How to Choose the Best Instant Tent for Your Next Trip

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Editors Note: An article from Tiffany Bolgert to The Prepper Journal. We are comfortable with instant coffee (yech!), instant oatmeal (where have all the nutrients gone?) and we can even buy instant underpants! So when the idea of an “instant tent” popped into someones head, well, The Prepper Journal had to find out!

As enjoying as a camping trip with the family might be, the main drawback of this activity is the sheer frustration that arises from setting your shelter up. Regardless of your camping experience and how well the instructions were followed, things will never go according to plan.

The problems can range from minor inconveniences, such as discovering that there is a missing piece or that you have placed the pole in the wrong spot, to major, like having the tent fall over you in the middle of the night from the slightest gust of wind. The solution to these problems? An instant tent. If you do not want to bother with traditional tents, here is a small guide that will help you choose the best instant tent for your next trip.

What is an Instant Tent?

For generations, humanity has struggled with the process of setting up and taking down tents. Even the most ardent campers will relate to the frustration of seeing your tent falling over all your possessions after spending two hours installing it.

The easiest way to solve this problem (other than ditching the tent altogether and digging a hole in the ground, of course) is getting an instant tent. Alternatively called a ‘’pop up tent’’, it is an innovative camping item that does not need a degree in civil engineering to set up. All you have to do is pull it out of the bag, throw it on the ground and, in just a matter of minutes, you will have something to shelter you from the freezing rain.

Usually, the best instant tents come in two categories. The first category work exactly how the name suggests, while the second category includes hybrid instant tents with integrated lightweight poles. The latter’s extra component does not matter – they are both just as easy to install and disassemble.

However, the main downfall of instant tents is the fact that, due to a lack of heavy poles, they are more vulnerable to the whims of the wind. Therefore, all campers should make sure to stake them. On the other hand, all instant tents will protect your belongings from the elements of nature.

Durability

Now that we have established what exactly is an instant tent, it is time to highlight several factors on which you should base your purchase decision. When it comes to instant tents (or all tents, as a matter of fact), the quality and the strength of the item are of the utmost importance. Ideally, you want to pick a tent that will stand tall in all weather conditions, whether we are talking about rain, heat, or cold. Even though instant tents are admittedly susceptible to the wind, they are perfectly capable of handling the rest.

Materials and Useful Features

The next important factor is related to the materials. While instant tents come in a wide variety of shapes and structures, the high-quality ones share certain similarities. When it comes to the sides of the tent, the best ones are made out of nylon. This material allows the moisture created by the people exhaling inside the tent to dissipate in a timely fashion. Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that the tent’s durability and longevity depend on the weight of the nylon – the heavier it is, the more it will last.

Another thing to consider is the rain fly. A rain fly is a separate piece of plastic that covers the tent, which protects it against the effects of rain. For an extra degree of comfort and safety, it is a good idea to choose tents with nylon floors, as they will keep you and your possessions dry for as long as it takes.

Furthermore, you should also think about the number of doors you need, as well as the shape and the orientation of the tent. If you are camping with your whole family, a tent with a higher number of doors is obviously ideal if you do not want to disturb them in the middle of the night. If you are camping with a smaller group, a mid-sized tent with one door and a couple of windows should cover your needs.

Price

As with all products, price reflects the quality of the item. There are instant tents that are cheap, durable but the material can leak, as well as expensive tents that can last a lifetime, but don’t come with the perks suited for your particular needs. To prevent the latter scenario from occurring, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • How often do you embark on camping trips?
  • What is the average size of the party (in numbers)?
  • Duration of the trip – are you planning to spend several days out camping, or just a weekend?
  • How much stuff do you need to carry after you in order to feel comfortable – clothes, food, first aid kits, etc?
  • Can the tent fit in your car?

By checking these boxes, you can find out if it is worth dropping a few hundred dollars on a tent, or if you could just make do with a cheaper one. As a general rule of thumb, it is better to invest in an expensive tent because there is a high chance you will not need another one anytime soon.

Conclusion

Choosing the right instant-tent for you and your loved ones can be as hard as deciding on a location or what supplies you should bring along. However, it is not that hard as long as you know what to look for. Make sure to read through our small guide and you will surely make the right decision.

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5 Comments on "How to Choose the Best Instant Tent for Your Next Trip"

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BobW
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The only time an “old school” tent has been a challenge is in high winds or driving rains. Even with two kids who seek only to poke each other’s buttons, a normal tent is no more than a 5 minute adventure. We took a trip recently with a friend and his daughter, us with our old school tent and they with their instant-up tent. From unwrapping to staking, mine was 5 minutes, while theirs was around 2 minutes. From a prepping angle, my 6-man cheap-o tent from Target for $13 is quite a bit heavier, housed 2.5x the people, with… Read more »
Tiffany Bolgert
Guest

I agree with you, Bob!
I think instant tents are useful for people who do not have much experience in assembling tents or who want to involve children in this activity.
Thank you for sharing!

RONALD TURMEL
Guest

Great article. Thank you.

Tiffany Bolgert
Guest

Thank you, Ronald!

Tiffany Bolgert
Guest

Are there any real downsides to instant tents vs. normal tents? Or conversely, are there any upsides to using a normal tent over an instant tent?