Written by Terry Smith
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Best pop up tents [UK]: top waterproof pop up tents for kids reviewed: 2 and 4 man
This article was last updated on August 7th, 2021 at 1:01 am
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Who doesn’t love camping, fishing, or the outdoors? Out in fresh air, sleeping under the stars, with a portable charcoal bbq (or portable gas bbq) and sitting out in the open having a crisp beer with the kids. It doesn’t really get much better does it? Well, actually it does. The most time consuming, and let’s face it- annoying part of going out has to be putting the tent/cover up so these pop up versions are a complete success and make the outdoor experience much more palatable. The best pop up tents will have you enjoying the outdoors in literally fifteen minutes or less.
After you’ve made sure you’ve remembered to bring all the different parts and laid them out, you’ve got to fiddle around slotting things into other things that don’t seem to want to co-operate, and it can take a fair old while to get finished. That is all a thing of the past with a pop-up tent. These things can be up and ready to be used in a matter of seconds in most cases, allowing you to sit back with a cold drink and smile while watching the other campers struggle to finish their tents.
Best pop up tents
The best pop-up tents have really improved in recent years an I think much of that comes from the explosion of popularity pop up gazebos for the home. The best pop up tents are getting roomier, stronger and more stable, and easier to assemble and pack away very quickly, so there’s never been a better time to get your hands on one. What’s more, stiff competition has forced prices down to very affordable levels.
So, if you want to make your next camping trip virtually hassle-free, you should have a good read of our best pop-up tent reviews, where we talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the top products currently available. Also, if you’re new to pop-up tents, take a look at our helpful buyer’s guide before you decide on your purchase.
Best Pop-up Tent Buyers’ Guide
Before you decide on one of the amazing products we featured in our reviews, take a quick look at this buyers’ guide of ours. It has a few tips on the pros and cons of each of the two types featured here, and also a couple of other things to keep in mind when buying a pop-up tent.
In our reviews there are two different types of pop-up tent. The first two products; the Lumaland and Night Cat tents, are a little different to the others in that they have frames that are a little more solid and stable, but they also take longer to assemble. The other type can be popped up in seconds, and once you get used to the fiddly bending process, they can be folded back up quickly too. These tents tend not to be quite as stable as the Lumaland and Night Cat products, so it is basically a tradeoff.
Which is better for bad weather?
If I’m being completely honest, I wouldn’t choose any pop-up tent if I knew I was going camping in bad weather. Even standard tents are not great in the British winter, and you really need a specially designed tent that can handle all that wind, rain, and snow. Pop-up tents are excellent for the spring and summer, and can handle normal winds and showers, but don’t buy one for your arctic expedition, that’s all I’m saying.
Manufacturers are always exaggerating when it comes to products of any type, so don’t believe everything you read on the product pages or advertisements. Usually, if it says it’s a 4-man tent, you can expect it to be a 2-3 tent, so err on the side of caution. Look at the dimensions of the tent, and get your tape measure out to give yourself a proper idea of just how big the pop-up tent will be.
As pop-up tents are meant to be used for spring and summer, it’s important to get one that offers good ventilation or you’ll be sweating buckets in there. Any ventilation holes should be covered by a good mesh though, in order to stop insects getting it and feasting on you while you sleep. Tents that have multiple doorways can be great for summer camping as you can get a nice draught blowing through to keep you cool.
1. Lumaland Outdoor Waterproof Pop-Up Tent
A robust pop-up tent, that can be erected in around 2 minutes, and has enough room to comfortably sleep three people, and that doesn’t cost a fortune?? Yes please!
Lumaland’s outdoor waterproof pop-up tent is the perfect product for regular campers, festival goers, and fishing enthusiasts, and with its 115g PU material ground sheet and PU coated flysheet, you can stay dry, no matter what activity you’re enjoying.
The structure consists of a couple of fiberglass rods, some guy ropes, and the robust tent material, all cleverly combined together so that it only requires you to pull on the safety rope, open up the joint rods, and lift it into shape. The whole process takes a matter of minutes, and you’re left with a very sturdy pop-up tent that is not going to be blown away by the slightest breeze.
If you’re like me and turn into a lobster at the slightest hint of sunshine, you’ll be happy to know that the Lumaland pop-up tent offers protection of UV50+. I can’t say, first hand, how it will hold up to being in the sun when it comes to losing colour, but customers of mine who have owned the tent for over a year have reported that it holds up nicely in that department.
With the summer sun, comes sticky nights and insects like mosquitoes, but Lumaland have got you covered on all sides, and have included a sewn-in groundsheet, and also a mosquito net over the entrance, ensuring that you get a good night’s sleep and don’t wake up and find you’ve been eaten alive. To help with the humidity, there’s a ventilation hole in the roof, which is then covered by another layer to protect you from the elements.
The problem with a lot of pop-up tents, is that they don’t ‘pop-down’ all that easily, and can actually be a pain in the you—know-what to get back in the carry bag. With this Lumaland tent, this isn’t an issue, and I found that the wife and I had no problems at all breaking the tent down and folding it back to its 104 x 18 x 18cm size, and finally slipping it back into its handled carry bag. The carry bag itself is decent. Nothing out of the ordinary, but not flimsy and did its job well, with the stitching on the handles feeling nice and secure.
The only negative thing I would say about this pop-up tent, is that the ground pegs that were included could be bigger. The ones included weren’t useless, I just decided to use some longer ones that I had lying around instead for extra support.
2. Night Cat Pop Up Tent
Similar in design to Lumaland’s product, the Night Cat pop-up tent is also its equal when it comes to user friendliness and practicality. The Night Cat has some clever features, such as the weather fly that can be detached and used as a pavilion in combination with the second ground sheet. I say second, as there are two, with the main ground sheet being pre-stitched into the tent to save on time and reduce any risk of ground water or other things from leaking or crawling in.
Assembly of the Night Cat pop-up tent took around 3 minutes with two people, but about 5 minutes to pack away as we had to get all the air out of the joints by hand before it would all fit nicely back in the carry bag. Still, five minutes is no time at all when compared to a standard tent, so I’m not complaining.
Once up, the tent is very stable, as long you have taken the time to make sure the fiberglass poles have all snapped into place properly, and the ground pegs and ropes are all secured. The mesh material that connects the poles with the tent helps with this stability in stronger winds by allowing a lot of the gusts to pass through, which I thought was clever.
This high-density mesh material is also used to provide excellent ventilation on the inside while still keeping biting and stinging insects outside, where they belong. This same mesh does mean that cold air can seep in on those chillier nights too though, so make sure you have your thick pajamas on if camping in winter. This Night Kat pop-up tent has been designed to be waterproof, with taped seams and treated oxford fabric, and throughout our time with it, the tent kept us nice and dry inside, even in heavy showers.
When the weather is nice during the day, I really liked that I could open the doors at each end of the tent and allow the breeze to blow right through. In one of my test runs, I was fishing by the side of a lake and it was so relaxing to have the air circulating completely through the tent as I lay in there.
The Night Cat pop-up tent is a decent size, with dimensions of 260cm x 220cm x 115cm (outside measurements) and will easily sleep two adults and 1 child on padded or inflated mattresses., or even just good old sleeping bags. Inside the tent there are a couple of well thought out features, including a pocket for keeping things in that you want quick access too, and a hook for hanging a camping lantern from when you’re reading your favourite book.
Priced around twenty pounds higher than the Lumaland pop-up tent, the Night Cat is nonetheless slightly better built here. It isn’t immediately noticeable, but if you have a closer look, you tend to notice the odd thing here and there.
Is it worth paying the extra for? I suppose it all depends on how and when you’re going to use it. For summer-I would say yes. For cold winter nights around the fishing pond? Maybe not so much.
3. Bfull Pop Up Beach Tent
It’s great to look out of the window and see the weather changing for the better, and with the Covid-19 vaccines starting to roll out, it’s not only the weather that looks brighter, but also the near future. Yes, we can finally start thinking about days at the beach again, laying in the sun, having a dip in the sea, and treating the kids to an ice-cream.
Speaking of kids, every parent knows how important it is to make sure their little ones don’t get too much of those UV rays, and I’m sure the beach bag will have more than a few bottles of sunblock in there, but if you’re looking for something to give an extra level of protection from the sun, you should take a good look at this Bfull pop-up beach tent.
Taking only a minute or two to pop into shape from its very compact, folded state, this Bfull tent is a great portable source of shade that is perfect for keeping your babies or younger children safe and giving them their own little zone to play in, out of the sun. Once unfolded and staked into the sand or earth, this pop-up tent stands at 55 inches tall and has a footprint of 43 inches. That’s obviously not big enough to camp out in, but it’s more than enough space to lay a young child in, or for an adult to sit inside with a baby in their arms.
The tent is made from 190T, silver coated fabric which provides a good balance of waterproofing and protection from insects, and the mesh back section allows for air to circulate, so there’s no stuffiness or uncomfortable stickiness.
The zippable front door can give you protection from blowing sand on windier days, and a little privacy if you want to change your kids’ clothes, or even for breastfeeding. It also folds down and doubles as a playmat, which is very handy.
This is a very lightweight pop-up tent, and strong winds can be a problem with these kinds of products, but thankfully, this one has pockets on each side that can be filled with sand and stones and act as anchors. We tested it out, and they worked just as intended.
The winds can sometimes cause the rear flaps to blow open too, but this only happened with very strong gusts, and wasn’t a huge problem. I have to say that this is a great addition to your beach kit if you have kids and well worth the price tag.
4. Zenph Pop Up Tent 2-3 Person
When I saw the advertising for the Zenph pop-up tent, where it says that you can just throw the tent in the air in the folded position and it will do all the hard work for you in a few seconds, you could say I was more than a little suspicious of the claims. How wrong I was. It does exactly that. You literally throw it, and it opens up for you, and then you spend less than a minute pegging it down. It is so fast and easy that you almost want to keep doing it.
Packing the tent away isn’t quite as easy as that, but it can still be achieved in a few minutes or so with a little practice, although the first few times can be frustrating. I suggest checking out youtube tutorial on how to do it at first.
This super-fast set up makes the Zenph pop-up tent a must buy for future festivals or backpacking trips. You can just throw the tent down anywhere, and be ready to get settled in for the night in no time at all. You would have thought that after being proved wrong on how easy the Zenph was to set up I would have learned my lesson, but no, I still had my doubts about the waterproof claims. Yet again, I was proved wrong. In a week’s worth of use, and with the help of an extra groundsheet I had in the cupboard, we were kept bone dry, even through a couple of light showers.
This tent provides good ventilation, thanks to its design and B3 gauze outlets, and I can see it being a great choice for summer camping trips. The main door is double layered, with one being a mosquito screen, so you can keep the air flowing at night without getting attacked by those mini-vampires.
Made from 150D Oxford cloth, the Zenph pop-up tent is durable and won’t tear in the wind, and the seams have all been well stitched to ensure it all holds together. I don’t know how well it would stand up to the British winter, but in my opinion, you’d have to be crazy to be camping out at that time of year anyway without a tent specifically designed for the colder weather.
For spring and summer use, this is an absolute cracking pop-up tent for two people who are in a hurry, or moving around a lot.
5. Zomake Pop Up Tent 2-4 Person
Another ‘throw-up-and-pop-up’ tent, this product from Zomake works just as well as the Zenph model when it comes to self-assembly, and is ready to use in as little as a minute.
At 240 x 180 x 100cm, this is a good-sized pop-up tent, and is very roomy inside, even with three adults in there. Of course, this does make the tent larger than some when in its folded state too, but when folded it is only an inch thick and weighs just over 2 kilograms so it is still highly portable.
The material used for the Zomake is 190T silver coated fabric, just like the BFull pop-up beach tent, and so it shares the same UV proof qualities. This fabric has been PU coated too, and this helps to keep the rain outside, and off you.
This tent is stronger than I expected, and on one of our nights in it, the wind kicked up considerably and it had me a bit worried, but I’m happy to say that the Zomake held up just fine. Featuring 2 doors and 2 windows, mesh sections on multiple sides, and also on the roof, this is one of the best ventilated tents I’ve ever used, and is sure to keep you cool on those hot summer days.
On the other side of the coin, this pop-up tent suffers from the same thing as the Zenph tent, it can be extremely hard to fold away the first few times you have a go at it, and I would recommend putting in some practice at home to get used to it before taking it out.
There is a trick to it, and it almost feels like it will break if you fold it in the direction that it actually needs to go, but once you get used to this, you can pack it down in about 5 minutes. Other than that, I couldn’t complain about the Zomake, and the sub-60 pounds price tag was just the icing on the cake.
6. Coleman Pop Up Tent Galiano
Coleman’s Galiano pop-up tent joins both the Zomake and Zenph products in the ‘fast as lighting to set up’ category. Literally seconds to pop into shape, and then a minute or so securing it down and that’s it. Of course, it also shares the awkward refolding process that takes a while to get used to, but that is inevitable with pop-up tents that have this design. Also like its competitors, when folded it is quite a large circular shape, but will easily fit in the boot of your car.
It is Marketed as a 2-4 man tent, but I would say only three adults or one adult and a few kids can realistically sleep comfortably there due to the shape. Having said that, the shape is very eye-catching and I have to admit that this is a very cool looking pop-up tent.
With mesh windows and ‘sunroof’ there is plenty of ventilation for those hot nights, but you can roll down the other layer if the weather suddenly changes. I didn’t get to test it in strong winds, and as there are only two guy lines, I am still a little dubious about how well it would hold up to a full gale. To be fair though, I doubt many pop-up tents would handle such weather, and they are mostly designed for fair weather use.
The Pu coated polyester material, that the majority of the tent is made from, is designed to be waterproof, offer excellent UV protection, and also fire retardant. Of course, during my time with it, I didn’t set it on fire to see how it handled it, so I’m only repeating the manufacturer’s claims in that regard. Still, the material did feel good quality, and durable.
The groundsheet in the Colemen Galiano is also made of PU coated polyester and does a good job of keeping the damp from the ground at bay. I wouldn’t recommend sleeping directly on the floor, but if you’re on a mattress or sleeping bag, you’ll be just fine.