Are Pop Up Tents Easy to Set Up and Fold Up?

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After using pop up tents for the past 4 years or so, I’ve gotten a pretty good feel as to which pop up tents are the easiest to set up, the easiest to pack up, and also why they’re the easiest.

Pop up tents are the easiest possible tents to set up for camping, mainly because of their pre-attached poles. The easiest pop up tents can take as little as 15 seconds to set up, and as little as just 1 minute to pack up back into the carry case.

This is a picture of me chilling on a Helinox Chair Two beside my Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent.
This is a picture of me chilling on a Helinox Chair Two beside my Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent.

Are Pop Up Tents Easy to Set Up?

Pop up tents are, by far, the easiest tents to set up. All pop up tents have pre-attached poles, and most of them use the spring tension from the poles to pop open right out of the carry case. The easiest pop up tents can take as little as 15 seconds to set up.

The most common type of pop up tent is the type that springs open out of the carry case. The Coleman Pop Up Tents work this way, and I’ll use the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent to show you how this works.

To set up the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent, first unzip the carry bag, and take the pop up tent out of it.

This is a picture of me taking the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent out of its carry bag. Notice the black strap across it holding the tent together.
This is a picture of me taking the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent out of its carry bag. Notice the black strap across it holding the tent together.

Then, remove the black strap holding the pop up tent together (which you might have noticed in the previous picture), and immediately toss the entire tent away from yourself. This is to prevent the tent from popping up in your face and hurting you.

This is a picture of me tossing the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent away from me.
This is a picture of me tossing the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent away from me.

Once you’ve tossed the tent away from you, simply stand around and wait until it pops open completely. This will take about 5-10 seconds or so. Here are a few pictures of my Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent popping up:

This is a picture of the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent popping up.
This is a picture of the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent popping up.
This is another picture of the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent popping up, 1-2 seconds later.
This is another picture of the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent popping up, 1-2 seconds later.

The next step is to stake down and guy out the entire Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent. Of course, if you’re indoor camping or backyard camping, you can feel free to skip this entire step.

However, if you’re somewhere with a little wind, you might want to stake down and guy out the tent to give it more resistance against wind. For the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent, it has 6 stake loops and 2 pre-attached guylines around the entire tent. This will take you an additional 1 minute and 15 seconds.

Each side of the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent has 3 stake loops for staking down the tent body, and 1 guyline for guying out the tent.
Each side of the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent has 3 stake loops for staking down the tent body, and 1 guyline for guying out the tent.

Related ReadingHow to Set Up a Pop Up Tent: 9 Steps (Contains many more details)

Related Reading: What is a Pop Up Tent? And How Do They Work? (With REAL Pictures!)

How Easy Are Pop Up Tents to Set Up?

How easily a pop up tent sets up depends on a few factors, such as the number of features the pop up tent has, whether the pop up tent has a guided set up, whether the pop up tent has a pre-attached rainfly, and also how big the pop up tent capacity is.

Let’s go through each of these factors in a little more detail.

Features

Generally, the more features a pop up tent has, the longer it’ll take to set up. Features include stake loops, guylines, and vents. Of course, the more stake loops, guylines and vents you need to set up, the longer the entire set up will take.

For example, my Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent has 2 pretty large vents, 1 at each side of the tent. These vents first need to be staked out with a pre-tied loop:

This is one of the side vents of the Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent. The red arrow is pointing to the pre-tied loop that you have to drive a stake through.
This is one of the side vents of the Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent. The red arrow is pointing to the pre-tied loop that you have to drive a stake through.

After that, you have to attach the 2 blue s-hooks of the vents to the 2 guylines connected to the pre-tied loop, then you’d also have to adjust it with another blue adjuster, till it’s as taut as you prefer:

This is a picture of me hooking up the S-hooks of the side vent of the Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent.
This is a picture of me hooking up the S-hooks of the side vent of the Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent.

Both vents took me about 30 seconds to set up (and I think that’s already pretty quick because I’m used to it), so the Fresh and Black 2 Seconds Tent took me 30 seconds longer to set up than the Regular 2 Seconds Tent, which doesn’t have these 2 vents.

Also, the number of stake loops and guylines each pop up tent has will also affect the set up timing; the more stake loops and guylines, the longer the full set up will take:

Pop Up TentNumber of Stake LoopsNumber of Guylines
Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent62
Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent62
Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick Tent54
Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent64
Quechua 2 Seconds 2-Person Tent47
Fresh and Black 2-Person Tent67
Fresh and Black 3-Person Tent67

This is a picture of me guying out the 3 guylines at the back of the Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent.
This is a picture of me guying out the 3 guylines at the back of the Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent.

The Quechua Fresh and Black 2-Person and 3-Person Tents had the most number of stake loops and guylines; each of these Fresh and Black Tents had 4 loops for the tent base, another 2 loops for the 2 vents, and a whopping 7 guylines (3 at the back, and 4 at the front of the tent). So, these Fresh and Black Tents took the longest to set up.

Guided Set Up

How guided the set up is also tends to affect the set up timing; the more guided the set up, the more time the set up will take. This is because unlike the Coleman Pop Up Tents that literally spring open out of the carry case, guided set ups tend to involve more color-coded buckles and straps.

This is a picture of me packing up the Quechua 2 Seconds Tent. Notice the red-colored buckles and yellow-colored strap.
This is a picture of me packing up the Quechua 2 Seconds Tent. Notice the red-colored buckles and yellow-colored strap.

Why would people prefer guided set ups then? Well, because a guided set up also means that the pack up is guided, making for a much more user-friendly pack up. Also, some people may not like the super aggressive pop up motion, and may prefer something more gentle.

The best example I have on this is the Quechua 2 Seconds Tents.

To set up this Quechua 2 Seconds Tent, first unzip the carry bag and take the tent out. There will be a yellow strap holding the tent together:

When you first take the Quechua 2 Seconds Pop Up Tent out of its carry bag, you’ll notice this yellow strap holding the tent together.
When you first take the Quechua 2 Seconds Pop Up Tent out of its carry bag, you’ll notice this yellow strap holding the tent together.

After you gently slide the tent out from that yellow strap, and the tent will pop open to make a bigger circle. Notice that it doesn’t spring open immediately like the Coleman Pop Up Tents.

This is what the Quechua 2 Seconds Pop Up Tent looks like after I remove the yellow strap.
This is what the Quechua 2 Seconds Pop Up Tent looks like after I remove the yellow strap.

Next, undo these red buckles, there are 2 of them:

This is a picture of me undoing the red buckles of the Quechua 2 Seconds Pop Up Tent.
This is a picture of me undoing the red buckles of the Quechua 2 Seconds Pop Up Tent.

Then, turn the tent 180 degrees, and also undo these yellow buckles. There are also 2 of them.

This is a picture of me undoing the yellow buckles of the Quechua 2 Seconds Pop Up Tent.
This is a picture of me undoing the yellow buckles of the Quechua 2 Seconds Pop Up Tent.

After, unfold the tent, and it’ll quite intuitively pop up by itself and give you this freestanding tent.

This is a picture of me unfolding the Quechua 2 Seconds Pop Up Tent, after undoing both the red and yelllow buckles.
This is a picture of me unfolding the Quechua 2 Seconds Pop Up Tent, after undoing both the red and yelllow buckles.

This entire process takes about 30 seconds, which is twice as long as the pop-up process of the Coleman Pop Up Tents (which take just 15 seconds to pop open).

Set Up Mechanism

Not all pop up tents have the same set up mechanism, and the type of set up mechanism also greatly affects the set up timing of pop up tents.

The best example I have on this are the Teton Sports Vista Quick Tents. Unlike regular pop up tents that just spring open out of the carry case, these Quick Tents employ more of an umbrella set up mechanism. Let me show you how these work.

To set up the Teton Sports Vista Quick Tent, first unfold the tent body until it lays flat on the ground. Only the center hub will be sticking out, perpendicularly to the ground.

The Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent doesn’t pop up immediately when you take it out of the carry case. You’ve got to lay it out flat on the ground like this first, then pop it up using the black hub that’s sticking out.
The Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent doesn’t pop up immediately when you take it out of the carry case. You’ve got to lay it out flat on the ground like this first, then pop it up using the black hub that’s sticking out.

After that, reach for the 2 drawstrings at the very top of the center locking hub.

This is a picture of the top of the central hub of the Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent. It comes with drawstrings for you to grab onto with one hand (like I’m doing in the picture).
This is a picture of the top of the central hub of the Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent. It comes with drawstrings for you to grab onto with one hand (like I’m doing in the picture).

Lift it some distance off the ground, and use your other hand to push down on the center locking hub. The central hub is where all the poles are connected, and this is what makes this Vista Quick Tent pop up.

This is a picture of me popping up the Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent. Notice I’m using one hand to grab the drawstring of the central hub, and the other hand to press down on the hub.
This is a picture of me popping up the Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent. Notice I’m using one hand to grab the drawstring of the central hub, and the other hand to press down on the hub.

This pop up process takes about 1.25 minutes for the 1-Person Vista Quick Tent, and 2 minutes for the 2-Person Vista Quick Tent. Notice that this is about 2-3 times as long as the pop up process for the Coleman Pop Up Tents (15 seconds) and the Quechua 2 Seconds Tent (30 seconds).

Pre-Attached Rainfly

Also, the rainflies of the Teton Sports Vista Quick Tents are not pre-attached. As such, I had to grab the rainfly, drape it over the Quick Tent, and use the 4 buckles at the 4 corners of the tent to secure the rainfly to the tent.

To secure the rainfly to the Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent, there are these buckles at the 4 corners.
To secure the rainfly to the Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent, there are these buckles at the 4 corners.

While this was not super difficult to do (it was pretty easily actually), it did lengthen my set up timing of my Quick Tents by about 30 seconds to 1 minute or so. That’s why my Quick Tents had the longest set up timings of all my other pop up tents with similar tent capacities.

On the other hand, the rest of my pop up tents had pre-attached rainflies. This made the set up process super easy, as I didn’t need to grapple with the rainfly at all.

Pop Up TentPre-Attached Rainfly?
Coleman 2-Person Pop Up TentYes
Coleman 4-Person Pop Up TentYes
Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick TentNo
Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick TentNo
Quechua 2 Seconds 2-Person TentYes
Fresh and Black 2-Person TentYes
Fresh and Black 3-Person TentYes

Tent Capacity

Naturally, the larger the tent capacity of your pop up tent, the longer it’ll take to set up as well. Even though a larger tent may have the exact same features of the smaller tent, it will still take some time to run around the entire tent setting up all the stakes and guylines and so.

For example, my Fresh and Black 2-Person Tent took just 3 minutes for the entire set up, while the Fresh and Black 3-Person Tent took 30 seconds more, with the set up coming in at 3.5 minutes. Both had the exact same number of guylines, stakes, and features, but I found the bigger tent just took longer.

This is a picture of me setting up my Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black 3-Person Tent.
This is a picture of me setting up my Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black 3-Person Tent.

Related Reading: Pop Up Tents VS. Regular Tents – 8 Key Differences to Know

Which Tent is the Easiest to Set Up?

The pop up tent that is the easiest to set up is the Coleman Pop Up Tent. All you have to do is just take the tent out of the carry bag, remove the black strap holding the tent together, toss it away from you, and watch the poles pop up entire tent up.

This is a picture of the Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent popping open as I throw it away from me.
This is a picture of the Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent popping open as I throw it away from me.

On top of that, I found that the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent didn’t take longer than the Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent to set up, even though it’s quite a bit larger. This was pretty surprising to me, and I realized it’s because both Coleman Pop Up Tents don’t have that many features that need to be manually set up.

In fact, if you’re interested to know how each of my 7 pop up tents took to set up, here’s all the timings:

  1. Pop up timing: How long it takes the tent to pop up, without staking and guying.
  2. Full set up timing: This is the pop up timing, with full staking down and guying down.
Pop Up Tent Name Pop Up Timing Full Set Up Timing
Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent 0.25 minutes 1.5 minutes
Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent 0.25 minutes 1.5 minutes
Quechua 2 Seconds 2-Person Tent 0.5 minutes 2.5 minutes
Fresh and Black 2-Person Tent 1 minute 3 minutes
Fresh and Black 3-Person Tent 1 minute 3.5 minutes
Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick Tent 1.25 minutes 2.75 minutes
Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent 2 minutes 3.5 minutes

All the pop up tents that I have are incredibly easy to set up, taking anywhere between just 1.5 minutes to 3.5 minutes. In contrast, a similar sized regular tent will take anywhere between 5 to 10 minutes to set up. So, pop up tents are much easier to set up.

However, bear in mind that the ease of set up is not the only thing that you should look out for when picking a pop up tent. There are other factors to consider as well, and I’ll leave a few useful articles here for you to read if you’re interested.

This is a picture of me with my 7 pop-up tents. From bottom to top: Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent, Fresh & Black 3-Person Tent, Quechua 2 Seconds 2-Person Tent, Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent, Fresh & Black 2-Person Tent, Teton Sports Vista 2-Person Tent, and the Teton Sports Vista 1-Person Tent.
This is a picture of me with my 7 pop-up tents. From bottom to top: Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent, Fresh & Black 3-Person Tent, Quechua 2 Seconds 2-Person Tent, Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent, Fresh & Black 2-Person Tent, Teton Sports Vista 2-Person Tent, and the Teton Sports Vista 1-Person Tent.

Related Reading: I Bought & Tested the 7 BEST Pop Up Tents!

Pop Up TentFull ReviewCheck Price
Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick TentRead ReviewAmazon
Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick TentRead ReviewAmazon
Coleman 4-Person Pop Up TentRead ReviewAmazon
Coleman 2-Person Pop Up TentRead ReviewAmazon
Quechua 2 Seconds 2-Person TentRead ReviewDecathlon
Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black 2-Person TentRead ReviewDecathlon
Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black 3-Person TentRead ReviewDecathlon

Related Reading: 13 Qualities for Choosing the Best Pop Up Tent for Camping

Are Pop Up Tents Easy to Fold Up?

Pop up tents are the easiest tents to fold up. Their pre-attached poles means that you don’t have to first detach the poles; you can just leave the poles in place, and fold the poles up with the tent itself. The easiest pop up tents can take as little as 1 minute to fold up.

Let’s go back to the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent, which is the most common type of pop up tent.

To take down the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent, first remove all the stakes, then unzip both the inner window and outer door panels. This allows air to be pushed out of the tent more easily when folding it up.

This is a picture of me unzipping the inner green window of the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent. Notice that the door is laid out on top of the tent.
This is a picture of me unzipping the inner green window of the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent. Notice that the door is laid out on top of the tent.

Then, pick the tent up from one side and fold all the poles together until the tent looks like a taco.

This is what the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent will look like when all the poles have been folded together. This is the taco shape.
This is what the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent will look like when all the poles have been folded together. This is the taco shape.

Once your tent looks like a taco, stand it up on one end, like this.

This is a picture of me standing the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent on one end.
This is a picture of me standing the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent on one end.

With one hand, grab the middle of the taco. With your other hand, reach out as far as possible to the other end, and pull it towards you.

This is a picture of me reaching out to one end of the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent to prepare to fold it down.
This is a picture of me reaching out to one end of the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent to prepare to fold it down.
This is a picture of me folding one end of the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent down.
This is a picture of me folding one end of the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent down.

At the same time, quickly kneel on the ground, using one of your knees to press down on that end that you’ve just folded in. This is to prevent the poles from popping up again.

This is a picture of me kneeling down and using my right knee to hold the poles of the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent down.
This is a picture of me kneeling down and using my right knee to hold the poles of the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent down.

The rest of the poles will now form circles, so use both hands to push them down and together, until the tent folds back into a smaller circle. After that, I usually hold the tent together using my legs, and place the black strap across the tent.

This is what the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent looks like with the black strap over the tent.
This is what the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent looks like with the black strap over the tent.

Finally, put the tent back into the carry bag, it should go back in no problem.

This is a picture of me putting the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent back into the carry bag. Notice how it fits perfectly.
This is a picture of me putting the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent back into the carry bag. Notice how it fits perfectly.

This whole process can take as little as 1 minute, if you don’t use the stakes and guylines, and as little as 1.75 minutes if you do use the stakes and guylines. That’s the fastest an entire camping tent will pack up. There’s no regular camping tent that can pack up this quickly.

Related Reading: How to Fold Up a Pop Up Tent – 9 Steps

Also, one great thing about pop up tents is that you’ll never have to struggle to get your pop up tent back into the carry case; they fit perfectly. In contrast, for regular tents, you’d have to constantly squeeze the air out just to get it to fit back in.

This is a picture of me trying to stuff everything back into the carry bag of the Coleman WeatherMaster 10-Person Tent.
This is a picture of me trying to stuff everything back into the carry bag of the Coleman WeatherMaster 10-Person Tent.

Related Reading: Pop Up Tents VS. Regular Tents – 8 KEY Differences to Know

Related Reading: 16 Pros and Cons of Pop Up Tents (From 3 Years’ Experience!)

However, bear in mind that not everyone finds the Coleman Pop Up Tent easy to pack up. If you don’t get your grip right, or you’re not used to the pack up, the spring tension from the poles can cause your pop up tent to pop right open again. This is the main cause of frustration of pop up tents.

For myself, I had to practice folding up the Coleman Pop Up Tents at least 5 times before I finally got the hang of it.

This is a picture of me sitting in the Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent, showing off my bruised knee.
This is a picture of me sitting in the Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent, showing off my bruised knee. Please excuse the overexposed photo!

In fact, I practiced so much that I had a bruise on my knee (that I used to stop the poles from popping back up), which took a few days to disappear.

This is a picture of me using my knee to hold the Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent down while folding it away.
This is a picture of me using my knee to hold the Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent down while folding it away.

Folding up the pop up tent is just the reverse of the set up process, and is affected by the same few factors, like:

Folding up the pop up tent is just the reverse of the set up process, and is affected by the same few factors, like:

  • Features: The more stakes, guylines and vents, the longer the pack up will take.
  • Guidance: If the set up is guided, it’ll take slightly longer to pack up. However, guided pack ups are much more user-friendly, and take only 1-2 times to get it perfect.
  • Mechanism: Umbrella mechanisms pack up slightly slower than the pop up mechanisms.
  • Pre-attached rainfly: A non-pre-attached rainfly means that you’ve got to take down the rainfly, and fold it up nicely to fit back into the carry bag.
  • Tent capacity: A larger tent capacity generally means a longer pack up.
This is a picture of me folding the rainfly (right) of the Teton Sports 2-Peson Vista Quick Tent to make it small enough to fit back into the carry bag (left).
This is a picture of me folding the rainfly (right) of the Teton Sports 2-Peson Vista Quick Tent to make it small enough to fit back into the carry bag (left).

Which Tent is the Easiest to Fold Up?

The easiest pop up tent to fold up is the Coleman Pop Up Tent. The 2-Person version takes as little as 1 minute to fold up, and the 4-Person version takes as little as 1.25 minutes to fold up. However, it might take a few practice tries to get this right.

If you’re interested, here’s how long each of my 7 pop up tents took me to fold up and pack up:

  1. Pack up timing: How long it takes to pack up, without staking.
  2. Full pack up timing: This is the pack up timing, with full staking down and guying down.
Pop Up Tent Name Pack Up Timing Full Pack Up
Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent 1 minute 1.75 minutes
Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent 1.25 minutes 2 minutes
Quechua 2 Seconds 2-Person Tent 2 minutes 2.5 minutes
Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick Tent 2 minutes 2.5 minutes
Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent 2.5 minutes 3 minutes
Fresh and Black 2-Person Tent 2.5 minutes 3 minutes
Fresh and Black 3-Person Tent 3 minutes 3.5 minutes

However, bear in mind that all these timings are based on me having set up and taken down all these 7 pop up tents dozens of times; I’m pretty proficient at setting them up and taking them down. If you’re new to your pop up tent, your first couple of times will take slightly longer.

But don’t worry, after a few tries and uses, you’ll soon be a pro.

All My Pop Up Tent Resources

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