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I’ve been camping in pop up tents over the past 4 years, and I’ve even bought 7 of them with my own money. Here’s my take on whether they’re worth it, and whether you should (or should not) get a pop up tent of your own.
Pop up tents are reasonably priced, yet great for camping, even in rainy weather. If you’re backyard, indoor, or car camping, pop up tents would be a great pick for you. However, pop up tents are not suitable for backpacking or for extremely windy and inclement weather.
What Are Pop Up Tents Good For?
Pop up tents are good for many occasions, including camping. Some pop up tents are just as weatherproof as regular tents, and can also be used when camping in heavy rain. There are also different kinds of pop up tents, including for privacy and bathroom uses.
For your pop up tent to be used for camping, I highly recommend buying pop up tents from reputable brands that specialize in outdoor gear. Such brands include Coleman, Quechua (from Decathlon), and Teton Sports.
These tents tend to have sufficient base area for sleeping. For example, my Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent has enough base area for 2 regular sleeping pads put together:
This 2 Seconds Tent even comes with 2 large vents, 1 on each length of the tent, which can be guyed out and kept open in the rain for ventilation. This reduces the likelihood of condensation inside the tent.
Related Reading: Can You Use Pop Up Tents for Camping? (6 Answered Questions!)
Related Reading: What is a Pop Up Tent, and How Does it Work?
On top of that, these camping pop up tents also have many waterproof features, such as taped seams, a bathtub flooring, fabrics with hydrostatic head ratings, and more. They are able to withstand a moderate amount of rainfall without leaking, and can be used in the rain.
Here are all the waterproofing features that my Quechua 2 Seconds Tent have:
- 2000-mm rated PU-coated polyester flysheet
- Full coverage rainfly
- 120g/sqm polyethylene groundsheet
- Bathtub polyethylene flooring
- Thermobonded taped seams
Related Reading: Pop Up Tents in Rain – Everything You Need to Know!
Related Reading: Are Pop Up Tents Good in Wind?
On the other hand, pop up tents that are meant for other uses may not have sufficient protection, ventilation and other features that camping pop up tents have. For example, here’s what a privacy pop up tent looks like:
Notice that the pop up privacy tent is vertical in shape (so it cannot be slept in), it has no flooring (not enough rain protection), and is also less durable than camping pop up tents. The fabric is thinner and lower quality, and so are the poles.
Is a Pop Up Tent Better than a Normal Tent?
Depending on what you’re looking for in a tent, a pop up tent can be better than a regular tent.
For example, if your main priority is an easy set up, pop up tents set up and pack up way faster than a normal tent. Compared to a regular Coleman (Sundome) Tent, a Coleman Pop Up Tent can be set up 3-5 times more quickly.
|Name of Tent||Full Set Up Timing|
|Coleman Pop Up 2-Person Tent||1.5 minutes|
|Coleman Pop Up 4-Person Tent||1.5 minutes|
|Coleman Sundome 2-Person Tent||7 minutes|
|Coleman Sundome 4-Person Tent||9 minutes|
Similarly, the same Coleman Pop Up Tent will pack up about 2-4 times more quickly than a regular Coleman Sundome Tent.
|Name of Tent||Full Pack Up Timing|
|Coleman Pop Up 2-Person Tent||1.75 minutes|
|Coleman Pop Up 4-Person Tent||2 minutes|
|Coleman Sundome 2-Person Tent||6 minutes|
|Coleman Sundome 4-Person Tent||8 minutes|
This is because the poles of the Coleman Pop Up Tents are all pre-attached, allowing the tent to pop up by itself, with not much set up required on your part:
On the other hand, the poles of the regular tent, which is the Coleman Sundome Tent, are not pre-attached to the tent body. So, you’d first have to take the poles out of the pole carry bag, assemble the poles, thread them through pole sleeves, and insert the ends of the poles into the pin at the base of the tent. Only then would you be able to prop the tent body up.
However, there are, of course, a number of cons that pop up tents have, compared to normal tents without the pre-attached poles. As a quick summary, there they are:
For more info on these points above, you can check out these 2 posts here for more details.
Related Reading 1: Pop Up Tents VS. Regular Tents – 8 KEY Differences to Know
Related Reading 2: 16 Pros and Cons of Pop Up Tents (From 3 Years’ of Experience!)
Are Pop Up Tents Expensive?
Pop up tents are generally not too expensive, as they’re generally made of polyester, polyethylene, and fiberglass poles. While these materials are decent quality, they are not top of the line materials, therefore keeping the price of pop up tents rather affordable.
I’ve bought 7 pop up tents over the past few years, and they cost me anywhere between $55 to $130 each. Here’s roughly how much I paid for each of my 7 pop up tents, from the least expensive to most expensive:
|Pop Up Tent||Price I Paid||Check Price|
|Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent||$55||Check Amazon|
|Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent||$80||Check Amazon|
|Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick Tent||$85||Check Amazon|
|Quechua 2 Seconds 2-Person Tent||$90||Check Decathlon|
|Fresh and Black 2-Person Tent||$100||Check Decathlon|
|Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent||$120||Check Amazon|
|Fresh and Black 3-Person Tent||$130||Check Decathlon|
If you’re on a budget, I’d recommend either the Coleman 2-Person or 4-Person Pop Up Tent (I prefer the 4-person version).
Related Reading: 13 Qualities for Choosing the Best Camping Pop Up Tent
When Should You Buy a Pop Up Tent?
There are a few occasions where I’d usually pick a pop up tent over a regular tent. For example, when I’m camping indoors, or going camping in my own backyard, I usually go camping with pop up tents instead or regular tents.
For me personally, I use pop up tents most often when I’m backyard camping. There’s no wind to blow over and destroy my tent, and it’s the most convenient set up, especially when I have to set up multiple tents for many people:
See these 3 tents in the picture below? I set all of them up myself. The 2 Quechua Pop Up Tents in the background took me just 2-3 minutes to unfold and pop open (for both!), while the Coleman Carlsbad Tent in the foreground took me 3 times at long (about 9 minutes). I didn’t bother to stake down and guy out the tents though.
I don’t go indoor camping quite as often as backyard camping, because why camp indoors when you can camp outdoors under the stars right?
However, I do prefer indoor camping on scorching summer days, where even the temperatures at night are like 90 degrees outside (90 Fahrenheit = 32 Celsius). It’s always an adventure to sleep in a tent, even when you’re indoors.
However, just bear in mind that some pop up tents have a more aggressive “pop up”” motion. Do keep those away from breakables or other valuables. These pop up tents include the Coleman Pop Up Tents. The Quechua and Teton Sports tents are much less aggressive when popping up.
Festivals and Events
Pop up tents also great for festivals, queuing, standing in line, and other events, because you may need to move every few hours. Since pop up tents are easy to set up and easy to take down, they’re the perfect choice if you have to keep moving.
Also, all pop up tents are also freestanding, so you don’t have to stake them down or guy them out, which saves you a lot of time. This also gives you the option of picking them up easily, and shifting them to a new spot as easily as possible:
Pop up tents don’t have their place just in backyard camping, indoor camping or festivals. You can even take them car camping as well; much like regular tents, these pop up tents are great car camping tents as well.
If you happen to reach your campsite after dark, these pop up tents make setting up much, much easier. Just take the tents out of the carry case, and pop them up. There’ll be no need to fumble over long snaggy pole sleeves in the dark after the sun has set.
Just make sure that your campsite isn’t too far of a distance from your car, as these pop up tents can be rather bulky. They’re also not exactly lightweight; the weight of pop up tents is much like regular tents.
If you’re trying to convince your partner to get into camping, and they hate having to deal with long snaggy pole sleeves and setting tents up, why not start with a pop up tent? These pop up tents set up incredibly easily, and may slowly ease your partner into camping.
They’re also great if you have many kids who love to play around in tents; setting them up and packing them up is a breeze after all.
When Should You NOT Buy a Pop Up Tent?
However, there are a few instances where I would absolutely not recommend buying a pop up tent for use. These 2 instances are when you’re hiking or backpacking, and when you’re dealing with extremely windy and inclement weather.
I’ll explain each situation in more detail.
Backpacking and Hiking
While you can backpack with a pop up tent, most people usually don’t. This is because pop up tents have significantly larger packed sizes than even regular camping tents, not to mention ultralight backpacking tents.
Check out this picture of what a pop up tent (Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick Tent, yellow in color) looks like beside a camping tent (Alps Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person Tent, brown in color), as well as an lightweight backpacking tent (MSR Hubba Hubba NX 1-Person Tent, red in color).
The yellow Teton Sports 1-Person pop up tent is simply massive compared to the other 2 tents.
Related Reading: Can You Backpack with a Pop Up Tent?
Extremely Windy Weather
Pop up tents are not known to be good in wind; these tents are manufactured for their ease of set up and take down, not so much for withstanding strong winds and inclement weather.
The poles of pop up tents tend to be made only of fiberglass, which is the most flexible material that tent poles are made of. And not just regular fiberglass poles, but thin fiberglass poles.
These thin fiberglass poles are what give pop up tents their iconic “pop up” motion, as well as allow these pop up tents to be easily folded and twisted back into their carry bags:
As such, these pop up tents are generally not the best in windy weather, as these thin fiberglass poles are much more likely to bend and flex in heavy wind, which can be dangerous if you’re camping in the tent. Also, after excessive heavy wind, your poles might be permanently bent, destroying your pop up tent.
The sturdiest pop up tent that I have can withstand only strong breezes of up to 30 miles per hour, while less sturdy pop up tents can withstand much less than that.
Related Reading: Are Pop Up Tents Good in Wind? (What You Need to Know!)
Is a Pop Up Tent Worth It?
After using pop up tents for the past 4 years, and having bought and tested 7 different pop up tents over these past few years, I’ve come to the conclusion that pop up tents are indeed worth it, if you’re looking for an easy set up and pack up.
If that’s your priority, pop up tents beat out every other type of tent out there in the market. These tents are also great for numerous uses, such as backyard, indoor, and even car camping.
|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|
However, if your priority has never been an easy set up, and you don’t actually mind having to sleeve a tent’s poles, and prop the tent up yourself, then you don’t need pop up tents. In fact, regular tents will work just fine, sometimes even better.
Recommendation: Ultimately, whether a pop up tent is worth it or not depends on your personal preference. If you love an easy set up and pack up, you don’t plan on hiking or camping in inclement weather, then pop up tents will suit you just fine.
If you’re still interested in buying a pop up tent, you can check out this blog post where I bought, tested and compared 7 of the best pop up tents in the market.
|Pop Up Tent||Full Review||Check Price|
|Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent||Read Review||Amazon|
|Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick Tent||Read Review||Amazon|
|Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent||Read Review||Amazon|
|Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent||Read Review||Amazon|
|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|
All My Pop Up Tent Resources: