An instant tent can save you a lot of time and trouble when you get to your campsite as it has all of its parts attached and takes mere minutes to set up.
Having the perfect tent for your outdoor adventure can make or break your experience. You want it to be comfortable and sizable enough for you and your camping buddies, it needs to pack away easily and hold up to the elements, as well as be easy to set up.
Check out this guide to the best instant tents to learn more and find the perfect one for your next camping trip.
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We reviewed over 39 instant tents for this article. Below are the best instant tents that made our short list.
Read our complete buyers guide for instant tents.
Coleman has a number of instant tents in their product range. This 4-Person Instant Tent is a perfect mid-size, mid-priced option for the avid camping family.
This tent claims an impressive setup time of only 60 seconds, but it is worth noting that you may need to practice a few times to achieve this speed. However, it is still much faster to pitch than a traditional pole tent.
This freestanding tent is rated for 3 seasons and, with Coleman’s patented WeatherTec system, it includes various features to help keep the rain out. With a floor space of 8 x 7 ft (2.4 x 2.13 m), you can easily fit a queen-size mattress and still have some space to move around.
For the family that wants quality and exceptional space, coupled with ease of use, the CORE 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent is ideal.
This is a freestanding cabin tent that features two separate rooms, perfect for parents and kids to camp in together while each having their own space too.
The burden of slotting poles together is taken away thanks to a pre-assembled frame. The setup time for this tent, despite its size, is a very impressive 60 seconds.
Rated for three seasons, the CORE Instant Cabin Tent offers panoramic views with large windows on three sides and a window in the door. It also features a mesh roof that is great for stargazing on clear nights.
The Coleman Tenaya Lake 8 Person Instant Cabin Tent is ideal for longer camping trips where you want a little bit of extra comfort.
What sets the Tenaya apart from other large freestanding instant tents is the built-in closet. This 2 x 2 ft (61 x 61 cm) space even has a hang rail and shelves, perfect for keeping your clothes organized and easily accessible.
The Tenaya has a generous 80 inch (2 meter) center height, so you never need to bend over or feel cramped, even if you are well over 6 feet tall. All of this space does come at a cost as the Tenaya weighs over 33 lbs (15 kg), making it unsuitable for backpacking, but if you are car camping, this versatile tent is definitely a must have.
It also doesn’t boast a super fast setup time, but at about 9 minutes, it is still faster than a traditional cabin tent of the same size.
While small in size, this dome tent from Toogh has a whole lot of features making it a great value for money option.
The Toogh Waterproof Tent borders on being a pop up tent – it has a system of hinged tent poles that allow the tent to be deployed quickly and with very little intervention.
The Toogh is a waterproof tent and features durable, ripstop fabric on both the rainfly and the floor. It features two doors but has no additional windows. The roof is covered by the rainfly, allowing for good ventilation while keeping the rain out.
The ZOMAKE Pop Up Tent is extremely versatile. It can be used in mild weather as a normal camping tent or simply as a sun shelter for any outdoor activities.
This tent opens at both ends with D-style doors and has two windows with privacy panels that can be rolled up - providing exceptional ventilation and uninterrupted views.
Weighing just 5 lbs (2.26 kg), the Zomake can be used for backpacking but with only 40 inches (1 meter) of head space, this tent really is just a place to lie down or get out of the sun. The Zomake Pop Up Tent is ideal for quick, summer camping trips but is not suitable for windy or very wet conditions.
The Wenzel Klondike is a large, family-sized cabin tent with the added benefit of a screen room.
While it is rated as a 3-season tent, it is best suited for mild summer weather as it features a very open design with large mesh windows and a mesh roof. A rainfly is included but it can be completely detached to allow for fabulous views and ventilation.
Setting up the Klondike takes a bit longer than all the other tents reviewed but with its shock-corded poles, it is still relatively easy to do - even on your own.
If you want a quick and convenient option, this Coleman Pop-Up Tent is an ideal choice. As far as pop up tents go, this tent deploys in a matter of seconds, though you should consider staking the tent down once it's set up.
This tent packs up rather large, so while it is not very heavy, it is best suited for car camping and other outdoor activities that do not require you physically carry your tent from place to place.
Easy to use and well priced, this tent will provide basic protection against the sun, wind and rain, though it is not rated for high winds or storms.
When looking for an instant tent, the most obvious selling point would be ease of use. How quick is it to set up the tent and how easy is it to take down and pack away?
The 4-Person Instant Tent rates highest as it offers the perfect balance between quality and affordability. It also has all the features you would expect of a good tent, except that a rainfly is not included.
If you need more space but still want the speedy setup, consider the CORE 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent. The Core 9 features two rooms with a divider, but no additional shared living or storage space. While it takes only 60 seconds to deploy, it is rather heavy and more suitable for car camping.
For versatility and a little quirkiness, the Coleman Tenaya Lake 8 Person Instant Cabin Tent includes a built-in closet, making it ideal for a longer camping trips as it beats having to live out of your backpack. Coleman has even included some thoughtful features like a wheeled carry case.
With its quirky, hexagon dome design, the Toogh Waterproof Tent offers great value for money. Compact and durable, it is well constructed with good waterproof fabrics and with its two doors, ventilation is not a problem
The Wenzel 8-Person Klondike Tent doesn’t offer the quick setup time of many of the other tents but it is very easy to pitch thanks to its shock-corded poles. With lots of room for the entire family, it’s worth the sacrifice of a couple of extra minutes of setup time.
For the more budget conscious, opt for the ZOMAKE Pop Up Tent or the Coleman Pop-Up Tent. These tents are not suitable to use in extreme weather, but are definitely worth having for an easy to use, portable outdoor shelter.
An instant tent is a tent that can be set up faster than a traditional tent, in some cases even boasting a 60 second setup time.
None of the traditional tent features are omitted so you can still enjoy a fully functional tent with a much easier setup.
This reduction in setup time is achieved through pre-attached tent poles. This simply means you spend less time threading poles through pole sleeves and figuring out which pole goes where.
An instant tent can save you a lot of time and effort when you get to your campsite so you can begin your relaxing getaway as soon as you get there.
An instant tent is often confused with a pop up tent, but these two items are not the same.
While a pop up tent does indeed open up in a matter of seconds, it does so thanks to a clever design that allows it to “self set up” - meaning no user intervention is required other than to remove the tent from the storage bag.
An instant tent comes with all of its poles pre-attached or assembled but does require you to extend the poles or lock them into place in order to set up the structure of the tent.
If you are considering an instant tent, then you have already decided that you do not want to spend a long time setting up your tent. The type of tent will, to a degree, determine how easy it is to set up for one person. Also look at how easy it is to pack the tent away.
As always, practice and familiarize yourself with how your tent works before you head out on your trip.
Portability is especially important if you are backpacking as you'll want something light and compact. Also look at the design of the carry bag. Something with straps that allow you to carry the tent as a backpack or attach it to your hiking backpack is more convenient as it leaves your hands free.
For car camping you have a little bit more freedom of choice as you do not have these restrictions and can take a larger, heavier tent camping with you.
Remember that the manufacturer rating is just a suggestion. If you need more living space or gear storage, follow the rule – “Number of people + 2”. Instant tents come in a range of sizes, so whether you're looking for a 2- or a 10-person tent you'll be able to find the perfect one for your camping needs.
It's also a good idea to look at the usable floor space of a tent, including additional vestibules and patios, which are great for storage of muddy gear.
Different tent structures offer different benefits. A dome tent is compact and lightweight, while a cabin tent will allow more usable space and headroom. A tunnel tent offers the best of both. For a larger tent, look for one with two doors, allowing easier access.
The most common fabrics used in tents are nylon and polyester. These synthetic fabrics are cheaper, lightweight and stronger. However, they are not as breathable as natural fabric, like cotton, and can often result in condensation forming inside the tent.
A ripstop nylon is strengthened during weaving with reinforcement threads. This improves the makes the fabric more tear resistant, giving you a more durable tent.
Most tents available on the market are either 3-season or winter tents. In most cases, a 3-season tent will be sufficient to see you through summer, fall or spring. Ensure there are sufficient vents and mesh windows that allow for good air circulation. A rainfly that is removable is handy for hot, dry weather.
A winter tent will typically be sturdier, but also heavier. If you are expecting extreme temperatures make sure you opt for a tent that is rated for below freezing weather. Winter tents have stronger poles that stand up to blizzards and snow drifts.
“Buy the best you can afford” is always a good rule to follow. Cheap does not always have to equal poor quality. If you are an occasional camper, you do not need to break the bank for a premium tent.
Accessories and add-ons in the form of vestibules or spare poles are always a plus. This way you can upgrade and change the tent as your needs change. If you lose or break a pole, being able to just replace the pole is much cheaper than having to replace the entire tent.
Whether you need an additional footprint is a personal preference but what would influence your decision is the quality of the integrated floor of the tent as well as the area where you are pitching your tent. A rocky terrain will be uncomfortable and sharp rocks can possibly rip your tent.
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