Camping is fun, but having to spend a sizable amount of time putting up your tent each evening and packing it away in the morning can really spoil things. But pop-up tents can save you loads of time. They can be put up in next to no time, require little experience, and are super easy to pack away.
However, there are loads of options on the market, and it can be hard to choose the right one. To help you out, I've put together a list of my favourite models.
How I Made My Selections
I've been camping around Australia for years, and I've had the chance to use a number of pop-up tents during my travels. I've used this knowledge combined with extensive research to bring you this list of the top 10 choices for camping in Australia.
If you're looking for a solid all-around pop-up tent for your next camping trip, the Explore Planet Earth Speedy Black Hole is worth considering. I've used loads of pop-up tents in my time, but none stand out in my memory like this one.
It's super easy to put up and take down, it has enough space to sleep three people comfortably. There's also a neat three-year manufacturer's warranty that you can use to get repairs or replacements if your tent breaks.
Other features include no-see-um mesh, fully taped seams for extra rain protection, and a clever airflow system for extra ventilation. There's even an interior lighting system with LED rope lights to provide a built-in light source.
Some users suggest that it can be a little noisy and unsteady in bad weather, but I've never experienced this myself. And after all, pop-up tents aren't usually designed to be used in excessive wind or rain.
Ultimately, I'd recommend the Explore Planet Earth Speedy Black Hole range for anyone who needs a durable pop-up tent.
The OZtrail Pop Up Pod Tent isn't anything super special, but it remains one of the best budget options I've seen. Its low price makes it an affordable choice for weekend getaways, occasional nights camping, or even for the kids to put up in the backyard.
With its instant-up design, setup is as simple as taking it out of the bag and giving it a flick. There's a large central door for easy access, three separate rain covers that can be opened or closed according to the weather, and large mesh vents for ventilation.
There's also a 12-month manufacturer's warranty which, while not as long as the warranty offered by some companies, does provide a decent level of protection.
The main downside is that it's quite small for a two-person tent, but there is a three-person model available if you want a bit more space.
Don't expect super high-quality materials or anything too fancy with the OZtrail Pop Up Pod tent, but it's a solid option for anyone on a tight budget.
The Coleman 2-Person Swagger Instant Up Tent features tough fabric and durable fibreglass frame poles that are designed for Australian conditions. It's a unique mix of a traditional swag and a modern pop-up tent, and it has enough space for a queen-size camp mattress.
On top of this, the Swagger comes with a built-in awning that you can erect for extra wind and rain protection. There's an extra roof pole for added stability, and the meshed windows are designed for constant ventilation.
The main downsides of this model are that it's a little bulky and has limited headroom when erected. But in my opinion, it's one of the best options available for camping in Australia's tough conditions.
The Coleman Instant Up 6P Gold Series is the best large pop-up tent I've seen. It has plenty of sleeping room for up to six people, and there's ample space for storage. On top of this, it can be set up in just two minutes, although some users report that the pack down process can be a little complicated.
It also has an excellent waterproof rating thanks to its tough fabric design. The PVC floor is designed to keep you dry and comfortable, and the inbuilt mesh screens provide plenty of ventilation through the doors and windows.
If you're looking for a pop-up shelter to take your family out camping, the Coleman Instant Up 6P Gold Series stands out as an attractive option.
This pop-up tent from TPS Power Sports is compact and lightweight, making it a perfect option for backpacking. It comes in at just 3.15kg, and it has enough internal space to sleep up to four people. On top of this, it has double-sided zippers for easy access and high-density mesh panels for insect protection.
Some users have reported that this isn't the most durable pop-up tent on the market, and it doesn't perform great in bad weather. But still, it's an affordable, lightweight option for backpacking.
This rooftop tent is expensive, but it's an attractive option if you're looking for a popup model with enough internal storage for a mattress and your bedding. Handy features include built-in gas struts for rapid setup, heavy-duty mesh panels for bug protection, and a fully insulated floor and roof.
It's worth noting that, since it has to be mounted on a roof rack, this rooftop tent is only a viable option if you're planning to always camp with your vehicle.
The OZtrail Pop Up Beach Shelter is a simple yet effective option if you're looking for a pop-up beach tent. I've used it a couple of times, and I was impressed by how easy it is to put up.
The built-in sand pockets enable you to anchor it without the need for tent pegs, and the heavy-duty floor provides decent protection from the ground. It's made from UPF50+ UV-resistant fabric for extra sun protection.
This product does lack a little durability and it offers poor wind and rain protection, but it's an excellent option to help you stay out of the sun in Australia's extreme weather.
If you've ever travelled with a pet, you will know that it can be difficult at the best of times. Incorporating a pop-up pet tent like the NTK Pet Genius tent can make your life much easier.
For starters, these tents are designed for cats and dogs. The front mesh panel enables them to see outside and keep an eye on what's going on, while the removable UV rain cover provides protection from the elements.
The tent fabric is a little thin and it will blow around in strong winds, but I recommend this as hands-down the best pet-specific pop-up shelter I've seen.
If you're looking for a versatile shelter for your next adventure, the Outdoor Connection Easy Up 3 Person tent is worth a mention. Extra features include an extra roof pole for more stability in bad weather, built-in ventilation ports, and insect-proof no-see-um mesh doors and windows. It also has a great waterproof rating, space for up to three people, and an included carry bag.
On the downside, it's a little expensive. The base is also quite thin, and I'd recommend using a groundsheet in cold and wet conditions.
Overall, though, this tent from Outdoor Connection is definitely worth considering.
If you're looking for a simple tent for kids, this model from Pavillo stands out as an excellent choice. It's the perfect size for two or three children, and I'd suggest it if you're looking for something to use for the occasional sleepover or weekend away.
The simple, no-frills design does include a few tidy features, such as internal storage pockets, waterproof coated polyester fabric, and numerous mesh openings for ample ventilation. It's also super affordable and can be set up in just 3 minutes.
If you can look past its small size and low ceiling, the Pavillo Cool Mount pop-up tent presents as an attractive budget option.
Pop Up Tent Buying Guide
There are numerous things to think about when you're buying a new pop-up tent. To help you choose the perfect model for your next camping adventure, I've put together a short list of essential things to think about while you're shopping.
Before you even begin looking for a pop-up tent, you need to decide how much you can afford to spend. Prices range from under $100 for budget-friendly models to $1000 and more for high-end tents with numerous built-in features.
It's crucial to make sure that you buy a tent for camping that's big enough for your needs. Make sure that it can sleep enough people, and pay attention to whether or not it has enough storage space. For example, some three-person pop-up tents have plenty of space to sleep three people and store their gear, while some are a squish.
Setup and Pack Down Time
The idea behind pop-up tents is that they are easy to put up and take down. However, they aren't all equal. Some can be put up in moments but take some time to pack away, while others have very quick setup and pack down times.
Internal ventilation is important to ensure your tent doesn't become stuffy, so condensation doesn't build up. Look for a tent that has ample ventilation ports, mesh windows, and additional mesh vents to ensure the best airflow possible.
Not all tents are made with the same quality materials. If you're looking for an instant tent that you can use regularly, it's important to get one that's made to last. Look for something that's made with heavy-duty materials, ripstop fabric, and a thick, waterproof floor.
Suitability for the Weather Conditions
If you're planning to camp in nice weather in the middle of the summer holidays, you probably won't need to worry too much about this. However, you will need a durable, robust tent that's stable in high winds if you want to use it in winter or in extreme weather.
Weight and Portability
One of the main downsides of most pop-up tents is their weight and packed size. If you're planning to camp out of your car and have plenty of space, this shouldn't matter too much. However, it's something to think carefully about if you need a lightweight tent for backpacking or hiking.
Pop-up tents can range from less than $100 for a simple model to thousands of dollars for something from an industry-leading manufacturer. For example, my top pick, the Explore Planet Earth Speedy Black Hole, comes in at $239.99. My budget option costs just $109.95, while the most expensive product on this list comes in at $2495.
Yes, pop up tents are worth it. They are super convenient, fairly priced, and can save you loads of time setting up and packing down your camp. I use them all the time, and there are loads of options on the market for various uses.
When you're buying a pop-up tent, I'd suggest paying careful attention to the quality of its design, how much space is available, and how easy it is to set up and pack down. A good tent shouldn't take more than a few minutes to set up, should have plenty of space, and should have adequate ventilation and waterproofing.
A good pop-up tent will last you for years if you take good care of it. I was given my first pop-up when I was a child almost 20 years ago, and it's still sitting in the back of my camping cupboard.
Yes, most pop-up tents are waterproof. Check their water rating when you're purchasing, but you shouldn't have any issues using the majority of pop-up models in rainy or wet conditions.
Yes, pop-up tents are easy to use. They are designed to save you time setting up and packing down your camp, and they usually require little thought.
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.