If you’re after a cost-effective tent you can pitch in seconds, a pop-up design could be the right choice. They spring into shape straight out of the bag – in most cases, all you need to do is fix the pegs and guy ropes.
Of course, pop-up tents may lack some of the features you’d get in a traditional model. Most come without an inner tent or any porch space, so if you don’t have a car, any wet boots and backpacks have to come in to the sleeping compartment with you. They also tend to fold down into a large circular storage bag, usually around 80cm across, so they’re too bulky to carry long distances. Often, pop-up tents compromise on durability and waterproofing too, which means you’ll need to camp somewhere sheltered, or be prepared to risk it.
So while pop-up tent camping is risky in bad weather, pop-up tents can be ideal for certain scenarios; at festivals, on beach days with young kids, or short summer camping trips when driving to your destination. They can also be great for sleepovers in the garden.
They’re are often lightweight, and tend to be relatively cheap, priced between £40 and £120. Plus, you can expect useful storage compartments like in-built pockets and lantern hanging hooks.
The best pop-up tents also offer great breathability, with mesh panels, doors and windows. Poorly ventilated tents can feel hot and stuffy, leading to condensation running down to the groundsheet and soaking your camping gear, so good air flow is vital.
In terms of size, pop-up tents come in a variety of small to medium sized designs, and you can usually find options for groups of up to five or six people. We’ve tested ones for 2-4 sleepers from retailers such as Trespass, Regatta and Mountain Warehouse.
What to look for
When comparing the best pop-up tents, consider their weight and size when they’re both pitched and packed away. Read the tech specs to see how wind- and rain-resistant they’re designed to be, and try to find the hydrostatic head (HH) rating for waterproofing. Tents with a 2,000HH should cope with a few hours of rain, while 3,000HH and above is fairly standard and will keep you dry in more prolonged rainy weather. For heavy storms, you’ll need a rating around 4,000mm.
You might also want to look at the tent’s ventilation panels, light-blocking capability and any storage features like pockets, hooks and exterior awnings. Finally, think about price to make sure you’re getting the best deal for your money.
Find your ideal tent – jump to:
- Best for short getaways
- Best lightweight, inexpensive option
- Best for family holidays
- Best for festivals
- Best for parent-child getaways
How we tested
We tested these pop-up tents for their effectiveness in several performance categories, including ventilation, light-blocking qualities and likely durability. We evaluated how easy they were to put up and pack away, and how bulky and heavy they felt to carry. We also noted any other features, like storage pockets, lantern hooks and guy ropes, and rated the tents on their look and style.
Best pop up tents 2023 – tested by experienced campers
Coleman Galiano Pop Up Tent
Best for short getaways
- Sleeps: 2 (4-person version also available)
- Waterproofing: 2,000mm HH rating and taped seams
- Weight: 2.6kg
- Packed: 77cm diameter
- Pitched: 230cm(L) x 135cm (W) x 90cm(H)
Out of the bag, Coleman’s Galiano tent gives a good first impression. With a smart, shell-like design, two-tone colouring and an entire removable upper section, it’s immediately impressive.
The upper cover, here shown in light grey, rolls back completely to reveal large mesh panels across the central three sections – ideal for getting extra light, a bit of ventilation or the chance to sleep under the stars. The only slight design flaw is that you can’t remove the upper cover while the guy ropes are pegged down.
There’s also a separate mesh door for more airflow, while the fibreglass poles and eight pegs should help secure the tent in heavy winds.
As for durability, the overall construction looks smart and robust; we noted the sewn-in groundsheet and carefully taped seams, which should help with waterproofing. The tent also comes with two blue and two grey rip patches for quick repairs.
Like with most pop-up tents, there’s no covered porch for shoes and bags. We also found this model quite fiddly to pack away using the instructional images. Once it was in the carry bag, the short straps make it tricky to put over your arm or shoulder.
Pros: stylish, great ventilation, durable
Cons: no storage space, tricky to pack and carry
Trespass Swift 2 Pop Up Tent
Best lightweight, inexpensive option
- Sleeps: 2
- Waterproofing: 2,000mm HH and taped seams
- Weight: 1.9kg
- Packed: 77cm x 77cm x 6cm
- Pitched: 245cm(L) x 145(w) x 100cm(H)
Available at around the £40 mark, Trespass’s Swift 2 is one of the best pop-up tents for anyone on a budget. It’s also the lightest design we tested, at 1.9kg, so it’s a breeze to carry but does lack some of the smart looks and handy features found in other tents.
The design is fairly basic and although the tent pops up easily you’ll need to attach the guy ropes yourself. The door doubles as a ventilation panel, and there are two more small mesh windows with prop-up arms to allow for airflow underneath the outer layer of fabric.
Inside, you’ll find one storage pocket but no hanging hook.
Overall, this probably won’t beat more expensive tents for feel and durability, but it is lightweight, budget-friendly and easy to pack away following the instructions.
Pros: lightweight, inexpensive, easy to pack away
Cons: basic design, doesn’t feel as durable as others
Eurohike Pop 400 DS
Best for family holidays
- Buy now from Millets (£64.00)
- Sleeps: 4
- Waterproof: 2,000 HH
- Weight: 5.2kg
- Packed: 78 x 78 x 9 cm
- Pitched: 390cm(L) x 215cm(W) x 160cm(H)
With two entrances and covered storage areas, a dual-skin design and extra fibreglass poles, Eurohike’s 400 DS takes the average pop-up tent a step further – possibly because it’s designed to sleep four people.
While the basic structure does indeed ‘pop up’ in seconds, you’ll need to thread the two poles through it and attach the upper sheet. The extra pole support gives the 400 DS a highly durable feel, although the extra design elements do make this tent fairly heavy and bulky at 5.2kg. The large tent size also caused problems when packing up, and could be an issue for inexperienced campers. Our two testers struggled to fit the bulky tent and all its accessories back into the small bag.
On the plus side, this is a smart tent with plenty of great features. We liked the spacious interior with lots of headroom, the two large storage pouches and hanging hook, and the pre-attached neon guy ropes.
For a four-person tent, ventilation is fairly limited, but you do get a mesh door panel, which attaches to the main door so you zip up both at the same time.
Pros: spacious, two doors, storage pockets, neon guy ropes, durable feel, smart look
Cons: heavy, separate poles and upper sheet, limited ventilation
Mountain Warehouse Black Out Double Skin Tent
Best for festivals
- Buy now from Mountain Warehouse (£59.99)
- Sleeps: 3
- Waterproof: Test data not supplied
- Weight: 3kg
- Packed: 87 x 87 x 4 cm
- Pitched: 280cm(L) x 180cm(W) x 105cm(H)
Thanks to its instantly recognisable opaque silver fabric, this pop-up tent from Mountain Warehouse offers impressive light-blocking even on bright, sunny days. Ideal for times when you might want a nap or a lie-in, it’s one of the best pop-up tents you can buy for festivals and relaxed getaways – just be sure to bring a torch or lantern to read, socialise or find belongings inside.
Some clever ventilation features set this tent apart from others we tested. Not only is there a three-panel door (one mesh, one inner and one outer), but there are also mesh strips around the base of the tent to allow for airflow underneath the outer shell. You’ll also find a couple of small window panels, which let air under a flap of loose fabric, but there’s no hook-and-loop fastener attachment so they’re open all the time and could leave you exposed to chilly gusts in bad weather.
The two-layer construction and sewn-in groundsheet should help keep condensation and bugs out of the inner chamber. Overall, they give the tent a durable feel.
You’ll need to attach the guy ropes yourself; a simple, one-time job. As for packing away, the tent comes with slightly confusing written instructions without supporting images, but our testers managed to pack everything down. The handy carry bag gets a big tick from us, thanks to its long straps, which make it easy to sling over your shoulder.
Pros: great light-blocking, stylish look, two-layer design, good ventilation, convenient carry bag
Cons: slightly confusing instructions
Regatta Malawi Tent
Best for parent-child getaways
- Buy now from Regatta (£62.45)
- Sleeps: 2
- Waterproof: 3,000mm HH
- Weight: 2.5kg
- Packed: 82 x 82 x 8 cm
- Pitched: 230cm(L) x 140cm(W) x 100cm(H)
While Regatta’s Malawi tent doesn’t have the smart aesthetics of some other pop-up tents we’ve tested, its makes claim a hydrostatic head waterproof rating of 3,000mm – the best on test – and it comes with some handy extra features. We appreciated the two inner storage pockets for keeping small belongings safe, and the central hanging hook for your torch or lantern.
There was enough headroom for our testers to sit up comfortably inside, although the tent doesn’t block much sunlight for lie-ins – despite the dark-coloured fabric. The guy ropes, on the other hand, are neon yellow to avoid trips and falls after dark.
As for ventilation, there’s a separate mesh door, with toggles to roll away the opaque outer section. You also get three small mesh windows with a hook-and-loop fastener.
When packing up, we were relieved to find the instructions clearer than those given by other tents, and the process was relatively straightforward.
When carrying the storage pouch, the short straps make it difficult to sling the bag over your arm, but it’s nice and lightweight. Unlike many other tents we tested, this pack also came with repair patches, although they weren’t adhesive.
Pros: pockets and torch hook, great waterproof rating, neon guy ropes
Cons: less stylish than others
What to consider when buying a pop up tent
While your first instinct might be to choose your tent according to the number of people in your group, remember to consider your bags. If you and a friend are walking to your destination and choose a tent without a covered storage area, you might need a three-person design to accommodate your belongings.
As tents vary in shape and often have extra storage areas, it’s hard to list standard tent dimensions. But as a rough guide, you should expect to have 50-80cm across per person; 60-70cm is fairly standard.
As for headroom, look for tents over 100cm tall to be able to sit up comfortably inside.
While standard tents can be on the pricier end of the spectrum, the good news is that pop-up tents are usually more affordable. Many come in under £100, saving you money to spend on the rest of your camping gear.
How much does it weigh?
While lightweight tents are convenient, heavier models usually have better durability or extra features like storage areas, so it’s worth thinking about how much weight you can afford to take.
Ideally, you don’t want to carry a tent weighing over 3kg more than a mile or so. But as most pop-up tents aren’t designed to be packed in a rucksack, you might decide you’re happy to carry a bulkier tent from your car to the campsite.
In general, expect to carry 2-3kg for a two-person tent, 2.5-5.5kg for a three-person tent and 2.5-7kg for a four-person design.
It’s impossible to know how a tent will perform in bad weather until you buy it, but you can get an idea of its durability by looking at the tech specs. Does the tent come with a strong internal pole structure? Does it have a two-skin design with a sewn-in groundsheet? How many guy ropes are included? What is its hydrostatic head (HH) rating?
Take a look at the reviews to see how previous customers rate it.