Spoiler Alert: Conquerwild chose the CORE 6 Person Instant Cabin Tent as the best instant tent overall!!
A good tent is the backbone of a successful camping trip. When you pick the wrong one, pitching your tent can be super confusing and time consuming. There are a few things you can do to save yourself some of this time and effort while out in the wilderness. The best option: finding an instant tent.
Instant tents are just about as simple as they come. They only take a few steps to set up and they’re great for anyone who wants a stress-free camping experience. I’ve discovered and researched some of the best instant tents out there. Let’s delve into some of the best products on the market and find out what makes a great instant tent.
What Well Be Reviewing
- Coleman Cabin Tent With Instant Set-Up
- CORE 6 Person Instant Cabin Tent
- Moon Lence Pop-Up Tent
- CORE 12 Person Instant Cabin Tent
- KAZOO Instant Large Tent
Coleman Cabin Tent With Instant Set-Up – Most Affordable Instant Tent
The Coleman Cabin Tent with Instant Set-Up is one of the most reliable options when it comes to an ultra quick and easy set-up. This one is designed as a 6 person tent, though you can also buy the 4 or 10 person variation. The 10 person Coleman Cabin Tent also comes with Dark Room Technology which blocks 90% of all sunlight and UV rays. This is great for peaceful, isolated camping.
As for the 6 person version (the one pictured above) , there’s ample room inside to fit 2 queen air mattresses. It’s also sturdy and good at keeping out water during mild rainstorms. What’s interesting about this tent is that the rainfly is “integrated.” This means that there’s no separate sheet to go over the tent. This may seem unusual or concerning to some campers, but it still works well to keep the rain out.
The aluminum tent poles that hold this shelter up are sturdy and pre-assembled. These are what allow you to erect this tent within 60 seconds. For an instant tent, it also holds up well against strong winds.
Even if you don’t have a group of 6 campers, a single person could pitch this tent with no problem. With interior storage pockets and the tent’s carry bag, there’s enough storage here for most novice campers. If you’re camping with a lot of gear, you may find yourself using some floor space to store your equipment. However, this isn’t a dealbreaker for me. Coleman always puts out quality products and, in my opinion, this 6 person instant tent is no exception.
- Super sturdy.
- Great ventilation with several vents and windows.
- Comes in 3 different size variations.
- Interior has mesh storage pockets for storing lightweight items.
- Roomy floor plan (10′ x 9′) and a tall peak height (6′).
- Mostly made of 150D, water resistant polyester.
- All seams are taped and inverted.
- Not too much storage space.
- A bit heavy and not great for backpacking.
- Although this tent includes an “integrated” rainfly, if you want a detachable one, you’ll have to purchase it separately.
CORE 6 Person Instant Cabin Tent – Best Pick Overall
This roomy, 6-person instant tent is comfortable, homey camping at its best. It’s got all the essentials required to make beginner campers feel like they’re in the comfort of their own house. It has lots of interior storage pockets which line the walls, sort of giving the appearance of shelves. It also comes equipped with a sturdy, gear loft for larger items, so storage will definitely not be an issue.
Its heightened comfortability also comes from the fact that it’s so spacious. You can fit 2 queen-sized mattresses in here with no problem. In addition, a 6 foot peak height means that you won’t feel cramped or stuffed up while inside.
Obviously, an “instant tent” implies that it can be set up very quickly. This one takes 60 seconds on average and requires no prior knowledge to assemble. It’s easy set-up doesn’t come at the expense of losing functionality. Its E-port allows the occupants to feed an extension cord seamlessly through the wall of the tent. The 2 large, T-shaped doors also allow for multiple occupants to enter and exit at the same time. It’s even got an awning, which is my favorite feature. This gives you a nice, dry spot, just outside of the tent where you can take off and leave shoes on rainy days. To me, this attention to detail makes the CORE 6 Person a true stand-out instant tent.
- Quite lightweight at 12.72 pounds.
- Comes with a convenient carry bag.
- Lots of storage space.
- Has an E-port for extension cord access.
- VERY well ventilated with ground/ceiling vents and mesh windows. Great for hot weather camping.
- All seams are heat-sealed and water resistant.
- Fits 2 queen-sized air mattresses with a floor plan of 11′ x 9′.
- Floor is not as thick as the more heavy-duty tents.
- May be a tight squeeze with 6 campers.
- Not the best tent for cold weather.
Moon Lence Pop-Up Tent – Best Instant Tent For Backpacking
4 person tents are among some of the most popular camping choices. When it comes to quick and easy set-up, the MOON LENCE Pop-Up Tent is top tier for its price range. This tent can be assembled by one person in a minute. Weighing only 10.8 pounds, it’s also light enough for one person to transport with the help of it’s convenient carry bag.
While the assembly is simple, its durability and protection against nature is top notch. It uses a mixture of polyurethane and oxford fabrics to keep moisture out on rainy days. Also, this tent includes 10 lightweight, alloy pegs and 4 guy ropes to help it stay in place in windy conditions. This is a huge plus for an instant tent, as they require a bit of extra stability to keep from blowing away.
This quick tent also utilizes ventilation where it’s needed with its 2 ground vents. Ground ventilation is often overlooked, but it’s a crucial part of ensuring an efficient airflow system. It also has 2 large, breathable doors with mesh that can be zippered open and closed. I love and appreciate the balance that this tent gives between easy camping and durability.
- Lightweight at 10.8 pounds.
- 190T polyurethane and 210D oxford tent material is durable and UV resistant.
- Comes in blue, orange or green.
- Alloy pegs and guy ropes for wind resistance.
- SBS zippers for tight seal on doors.
- 2000mm water-resistant.
- Decently sized floor plan of 94.5″ x 82.6″.
- Rainfly is not detachable.
- Peak height is a bit low at 42″.
CORE 12 Person Instant Cabin Tent – Most Spacious Instant Tent
If you’re camping with an entire fleet of people, then maybe this CORE Instant Cabin Tent may be what you’re looking for. With an 18 foot x 10 foot floor plan, this palace of a tent has enough room for up to 12 campers (if everyone is using a sleeping bag). Otherwise, it fits 3 queen-sized air mattresses, which is pretty impressive. Even more impressive is the detachable dividers that this tent comes with. Using these, you can basically create 3 separate rooms to divide you from the rest of your group. If you value your privacy, this feature is unbeatable.
Tons of mesh venting makes for a breathable shelter that doesn’t get too stuffy or hot. When the rainfly is off, the see-through mesh ceiling transforms this shelter into an observatory. Of all the tents on the list, this one is the best for stargazing out in the wilderness.
Being mostly made of 68D polyester with heat-sealed seams, this large instant tent is pretty water resistant under most conditions… Unless you’re planning on camping in the middle of a monsoon. Overall, this shelter is huge, multifunctional and comfortable, making it great for families or large groups of friends.
- Great for families: 18′ x 10′ floor plan and 80″ peak height.
- Front and back entrance (one is a D-shaped door and one is a T-shaped door).
- Features gear loft and awning.
- Telescoping, steel tent poles make it super easy to set up within 2 minutes.
- Ground, wall and ceiling vents.
- Tent fabric has water-resistant polyurethane coating.
- Comes in light gray and stone gray.
- E-port allows for extension cord access.
- Vents cannot be zipped closed- not the best tent for cold weather.
- Too heavy for backpacking.
- For a 12 person tent, there’s not a huge amount of storage space.
KAZOO Instant Large Tent – Most Eco-Friendly Instant Tent!
This funky-looking 4 person shelter is the easiest tent to set up on this list, requiring only 30 seconds of assembly. It will probably take longer to settle on an area to place this tent than it will to pitch it. I also really appreciate the 3 different, eye-popping colors that it comes in (although this shouldn’t really be a determining factor in choosing a shelter).
Even though this is described as a 4 person tent, it’s more suitable for groups of 3 or less. When your group is small, this tent will keep you well-sheltered and comfortable.
KAZOO takes water resistance seriously with its 210T “ripstop” polyester rainfly. When the rainfly is detached, this tent has pretty unlimited access to airflow, as most of the walls and ceiling are made of mesh. While it doesn’t “officially” include an awning, you can use the polyester door and a support pole to create a shady overhang.
For beginner campers, most of the basic instant tent needs are met here. If you like all the features of this shelter but need something a bit bigger, you can also find it as a 6/8 person tent.
- Waterproof rating of over 3000mm.
- Enough room for 2 twin air mattresses.
- Water resistant, full coverage rainfly made from 210T ripstop polyester.
- All seams are water resistant.
- 19mm aluminum tent poles are lightweight.
- It’s eco-friendly!
- Has a “porch” area with an awning.
- Interior storage pockets.
- Tent is a bit small for 4 occupants to sleep comfortably.
- Doesn’t include ground vents.
Choosing The Right Instant Tent
The one true defining factor of an instant tent is its ability to be set up in 3 minutes or less. They’re the perfect invention for campers who want to save some time or avoid complicated instructions.
With tons of instant tents out there on the market, it’s important that you become aware of what to look for before making a purchase. As with any type of camp shelter, there are certain factors that signify the difference between quality and mediocre products.
The 3 C’s Of Tent Camping
Whenever I’m assessing any type of tent, there are 3 general categories that I always look to for guidance: comfortability, convenience and constancy. These 3 aspects are the backbone of tent camping.
Of course, it’s great to find a product that does well in all areas. However, depending on your circumstances, you may feel the need to prioritize a certain category over the others. Either way, these 3 aspects put together are the foundation for a quality tent.
Comfortability In An Easy Assemble Tent
For a lot of people, camping is about getting out of your comfort zone. Though you don’t have to be physically uncomfortable in order to challenge yourself. There are certain things you should look out for when determining whether an instant tent is going to be comfortable enough for you.
A great ventilation system in a tent is like a great air conditioning system in a house. It’s crucial, especially if you’re camping in a warm region. Even if it’s not hot out, it’s important to have fresh air flowing through your shelter. If you don’t, you’re bound to be stuck in a musty, stuffy tent that’s full of condensation.
For the most part, airflow is achieved with the use of vents. These openings in the tent fabric will allow fresh air to pass through your shelter and help cool it down. A lot of the time, these vents are covered with mesh to protect from insects.
The location of these vents is crucial for getting proper airflow. The best instant tents for camping have ground vents, located near the floor. These are great for hot weather excursions because the ground emits coolness, which can then be harnessed into your shelter.
Many tents also have ceiling vents. These are important because hot air rises. Whether you know it or not, your body is constantly giving off heat. If you’re camping in a warm environment, it’s best to let this radiating heat escape through the ceiling.
If your tent has ceiling vents, make sure it also comes with a rainfly. If you’re camping in a cold environment, the rainfly will act as an insulator and help keep heat inside the tent.
It’s also important that your tent has windows on the walls. These are usually made out of mesh and can be zippered closed if need be. Mesh windows offer a direct passage for wind to enter your tent.
Finding a tent that utilizes all of these methods is a slam dunk in the ventilation department. If ventilation isn’t enough to keep you cool, then you can always use a tent fan to lower the temperature inside your shelter.
The number of people you’ll be camping with is a crucial aspect to consider before purchasing your instant tent. Obviously, you must know the size of your group before you choose the size of your tent.
Usually, tents define their size with a number for people (for example, “4 person tent,” “6 person tent,” etc.). However, it’s important to know that these numbers are not an exact science. For the most part, these indicate the tent’s maximum capacity. This is the amount of people that would be physically able to fit into the tent if comfortability weren’t a huge concern.
For maximum comfort, I recommend subtracting one or two people from the tent’s advertised capacity and judging from there. For example, if a tent says that it’s a “10 person,” I am going to assume that 9 campers can sleep comfortably inside. If you don’t mind sleeping super close to your fellow campers, then go ahead and abide by the numbers given.
Or, you can just look at the tent’s actual measurements! This is obviously the most efficient and straightforward way to check if a tent’s big enough for your group. Look at the length and width of each tent. Grab a tape measure and test out the size in your living room if you want.
Also be sure to look at the peak height of each instant tent. This is the measurement from the tent floor, to the highest point of its ceiling. If you’re tall, or want to walk around the inside of your tent, then choose something with lots of head room.
Convenience In Instant Set Up Tents
The true reason people decide to purchase an instant tent is for convenience! The more complications your camping trip has, the more stressful of an experience it will be. Let’s take a look at the biggest factors that determine convenience in instant tents.
How Quickly Can It Be Set Up?
Obviously, instant tents are much quicker to set up than the standard kind. The magic of an instant tent is all in the pre-attached tent poles.
On a normal tent, these support poles come disassembled and unattached. You must put them together, and then feed them through the fabric of the tent to erect it. This is the process that usually takes up the most time.
When the frame is already attached, all you need to do is find a spot for the tent, extend the support poles and secure it to the ground using the stakes and guy lines. No need to hassle. No need for a whole team’s work.
Many of the products on this list can be set up by just one person in 60 seconds. The larger ones may take a bit longer. Either way, you must always follow the tent’s instructions exactly as they’re laid out.
Aim For Lightweight
The weight of your tent is more important than you think. If you’re going to be backpacking to your campsite, you should definitely look for tents that are lightweight. An extra 25 pounds on your back can be a killer on a strenuous hike. At the end of the day, it’s all about your physical abilities. Always check the weight of a product before buying it.
If you’re not traveling on foot to your campsite, then you may not need to think about weight as much.
Is There Storage Space?
Most camping trips require that you bring a bit of gear with you. Between food supplies, extra clothes and camping gadgets, you shouldn’t have to depend on the tent floor as a means to store everything. Try your best to find an instant tent with storage space.
For lightweight items, most tents come with storage pockets on the interior. These are usually made of mesh and are great for keeping phones, wallets, keys and more.
The gear loft is another great storage mechanism to look for. These are essentially nets that hang from the ceiling of your tent and can hold a decent amount of equipment.
Some tents have vestibules, or overhangs that extend out over the exterior. These porch-like areas are great for keeping shoes and backpacks.
When all else fails, you can always use the tent’s designated carry bag to store your equipment. The important thing is that all of your belongings stay protected from the elements of nature.
Constancy In An Easy Set Up Tent
The job of a good tent is to shelter you from the elements of nature while you’re camping. What good is a shelter if it can’t stand up to the challenges of your environment?
Constancy (or durability) is a quality that every good tent should have.
When it comes down to it, the material makeup of your tent is everything. You wouldn’t build a house with flimsy walls, so why would you have different standards for your tent?
Here’s a quick overview of some of the most common materials used in instant tents:
- Polyester is a pretty cheap, water resistant fabric that’s able to hold its own under most moderate camping conditions. While it’s not tear-proof, it is UV resistant and does well in the heat.
- Polyurethane is a great material that’s often used as an extra coating to help improve water resistance in tents.
- Nylon is another material that’s commonly used for tents. It’s a bit tougher and lighter than polyester. However, it tends to retain heat at higher rates, so it’s not always the best when it comes to summer camping.
- Mesh is often used for vents and windows as it’s super breathable, yet still able to prevent insects from entering your tent. Mesh consists of woven strands of fiber with tiny, evenly-spaced gaps in between them.
- Oxford is a type of material weave that is thicker and more durable than fabrics with standard weaving.
The thickness of tent fabric is often measured by the denier rating. You might see this in the form of a number followed by a “D” (for example, “100D polyester”). The higher the number, the thicker the material.
If you see a number followed by a “T,” this stands for “thread per inch” and represents how densely woven the material is. The higher the number, the denser the fabric.
Weather can sometimes be unpredictable. A bit of rain or wind can wreak havoc on a poorly constructed tent.
Rainflies are lifesavers when it comes to keeping the inside of your tent dry. A rainfly is an excess layer or sheet that can be used as a covering for your tent. They do a great job of blocking rain and wind. Be sure to check the material of your rainfly as it should be made of something that’s water resistant.
Oftentimes, parts of your tent will have a waterproof rating, like “3000mm.” This stands for the amount of water the material can withstand at once (3,000 millimeters in this case).
It is also important to make sure your instant tent can stand up to strong gusts of wind. Look to the support poles and be sure they’re made of quality material. Steel, aluminum and alloy are the strongest options. While fiberglass poles break more easily, they are much more lightweight.
Also, do not forget to secure your instant tent to the ground. You can do this by using the stakes and guy lines provided. This is what will prevent your entire shelter from blowing away in the wind.
If you’ve read this far, you’re probably seriously considering buying an instant up tent. These products are truly top notch when it comes to easy, stress-free camping. You really can’t beat the convenience of being able to pop your tent up on the spot without having to meticulously put everything together.
Just be sure that, before you make a purchase, you truly understand all the in’s and out’s of instant tents. Always remember what your needs are, where you’ll be camping and what your level of experience is. Also, be sure to run down the checklist of the 3 C’s of tent camping. Instant tents that excel in all areas are true winners.
Our Top Pick Is….
The CORE 6 Person Instant Cabin Tent!!
What sets this tent apart from the rest is its true “home away from home” feel. It’s got a roomy, cabin structure with lots of diversified storage space. There’s lots of ventilation and free airflow. It’s durable and it’s multifunctional, featuring 2 entrances, an E port, an awning and more! Most importantly, it can be set up in 60 seconds or less and is the epitome of a great instant tent.
For families or larger groups of campers, the CORE 12 Person Instant Cabin Tent is another amazing option with lots of space.