure it stays dry.

Pros:

  • Super spacious, the largest on our list; 14×9’ sq ft
  • Easy, quick umbrella-like setup; consistent feedback on ease of use, even from first-timers
  • Removable room divider for instant separation and privacy
  • Large mesh pocket on the wall for tons of visible storage of your smaller items; never lose track of them again!

Cons:

  • Two zippers at the door tend to leak 
  • Mesh roof means that sometimes it can get a bit cold inside

How to Choose the Best Pop Up Tent

Do you ever get frustrated when pitching your tent? If so, then consider trying a pop up tent.

Pop up tents can be assembled in as little as 5 seconds. This makes them perfect for camping beginners or anyone who doesn’t want the hassle of standard tents.

If this is your first introduction to the world of pop up tents, you may be a little confused. Or maybe you just need some guidance on figuring out which pop up tent is best for you. That’s why we put together this handy buyer’s guide. 

Let’s take a look at some things to consider when shopping for your first pop up tent.

Setup and Type

Since a fast and easy setup is the primary selling point of a pop up tent, this is obviously an important feature. 

First, let’s get something out of the way: you may see pop up tents being referred to as instant tents. Surprisingly enough, there’s a difference between the two, even though they’re used interchangeably to describe any tent that goes up really fast.

Instant tents come with the poles pre-attached to the tent fabric. Then you unfold the poles and snap them together. Bam! Your tent is assembled! The CORE 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent is a great example of an instant tent.

This stroke of tent-building genius eliminates the tedious process of figuring out which sleeve is supposed to house which pole. Or even worse, getting the poles blocked up inside the sleeves.

Pop up tents like the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent often have the poles built into the tent itself. So in some tents, you won’t see the poles at all. 

The poles are extremely flexible and are typically coiled into a circular shape. When you open the disc-shaped carrying case, the tent flies open.

Both instant and pop up tents can be truly freestanding and not require guy lines at all, like the ZOMAKE Pop Up Tent. Others will still need ropes to fully stake out the fly, like the OT QOMOTOP 4 Person Pop up Tent. So if you’re truly dedicated to escaping ropes for good, that might not be the tent for you!

Long story short: if you see a round, dome tent that packs into a disc, that’s likely a pop up tent. 

Meanwhile, a lot of cabin tents (square and boxy) are instant tents. There are trade-offs and benefits to each type, which we’ll look at next.

Shape

Dome tents are an especially popular tent shape for a few reasons. They’re easy to pack down small, and they offer a good tradeoff between how heavy they are and how much living space they provide. 

They’re even more common as pop up tents. Their already circle-ish shape lends itself well to folding up in a coil, giving it the required tension it needs to spring out of its case. 

Domes are also great for withstanding wind, due to the reduced surface area. 

But one drawback would be that unless you’re getting a larger tent like the HUI LINGYANG 6 Person Pop Up Tent, dome tents can feel a little small. Their sloping walls offer less headspace except in the very center of the tent.

Cabin tents are the next most common tent shape for instant tents. They don’t have that same circular structure as a dome, so they usually aren’t built to pop up.

This shape provides a lot more living space. They’re often found on larger car camping tents, like the OT QOMOTOP Tent. This tent’s vertical walls means you’ll have ample room to walk around in, rather than being restricted to one spot. 

On the downside, cabin tents aren’t as great in heavy winds. So if you’re thinking of snapping open an instant tent for a particularly blustery beach day, think again.

Size

Another extremely crucial factor to consider is the size and purpose of your pop up tent. Just like regular tents, pop up tents come in multiple sizes, each geared towards a particular use.

How many people will be using this tent? Is it just you? Or do you want to go glamping with a group of pals on the beach or tailgating at the next game? 

A tent like the Abco Tech Pop Up Tent can fit two sleeping pads, which are each about 25 inches wide. Although the Abco would be a bit tight, it would still offer suitable room for you and your tentmate without feeling too constricting. Or if you wanted to go it alone, you’d have all that extra space that the second pad would take up for gear storage.

If you choose a large 8-person tent for your next car camping trip, keep in mind that a big tent will be heavier and might require a helping hand. In other words, if you try to pitch it by yourself, it might not feel so instant.

Weight

Obviously, the bigger the tent you pick, the heavier it will get. This is especially true for pop up and instant tents, since their construction demands that their poles will always be inseparable from the tent.

Why does this matter? Even though most campers carry their tent and poles in one bag together, they have the option of splitting that load. So you could give the poles to your hiking buddy while you carry the main body of the tent.

You don’t get this option with pop up tents because the poles are always connected to the tent. This will make them heavier than a normal tent simply because you can’t split the load among two people if you wanted to.

How heavy do pop up tents get? Well, similar to a regular tent, a car camping tent like the CORE 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent  weighs over 27lbs. That’s way too heavy for lugging anywhere on a long distance except from the trunk of your car. 

Due to their construction, pop up tents aren’t suitable for ultralight backpacking. However, some can still get impressively light, such as the Abco Tech Pop Up Tent, which is 3.7lbs. 

Ventilation

Ventilation refers to a tent’s ability to allow air to flow in and out of the tent. 

We exhale moisture, so if we’re in an enclosed plastic tub condensation builds up on the walls after a while. This can eventually start feeling humid, stuffy, and all-around gross.

Because of the way pop up tents are built, a lot of them will be single-wall construction. This means that unlike tents that come in two pieces (a main tent, often made of breathable mesh, and a rainfly) pop up tents are one piece of fabric. 

All this can lead to pop up tents being less-than stellar in ventilation. To combat this, look for a pop up tent that is equipped with at least two vents. Vents are small gaps in the fabric covered by mesh that allow the air to flow through the tent and reduce stuffiness. 

Weather Protection

In the name of full transparency, pop up tents aren’t really known for outstanding weather protection. That’s because, unlike say, a long-distance backpacker’s tent, they aren’t designed for extended pack trips where weather protection is critical.

Even so, some pop up tents do offer waterproofing and UV protection. This can range from adequate to withstanding downpours and heavy winds.

One of the easiest things to check for is a tent’s waterproof or hydrostatic head rating. This is a measure of how much water the fabric can withstand before becoming saturated and leaking. We would suggest looking for a tent with a rating of 1,200mm and a floor with at least 2,000mm. 

Tent seams are another area where water can potentially seep through. Thus, look for taped seams on the specs. 

Seam taping is a process a tent undergoes at the factory. During this process, a thin layer of polyurethane is laid down under the seams to protect the needle holes from leaking.

Materials

Popup tents have to be hardy enough to withstand the stress of snapping into shape repeatedly. So it’s common to see these tents constructed with polyester fabric. Polyester is a material known for its toughness and durability.

Occasionally, popup tents are made with the much more common fabric, nylon. Nylon is great for lightweight tents, and is often the go-to for backpacking tents. 

For instance, one reason why the Abco Tech Pop Up Tent is able to be so light (the lightest on our list) is because it’s made of nylon.

Most pop up tent poles will be made with fiberglass. This is an extremely “elastic” and bendable material. It certainly has to be in order to repeatedly withstand popping into place. As such, you can exert a lot of force on them, as you’ll discover when it’s time to re-pack your tent.

One of fiberglass’ weaknesses is that it doesn’t hold up so well in very cold climates. Fiberglass poles can grow brittle and eventually shatter. 

Just remember that this shouldn’t be an issue for most of you reading this, since it’s unlikely you’ll take a pop up tent for an extreme backpacking expedition.

Instant tents are often equipped with telescopic poles. That is, you slide the joints out like a telescope until they lock into place. 

Telescopic poles are usually heavier and thicker than regular poles. On the positive side, because they’re nested like a telescope, this allows them to be packed down smaller than the disc-shaped frames on pop up tents.

Unique features

Once again, just like standard tents, pop up tents can offer a variety of extra features.

You can usually find small mesh pockets inside a tent. These pockets are great for storing smaller items – a phone, for example – that you need easy access to.

Some pop up tents are equipped with vestibules. These are areas where you can store larger pieces of gear. They’re great for keeping your stuff out of the main living area of the tent, and therefore making it more roomy.

Another cool feature that pop up tents offer is blackout fabric, like the Quechua Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent

Why would you want this? See, tent manufacturers anticipated that glampers and car campers might like to sleep in after a night of fun. This is one well-thought out detail that sets users of pop up tents apart from long distance backpackers who want to be out of their campsite by first light.

Final Verdict

Pop up tents really are an engineering marvel in the camping world. Out of all these, our top recommendation is the OT QOMOTOP 4 Person Pop up Tent.

It really is the best of all worlds in one package. Take it for a spin by yourself for a luxuriously spacious experience. Or go with a friend…or 4! This tent can fit em’ all.

Not only is it spacious, but you get a hardy shelter that can withstand storms and keep you dry.

Meanwhile, it doesn’t price itself out of most people’s budgets. Instead, it’s a cheap to mid-level priced model, making camping fun affordable for anyone.

For all these reasons, we believe that this tent will appeal to groups of many sizes and trip types.

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AUTHOR

My name is Emma, and I’m a city dweller who jumps on every opportunity to get out and enjoy nature! I’ve gone on a number of car camping and backpacking trips over the past few years. I created this site to inspire others to get outside and to make the process easier for you.