“Gee, I wish this tent was harder to pitch!” – no one, ever.
Whether you’re a total newbie or a veteran camper, chances are that the promise of an easier camping tent to set up sounds appealing.
If you need something to get set up quickly on family trips when you’ve got your hands full with the kids or if you want a backpacking tent that can be up in seconds after a long trek, we’ve got you covered.
We’ve reviewed a range of the six easiest tents to set up by yourself, so read on to find out which tent is right for you!
Capacity: 1 | Weight: 4.6lbs | Dimensions: 80″ x 37″ x 34″ | Bag Dimensions: 27″ x 7″ x 7″ | Doors: 1 | Price: $$ | Setup Time: <60 seconds
- Quickest non-pop-up tent
- Suitable for different types of camping trips
- Mesh roof for great views
- Not ultralight
- Tall campers might want something bigger
The TETON model is our pick for the easiest tent to set up by yourself for backpacking.
This is one of the easiest camping tents to set up we’ve seen, which is remarkable from a lightweight backpacking model that doesn’t cost the world. You just unfold the tent, lock the poles in place and pull the tent up into place.
Your tent will be set up in seconds. Anyone who has spent a long day hiking will know the sinking feeling you sometimes get when you realise you still need to set up your tent. With the TETON, in less than 60 seconds you can relax knowing your tent is set up.
Breaking the tent down is also very easy and the tent can be back in the carry bag in less than 2 minutes.
The rainfly that comes with the tent has a hydrostatic rating of 1200mm, which means it is considered waterproof rather than just water resistant.
However, there is also an elite rainfly that can be purchased for the tent which provides even more protection and can reach the ground if you use this tent on a cot.
Which brings us to another great feature of this tent – you can buy the TETON cot to go with it, raising your tent off the ground. This is great for keeping the tent warm and dry but also means that you have storage under the tent, adding to the gear loft.
It can also be easier to get in and out of the tent once it’s raised rather for people with mobility issues.
Without the cot, the TETON is fairly lightweight and sets up in seconds making it a great tent for backpacking. With the cot, the tent is also comfortable enough to be used for car camping.
The final thing we loved about this tent was the mostly mesh interior which means on dry nights you can leave the rainfly off and stare up at the stars from your tent.
It is not an ultra-lightweight tent, so there will be lighter options available but unless weight is a priority for you, the TETON will be fine. Tall people may also find the tent a tad small, but for most campers, it should be fine.
Capacity: 9 | Weight: 30.5lbs | Dimensions: 14’ x 9’ x 6.5′ | Bag Dimensions: 28” x 11.5” x 11.5” | Doors: 2 | Price: $$ | Setup Time: 60 seconds
- Removeable room divider
- Mesh ceiling for great views
- Lots of space
- Can get chilly in cold weather
Whether you’re planning a trip with a group of friends or you’ve been bold enough to volunteer to take kids camping by yourself, don’t panic. The CORE 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent offers plenty of room for your trip making it the easiest tent to set up for group trips.
Setting up a tent this size might look like a challenge, especially compared to the pop-up models – but it’s actually quite easy.
With the telescope poles attached to the fabric, it’s just a case of unfolding the tent and then extending the poles. The poles can easily be done one at a time so it can be set up by a person on their own.
Like the TETON Quick Tent, the CORE comes with a mesh ceiling which, with the rainfly off, gives breathtaking views of the night’s sky from inside your tent. Combined with the T-shaped door at the front, this tent feels roomy and spacious.
There are handy storage pockets in the tent as well for keeping valuables safe.
A downside to this tent is the lack of sleeping areas it has. This could mean with the kids sleeping in the room, you might get relegated to sleeping in the living area. But the curtains can be toggled to cover the windows, giving you some privacy.
Instant cabin tents are not designed for all-weather camping so be aware that this CORE model is intended for fair weather conditions in the summer. In strong winds, the cabin shape of the tent will catch.
Capacity: 3 | Weight: 7.23lbs | Dimensions: 240cm x 230cm x 105cm | Bag Dimensions: 66cm x 8cm | Doors: 1 | Price: $ | Setup Time: <60 seconds
- Oversized carry bag for easy storage
- Comes with a vestibule
- Fiberglass poles
The 3-person Dart model from Vango would be a great choice for young couples looking for a quick setup and sturdy shelter for sleeping in, but not living in – for example, it’s great for taking to festivals.
This easy pop up tent comes with some big features, like the built in vestibule at the front. This is great for storing your gear. Or you can use the space to take off dirty shoes and clothes before getting in the tent.
Inside the tent there is a hook for a lantern on the ceiling and inner storage pockets as you would expect to find. The sleeping area is protected by Vango’s blackout technology which keeps the inside of the tent dark even in the sunlight.
There is also a sewn-in groundsheet which prevents water and bugs from getting into the tent. This is a rare feature in pop up camping tents, and something that really impressed us with the Vango Dart.
Vango tents are designed to withstand rainy weather conditions. The fabric on the Dart has been treated to the same high standards giving it a hydrostatic rating of 3000mm.
The carry bag that comes with the tent is slightly oversized to make packing the tent away even easier. This makes the Dart not only one of the easiest tents on the market to set up, but to put away as well.
This can be a God-send at the end of a long weekend at a festival. No one wants to fight to get their tent back into their bag in the morning after.
The tent does come with fibreglass poles which are more likely to shatter and splinter, damaging the fabric of the tent. Vango do not cover pole breakages or damage from pole breakages under their warranty so if this does happen, you might be left without a tent.
Overall, the Vango is superb value for money and is the easiest tent to set up for small camping trips, like festivals and weekend adventures.
Capacity: 9 | Weight: 26.5lbs | Dimensions: 16’ x 11’ x 6’6’’ | Bag Dimensions: 28″ x 11.5″ x 11.2” | Doors: 1 | Price: $$ | Setup Time: >20 minutes
- Screen room
- Mesh ceiling for ventilation
- Struggles in windy conditions
- Longer setup time
This tent isn’t an instant tent, but it’s still one of the easiest tents to set up.
The real value of this tent is found in the screen room. Separated from the main area of the tent, the screen room could be used as an extra sleeping area if needed but it is also a fantastic living space.
There’s enough room for a couple of camping chairs and a table if you want to sit in your porch to eat, safely protected from bugs by the mesh windows. This tent also comes with a mesh ceiling, although it is less impressive than the CORE model.
The roof of the screen room isn’t very tall, so you probably won’t be able to stand comfortably in there – but the sleeping area is definitely tall enough for most people to stand in.
It’s a shame the tent doesn’t come with an additional guy rope in the middle to secure the tent in windy conditions. The tent can flap in the wind but for the most part will stay secure.
With the rain fly, the tent can sometimes get hot inside but the excellent ventilation system in the Wenzel helps to keep it cool most of the time.
This would be a good tent for couples who want a bit of space when they’re camping to sprawl out and relax. Whilst it is not the easiest tent to set up, it is still very easy and worth the added effort for the reward of that screen room.
Capacity: 2 | Weight: 7.5lbs | Dimensions: 84″ x 60″ x 48″ | Bag Dimensions: 6″ x 6″ x 24″ | Doors: 1 | Price: $ | Setup Time: 5 minutes
- Incredible value
- Excellent ventilation
- Simple design
- Small rain fly
The Coleman Sundome might not be the quickest tent to pitch on the market but it is very easy and can be done by one person in about 5 minutes. Veteran campers might be able to do it even quicker.
Two simple, identical poles are painlessly assembled and the tip is eased into the ring to attach the poles to the tent. Then the pole clips attached to the fabric hook onto the pole, lifting the fabric and giving the tent shape.
Taking it back down and getting it in the carry bag again is just as easy.
Thanks to its low price, the Coleman Sundome Tent is a popular beginner’s tent. But the tent is budget in price only. Coleman have been manufacturing outdoor equipment for over a century and their experience shines through in this model.
Whilst the zippers snag occasionally and the poles are made from fiberglass, these are minor cost-saving measures that overall didn’t ruin the experience of the Sundome for us.
The rain fly only covers the top section of the tent, protecting the exposed mesh openings. It is not designed for use in heavy showers and might even let some water seep in during light showers.
Whilst the Coleman might struggle in bad weather, the ventilation in the tent makes it a good choice for hot summer nights, as it allows air to move through the tent.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive, easy tent to let you get out and enjoy the great outdoors, banking on the Coleman Sundown is a good place to start. It’s not the perfect tent and I’d hesitate to recommend it for avid campers but it’s a great introduction to camping!
This model comes in a range of sizes, although we have only reviewed the 2-Person tent it appears that the quality across all sizes is consistent. If you like the sound of this Coleman but want a little more space, then consider getting the 3-person Sundome tent instead. If you’re looking for more information, you can read our Coleman Sundome 2-Person Tent Review.
Capacity: 5 | Weight: 17.6kg | Dimensions: 320cm x 490cm x 210cm | Bag Dimensions: 70cm x 36cm x 35cm | Doors: 1 | Price: $$$ | Setup Time: <5 minutes
- Very durable
- The sleeping pod can be divided
- Roomy living area
- Might be a lot of effort to pump up for some campers
The Vango Airbeam Odyssey is a great option for family camping. There’s a spacious living area in the front and a sleeping pod that can be separated by a removable divider.
This tent is still far easier to set up than a regular tent would be but is harder work than the other instant tents listed here. It takes two adults between 3-5 minutes of pumping to fully inflate the tent.
What impresses us most about this 3-season tent is the durability it offers, which is rare in instant tents. This model comes with Vango’s Tension Band System – a strap that can be tightened to improve the integrity of the tent in high winds.
So if you’re looking for an instant tent that you can use all year, this is a fantastic choice.
This model is pricey but with features like the Tension Band System and the dark bedrooms, the tent is certainly still value for money. Given how durable the model is as well, you can expect to get a lot of use out of the tent.
What quick pitch technology is easiest?
There are different kinds of quick pitch technology designed to make set up easy.
Instant tents come with the poles attached to the fabric for a quick setup. A pop-up tent comes in a disc-shaped bag and pops out into shape. Airbeam tents use inflatable poles to support the structure.
These styles of camping tents will not be appropriate for every camping trip and often it comes down to personal preference as to which is the easiest tent to set up.
Pop-up tents, for example, are very easy to pitch as they just pop out and need to be staked down. But some people find the difficulty of fitting pop-up tents back into their carry bag makes them overall more difficult than instant tents.
What styles of tent are easiest/hardest to put up?
If you asked someone to draw you a tent, chances are they’re going to scribble down something that resembles an A-frame design or a ridge tent.
These tents often consist of thick canvas over a horizontal pole that is supported by two vertical poles at each end. Their stability comes from well-placed guylines. These tents are not easy to set up alone and require skill to pitch well.
Dome tents are the most common type, with flexible poles anchored into the corners of the dome. These models are often fairly intuitive to set up and often smaller models will be easily set up by one person.
Tunnel tents are great for larger groups but can be more difficult to pitch alone, especially in wind due to the structure’s shape.
Teepee tents and bell tents are easier than expected to pitch thanks to their central pole which supports the shelter. Stake the tent into the ground, then lift the central pole before pegging down the guy ropes to secure the structure in place.
Instant cabin tents are some of the easiest tents on the market to pitch by yourself as they can be up in seconds. Regular cabin tents however are a bit more tricky and might be complicated for pitching by yourself due to their height.
There’s no hard rule that certain styles of tent will be easier or harder to pitch than another because there is so much variance within each style.
However, dome tents are generally the easiest style to set up alone whilst ridge, tunnel, and cabin tents can all be more difficult for solo set up.
What is the best instant tent to buy?
We like a range of instant tents including the CORE 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent and the Ozark Trail 16’ x 16’ 12-Person Instant Cabin Tent.
But the best instant tent for solo set up we recommend is the CORE. Other models like the Ozark Trail are certainly easy to set up, but only if you have more than one pair of hands ready to pitch in.
How can I make the setup easier?
The most important thing you can do to ensure an easy set up is practising at home before you head out on your trip. It doesn’t matter what tent you have, making sure you know how to set it up and break it down before you get to your campsite is going to make things a lot easier.
This is important for making sure that the tent doesn’t have any tears or holes in it which can sometimes happen with new tents. Manufacturers will often be more than happy to replace broken items but make sure you leave plenty of time between testing your tent and leaving for your trip in case you have to send the tent for repair or replacement.
You can also help yourself by keeping the instructions! Some tents thankfully come with the instructions attached to the carry bag like the Coleman Sundome but not all do so be careful not to lose them – especially if you don’t regularly go camping and pitch your tent.
If you think there’s a chance you could be setting up your tent in the rain, bring a lightweight tarp to set up above where you plan to pitch your tent. This will let you pitch your tent in relatively dry conditions. This can be a big help in not only keeping the tent dry but your spirits up.
If you’re facing strong winds when pitching your tent, try to place your tent so the lowest and narrowest parts of the tent are facing into the wind and pitch at an angle to the wind. This allows the force of the wind to be spread more evenly across the tent.
Finally, leave yourself plenty of time to set your tent up whenever possible. The last thing you want to do is try to set up a new tent in the dark. Make sure you start your journey to your campsite early enough to allow for any diversions on the way.
How hard is it to set up a tent?
Each tent is different, but modern tents are far more convenient to pitch than they ever have been. Quick pitch technologies mean that set up has been optimized to allow for set up in seconds.
The other major revelation has been the influence of the internet. Now if you’re struggling to pitch your tent, you can search and find videos walking you through the process or guidance from manufacturers.
It still depends heavily on the tent and some tents, such as ones with canvas fabric, are harder to pitch than others. But no matter what tent you buy, there will likely be some advice on how best to set up and break down your tent.
How We Decided
Ease of set up
The most important criteria in our reviews was how easy the tent could be set up and broken down. To score well here we were looking for tents that had an intuitive design without complexity and took as little time as possible, to allow you to enjoy more time relaxing on your trip.
The easiest solo backpacking tent we reviewed was the TETON Sports Vista which can be set up in less than a minute and broken down and back in the pack in less than two minutes.
This can be a great help for those trips where things don’t quite go right – maybe the weather conditions turn against you and you get soaked. Once you get to the campsite your tent can be up in a matter of seconds, letting you get dried off and changed.
Breaking the tent down again is just as easy and the tent comfortably fits in the carry bag, so you don’t have to worry about fighting to put the tent away in the morning.
The Vango Dart is also very easy to set up. As a tent that pops up, all you have to do is take it out of the bag and let the tent pop open, then stake it down. It really doesn’t get easier than this. And with the oversized carry bag, putting the tent away again is trouble-free.
The other offering from Vango we reviewed, the Odyssey, was harder than the Dart and the TETON models to set up but thanks to the airbeam technology, it was still impressively easy. Although, due to its size the setup may be more difficult in strong winds.
Whilst the tent would be easier to set up with help, it should be doable for confident campers who are looking for something a little different.
The CORE 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent comes with pre-attached telescopic poles which means that setting up the tent is hassle-free. You don’t need to struggle with getting poles into sleeves – just unfold the tent and extend the poles.
You don’t need to worry about setting up the CORE because of its height. Although it stands 6’ 6” at the peak, the expanding poles mean you don’t have to struggle to reach over the tent. However, it might be a struggle to get the rainfly on by yourself if you are short.
Whilst the Wenzel Klondike Tent wasn’t the best of the tents we reviewed for ease of setup, for a regular tent it is still doable for one person. However, if you don’t have experience camping before and setting up tents, make sure to practice setting up and breaking down the Klondike before you take it out for a trip.
The Coleman, unfortunately, does not come with instant technology that makes set up a breeze, but it’s still pretty easy. Any newbies don’t need to be put off pitching this tent, it is just as easy as the other models.
Our favorite tents for an easy set up were the TETON, CORE, and the Vango Dart.
A lot of people looking for an easy tent to set up might be new to camping. For these people, making sure the tent is not only easy to set up but durable enough that you don’t have to be overly delicate to avoid damaging the tent will be essential.
Vango tents often come with high-quality protection to prevent the wind and rain from ruining your trip. The Dart and the Odyssey both meet the high standards we expect from Vango’s highly water-resistant 3-season tents.
They both have a hydrostatic rating of 3000mm, being designed as a 3-season tent in the UK.
The Odyssey also comes with Vango’s Tension Band System technology to provide added stability in windy conditions. Vango’s air poles are tested to higher pressure ratings than is achievable using the hand pump with the tent so you don’t need to worry about over inflating them.
The Wenzel Klondike has been designed to provide as much stability as possible in moderate winds. The dome shape improves how aerodynamic the tent is and features like the zipper allowing the rear vent to be closed and not flap in the wind are a great bonus.
I just got the Wenzel last week. Spent a night in the backyard during a stormy night, no leaks, and the tent held up great. The floor does need a good seam seal, but it’s not a big deal, in my opinion, just a little damp on the edges where the stake loops are sewed in. The screened-in area is really nice, and pretty much why I got this tent. The quality seems pretty good from what I can tell, but I am just getting into this. I will be taking it out camping two nights this weekend.
You might check out the Coleman Weathermaster. It’s similar to the Wenzel, but in the end, I chose the Wenzel.
Although it’s not the most waterproof option available, it appears that the Wenzel Klondike is water-resistant enough to protect you in showers but it might struggle in stormy weather.
Sometimes pop-up tents like the Dart can be vulnerable to tearing when being packed away. With the Dart’s oversized carry bag, you don’t have to struggle to squeeze the tent away again.
A potential issue with the Dart is the fiberglass poles that come with the tent which are more likely to shatter and splinter damaging the fabric than steel or aluminum poles.
Vango doesn’t cover this in their warranty as well so be warned that if this is an issue you have with the tent, you won’t be entitled to a replacement.
The TETON Quick Tent comes with a rainfly that provides adequate waterproof protection, but it’s an added bonus that you can also purchase the elite rainfly for enhanced protection.
It can sometimes be concerning when tents come with the poles attached as if they break it can be difficult to repair them. However, the TETON poles appear sturdy enough that this shouldn’t be an issue.
And if they do break on your trip, you’ll be just as out of luck as you would have been if they were regular tent poles, anyway.
The CORE 9-Person tent suffers from common issues with durability associated with cabin tents. Their large, boxy shape means they can easily be caught in the wind, and sometimes in prioritizing instant set up, manufacturers can trade off speed for quality.
The CORE is not very water-resistant. Intended for good weather camping, the instant cabin tent might have issues with leaking in the rain. But generally, the quality of the tent should be enough to ensure it lasts for a few years to get your value from it.
The benefit of the mesh roof is extended in summer camping as it provides excellent ventilation to keep you cool through inside the tent.
Out of all the tents we reviewed, the Coleman felt like it was the least durable. The small rain fly doesn’t cover the full tent and there may be issues with parts like the zipper or the fiberglass poles.
But this isn’t surprising as the Sundome is a value tent, great for introducing people to camping without breaking the bank. Understandably, there are issues with durability associated with it.
Vango tents are fairly reliable when it comes to durability and their offerings here are no different. The Dart in particular is a surprisingly strong shelter for a pop-up tent and impressed us the most.
In terms of value, there was one clear winner that we reviewed. The Coleman Sundome may not be the best overall camping tent available, but for beginners looking to get started, it offers a reliable budget option.
It’s a great tent, especially for starting out. The sundome was my first tent and it served me well. Upgraded now but always recommend the sundome to people starting out.
There is evidence of some cost-cutting efforts like the rain fly that only covers the top of the tent and the fiberglass poles but these are common issues found on lower priced tents.
The TETON Quick Tent also offers incredible value for money in a different way. The 1-person tent is lightweight enough to be used for backpacking through the summer but can also be combined with the elite rain fly and the cot to make a winter camping shelter.
The Vango Dart is also reasonably priced for the quality it offers. A durable 3-person tent that will keep you safe from the elements, the Dart hasn’t sacrificed high quality for speed with its pop-up set up.
With a higher price tag, the Vango is more of an investment than the Sundome. But the features you get with the model are enough to justify the cost for us.
The Wenzel does slightly worse than the CORE 9-Person tent when it comes to value. The CORE is wonderfully easy to set up and the mesh ceiling offers a feature to rival the screen room in the Wenzel.
Overall, we feel the CORE does slightly more to justify its price tag than the Wenzel. But both of them are worth their value in our eyes.
The Sundome from Coleman did best in terms of value for money for us, offering an affordable and easily pitched entry for many to try their hand at camping.
One of the features from the Vango Dart that impressed us was the ‘Lights Out’ technology in the tent’s fabric which keeps the inside of the camping tent dark, even in daylight. Lots of companies now offer fabric which reduces the light that can get into the sleeping area and they’re fantastic for allowing an extra hour or so in bed undisturbed.
The sewn-in groundsheet and waterproof fabric mean that the Dart will keep you water out of your tent in the rain.
The Vango Dart also comes with a built in vestibule (rare for pop-up tents) and inner storage pockets, which helps keep your gear stored safely. The oversized carry bag is the final extra we love about this tent, it makes packing everything away so much easier.
All of these extras and features really makes the Dart special for us.
We love a camping tent with some versatility. The TETON Quick Tent is one of those tents that goes beyond what we would expect to impress us.
You can lie back and enjoy the night’s sky from the comfort of your tent with the rain fly off after a long hike, or you can head out in the winter with the cot and elite rain fly and this tent will keep you and your gear warm and dry. Storing equipment under the cot is a fantastic space safer.
The CORE 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent also comes with a mesh ceiling that allows you to enjoy the star-speckled sky above your head. We love that you can gaze up at planets and constellations with friends or family from the comfort of your bed in the CORE.
The CORE also comes with two doors, including a t-shaped door at the front which opens to make the space inside the tent feel roomy and welcoming – especially with the rain fly off.
Whilst a mesh ceiling gives you fantastic overhead views, the screen room that comes with the Wenzel will let you take in the sights around your campsite from the comfort of your tent.
Whilst it can double up as another sleeping area, it works best as a living area where you can sit and relax, watching the evening go by in comfort – free from bugs and protected from the rain. It’s the perfect setting for cosy trips away together
The two storage pockets inside the tent are a nice feature of this tent but the lack of port of an electrical cord seems like a misstep in a tent that would be fantastic for a luxury camping trip.
The Coleman Sundome is our budget pick, so don’t expect it to blow you away with features and extras like the other models. It does come with the sort of things we’d expect to find in most tents like storage pockets and a vent for an electrical cord.
However, the pockets are awkwardly placed at what would be head height if you were sitting in the tent.
The awning at the front of the tent is a nice feature for keeping rain away from the door, but given how small the rain fly is, we wouldn’t recommend using this tent in the rain. So whilst the awning would be handy, the rest of the water resistance of the tent isn’t good enough to enjoy it properly.
The Vango Dart comes with a whole range of features that impressed us meaning it’s not only an easy set up tent, but one that comes with some great unexpected bonuses.
Wrapping It All Up
There you have it, 6 tents that are easy to put up by yourself to make your next trip effortless.
The TETON Quick Tent is the easiest tent for backpacking – and is also great for cot camping, which is a rare find.
The CORE and the Vango Odyssey would be great for camping with groups. The Wenzel Klondike tent could be used by a group, but the best use of it will be from couples who want a bit more space for their trip.
The Coleman Sundome is a fantastic value tent that is easy to set up, offering a pain-free introduction to camping for any newbies feeling a bit overwhelmed. For those looking for something a bit more substantial, the Vango Dart is great for campers of all backgrounds.