Pitching a conventional tent can prove to be challenging and time-consuming, especially after an exhausting day outdoors or a late arrival at the campsite. Handling intricate fiberglass poles and following complicated instructions can turn what should be a relaxing experience into a stressful task.
For campers seeking a hassle-free and swift solution, instant camping tents have emerged as a game-changer, promising an effortless setup within minutes.
In this guide, we’ll present 7 of our top picks, beginning with our editor’s choice, the CORE 6-Person Instant Tent. We also highly recommend the KAZOO Family Tent, Toogh 3-4 Person Instant Dome Tent, Coleman Cabin Tent, Ozark Trail 6-Person Instant Cabin Tent, Coleman Tenaya Lake, and the Ayamaya Pop-Up Tent.
Below our reviews, you’ll find guidance on what to consider when choosing the perfect model for your needs. This includes ease of use, size & capacity, ventilation, doors & windows, waterproofing, and lastly seasonality.
Table of Contents
- Our Top Picks by Category
- Which model is the best instant tent?
- What features should you consider in an instant camping tent?
- The Best Easy Setup Tents: The Verdict
At a Glance: Quick Recommendations
CORE 6-Person Instant Tent
“Ticks every box for car camping families and groups of friends.”
KAZOO Family Tent
“While a little pricier than the alternatives, this one’s a standout performer in wet weather.”
Toogh 3–4-Person Instant Dome Tent
“Short on features, but very lightweight, easy to set up and take down, and fairly priced.”
Coleman Instant Cabin Tent
“A high-quality shelter at a great price.”
Ozark Trail 6-Person Instant Cabin Tent
“A little on the heavy side but ideal for car campers working with a tighter budget.”
Coleman Tenaya Lake
“A sturdy, well-made, roomy tent that comes with two awesome storage closets for gear.”
Ayamaya Pop-Up Tent
“Short on headroom, but nicely priced, waterproof, and a piece of cake to pitch.”
Our Top Picks by Category
Which model is the best instant tent?
After years of testing various models, we’ve updated our shortlist for 2023. Below is our list of our favorite instant tents.
- CORE Series of Instant Tents
- KAZOO Family Tent
- Toogh 3-4 Person Instant Dome Tent
- Coleman Cabin Tent
- Ozark Trail 6-Person Instant Cabin Tent
- Coleman Tenaya Lake
CORE 6-Person Instant TentEditor’s Choice
Floor Space: 99 ft.² ⸱ Height: 72” ⸱ Weight: 23 lbs.
The Core Instant Cabin tent is durable, waterproof enough for moderate rain, spacious, easy to set up, and packed with practical features, earning it our editor’s choice award.
The pre-attached poles in the Core are telescopic, so all you have to do is extend them, snap them into place, and your home for the night is good to go. While not as quick to set up as other tents on our list, the whole pitching process should take 2-3 minutes for one person.
Measuring 11 x 9 feet, the Core has plenty of room for 6 sleepers plus gear. There’s also a huge wall organizer with multiple pockets that helps you keep your gear tidy and off the floor.
While we wouldn’t recommend using the Core in a torrential downpour due to its use of only a partial-coverage rainfly, its H20 Block Technology provides enough water resistance to keep you dry in moderate rain. In warm weather, on the other hand, it comes into its own, mainly thanks to its large ground vents and huge mesh windows, which together ensure ample airflow.
If you like the look of this one but need a little more space, check out the Core 9-Person Instant Cabin.
- Easy to pitch
- Multiple interior pockets
- Excellent ventilation
- Fairly priced
- Outstanding in warm weather conditions
- Great peak height
- Partial-coverage rainfly
- Included carry bag is a little on the small side
Bottom-Line: A high-quality, durable tent that takes convenience to a whole other level.
KAZOO Family TentBest Waterproof
Floor Space: 91.8 ft.² ⸱ Height: 73” ⸱ Weight: 17.5 lbs.
Not all instant tents can withstand serious hostilities from the elements, but the KAZOO instant family tent is definitely one of them.
The Kazoo uses a double-walled design. The inner is made with 190T breathable polyester with a mesh ceiling and large mesh panels to boost airflow and stave off stuffiness and condensation. The rainfly is made with tough, 210T ripstop polyester, and has an impressive waterproof rating of 3000mm, which is more than enough for 3-season camping.
At 17.5 lbs., the Kazoo isn’t the lightest option out there, but it is several pounds lighter than the Ozark Trail tent, the Coleman Instant Cabin, and the Coleman Tenaya Lake, despite having similar dimensions to all three and comfortably sleeping six.
The only real downsides to this tent are the lack of a vestibule and the shortage of interior pockets. On the plus side, the doorway converts into an extended awning, so you’ll have a sheltered place to kick back or store gear during the daytime.
- Extended awning
- Mesh interior pockets
- Mesh roof
- Sturdy aluminum poles
- Ample living space for 6 adults
- No vestibule storage space
Bottom-Line: The best waterproof instant tent on our list and big enough for two queen air mattresses.
Toogh 3-4 Person Instant Dome TentBest Dome
Floor Space: 90.75 ft.² ⸱ Height: 58” ⸱ Weight: 13 lbs.
For a durable and highly waterproof dome tent suitable for three-season camping, the Toogh 3-Person Instant Dome deserves your consideration.
The Toogh is made with burly, 210T oxford fabric, making it one of the toughest tents on our list. The waterproof rating of the walls and flooring are 3,000mm and 10,000mm respectively, so it’s also the most waterproof, although this does make it more prone to condensation and stuffiness in warm weather.
When it comes to setup, the Toogh is a dream. All you need to do is roll it out, lift the central pole hub, and, true to its name, it will pop into place. While setup takes a few seconds longer than the Core 6-Person, we found the Toogh much easier to pack away.
The features in this tent are, however, a bit of a letdown. While we love that the two doors can be extended into awnings, we don’t love the shortage of storage pockets inside. Another downside is that, like most instant dome tents, the Toogh has considerably less headroom owing to the curvature of the walls.
- Easy to set up and pack away
- Doors extend into awnings
- Great waterproofing
- Available in multiple colors
- Not the roomiest
- Lacks storage options
Bottom-Line: A sturdy, waterproof model that lacks a few features but offers great value for money nonetheless.
Coleman Cabin TentBest Value
Floor Space: 90 ft.² ⸱ Height: 72” ⸱ Weight: 19.1 lbs.
The Coleman brand name is virtually synonymous with affordable, high-quality outdoor gear, and the ‘dark rest’ instant cabin tent is no exception.
The standout feature of this shelter is the use of ‘dark rest’ technology, which essentially blocks out 90% of sunlight. This helps to keep the interior cool on warm, sunny days and prevents the sunrise from waking you up in the morning – ideal for campers who like to sleep in late!
Cool bonus features aside, this is a great tent for a family car camping trip. It may be heavy, but it’s exceptionally sturdy, performs well in strong winds, is waterproof enough for three-season camping, and can be set up in two minutes tops.
This Coleman instant tent comes in 4-person, 6-person, or 10-person sizes, with each scoring high in the liveability stake thanks to their cabin-style design and steep walls. The 4-person model is just under five feet tall, so you can’t stand in it, but the 6- and 8-person models both have a peak height of over six feet.
- Roomy interior
- Dark rest technology
- Solid in strong winds
- Practical carry bag
- Multiple interior pockets
- Not the toughest materials
- Not as waterproof as the Toogh, Ozark Trail, Ayamaya, or Kazoo
Bottom-Line: A robust, well-made shelter with a special bonus feature that keeps you cool in hot temps and lets you sleep in long past sunrise.
Ozark Trail 6-Person Instant Cabin TentBest Budget
Floor Space: 90 ft.² ⸱ Height: 66” ⸱ Weight: 25 lbs.
The Ozark Trail is comparable to the Coleman Instant in terms of size and functionality but outperforms in wet weather, offers more storage, features a unique built-in lighting system, and all at a slightly lower price.
This spacious cabin-style tent measures 10 x 9 feet, giving you a generous 90 square feet of interior floor space. Despite this, it can be set up in circa 60 seconds thanks to its pre-attached tent poles and central pole hub. This means that all you need to do is unpack and unfold the tent, extend the poles, peg it out, and you’re good to go.
While the OT only has a partial-coverage rain fly, the inner tent is rated to 1,200mm, so it’s a solid performer in all but the wettest conditions.
In terms of features, the OT serves up a mixed bag. There’s no vestibule or awning, sadly, and only one door, but there are a few add-ons that score it some serious points. The most impressive of these is the LED lighting in the pole hub that provides ambient lighting with the flick of a switch.
Other nice features include three mesh windows, an adjustable AC vent, an electrical port for hookups, and a full-wall organizer with multiple mesh storage pockets.
- Large mesh wall organizer
- Steel poles enhance durability and sturdiness
- Waterproof coating
- Good ventilation
- Steel poles make it heavier than similarly sized peers
- No vestibule
Bottom-Line: Too heavy for anything but car camping, but a great tent if you’re looking for quality materials at a bargain price.
Coleman Tenaya LakeBest Storage
Floor Space: 117 ft.² ⸱ Height: 80” ⸱ Weight: 32 lbs.
The pricey Coleman Tenaya Lake is the five-star hotel version of cabin tents, offering a luxurious camping experience with its generous storage and floor space.
Unlike many so-called “eight-person” tents out there, this one breaks the mold by actually providing enough room for 8 adult sleepers. It measures 13 x 9 feet, giving a total of 117 square feet (14.62 square feet per sleeper). The 6’ 8” center height and vertical walls also mean there’s plenty of headroom from end to end and side to side.
What we love most about the Tenaya Lake, however, is the inclusion of two non-standard “bonus” features – namely, a duo of built-in “closets” and a detachable privacy screen. The storage closets have mesh shelves and pockets that help keep your gear organized and free up space in the sleeping area, while the screen lets you create two separate rooms.
The Tenaya Lake is the priciest option on our list, and takes a little longer to set up than others, but is still a great choice if you value comfort and liveability and are happy to spend around three minutes setting up instead of one.
- Space galore!
- Built-in storage closets
- Wheeled storage case for easy transportation
- Illuminated guy lines keep you from tripping over them in the dark
- Hinged door
- Heavy (only suitable for car camping trips)
- Not as easy to pitch as other options
- Not as waterproof as other options
Bottom-Line: An excellent tent for a large group of people who need lots of space as long as you don’t mind a marginally longer setup time.
Ayamaya Pop-Up TentHonorable Mention
Floor Space: 106 ft.² ⸱ Height: 51” ⸱ Weight: 12.5 lbs.
If you’re looking for a lightweight, frill-free pop-up tent for occasional family camping trips in fair weather, the Ayamaya Pop-Up is well worth considering.
The Ayamaya weighs just 12.5 lbs, making it the lightest option on our list. Despite this, it’s fairly sturdy and one of the most waterproof options we reviewed, boasting a waterproof rating of 3,000mm in the tent walls and 4,000mm in the groundsheet. While we feel it didn’t perform as well as the Kazoo in wet weather, it’s still waterproof enough for three-season camping.
The Ayamaya is the quickest and easiest tent to pitch on our list. When you reach your campsite, all you have to do is unzip the carry bag and let go, then the tent assembles itself instantly. Throw a few stakes in and then setup is done! We did find it a little trickier to get the tent back into the bag at the end of the trip, but this should still only take 2-3 minutes.
The Ayamaya’s features aren’t anything to write home about but aren’t a cause for complaint, either. There are 2 large doors, rear hooded vents, a duo of small storage pockets, and four large windows. The front door also extends into an awning for outside lounging.
The only downside to the Ayamaya is the peak height, which, at 51 inches, is the lowest of any tent on our list.
- 2 doors
- Excellent ventilation
- Low peak height
Bottom-Line: A lightweight, waterproof, and feature-rich tent at an affordable price.
What features should you consider in an instant camping tent?
When considering buying an instant tent we recommend you investigate the following features.
- Ease Of Use
- Size & Capacity
- Doors & Windows
Ease Of Use
All the tents in our review are quicker to use and easier to set up than traditional tents. However, don’t be fooled by the term ‘instant’. The Ayamaya is the only truly ‘instant’ model, assembling itself the moment it’s released from its carry bag. The others will take between one to three minutes to set up.
Size & Capacity
For capacity, aim for about 14 to 15 square feet per adult making a 60-square-foot sized tent suitable for four adults. Check the product specifications for the overall square footage to get an accurate idea of the tent’s accommodation capacity.
If you usually bring a lot of camping gear, factor this into your calculations. If the tent doesn’t have a vestibule or screen room (many instant cabin tents don’t), then you’ll have to use some of that interior space for gear storage.
In general, tents are typically suitable for one to two fewer people than the manufacturer claims, unless that is, you want to be sleeping on top of each other!
Most tents include ventilation features such as mesh windows or wall vents, but their quantity, size, and placement vary, impacting the tent’s overall ventilation capability. Inadequate ventilation can lead to uncomfortably high temperatures during spring or summer and potential condensation issues at other times, which may dampen clothes and sleeping bags.
A combo of ground vents and roof vents is great because it allows cool air to come in at ground level and the hot air to rise to the top of the tent and escape out of the vents.
Doors & Windows
The number of tent doors or windows can significantly affect convenience and practicality while using the tent.
If there are many people in your tent, we would always recommend having a second door so you don’t have to crawl over each other to get out, especially when its time for a middle of the night pee!
Windows are great for stargazing and providing extra ventilation. If ogling the night sky or summer camping is your thing, then, the more of them the better.
If you plan on camping in wet conditions, the presence of a partial or full-coverage rainfly and its waterproof rating will be critical considerations.
As the name suggests, partial-coverage flys cover only part of the tent, leaving the rest of it exposed to the elements. While water-resistant treatments are usually used on this portion, they won’t offer the same protection. In short, if camping in wet weather, a full-coverage fly is the way to go.
Next, the level of protection a fly provides is measured in hydrostatic head, a test that gauges how much water pressure the fabric can withstand before it leaks. This usually ranges from around 800mm to 5,000mm. As a general rule, anything over 1,200mm is a safe bet for three-season camping.
Tent seasonality refers to the classification of tents into two-season, three-season, or four-season categories, indicating their ability to withstand various weather elements associated with different seasons.
The majority of practical instant tents will be two or three-season, which means they can stand up to moderate wind and rain. Anything higher than that is more suitable for stormy, cold, or monsoonal type conditions.
If you plan on camping in the shoulder seasons, we recommend buying at least a 3-season waterproof tent with a full-coverage rain fly rated to at least 1,200mm hydrostatic head.
The Best Easy Setup Tents: The Verdict
After careful consideration, our top choice is the Core Instant Tent, excelling in every important metric whilst offering a more budget-friendly option compared to its closest rivals in the same performance category.
If you’re on a tighter budget, we recommend the Ozark Trail 6-Person. This is the heaviest option on our list but all that added weight translates into superior sturdiness and durability. It’s also very easy to pitch and includes a few great “bonus” features that are well worth having.
So, how did you like our article? If we missed anything or you have any questions, let us know! And if you’d like to share this post with your friends, please do!