If you’ve ever struggled to put together a tent, you’ve likely thought, “there has to be a better way!” Well, there is. That’s why we’ve done extensive research into the best instant tent for camping.
An instant tent is a style of camping tent that is both set up and broken down with ease and speed. Every part of the tent remains connected even when broken down. This takes out all the guesswork of fitting pieces together. To set up an instant tent, you simply extend each piece, lock them in place and stake down the tent. The process is simple, and you’re good to go in a matter of minutes.
If you think an instant tent could be the solution to your tent setup headaches, we’ve done the research on them, so you don’t have to. We’ve picked the top 4 best instant tents available in 2021 and compared them by space, cost, weather resistance, and material quality.
Best 3-Person Instant Tent – Toogh Tent
|Max. Occupancy:||3 person|
The Toogh 3-person instant tent is a great option for campers looking for an easy-to-set-up tent with some extra headroom. Its tall dome-style construction gives it unprecedented height at the center compared with a typical 3-person tent, making changing inside a lot easier.
Although this tent’s height gives you some extra headroom, the tent is not nearly as roomy as advertised by Toogh. This lack of space in the floor plan could make it a tight squeeze if you are looking to fit three people in here.
The coverage provided by this rainfly is pretty minimal. It really only protects against rain on a small section of the top of the tent. For this reason, we wouldn’t consider it a good option if waterproofing and weather resistance is a priority.
Even though the rainfly doesn’t fully cover the tent, it can be extended over the entrance and secured by two poles. This creates a pretty cool little front porch awning setup that would be great for days with light rain where you wanted to keep the door open without rain coming in. It also will provide a little shaded spot to relax under on those sunny days.
The tent’s tall, two-door system doesn’t just make it easy to enter and exit the tent. It also provides excellent ventilation. The doors come with a dense mosquito net that allows you to keep them open without letting bugs, making it a perfect summer camp option.
Considering the features this tent comes with, we’re surprised to see just how budget-friendly it is.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-set-up 3-person tent with generous headroom that won’t break the bank, the Toogh instant tent is an excellent choice.
Best Instant Cabin Tent – OT QOMOTOP
|Max. Occupancy:||4-10 person|
The cabin tent design has become incredibly popular for a good reason. The rectangular floor plan and relative flat roof provide generous roominess, regardless of the tent’s size.
When it comes to instant cabin tents, the OT QOMOTOP is our top recommendation.
Although cabin tents are more vulnerable to the wind than dome-style tents because of their profile, OT has taken extra measures to ensure this instant tent’s stability. Poles that construct the frame of this tent are durable steel. Not only does it make them less likely to break than lighter fiberglass poles, but their increased weight also makes them less likely to be pushed around when the wind picks up.
As added protection against the wind, this tent also includes steel stakes. These are far more effective at keeping the tent held down than lightweight aluminum stakes are.
In addition to wind protection, this tent also provides excellent protection against the rain compared to other cabin tents. It comes with a rainfly that fully covers the roof, a feature most other cabin tents in this price range lack.
The tub floor of this tent also adds significant protection against the rain. If you’re not familiar with this floor style, it extends up the wall a little bit. Since the flooring material is one of the thickest, most waterproof parts of the tent, the tub-style floor extends that protection. This means that if water ends up pooling anywhere around the tent’s edges, the wall’s bottom outline is much less likely to leak.
We really liked how this tent allows for organization. The mesh racks are placed precisely where they need to be throughout the interior.
One of the only serious flaws we encountered during testing was with the zippers. They’re cheaply made and liable to break.
As far as instant cabin tents go, OT’s tent is an excellent blend of weather-resistance and space.
Best Bang for the Buck – Wnnideo
|Max. Occupancy:||4 person|
If you’re looking for a mix of quality and budget, the Wnnideo instant tent gives you some serious bang for your buck.
The first thing you’ll notice about this tent is the amount of window and door space it has.
There are two large doors and 4 windows. Each window can be selectively opened or closed and has a mesh covering that prevents bugs from getting in when open. Overall, this tent is well ventilated and has a cozy feeling, thanks to the all-around openings.
The hanging hook on the ceiling, along with the inner pockets, creates excellent versatility. The internal pockets provide plenty of room for storing gear. You can also choose to hang a lantern from the ceiling hook to light up the tent at night or use it as additional storage.
The fiberglass poles included with this tent make this tent incredibly sturdy. Compared with steel poles, these are a bit more solid and impact resistant.
When it comes to weather resistance, this tent excels in the wind but falls short in the rain. The dome top design and Hexago weather tec system make this tent’s shape very resistant to the wind.
However, it doesn’t come with a rain fly, and the tent’s fabric can leak if you don’t take extra precautions. If you want to use this in any kind of rain, we’d suggest getting a rainfly and ensuring you fully cover the tent with a waterproof spray.
For anyone considered with privacy, this tent has been made with no transparency material. This will provides great peace of mind if you plan to use this tent in public places, such as parks and campgrounds.
If you want the best bang for your buck, the value provided by the Wnnideo is truly tough to beat!
Best Instant Tent for Camping – Bfull
|Max. Occupancy:||3 person|
Looking for a lightweight instant tent with excellent protection against the elements? Look no further than this instant tent made by BFULL.
Backpack campers will love how lightweight and easy to set up this tent is. It packs down into a small, portable carry bag that makes it easy to strap onto your backpack. Weighing in at just under 7 pounds, it’s light enough for most backpack campers’ needs.
We were really impressed with the quality of weatherproofing this tent offers.
It includes a full cover rainfly which provides more complete protection against rain than any other instant tent on our list. They’ve also taken extra precaution against leaks by including a waterproof coating over the stitching throughout the tent. After testing, we can confidently say this tent really is as waterproof as BFULL advertises.
The fiberglass poles provide the strength needed to withstand strong winds. They are solid and more impact resistant than steel poles, not to mention lighter weight. BFULL has also included guyline loops for additional protection, allowing you to further secure the tent’s position.
To avoid the all too common problem of unreliable zippers, they’ve ditched the cheap stuff and instead used double smooth zippers. They are far more reliable than standard zippers, which effectively increases the longevity of this tent.
We also really liked the included lantern hook. It has been perfectly placed to optimize the lighting of the tent.
As much as we like this tent, the one major drawback we found was that it’s not very spacious. There are other tents at this price point that are a bit roomier, and we were honestly expecting more.
The quality and versatility of this tent are in a league of their own. If you want an easy-to-set-up tent that’s light enough to carry on your back and withstand whatever mother nature has in store, you won’t be disappointed with the BFULL instant tent.
Instant tents provide a convenient solution for people who want to save the time and frustration of setting up standard tents.
We’d recommend the OT QOMOTOP for most campers. The cabin-style tents give it a really roomy feel any camper will appreciate. The waterproof ability and the wind resistance of this tent also make it a reliable option, regardless of the weather.
Grab one of these tents and spend less time setting up camp and more time enjoying the outdoors!
It’s great that you’ve made the decision to buy an instant tent, but unless you take specific factors and your individual needs into account, you could end up disappointed in the purchase you make.
To help you avoid buyer’s regret and set you up with the tent that will make your camping experience as efficient and pleasant as possible, we’ve created a buyer’s guide for purchasing an instant tent. Be sure to take all these factors into consideration before you make your purchase.
The interior space of the tent is the first factor you need to consider. You should think about how many people will typically be using the tent.
If you think that there will be 2 campers using the tent most of the time, ask yourself if you want to be limited to having two campers use the tent. Do you want room for an extra camper, just in case?
You’ll also need to decide if you plan on storing gear inside the tent. Maybe you’ll always be camping by your vehicle, and that won’t be necessary. However, if you want to keep gear in the tent with you and sleep everyone comfortably, you’ll want to get a bigger tent.
Every tent manufacturer will provide an interior size range based on the number of people the tent can sleep. You’ll want to select a size tent that, at the very least, advertises that it can fit the number of campers that will be sleeping in it. If you want more room for gear, an extra camper, or more personal space, you should select a tent that fits more than your required number of campers.
For example, if you need the tent to fit 2 people and you want the option to store a lot of gear inside, you may want to choose a 3-4 person tent.
The type of weather you’ll be camping in is a critical consideration when choosing an instant tent.
If the ability to camp in any type of weather is vital to you, you’ll want to make sure the tent can handle potentially heavy weather. The tent should come with a full-coverage rainfly, have sealed or taped seams, be designed to sheet water off instead of allowing it to pool, and utilize material that has a high waterproof rating. You should also make sure the tent is designed to withstand high winds and uses quality poles and stakes to withstand strong gusts.
If you don’t plan camping in foul weather but would like to be prepared for light rain or when the wind picks up a bit more than expected, you should still look for a tent with the above-mentioned weatherproofing components. The only difference is that you may not want to spend top dollar on the most high-quality and reliable, weatherproof tent available. For your purposes, waterproofing features that will keep you dry in light-moderate rain and wind resistance up to 35mph might be more than enough weather protection for your needs.
If you know you’ll be breaking down camp at the first sign of rain, don’t worry about weatherproofing features. Instead, make sure you get your money’s worth on other features like size, ease of set up, or ventilation.
Ease of Set up
If you’re in the market for an instant tent, chances are the ease of set up is an essential feature to you. Instant tents are one of the fastest and most straightforward types of tents to set up, but the setup process for individual tents can vary.
Large, family-sized instant tents will be a bit harder and more time-consuming to set up smaller tents, like a backpacking tent. A family-sized instant tent will always be faster and easier to set up than a family-sized traditional tent. Still, when specifically comparing instant tent options, smaller will generally be quicker and easier.
If you ever see multiple reviews stating how time-consuming or difficult an instant tent is to set up, be very suspicious of the tent. Instant tents are meant to be so fast and simple to set up that even novice campers shouldn’t have problems. If there are multiple reports of set up issues, it might not be as “instant” as the manufacturer claims it is.
Weight and Portability
Depending on how you intend to use the tent, you’ll want to consider how much the tent weighs when broken down and how easy it is to carry around.
If you plan on backpack camping, you’ll obviously want to reduce the amount of weight you have to carry with you, and minimizing tent weight is an easy way to do this. In this case, you’ll want to focus on lightweight tents that come with a quality stuff sack or carrying case.
Maybe you’re not a featherweight backpack camper, but you could see the possibility of having to walk in gear from your vehicle to a campsite and would rather not have lug around a heavyweight tent. If you find yourself in this mid-point of the weight/portability spectrum, it opens you up to options that may be a little heavier but maybe come with the interior space, features, or price that makes more sense for you.
If you always plan to set up your tent close to your vehicle and have plenty of space to fit even the largest tent, there is really no need to concern yourself with weight and portability. Go ahead and get whatever tent makes sense for you based on other features that are more important to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a few characteristics that make a tent qualify as an instant tent. All parts of the tent need to be connected even when it is broken down. The tent’s poles will typically pop up or slide out from one another to expand the tent from its broken-down form. When the poles have been fully extended, they lock in place to secure the frame in its fully erect form. The fabric that makes up an instant tent is already connected to the other solid parts of the tent. So, as the tent’s structure is being set up, the material is taking form simultaneously. As the name implies, instant tents do not take long, typically 1-3 minutes or less to set up. It only requires 1 person to set up an instant tent, making them an excellent option for solo campers.
You do not need to waterproof a tent, although it is highly recommended. Waterproof tents come with built-in features that give them varying degrees of water resistance right out of the box. These tents come with a rainfly to protect from rain as it hits the tent. The fabric of the main tent structure will typically have some degree of water resistance. Many tents also have unique floors, typically with thicker, more water-resistant material, designed specifically to prevent water from leaking in from beneath the tent. If a tent does not have one or any of these built-in waterproofing features, it would be a good idea to waterproof the vulnerable parts of the tent with a silicon-based waterproofing spray. Even if the tent has all these features and claims to have a high degree of water resistance, it is still recommended that you use waterproofing spray, especially if there is any chance you may get caught in heavy rain while camping. Aside from the waterproofing spray’s cost, there is no downside to taking the extra precaution to waterproof your tent.
If you have a rain fly and expect heavy rain, or have no rainfly and expect any rain, it is a good idea to put a tarp over your tent. When used correctly, tarps can add a very high degree of rain protection to your tent setup. A tarp can slow or completely stop rain from coming in contact with the material of your tent, which is far less waterproof and vulnerable to leaking, especially in heavy rain. Water will not be able to permeate heavy-duty tarps unless they tear or have holes. These tarps, however, will allow less airflow, which could cause comfort issues in hot climates. Less heavy-duty tarps are lighter and more breathable but can leak after a particular duration and rain strength. You’ll want to choose a tarp based on the strength of rain you may encounter while camping and the climate you plan to camp in. If you do decide to put a tarp over your tent, be sure not to keep the tarp too close to the tent material. A common mistake many campers make when using a tarp is wrapping it around the tent with the two materials touching. When a tarp and tent material are too close together, it can lead to increased condensation, which results in moisture within the tent. It is always a good idea to have a tarp on hand, just if the need for one arises.
The most waterproof tent is the one that keeps the interior of the tent completely dry. Many factors contribute to a tent’s waterproof ability. Perhaps one of the most important factors is its rainfly. Rain flies are a separate material that fully or partially covers the tent to prevent rain from entering the interior through the tent’s top or side. A full-coverage rainfly provides the most significant amount of protection against rain because they extend to the ground, completely enclosing the tent. The material that makes up the body and the tent’s floor also affects its waterproof ability. Some tent manufacturers will use a fabric with a greater ability to protect against water permeation, making them more waterproof than other tents. Some tents have a bathtub floor that extends the floor, which is typically the most water-resistant material used on the tent, a few inches up the tent’s sides. This provides more protection against leaks from beneath the tent. The stitching and seams of a tent also affect its waterproof ability. The areas where two separate pieces of material are joined together are very vulnerable to leaks. Therefore, companies looking to make their tent more waterproof will use construction techniques such as double stitching and waterproof sealant or tape at the tent’s seams. Even the profile of a tent makes a difference when it comes to water resistance. A tent that has been specifically designed so that water sheets off the top and sides of the tent will be far more waterproof than a tent with a design that allows water to pool on the roof or sides. The most waterproof tent will be constructed to optimize the tent’s water resistance at each of the previously mentioned components.