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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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Related Reading: How 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.
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:
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:
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 Tent||Number of Stake Loops||Number of Guylines|
|Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent||6||2|
|Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent||6||2|
|Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick Tent||5||4|
|Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent||6||4|
|Quechua 2 Seconds 2-Person Tent||4||7|
|Fresh and Black 2-Person Tent||6||7|
|Fresh and Black 3-Person Tent||6||7|
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.
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:
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.
Next, undo these red buckles, there are 2 of them:
Then, turn the tent 180 degrees, and also undo these yellow buckles. There are also 2 of them.
After, unfold the tent, and it’ll quite intuitively pop up by itself and give you this freestanding tent.
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.
After that, reach for the 2 drawstrings at the very top of the center locking hub.
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 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).
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.
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 Tent||Pre-Attached Rainfly?|
|Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent||Yes|
|Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent||Yes|
|Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick Tent||No|
|Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent||No|
|Quechua 2 Seconds 2-Person Tent||Yes|
|Fresh and Black 2-Person Tent||Yes|
|Fresh and Black 3-Person Tent||Yes|
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.
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.
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:
- Pop up timing: How long it takes the tent to pop up, without staking and guying.
- 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.
Related Reading: I Bought & Tested the 7 BEST Pop Up Tents!
|Pop Up Tent||Full Review||Check Price|
|Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent||Read Review||Amazon, Moosejaw|
|Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick Tent||Read Review||Amazon, Moosejaw|
|Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent||Read Review||Amazon, Moosejaw|
|Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent||Read Review||Amazon, Moosejaw|
|Quechua 2 Seconds 2-Person Tent||Read Review||Decathlon|
|Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black 2-Person Tent||Read Review||Decathlon|
|Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black 3-Person Tent||Read Review||Decathlon|
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.
Then, pick the tent up from one side and fold all the poles together until the tent looks like a taco.
Once your tent looks like a taco, stand it up on one end, like this.
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.
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.
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.
Finally, put the tent back into the carry bag, it should go back in no problem.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Pack up timing: How long it takes to pack up, without staking.
- 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.
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