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Quick Pitch Tents and Instant Tent Guide 2021 – Which tents are the fastest?

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? 

10T Outdoor Equipment’s cool-looking tipi hybrid. A central pole makes it easier to pitch.

The best Vango tent for four is the 2020-model Stargrove at around £550 (in our opinion!).

Latest update: October 2020

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.

Speed and

Coleman Instant tents

Some of our favourite quick-erect tents these days are the Coleman Instants.

Coleman instant tent

The Coleman Instant Tent Tourer 4 has dark bedrooms and plenty of living space. Around £140.

The Instant Tourer Domes sleep three or five. Less headroom but still spacious. From £80.

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 people – from £100.

These magic hinges make it easy to pop the poles into place.

Fast and

Qeedo Quick Up

German company Qeedo make a range of five Quick Up system tents. These are very affordable.

The Pine sleeps three (porch, £70); the Maple sleeps four (£140), the Ash sleeps two (£70), and the Oak (with porch, £120) sleeps three.

Here are the Pine and the Maple – available in a choice of colours. Set up in under 30 seconds too.

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 is the five-person Villa for around £250. The three-person Villa is around £125. Bargain, eh?

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 for around £70.

 

Great for

Hewolf instant tents

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 5kg and gives head height inside of around 5′. Best bit? It’s under £95.

 

Best for

New Hewolf instant 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. This one costs around £90.

200 x 180 x130cm (H),packs to 75 x 18 x 17cm and weighs just under 3kg.

A option

A Clas Ohlson tent? Well, it’s only £90

The Asaklitt tent is very fast to put up, if not all that sturdy. But it will sleep four at a pinch and weighs only 6.6kg. 240 x 210 x 160cm (H).

 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.

Justcamp teepees

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 and costs around £160.

It still packs fairly small – to 80 x 24 x 26cm and weighs around 14kg.

Campfeuer Teepee

Way bigger than it looks, this Campfeuer teepee tent costs under £130, but £25 delivery. 

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.

Campfeuer tipi with porch

Compare the space you get in this, the ease of pitching and the £150 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.

A tipi designed for stoves

This lovely little tipi comes ready for your woodburning stove (like the DWD chimney stove).

The OneTigris Iron weighs under 1.5kg, has a 165cm central pole, a separate porch and you can use the inner on its own. Around £150. There’s a superlight version too for around £110.

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. The Field Tower sleep five and eight. We like the zip-in groundsheets. Sewn-in ones add to the weight and lack versatility. £290 to £520. 

There’s a pretty good range of new Robens tents at Outdoor Gear GB too, including the really nice £300 Field Base (£70 cheaper there than on Amazon, but things change so do check!).

TentHome versatile tipi

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. It costs only £170 and gives you 310 x 360 x 240cm of space.

Aluminium poles, bug-mesh and lots of ventilation. Great.

10T Outdoor tipis

Some of the lightest and most affordable tipi-style tents are by 10T Outdoor Equipment.

The Desert tipi is a canvas version with a huge canopy extension. It’s 250cm high at the apex and 400cm diameter. Plus there’s the extra outdoor shelter. Around £350 and weighs 20kg.

Biggest of the lot, and a great blend of modern and traditional is the Navaho 470 teepee/tunnel hybrid tent. A lot of tent for £380 and very striking. 720 x 470 x 350 cm and weighs 22kg.

Cozy House bell-tents

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.

Prices range from around £270 to £550.

Quest Bell-Tents

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. From £420.

Grand Canyon Indiana

One central pole to pitch and you have a 4m diameter tent with a 2.5m central headheight. Weighs under 10kg and sleeps eight. Around £250.

There’s also a 10-person version for around £320.

Inflatable yurt from Robens

How about an Aeroyurt? An inflatable yurt from Robens with roll-up sides for air and a view. Stunning and so spacious. Around £1300.

 

Exciting! You can now get Cabanon tents from Olpro

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.

The Cabanon Guadeloupe

A three-berth pyramid tent that’s 3.05 x 3.8m (plus 1m porch). 2.3m high (max). Around £800.
 

The Cabanon Noumea

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. Around £600.

Inflatable tents

The main difference – apart from overall tent quality – between the inflatable systems used by manufacturers is whether the air ‘beams’ are separate or connected.

 

Vango, for example, uses three or more separate beams that you inflate independently of each other. In fact, that’s true of most of the bigger family tents. Some, however, have connected tubes with isolation valves – Outwell, for example.

Nothing looks quite like a Heimplanet tent. Show off your inflatables! Around £900 and sleeps four to six.

While the Outwell people believe this makes everything faster and easier, the Vango people are convinced separate beams are better because, should there be a problem with a valve or air tube, you only need replace the one section. Outwell counter with the fact that their tubes have isolation valves so that if one fails, the whole tent won’t collapse.

Will it get punctured?

For us, any talk of things going wrong with valves, punctures or leaks is a bit scary. Snap a regular pole while camping in the wilds of Portugal and you can always rig something to keep your tent upright. We weren’t sure how quick and easy it would be to find a leakage problem and fix it on-site, let alone get a replacement part.

This really comes down to confidence in the tent manufacturer, so we would certainly advise against buying an unusually cheap inflatable. And, if the materials or design seem a little low on quality, we would definitely not take the risk that their inflatable system would be trouble-free.

How do they work?

You lay the tent out in position, peg it loosely and inflate the air beams using the two-way pump (supplied by most manufacturers). The beams fill with air and the tent rises magically. You then shut off the valves. To unpitch, you open the valve and the air races out under pressure, though there may still be a bit of squeezing out to do to get a tight pack. 

Inflatable tents do tend to be a bit heavier than those with poles and the bags can be quite big – in fact, some of the larger family tents come with wheeled bags.

The best air tents

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 and Quechua inflatable tents

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 choices

Quechua Air Fresh and Black

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
  • £250

Quechua for eight

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
  • £700

Decathlon Air Seconds 4.2XL

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
  • £300

Outwell’s air tent range

There are 23 inflatable tents to choose from and they range in price from around £600 to a whopping £2,500. Some combine inflatable with steel poles and some with fibreglass.

Our choices

Both our choices have dark bedrooms, quiet closures as well as zips on the inner doors, sewn-in groundsheets and tinted windows.

Lindale 3pa

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
  • £500

Avondale 5pa

Roomy and bright, this tunnel tent sleeps five comfortably with two separate bedrooms inside and an extended living area and porch.

  • Size: 625 (inc. canopy) x 330 x max. 210cm
  • Pack size: 90 x 40 x 40cm
  • Weight: 22kg
  • Sewn-in groundsheet – Yes
  • Around £620

Vango Airbeam tents

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.

Our choices

Vango Stargrove

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
  • Around £550

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.

 

Zempire tents

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!

Our choices

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.

Evo TM

  • Size: 525 x 300 cm (head height tbc)
  • Pack size: 75 x 45 x 45cm
  • Weight: 22kg
  • Sewn-in groundsheet – Yes
  • Around £700

Aero TL Lite

  • Size: 690 x 355 x (max) 225cm
  • Pack size: 74 x 44 x 44cm
  • Weight: 24kg
  • Sewn-in groundsheet – Yes
  • Around £700

Coleman Air tents

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.

Our choices

Valdes Air 4

The extra-large bedrooms mean you can fit big comfy mattresses or campbeds in there. Plus a good canopy, big window and a side entrance with a low threshold.

  • Size: 610 x 300 x max 200cm
  • Pack size: 78 x 58 x 38cm
  • Weight: 20.8kg
  • Sewn-in groundsheet – Yes
  • Around £460

Valdes Air 6

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
  • Around £750

The Octagon

While we have our reservations about the Valdes, we absolutely love the affordable Coleman Octagon.

 

It’s a poled tent rather than inflatable, but the gazebo-like structure makes it versatile and airy.

There’s now a new blackout version too, though this is more expensive.

Dometic air tents (was Kampa)

Rebranded and slightly updated, the Dometic tents get a thumbs-up for their high-quality materials.

Our choices

Brean 4

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
  • Around £800

Hayling 4 and Hayling 6

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. 

Berghaus air tents

A relatively affordable choice of tents that come with some nice touches – like hook-up points on both sides of their AirXL and darkened bedrooms in the Nightfall range.

Our choices

Air4XL

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
  • Around £650
There’s a smaller four-person option for under £400 too.

Nightfall 6

More a mini city than a tent, but fantastic for long trips and big families. Dark bedrooms, loads of space and a rather fetching dove grey!

 Pop-up tents

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.

Decathlon pop-up tents

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!

Quechua 3-person pop-up with blackout lining. £80.

Coleman pop-up tents

 Coleman has added a four-person pop-up to its Galiano options. They cost around £80. We love the ability to open up the top for stargazing.

Cinch pop-up 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.

What’s your fast-tent tent pick? Or are you a pole person?

We’re updating this article every so often. The links will take you through to options and prices, but apologies if these change. If you’ve got a tent recommendation, do leave a comment below.

If it’s an awning you’re after, we’ve got some recommendations in our feature on lightweight, driveaway awnings.

And have a look at our choice of multipurpose camping shelters for extra space, rain/sun protection or an outside kitchen/dining room.

Instant event shelter

Finally…if basic camping is more your style, here are some good ideas for bivvying, including sleeping comfortably in the trees!

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