60 second set-up time. Weatherproof shell promotes water beading. Ventilation system draws in cool air and expels warm air. Can be divided into two rooms. Electrical port and storage pockets included. 78 inch ceiling clearance.
Some users report damage (holes) upon arrival. Zippers may not be as durable as the rest of the tent.
Sleeps four in bags or two on a queen air mattress. 30-second set-up time. Electrical outlet port and storage pockets. 10 steel stakes and a carrying bag included. Two side vents provide good airflow.
Ceiling height is lower than some may prefer. Water resistance is variable.
Built-in LED lights with three settings. Internal partitions form three rooms. Two-minute set-up time. Roomy; can accommodate three queen-size air mattresses. Storage pockets and electrical cord access.
Heavy; challenging to transport. Does not do well in windy conditions. LED switch difficult to reach.
Door awnings offer sun and rain protection. Roomy interior with 76 inch ceiling clearance. Private room fits two comfortably. Six windows provide panoramic view. Can be divided into three rooms.
Extension poles may have quality control issues. Private room has low ceiling. Windows can leak.
Casual campers will enjoy the ease of use of this tent. One-minute set-up time with pre-attached poles. 6 feet of ceiling clearance. Sleeps up to six comfortably. Thick tent material. Fully taped; no need for additional rainfly.
Heavy and bulky. Zippers are not durable over time. Weatherproofing is hit or miss.
Even the most avid adventurer can get frustrated when putting up a tent, especially if it's raining or dark when you reach the campsite. But with an instant tent, this frustration is a thing of the past. You can pitch the tent in seconds, leaving you more time to get on with the activities that make camping fun, like hiking and exploring.
The easy part is deciding you want to buy an instant tent. Now you have to figure out which model is right for you and has all the features that you want and need.
That's where BestReviews comes in. We are here to help consumers just like you find the perfect products for your lifestyle and budget.
Continue reading our shopping guide to instant tents to learn all you need to know to make an informed purchase, or head to the top of the page to see our top choices.
You might still be on the fence about whether to buy an instant tent or a standard model. Here are some of the benefits of using an instant tent.
Quick to pitch: As the name suggests, instant tents are extremely quick to pitch (though not always exactly “instant”), from a few seconds to a few minutes.
Less stress: Instant tents can help take the stress out of camping, especially if no one in your party is experienced at putting up a tent.
Better in the rain: If you're camping in adverse weather conditions, the inside of your tent can get wet before you've managed to pitch it, but you won't have that problem with an instant tent.
Better in the dark: If you arrive at your camping spot after the sun's gone down, you'll find an instant tent much easier to pitch in the dark.
No lost poles: Since the poles are attached to the instant tent, there's no chance that you'll accidentally lose one or leave one behind.
Quick to take down: Instant tents are extremely quick and easy to take down and fold up, too.
Instant tents differ slightly, depending on the manufacturer and the style. All the poles are already attached to the main body of the tent, and most instant tents are pitched in one of two ways. Once the tent is up, you simply secure it to the ground with the included tent pegs and it's ready to go.
Pop-up: These instant tents are folded in such a way that when you remove them from the carrying case, you simply give them a quick shake and they pop into shape.
The majority of instant tents are made from lightweight synthetic materials, such as polyester and nylon, although you can still find a few tents made of cotton.
Polyester is strong, lightweight, inexpensive, and waterproof (when coated). Plus, it won't rot or get mildewed if put away wet. It isn’t very warm in cooler weather. It also isn’t breathable, so the interior of a polyester tent can get hot in the warmer months.
Cotton canvas tents are breathable, so they don't feel as hot when the sun's shining on them. They're also much warmer than polyester in cold weather. However, they're very heavy to carry, and the waterproofing can be inconsistent.
Nylon tents have similar properties to canvas tents, except they're lighter. Nylon isn't as strong as polyester and is more prone to tearing.
The product description of an instant tent will tell you how many people can sleep inside, but you should note that this is the absolute maximum capacity. For example, a four-person tent will sleep four people in sleeping bags with little to no space between them or two people comfortably on a double or queen air mattress. If you want room to store your backpacks and gear and don't want to be crammed in like sardines, we recommend buying an instant tent with a listed capacity of at least double what you need. For example, buy a six-person tent if you want to sleep three people.
Even if you're only camping for a couple nights, you're likely to have quite a bit of gear with you. You'll need space in your tent to store your clothes, food, water, and any other supplies. Some instant tents feature a porch area that can be used for storage, and others have pouches sewn into the inside of the tent, which are handy for stowing smaller belongings. Make sure you have enough space to fit all your gear – as well as people – or you could be in for an uncomfortable night.
Consider the size of your chosen instant tent when it's fully folded, as well as its weight. Compact and lightweight tents are more portable, especially if you have a long walk from the car to the campsite. Check the product description to find out the weight and the folded size of any tents you're considering.
Instant tents vary in price from $40 to $1,500. You can find small instant tents that fit a couple people starting at around $40 to $50. Large tents that sleep up to 15 people can cost as much as $500 to $1,500. As a rule, expect to spend a little more than you would on a standard tent of a similar size and quality.
Check the waterproofing on your chosen tent. Some instant tents are completely waterproof while others are only showerproof.
Think about how often you'll use your instant tent. If you go camping regularly, it's worth shelling out a bit more for a really durable model. On the other hand, you can probably make do with a less sturdy tent if you'll only use it once a year or so.
Consider the number of people who will sleep in your instant tent. There are models that sleep one and models that sleep a dozen or more. Some instant tents have one open space, while others divide into two or three compartments.
Q. Can I use my instant tent all year?
A. The majority of instant tents are rated for use in two or three seasons, which will suffice for most recreational campers. However, if you're the sort of person who doesn't let rain, wind, or snow stop your enjoyment of the outdoors, you can find all-season models.
Q. Will the instant tent have a living area?
A. Some larger instant tents feature two or three "bedrooms" situated around a central living area, which gives you a communal space to store gear or spend time together if it’s too cold or wet outside. Some other tents have an optional partition, so you can turn one large sleeping chamber into a bedroom and a living area.
Q. Do I need tent pegs to set up an instant tent?
A. Instant tents still need to be secured to the ground with guy lines and tent pegs. The pegs should be included with your tent, but you may find it useful to bring some spares just in case.
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