How to Choose the Best Instant Tents for Camping

Confused for are instant camping tents good or not? No, worries! Read this guide about how to choose the best instant tents for camping and hiking. You will remember the right decision you made by purchasing an instant camping tent when you are on a cross-country tour or you are with a group who changes the camping place frequently. On the other side, a traditional tent will consume a lot of your valuable time and hard work in pitching and taking down the tent. Ultimately, you will be annoyed with a traditional tent.

This is one of the biggest reasons why instant camping tents are so popular and always recommended. We have done a lot of research and based on our vast camping experience, we have listed some tips that will help you in choosing the best instant setup tent for camping and hiking purposes. By the end, you will have a complete framework about how instant set up camping tents are good for an unforgettable camping and hiking experience.

Select the Best Type of Instant Camping Tents

1. Select the Best Type of Instant Camping Tents

Generally, there are two types of instant camping tents that exist in the market. If you have a little bit of interest in camping or have a good camping experience then there are very high chances that you are already aware of them. The types of instant camping tents are:

1. Instant Cabin Style Tent

2. Instant Dome Style Tent

Have you tried any of the above said instant camping tent type? If Yes! Then we are sure that you already have an idea of how easily and speedily you can set up both types of tents. That’s the main reason why they are called instant camping tents. Not only they are very helpful in making your camping experience flawless but they also save lots of your valuable time.

Instant Cabin Style Tents

The instant cabin style tents are square or rectangular in shape. Their boxy design and shape provide more space inside the tent. This way, they tend to accommodate more people easily. The roof of the instant cabin tents is high such that people can easily walk inside without grazing their heads to the roof. The cabin tents have a good standing height. Usually, these tents have mesh ceiling. Therefore, campers can enjoy sleeping peacefully under the stars. Moreover, the mesh ceiling takes out the hot air outside of the tent and preventing any condensation issues inside.

Usually, the poles of the cabin style tents are made of aluminum and they are quite stronger and durable then shock-corded fiberglass poles. Therefore, cabin style tents with sturdy poles have the ability to sustain in harsh winds. Pitching the instant cabin tents is quite easy and one person can set up in a few seconds to minutes.

As we all know that every coin has two faces. The same thing follows here. Like other tents, the instant cabin style tents have drawbacks too. They are hard to fix when broken. Hinges are more vulnerable to broke and they are quite heavy. Basically, these are also good for car camping.

Instant dome tents

Instant dome tents come with aerodynamic structure. Therefore, thy do not act as a hurdle against winds. Unlike the boxy structure of cabin tents, the dome style tents have an umbrella-like structure. Hence, the tent setup is quite easy. Everything is pre-attached to the tent. You just need to unroll the tent then lift the center position of the tent. Now, slowly press the switch down. Congratulations! Your instant dome tent is ready.

You will find most of the instant dome tents can be easily pitched in just 60 seconds by one person. Due to which instructions are not necessary to pitch the tent. Therefore, you will find instant dome-style tents best for beginners. Those who don’t have a camping experience before will find themselves quite comfortable with instant setup dome tents. There are some sub-types of dome-style tents are also available. They are extended dome style tents but most of them are not freestanding. Therefore, they do not fall under the instant dome-style tents category.

2. Learn About the Set-up Mechanism of Instant Camping Tents

Those who are looking for fast setup camping tents will find the instant camping tents the best because the installation (setup) mechanism of both instant dome style and instant cabin style tents is mostly the same. But, there is a little different than most people ignore.

Similarity Between Setup Mechanism

First, let’s talk about the setup mechanism similarities of both dome style and cabin style instant tents. In both of the types, the frame and tent are pre-attached to each other. You don’t need to stuck in the complex tent setup procedure like traditional camping tents. A camper just needs to unpack the tent then unfold it. Proceeding further, simply raise the tent and within a few seconds, the tent is completely ready.

So, this is the similarity between the setup mechanism of dome and cabin style instant tents. Now let’s have a look at the difference between them.

Difference Between Setup Mechanism

The setup of a dome-style instant tent is like an automatic umbrella. Resulting in a very easy and quick tent setup. On the other hand, in the case of cabin style instant tents you have to work a little more. Cabin style instant tents come with telescopic poles. Therefore, you have to extend the telescopic poles until you hear a click. The pole will be locked when it attains the full length and mostly, a spring button will appear.

Therefore, we can say that the setup mechanism of instant tent whether it is a dome style or cabin style is fast and easy when compared to the traditional tents.

3. Instant Tents with Rainfly

While in the market, you will find that some of the Instant setup tents have rainfly but some of them do not have. It will be more clear if we say that the rainfly is integrated. Actually, the fabric of the roof is waterproof and the tent is called a single-layered tent. The best example of a tent with an integrated rainfly is Coleman 6 person instant tent, read more here.

There are some diversions that are too available such that in some tents, you have to attach the fly before extending the telescopic poles. Actually, the rainfly gets raised along with the tent until the telescopic poles are completely extended at its full length. On the other hand, some cabin style tents have high vertical walls. Therefore, it requires two people to add rainfly properly over the tent. You will find some tall cabin style tents require two people to properly setup rainfly over the tent.

4. The Freestanding Instant Tents

This is one of the best advantages a camper gets from instant camping tents. Both of the cabin style and dome-style camping tents are freestanding tents. Therefore, you can pitch the instant setup tent on any terrain. However, we suggest not to pitch your tent on uneven terrains. Campers can rotate the freestanding tent and also move it around as per the requirement.

This is one of the best features from instant setup tents that most campers like. The freestanding instant tents can be stake down to the ground. It is not compulsory but always recommends. Tall instant cabin style tents have tall walls and they have a boxy design. They are quite vulnerable to harsh winds. We can say that staking down the tent to the ground properly increases the durability of the tent.

Are Instant Setup Tents are Highly Expensive?

5. The durability of Instant Setup Tents

For the durability of any instant camping tent, you have to look at the build material of the tent. The durability factor will differ for most of the tents because some of the cabin style instant cabin tents have thick steel poles. It adds positive points to the durability of the tent.

However, when folding and packing the instant set up camping tent or transporting it, you need to be extra careful because both tent and poles are pre-attached to each other. The carelessness will increase the chance of bent tent poles or damaging several parts of the tent.

6. Are Instant Setup Tents are Highly Expensive?

Basically, it depends on certain factors. Not all camping gears manufacturing companies offer expensive tents. The Core 6 Person Instant Cabin Tent is available at a price tag of around $146. On the other hand, Nemo Wagontop 6 Tent comes with a price of $600. However, it is a traditional tent and it is highly expensive.

There is no thumb rule about the price of any camping tent. It depends on the features of the tent and the company who is manufacturing that particular tent. You just have to analyze what you really need in a tent then select the best tent that matches your requirements.

7. Weather Resistance for Instant Setup Tents

Like any other factor of the tent, weather resistance capabilities also vary on from one instant setup tent to another. Almost all of the cabin style instant tents come with a flat roof and they have big boxy structure as well. Therefore, a high vertical static pressure will result in the transfer of pressure from the roof to vertical poles because roof poles span the large distances between the walls. Thus, the structure may collapse in case of heavy snowfall.

If we look at the Core 12 Person Tent, we will find that it comes with minimal rainfly that only covers the mesh ceiling. It too has huge windows for proper ventilation. However, this tent will not work great in cold conditions because due to its design and ventilation openings it will not be able to hold the warmth inside of the tent.

In heavy wind conditions, the dome style instant tents perform better than cabin style because dome-style tents have aerodynamic structure. Therefore, it will not become a big obstacle in the wind. On the other side, cabin style instant tents have tall vertical walls and they are like big boxes. Hence, they are not good options in heavy wind conditions.

8. Person Capacity of Instant Setup Tents

Most of the instant dome-style camping tents are typically smaller. Mostly, dome-style instant setup tents come with a person capacity of up to six people. On the other side, cabin style instant set up camping tents are manufactured by many companies. They come in various sizes and can accommodate a huge number of campers inside.

You don’t need to think too much about it. Simply select a tent that can easily accommodate all your group members. The Ozark Trail 15 person instant tents comes with dimensions as 25 ft x 10 ft offering tent floor area of 250 sq. ft. Totally, it has three rooms. The sewn-in real walls separate the two rooms from the central room. 15 sleeping pads can be easily fit inside this tent.

9. Ventilation and Instant Setup Tents

The ventilation part is very important because who wants to feel discomfort in breathing when the tent is fully packed with people. Most of the instant set-up tents and high capacity tents come with ground vents, roof vents for ventilation. It is more beneficial if there are windows to get the air inside and mesh ceiling to get the air out for proper ventilation.

The Ozark Trail 12 person 3 room instant cabin tent has a screen room and it comes with a total of ten mesh windows along with panels. Therefore, they work as a good passage for getting the natural light inside the tent and for proper ventilation. The whole ceiling meshes and three ground vents are also available.

How fast pitch tents are different from instant set up tents?

Instant setup tents come with telescopic poles and pre-attached frames. The instant set up tents can be set up from 30 seconds to 2 minutes based on the size and structure. Let’s consider some examples. The Core 6 Person Instant Setup Tent can be set up in 60 seconds and the Ozark Trail 12 person 3 room instant cabin tent with a screen room can be easily set up in 2 minutes.

On the other side, the Coleman Tenaya lake 8 person tent is a great example of a fastpitch tent where the roof poles are all shock-corded and permanently attached to the top hub element. Shock-corded segments are also given.


Instant setup tents are the best camping and hiking tent options. You can set up these tents in just 60 seconds to two minutes. Instant dome-style tents stand as an unbeatable option for beginners. We are sure the above-discussed tips will help you a lot in selecting the best instant setup camping tent for you. We have briefly discussed the instant set up tents by covering every important factor. Comment below if you have any questions. Stay tuned with us for more regular updates on camping guides and best tent reviews.

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