When you’re looking for a new tent, there is one type of structure that will catch your eye: the pop up. These tents can be sets up in seconds and taken down just as quickly, they’re perfect if quick trips are what’s needed.

What exactly is pop up tents? What is the difference from tents that are regular?

What Are Pop Up Tents?

Pop up tents are great for quick getaways or casual camping. They’re small and lightweight, so they don’t take up much room in your car trunk when you need it most! Plus the pop up design makes them really easy to use.

Instant tents are known for being quick and easy, but many pop up models only need 10 seconds of your time to be fully pitched.

Instant tents are a piece of cake to set up. They fold, extend and click into place with no tools necessary! Pop-up models require less work as well since they’re made from flexible material that can be quickly assembled out in the field.

As a result, pop up tents are an excellent choice of tent for beginners.

The ease of use and all round beginner friendliness comes at a cost. They are not as lightweight or durable, which means they’re better for casual campers who want something simple with basic features.

How Do  Pop Up Tents Work?

Pop-up tents are a great camping option because they take almost zero effort to set up. The structure of these shelters makes them so easy that you can even do it by yourself if necessary.

The instant you take a pop up tent out of its bag, it springs into position with the poles fully extended and ready for action. A good way to think about this is like how an airbag works: once triggered by impact or pressure release trigger mechanisms (in both cases hidden inside their respective products), these marvels deploy rapidly without any cumbersome unpacking required at either end.

With this innovative tent, you don’t have to worry about sewing or fishing tent poles through fabric loops. Instead all of the necessary components come preassembled so that it’s quick and easy for anyone who wants a getaway.

When making a pop up tent is simply a matter of getting it out of the bag, putting it on the ground and putting it on the ground, taking it down is a bit more complicated.

How You Fold A Pop Up Tent

Pop up tents should fold in a certain way before you set up the tent. It is dependent on the manufacturer of the tent to be sure to read the instructions included along with the camping tent.

To fold a pop up tent:

  1. Make sure the door of the pop-up tent is wide enough that air is able to be let out.
  2. Join the two tent poles on top and secure the poles.
  3. Take the two poles at the bottom and then bring them toward the poles on top. The tent poles will become the shape of a tortilla.
  4. While holding your hand Hold the other lower poles of the tent tortilla and fold it in the position that your hand is currently holding. You will have the shape of two circles.
  5. The two circles should be slid together to form a single tent circle.
  6. Return to the tent bag that you made for it.

Pop Up Tent Pros

Lets find out what the pro’s of pop up tents are:

Perfect Beginner Tents

The compact and light weight of this pop-up tent along with its easy set-up makes it a fantastic start-up tent to use for:

  • Teens and kids
  • Campers in the beginning
  • Families with children (setup is easy while keeping an watch on children)

Instant Set Up

When you need a place to sleep but don’t have time for setting up your own tent, pop-up tents are an excellent option. This type of shelter only takes about one minute from start to finish and can provide instant shelter in situations where camping last minute or maybe even not wanting spend too much energy doing it.

The quick set-up of this tent makes it perfect for day trips to the beach or by a lake. You can use your shelter from sun, keep supplies covered and change into swimsuits in private without drawing attention.

Not Expensive 

Pop-up tents are a great alternative to expensive traditional ones. They may not provide the same protection from Mother Nature’s elements, but they’re perfect for those who want an affordable starting point and don’t mind sacrificing some features especially price.

Pop Up Tent Cons 

Lets find out what the Con’s of pop up tents are:


When you need a quick and affordable tent, pop up tents may be perfect for your needs. However they lack durability in harsh weather or extreme climates which makes them less protective against the elements.

The lightweight, easy-to set up frames are often made of less durable materials to keep them light. If a piece cracks or breaks off it should be fixed as quickly and smoothly possible because mending isn’t always an option for these tents replacing broken parts can take some creative engineering skills that might not even exist in your arsenal.

Very Little Waterproofing

The waterproofing on many pop up tents is minimal and not going to be effective in hard rains.

If you want to spend more time in extreme weather or camp where the conditions can change quickly, it may be worth looking for a higher end tent with guaranteed protection from elements and certification against low temperatures.

Not Easy to pack up and Store

Pop up tents offer quick setup but require more work when it comes to tear down and storing. You have be very specific in how you fold them, which can take some time getting use too if this is something new for your family or group of people that will be camping with.

They generally consume more space than a standard tent. Though they can fold flat, they generally are folded down to 3 feet (or more) wide. 3-foot(ish) large circle, which makes storage and moving difficult in certain circumstances.

Difference Between Pop Up Tents and Instant Tents

Instant tents are a type of pop up tent. That is, all instant tents are in one category but not every kind or style can be called “instant.”

The great thing about pop up tents is that they are fast to set up and can be done within seconds. However, you will need some assistance when it comes time for packing away your tent because of their complicated closure system which makes them more difficult than regular instant shelters in this regard (although not impossible).

By Anthony Paton

Anthony Paton, the outdoorsman who loves to report all sorts of interesting stories about camping in Great Britain. He's based out London and doesn't get much time for himself these days because work commitments keep him away on occasion but does what he can with what little free time there is.