In a rush? Our pick for the top instant tent is Coleman’s Instant Cabin Tent.
Love camping, but hate setting up the campsite?
Admit it, pitching your tent is the WORST part of camping. As enjoyable and relaxing as camping is, tent set-up can quickly turn into a nightmare.
Today, we’ll attempt to cure that headache by showing you the top instant tents available. These tents are made to be pitched in less than 10 minutes. Using clever design tricks like installed poles and pop-up frames, these tents were made with user experience in mind.
Table of Contents
Best Instant Tent: Our Top Picks
- Coleman Instant Cabin Tent (Best Overall Instant Tent)
- Toogh 3-4 Person Camping Tent (Best Lightweight Instant Tent)
- CORE 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent (Best For Large Families)
- Sportneer 2-3 Person Instant Tent (Best For Solo Backpackers)
- QOMOTOP 4-Person Instant Tent (Best For Families On A Budget)
Coleman Instant Cabin Tent
As mentioned, our favorite instant tent is the Coleman Instant Cabin Tent. It’s the best combination of size, easy setup, weather protection, and price available today. Coleman has been making outdoor gear since 1900, and their expertise shines in this tent model.
Available in both 4 and 6 person, Coleman offers a size for both the solo camper and the outdoors-loving family. The 4 person model fits one queen size bed, and the 6 person fits two queen size beds. Both are constructed with the same high-quality Coleman materials and expert design.
When it comes to weather protection, this tent cuts no corners. Coleman used their patented WeatherTec system in this model, which means it comes with inverted seams and welded floors to keep water out. The tent’s fabric is Coleman’s proprietary Polyguard 2X double-thick fabric, which means you’ll be camping in this bad boy for years to come.
- Amazing price for such a strong tent
- Rapid set-up so you won’t have to waste your precious free time reading an instruction manual
- Coleman’s unique, patented WeatherTec system keeps you dry
- Large enough for 1 or 2 queen-sized beds, with six feet of head space
- 150D polyester seams and Polyguard fabric means this tent will last for generations
- Might be too heavy for backpackers, great for car campers
Best for: small families that want a quality cabin-style tent that fits one or two beds
Toogh 3-4 Person Pop-Up Hexagon Tent
As we’ll discuss later, pop-up tents are a kind of instant tent that offer great options for those who want quick and easy setup. When it comes to the 3-4 person size, this Toogh instant tent is an excellent choice.
Toogh’s price tag might be small, but it’s water protection isn’t. The outside layer is made of a patented 210D fabric that has a HH rating of 3000 mm.
It also two doors, so you can have great ventilation on hot summer days. Don’t worry about bug bites either, this tent is equipped with a dense mosquito net to keep the itching away.
Although lightweight, this tent comes with two poles to make a small porch. This way you can cover and take your gear off under an awning, out of the sun or rain.
- Lightweight – only 12 lbs, comes with a great carrying case for compact storage
- Two entrances mean you can enter from either side or open the doors for a cool breeze
- Dome style design provides superior stability and aerodynamics against the wind
- Silver-coated UV layers protect you from the sun without the added weight
- Available in multiple color schemes to fit your mood and style
- Its hexagon design isn’t perfect for 4 people, more suitable for 3 adults and a dog
Best for: Small groups or a couple and their dog who want a lightweight, instant tent they can carry around.
CORE 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent
Measuring a whopping 14 by 9 feet, this tent can comfortably sleep 9 people, packs in two rooms, and has an excellent 78 inches of overhead height. This size is for those with a lot of people or a lot of gear. If you’re a family of 4 but you want a lot of personal space, this is the tent for you.
For those with kids, this tent comes with an electrical cord access port, so your little ones can charge their devices right inside the tent.
Even though this is a massive tent, that doesn’t mean setup has to be a pain. CORE states that setup and teardown take about one minute, and our experience shows this to be very true. The frame snaps into place and opens up super fast.
- Extremely spacious fits any size family
- For its size, lightweight (28 lbs) and easy to set up (takes 60 seconds)
- All four walls open up to provide cool ventilation but can protect you from bugs with mesh windows
- Detachable room divider gives you privacy when needed
- Large T-style front doors mean you don’t have to crouch down to enter and exit the tent
- Not designed for harsh weather
Best for: Large families that want the privacy of multiple rooms in a tent that assembles rapidly
Sportneer 2-3 Person Instant Tent, Pop Up Style
In case you’re not looking for a tent that could fit a circus, here’s a smaller instant tent that may fit your needs. The Sportneer 2-3 person pop up tent is an instant tent that can comfortably fit 2 people, and can squeeze 3 people in. Weighing only 9 lbs, it could also be used by solo backpackers.
Because it’s a pop up style, that means set up is a breeze. All you have to do is throw the tent out and enjoy!
Don’t think that easy setup means this is a soft tent. The Sportneer is a strong tent that can withstand strong winds thanks to its powerful frame. Highly recommended for solo campers or small groups.
- Includes detachable rainfly, to keep you dry, which can also be detached and used as a lightweight beach shade or fishing tent
- High-quality polyester material wicks rain off, keeping you dry
- Its hydraulic set-up system makes installation practically effortless
- Two mesh doors allow ample ventilation and cooling to circulate through the tent
- Lightweight (only 9 lbs) and can be easily stored in the back of your car
- Looks bigger than it actually is. The footprint is only 80” x 83”
Best for: Solo campers or you plus one that want a pop-style tent that sets up in seconds
QOMOTOP 4-Person Instant Tent
The final tent we’ll discuss today is the QOMOTOP 4-Person Instant Tent.
Since you’ve read this far, it’s possible you’re still on the fence about which tent you want to buy. If that sounds like you, go ahead and get this tent. It’s a stellar balance of value, quality, size, and ease of use.
As discussed earlier, our all-time favorite instant tent is the Coleman Instant Cabin. However, we understand that your budget might not have enough room for the Coleman.
The QOMOTOP Instant Tent provides many of the same features of the Coleman Instant Cabin at a lower price tag. It sets up quickly, comes with a rainfly, and even has color-coded guy lines to help you orient your rainfly easily.
Another feature of this tent is that it uses telescoping poles, pre-attached to the tent. This means you can set this tent up with a few easy steps.
The QOMOTOP Instant Tent is also great for ventilation. Configurable air vents on the ground and small windows towards the roof allow you to control how much airflow you want.
Like Coleman, this tent is also available in 6 person model.
- The frame style is similar to the Coleman instant tents, which set up within one minute
- Includes an electrical cord port for charging devices inside
- Fits 1 queen-sized bed, with almost 5 feet of inside height
- Removable rainfly means you can still watch the stars when you’re enjoying your time away from the city
- Color-coded lines show you which corner of the rainfly attaches to the tent
- Water-resistance is only 600mm
Best for: beginner campers or families on a budget that still want the stress-free setup of instant tents
What’s The Difference Between Instant Tents & Traditional Tents?
All this talk of instant tents, you might be wondering what’s different between instant (or inflatable) tents and traditional tents.
Put simply, instant tents are tents designed to be pitched quickly, usually within five minutes or less. The mechanism varies across instant tents, but they all share one thing in common: they’re made for quick set-up.
Traditional tents are built without user experience in mind. They sacrifice ease of setup to provide a (slightly) more sturdy frame. That’s it!
Take a close look at the pictures of the tents listed above. You’ll notice their frames have interlocking poles, or hydraulic systems to help the tent stand up. Features like that are what separate instant tents from traditional tents.
Instant Tents vs. Pop-Up Tents – Are They The Same?
At this point, you might be confused. You’ve heard of pop-up tents, and instant tents…aren’t they the same thing?
As mentioned above, an instant tent is a broad, umbrella term used for any tent that’s built with quick-pitching in mind.
Pop-up tents, on the other hand, are a specific type of instant tent that use a specific design. Pop-up tents all feature some kind of frame that instantly expands when you take it out of the bag. They “pop” out of the bag, which is where they get their name from.
Instant tents and pop up tents are like squares and rectangles. All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. All pop up tents are instant tents, but not all instant tents are pop up tents.
How To Choose An Instant Tent
Now that you know you want to buy an instant tent, here’s what to look for when you’re shopping around.
There are hundreds of tents out there, and it’s easy to get “analysis paralysis” looking at all your choices. So, here are traits you should look for in a good instant tent.
An Instant Tent That’s Actually Instant
Although countless tents call themselves “instant,” setup might not be as easy (or instant!) as you’d expect.
Before you buy a tent, check out the reviews and make sure that it’s easy for everyone to set up. It might take the manufacturers 30 seconds to set up, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be pitched so fast when you’re doing it.
Also, make sure the instructions are simple. Try to see the tent’s instruction manual before purchasing. You don’t want to buy a tent that requires a Ph.D. to pitch.
Find Your Size
Tent shopping can be difficult. To narrow the options down, the first thing you should do is determine how much space you need in your tent.
You don’t want to buy a tent that’s so big you could host a circus in it, but you also don’t one that starts bursting at the seams when you and your loved ones are all lying down.
As always, we recommend taking the number of people you want to go camping with and going up a size.
If you’re a single guy who might be camping alone, or with one companion (human or canine), you should probably go with a 2-3 person tent.
If you’re a family of 4, with lots of gear, it might be worthwhile to go with a 5- or 6-person tent.
It’s up to you to determine what best suits your needs.
Doesn’t Require A Forklift
Next, you want to make sure that your instant tent is portable.
You don’t want a tent that’s so heavy, you have to get three of your buddies to help you carry it from your car to the campsite.
When companies make instant tents, they’ve got one thing in mind: making it instant!
That means sometimes they sacrifice on weight and end up giving you a heavy tent.
Be sure to double-check the tent’s size and weight, and confirm it lines up with your needs.
Fits Your Climate
Every camper knows that different climates require different gear.
That’s why it’s important for you to consider your camping climate, and making sure you pick a tent that matches your weather.
If you live in the Sahara Desert, there’s no reason for you to worry about water resistance (except for sandstorms).
On the other hand, if you live in the rainy Pacific Northwest, and plan on camping all seasons, water-resistance should be number one! Take weather into consideration when you’re looking at tents.
Optimal Price Point
Last but not least, make sure you pick the highest quality tent for your budget. Most people don’t need to spend a boatload on their tent, but if you plan to camp regularly, it might be wise to invest in a tent that lasts you a long time.
Either way, you don’t want to be overcharged. That’s why we chose tents that are priced reasonably, and provide excellent bang for the buck. Any of the options above will leave you happy with your purchase.
To wrap things up, our #1 instant tent recommendation is the Coleman Instant Cabin. This line, available in 4 and 6 person models, provides expert weather protection without a complicated setup.
It can be pitched within two minutes (most times, shorter) and unlike other instant tents, it doesn’t require a Ph.D. to pack it up. On top of that, it’s extremely affordable and will last for years. This tent is for the camping masters and the outdoors newbies, alike.
Despite being an instant tent, this line can fit one or two queen size beds. As a cabin style tent, it provides a whopping six feet of overhead space. If you’re looking for an instant tent, this is hands down the best choice for campers all over the world.