Pop up tents might seem like a convenient and stress-free way to camp, but our tests found that some are significantly easier to pitch and pack away than others.
We put 10 pop up tents from brands such as Coleman, Eurohike, Regatta and Quechua to the test. The tents came in a range of sizes and cost from as little as £25 right up to over £100.
So which pop up tents did we put up and down the fastest?
Watch our video below to find out the results.
Which pop up tent was the fastest to pitch?
Here’s the total time it took us to pitch and pack away each pop up tent during testing:
|Tent||Total time (minutes)|
|Mountain Warehouse Pop Up Double Skin 3 Man Tent||04:35|
|Coleman FastPitch Galiano 4||04:58|
|Eurohike Quick Pitch 200 SD 2 Man Tent||05:20|
|Regatta Malawi 2||05:50|
|Trespass 2 Man 1 Room Pop Up Camping Tent||06:00|
|Halfords 2 Person Pop Up Tent – Blue||06:02|
|Olpro Pop Tent – Blue||06:19|
|ProAction 4 Man 1 Room Pop Up Camping Tent||08:00|
|Quechua Camping Tent – 2 Seconds – Fresh & Black XL – 3 Person||09:31|
|Ozark Trail Grey 3 Person Instant A Frame Tent||11:50|
But it isn’t all about speed.
We also put each pop up tent through a series of tough tests to find out which ones are best overall, including putting each one through several days of heavy thunderstorms to test their waterproofing.
Find out which ones survived the storms in our full guide to the best pop up tents.
What else do I need to know before buying a tent?
- You’ll need a bigger tent than you think – We thought it would be a squeeze fitting as many people into the tents as they were designed for. Manufacturers don’t factor in things like space for storing gear when labelling their tents, so it’s good to aim one size higher. If there’s two of you, go for a three-person tent.
- Ventilation is important – Good air circulation will prevent condensation forming on the ceiling of your tent each morning and stop your tent from getting stuffy. Look for large air vents that will give fresh air an easy route inside.
- Factor in weight as well as size – Plenty of the tents we tested pack down to a conveniently small size, but small doesn’t always mean light. Check the weight of your tent if you’re keen to avoid a laboured walk from your car to your pitch with a heavy tent.
- Check the door – Raindrops often linger on the tent canvas long after the rain has stopped, and the door is no exception. Check if the door will fall into the tent as you open it, as all that water might run into your bedroom every time you go in or out.
- Take waterproofing claims with a pinch of salt – Hydrostatic head ratings can be a good indicator of how much rain the tent will put up with before the canvas leaks, but leaks often happen at the seams and doors. A high waterproof rating means very little if the stitching around the seams is poor.
Read our expert insight into why you shouldn’t trust the waterproof rating on your tent.
How we tested pop up tents
We bought 10 bestselling pop up tents from the UK’s major outdoor gear retailers and put them through a selection of tough and robust tests.
- Put them up and take them down – Part of the appeal of pop up tents is how little time they take to pitch and pack away, but some take longer than others. We timed ourselves pitching and packing each tent away to see which one was quickest.
- Ease of use – Convenience is important when pitching a pop up tent, but also when you’re sleeping in it. We checked the zips, pockets and vents for anything that could prove problematic when you’re camping.
- Rain resistance – A camper’s biggest fear is waking up in the morning to find their clothes sat in a puddle of water. There were three days of heavy thunderstorms during our testing week, and we checked each tent every morning to see how it held up against the weather.