Best pop up tent 2023: Quick links
Not sure how to put up a tent? You need the best pop up tent. If you've ever found yourself staring at a pile of pegs, poles and material, longing for a tent that would magically put itself up so you can enjoy yourself, you understand how essential pop-up tents are. These simple-to-assemble temporary shelters can instantly remove the hassle from your outdoor adventures.
As the name implies, the pop-up tent erupts into a full-size shelter in an instant, just needing a few pegs to be banged in and maybe a guyline set up before you're free to explore the main stage, fire up the BBQ or soak up the tranquillity of the outdoors.
Today's best pop-up tents are weatherproof, longer lasting and more durable; some even boast features you'd expect from the best tents, such as blackout material, proper ventilation, good weatherproofing and improved wind resistance. You'll be best served with a dedicated (and frankly more packable) backpacking tent for longer hiking trips.
Pop-up tents generally aren't considered winter camping essentials. However, it's all the more reason to keep your eyes peeled for the best Black Friday deals on these beginner-friendly shelters, as prices now are lower than in season. Shop now to avoid disappointment later.
The Top 3
Best pop up tent overall
The Quechua 2 Seconds Easy Fresh & Black's 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. It's really well made, with two layers to avoid condensation issues, a blackout layer, and plenty of room for two people inside.
Best for space
Best pop up tent for internal space
For a roomier alternative to the Quechua 2 Seconds Easy Fresh & Black, try the Quechua 2 Seconds 3XL. Young families, couples on a multi-day camping trip and festival-goers alike will appreciate that extra slice of space enormously. It springs open in just a few seconds, and getting it back in the bag is relatively rapid, too.
Best for stargazing
Best pop up tent for stargazing
The Coleman Galiano 2 FastPitch pop up tent in 2-man format is a classic pop up tent, almost entirely self-contained and pitched incredibly fast. 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.
Best pop up tents to buy right now
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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 and then turn out to be a nightmare to pack away. Not so the Quechua 2 Seconds Easy Fresh & Black, as we found out – it's a cinch to both put up and take down.
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). 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.
Read our full Quechua 2 Seconds Easy Fresh & Black popup tent review.
Best for space
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 pop up 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 that you'll need the best head torch to navigate around inside, even in the 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. Overall, if you’re looking for a slightly-larger-than usual tent, this is an excellent choice.
Best for stargazing
The Coleman Galiano 2 FastPitch pop up tent in 2-man format is a classic pop up 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 long-haul journeys, although, of course, the packed-down disc shape isn’t ideal for windy conditions.
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 of 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.
Best for kids
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.
Best for families
This Air Seconds really stands out in this company as it’s the only tent here with ‘air poles’. This technically means this tent should also be featured in our best inflatable tent guide. But we're including it here, too, in case you haven'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.
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 6 am 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.
Best for touring
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 we tested the best pop up tents
When reviewing the best pop up tents – such as the Quechua 2 Seconds Easy Fresh & Black featured above – T3's team of outdoor experts will take them out overnight and field test them thoroughly in a range of alfresco scenarios, pitching the tent several times and packing it away to assess how easy this process is, as well as analysing how the product has performed at its primary job: providing shelter. Extended reviews are added when this has taken place. On occasions when such testing is still underway, or if we are still in the process of sourcing access to the product, the featured tents have been thoroughly researched.
How to choose the best pop up tent for you
Better materials, proper construction methods, and rigorous testing mean that the best pop-up tents now stand up better 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 an 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 car park 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, pop-up tents are only really suitable as fair-weather shelters.
Finally, the 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.