Best pop up tent 2022: instant tents for stress-free camping

Sling one of the best pop up tents in your boot for instant cover on the beach, campsite or at a festival

best pop up tent: Coleman Galiano 2 FastPitch pop up tent in a field
(Image credit: Coleman)

Welcome to T3's official guide to the best pop up tents available right now. One of the annoying things about camping is the effort of setting up a tent in the first place. If you're new to camping, it can be confusing, and the time investment is a bit of a pain on short weekend getaways where time is limited, if you're touring around and need to set up and take down your tent multiple times, or generally any event where you want maximum enjoyment, minimum faff. Many of today's best festival tents are pop-up options, for example.

As the name implies, the popup tent explodes into a full-size tent in a jiffy, just needing a few pegs and maybe a guyline before you're free to explore the main stage, fire up the BBQ, or just soak up the tranquility of the outdoors. Today's best pop up tents are a far cry from those of a few years ago. The success of the format means that all the major manufacturers are now involved, meaning today's options are more weatherproof, longer lasting and more durable. Some even boast features you'd expect on a standard premium tent, such as blackout material, proper ventilation, good weatherproofing and improved wind resistance.  

That said, if you're heading on a multi-day trip and feel up to wrangling a few poles, a proper, non-pop version would always be our recommendation. Head to our general best tent guide for our top picks, or if you're wanting a pop up tent to take to the seaside, we also have a dedicated guide to the best beach tents.

The key to choosing the best pop up tent is to aim for that quality section of the market – with a few exceptions – where you'll get a decent shelter that'll serve you well for years to come. Size is also a vital consideration, as well as weight if you plan to travel far with your popup, but for longer hiking trips you'll be best served with a dedicated (and frankly more packable) backpacking tent

The best pop up tent 2022

Quecha 2 Seconds Easy Fresh & Black popup tentT3 Best Buy badge

(Image credit: Future)
The best popup tent overall

Specifications

Sleeps: 2
Weight: 4.7kg
HH: 2,000mm
Blackout : yes

Reasons to buy

+
Very easy to pitch
+
Great value
+
Functional design and shape

Reasons to avoid

-
Marginally longer pitching time than a 'true' popup

If your expectation from the best pop up tent is that it should be easy to put up and just as easy to take down again when you're done, you could easily be disappointed by many models that go up without too much trouble then turn out to be a nightmare to pack away. Not so the Quechua 2 Seconds Easy Fresh & Black; it's a cinch to to both put up and take down. Erecting it's a simple matter of pegging out the four corners, then pulling on two red drawcords until they click into place, and thanks to some kind of interior witchcraft you're mostly done; all that remains (if you want) is to put in a couple more pegs to add a porch area, and add extra guy ropes if you feel the need for additional stability. Taking it all down again is slightly more involved, but still a whole lot easier than wrestling the average popup tent back into its bag.

The all-in-one design means you can just as easily put it up in the rain without the interior getting soaked, or even move it around once it's pitched. And there's more to this tent than foolproof pitching; it's really well made, with two layers to avoid condensation issues, a blackout layer that'll keep things dark even in broad daylight, and plenty of room for two people inside (note, there's also a 3-person version (opens in new tab)). It's also great value, and while – as with pretty much any popup tent – it probably won't last as long as a poled version, we're sure you'll get a lot of use out of it. Find out more in our Quechua 2 Seconds Easy Fresh & Black popup tent review.

Quechua pop-up 3XL pop up tent

(Image credit: Quechua)

2. Quechua 3-man pop-up blackout tent – 2 seconds 3XL

The best popup tent for three people

Specifications

Sleeps: 3
Weight: 5.3kg
HH: 2,000mm
Blackout: yes

Reasons to buy

+
Roomier than the average popup tent 
+
Fast and effective
+
Very dark inside

Reasons to avoid

-
Putting it down takes a little practice

For a roomier alternative to the Quechua 2 Seconds Easy Fresh & Black, try the Quechua 2 Seconds 3XL. In many ways a stroke of genius, the 3XL is a titan in the world of popup tents, mainly because it is really quite huge in comparison to the standard two-man popup. However, young families, couples on a multi-day camping trip and festival goers alike will appreciate that extra slice of space enormously. As with smaller popup tents, this springs open in just a few seconds, and while there is a bit of technique involved (clue: the first clip is at the back of the inside of the tent), getting it back in the bag is relatively rapid too. 

Other good news is that this popup tent blocks sunlight surprisingly effectively, making it dark enough to need a head torch inside even in midday sun. This means you’ll get a lie-in if you want one, and keeps the interior several degrees cooler even in full sun. The side vents also help keep temperatures down, and combat condensation at night, although the double-skin design deals with this well anyway. Decathlon own-brand Quechua has been making pop up tents for years, so it’s no surprise that this offering is relatively sophisticated, especially considering the reasonable price. Overall, if you’re looking for a slightly-larger-than usual tent, this is an excellent choice.

Coleman Galiano 2 FastPitch pop up tent

(Image credit: Coleman)

3. Coleman Galiano 2 FastPitch pop up tent

The best popup tent for stargazing

Specifications

Sleeps: 2 (4-man also available)
Weight: 2.5kg
HH: 2,000mm
Blackout: no

Reasons to buy

+
Robust build 
+
Great ventilation
+
Roof can be rolled back for stargazing

Reasons to avoid

-
Only two guylines

The Coleman Galiano 2 FastPitch pop up tent in 2-man format is a classic popup tent, almost entirely self-contained and pitched incredibly fast. Indeed, Coleman is being conservative with the official sub-minute pitching time: you literally remove the strap and pop, there’s a tent. At a relatively light 2.5kg this is one for longer haul journeys, although of course the packed-down disc-shape isn’t ideal for windy conditions (and there are only two guylines, which means the pitched version might struggle with very windy weather, too). There’s a little treat in store for clear nights, in that the whole roof section can be rolled back to give a view of the stars, or part-way back for better ventilation. A dual-skin door is designed to also allow air to circulate, and all these are covered with mesh to prevent unwanted biting insect visitors. If you’re looking for popup simplicity with reliable build quality (and star-gazing extras) the Coleman Galiano 2 is well worth a look. Need something bigger? It's also available as a 4-person tent.

Regatta Malawi pop up tent

(Image credit: Press)

4. Regatta Malawi Instant Tent

This best pop up tent for kids doubles as a garden hide-out

Specifications

Sleeps: 2
Weight: 2.5kg
HH: 3,000mm
Blackout: no

Reasons to buy

+
No frills simplicity
+
Funky color scheme

Reasons to avoid

-
Some reviews say it's not reliably waterproof

The Regatta Malawi is ideal for the kids, as it's compact enough to be pitched in your garden when you're back from a camping holiday, giving the little ones their own space to play, read and chill outside. There’s a solid spec list here and at a good price too. In fact, the flysheet is better rated than many of the pop up tents listed here, with a 3000mm hydrostatic head (although a few reviewers say it's not reliably waterproof, while an integrated groundsheet is included in the price. Although the two-man capacity is comparable with many of its peers, the Regatta Malawi comes in at nearly a kilo lighter than many pop up tents, despite having similar specs in every other department. Internal pockets, lantern hanging points, plenty of mesh-lined vents and bright guylines make this a perfect choice for busy campsites too, with the funky colour scheme giving you another recognisable feature to help your tent stand out.

Trespass Swift2 popup tent

(Image credit: Trespass)

5. Trespass Swift 2 2-man pop up tent

A decent compact popup tent

Specifications

Sleeps: 2
Weight: not stated
HH: 2000mm
Blackout:

Reasons to buy

+
Does the job
+
Mesh bug net door
+
Range of colour options

Reasons to avoid

-
On the small side

If you want something cheap that does the job, the Trespass Swift2 popup tent is well worth a look. There aren't many bells and whistles here, but it does have all the key things we'd look for in a popup tent: it's waterproof to 2000mm with taped seams, comes with a handy carry bag, and – of course – takes seconds to put up. There are a range of colours and patterns to choose from, and a welcome addition is the inclusion of a mesh door, which provides a handy bug barrier when you don't want to have the full door zipped up. This is not only a great feature if the weather does turn out for you and the nights are warm, but also provides welcome airflow through the tent to prevent condensation, which can be an issue in single-layer tents like this.

Quechua Air Seconds 4.2 Fresh and Black pop up tent

(Image credit: Quechua)

6. Quechua Air Seconds 4.2XL Fresh and Black popup tent

The best pop up tent for family camping

Specifications

Sleeps: 4
Weight: 18.5kg
HH: 2,000 mm
Blackout: yes

Reasons to buy

+
Massive space
+
Very robust
+
Room to stand up

Reasons to avoid

-
Slightly longer pitch time (5 mins)
-
Pricier option

This Air Seconds really stands out in this company as it’s the only tent here with ‘air poles’. Which technically means it's really an inflatable tent. But we're including it our  best pop up tent guide in case you hadn't considered this option. The pitching time is slightly longer than the fibreglass-poled ‘classic’ pop ups. However, peg this out, attach a pump, and within seconds you’ll have a substantial and robust weekend palace to admire. Decathlon rates this tent up to force 7 winds, which is robust indeed, and other neat touches like the basin-style groundsheet are designed to keep the weather firmly outside, which is where you want it. 

It’s not light, of course, so this is a car-camping only proposition, but the living space is vast and decently high – plenty for four adults (two per bedroom), or a family. As with other Decathlon tents, this has Fresh and Black lining baked in, so the kids might just make it to 6am before demanding breakfast, and it’ll keep noonday sunshine temperatures down as well. Although you’ll need a separate pump to inflate this beast, it does offer the essence of a popup (fast, no hassle erection) combined with the space of a proper family tent, and at a reasonable price point too. 

Coleman Instant Tourer pop up tent in olive green

(Image credit: Press)

7. Coleman Tourer Instant Tent

The best pop up tent for all-weather touring

Specifications

Sleeps: 4
Weight: 7.4kg
HH: 3,000mm
Blackout: no

Reasons to buy

+
Sturdy steel poles
+
Large internal area
+
Durable groundsheet

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavier than alternatives
-
Can be difficult to pack up

The Coleman Instant tourer pitches super-fast, but is a very different beast to the other popups here. Rather than relying on delicate fibreglass poles, the Instant Tourer has an unusual ‘spider’ arrangement of steel poles, which adds to durability but also weight. The poles are already attached to the flysheet and inner, so pitching is still a very rapid business, taking less than a minute. As well as a robust steel frame, the poles also give you a much taller than usual tent, up to 162cm high, so shorter folk will be able to stand up fully inside, a little touch of luxury in a fast-pitching tent. The steep sides also give more usable space than flatter designs, although the height will catch the wind more in exposed situations. Finally, the fully integrated groundsheet and taped seams should keep everything dry and cosy for the four people sleeping inside with plenty of room to spare. A worthy contender in our best pop up tent roundup.

How to choose the best pop up tent

Better materials, proper construction methods and rigorous testing means that the best pop up tents now stand up in bad weather. Most of them also pitch so fast, you’ll feel like you’re in the Matrix. While speed is the biggest advantage with a pop up tent, there are still some pitfalls to watch out for…

Choosing the right size of instant tent is key, as the increased bulk of a four-man pop up tent over a two-man is considerable. Also bear in mind that the best pop up tents tend to pack down into a large disc, which is fine for lugging back to the carpark from the festival, but unsuitable for longer walks, especially in any kind of wind. 

Although many of the newest pop up tents are rigorously tested to resist wind, the fact that they’re based on flexible fibreglass poles does mean they’re at a disadvantage in full-on conditions, especially high winds. In short, be wary of winter use. 

Finally, cost is a decent indicator of quality. So although we’ve got a wide range to suit all tastes and budgets, the cheapest pop up tents are best restricted to sun shelters on the beach or play tents for the garden, rather than serious all-weather protection tents. 

Mark Mayne has been covering tech, gadgets and outdoor innovation for longer than he can remember. A keen climber, mountaineer and scuba diver, he is also a dedicated weather enthusiast and flapjack consumption expert.