The 10 Best Pop Up Tents

Updated November 30, 2017 by Melissa Harr

10 Best Pop Up Tents
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 39 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Aaah, the great outdoors. Fresh air. Great views. And frustrating hours trying to get that shelter put together. Enjoy the trip from the moment you arrive by taking one of these pop-up tents, instead. They virtually put themselves up in seconds, providing reliable coverage in all of your destinations, from the backyard to the beach to the Black Mountains. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best pop up tent on Amazon.

10. Lucky Bums Quick and Portable

Weighing in at just over 3 pounds, the Lucky Bums Quick and Portable sleeps two children and folds down to a flat disc when it’s not in use. Although it’s not meant for a torrential downpour, it’s weatherproof enough to handle light showers or winds.
  • choose between four colors
  • unfolds quickly
  • not for rugged expeditions
Brand Lucky Bums
Model 185GR
Weight pending
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Coleman 8-Person

Not all instant tents are small, as the Coleman 8-Person proves. With two doors and a removable divider between its two rooms, you’ll be able to fit your entire family or bring the party inside — no matter where you choose to explore.
  • promises setup in one minute or less
  • one-year warranty
  • poles could be stronger
Brand Coleman
Model 2000018296J0-Parent
Weight pending
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. Sunba Youth 3-Person

The Sunba Youth 3-Person may not be from any brand you’d recognize, but if you’re looking for sun and sand shelter on a budget, it could be just the ticket. Mesh windows keep the air flowing and mosquitoes out, while eight metal ground stakes hold it firmly in place.
  • available in green and blue
  • works well for sleepovers too
  • unclear and difficult instructions
Brand SunbaYouth
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Coleman Pop-Up

The Coleman Pop-Up comes in 2-person and 4-person varieties. Both tend towards snugness when at capacity, so these might be best for campers who are on comfortable terms. The floor seams are taped for robust waterproofing, and a multi-position rain fly offers ventilation.
  • two storage pockets
  • preassembled poles
  • zippers lack durability
Brand Coleman
Model 2000014781-Parent
Weight 7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. T1 VW Camper Van Play Tent

If you're looking for a design that’ll provide fun for the kids rather than genuine outdoor shelter, it's hard to beat the T1 VW Camper Van Play Tent. This quirky model can hold three children with ease and supply protection from harmful UV rays.
  • styled after iconic 1965 model
  • packaged in cool wheel bag
  • best for toddlers
Brand The Monster Factory
Model VWKB1
Weight 4.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Genji Sports Instant Camping

The Genji Sports Instant Camping features an automatic pole system that allows it to be erected or folded down in seconds. It’s so intuitive that even single users can learn to set it up quickly in the dark. Two people can fit inside with minimal gear.
  • tan color blends into surroundings
  • rainproof windows on two sides
  • compact enough for motorcycles
Brand Genji Sports
Model Moonnesttent
Weight 8.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Zomake Pop Up

Don’t worry about feeling trapped; the Zomake Pop Up features a window on both sides, a skylight, and two doors, so you’ll have all the ventilation you could ask for. Its fiberglass poles are lightweight and sturdy, and it’ll hold three to four people.
  • carry bag included
  • works well for festivals
  • folded size not ideal for backpacks
Model pending
Weight 4.4 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Pacific Breeze Easy Up

Beachgoers, including campers, enjoy the Pacific Breeze Easy Up for a range of reasons. It’s spacious; light at 4.5 pounds; hardwearing thanks to a fiberglass frame; and well-ventilated by way of large windows. It comes with sand pockets, too.
  • made from breathable polyester
  • high-quality manufacturing
  • internal storage compartments
Brand Pacific Breeze Products
Model pending
Weight 5.4 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Core 9-Person Instant Cabin

All nine members of your group should have ample room in the Core 9-Person Instant Cabin, which has a 14-foot by 9-foot space and a center height of 78 inches. There’s also an electrical cord access port, so you’ll be able to keep all of your iDevices topped up.
  • mesh ceiling lets heat escape
  • zippered privacy panels
  • fully-taped rain fly
Brand CORE Equipment
Model 40008
Weight 36.5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Coleman Instant 4-Person

The Coleman Instant 4-Person has an innovative “extend and secure” design that allows for pitching in about one minute. Its WeatherTec welded floor system will help keep you and your stuff dry even as the ground becomes saturated.
  • accommodates queen air mattress
  • excellent for car campers
  • rain fly available separately
Brand Coleman
Model 2000018016
Weight 19 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Gimme Shelter

The pop up tent is a style of tent used primarily for recreational camping. They come in many shapes and sizes, however, most consumers expect a lightweight, easy-to-use, compact tent. They eliminate the process of setting up or pitching your tent; a pop up tent is spring-loaded, so you can assemble it in a matter of seconds. The days of nailing stakes into the ground and assembling poles are a thing of the past. This feature alone makes it an attractive option for the no frills camper.

Before you buy a pop up tent, or any tent for that matter, please take this important factor into account: the manufacturer accurately represents the number of people that can fit in a tent. If the manufacturer lists that a tent fits four people; they are assuming each person is of average height with no gear or sleeping cots. Most campers will simply buy a four-person tent for two campers, and a two-person tent for one camper, exclusively for this reason. Also keep in mind the material used for the tent. Most tents consist of nylon, canvas, or polyester. Campers will want to ensure that regardless of the material they will stay dry in a rainproof tent.

If you are interested in a pop up tent, please make sure to clarify with the retailer that it is indeed a pop up tent and not a pop up canopy. A canopy is something seen more often at farmers markets that resembles a gazebo with open sides. While these have their uses, they are not appropriate for camping.

Pop Up Tent Pros And Cons

The advantages of the pop up tent are numerous. The most obvious being that it simply "pops up," and the setup time for the tent has been shaved down to mere seconds. How is that possible? It sounds too good to be true, right? Well, most of the models are tightly compacted down, (think of a vinyl snake in the peanut brittle can prank). When you release that tension, spring-loaded poles allow the frame to naturally expand to its impressive shape. The lid of the peanut brittle can, as per my analogy, is replaced by a band or strap which holds the compact shape of the pop up tent.

Another advantage is that the pop up tent is lightweight. Most pop ups weigh only a few pounds and fit snugly into backpacks, making them perfect for the traveler who cannot lug a dome tent on his or her back. Most are specifically designed to fit into backpacks while many others simply come with their own compact bag that slings conveniently over the shoulder.

Also, the price point is attractive; most are quite affordable and a smaller investment than a tent that is harder to assemble.

There are a few trouble areas that I must address. The disassembly of the tent can be deceptive. While it may take only seconds to spring to life, putting it back into its compact shape may force you to wrestle the tent like an crocodile hunter. There is a learning curve to it, and most campers with patience will be able to disassemble much more quickly after several attempts.

Most campers, rightly so, fear the stability of the pop up tent. High winds are the biggest enemy. The guy lines, if provided, do not offer the same stability as a dome tent and they are more likely to blow over.

Lastly, the pop up tent is rarely spacious. Models that list two people usually mean one person with supplies or a cot. If you chose to fit the suggested number of campers in a tent, you will lack private space.

A Brief History of the Tent

The tent is a staple of life. The Bible alludes to food, water, and shelter as far back as Genesis. The uses of the tent are various: shelter, military operations, camping, and protest movements. They range from the accommodation of one person to several thousands, i.e. the circus tent. They are also used in emergency situations such as natural disasters.

The materials used in tents have progressed over time. Animal hides were once (and in some cases still) a viable option for tents, however, most squeamish campers today will opt for lightweight fabric blends of nylon and polyester. The supportive poles for tents were made of wood until the 1960's when steel poles emerged and changed the make up of tents.

As early as the 1970's, the first models of backpack-portable tents, the ancestors of the modern day pop up tent, appeared on the market.

Recreational camping with the tent dates back to the mid 19th century. The emergence and protection of national parks in America helped encourage campers to travel, alongside promises of gold rushes out west that enticed settlers to set up temporary, portable homes.

Keep in mind that a tent is shelter, which is essential to life. When you chose your tent consider the durability, cost, and efficiency.

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Last updated on November 30, 2017 by Melissa Harr

Melissa is a writer, editor, and EFL educator from the U.S. She's worked in the field since earning her B.A. in 2012, during which time she's judged fiction contests, taught English in Asia, and authored e-courses about arts and crafts. In her free time, she likes to make stuff out of sticks and string.

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