We’ve taken a close look at what’s available in quick-to-pitch tents – inflatable tents, pop-up tents, quick-erect pole tents and even bell-tents and tipis.
Here’s our easy guide for tent buyers.
No-one wants to start a camping trip with an argument over the best way to pitch the tent. What you need is a tent that’s easy to put up.
So, which are the fastest to pitch?
Latest update: June 2021
All our reviews at Campfire Magazine are independent and honest.
In a hurry? If you don’t have much time using the links below to quickly find our favourite tents for you on Amazon and beyond. You can be assured we only choose the best products…
Quick Erect tents
Coleman, Khyam, Qeedo, Slumit and more
This sort of tent has poles ready attached, which then click into place – sometimes using an umbrella mechanism, sometimes using hinged joints. They’re supremely fast and easy.
OUR TOP PICK
Our top choice in this category. The Coleman Instant Tent Tourer 4 has dark bedrooms and plenty of living space. Can be pitched in under 1 minute. We like the large windows and dark bedroom areas.
TOP VERSATILE QUICK ERECT TENT
An incredibly cheap ‘umbrella’ style pop-up tent that sleeps three (four snugly!). The Hewolf tent (silly name, eh?) has a feature that we really like, which is that you can use it as a shelter without the inner.
Packs up very small, weighs around 2.72kg and gives head height inside of around 5′.
BEST VALUE QUICK ERECT TENT
The latest model has a great shape for maximising inside space. Same features in that it can be used as a shelter or as a tent.
200 x 180 x130cm (H),packs to 75 x 18 x 17cm and weighs just under 3kg
The Instant Tourer Domes sleep three or five. Less headroom but still spacious. 210 x 210 x 120cm (H)
The Instant Tourers are up in less than a minute. Plenty of room, and very affordable.
Coleman’s other fast-pitch tents are the Hub tents – light and compact tents without a separate living area (extensions available). Up in seconds and simple to use.
Choose from Hub Drake tents for 2 or 4 peopleThese magic hinges make it easy to pop the poles into place.
German company Qeedo make a range of five Quick Up system tents. These are very affordable (and rather annoyingly often out of stock).
They have super-fast-to-erect preattached and hinged poles that lock into place.
The cabin-shaped Qeedo Villa is super-affordable and a great shape for space. It makes a really good awning when the Qeedo campervan awning isn’t available (which is often).
The five-person is a big 320 x 320cm but packs to 110 x 27 x 27cm.
You can also get a sleeping cabin that fits inside.
The choice is overwhelming, so we’ve narrowed down the list to our absolute favourites from the best manufacturers. For each, we’ve chosen a two/three-person option and a four/five-person family tent.
Bear in mind that we all have our own preferences for shape, colour and so on. We always go for spacious and airy with lots of windows. We like hinged doors rather than zips where possible. We like blackout features for sleeping past dawn. Read on…
Decathlon have some of the most unusual-looking and most affordable inflatable tents.
The Air Seconds series (that’s seconds as in time, by the way, not slightly faulty ones!) offers tents to sleep three to eight people.
We love the lightblocking lining on the Fresh and Black range. Some Quechuas can also be customised with extra rooms, a shelter roof, awnings and so on. A 10-year guarantee is great.
OUR TOP AIR TENT PICK
The Quechua Air Fresh and Black four-person tent. We’ve chosen a slightly larger tent for our two-person option here as the extra space makes it brighter. Dark bedrooms, but a bit of a squeeze for four adults. We prefer it for a couple (maybe one child), but the extra room makes storage a doddle.
- Size: 480 x 280 x 190cm (max height)
- Pack size: 75 x 35 x 35cm
- Weight: 14kg
- Sewn-in groundsheet – Yes, liftable at doors
The 8-person Fresh and Black Quechua tent has four separate bedrooms and a central living area. The bedrooms stay dark, which is great.
- Size: 740 x 310 x (max) 225cm
- Pack size: 85 x 38 x 43cm
- Weight: 30kg
- Sewn-in groundsheet – Yes
Look at this pale, interesting and VERY affordable Air Seconds 4.2 XL tent, which won the 2020 Best Value Family Tent award. It has great blackout bedrooms, plus a zip-out groundsheet.
- Size: Only stated for two bedroom sections – 140 x 260cm. Living room height 195cm (max)
- Pack size: 77 x 38 x 38cm
- Weight: 18kg
- Sewn-in groundsheet – Zip-in, detachable
Also it might be worth checking out our best windbreaks article
Vango’s new Stargrove is a lovely light and airy tent with room for four. It has a pre-attached awning and tension bands for extra stability in the wind. Dark bedrooms and a large living area.
- Size: 600 x 300 x 205m
- Pack size: 80 x 43 x 43cm
- Weight: 19.5kg
- Sewn-in groundsheet – Yes
The Vango Airbeam range is maybe not the most eyecatching range, but they’re relatively fast to inflate and deflate. There are 30 to choose from ranging in price from £1700 to £450.
We couldn’t find a larger Vango tent that we could fully recommend. Some quality issues that perhaps suggest the airbeam and fabric don’t work so well on larger structures. Don’t let that put you off the smaller ones, as these have been great.
The Lindale 3PA is the smallest of the Outwell air tents and has a separate bedroom and a living area. It has fibreglass poles at the front.
We like the steep sides that give you more headroom and the big windows in the living area. The extra canopy is good for keeping blustery weather out.
- Size: 250 x 440 (inc. canopy) x max 210cm
- Pack size: 71 x 36 x 36cm
- Weight: 15kg
- Sewn-in groundsheet – Yes
Both our choices have dark bedrooms, quiet closures as well as zips on the inner doors, sewn-in groundsheets and tinted windows.
There are 23 inflatable tents to choose from and they range in price from around £600 to a whopping £2,500.
Roomy and bright, this tunnel tent sleeps six comfortably with two separate bedrooms inside and an extended living area and porch.
Both our Outwell choices have dark bedrooms, quiet closures as well as zips on the inner doors, sewn-in groundsheets and tinted windows.
EDITORS CHOICE FOR AIR TENTS
- Size: 610 x 300 x max 200cm
- Pack size: 78 x 58 x 38cm
- Weight: 20.8kg
- Sewn-in groundsheet – Yes
Keeping their range short and sweet, Coleman offer the Valdes in sizes for four to six people.
We love the hinged rather than zipped doors and the blackout bedrooms. Superfast to inflate too. But, they’re pretty expensive compared to some of the other brands.
With a porch big enough for a table and chairs, this is a very roomy tent indeed. Three bedrooms that block out 99% of daylight for nice lie-ins…providing no-one’s playing a bugle in the next tent (yep, it has happened to us!)
- Size: 820 x 300 x 200cm
- Pack size: 78 x 58 x 41cm
- Weight: 26.5kg
- Sewn-in groundsheet – Yes, welded
The optional inflatable canopy is a good feature, but we like the simple shape and relatively low weight of this compact tent for couples or a small family.
- Size: 300 x 220 x max 195cm
- Pack size: 78 x 40 x 40cm
- Weight: 16.5kg
- Sewn-in groundsheet – Yes, separate for canopy area
Rebranded and slightly updated, the Dometic tents get a thumbs-up for their high-quality materials.
Dometic’s air tents have multipoint inflation. That does make it easier to get them up and down, but does take a bit of getting used to for the order of inflation. The Hayling is fabulously airy and has a nice integrated guying system.
- Size: 690 x 380
- Pack size: 80 x 44 x 44 cm
- Weight: 30.97 Kilograms
- Sewn-in groundsheet – Yes, separate for canopy
Spacious and airy with an inside sitting area and porch extension.
- Size: 605 x 310 x 205cm
- Pack size: 85 x 58 x 49cm
- Weight: 28kg
- Sewn-in groundsheet – Yes
There’s a smaller four-person option
Zempire’s tents are some of the most attractive around, although definitely not the cheapest. They’re full of nice touches like blackout bedrooms, storage pockets and zips that don’t jingle!
We’ve gone for the Evo for the smaller and the Aero for family-sized, although the smallest is still pretty spacious. While the Serolink airbeams keep pack size a little smaller, all air tents tend to be heavier and bulkier.
These tents were designed with summer in mind as they’ve got lots of ventilation and a nice airy feel. Pump with double action and gauge included.
- Size: 525 x 300 cm (head height tbc)
- Pack size: 75 x 45 x 45cm
- Weight: 22kg
- Sewn-in groundsheet – Yes
- Check latest price
Pop-up tents are mainly thought of as children’s, festival or two-person backpacking options. However, some manufacturers have taken them a little bigger.
Here are the best instant-pitch tents.
The clever Cinch Hub has an optional built-in solar panel, LED lights, great materials and can be set up in less than a minute…and now meet the new generation of Hub.
It takes around 60 seconds to get The Hub opped up and ready to peg. The best thing is that it’s the tallest pop-up tent around. You can actually stand inside (unless you’re over 190cm tall, that is).
It’s also roomy at 230cm x 230cm and weighs around 8kg.
We liked its simple shape and the versatility of four zipped sides. The new generation has larger canopies for better rain protection, silent(ish) zips, better fabric and an optional (£70) inner tent for sleeping.
The pack is a round bag, so a bit cumbersome at 86cm, but it’s virtually flat. Thank goodness that getting it back into its bag has been made easier with a colour coding system! Price can be found here. Need something more permanent shelter in your garden? Check out our guide to Hard Top Gazebos
Quechua has added three-person options to its range of pop-up tents.
These tents come in a circular pack and are held flat by Velcro and straps. You peg out a separate groundsheet and then release the fastenings on the tent package. The built-in poles ‘explode’ the tent into shape and you then fasten it down with pegs and guyropes.
Don’t try to get them back in the pack without having first watched the instruction video…you’ve been warned!
A bell tent? A tipi? Really?
A bell tent or tipi can be surprisingly easy to put up because there’s usually just one central pole. The rest of the work is in pegging and guying.
The advantage is the space and headroom. Lots of choice – from heavy, but durable canvas to lightweight polyester – and from less than £200 to thousands.
Some of the we’ve seen are by Robens – not least for the enormous range of shapes and sizes. Even the smallest tipi was roomy. They do some lightweight models with aluminium alloy poles, a whopping air yurt that sleeps eight (and weighs 30kg) and an Outback range of six teepee-style tents in heavier polycotton, sleeping from four to 10 people. Optional inners, porches and flooring.
We also like the Campfeuer range and have included some of theirs below.
Here are some of our favourite tipis, yurts and bell tents.
We love this black beauty of a tipi-tent. And it’s so spacious. It’s designed for up to 10 people, measures 5 x 5m x 3.5m . Check latest price.
It still packs fairly small – to 80 x 24 x 26cm and weighs around 14kg.
Way bigger than it looks, this is the Campfeuer teepee tent
It has a sewn-in groundsheet so isn’t quite as versatile as some of the others, but it packs to just 60 x 20cm and opens up to 365 x 365x 250cm. It also weighs under 7kg.
The one we tried needed a bit of tent sealant on the windows, but we didn’t mind doing that given the price.
This lovely little tipi comes ready for your woodburning stove (like the DWD chimney stove).
Compare the space you get in this, the ease of pitching and the price…you might just be steered away from an inflatable.
There’s a single steel pole, a sewn-in groundsheet and a separate sleeping pod included. Substantial size of 560 x 450 x 300cm, packs to 83 x 30cm and weighs just under 14kg.
Though we can’t vouch for its durability, we do love the TentHome’s versatility.
Use the inner or the outer on its own and prop up the big canopy for loads of space. Check latest price and gives you 310 x 360 x 240cm of space.
Aluminium poles, bug-mesh and lots of ventilation. Great.
Robens Cone and Field Tower
The smallest and cheapest in the Robens tipi range. The Green Cone is simple and weighs under 5.5kg. It sleeps four.
There’s a vast range of affordable and traditional bell tents from Cozy House, with choices of tents between 3m and 6m in diameter, awnings, floors and tarps.
They look lovely, of course, but the cotton canvas makes the larger sizes quite heavy. Having said that, it’s still possible to put one up solo in less than half-an-hour.
Some of the lightest and most affordable tipi-style tents are by 10T Outdoor Equipment.
Biggest of the lot, and a great blend of modern and traditional is the Navaho 470 teepee/tunnel hybrid tent. It's a very striking tent. 720 x 470 x 350 cm and weighs 22kg.
A choice of sizes in these traditional-meets-modern bell-tents. Canvas so a bit heavier than some, but they still promise that one person can pitch them easily (depends on that one person maybe!).
Cotton canvas is breathable, but will take longer to dry out. The zip-in groundsheet is heavy-duty PVC.
The 4m version weighs around 26kg. Check Latest Price.
One central pole to pitch and you have a 4m diameter tent with a 2.5m central headheight. Weighs under 10kg and sleeps eight. Check latest price.
There’s also a 10-person version available too.
They’re fantastic tents and now they’re available in the UK too. So quick to put up, Cabanon are also some of the best-made tents we’ve come across. No wonder they’re so well-loved.
Made of waterproof, breathable cotton canvas, with big front window, mosquito netting and a single pole. There’ll be seven models in the range soon.
This is a two-berth, easy-to-pitch pyramid tent. 2.2 x 2.6m and 2m high in the centre. Porch is 0.5m. Check latest price.