If I’m out in the countryside by myself, I’ll likely take a Bivvy Bag with me in my rucksack. It’s light, easy to use and does the job. If the wife is with me, I will take my 3-season, Hilleberg Anjan 2 GT Tent. It fits both of us easily and only weighs 4.63Ib, but it is somewhat slow put up, especially in the rain or the wind. There is a way around this, an instant tent, but what the best instant tent to take into the countryside this year or take camping over a long weekend?
The idea behind an instant tent is that it can be put up in less than a minute. This is not a scientific fact, but if you’re going to buy an instant tent, it’s because you want it to go up quickly, and less than a minute is quick.
Instant tents work by utilising a pre-attached frame that either extends or bends, allowing it to be folded up into a small bag quickly. Once opened and erected, an instant tent requires you to fasten to the ground, attach the rain-fly to protect you and it from the rain, and climb inside.
While there are quite a few different designs on the market, the best instant tents, allow you to erect your tent in less than a minute. This means, if it’s pouring down with rain, you can up and ready to sleep as quickly as possible.
Best Instant Tent
So what’s the best instant tent? Honestly, it’s a difficult decision as it depends on what you want to use it for. Generally, instant tents come in two forms, cabins and domes.
- Domes are better for hiking in the countryside as they’re smaller and lighter, but they generally can only sleep two people.
- Cabins are better for more generalised camping and allow you to make tents large enough to hold up to ten people, including camp beds, and everything you need to stay comfortable.
Quechua 3-man pop-up – (Ten second Pitch)
If I was going to buy an instant tent today, I would buy the Quechua 3-man pop-up tent. As the name suggests, it’s a pop-up tent meaning that you literally unfold it and it springs into position.
Folding it back into its carrying position takes seconds when you know-how; however, it requires a little practice and some know-how to make it fit back into the bag.
It real terms, the Decathlon owned Quechua has been making instant tents for a few years now and has refined both the process to fold and un-fold and the tent quality, which really shows through, especially when you consider the price. The three-man tent is big enough for three adults, although we only used it with two, comes with a thick roof which helps to keep it cool the summer, and the side-vents really help to boose ventilation through the tent, keeping away condensation.
Overall, if you’re looking for an instant tent, you really cannot go wrong with the Quechua.
Coleman Galiano 2-Person Fast Pitch
If you really want a two-person tent, I would avoid the Quechua two-person tent as its ridiculously small and go for the Coleman Galiano 2 FastPitch. This is a traditional instant tent, that much like the Quechua above, unfolds in literally two seconds and folds, once you have practices the technique, in literally three further seconds.
In real terms, it’s a Coleman, meaning that you’re buying a quality product that is likely to perform well from the outside. Coleman has been making tents for a long time and have refined the process. It’s also a light tent at 2.2kg, however, due to its shape, it folds into a disc shape, you’re probably not going to take it hiking in the countryside, but you could if you wanted.
To keep the weight down, it is made using a single skin set-up, and while this does a great job of keeping the weight down, it does mean its quite a light tent. Ventilation is good, and there is the added benefit that the whole roof section can be rolled back to give a view of the stars and keep you cool at night in the summer.
TETON Sports Quick Tent
Watch the video below, which is a fantastic demonstration of this tent and the reason why I love it so much. Literally, all you have to do is take this tent out of your bag, unfold it, extend three telescopic legs, attached it to the ground and add waterproof rain-fly onto, and you’re ready to go.
This whole process takes a minute. If you don’t believe me, watch the video.
The Teton Sports Pop-up Tent comes in two forms, a one-person tent weighing a 4.6 pounds, and a two-person tent, weighing almost 6 pounds. Both models have been designed for lightweight camping and are both easy to put up and use.
Two points, they’re not very long tents. I’m about six foot, and I’m almost as long as the tent will take. If you’re taller than this, it’s probably not the tent for you. Secondly, they are designed to be used in the summer months or using a cot system. As such they don’t have a strong, tarp base, its literally a lightweight plastic sheet which you can easily sleep on, or connect to a cot, for a more comfortable sleep.
Coleman 4 Person Instant Tent (Best 4, 6, 8 Person Tent)
If you need a slightly bigger tent, either because you want to hold more people or because you’re on a camping holding and as such have bought your camping beds for a better night’s sleep, then the Coleman 4-Person Instant Tent is a great option.
Coleman is well known in the camping arena and make a range of tents and camping equipment. What’s great about buying a Coleman, is that you know you’re buying quality, that has been tried and tested over the years. It will work correctly as you’d expect but also last you a long time if you treat it correctly.
All Coleman Instant Tents come with double-thick Polyguard 2X fabric to help it stand up to everything that you can throw at it season after season, Weather-Tec system’s welded corners and inverted seams which help to keep water from getting in and as standard on all models apart from the 10-person instant tent, an Integrated rainfly that offers extra weather protection and improves airflow. In the terms of size and weight, the range comes as follows
- 4-Person Instant Tent – Dimensions are 8 x 7 ft., while the center Height is 4 ft. 11 in
- 6-Person Instant Tent – Dimensions are 10 x 9 ft., while the centre Height is 6 ft.
- 8 Person Instant Tent – Dimensions are 14 x 8 ft., while the centre height is 6 ft. 4 in
Pitching is easy. It’s a Coleman after all, so you know that it’s been refined and tested over the years. You know it’s going to work well and be easy to use, and in all honestly, they all work fantastically well. The video shows how the erection process works in detail, however effectively all you need to do is extend the middle, followed by the outside legs and secure to the ground. Like all the instant tents we have recommended in this group, it works really well and can be put up in less than a minute.