Whether you will be camping alone or with a group of other campers, a tent that you can set up alone comes in handy. When the weather is hot, cold, or it starts raining out of the blues, you need a tent that you can set up within a minute or less. This is especially essential when you are camping with your children and you need to protect them from elements to avoid diseases. Again, your children may not be of any help when setting up the tent – which further increases the need for the easiest tent to set by yourself.
Instant tents, also known as pop-up tents or automatic setup tents, come with pre-attached poles. This way, you do not spend so much time wondering which pole connects where. For most of these tents, you can set them up in 60 seconds and sometimes less. Besides the ease of setup, these tents have all the standard features of a tent.
To pick the best instant tent, I considered the following factors:
Coleman Instant Setup Cabin Tent
CORE 9-Person Instant Cabin
Abco Tech Pop-Up Tent
Night Cat Waterproof Pop-Up Tent
Coleman 4-Person Pop-Up Tent
OT QOMOTOP 4-Person Pop-Up Tent
Timber Ridge 6-Person Instant Tent
Zenph 2-3 Persons Automatic Opening Tent
Ayamaya 4-6 Persons Pop Up Tent
Hewolf Instant Camping Tent for 2-3 Persons
An instant, or pop up tent, is a tent that sets up within a few seconds or a few minutes. These tents come poles already attached to the fabric. With all parts of the tent already attached together, all you need to do is spread the tent then stake it for stability. Some tents actually come already set up and collapsed, and all you have to do is throw them in the air and they will open up into a ready-to-use tent.
Most instant tents will spring into shape when you take them out of the carry bag. Although not all will pop up into shape, the setup process is simple with all these tents.
Instant tents have many advantages. For starters, they are ideal when you camp alone as you do not need help setting them up. Again, if you are backpacking and you change camping sites every day, the tents make the transition from one site to the next very smooth. You can take these tents down as easy as you set them up. They also come in handy when it starts raining and you need shelter within a minute.
Besides the ease-of-setup, instant tents have the same features as any other typical tent. Granted, they have features such as waterproof rainfly, window ventilation, D-shaped doors, and vestibules among others.
Once you have decided that you need the easiest tent to set up by yourself, you need to pick one that meets your needs. The season and the area you will be camping will determine the best tent for you. There are three types of tents based on this:
These are the most popular tents. They are lightweight camp shelters designed to accommodate you in relatively temperate conditions in fall, spring, and summer. The focus of these tents is breathability as they need to stay as cool as possible. Granted, they have more windows, ventilation, and mesh panels.
The mesh panels facilitate airflow but they may not be ideal in an area where dust can blow into the tent. Most of these tents can withstand light precipitation, but they are not ideal for storms, snow, and s
Also called 3-Plus tents or extended season tents, these are tents that not only protect you during summer, fall, and spring but also during winter. They are versatile to offer enough ventilation during temperate seasons and enough protection during winter.
These tents have a few vents and a few mesh panels for enhanced airflow. The reduced number of mesh panels makes them warmer than 3-season panels. Again, you can zip their mesh panels to lock out the strong wind and rain. You can use a 3-4-season tent if you often camp in high elevation areas with strong winds and are cold. Most of these have a removable rainfly.
These are tents designed to stand up to fierce winds, heavy snow loads, and storms. You can use these tents in every season. Though they have enough ventilation for use during temperate seasons, they are more useful in harsh weather. These tents have more poles, heavier fabric, fewer vents, and more stakes. They are all dome-shaped, making them aerodynamic to withstand the wind. Their rain flies extend close to the ground and they have fewer mesh panels.
In mild weather, 4-season tents feel stuffy, thanks to the lack of ventilation.
Knowing the tent’s seasonality is not enough; you need to consider many more features to get the tent that meets your needs. Consider the following features:
A tall tent gives you the comfort of standing up when you are changing clothes or doing any other task inside the tent. Tall tents are more livable, thanks to the comfort of walking while standing and walking around the tent. They also give you the airiness of a high ceiling.
A cabin tent has almost vertical walls when you need more height and the freedom of walking inside your tent. These tents might even come with wall dividers, awnings, and vestibules, making them more livable. However, the tents are heavier and bulkier and are susceptible to falls from strong winds.
Dome tents have a tall center with curved walls that reduce the livable space. There are few activities you can carry out in a dome tent standing. However, they are lighter and more compact than cabin tents. They are also more stable in strong wind areas.
Are you camping alone, with your family, other people, or with your dog? The easiest tent to set up by yourself should accommodate every camper comfortably. Camping tents accommodate between one and twelve campers.
Even after seeing the number of campers a tent accommodates, you still need to check out its length and width to see if it is enough to sleep as many people as it claims.
For starters, if you are taller than 6 feet, consider a tent that is at least 90 inches long. If you have a lot of camping gear, or you have your dog with you, consider a tent that accommodates one extra person – that is, if you are two campers and a dog, pick a 3-person tent.
When shopping for a tent, consider the number of doors, the shape of the door, the strength of door zippers, and size. If you are camping as a group, having multiple doors help you avoid walking over each other when taking bathroom breaks. Most cabin tents have more doors and make it easier for you to step in and out of the tent.
Consider the ease of opening and closing the zips and how noisy the zips get during operation. Most tents have YKK zippers (from the Yoshida Company), which are strong and resistant to breaking. Also, ensure that the doors are large enough to accommodate all campers, especially those with plus-size bodies.
The pole structure of a tent determines its strength and ease of setup. Today, family tents are freestanding so you never have to use stakes or guy ropes to set them up. The main advantage of these is that you can move the tent from one location to the next as there is no staking involved.
Tents with fewer poles are light and easy to set up as all you have to do is stretch open the tent. With instant tents, more poles point to a stronger tent while fewer posts show a less stable tent.
High-quality poles last longer than weak poles. Poles can be carbon fiber, aluminum, or fiberglass. Carbon fiber poles are strong and light, but they may not last as long as aluminum. Aluminum poles, on the other hand, are strong and light and will last longer than all other pole materials. Fiberglass is the least expensive material – it is the heaviest and the least durable.
A rainfly is a waterproof cover that fits over your tent to keep off the rain. It comes in handy when you expect rain or dew or when you need more warmth in your tent. Rainflies can protect the roof only (such as in three-season tents), or they can offer full coverage for max protection from the rain and wind. A full-coverage rainfly comes in handy in 4-season tents while a roof-coverage tent comes in handy for three-season tents.
The material that makes roof, wall, and floor determines how long a tent will last and how protective it is against weather elements. Common materials include:
The denier (D) rating on fabrics determines their strength and weight. A higher denier rating indicates a strong and durable fabric while a low denier shows light and less durable fabric.
Other factors that you need to consider when choosing tent material include:
A well-ventilated tent feels comfortable, especially in warm weather. When air circulates in and out of the tent, the tent feels less stuffy. This is especially important for tents that sleep two or more people. Tents achieve ventilation through roll-up windows, ground vents, and mesh panels. The mesh panels facilitate air circulation while locking out bugs. Summer tents require more ventilation than winter tents.
Zip Flies: The zips on the windows and door might cause leaks. To prevent that, tents have a fly that covers the zips to ensure there is no entry point for rainwater. When shopping, ensure that the fly does not interfere with the operation of the zip.
Loops, Hooks, and Pockets: A lantern loop or hooks come in handy when you want to light your tent at night. Most of these hooks are at the center of the ceiling of your tent. You can also hang a gear loft (offered with the tent or sold separately), which is a mesh shelf that holds your items off the floor. Interior pockets also come in handy at keeping your tent organized.
Vestibule and Yawning: A vestibule is an extension of your tent that offers additional space where you can keep your gear. Yawning is an extension from the roof that gives you shade when you need to relax outside the tent.
|Image||Title||Material||Capacity (Persons)||WT (pounds)||Floor DIMN (ft)|
|Coleman Instant Setup Cabin Tent||Polyester||4||18||8 x 7|
|CORE 9-Person Instant Cabin||Polyester||9||30.5||14 x 9|
|Abco Tech Pop-Up Tent||Nylon||2||3.7||7.4 x 3.9|
|Night Cat Waterproof Pop-Up Tent||Polyethylene + Polyurethane||2-4||11||7.9 x 6.6|
|Coleman 4-Person Pop-Up Tent||Polyester||4||7.07||9.2 x 6.5|
|OT QOMOTOP 4-Person Pop-Up Tent||Polyester||4||18.92||8 x 8|
|Timber Ridge 6-Person Instant Tent||Polyester||6||25.7||10 x 10|
|Zenph 2-3 Persons Automatic Opening Tent||Polyester + Polyurethane||2 -3||6.8||8.5 x 5.2|
|Ayamaya 4-6 Persons Pop Up Tent||Polyester||4-6||10.25||12.5 x 8.5|
|Hewolf Instant Camping Tent for 2-3 Persons||Polyester||2-3||12||4.2 ft hexagon|
Weight: 18 Pounds
Floor Dimensions: 8 x 7 ft.
Coleman has become almost synonymous with camping tents – the company has camping tents in almost all categories and capacities, which makes it a trustworthy company. Its Instant Setup Cabin tent sports a high-quality polyester material for durability, waterproofness, and lightweight. The taped seams on the tent ensure that rainwater doesn’t seep into the tent. Better yet, the tent features welded corners and inverted seams to ensure that water never finds its way in. Further, the company adds an integrated rainfly that delivers better weather protection and airflow.
The polyester out material has double-thickness to withstand harsh elements in the wilderness. The tent, which sleeps up to 4 people, has enough space to sit a queen-size air bed. With all the poles pre-attached, you can set up the tent in one minute or less. Coleman uses Dark Room Technology to block up to 90 percent sun rays that land on the surface of the tent. This way, the temperature does not build up inside the tent.
After use, the tent packs up into a small expandable carrying bag.
Weight: 30.5 Pounds
Floor Dimensions: 14 x 9 ft.
The CORE 9-person instant cabin can sit two queen-size air mattresses. Since the cabin sleeps nine persons, it comes with wall dividers in case you need children to sleep in a separate room. The outer shell is a high-strength polyester material that can withstand up to 600mm rain. Further, the tent features CORE water block technology that ensures the tent is completely waterproof. Even then, the tent is still highly breathable thanks to its adjustable ground vents.
The rainfly is removable so you can watch the stars through the mesh panels. For an instant tent that sleeps nine people, the CORE Instant Cabin is lightweight at 30.5 pounds. After use, it packs into a small package measuring 48 by 11.5 by 11.5 inches. The floor sports a waterproof and strong polyethylene material.
Weight: 3.7 Pounds
Floor Dimensions: 7.4 x 3.9 ft.
If you need the easiest tent to set up, this might be the right choice for you. It pops open without the need to spread it. This 1-2 person tent has doors on both the left and the right sides, making it easier to step in or out of the tent from either side.
The tent has two layers, an inner zippered screen that gives maximum breathability when it gets hot and an outer nylon layer. This outer layer gives maximum privacy while keeping the tent waterproof. Further, the tent sports two windows on the front and back facilitate air circulation to keep the tent cool and free of condensation. Abco Tech offers a carry bag and a gear organizer bag that holds your camping gear.
Material: Polyethylene + Polyurethane
Weight: 11 Pounds
Floor Dimensions: 7.9 x 6.6 ft.
The Night Cat Waterproof tent uses an advanced hydraulic pressure system to take it up in less than a minute, and take it down in less than two minutes. It features high-quality polyurethane and polyethylene materials that are rainproof and windproof. Night Cat uses inverted seams with a tape to keep the interior of the tent dry even during a storm. Each tent features high-strength but lightweight fiberglass poles for stability when strong winds blow. Better yet, the package comes with strong pegs and ropes to protect it from strong winds.
This is a double-layer tent with a removable rainfly. You can use the rainfly as a shade when the weather is favorable and as protection for the pavilion when it rains. On each side of your tent, there is a door for ease of access and for added ventilation. There are also mesh windows that further enhance airflow while keeping bugs out. The tent can sleep up to 4 people. However, for maximum comfort, only three people should sleep in the tent.
Weight: 7.07 pounds
Floor Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.5 ft.
The Coleman 4-Person Pop-Up tent is ideal when you are shopping for easy tents to put up on a budget. It features a simple design with everything pre-assembled so you can pop it up in ten seconds. Its strong polyester construction lengthens its productive life while making it waterproof. The walls and floor seams have tapes to ensure water doesn’t leak through.
The tent comes with a multi-position rainfly that allows you to balance protection from rain and elements, and ventilation when the weather is hot. After use, the unit packs flat occupying the least space possible in your car. At only 7.07 pounds, you can even use it for backpacking as a group. Inside, it has two storage pockets where you can organize your gear.
Each tent uses high-quality zippers, all protected from rain and elements.
Weight: 18.92 pounds
Floor Dimensions: 8 x 8 ft.
If you need an easy to set up a tent in a cabin style, the OT QOMOTOP might be ideal for you. Besides this 4-person tent, it is also available in 6- or 10-person sizes. You can set up the tent in one minute or less, thanks to its pre-attached poles and parts. Its polyester outer layer features Polyurethane taping (for both the inner pavilion and the rainfly), to keep rainwater out. The floor is a polyethylene tube with welded corners to keep the tent completely dry even during a storm.
The floor space can sit one queen airbed, sleep four people comfortably, and leave room for your camping gear. It also has an electrical cord port that you can close when not in use. Each tent comes with gear pockets and gear loft for additional gear space. The mesh roof and ground vent offer enhanced airflow to keep you cool when it is hot and keep off condensation.
Weight: 25.7 pounds
Floor Dimensions: 10 x 10 ft.
The Timber Ridge is an easy up camping tent that accommodates six campers. It has a quick open system with pre-attached poles to set up in less than 10 minutes. As a six-person tent, it comes with three zippered mesh windows for maximum ventilation. The mesh keeps off bugs while allowing maximum air circulation. It also has top windows that provide additional ventilation. It has a removable rainfly that protects you from rain. With its O-shaped entry, you will have even more ventilation and get in or out of the tent with ease.
Each tent comes with a mesh storage bag that holds your essentials such as phone and keys among other essentials. Because the rainfly is removable, you can use the tent for camping, hiking, fishing, or as a shade at the beach.
Material: Polyester + Polyurethane
Weight: 6.8 pounds
Floor Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.2 ft.
Anyone looking for self pitch tents might love the Zenph Automatic Opening Tent. You can set up in three seconds – just release the tent from the carry bag, throw it up, and it comes back fully open. After that, all you need is to stabilize it using pegs and ropes. It packs down into a small package and only weighs 6.8 pounds to facilitate easy setup. Even then, it still provides enough room for 2-3 three adults and leaves a small space for your camping gear.
Instead of a rainfly, Zenph uses polyurethane waterproof coating, which makes the tent 2000mm waterproof. The bottom tent can withstand up to 3000mm rain. Its waterproof coating does not affect breathability and ventilation. The 3D ventilation system at the front and back enhance airflow to keep the tent comfortable when the weather is hot outside. All vents on the tent feature a B3 gauze that keeps out mosquitoes.
Weight: 10.25 pounds
Floor Dimensions: 12.5 x 8.5 ft.
The Ayamaya is another automatic open easy assemble tent. Throw it into the sky, and it comes back fully open and ready to use. Its floor space is spacious at 12.5 x 8.5 ft. – enough to sleep up to six adults. Its vestibule design offers a separate room where you can keep your gear or set a bed for your dog. On one side of the tent is an electrical cord access port through which you can pass your electrical cords from outside to charge devices inside the tent. Inside the tent are storage pockets and a lantern hook to organize your gear and your essentials.
The Ayamaya tent has double layers – inner layer for added ventilation and an outer rainfly that keeps out rain. It also has four zippered roll-up windows with a mesh panel to enhance air circulation while keeping bugs out. Ayamaya uses a polyurethane material coating to ensure there are no leaks anywhere in the tent.
Weight: 12 pounds
Floor Dimensions: 4.2 ft. hexagon
The Hewolf sports a hexagon design to accommodate up to two adults and still leave enough room on the sides to accommodate your gear and your dog. It uses an automatic hydraulic system so you can set it up in a few minutes. It is a double-layered tent with an inner ventilated pavilion and a waterproof rainfly that keeps rain and elements off. The inner tent features a flysheet and mesh construction to facilitate airflow for comfort during hot weather.
Inside, the tent has a lantern hook so you can light it up at night. The tent comes with six stakes, but if you camp in an area where the wind is stronger than 15mph, you might need to add at least eight guylines to keep it stable. It has two large doors so you can get in and out with ease and also facilitate airflow
Pop up tents can be bulkier than typical tents, especially cabin tents. Because the poles are already attached to the fabric, there is no way to pack them down in a package as small as in typical tents. Granted, they might be challenging to carry in a backpack. Most of them fold flat so they only occupy a small space in your trunk.
Some instant tent brands create tents with all the accessories, including lamp hook, storage pockets, vestibule and many more. However, most of them have a pretty basic construction and lack awnings and vestibules, hanging storage, dividers, and pockets. Instead of these features, the tents hacek large open-air spaces to keep you comfortable.
Instant tents are not always more expensive than traditional tents. However, due to their special design, some of them will cost more. The cost difference is not much and you will see the benefits once you start using your tent.
All instant tents have a rainfly – it might be integrated, where the entire roof fabric is waterproof, or the tent might be two-layered where the rainfly covers the inner pavilion. Double layered instant tents offer a great balance between ventilation and protection from elements. The inner tent is highly ventilated, while the rainfly is wind and waterproof.
Tents that have a fly might take long to set up and sometimes, where the cabin tent is tall, the installation might require two people to set up.
In most cases, you do not need any help setting up a tent. If the tent does not spring up when you remove it from the bag, then all you need to do is spread it and you are good to go. You might need help setting up the rainfly on tall cabin tents.
Some easy-to-assemble tents are freestanding. However, most manufacturers advise that you stake your tent for added stability.
Besides their pre-attached poles, instant tents have the same features as typical tents. The model you choose determines whether the tent is fit for use in four seasons or not. Most 4-season tents have a dome shape, which is aerodynamic, to keep them stable during a storm and strong winds. Cabin tents, on the other hand, are boxes that block the wind, making them less stable. If you need a 3- or 4-season tent, you have to buy one rated as such.
Most instant tents pack down into a bulky package that only comes in handy when you are driving to the campsite. However, some are compact and lightweight for a backpacker. Automatic opening instant tents are the most ideal when you need a tent that fits in or attaches to your backpack without adding so much weight or bulkiness.
The Coleman Instant Setup Cabin Tent is our top pick. It is a 4-person tent that is also available as a 6- and 10- person tent. It comes with double-layer fabric that makes it strong and durable. It is a cabin-style tent with enough ventilation to keep you comfortable, and enough room to sleep four campers and hold gear.
If you want a larger tent, the CORE 9-Person Instant Cabin there is a large cabin tent accommodating up to nine people. If you are camping as a family and you are driving to your camp location, this might be a good choice for you. It is a full-features cabin tent with so much ventilation and room.
If you want the easiest tent to set up by yourself, pick the Zenph 2-3 Persons Automatic Opening Tent. You only need to throw it up and it comes down fully set and good to go. It also has high-quality materials to last long.