Best Pop Up Tent For Camping: 5 Instant Tent Reviews

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If you’re relatively new to camping and have no idea how to properly erect a traditional tent, then a pop up camping tent could be for you. These are by enlarge the tents to setup for a novice camper.

Coleman 2 Man pop up tent for camping

They’re great if you’re only an occasional camper, have a festival to go to or perhaps you’re just camping out in the garden over night. Bearing that in mind, we’ve put together a review of five tents to try and figure out which one is the best pop up tent for camping on the market today.

Check out our 5 instant tent reviews below, for those in a hurry see our comparison table below for the pop up tents we really rate.

ProductProduct ImageUnique FeatureRatingPrice
Coleman 2 Person Pop-Up TentQuick setup time with enough room for 13.5 Star RatingCHECK PRICE
URPRO Pop Up TentSpacious enough for 33 Star RatingCHECK PRICE
Hui-Lingyang Instant 4-Person Pop Up Dome TentRoomy, easy to erect and take down5 Star RatingCHECK PRICE
Zenph Automatic Instant Pop Up Waterproof TentMost waterproof pop up tent on review4 Star RatingCHECK PRICE
Gazelle T3 Pop-Up Camping HubPops up in seconds plus you can stand up in this4.5 Star RatingCHECK PRICE

What Should You Consider Before Buying A Pop Up Tent?

Easy set up tents

The clue’s in the name, ‘Pop-up’. Many people purchase this kind of tent purely for the ease of setup. Indeed many buyers of this product won’t be regular campers and the tent might be used for a one off occasion. Perhaps a festival or a single night out camping under the stars.

To be considered a pop up tent we think it should be possible to unpack and get the tent fully up and staked out in less than 1-2 minutes. Some in this review can be fully setup in less than a minute.

Taking the tent down

While some pop up tents score well on the setup time they really suck at being simple to pack away. Particularly difficult are the twisting variety that fit into a more circular type sleeve when packed away. They can be so frustrating until you have the knack.

Part of the reason festival grounds are littered with abandoned tents the morning after is because they’re inherently difficult to pack away!

Size

Will you be camping alone, with friends or a significant other? Most pop up tents on the market are to accommodate 1-4 persons. Yes there are larger models but most are for this group size.

So before buying think carefully about the number of occupants and how much gear you might have to fit in. It’s better to have a tent that’s slightly too large than one that’s too small.

Portability

If you’re camping out in the yard then the pack shape and weight probably won’t worry you too much. However if you’re traveling any distance with the tent then the pack needs to be light and not such a cumbersome shape.

Center Height

Closely related to size is the center height of the tent. A small pop up dome tent with a height tall enough to stand in is a rare thing indeed. More than likely you might be OK to sit up in or at best stoop in. So if you are tall then check the center height specification.

Weight

Pop up tents aren’t strictly backpacking tents but there’s still an expectation for them to be light and compact. You should be looking at tents weighing in the region of 5-9lbs. Do bear in mind that lightness can be at the expense of quality material specification.

Materials

Pop up tents will most likely be made of nylon or polyester. Both are strong and light but have different air flow and waterproof capabilities. You’ll want to check that it’s been given a UV coating to protect against the suns rays. Furthermore that the material has been coated with polyurethane (PU) in the factory. This will provide a reasonable amount of protection in wet weather.

Many of the models below have built in structures generally achieved from fiberglass. This is flexible yet strong and keeps weight down.

Ventilation

Pop up tents are often used during the warmest times of the year, at the height of summer at festivals or sleepovers. This and the fact that they are small can make the interior temperature very warm.

Windows that open or ventilation flaps add to the manufacturing cost of pop up tents. For that reason, manufacturers whom are trying to hit a price point often leave them out. Look for models that include at least basic ventilation flaps.

Also note that if you do give your polyurethane or nylon pop up tent a waterproof treatment you may inadvertently reduce the natural ventilation of the tent material. Be sure to read the manufacturers recommendations on this.

Now, on to the reviews.

1. Coleman 2 Person Pop-Up Tent – Superb setup time but barely fits two people

Total Setup Time30 seconds
Sleeps1-2 People
Shelter Material185T Polyester
PolesFiberglass
Weight6.4lbs
Base Size7 ft. 6 in. x 4 ft. 5 in.

The Coleman Pop-Up Tent has a classic dome shape and features an incredibly short set up time of less than one minute. The tent can sleep up to two people and is very lightweight. There’s also plenty of mesh which keeps the tent highly ventilated at all times. The product dimensions are 27.5 x 1.5 x 27.2 inches.

Sets up quickly and learn the ‘taco method’ to put it away

Arguably the best thing about this tent is the assembly time – it pretty much assembles itself once you unpack it. However, it can be slightly harder to put away, particularly on your first try. There’s a good review on Amazon.com on exactly how to do it using the ‘taco method’. The official video from Coleman below also demonstrates this method.

The tent can easily stand up to light and medium rainfall, so you don’t have to worry about getting wet if there’s a shower. One slight issue is that rainwater can sneak inside the tent when you open the door if the tarp is still speckled with water. One way around this is to shake and rattle the tent sides and roof before undoing zippers.

Only really big enough for one

Price-wise, it costs a reasonable amount for a pop-up tent. It would make an excellent and reasonably priced one-person tent, but if you’re paying for two people you kind of want that extra space, and this tent can’t provide it.

Pros:

  • Very lightweight
  • Fairly waterproof
  • Made of fire retardant material
  • Extremely quick to set up
  • Fly can be removed for star gazing

Cons:

  • Struggle to fit two people but perhaps an adult and a child, just
  • Not great value for money – for a two person tent
  • Round pack shape so no good for a backpacking adventure but fine for the trunk

Product Verdict

If you’re looking for a solo pop-up tent to use for a few days in fairly decent weather, then this could be ideal for you. Furthermore the Coleman Pop Up Tent is reasonably good in light showers so ideal for Spring and Summer use. However, if you need something that will accommodate two adults then this isn’t going to cut it. It’s worth mentioning though that this tent is available in 4 person guise but obviously costs more.

Coleman 2-Person Pop-Up Tent
List Price: $64.99
Price: $69.49
You Save: N/A

 

2. URPRO Automatic Pop Up Tent – A roomy pop up tent good enough for 3

Total Setup Time60 seconds
Sleeps3-4 People
Shelter Material210D Polyester
PolesFiberglass
Weight7.9lbs
Base Size94 in. x 82 in.

This URPRO polyester pop-up tent can be set up instantly and on paper will sleep up to four people. It features double doors and insect proof screen windows, which also help keep the tent ventilated. There’s also the added benefit of interior storage in the form of a pocket that’s great for storing small items such as cell phones or a wallet.

The definition of a pop up tent

First thing’s first, this is the definition of a ‘pop-up’ tent. Once you undo the carry bag straps, you just throw the tent into an open space, and it pops up with ease. But, it’s not so easy to pack away as it can be very strenuous and quite complicated.

The biggest negative with this tent is that it isn’t as waterproof as it claims. It’s made from polyester which makes it very light and easy to carry, but out of the bag the material isn’t good when it rains. All you need to do is touch the inside of your tent and water droplets form on your hand. Prior to any trip away from home, certainly on the first one you should waterproof the main tent material as well as next to zippers and joins with seam sealer.

Sleeps 3 in relative comfort

Size wise, there’s a decent amount of space in this tent – at 94 x 82 inches, there’s more than enough for three people and possibly a child in comfort still.

Regarding the price, you’ll be hard pressed to find a tent big enough for three people for such a low price. It’s good value for money if you treat it as a 2 season tent when there’s less chance of rain about.

Pros:

  • Very cheap for a 3-4 person tent
  • Instant setup
  • Bonus internal storage
  • Spacious
  • Easy to carry and store
  • Good UV protection
  • Can be used as a tent and a sun shelter

Cons:

  • Not very waterproof out of the box – definitely needs treating before use
  • Some have arrived without instructions though the setup is relatively simple
  • Difficult to pack away but a demonstration video is available

Product Verdict

To sum up, this is a nice little tent for a spring or summer camp trip for a night or 2 at the most. If you plan to go on regular trips then something with better waterproofing properties should be on your shopping list otherwise it’s fine. Do watch the available video though to master putting the URPRO tent away!

 

3. Hui-Lingyang Instant 2-3-Person Pop Up Dome Tent – The easiest to put away, great quality the best instant tent here and thus our test winner

Total Setup Time20 seconds
Sleeps2-3 People
Shelter MaterialPolyester
PolesFiberglass
Weight8.1lbs
Base Size80.7 in. x 78.7 in.

This tent comes with a portable carrying bag, and it pops up automatically when released. There are mesh windows, double doors, and multiple storage pockets on the inside. There’s a floor area of 80.7 x 78.7 inches, and a peak height of 47 inches.

Easy to put away as well as setup

Once again this tent is so easy to set up and will be ready for use in under a minute. Likewise, packing it away is so easy, unlike the TSWA and can be done in a couple of minutes once you get the knack.

It can easily fit three adults in – if you’re traveling light. If you want to use air mattresses, then you’re probably looking at this being a two person tent max instead.

If it rains, then this tent can easily stand up to the moderate wetness and casual showers. However, the manufacturer does stress it’s not to be used in heavy rainfall. Like any tent treating it prior to your first camp is good practice.

No corners cut with additional detailing

What’s really great about this tent is the additional features such as internal storage spaces and hooks to hang clothes on. Plus, there’s even a small porch area that you can keep your shoes in too. Details like this all add to the manufacturing cost so it’s a good indicator when corners that could have easily been cut have not.

The major downside is the price. At over $100, you’re looking at a pricey piece of kit for a pop up tent but this is reflected in the quality. The seams and zippers are in a different league to those of both the TSWA and the Coleman.

Pros:

  • Instant setup time
  • Quick and easy pack up time
  • Spacious interior
  • Windows
  • Internal storage
  • Nice little porch area
  • Fairly waterproof

Cons

  • Relatively expensive but you get what you pay for
  • Not resistant to heavy rainfall

Product Verdict

All in all the Hui-Lingyang Instant is a fantastic tent that will provide you with everything you need for a short camping trip or festival. The big question is, is it good value for money? If you’re semi-serious about camping and will use this tent at least 5 or more times then purchase without hesitation. A few customers on Amazon have also made video’s to show how easy it is to put it away after use.

 

4. Zenph Automatic Instant Pop Up Tent – The most waterproof pop up tent on test and great value

 

Zenph instant pop up tent in avacado green

Total Setup Time15-20 seconds
Sleeps3-4 People
Shelter Material185T Polyester
PolesFiberglass
Weight6.2lbs
Base Size101.5" x 61.8"

Of the 5 tents tested and reviewed this really was the surprise package.

It comes from a brand we’d never heard of, Zenph, sold exclusively on Amazon.com. How could a brand we’d never heard of produce a decent product?

The brand had been mentioned by a couple of camping buddies as something we should explore in our review site.

Setup is a matter of seconds, this is the easiest tent to setup by yourself

We thought the TSWA and Coleman popped up fast but this thing is like lightening once out of the disc shaped carry bag. The inner and outer rainfly are already attached to each other, so the only thing left to do is to stake the 4 corners down.

The interior space is roomy enough for 3 adults and we also liked the steep sides. It’s very similar to the Hui-Lingyang tent in design.

Dotted around the interior are lots of handy storage pockets. Great for wallets, cell phones and coins. There are also further details like mesh paneling that allows the pop up tent to breathe but still keeps mosquito’s and other pests out. There’s also a secondary mesh door should you want air flow but still require privacy.

On the subject of materials we appreciated the slightly thicker bathtub style floor – this has a 3000mm hydrostatic head. We tested this tent in the yard and the beach and were pleasantly surprised how it rode the small rocks and shells with getting pierced from the bottom.

Zenph tent setup on the grass

Of the tents here, we’d stick our neck out and say that this is the most waterproof of the lot. There’s a 2000mm hydrostatic head to the main tent material and the seams are also well glued and stitched. The fact that the tent inner and rainfly are properly separated means moisture must work harder to get through.

With all this praise there surely has to be a downside, right?

Poles held up but just seem a little flimsy

There’s just a couple of things for the sake of longevity that we feel could be better. For example, the fiberglass poles just seem a little on the flimsy side. The metal ferules, that connect one pole to another are a little short. In our experience this can expose a weak spot and poles can snap at the point they leave the ferule. Still this is subjective, it didn’t happen during the review.

Easily packs away

Saying that we must acknowledge, that because the poles are thin, they’re also flexible and this allows the tent to be packed away again with relative ease. With only a couple of attempts we had the knack.

The only other thing we thought could be better is the carry case material. The 2 handle options are great but the bag uses the thinnest polyester ever and long term we can see this getting ripped or tearing. Still you should be fine if you look after it and store the tent well when not in use.

Pro’s

  • Sets up in seconds
  • Fits 3 adults
  • Thicker floor material
  • Internal storage for small items dotted around
  • Waterproof and moisture proof
  • Pictorial setup and take instructions down gets over any language barrier
  • You get the knack of packing away after only a couple of attempts

Con’s

  • Fiberglass poles seem a bit flimsy – but worked!
  • Thin polyester material on carry case

Product Verdict

The roomy Zenph certainly has a lot going for it in this company. It sets up quickly and is supremely easy to put away. We also think it’s the most waterproof option on test and the thick bath tub floor is a real plus point.

The drawback is really a case of what might happen. Will the fiberglass poles break and will the carry case rip? This could be said of many of the other options here.

So if you’re on a tight budget and want the most waterproof option on test then go with the Zenph, it’s highly recommended. It’s a significantly cheaper option than the Hui-Lingyang.

 

5. Gazelle T3 Pop-Up Camping Hub Tent – A spacious and tall pop up tent that you can stand up in

Total Setup Time90 seconds
Sleeps2-3 People
Shelter Material210T Polyester
PolesFiberglass
Weight27.5lbs
Base Size76" x 76"

First things first, the Gazelle T3 doesn’t look like your standard pop up tent. The others on test all have the familiar dome type design. Instead the Gazelle opts for a taller design more akin to a hunting blind.

The tent incorporates 2 corner located d-type doors with 6 windows with mesh panels to keep bugs at bay.

The Gazelle T3 setup

The Gazelle doesn’t go up as quickly as some of the others here but nonetheless the process is simple even if the instructions don’t quite explain the process fully. Basically the sides pop out and the ceiling pops up by means of central hubs that have poles attached in an X shaped formation, on each wall.

The design means that at waist height the tent is slightly wider than at the base. Bear this in mind if you plan to camp with cots or an air mattress.

No stooping required

We really like the fact that you can stand up in this tent. There’s no scrambling on all fours here. You’d think that the sturdiness would suffer because of this but the T3 Hub held it’s own pretty well in light winds. The steep sides also make the tent feel more spacious.

Further great touches include the heavy duty YKK zippers, other tent manufacturers should take note. The internal storage is also plentiful. Room for your wallets, cell phone and essential gear and clothing.

D-type doors might not be for everyone

While we like the wide d-type doors you need to remember to raise your leg to step over the material of the tent wall. A couple of tents we hurried in and out of the tent and found ourselves almost tripping up. Human error, but be mindful.

There’s not a lot else wrong here. A ceiling loop would be useful but you can still put a battery lantern in the gear loft.

Also for a small tent this is rather heavy at over 27lbs. This is strictly for car camping, not for backpacking.

Pros:

  • Full setup in less than 90 seconds
  • You can stand up in this tent
  • Very spacious for 2 people with cots or 3 with sleeping pads
  • Two D-type doors
  • Great quality zippers
  • Detachable floor
  • Lots of internal storage
  • It actually goes back in the carry bag quite easy
  • 6 windows with mesh for light and ventilation

Cons:

  • Doors are a little awkward to get in and out
  • Could do with loops for hanging a lantern
  • Floor material could be better
  • Too heavy for backpackers

Product Verdict

This is a great well made pop up tent with some brilliant features. The headroom, great zippers, lots of storage and easy setup obviously come at a price.

Unfortunately the Gazelle T3 Hub Tent is almost twice the price of some of the others on test. Still if you have deeper pockets and are prepared to pay a bit more for a pop up tent then this is a superb choice that will last.

This promotional video shows the various features and the setup of the Gazelle T3 Tent. Well worth a watch.

 

and the Best Pop Up Tent For Camping is…

To conclude, we have to pick a winner and declare the best pop up tent for camping. It’s a tough choice as the Gazelle T3 ran the ultimate winner very close. We are of course talking about the Hui-Lingyang Dome Tent.

The Gazelle T3 might just prove a little too expensive for most people shopping for a pop up tent. It is better than the other tents in most departments but the Hui-Lingyang Dome Tent just won out because of a combination of space, side windows and vents and just being that little easier on the pocket.

The Zenph is also a good option here being the most waterproof option out of the box. If you want a more well known brand then the Coleman pop up tent is reasonable quality and size if you’re solo camping or are an adult with a child.

In terms of waterproofing all of these tents, including the Zenph, would benefit from a treatment of Nikwax or similar. Though the Zenph is the most waterproof of the 5 out of the packaging.

5 Comments

  1. Seriously – none of these tents are waterproof? WTH.

    • Hey there – the reviews are based on the tents performance straight from the box. Since these are all made of polyester or nylon they would all benefit from a waterproof treatment prior to use. Nikwax or similar at a few dollars and 15 mins of your time will make the tent supremely waterproof.

  2. Melanie Dragan says:

    Can you elaborate on this? “Like any tent treating it prior to your first camp is good practice.” How do you treat it prior to using it? I am a casual camper and not familiar with good tent care.

    • Dean Anderson says:

      Hi Melanie,
      That was rather presumptuous wasn’t it? Sorry about that. What I mean is that prior to leaving home it’s always worth setting up a new tent in your backyard. That way you can get familiar with the setup process and also season the tent. This post about waterproofing will help explain the process.
      Thanks
      Dean

  3. Thank you so much for the great reviews!

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