Some tents can be a hassle to set up and stake down. This is especially true if you arrive at your campsite in the dark. Families with small children may be particularly interested in a tent that would allow them to avoid this nuisance.
Enter pop-up tents. These ready-to-go shelters come in a variety of sizes accommodating groups of people sizes two to ten plus. They require minimal effort to set-up, some even take under sixty-seconds.
If wrestling with poles, stakes, and tie-downs is not your forte, consider getting a tent that easily springs into position.
So how big are pop-up tents?
Just like other camping tents, pop-up tents come in a large variety of styles and shapes and each of these factors to the size of a pop-up tent. Pop-up tents range in size from 2-person to 10-person capacities The actual footprint or size, is determined by this as well as the style or floorplan that you purchase.
Different Sizes of Pop-up Tents
- 2 person pop-up tents
pop-up tents do tend to be smaller. Because of the pre-affixed hoops or poles, their size is a bit limited. However, they are relatively inexpensive so you could have a host of small tents to accommodate everyone without spending a fortune.
Arguably one of the most popular, the Coleman two-person tent is full of great features. It assembles in less than ten seconds, but is lightweight, water and fire resistant, comes with a multi-position rainfly and taped seams.
Size: 7’6” by 4’5” and a height of 2’11”
This tent is great for a versatile on the go shelter. It is water and UV resistant, features two doors with privacy flaps, mesh ventilation, and sets up in under sixty seconds.
Size: 7’3” by 3’9” and a height of 3’11”
- 4 person pop-up tents
This tent is one of the more sturdy pop-up tent options as it is entirely waterproof, perfect for camping in inclement weather. It has an attached rainfly along with a two-foot front vestibule area to dry off and keep all of your gear. It also includes mesh windows with roll down shades.
Size: 12’ by 8’ and a height of 5’
This tent includes a vestibule and is still spacious enough for four people. It also has an electrical cord access port, ventilated mesh windows with shades, two doors, waterproofing, and double-layer construction for anti-condensation. The set up consists of taking it out of the bag and it will pop into position.
Size: 12’5” by 8’5” with a height of 4’4”
- 6 person pop-up tents
This tent can fit six people, though it may be rather snug. It has a rainfly with awning, a large door, zippered mesh windows, and a hanging storage bag. It really is instant as it sets up in one minute or less.
Size: 10’ by 10’ and a height of 6’6”
Coleman is on the list once again with its instant cabin. Its articulating poles allow for easy setup, no small feat for a tent with a center height taller than the average adult. It also includes WeatherTec coating, an attached rainfly, and indoor storage pockets.
Size: 10’ by 9’ and a height of 6’
- 8 person pop-up tents
Though not truly an 8 person tent, this tent can accommodate one more than that. It sets up in under a minute and contains a room divider, storage pockets, electrical cord access, a rainfly, and mesh windows. It will keep you cool with ground vents that can be adjusted for ventilation.
Size: 14’ by 9’ and a height of 6’5”
- 10+ person pop-up tent
This is a roomy instant tent. It uses articulated poles to set up in under two minutes. It also includes a front screened vestibule, two doors, and a removable rainfly. Hanging storage pockets and room dividers furnish the inside.
Size: 14’5” by 14’ and a height of 7’
What Is a Pop-up Tent?
Most standard tents consist of fabric panels that are sewn together and held upright by poles, stakes, and guylines. They come in many different shapes and sizes.
Common traditional tent structures include A-frame, dome, cabin, multi-room or multi-family, geodesic, and backpacking. All of these tents can be broken down into more compact sizes and shapes for storage or transportation.
When you arrive at your campsite you must then unpack your tent and set it up. This consists of laying out the tent itself, assembling the poles and guiding them through their paths, then staking down the guylines. Furthermore, if you have any vestibules or a rainfly you will need to set up these as well.
For some people, this is not a problem and they can quickly and efficiently set up a tent. For others, setting up a complex tent is a hassle they would rather not deal with.
It can be very tricky to guide poles and construct your shelter in the darkness of night. Also, if you arrive during a deluge you will probably want to get your tent up as quickly as possible.
One type of tent that stands out to those who dread set up is a pop-up or instant tents. These tents, as their name implies, can be set up instantly.
Recently a favorite of festival-goers, pop-up tents have come a long way since their invention. Instead of multiple pieces that must be put together, instant tents are pre-assembled. Their paneling is pre-attached to their poles so that they spring into position when removed from their storage bag.
There are two different types of pop-up or instant tents, both take minimal effort to set up. There are articulated pole instant tents and pop-up hoop tents.
An articulated pole pop-up tent consists of pre-attached poles that must be conjoined. When removed from its carrying case, the corner poles will be pre-attached to the guide loops running down the sides of the tent, to the top joint, and the bottom corners or feet.
You must then set up the tent so the poles are in the desired position and the feet are spaced accordingly. The top joint should be propped up so that it resembles a flat traditional tent.
When you pull out the poles to their full length and lock them in place, the tent will spring into shape. Most of these tents still have guylines that will need to be staked after your shelter is constructed.
Once you have staked down the ropes, your tent is ready to go. If you have any vestibules, dividers, or a rainfly you can set them up.
The other type of pop-up tent is manufactured with fiberglass hoops. These are pop-up tents in the truest sense of the word as you simply take it out of the bag and it should “pop” into shape. These tents are artfully constructed to geometrically fold down flat and then spring into position once no longer confined.
Season Ratings for Pop-up Tents
Like traditional tents, pop-up tents come in different season ratings. One to two season ratings, three-season ratings, four-season ratings, and five-season ratings.
One and two-season rated tents should be used predominantly in the warmer months. This includes late spring, summer, and early fall. When the weather turns chilly, these tents should be stored away. They are not meant to handle cold temps or heavy precipitation.
Three-season tents are a bit more hardy, withstanding heavier precipitation and a bit cooler temps. You can use a three-season tent during the summer, but it will also provide a suitable shelter during the rainy and windy spring months and even a frosty fall with light snow.
Three-season tents have an adequate of both ventilation and insulation to keep you cool in the summer and warm in the fall and are usually one of the most popular tent types. However, they tend to be a bit more pricey.
In general, ninety-nine percent of pop-up tents will fall in the one to three-season rating category.
Four-season and five-season tents offer a substantial amount of protection against the elements because they are made with durable and expensive materials. Five-season tents or expedition tents are manufactured almost exclusively for extreme climates and conditions.
Most instant tents are not four-season or five-season rated because they are manufactured for convenience and not polar conditions. However, most one to three-season rated pop-up tents will suit the average seasonal camper just fine.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Pop-up Tent
The main advantage of a pop-up tent is convenience. If you are moving from campsite to campsite and frequently tearing down and setting up, camping at a busy festival, or arriving after sunset their easy set up is a plus.
But, they can be bulky and heavy to carry.
One of the things that makes setup simple is the pre-attached hoops or poles. This is also the tent’s downfall as they cannot be removed. This means that the tent cannot be rolled up tightly to be stuffed into a compact backpack or sack. In many cases, the carrying bags for pop-up tents are a bit sturdier and larger so as to protect the poles.
If you are a backpacker or minimalist, a pop-up tent may not be the tent type for you.
If the poles or paneling does incur damage, repairs are often not easy. The poles are specifically fashioned to telescope, lock, and affix to the tent. If they break, duct tape may not save you. If you plan to go out into the backcountry, you might want to plan on taking a heartier tent.
Instant tents are optimal for occasional campers camping during the regular camping season at an easily accessible campsite. They are a favorite of festival-goers and those who want a shelter that is ready to go at the drop of a hat.
- Easy to set up
- Can be done by a single person
- Can be used in most weather conditions during the usual camping season
- Come in many sizes
- Come in a variety of season ratings
- Poles are permanently attached so equipment cannot be lost or forgotten
- Heavy and cumbersome
- Not extremely durable
- Hard to repair
- Parts cannot be replaced
A Tent for the Modern Camper
Pop-up tents have evolved from the flimsy shelters they used to be. Newer models are sturdy, spacious, and extremely convenient.
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