Camping is far easier when you have one of the best pop up tents to relax and sleep in. These instant tents are a real doddle to set up, which makes them the perfect solution for first-time campers or anyone feeling nervous about pitching a tent on a busy campsite.
Pop up tents are also much more streamlined and compact than other tents for camping, but that doesn't mean they're lacking quality features. In fact, some of the instant tents featured below have the kind of features you'd find on high-end car camping tents: think blackout bedroom fabric and proper ventilation.
Kids also love them, as they're simple to pitch, so it's easier for the kids to help out. That's why we've included a few pop up tents for kids in our selection below, as well as pop up tents for the beach. The latter make brilliant shelters when the sun is out and you want to keep yourself and your little ones protected.
The best pop up tents are ideal for festival use and casual camping trips in warm weather, and some of them are compact enough to be used in place of a 'Wendy House' in garden when you're back from your family camping holiday.
Most of these pop up tents take next to no time to get up and running, leaving you with more time to get on with enjoying your outdoors holiday, festival or day at the beach. After all, camping is supposed to be fun, not a chore.
If you want other fuss-free, streamlined gear to go with your easy-peasy pop up, take a look at our round-up of camping mats, which are ideal for use when backpacking and mountaineering too.
Best pop up tents: our expert pick
- Pop up tents are at their best when they offer a decent amount of space to sleep and store gear, and have some form of airflow control or ventilation, coupled with a way to stop the early morning sun from waking you up at 6am and baking your tent instantly.
- That's why our pick for the best pop up tent is the Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Pop Up Tent. It's robust with room for two people plus gear, and pulls in all the quick-pitching benefits you could want. All that coupled with enough strength and quality to stand up to more general camping use.
Choosing the best pop up tent for you
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.
The best pop up tents to buy now
1. Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Pop Up Tent
The best pop up tent for camping
Reasons to buy
Decathlon own-brand Quechua have been making pop up tents for years, so it’s no surprise that this offering is relatively sophisticated, especially considering the reasonable price. The all-white monochrome colour scheme is also a bit different, helping your tent stand out in a busy festival site.
While the outside is white (reflecting some of that baking sunshine), the inside is black, theoretically blocking that pesky dawn light for as long as possible (99% dark in full daylight), an essential festival upgrade.
There’s also bags of ventilation, and while the claimed pitch time of 2 seconds is slightly optimistic, this is super-fast to get up and get settled - you can even dispense with the formalities of pegging it down if you’re very brave.
However, bravery is not required to trust the little Decathlon tent with your beauty sleep, as the company has actually tested these tents to withstand a Force 6 gale, as well as under a shower of 200 mm of water/hour/sqm (tropical rain).
2. Coleman Tourer Instant Tent
The best pop up tent for all-weather touring
Reasons to buy
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 for the best pop up tent crown.
3. Coleman FastPitch Galiano 4 Pop Up Tent
A stunning pop up tent with bags of space
Reasons to buy
The Coleman Galiano 4 tent pops up in a jiffy just like the competition, but with sleeping space for four this is one of the more palatial popups. Ideal for family weekends away, where you don’t want to spend half the weekend fighting tentpoles, the Galiano 4 pops up in seconds, as well as packs down fast too.
In keeping with the speedy theme, guylines are pre-attached, so can be pegged out in a trice, and with external vents and internal storage pockets all ready to go, this is literally zero to hero in seconds.
Although the tent’s hydrostatic head rating is 2000mm (lower than the Vango for example), that’s still waterproof enough for most occasions, just try not to pitch it in a bog. However, taped seams should help keep the water outside. In short, if you’re going large with the family or friends, this is the popup for you!
4. Regatta Malawi Instant Tent
This best pop up tent for kids doubles as a garden hide-out
Reasons to buy
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, 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.
5. Vango Dart 300DS Pop Up Tent
A robust pop up tent that withstands high winds
Reasons to buy
The Vango Dart is a grown-up pop up tent for campers and festival go-ers. Although it still pitches in seconds (the minute pitch time includes pegging the fly out, making tea and having a game of snap), you’re getting some of the same specs you’d expect in a ‘proper’ tent. This makes it an ideal choice for the quick weekend campsite trip, or indeed a super-budget alternative for summer getaways.
Up front you’ve got high-end attributes such as taped seams, a 3000 hydrostatic head Vango Protex 70 denier polyester flysheet. The darker tent keeps morning light at bay and is coupled with an integrated groundsheet to protect you from the bare earth.
Finer points of our top pick for the best pop up tent include condensation-shifting vents, lantern hanging points, reflective tabs on the peg-out points, and hi-vis guylines so that other people don't trip over your tent.
6. Amazon Basics Pop Up Tent
The best pop up tent for the beach
Reasons to buy
When is a tent not a tent? When it’s a ‘beach tent’! Joking aside, this astonishingly wallet-friendly pop up tent for the beach is perfect for the job in hand. In other words, for keeping the sun at bay on hot summer beach days, and as storage space for towels, books, picnics and the like if the rain kicks in.
There’s ventilation via a large mesh window, and extended floor at the front means you can stretch out in comfort. The basics tent comes with bag and pegs, but in a considered nod to the makeup of most UK beaches (ie, rocky), there’s a fillable sandbag bag to weigh down the structure and prevent the sea breeze whisking it all offshore.
If you’re looking for a pop up tent for the beach and nothing else, this is ideal.