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Best Pop Up Camping Tent

Man releasing a pop up tent

The best pop up camping tent works exactly as it sounds.  Take it out of its bag, undo the clasp, and throw it on the ground. Within a second or 2 you have a fully erected, ready to use tent.

Sounds perfect, you could have your gear unpacked and out of the elements in moments. The right pop up tent could save you valuable time better spent with your family. 

Read on to find out if a pop up tent the right choice for you, and to discover hat is the best pop up camping tent?

The best pop-up tent provides the best combination of rapid set up, portablily, durability and features.  Read on to find out more.

How to Choose the Best Pop-up Camping Tent

Before choosing a pop-up tent it is helpful to know how they work.  If you have never seen one it is much easier to show you than to try to explain. Take a look at the video below.

It really is as easy as it looks. Spend a couple of minutes staking the foot print, add a few guy lines and the tent is good to go.

Factors to consider when choosing a pop-up tent

When looking for that perfect pop-up tent there are a few things you might want to look for:

  • Size
  • Features
  • Portability
  • Durability
  • Weather

Size

In our article on choosing a tent we mention that you should always look for a family tent that is rated for 2 to 4 more people than are in your family party.  E.g. If there will be 4 of you, you will need at least a 6-person tent. You will be more comfortable in an 8 person. 

The largest pop up tent that we know of is rated for 4-6 people.  It will work as a quick, overnight shelter.  We wouldn’t be too keen on it for an extended family vacation.

Portability

Size and weight of tents is incredibly important.  2-person pop-ups are fairly lightweight and can be fastened to a backpack for easy transportation.

As we get to larger tents for 4 people or more, they get to be much larger packed size and proportionately heavier.  As with other 4-person plus family tents, you are only going to want to move a pop-up version a short distance from your car.

We also find that the packed size for a pop-up tent is significantly bigger than our normal tent.  So much so that packing it into the car was quite a problem.

Durability/Robustness

We have used the smaller tents for several years without problems. At the moment we have not experience on the durability of the larger variants.. 

Weather

None of the videos we have seen show a pop up tent being pitched in a strong wind. We have done this ourselves.  It is not easy.

The problem is that you cannot stake the tent down before letting it pop up.  The effect is that you are exposing something like a sail with an aerofoil section directly into a strong wind.  We’ve seen pop up tents vanish into the distance, with distraught family chasing after, in even fairly moderate winds.

Cheaper pop-up tents do not have a great reputation for their ability to cope with rain and wind once erected.  At the cheaper end of the market these tents are designed to provide a fun, easily erected shelter.  The aim is not to provide a family camping tent that is good for 4, 5 nights or more.

Features

Pop-up tents don’t usually offer the same range of features that you would expect in other, good quality family tents.  You are not generally going to find screen and mud rooms (the Ayamaya in the video above is an exception – includes a vestibule), separate bedrooms, electric hook up panels, multiple entrances, storage compartments etc. 

CampingSage – Family Camping Tent Requirements

As you probably know, Camping Sage is all about family camping, in tents, and in comfort. Pop up tents do not yet fulfill even our basic expectations of the core Family Camping Tent Criteria. Follow the link to see what we mean.

Range of Family Camping Tents Available

Pop up tents are very closely related to, and are often interchangeably referred to, instant tents. For us the 2 sorts of tents use differing technology and are targeted at different market segments.

Away from Pop Up and Instant tents, there is a vast array of tents that are specifically designed to cater for the needs of the typical family camping trip. Take a look at our article on How to Choose the Family Camping Tent That is Right for Your Family for a detailed review of the types of tent available.

Who are pop-up tents for?

Reading some of our comments you might think we don’t like pop-up tents.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  It’s just that we don’t think they are right for everyone.

If your requirement is to have a basic tent, rapidly erected, that is suitable for a couple of nights – a pop-up tent could be just for you.  If you have teenagers in your group, a 2 or 4-person pop-up can be a great addition.  They will probably love the ability to throw it on the ground and use it to sleep away from the parents for a night or 2.

If you are planning on camping for a little longer – 3 nights plus – we think the rewards of a more traditional tent are well worth the extra work required.

We like to carry a pop-up tent with us as a backup. If you arrive at your campsite after dark, it can be much easier to pitch a pop up tent for one night than to attempt to pitch your normal family tent in the dark.

Best Pop-up Tent

There are a surprising number of pop-up tents available.  That’s a great indicator of just how popular these tents are.

Our notes below give you some examples to start your search.

Ayamaya Pop Up Tents with Vestibule

The Ayamaya pop up is a 4-6 person pop up tent.  What sets this tent apart from most of the competition is the inclusion of a entrance vestibule.  It’s pretty large with internal dimensions of 12.5 x 8.5 feet.

We think that you should allow a minimum of 3feet for every person in the tent to allow them to sleep comfortably.  With just 12.5 feet to play with that would suggest this is sized for a maximum of 4 people.  It would definitely be possible to get 6 people and sleeping bags into the tent – but it would be tight squeeze.

In theory, you could get a couple of queen size airbeds in this tent.  It would be pretty full.

Ayamaya Pop Up Features

FeatureAyamaya
Size Set Up – feet12.5 x 8.5
Height – max  inches53.5
Weight – pounds10.25
Sized Packed – inches34.6 x34.6 x 11.2
No of people – claimed4-6
No of people – practical4
Key FeaturesVestibule, 4 windows with zipped mesh/nylon cover
Additional thoughtsFloor waterproofed to 4000mm, Tent fabric 3000mm

Ayamaya Pop Up – We don’t like

  • Too many stories of this tent leaking in even very light rain
  • Zips sticking and breaking
  • It’s difficult to pack away.  Certainly seems to be a job for 2 people.
  • Lacks basic internal features like lantern hooks or storage pockets.

Ayamaya Pop Up – Our verdict

We love the looks and easy set up of this tent.  The added vestibule and the windows are great.  Unfortunately, the key requirement of any camping tent is to provide adequate shelter.  Any tent that leaks easily, or on which the zips break, fails in the primary objective.

We recommend this tent – but not as a primary family camping tent.

Coleman Pop-Up Tent

The Coleman Pop Up Tent is rated for 4 people.  As usual, they would need to be very small people with relatively little kit.

That said, this tent looks great.  It is exceptionally easy to set up.  Unlike other tents in this class it also has 2 internal storage pockets.

FeatureColeman
Size Set Up – feet inches9’ 2” x 6’ 6”
Height – max  inches40
Weight – pounds7.07
Sized Packed – inches30 x 1.5
No of people – claimed4
No of people – practical2-3
Key Features2 internal storage pockets
Additional thoughtsMulti-position rain fly doesn’t cover all of the tent surface

Coleman  Pop Up – We like

  • Looks great
  • Assembles in a few seconds
  • Light and small

Coleman  Pop Up – We don’t like

  • Zips under stress so are difficult to close
  • Small even by the usual standards of 4-person tents
  • Not really fit for use as a family tent

Coleman Pop Up – Our verdict

We love the looks and easy set up of this tent.  From a family camping viewpoint, that’s where this tent stops.  It is far too small for even the smallest family.

Where this tent scores is in its small packed size and lightweight.  It can easily be strapped to the back of a backpack and would form a great occasional hiking tent.

We cannot recommend this as a family camping tent.

Hui LingYang Outdoor Instant Pop Up Dome Tent

The Hui LingYang tent is another rated as a 4-person tent.  As usual with all 4-person tents, it would be a tight squeeze to get 4-people into this tent.

It is described as Beach Sun Shelter and as a family tent for camping or hiking.  In refreshing honesty, the marketing materials also make it clear – DO NOT USE IN HEAVY RAIN.

This tent does have some nice features.  It has a small vestibule to act as a mud room.  A second door to help improve the ventilation and there are 4, quite large, mesh windows.

If only they had made it waterproof.

FeatureHui LingYang
Size Set Up – feet inches9’ 6” x 6’ 7”
Height – max  inches51
Weight – pounds8
Sized Packed – inchesNot known
No of people – claimed4
No of people – practical2-3
Key FeaturesSecond door, large windows
Additional thoughtsNot waterproof – at all

Hui LingYang  Pop Up – We like

  • Very easy set up
  • Light
  • 2nd door and large windows
  • Usable shape

Hui LingYang  Pop Up – We don’t like

  • Not waterproofed – only really suited as a backyard camp out shelter
  • Difficult to pack up

Hui LingYang  Pop Up – Our Verdict

We are disappointed in this tent.  It looks good and has some solid design features.  However, a lack of waterproofing has to make this a ‘don’t buy’ for anything other than a back yard shelter.

HUI LINGYANG 6 Person Easy Pop Up

This Hui LingYang tent looks to be identical to the Ayamaya already reviewed.  As far as we can tell, the only difference is that the Ayamaya has more comprehensive marketing materials 😊

FeatureHui LingYang 6-person
Size Set Up – feet inches12.5 x 8.5
Height – max  inches53.5
Weight – pounds10.25
Sized Packed – inches34.6 x34.6 x 11.2
No of people – claimed4-6
No of people – practical4
Key FeaturesVestibule, 4 x windows with zipped mesh/nylon cover
Additional thoughtsFloor waterproofed to 4000mm, Tent fabric 3000mm

Hui LingYang  6-person Pop Up – We like

  • Very easy set up
  • Light
  • Space ok for 4 people – far too small for 6-people

Hui LingYang Pop Up – We don’t like

  • Too many stories of this tent leaking in even very light rain
  • Zips sticking and breaking
  • It’s difficult to pack away.  Certainly seems to be a job for 2 people.
  • Lacks basic internal features like lantern hooks or storage pockets.

Hui LingYang  6-person Pop Up – Our Verdict

As we said earlier, we believe this to the be same tent as the Ayamaya 6-person.  Overall it seems to be good tent with the same reported problems (unsurprisingly) as the Ayamaya.

If one of these tents makes it to your short list all we can say is, ‘check out the price of the other’.  The Hui LingYang was a few dollars cheaper at the time of writing.

Pop Up Tents Conclusions

We really like the idea of pop up tents.  However, perhaps not surprisingly, none of these reach our criteria for a family camping tent

As we said earlier, pop up tents can work well as a back up. We also found that our growing kids decided they wanted to sleep in their own tent quite quickly. They love the feeling of independence.

In many ways, our pick of the best pop up family camping tent is a dead heat. We thing the Ayamaya and the Hui LingYang 6-person tent are the same tent. Our choice therefore goes to the Hui LingYang as, at the time of publishing, it was just a few dollars cheaper.

If you don’t like any of these pop up tents you could consider instant tents or even inflatable tents. Sadly, there how seem to be relatively few of the latter available in the US>

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Keith Longmire

Keith Longmire

I’m the guy that loves camping, insists on family camping trips, and the editor and owner of Campingsage.com

I love camping and the outdoors. Through this site I hope to help you enjoy it too.