What Are Pop Up Tents Made Of? (5 Answered Questions!)

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Over the past 4 years, I’ve bought and tested several pop up tents, including the quality of the materials used. Here’s everything I’ve discovered about what pop up tents are made of.

Generally, a pop up tent’s poles are made of fiberglass, the pop up tent flooring is made of either polyester or polyethylene, and the tent body and rainfly are usually made of polyester with a waterproof coating.

This is a picture of me and my Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent beside a lake.
This is a picture of me and my Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent beside a lake.

However, there can be small differences in the quality and type of material used. I’ll explain it all to you in this blog post.

What is the Structure of a Pop Up Tent?

Every camping pop up tent is made of 4 main parts – the tent poles, the flooring, the tent body, and the rainfly.

The tent poles of a pop up tent are what give the tent its classic “pop up” motion. These tent poles have the ability to store lots of pole tension, and are extremely flexible. They also hold the tent body up, allowing pop up tents to be freestanding tents.

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.

The flooring of a pop up tent may or may not be the same material as the rest of the tent’s body. Generally, the flooring of a tent should be the most rugged part of a tent, as it comes in constant contact with the ground.

The rest of the pop up tent’s body is usually made of polyester, and may or may not include a certain amount of mesh for ventilation. The more mesh a pop up tent body has, the more ventilation it allows.

This is what the rainfly of the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent looks like behind the tent (when the rainfly is off).
This is what the rainfly of the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent looks like behind the tent (when the rainfly is off).

The rainfly of a pop up tent may be full coverage, or partial coverage. The main purpose of a pop up tent’s rainfly is to protect the pop up tent from as much rain as possible.

Related Reading: What is a Pop Up Tent, and How Does it Work?

Related Reading: 16 Pros and Cons of Pop Up Tents

What Are Pop Up Tent Poles Made Of?

A pop up tent’s poles are always made of fiberglass. This is because fiberglass is a lot more flexible than aluminum, steel, or other materials, which is needed when popping open and folding up pop up tents. Fiberglass is also durable, allowing it to withstand some pole tension and stress.

Pole Material

Every single one of my 7 pop up tents have poles made of fiberglass:

Pop Up TentPole Material
Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick TentFiberglass
Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick TentFiberglass
Coleman 2-Person Pop Up TentFiberglass
Fresh and Black 2-Person TentFiberglass
Quechua 2 Seconds 2-Person TentFiberglass
Fresh and Black 3-Person TentFiberglass
Coleman 4-Person Pop Up TentFiberglass

As pop up tents have poles that are pre-attached, the poles need to be flexible and easily bent, in order to be packed up. Since fiberglass is a flexible material, it allows the pop up tent to be twisted and folded up easily. Other materials like aluminum and steel cannot be bent, and thus cannot be used in pop up tents.

When folding up the Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent, it’ll form a figure-8 shape.
When folding up the Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent, it’ll form a figure-8 shape.

Pole Thickness

The thickness of a pop up tent’s poles also depends on how they need to be folded when packing up. The thinner the fiberglass pole, the more flexibility the pole allows.

I found that my Coleman Pop Up Tents and Quechua 2 Seconds Tents need to be folded and bent more (into a circle), and thus the fiberglass poles of these tents tend to be thinner for more flexibility.

This is what the fiberglass poles of the Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent look like.
This is what the fiberglass poles of the Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent look like.

In contrast, my Teton Sports Quick Tents fold up more like an instant tent, rather than a pop up tent. As such, less flexibility is needed in the fold up, and I found my Quick Tents to have slightly thicker fiberglass poles.

This is the pole structure at the very top of the Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick Tent.
This is the pole structure at the very top of the Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick Tent.

Pole Durability

Due to the thin fiberglass poles, pop up tents are infamously known as being less durable than regular tents, and I’ve found that this is generally true.

Nevertheless, all of my pop up tents have lasted me many years. I’ve been using pop up tents for 4 years now, and my older pop up tent (the Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent) is still going strong, even though the poles are thin as well.

This is what one of the poles and the accompanying joints of the Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent looks like.
This is what one of the poles and the accompanying joints of the Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent looks like.

One of the poles popped out of the joint on my last set up though, but thankfully I managed to pop it back in. It still works!

Related Reading: Do Pop Up Tents Have Poles?

Related Reading: How Long do Pop Up Tents Last?

What is a Pop Up Tent’s Flooring Made Of?

A pop up tent’s flooring is usually made from either polyethylene or polyester, much like regular camping tents. Some pop up tents have additional material running up the sides of the pop up tent, creating a bathtub feature for added waterproofing.

Flooring Material

I found that my Coleman Pop Up Tents and Teton Sports Quick Tents have flooring made of polyester, while my Quechua 2 Seconds Tents have flooring made of polyethylene:

Pop Up TentFlooring Material
Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick Tent75D 190T Polyester
Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent75D 190T Polyester
Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent185T 68D Polyester
Fresh and Black 2-Person TentPolyethylene
Quechua 2 Seconds 2-Person TentPolyethylene
Fresh and Black 3-Person TentPolyethylene
Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent185T 68D Polyester

Generally, the higher the Denier rating of the polyester, the thicker and more durable the polyester. For example, my Teton Sports has flooring made of 75D Polyester, which is thicker and more durable than the flooring of my Coleman Pop Up Tents, which are made of 68D Polyester.

This is what the flooring of the Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent looks like.
This is what the flooring of the Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent looks like.

Nevertheless, I still found the flooring of my Teton Sports Quick Tents to be fairly thin. I do wish that they were made of at least 150D polyester. After my heavy rain test, I noticed that the flooring looked damp, and would probably leak soon.

This is what the flooring of my Teton Sports 1-Person Vista quick Tent looked like after my 1-hour heavy rain test.
This is what the flooring of my Teton Sports 1-Person Vista quick Tent looked like after my 1-hour heavy rain test.

My flooring material of choice is polyethylene, which is usually more rugged and can take more of a beating. All of my Quechua 2 Seconds Tents, both the Regular and Fresh and Black versions, are made of 100% polyethylene, which look like this:

This is what the flooring of the Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent looks like.
This is what the flooring of the Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent looks like.

I found these to be thicker, more rugged, and let less water in (so better waterproofing).

Bathtub Flooring

In addition, some of my pop up tents have bathtub floorings, which others do not.

Pop Up TentBathtub Feature?Height of Bathtub
Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick TentNo
Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick TentYes5 inches
Coleman 2-Person Pop Up TentNo
Fresh and Black 2-Person TentYes5 inches
Quechua 2 Seconds 2-Person TentYes5 inches
Fresh and Black 3-Person TentYes5 inches
Coleman 4-Person Pop Up TentNo

A pop up tent has a bathtub feature when the flooring of the tent extends up the edges of the tent, and look like this:

This is a picture of me using a tape measure to measure how high the bathtub feature of the Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent extends up to.
This is a picture of me using a tape measure to measure how high the bathtub feature of the Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent extends up to.

The main purpose of this is to prevent water from leaking into the tent through the seam between the flooring and the tent body, especially in locations where flooring is prone to occur. For example, if there’s flooding outside of up to 3 inches, and your bathtub flooring extends up to 5 inches high, water technically cannot enter your tent through the flooring.

This is a picture of me standing beside my Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent in a slightly flooded yard.
This is a picture of me standing beside my Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent in a slightly flooded yard.

This is an important waterproofing feature that cannot be self-manufacturered/made, so I tend to prefer tents with bathtub features, rather than those without.

Related Reading: Are Pop Up Tents Good in Rain?

Related Reading: Are Pop Up Tents Good in Wind?

What is a Pop Up Tent Body Made Of?

A pop up tent’s body is typically made of some combination of polyester, as well as mesh. The thickness of the polyester is measured using the Denier rating, while the quality of the mesh depends on the size of the mesh’s holes.

Tent Body Material

The most common material for tent bodies is polyester, and all of my 7 pop up tents are made of polyester as well:

Pop Up TentTent Body Material
Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick Tent75D 190T Polyester
Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent75D 190T Polyester
Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent185T 68D Polyester
Fresh and Black 2-Person TentPolyester
Quechua 2 Seconds 2-Person TentPolyester
Fresh and Black 3-Person TentPolyester
Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent185T 68D Polyester

This is a picture of me touching the tent body of my Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent.
This is a picture of me touching the tent body of my Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent.

Similar to the material of the pop up tent’s flooring above, the higher the Denier Rating of the polyester, the thicker and more durable it is. As such, my Teton Sports Quick Tents are thicker and more durable than my Coleman Pop Up Tents in tent body material.

This is a picture of me touching the tent body of my Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent.
This is a picture of me touching the tent body of my Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent.

On top of that, I usually like to know the Denier rating as well as the Thread count of the polyester; this usually inspires confidence. On the other hand, just marketing your tent as being made of “polyester” doesn’t quite inspire the same confidence.

However, because I’ve used Decathlon products for a long time, I decided to take a chance on the Quechua 2 Seconds Tents.

This is what the inner tent body of the Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent looks like.
This is what the inner tent body of the Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh and Black Tent looks like.

The tent body material of the Quechua 2 Seconds Tents felt (to me, at least) to be around 68D to 75D polyester as well, and I had no issues with it.

Mesh Material

There are also significant differences in the quality of the mesh used in each pop up tent:

Pop Up TentMesh Material
Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick TentNo-see-um
Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick TentNo-see-um
Coleman 2-Person Pop Up TentRegular
Fresh and Black 2-Person TentRegular
Quechua 2 Seconds 2-Person TentRegular
Fresh and Black 3-Person TentRegular
Coleman 4-Person Pop Up TentRegular

Most tents have regular mesh, while higher quality tents tend to be made of no-see-um mesh. The difference between both mesh materials is the size of the holes.

This is a picture of the micro mesh of the Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick Tent. I had to stick my hand in the photo to get my camera to focus.
This is a picture of the micro mesh of the Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick Tent. I had to stick my hand in the photo to get my camera to focus.

While no-see-um mesh can keep out the smallest of bugs (including no-see-ums, of course), regular mesh can only keep out bigger bugs, like mosquitoes. Regular mesh will not be able to keep out no-see-ums.

As such, before going camping, check the location to see what kind of bugs are prevalent in that area. If there are no no-see-ums or other small bugs, you can get away with regular mesh.

This is what the mesh of the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent looks like.
This is what the mesh of the Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent looks like.

Also, no-see-um mesh is much smoother and softer on the hands, while regular mesh is not as smooth. I found my Teton Sports Quick Tents to be the highest quality in terms of mesh, with no-see-um mesh, while my other pop up tents only had regular mesh.

This is a picture of one of the mesh panels inside the Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent.
This is a picture of one of the mesh panels inside the Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent.

What is a Pop Up Tent’s Rainfly Made Of?

Rainfly Material

Most of my camping tents have rainflies made of polyester as well, and my pop up tents were no different. Sometimes, the rainflies might have a slightly higher Denier rating than the tent body (as a rainfly has to be durable), but this is not always the case.

Pop Up TentRainfly Material
Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick Tent75D 190T Polyester
Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick Tent75D 190T Polyester
Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent185T 68D Polyester
Fresh and Black 2-Person TentPolyester
Quechua 2 Seconds 2-Person TentPolyester
Fresh and Black 3-Person TentPolyester
Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent185T 68D Polyester

As for all my pop up tents, the rainfly material was exactly the same as the tent body material.

This is a picture of me touching the rainfly of my Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick Tent.
This is a picture of me touching the rainfly of my Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick Tent.

Rainfly Coverage

Apart from the rainfly material, one important feature to look out for is the amount of coverage that the rainfly provides. As a general rule, full coverage rainflies provide much better rain protection than partial coverage rainflies.

Pop Up TentRainfly Coverage
Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick TentAlmost full coverage
Teton Sports 2-Person Vista Quick TentAlmost full coverage
Coleman 2-Person Pop Up TentPartial coverage
Fresh and Black 2-Person TentFull coverage
Quechua 2 Seconds 2-Person TentFull coverage
Fresh and Black 3-Person TentFull coverage
Coleman 4-Person Pop Up TentPartial coverage

My Coleman Pop Up Tents had the least rainfly coverage, with the rainfly only covering the mesh at the top of the tent.

This is a picture of me checking on the rainfly of my Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent after the rain test.
This is a picture of me checking on the rainfly of my Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent after the rain test.

This, coupled with the fact that the rainfly is made of the thinnest polyester, gave the Coleman Pop Up Tent poor rain protection. The entire tent was dripping wet after just 15 minutes of heavy rain.

This picture shows that my hand is damp from touching the underside of the rainfly of the Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent after the 15-minute heavy rain test.
This picture shows that my hand is damp from touching the underside of the rainfly of the Coleman 2-Person Pop Up Tent after the 15-minute heavy rain test.

My Teton Sports Vista Quick Tents had almost full coverage rainflies, but there was a 2-inch gap between the bottom of the rainfly and the ground. Nevertheless, it was still able to stand up to 1 hour of heavy rain.

The rainfly of the Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick Tent doesn’t extend all the way to the ground, and here’s what it looks like.
The rainfly of the Teton Sports 1-Person Vista Quick Tent doesn’t extend all the way to the ground, and here’s what it looks like.

My Quechua 2 Seconds Tent had 100% full coverage rainflies, which made them super rain resistant. I put my regular Quechua 2 Seconds Tent through 3 days of heavy rain, and it protected the inner tent body from getting wet, with absolutely no leaks at all.

This is a picture of my Quechua 2 Seconds Pop Up Tent in the rain.
This is a picture of my Quechua 2 Seconds Pop Up Tent in the rain.

Apart from just looking at the materials used in a pop up tent, there are plenty of other factors to consider, such as ease of use, spaciousness, features, and more. I covered everything in this blog post right here, where I bought, tested and compared 7 different pop up tents.

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.
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

All My Pop Up Tent Resources:

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