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Pitching the tent could very well be one of the most stressful parts of family camping, and it’s even worse when you’re in a hurry or you’ve arrived after dark. Figuring out which poles go where, holding your tent up while connecting the poles, and tripping over poles during the process can all start a camping trip off on the wrong foot.
That’s why both experienced and those who are new to camping are falling in love with quick pitch tents – they are the easiest tent to set up by yourself so you can get to the fun part of camping.
Read on to learn more about these quick setup tents, how to choose the best instant tent, and our top 5 picks for your next camping adventure.
What is an Instant Tent and How Do They Work?
You might find them called instant, pop-up, or quick set up tents, but they are all a breeze to pitch – often in a minute or less. We do love our Kelty Trail Ridge 6, but it sure took some practice in setting it up. While the names tend to be used interchangeably, they can vary a bit in their setup.
Both have poles that are already attached to the tent. The poles in instant tents typically need to be locked into place while pop-up tent poles are bendable enough to twist in and out of shape to support the pitched tent or pack down for transport.
Both styles save time and frustration when setting up camp when your tent can be pitched in just one minute or less.
The Benefits of Quick Setup Tents
Quick pitch tents are the easiest tent to set up by yourself, which makes them perfect for people who are looking for a frustration-free tent setup.
– instant tents are the easiest tent to set up by yourself and are ideal for beginner campers who have little experience with pitching a tent
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– they are a great solution for camping with kids because you can put the tent together without worrying about tripping over poles laying on the ground during setup
– it makes setting up camp quick and easy during late night or rainy day arrivals to the campground
The Disadvantages of Easy Setup Tents
– these tents can be heavier than traditional lightweight or ultralight backpacking tents, so they might not be as ideal for those looking for something that’s light and portable
– instant tents don’t pack down as well as their traditional counterpart, which can make it more difficult to pack up your car for your camping trip
– quick set-up tents are definitely the easiest tent to set up by yourself, but taking them down is another story – some can be more difficult to break down
– they can be less weatherproof than traditional tents
How to Choose the Best Instant Setup Tent
Deciding on the best instant setup tent for you is just like choosing any tent for family camping. It’s always important to think about the specific features that matter most to you and your family.
As with choosing any tent for family camping, pay attention to the floor area, height, weight, and price.
The Best Quick Setup Tents for 2021
All of our recommendations for the easiest tent to put up are available from Amazon or Walmart. We choose these because they are accessible to nearly everyone in the US, but if your local small business carries any of these tents, we always encourage you to support your community.
These tents are all highly rated. with at least 4.5 stars and 90% of reviewers rating the tent with 4 or 5 stars.
The maker of one of our favorite outdoor chairs also has an easy setup tent
- sleeps 4-5 people, with just under 100 square feet of floor space
- the 5-walled tent reserves space to store gear in the corners, but can also result in wasted space
- weights about 10 lbs
- while claiming to be fully waterproof, some customers have found that there tend to be leaks in heavy rains
See the Moon Lence Pop Up 4 Person Tent in action
- available in 1 or 2 person
- sleep off the ground with custom-fit cots (sold separately)
- weights under 5 lbs (for the 1 person tent; the 2 person Teton Sports Vista weighs just over 6 lbs)
- while the low peak height in fairly standard for small tents, some find it tough to move around in
See Teton’s Vista Quick Tents in Action:
Core Tents are known for their line of instant tents and campers can’t recommend them enough.
- the 9-person tent fits 2 queen air mattresses
- a peak height of 6 ft 6 gives full standing room for most campers
- this tent weighs 30 lbs, making it tough to carry too far
- while this is one of the easiest tents to put up, it’s recommended to have one person to stabilize the tent while another locks the poles in place – but it’s a great way to have the kids jump in to help!
See Just How Easy it is to Setup the Core Instant Cabin Tent
Gazelle pop-up tents are like a hidden little secret that more and more campers are raving about.
- the 8-person with a total of 110 square feet of floor space
- a peak height of 6 ft 6 gives full standing room for most campers
- coming in at a hefty 56 lbs, this tent is heavy!
- this tent is like 2 4-person tents with an expanded flex space for sleeping, storage, or living
See more of the Gazelle T4 Plus
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This off-the-radar tent is budget-friendly but gets some very respectable reviews from campers. This version is a true pop-up-style tent that twists to fold back into storage. This tent doesn’t even have poles to lock for setup. Pitch this tent in just 10 seconds – truly the easiest tent to set up by yourself!
This affordable brand also has an instant tent with locking poles found here (ranging from 4 to 10 person tents).
- a 4-person tent large enough to fit one queen air mattress with plenty of room for gear
- the low peak height (just over 4 feet) doesn’t give a lot of standing room
- the flat disc shape when packed up makes it easier to pack in the car
- campers find this tent to be easy to fold back up for storage
See the OT QOMOTOP 4 Person Pop up Tent in Action
6. Coleman FastPitch Instant Cabin 6
Coleman is a very familiar camping brand and their tents are loved by many.
- comes in 4-, 6-, and 10-person styles
- peak height increases with tent size; the tallest campers will enjoy plenty of standing room in the 6 feet 7 inch high 10-person tent
- Coleman’s WeatherTec system is highly waterproof
- the Dark Room Technology can be a life-saver for getting kids down for afternoon naps
Check out the Coleman FastPitch Instant Cabin 6
Tips for Caring for Your Easy Setup Tent
– store your tent dry and free of moisture
– don’t set up your tent in high winds that can catch and blow away a tent that is not properly staked or weighted down with gear
– sweep out the inside of your tent before storing away so dirt and insects aren’t stored away with your tent
– store your tent in a bag to protect it from dirt, dust, and objects that might poke holes in the fabric
– read the manufacturer’s information and reviews on weatherproofing and, if needed, seal the seams to prevent leaks
| Related Reading: The Best Camping Gifts for Your Favorite Tent Camper or RV Owner
A Long Story Short: The Easiest Tent to Set Up by Yourself
Instant, quick setup, or pop-up tents are by far the easiest tent to set up by yourself. If you frequently need to pitch your tent without an extra set of hands or need to work quickly in the dark or the rain, try one of these quick set-up tents for your next camping adventure.
Click below to save these top picks for the easiest tent to put up on Pinterest!