Looking for the best pop up tents to see you through your next festival or light camping trip? See which pop up tents survived the rain in our tough tests.
The best pop up tents are easy to put up and pack away so you can spend more time enjoying yourself at festivals and on camping trips, and will also do the all-important job of keeping you dry should the weather turn. We found big differences when we put pop up tents to the test. Although some went up quickly and repelled every drop of rain they faced, others were needlessly difficult to pack away and even had puddles in them by the end. In May 2021, we compared 10 of the most popular pop up tents from leading brands and retailers such as Coleman, Mountain Warehouse, Trespass, Eurohike and Regatta to see which ones held up over several days of seriously rough weather. See our full results below to find out which pop up tents proved their worth by surviving three heavy thunderstorms over three days.
Pricing and availability last checked: 7 March 2022.
The best pop up tents from our test
Best Buy: Coleman FastPitch Galiano 4
Cheapest price: £91.02 at Amazon
Dimensions: 100 x 280 x 200cm (pitched), 5 x 90 x 90cm (packed) (HxWxD)
Carry weight: 3.3kg
Stated water resistance: 3,000mm
Other key features: Groundsheet sewn in, one large entrance, no windows, three large air vents, no porch, two storage pockets
Pros: Quick and easy to pitch and pack away, excellent waterproofing, useful features
Cons: Rain flysheets must be pitched correctly to keep the rain out
Our verdict: An excellent pop up tent that strikes just the right balance between convenience and durability.
The Coleman FastPitch Galiano 4 received top marks across our tests. We pitched it in a speedy two and a half minutes and packed it away just as fast, which is impressive considering it’s larger than several other pop up tents we tested. After three days of heavy rain we didn’t find a drop of water inside this tent. We think you’ll be able to sleep soundly in the Galiano and be confident you’ll wake up dry the next day. All the zips, pockets and large air vents worked well for us, and the mini flysheets that cover the ceiling air vents can be unpegged to give you a clear view of the night sky from inside your tent. However you must ensure those flysheets cover the vents fully when it rains, otherwise you’ll give the rain a direct route into the sleeping area. As with almost every tent we tested, we think four people might be a bit of a squeeze in this one. Three would be snug, and two would be luxurious. Overall the Galiano is a fantastic pop up tent that should easily see you through a festival or some light camping. It may even be cut out for some more challenging adventures.
How the rest of the pop up tents fared
Here’s our verdict on the other pop up tents we tested, listed alphabetically.
Eurohike Quick Pitch 200 SD 2 Man Tent
Cheapest price: £35 at Blacks, GO Outdoors, Millets, also available at Eurohike
Dimensions: 90 x 220 x 110cm (pitched), 3 x 70 x 70cm (packed) (HxWxD)
Carry weight: 1.65kg Stated water resistance: 2,000mm
Other key features: Groundsheet sewn in, one entrance, no windows, two air vents, no porch, no storage pockets
Pros: Quick and easy to pitch and pack away
Cons: Poor quality vents and door zip, condensation makes the inside wet
Our verdict: It’s cheap and cheerful and that was reflected in our experiences.
We found the Eurohike small even for one person, so make sure to take note of the pitched dimensions below and consider carefully if you’ll have enough room. We had no problems pitching it, possibly thanks to its small size. It was also the fastest tent to put away at just two minutes. This tent did survive the rain, but we found plenty of condensation on the ceiling due to poor ventilation. The air vents are small on this tent and they can’t be propped open, so it’s not easy for fresh air to get inside. We also kept getting the door zip caught on the canvas, and the door hangs down when open so water droplets can easily drip inside.
Halfords 2 Person Pop Up Tent – Blue
Price: £25 at Halfords (out of stock)
Dimensions: 103 x 104 x 223cm (pitched), 4 x 61 x 61cm (packed) (HxWxD)
Carry weight: 2kg
Stated water resistance: 1,500mm
Other key features: Groundsheet sewn in, one entrance, no windows, three air vents, no porch, two storage pockets, ceiling lamp hook
Pros: Easy to pitch and pack away
Cons: Waterproofing failed, poor quality guy ropes and door zip
Our verdict: Halfords’ pop up tent is easy to pitch and pack away, but we didn’t find much else going for it. Like several other pop up tents we tested, we think this tent would be a tight fit for two people. We also found the guy ropes useless during pitching, and eventually gave up on them as they seemed unable to hold any sort of tension. After one day of rainy weather we were disappointed to find a small puddle near to the door. We also had trouble opening and closing the door as it kept getting caught on the canvas flap covering the zip.
Mountain Warehouse Pop Up Double Skin 3 Man Tent
Cheapest price: £49.99 at Amazon, also available at Mountain Warehouse, Next
Dimensions: 105 x 180 x 280cm (pitched), 3.5 x 91 x 91cm (packed) (HxWxD)
Carry weight: 3kg Stated water resistance: 1,500mm
Other key features: Groundsheet sewn in, one entrance, no windows, two air vents, no porch, two storage pockets
Pros: Quick and easy to pitch and pack away, good waterproofing
Cons: Poor quality vents and storage pockets
Our verdict: If speed when pitching and packing away is your priority, this could be the pop up tent for you.
Each task of putting it up and down took us less than two and a half minutes, making it the quickest combination of pitching and packing away in our tests. It also survived the three days of heavy rain, but towards the end we did notice a fair amount of condensation had formed on the ceiling. This pop up tent does have a separate inner sleeping pod though, so there’s little chance of any drops of condensation getting into the bedroom. We doubt three people can sleep comfortably in this tent, and there’s only two storage pockets which both ripped easily during testing. Overall we found this a worthwhile choice if you’re looking for a tent that’s convenient to pitch and keeps the rain at bay, but there are other pop up tents we prefer.
Olpro Pop Tent – Blue
Cheapest price: £69 at Halfords, also available at Olpro
Dimensions: 140 x 210 x 210cm (pitched), 18 x 18 x 75cm (packed) (HxWxD)
Carry weight: 4.5kg Stated water resistance: 3,000mm
Other key features: Groundsheet sewn in, two entrances, two windows, two large air vents, no porch, two storage pockets, ceiling lamp hook
Pros: Easy to pitch, useful features
Cons: Waterproofing failed, difficult to pack into the carry bag
Our verdict: If you’re lucky enough to camp in good weather you shouldn’t have any trouble with this tent, but if it rains we’d be concerned. The dome-shaped Olpro is an unusual design for a pop up tent, with exposed poles you unfold and stand up before hitting a large button on the top to pop it into a rigid shape. Because it isn’t spring-loaded like many of the other pop up tents, you might expect it to take longer to pitch, but we got it up in little over three minutes and it took a similar time to pack away. The zips and vents worked well during testing, which made it extra disappointing when we found water had crept into the corners of the sleeping area after two days of rain. There wasn’t a huge amount of water inside, but enough that you’d be annoyed to wake up in the morning to find it there.
Ozark Trail Grey 3 Person Instant A Frame Tent
Price: £69 at Asda (out of stock) Sleeps: Three
Dimensions: 130 x 210 x 390cm (pitched), 25 x 25 x 80cm (packed) (HxWxD)
Carry weight: 7.4kg Stated water resistance: 3,000mm
Other key features: Groundsheet sewn in, two entrances, four small windows, two air vents, small porches at each end, two storage pockets, separate flysheet, power cord flap
Pros: Easy to pitch and pack away, excellent waterproofing, useful features
Cons: Takes time to pitch, heavy carry weight
Our verdict: It may take a long time to pitch compared with other pop up tents in our test, but we think it’s worth it for how good the Ozark is once it’s assembled.
It took us six minutes to pull the telescopic poles out into shape and peg the separate flysheet over the top, and we had no difficulties. It folds out and opens up in a straightforward, logical and frustration-free way. Packing it away took a similar time but we had trouble stuffing it into the small carry bag. It’s also the heaviest to carry of the pop up tents we tested at 7.4kg, although that’s to be expected with it’s thick, sturdy poles. Once up we were delighted with this tent. It has vents, windows, entrances and porches at each end, the zips and storage pockets are high quality, and if you’re camping with an external power outlet there’s even a flap for you to feed a power cable outside. We’d recommend no more than two people sleep in this tent, as it’s likely to be a squeeze for three. Most importantly though, the flysheet did its job of repelling all the rain it faced and the sleeping area inside was kept dry throughout testing. This might be the slowest to pitch, and arguably the least ‘pop up’-like of the tents we tested, but we think it’s among the best overall.
ProAction 4 Man 1 Room Pop Up Camping Tent
Price: £55 at Argos (out of stock)
Sleeps: Four Dimensions: 110 x 240 x 210cm (pitched), 4 x 73 x 73cm (packed) (HxWxD)
Carry weight: 2.6kg
Stated water resistance: 1,200mm
Other key features: Groundsheet sewn in, one large entrance, no windows, three air vents, no porch, eight small storage pockets, ceiling lamp hook
Pros: Easy to pitch
Cons: Waterproofing failed, tricky to pack away, poor quality vents and zip
Our verdict: We’d give this tent a miss, as after two days of heavy rain we found a large puddle on the inside by the door. We managed to pitch it easily enough, but because the frame is so springy we faced a lot of resistance folding it back up again. If you lose hold of it there’s a good chance it will pop right back up again, too. Each task took us around four minutes. The door has a wide opening which is handy for tents with multiple occupants, but the door zip was prone to getting snagged on the canvas when opening and closing.
Quechua Camping Tent – 2 Seconds – Fresh & Black XL – 3 Person
Cheapest price: £129.99 at Decathlon
Dimensions: 121 x 230 x 285cm (pitched), 9 x 85 x 85cm (packed) (HxWxD)
Carry weight: 5.3kg Stated water resistance: 2,000mm (flysheet), 5,000mm (groundsheet)
Other key features: Groundsheet sewn in, one large entrance, two windows, five air vents, porch, four storage pockets, ceiling lamp hook
Pros: Easy to pitch, excellent waterproofing, useful features
Cons: Tricky to pack away
Our verdict: It could be easier to pack up, but overall we were delighted with Quechua’s pop up tent. This was one of the few pop up tents we tested that we’d be confident sleeping the listed number of people inside. It’s wide and spacious with plenty of room for sleeping and storage, and there’s two large vents on either side that let plenty of fresh air in. We had no trouble pitching this tent and it came up in just under four minutes, but packing it away was a challenge. You need to start inside and pull the inside out and fix two sets of colour-coded clips together before you can start folding it up. The inside stayed perfectly dry throughout our tests and the tent has a useful porch that keeps the inner door dry and gives you somewhere to store your wet gear. We think you’ll camp comfortably with this brilliant pop up tent, but it’s worth a practice run packing it away before you head to the campsite.
Regatta Malawi 2
Cheapest price: £38.05 at Regatta, also available at Amazon, Sports Direct, Very
Dimensions: 100 x 140 x 285 (pitched), 9 x 85 x 85cm (packed) (HxWxD)
Carry weight: 3kg
Stated water resistance: 3,000mm
Other key features: Groundsheet sewn in, one entrance, no windows, four air vents, no porch, four storage pockets, ceiling lamp hook
Pros: Quick and easy to pitch and pack away, useful features
Cons: Waterproofing failed
Our verdict: We were initially pleased with the Regatta Malawi, so were disappointed to find water inside it after a day’s heavy rain. It was quick and easy to pitch in our tests, with each task taking roughly three minutes. It also looks small on the outside but is surprisingly roomy on the inside, so if you’re light on items to store you should be OK to sleep two people in it. We didn’t have any problems with the zips, guy ropes or storage pockets, but unfortunately found a puddle near the door after just one day of heavy rain. Overall we think this tent will deliver provided the weather stays good. If it starts to rain though, you could be in trouble.
Trespass 2 Man 1 Room Pop Up Camping Tent
Price: £30 at Argos (out of stock)
Dimensions: 95 x 120 x 220cm (pitched), 3 x 71 x 71cm (packed) (HxWxD)
Carry weight: 1.8kg
Stated water resistance: 1,200mm
Other key features: Groundsheet sewn in, one entrance, no windows, three air vents, no porch, two storage pockets
Pros: Easy to pitch and pack away
Cons: Poor quality guy ropes, zip and air vents, condensation makes the inside wet
Our verdict: We think you’ll survive the rain with this pop up tent, but there are some other issues we felt let it down overall.
It took us longer to pitch than we first expected as we spent extra time struggling with the guy ropes, which can’t seem to hold any tension. Each morning we checked this tent we found the guy ropes had fallen down. Apart from that we had no trouble pitching it, and it was a straightforward tent to pack away. It kept the rain out throughout testing too, although it did suffer from a heavy build-up of condensation on its ceiling. The door zip was also stiff at points and kept getting caught on the canvas. For a day or two this pop up tent will probably see you through, but we think there are better options among those we tested.
How we tested these pop up tents
We selected 10 of the UK’s bestselling pop up tents, available from major retailers such as Amazon, Argos, Decathlon and Halfords. We also factored in how sought after these tents are online in our selections. We bought every pop up tent we tested and don’t accept freebies, so you can be sure our reviews are independent and neutral.
Pitching and collapsing
Pop up tents are all about convenience, so getting them up and down in good time and without frustration is a key part of what makes them good or bad. After a couple of practice runs to familiarise ourselves with each tent, we timed how long it took us to pitch each one, including the time it took to peg out the tent and the guy ropes. We then separately timed collapsing and packing away each tent into the carry bag it came with, noting how straightforward it was and any difficulties we faced.
Ease of use
Once your tent is up you’ll also want a comfortable experience without fumbling with shoddy door zips or frowning at air vents that won’t stay open. We gave each tent an ease of use appraisal, looking for those little annoyances you find with tents all too often – zips that catch the canvas and get stuck, vents that won’t stay open to keep the air circulation going and storage pockets that rip easily. We also left each tent up for three days to see if any longer term ease of use issues arose, such as the need to re-peg the tent or any deterioration in the zips or seams.
A tent can be easy to pitch and pack away and a dream to use, but that amounts to little if it won’t keep you dry when the rain hits. We had initially planned to simulate light, medium and heavy rainfall using sprinklers, but when we set up the tests the British weather gave us three heavy, thundery downpours right on cue. This put every pop up tent through a tough, real-life scenario. On the morning of each day we inspected each tent to see if any rainwater had crept inside to the sleeping area, and checked how damp the inside ceiling had become due to condensation. As you can see from the image above, some tents ended up with puddles inside. Get camping-ready with our pick of the best head torches.
Five things to look for when buying a pop up tent
1) Be wary of how many people supposedly
fit in the tent During our tests we often found ourselves questioning if the tents could really sleep as many people as they said they could. Manufacturers don’t appear to take factors such as storing kit into account when labelling their tents, so if you plan on buying a three-person tent for three people you might find yourselves short on space. A handy rule of thumb to follow is to subtract one person (or two people if you have a lot of stuff) from the number listed, so if there’s two of you you’d probably be best-suited to a three-person tent.
2) Look for air vents and consider their size and quality
Air circulation might not be your first concern when tent shopping, but it can have a major impact on your comfort. Small or poor quality air vents will lead to a hot, stuffy tent that will let lots of condensation build up on the ceiling. Check how many air vents the tent has, how large they are, and also if they can be propped open to help give fresh air a clear path inside.
3) Consider how the door will open, especially in wet weather
If it rains it can often take a while for rain drops to dry off the tent canvas, and that includes the door. We found tent doors that lean backwards often fall back into the tent as you open them, so any raindrops on the door will run straight into your sleeping area. Unless your tent has an upright door, a porch or some overhead cover to keep the door dry, you’ll need to take care to open the door outwards as you unzip it to stop water falling inside.
4) Check how much the tent weighs
When camping there might be a long walk to your pitch, especially if you’re at a festival where there’s huge areas to traipse through before you can stop and set up camp. Even if your tent packs down to a small size it will prove frustrating to carry if it’s heavy. Make sure to check the weight before buying and think about how comfortable you’d be carrying it over long distances.
5) Be careful relying on rain resistance claims
Hydrostatic head ratings, which describe how much rain manufacturers say the tent can withstand, shouldn’t be relied upon entirely. Although they determine how much water a single point of the canvas can repel before it gives in, it doesn’t account for how well zips, seams and other vulnerable points keep the rain out. All of the tents we tested were pitched in the same area and were subjected to the same heavy downpours during our tests, and our results did not match up with the hydrostatic head ratings of the tents. Some with relatively low hydrostatic head ratings held up well, while others with higher ratings less so. Hope for sunshine and enjoy eating outdoors with the best cooler bags.
Why do tents leak when touched?
Tents don’t always leak when touched and a well-waterproofed tent should still keep water out regardless of whether you touch it. In fact, it’s far more likely your tent is leaking through a seam or zip than through a spot you’ve touched. However, if your tent is leaking through the canvas at a point you’ve touched, it’s likely because the surface tension between water droplets on the outside and the canvas underneath has broken at your touch. If your tent has a high hydrostatic head rating it might still prevent a leak from that spot, but by touching the ceiling you may have disabled one of your tent’s important lines of defence, and water could potentially seep in from that point of contact.
Can you recycle pop up tents?
It’s well-known that at festivals and other major events pop up tents are often abandoned, which is a major environmental issue. If you’re keen to avoid adding to the problem and recycle your pop up tent, it’s possible but not easy. This is mostly because the canvas is plastic-based and treated with silicone, acrylic polyurethane and fire-retardant chemicals, which makes the canvas difficult to recycle. You should, however, be able to hand your tent over to your local recycling point provided you separate the canvas from the poles and pegs before handing it over.
As pop up tents are all-in-one structures made up of different materials, you can’t recycle one as a whole and must take it apart. At most major festivals there are initiatives set up to reduce the amount of tents going into landfill by donating them to charities and other good causes. However, few tents reach them because only tents in good condition with all the pegs and other parts included are accepted. The best thing you can do is take your pop up tent home with you and look after it so you get as many uses as possible before taking it to your local recycling point.