Best Pop Up Tent of 2020 | Expert Advice

If you quickly want to find out which is the best pop up tent, I’d recommend the Gazelle 22272 T4 Pop-Up Portable Camping Hub Tent.

Tents that are easy to setup are a dream. Pop up tents are designed keeping the ease of set up as the primary goal.

Still, there are other features that makes a good tent. Eg, ventilation, rainfly, tent doors, vestibule spaces, etc.

The options are overwhelming, aren’t they?

Read on to find some solid purchasing advice for the best pop up tent and 5 of the best products in this category.

We’ll be reviewing the below products in this article:

  1. Gazelle 22272 T4 Pop-Up Portable Camping Hub Tent (Best tent for durability & quality)
  2. CORE 4 Person Instant Dome Tent (Best bang for the buck)
  3. Quechua Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent (Best for durability & heavy duty)
  4. Coleman 4-Person Pop-Up Tent (Best lightweight option)
  5. Night Cat Camping Tent (Best tent for value for money & versatility)

What are you using the tent for?

If you plan to go backpacking, you would prefer a lightweight one to make your trek easy. Car campers can carry more than you, for sure 😉

Most pop-up tents are not designed for backcountry campings, they are deemed best for mild weather family and festival camps.

Think about the tent’s use and choose one based on some of the key factors below.

Things to look for

Ease of Setup

Pop up tents are the easiest to set up. True to their name, to set up one you just need to pop it out and up, and there you go. You have your tent ready for the camp.

Weather Resistance

This is determined by the quality of the tent fabric. The Denier rating of a fabric decides it’s quality.

Higher denier fabrics are thickly woven, are sturdy and are durable. They are bulky and expensive and provide very good resistance against rain, snow and winds.

Lower Denier fabrics are the ones used in 3 season tents, made for pleasant weathers.

If you are investing in a costly tent, make sure that the fabric is made of good quality denier – 500 or more.

Size of your group

A group of family and friends enjoying the sunset atop a hill

Most people tend to overlook this aspect.

Most 4 person tents are not designed to accommodate 4 people comfortably; it only provides enough space for 2 adults and a kid. If you have additional luggage and camp gear, you’d need more space inside the tent or a separate vestibule area.

Always upsize your tent by one or two than the capacity it specifies, particularly when you are camping with people who are claustrophobic or bigger.

It’s also a good idea to check the floor dimensions of the tent to decide how many people would fit in.

Seasonality

Tents are designed for seasons.

A 3 season tent is used for spring/summer/fall and is best suited for mild snow or fair rains. A 4 season tent can be used in the extreme winters as well. An expedition tent withstands strong winds, heavy downpours and snows.

Pop up tents are generally 3 season tents used for mild weathers or festival campings. Family tents also fall under the same category.

Tent features

Tent poles

Tents with fewer poles can be setup quickly, but are not stronger. There are two types of tent poles – freestanding and non freestanding.

Freestanding poles are for families – easy setups and can be moved around very easily. Non freestanding are the ones that need to be set up with tent stakes, and also require some expertise.

Poles are made of two materials majorly – aluminium or fiberglass. Aluminium poles are stronger, durable and expensive whereas the fiberglass ones are cheaper & not corrosive.

Floor area and center height

This, as said above gives you an idea of how spacious the tent is; and how many people would be comfortable in the tent, irrespective of the capacity specified by the manufacturer.

Tents with a good center height provide more head room,which can be useful for taller people & families. They affect weight because of the generous dimensions.

Tent Doors

For anything more than a 3 person tent, two doors are quite useful. You can easily get in and out of the tent without disturbing the other person.

More than two is an overkill.

Mesh windows

They provide good ventilation inside the tent. If you are going to camp by the beaches or in summers, look out for windows on either sides of the tent for cross ventilation.

4 season tents generally have their mesh windows at the top of the tent. It doesn’t help for ample airflow but come useful in harsh weathers, as it is designed for.

If you like stargazing, look for a tent with windows at the top 😉

Look for this based on when & where you’ll be camping.

Rainfly

Think of it as an outer layer of the tent that protects you from the rain, dust, wind and snow.

A person setting up a tent rainfly

There are two types

Full coverage Rainfly

They protect the entire area of the tent from all the sides. The high-end, 4 season tents come with this.

Half coverage Rainfly

They partially cover the tent, mostly the key areas of the tent like the sleeping area, etc. Most of the 3 season tents for mild weathers come with this.

Not to forget, rainflies can also be purchased separately.

Vestibules

Some tents come with vestibule areas while others don’t. They come handy for leaving your muddy shoes outside the tent, or for leaving your camping gear in that space; you can enjoy the whole tent space to yourself freely then.

Setting up and folding a pop up tent

Here’s a video we found, that explains how to do so:

Top 5 pop up tents of 2020

1. Gazelle 22272 T4 Pop-Up Portable Camping Hub Tent

Short Review

The Gazelle camping tent has a floor space of 61 square feet and a center height of 78 inches which is accommodative for people upto 6’5.

All you need to do for the set up is take it out of the bag, and pull the hubs on the 4 sides of tent. You have an optional half coverage rainfly that can be attached to the sides easily, if needed. The tent poles are made of fiberglass.

It comes with 2 doors, and made of durable thick fabrics for good weather protection. It also has an innovative design of a removable floor, which is useful for shaking the dirt and also for replacing it with a heavy duty footprint or tarp.

Pros

  • Sets up within 90 seconds
  • Good head room and spacious floor space
  • Meshed roof for stargazing
  • Well designed & made of high quality materials
  • Removable floor

Cons

  • Long collapsed size
  • Stakes tend to bend with time

Bottomline

Overall, a solid investment if a good tent for car camping for a family of 4.

>> Check Prize on Amazon <<

2. CORE 4 Person Instant Dome Tent


Short Review

This tent comes with a pre assembled pole system for easy set up. Just unpack the tent, unfold the legs and extend it till it reaches the dome position.

It has a floor space of 63 ft and a center height of 54. Taller people may find it difficult to stand in the tent, but can sit around quite comfortably. It has a front style D door and comes with a half coverage rainfly.

It comes with a H2O water resistant technology that might be useful in rainy weathers. It has a gear loft and a lantern hook with pockets to keep your things organized.

Pros

  • Tent set up in 30 seconds
  • Spacious floor space
  • Made of good quality Polyester
  • Has CORE H2O technology implanted for water resistance
  • Mesh windows for excellent ventilation

Cons

  • Stiff poles
  • Zipper gets stuck on the rain flap

Bottomline

It’s light, it’s easy and it’s fully functional at a reasonable price. Good value for money.

>> Check Prize on Amazon <<

3. Quechua Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent

Short Review

This is a free standing tent that is a perfect blend of durability and ease of setup. It sets up in 2 seconds as claimed by the makers and the take down is equally easy. While the primary functionality of a pop up tent is in place, the tent is also super durable.

Next are the features that make the tent a super hit. It has a ventilation flysheet with two side panels for easy air circulation inside the tent. It is also water resistant and comes with a full coverage rainfly.  It proves to be very effective during rains by making water condense on the inner sides of the rainfly and not let it enter the tent.

One feature that I especially love about the tent is the blackout screen. Well, who doesn’t like a peaceful sleep in the mornings without having to wake up to the sun’s call? It keeps you cozy and warm inside, which can however, be a problem during rainy or cloudy days. It could get a little gloomy and dark inside, but you can always rely on the ventilation flysheet to let some sunlight in.

It is pricey. But I wouldn’t be surprised considering the features it comes with. 

Pros

  • Sets up in under 2 seconds
  • Excellent wind protection
  • Completely shields you against sunlight when inside the tent
  • Comes with options for 2 & 3 person capacities
  • Super small and compact tent
  • Has a full coverage rainfly

Cons

  • Can get really dark on a cloudy day
  • Little expensive

Bottomline

If you are looking to invest in a heavy duty product, this could be a good investment.

>> Check Prize on Amazon <<

4. Coleman 4-Person Pop-Up Tent

Short Review

Coleman, as with any other product of theirs, provide solid tents at cheaper prices. They may not be THE best in quality and not withstand harsh weathers but they are fully functional solutions.

This tent comes with pre-assembled poles for set up within 10 seconds. It comes with a taped floor for water from getting inside the tent from the bottom and a rain fly for weather protection.

It has two large windows on its either sides that keep the tent well ventilated, and come with mesh pockets as well. It has a mesh roof that’s perfect for stargazing.

Some customers have found the zippers on the door to be hard to pull, and that the window of the tent is located on the doors itself.

Pros

  • Set up in 10 seconds
  • Lightweight
  • Very affordable
  • Taped floors for keeping you dry
  • Packs up flat and easy to store
  • Best suited for car camping

Cons

  • Door zippers are hard to pull
  • No vestibule space
  • Hard to fit the tent in the bag

Bottomline

Except for a few issues with zippers and the storage bags, this is the best tent you can get with the features it provides at this price range.

>> Check Prize on Amazon <<

5. Night Cat Camping Tent

Short Review

The tent implements a hydraulic mechanism with fiberglass poles that make the set up as easy as pulling the dome of the tent up.

It comes with a half coverage rainfly that can be used separately for fishing or beaching. It has 2 large doors and meshed windows for ventilation. It’s strong and protects you against the wind with the fly on, but however some users don’t seem to be happy with the performance of the tent during the rains.

It’s recommended to get a footprint or a tarp if you are going to be camping in the rains.

Pros

  • One minute set up and two minute takedown
  • Comes with a half coverage rainfly
  • Made of high quality denier fabrics
  • Designed well
  • Sturdy

Cons

  • No vestibule space
  • Water leaks in the tent – should get a tarp in addition

Bottomline

A versatile tent at an affordable cost, can be used for fishing, beaching or camping.

>> Check Prize on Amazon <<

Conclusion

Our pick from the article is the Gazelle pop up hub tent.

It’s well designed and is made of high quality denier fabrics. It not only is a breeze to setup, it also excels in the other areas like spacious room space, head room and versatility. The floor can be removed or replaced by a heavy duty tarp, if needed in heavy downpours.

It’s best suited for car camping, and do note that it has a long packed volume.

There you go! Make sure to choose a tent which nominally excels in most of the key features.

Which one did you pick? Let us know in the comments.

Mark Bennett
 

I have a serious thing for travel, outdoors and wilderness. I grew up in Oregon and camping outdoors with my father was one of the fondest memories of childhood. I enjoy camping and hiking and love to share what I've learnt over these years.