Our picks of the best popup tents for camping, the beach, and outdoor shade.
Popup tents are really handy when you want to set up shelter fast.
They are a great solution for creating a shelter from the sun in the garden, they are a brilliant item to add to your beach packing list and they are also perfect for camping.
Pop up tent allows you to set up shelter fast if you arrive late at a campsite, or if you are camping with kids and setting up an elaborate tent while minding small kids is just too stressful.
We have been on our fair share of camping trips already and it looks like this summer we may end up staying local and do even more of them
So recently I have found myself researching popup tents, both for our overnight camping adventures but also for our ever more common afternoons in the garden.
I found some good options and this is my roundup of the best popup tents for camping, best shelter instant tents for the beach and best popup tents for kids.
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What to look for when choosing a popup tent
When choosing a popup tent, I looked at the following characteristics:
Some tents can multitask and be both a good camping tent and a fun tent for the garden but in many cases, you need your tents to have different specs depending on where you plan on using them.
Beach tents need mostly to provide sun protection and privacy, garden tents need to be easy to set up and fun for the kids while camping tents need to do a little more such as offering good blackout materials, rainproof fabric/extra layer, storage, insect barriers etc.
All tents are marked with the number of people they are suitable for but this is only an initial indication.
Especially if buying for camping, as well at their berth, you need to also look at their height (can you stand in them? Is this important for you?), what type of storage option then offer inside and if they have any outdoor space: even just a large flap to provide shelter can make a difference and feel almost like an extra room for lounging or meals.
Most popup tents are made of a lightweight material such as polyester.
This makes them super handy to carry around and adds to the convenience of the popup tent concept however, it sometimes comes with a disadvantage.
Not all lightweight tents are waterproof or windproof!
After a disastrous stormy night in County Clare in Ireland with the wind howling and rain battering on our tent (yes, waterproof!), I can testify good material suitable for the type of weather is paramount!
Another thing I like to have in a good popup tent is ventilation.
I like my tent to have windows so that the air can flow.
Ease of set up/ take down
Popup tents are easy to set up but not all equally easy to fold back in their carry case.
When choosing the best popup tent for our camping gear, I read all the reviews and watch as many info videos as possible to make sure the tent was actually easy to unfold and fold.
Best popup tents for camping and instant camping tents
This is our shortlist of the best popup tents for camping and best instant cabins for camping trips
Quechua 2 second popup camping tent
The Quechua 2 second pop up camping tent caught my attention for the ‘2 seconds’ in the name, the fact that it comes for a well known outdoor brand and the fact that is waterproof, which makes it stand out from many other in the same category.
The reviews report very good ventilation, and it has good blackout fabric(handy if you are in a place with long daylight hours) and when we saw it in action it really is super easy to set up.
The tent takes 2 people and is a great popup tent if you don’t need a lot of space and you need an easy to set up, freestanding tent.
- Flysheet and inner fabric: 100% Polyester cationic
- Tent Footprint: 100% Polyethylene low density
- Pole: 100% Fiberglass
- Tent berth: 2 people
- Carry bag: 100% polyester cationic
Coleman fast pitch popup tent – 4 people lightweight tent for a weekend camping
This lightweight popup tent stands out for me for its portability: at only 3.3 kgs, it truly is lightweight!
The tent pops up in seconds and comes in two sizes accommodating 2 or 4 people.
This is a perfect tent for weekend camping trips or even festivals: the tent has good space for sleeping but doesn’t have separate inside areas so it is very much a tent for sleeping.
Something very cool about this tent is the option of opening up the top so you can stargaze!
This is a great popup tent especially if you aslo bring some camping chairs to create a lounging area outside.
- Capacity: 4 person
- Poles: Fibreglass
- Groundsheet: Polyester 2000mm, PU coated
- Outer fabric: Polyester PU Coated
- Pack size: 90 cm Ø
- Weight: 3.3 kg
Coleman 4 person Instant Cabin
The Coleman instant cabin is not a popup tent but an insant one, which means it doesn’t immeditely pop into shape as you take it off its carry bag but is still very easy to set up.
Bigger than the others in this list, it can take up to 6 people (it comes in different sized) and it is also taller, making it easier and more comfortable to get in and out of it.
Like the otehr popup tents in the list, it has one room, dark room materials so you can block out the sunlight, it is rain resistant and good mesh pockets for storage.
Best popup tent for kids and backyard camping
Regatta Malawi popup tent – perfect tent for backyard camping
The Regatta Malawi outdoor popup tent is a 2 people tent that sets up in seconds. You get it out of its carry case and simply pops up done for you.
It is a nice, small tent that comes in several colors and we love it for the kids, who can set it up in the garden and play in and out of it in no time.
Best popup tents for the beach
Outdoor master popup beach tent 3-4 people
If you are shopping for a popup beach tent rather than a camping or sleeping tent, then you may like the Outdoor Master Popup Tent.
This popup shelter is made for the beach and comes with UV sun protection and a floor that you can easily zip up to get full privacy while getting changed etc.
This beach tent is super easy to set up and can be placed on sand but also on grass since it comes with it own stakes.
The windows have removable;e shades so you can decide how much sunlight you want coming in.
Best popup beach tent for baby
If you don’t need a tent for the whole family but rather a beach tent to protect your baby from sun and wind (or sand, if you have a baby like mine who simply could not stand it!), then you should consider the Glymnis baby beach tent.
It pops up in seconds, offers sun protection and it has a floor that can take water (it is presented as a mini pool for baby) so if you don’t need to worry should water get spilled and you can use it to get them cool too.
This is a lovely baby tent for the beach and a great one to use in the backyard too!
Popup tents and instant tents FAQ
Pop up tent and instant tent are terms often used interchangeably however, there is a difference. Pop up tents literally popup as you take them out of their carry case and require next to zero set up time. Instant tents, on the other hand, require minimal set up but usually do require some moneuvering with poles and strings. Both types of tents can be set up in minutes or less.
Popup tents can be a good choice when easy set up is paramount. Like with normal tents or anything else, some are better than others. In this list we have chosen those we believe are the best.
Popup tents are great for festival, quick camping trip, backyard camping for kids, as a beach shelter (in this case, choose those purpose built, like the one at the end of our list).
I hope you found these top picks for popup tent useful. Happy shopping!