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There are many qualities to look out for when choosing the best pop up tent for camping. After having used pop up tents over many years of camping, I’ve come up with this list of 13 important qualities or features to look out for.
When choosing the best pop up tent for camping, look out for the ease of set up, ease of pack up, ease of cleaning, tent capacity, vestibules, removable rainflies, number of doors, rain, wind and UV protection, packed size, budget, and type.
- 1. Ease of Set Up
- 2. Ease of Pack Up
- 3. Ease of Cleaning
- 4. Capacity
- 5. Vestibule
- 6. Removable Rainfly
- 7. Number of Doors
- 8. Rain Protection
- 9. Wind Protection
- 10. UV Protection
- 11. Packed Size
- 12. Budget
- 13. Type
- What Should I Look for in a Pop Up Tent?
- What Makes a Great Pop Up Tent?
- How Much Does a Pop Up Tent Cost?
- Where Can I Buy a Pop Up Tent?
- What is the Best Pop Up Tent on the Market?
1. Ease of Set Up
This is one of the most important factors when choosing the best pop up tent – how easily does the pop up tent set up?
When I tested my 7 best pop up tents for camping, I looked at 2 different timings for the set up of each pop up tent:
- 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.
Not everyone will need to stake and guy out their pop up tents. When I go backyard camping, I typically don’t stake down and guy out my pop up tent. However, at windier campsites, I rather stake down and guy out my tent for peace of mind.
|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|
The pop up and full set up timings depend on quite a few factors, such as:
- Stake loops: The more stake loops, the longer the set up.
- Guylines: The more guylines, the longer the set up.
- Guidance: The more guided the set up, the longer the time taken.
- Rainfly: If the rainfly is not pre-attached, the set up will take longer.
- Vents: The more vents that need to be guyed out, the longer the set up.
My Coleman Pop Up Tents took the shortest time to set up, because it literally just pops open out of the carry case. On top of that, there are only 2 guylines, 6 stake loops, and no other features.
Next up, is my regular Quechua 2 Seconds Tent. It takes a little longer than the Coleman Pop Up Tents, because the set up is more guided, complete with color-coded buckles and straps:
The Quechua 2 Seconds Tents also has many more guylines than the Coleman tents (7 in total).
The Fresh and Black Quechua 2 Seconds Tent has almost the exact same set up process as the Regular 2 Seconds Tent, but it has 2 additional vents at the sides to be staked out, which of course, requires more time to do:
The Teton Sports Vista Quick Tents took the longest, because the rainfly does not come pre-attached, and I had to buckle it up and secure the rainfly myself. Also, these Quick Tents come with vestibules, which I had to stake down as well.
Related Reading: Are Pop Up Tents Easy to Set Up and Fold Up?
Related Reading: How to Set Up a Pop Up Tent – 9 Steps
2. Ease of Pack Up
Just as important as the set up process is the pack up process as well – how easily does the pop up tent pack away?
For the ease of pack up, I also looked at 2 different timings:
- 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|
Generally, the longer the set up process, the longer the pack up process will take as well. Both the set up and pack up are affected by the same factors.
Since the Coleman tents have the least features (stake loops, guylines, vents, etc.), as well as the least guided pack up, they were the fastest to pack up.
However, because the pack up is the least guided, it will take some practice to get used to it. I had to practice at least 5 times to finally get used to the pack up.
Related Read: For a much more in-depth blog post on the pop up tent pack up process, you can click on this link here.
The pack up for the Teton Sports Quick Tents took a little longer, because I had to unbuckle and remove the rainfly, and then fold the rainfly up, along with the tent body:
The Quechua 2 Seconds Tents also took slightly longer than the Coleman Pop Up Tents, because the pack up is a lot more guided, complete with red buckles, yellow buckles, a red strap, and a yellow strap.
It is, however, a lot easier to get used to the pack up process of the Quechua 2 Seconds Tent. There’s no need to practice multiple times to get used to it; I got used to it after just one practice run.
3. Ease of Cleaning
The ease of cleaning is perhaps one of the most overlooked factors when it comes to pop up tents. While many people always talk about the ease of set up and pack up, not many people realize that ease of cleaning is quite important too.
Because all the poles of the pop up tents are pre-attached, they cannot be removed by any means. This makes pop up tents retain their dome shape at all times; they cannot be folded over like normal tents for an easy cleaning of their base:
In contrast, with regular tents, I can just remove the poles, fold the tent body over, and easily wash the base area with a hose or wipe it down with a wet cloth, like this:
One humongous exception to this is the Teton Sports Vista Quick Tents. Even with the poles still attached to the tent body, I was able to lay the tent body flat on the ground, like this:
This makes it so much easier to wipe down with a wet cloth. It also takes up much less space when drying.
Related Reading: Pop Up Tents VS. Regular Tents – 8 Key Differences to Know
Manufacturers will always state the tent capacity of their pop-up tents, and this tent capacity info can usually be found in the name of the pop-up tent. (For example, the Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent.)
However, bear in mind that manufacturers often assume that campers will be sleeping shoulder to shoulder, with little to no space in between each person. Many people (myself included) find this way too claustrophobic and too close for comfort.
That’s why I usually recommend a 2-person increase in tent capacity. So, if you’re camping with your partner (2 people), go for a 4-person tent. When I was camping with my partner (2 of us), we felt perfectly comfortable in the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent.
There was plenty of room for a queen bed, plus lots of room leftover for gear:
In fact, if you’d like even more space, you can increase the tent capacity by 4 people. Or even more, especially if you’re glamping.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when determining what pop up tent capacity is best for you:
- How many people will be sharing the pop-up tent with you?
- Do you like more space when you sleep?
- Do you need extra space for gear?
- Do you have pets?
Tip: However, bear in mind that pop up tents don’t typically come in super large capacities (like 8 or 10-person tents). If you want an easy set up tent in a large capacity, check out tents with the instant mechanism, instead of the pop up mechanism.
Related Reading: How Big Are Pop Up Tents? (I have 7 Of Them, Here’s My Input)
Another important feature to look out for is the presence of vestibules. Vestibules allow you to leave gear outside the tent, while still keeping your gear shielded from the elements.
I particularly enjoy having vestibules, because I always leave my shoes and flip flops (dry or wet) outside the tent; I never take it into the tent with me. Depending on your personal preference, this may or may not be important to you.
I realized that only my Teton Sports Vista Quick Tents have vestibules, while the rest of my pop-up tents do not. The 1-Person Vista Quick Tent has just 1 vestibule (12 inches in width), while the 2-Person Quick Tent has 2 vestibules (15 inches in width).
So, for the 1-Person Vista Quick Tent, you’d get an additional 3.3 square feet, and for the 2-Person Vista Quick Tent, you’d get an additional 8.6 square feet of vestibule space. This is additional storage space on top of the tent capacity that we discussed in the previous point, which is definitely another plus point.
6. Removable Rainfly
Pop up tents with removable rainflies generally have more ventilation than pop up tents with non-removable rainflies. This is also incredibly important for camping, especially when you’re concerned about condensation.
Not all pop up tents have rainflies that are removable. If the rainfly isn’t removable, and there aren’t enough vents in the tent, condensation can form overnight if you seal the entire tent shut, with no airflow from the outside.
In fact, this was exactly what happened to me in my Quechua 2 Seconds Tent (not the Fresh and Black version). When I slept in the tent with the door closed, it was a little stuffy at night. Also, when I woke up the next morning, I noticed a few drops of condensation on the roof of the tent.
This was my only pop up tent that had condensation during my overnight condensation test.
This is why, as a general rule, I tend to prefer pop up tents with removable rainflies.
There are many benefits to a removable rainfly:
- You get a lot more ventilation and breathability.
- More breathability means a lower likelihood of condensation.
- You also get to stargaze at night, and enjoy views during the day.
My Teton Sports Vista Quick Tents have completely removable rainflies. When removed, a good two-thirds of the tent is made from mesh.
My Coleman Pop Up Tents are also not too bad, because I could take the rainfly off the ceiling mesh, and sweep it to the back:
7. Number of Doors
Since pop up tents don’t come in large tent capacities (typically between 1-person to 4-person capacities), it’s common for pop up tents to have only 1 door or entry way.
However, my Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent has a whopping 2 doors, one on each length of the tent.
This is one of the big reasons why I’m absolutely in love with this tent. There are many benefits to this, but the 2 biggest ones are:
- Cross ventilation: Wind can flow between the 2 doors.
- Very user-friendly: Each person in the tent can have his/her own door.
8. Rain Protection
Not all pop up tents are waterproofed the same way. Some have been thoroughly tested by the brand, and have more waterproofing features, while others aren’t quite as thoroughly tested.
If you’re looking for a waterproof pop up tent, I’d recommend the 2 Seconds Tents from Decathlon.
Of all the pop up tents that I have, I found my Quechua 2 Seconds Pop Up Tents to be the most waterproof (these pop up tents are from Decathlon). In fact, these 2 Seconds Pop Up Tents are very thoroughly rain-tested by Decathlon.
In addition to that, I also used the regular 2 Seconds tent over a 3-day period of heavy afternoon thunderstorms, where it was raining for about 3 hours a day.
Apart from a little bit of leaking from the back corner seam, which was just a few drops of water, the rest of the tent body was remarkably dry. And this slight leaking was because the factory seam on my tent had degraded; if I had re-sealed it, my tent would have been completely dry.
Here’s a list of some waterproofing features to look out for when buying a pop up tent:
- Rainfly coverage: The greater the rainfly coverage, the more rain protection the pop up tent has.
- Bathtub flooring: If there’s a bathtub flooring, your pop up tent has more protection from flooding.
- Hydrostatic head rating: Generally, higher hydrostatic head ratings means better rain protection.
- Taped seams: More taped seams means less leaking through the holes of the seam.
9. Wind Protection
Similar to rain protection, not all pop up tents have equal wind protection. Here are some features to look out for when it comes to wind protection:
- Guylines: More guy-out points and guylines means better wind protection.
- Stake loops: More stake loops means more opportunities to anchor your tent base to the ground.
- Thicker poles: Thicker poles tend to bend and flex less in the wind.
- Wind tested pop up tents: Brands that test their pop up tents more tend to sell better wind protected tents.
If you’re looking for the best pop up tent against wind, I’d recommend (again) the Quechua 2 Seconds Tents. Each tent is tested in wind speeds of up to 30 miles per hour, and it also has the most guy-out points (7 of them, 4 at the front, and 3 at the back).
10. UV Protection
If you’re looking for pop up tents with UV protection against the scorching sun, I’d recommend pop up tents with blackout features.
For example, my Fresh and Black 2 Seconds Tents have blackout fabric, which has plenty of benefits:
- Blocks out a significant amount of sunlight during the day.
- Much darker at night.
- UV protection of SPF 50+.
- Cooler inside the tent than regular tents without the blackout feature.
While I bought my Quechua Fresh and Black Tent (above), I didn’t buy the Coleman Pop Up Tent with the blackout feature. It now comes with the blackout feature though, which I also highly recommend. Here’s what another of my Coleman tents looks like with Coleman’s patented dark room technology:
11. Packed Size
Another important thing to look out for is packed size. Most pop up tents come with a circular packed size, which is harder to store at home, as well as in the trunk of your car.
On the other hand, a few pop up tents come with a rectangular packed size, which is something I prefer. It makes storing it at home and in my car a lot more convenient.
This is because the circular packed size is a lot bulkier than the rectangular packed size. Here’s what they look like side by side (focus on the yellow Teton and green Coleman):
Also, one more thing to bear in mind is that pop up tents tend to have a much larger packed size than pop up tents with the traditional set up (without pre-attached poles). The packed size can be up to 40% to 50% bigger.
This is one of the cons of buying a pop up tent over a regular tent.
Related Reading: 16 Pros and Cons of Pop Up Tents (From 3 Years’ Experience!)
Related Reading: Can You Use Pop Up Tents for Camping? (6 Answered Questions!)
Related Reading: Can You Backpack with a Pop Up Tent?
Pop up tents are generally affordable, because they’re not made out of super expensive materials (along the lines of polyethylene, polyester, and fiberglass).
Most of the inexpensive pop up tents cost anywhere between $50 to $100, maybe even less than $50. Higher quality pop up tents will cost a little more than $100, and that’s what I would recommend.
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 can afford to spend a little more, go for either the Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black or the Teton Sports Vista Quick Tents.
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).
Here are some questions that you can ask yourself when determining how much to spend on a pop up tent:
- How often do you go camping? If you go camping often, buy a slightly more expensive (and thus durable) pop up tent that can last longer.
- What kind of weather conditions are you expecting? More weather proofed pop up tents often tend to be a little more expensive.
- How many people will be using the pop-up tent? The larger the tent capacity, the more expensive the tent will be.
Related Reading: Are Pop Up Tents Worth It? And, Should You Buy One?
One small note I want to make here is that not all pop up tents are made for camping. The only pop up tents I focused on here are camping pop up tents.
However, there are other pop up tents in the market that are manufactured more for other uses, such as:
- Beach use: Less durable, and less water resistant.
- Privacy use: For changing or for bathtub purposes when camping.
- Canopy use: Typically for events or parties, not for sleeping in.
For example, when I go camping, I sometimes bring along a privacy pop up tent as well. Unlike camping pop up tents, which are dome shaped tents, privacy tents are more vertical and rectangular in shape, and look like this:
Related Reading: What is a Pop Up Tent? And How Do They Work?
What Should I Look for in a Pop Up Tent?
There are many things to look for in a good pop up tent. The above 13 qualities are just the most important features to look out for (here’s the full list of the 13 qualities):
- Ease of Set Up
- Ease of Pack Up
- Ease of Cleaning
- Removable Rainfly
- Number of Doors
- Rain Protection
- Wind Protection
- UV Protection
- Packed Size
On top of these 13 qualities, you may want to also consider these additional features (which may or may not be more important to you):
- Peak Height
- Base Area
- Mattress Sizing
- Gear Lofts
- Lantern Loops
- Hot Day Ventilation
- Rainy Day Ventilation
- Material Quality
- Zipper Quality
- Mesh Quality
- Ease of Carry
What Makes a Great Pop Up Tent?
The ease of use (ease of set up, pack up, and cleaning) is first and foremost, what makes a pop up tent so desirable for many campers. On top of that, you may want to also get a pop up tent that has a removable rainfly, lots of storage options, lots of space and livability, good weather protection, and more.
How Much Does a Pop Up Tent Cost?
Most of the inexpensive pop up tents cost anywhere between $50 to $100, possibly less. Higher quality pop up tents will cost a little more than $100. The price you pay for your pop up tent will determine the user-friendliness and quality of your tent.
Where Can I Buy a Pop Up Tent?
Pop up tents can be found mostly on mass consumer retail sites, like Amazon, Walmart or Decathlon. Since pop up tents are not top of the line kind of tents, you typically won’t find them on sites like REI Co-Op, Backcountry or Moosejaw.
What is the Best Pop Up Tent on the Market?
The Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent is the best pop up tent on the market. It can be set up and taken down in 3 minutes, it has a generous base area, 2 doors, 2 vestibules, many storage options, a completely removable rainfly, it’s high quality and also lifetime warrantied.
I actually wrote an entire blog post on how I bought, tested and reviewed the 7 best pop up tents on the market, including recommendations of each one. Click this link to check it out.
|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|
All My Pop Up Tent Resources: