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Top 4 Best Instant Tents of 2018

Best instant tent reviews 2018

Best-in-class
CORE 40008

CORE 40008 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent

Perfect for camping with friends

A generous footprint and plenty of storage space make this instant tent ideal for most purposes.

CORE 40008 Review

The CORE 40008 is one of the best instant tents on the market and is designed to accommodate up to nine adults and additional gear.

Ideal to use in all weathers, the tent boasts a durable 68D polyester construction with 600mm hydrostatic rating. The floor material is also impermeable and durable, keeping you dry even during a storm.

Another great feature is the large double door which provides easy access and promotes proper ventilation. Advanced vents draw the cool air in and push the hot air out while a removable rainfly also helps regulate temperature.

Boasting a 14×9 feet floor plan which is sufficient for up to 9 adults and additional gear, super-easy to assemble and great to use in all conditions, the CORE 40008 brings all you could wish from a best-in-class pick.

Best value
Coleman 2000016071

Coleman 2000016071 Signature Instant Cabin Double Hub Tent

Unrivalled value for money

A top-notch instant tent developed to withstand all weathers so you can enjoy all your outdoor adventures.

Coleman 2000016071 Review

If you’re looking for the right balance between value and money, the Coleman 2000016071 could be your best bet. This exceptional instant tent sleeps up to six adults, it takes minutes to erect and folds up in seconds.

Perhaps the best feature of this tent is the exclusive WeatherTec system designed to keep water out at both roof and floor level.

Sturdy and spacious, the tent is made from Coleman’s signature rugged Polyguard 2X fabric and boasts a footprint of 10×9 feet. Ideal to use in all settings, the tent also boasts innovative Illumiline reflective guy lines.

Like our best-in-class pick, this instant tent comes with a built-in rain fly and has enough interior room to fit two queen airbeds if you’re all about comfort. Lightweight, preassembled, and fully waterproof, the Coleman 2000016071 will be your faithful companion in your outdoor adventures.

Also great
CORE 40006

CORE Equipment 40006 4-Person Instant Dome Tent

Small but exceptional

A high-class instant tent easy to erect in just seconds and capable of protecting from rain.

CORE 40006 Review

Similar to our best-in-class pick but much smaller, the CORE 40006 is a 4-people instant tent designed for a fast 30-seconds set up and developed to keep moisture out and the interior dry even under heavy rain.

Withstanding days of precipitations, the tent is made from 100% polyester and features the Core H20 block technology which provides more effective protection against rain and morning dew.

The interior may look restricted but is spacious enough to accommodate four adults and additional gear. It is even possible to fit a queen air mattress in the tent, while the pockets, gear loft, and lantern hook add versatility.

A built-in electrical cord access port brings further value, and the D style door provides easy access. Compact yet roomy, easy to erect, and lightweight, the CORE 40006 is a great alternative for those who like to travel light.

Best budget
Coleman 2000018016

Coleman 2000018016 4-Person Instant Cabin

Budget-friendly instant tent

An instant tent ideal for the outdoorsy looking for affordable camping gear.

Coleman 2000018016 Review

Developed for a no-frills set up, the Coleman 2000018016 is a great alternative if you’re looking for a pocket-friendly 4-people tent.

Like our best-value pick, this tent boasts the innovative WeatherTec system with patented welded floors and inverted seams designed to keep rain and dew out of your sleeping space.

Ideal for camping and backpacking, this tent is made from thick double fabric and is reliable to use in all weathers. Furthermore, an integrated vented rainfly improves airflow, maintaining the temperature within a bearable range even when camping in extreme conditions.

Compact and lightweight, this tent is easy to carry, provides real protection against elements and boasts a sturdy construction, all at a more than affordable price.

2. Pop-up vs. instant tents

Two types of tents with very similar characteristics, the pop-up tents and the instant tents are often confounded. However, these two types of camping gear bear an important difference in the way they erect.

  • Pop-up tents: Also called fast-pitch tents, they simply “pop-up” on their own under the force of their elastic poles wanting to straighten out, requiring minimal action from your side.
  • Instant tents: Are also pre-assembled but they don’t just pop into shape when taken out of their package. However, their set up requires under five minutes even if you will have to aid the pre-attached poles to snap in place. Due to the structure of the poles, instant tents tend to be stronger and withstand harsher winds.

Why pick an instant tent?

Instant tents come with an important advantage compared to the pop-up design. The structure of the poles is similar to those of regular tent poles, and you will have to snap them in place to erect the structure. Their joints not only add strength, but they are easy to fix if they break. If the poles of a pop-up tent break in the middle of your trip, the only thing you can do is pack your gear and go back home.

Another difference regards the size of the tent. Pop-up tents are typically smaller, while the instant tents are more similar to the robust standard tents.

Besides this, instant tents have other benefits, such as:

  • They are lightweight and great for backpacking.
  • Most models have double walls; this design provides better condensation management. Pop-up tents typically have single walls.
  • They fold up more compactly compared to the pop-up variant.

3. Types of instant tents

There are two types of instant tents, cabin and dome.

  • Cabin instant tents: Have a squarer shape and straight walls which end with a traditional roof. This style is ideal for those who appreciate a little extra room even into a restricted environment. Most of these tents can accommodate at least one queen airbed, depending on their size.
  • Dome instant tents: Have a rounder shape which resembles an igloo. These tents offer a reduced headroom and an overall smaller sleeping space, but they tend to resist strong winds better. Fitting a big airbed in a dome tent might not always be possible, though.

4. Sleeping capacity

Instant tents come in various sizes, from small 2-people shelters to large structures that can accommodate 9 or more people.

However, there is no official standard to define what sleeping capacity per people means in terms of size. For this reason, some 2-people tents are large enough to fit three adults while others could seem more appropriate for just one individual.

How to assess sleeping capacity?

To make sure you get all the room you need, check the following variables against the stated sleeping capacity of the tent:

  • Number of people you want it to accommodate
  • The amount and overall size of additional gear you want to store in the tent
  • Additional occupants including small children and pets
  • Your sleeping habits (how much space you normally need for comfortable sleep)

If you don’t plan to store any gear in the tent and don’t mind sleeping in tight spaces, pick a shelter that matches your required sleeping capacity.

If you want to store additional gear, need a larger sleeping space, or need room for a young child or pooch, the best instant tent must have a capacity for one or two extra people than your required sleeping capacity.

5. Seasonality

The seasonality defines how suitable it is to use the tent in various climates or seasons. There are three types of instant tents to choose from:

  • Three-season tents: Perhaps the most popular choice, these tents are designed for use in temperate climates in the warmer season, from late spring to early fall. These shelters typically have large mesh vents that improve airflow and regulate the interior temperature, while some of the best three-season instant tents come with supplementary rainflies that create a stronger waterproof barrier against rain.
  • Extended-season tents: Designed to withstand harsher weather but not extreme lows, the extended-season instant tents are ideal to use from early spring to late fall and throughout the summer. This type of shelter has fewer vents and could become too warm in very hot weather.
  • Four-season tents: As their name suggests, these tents are designed to use in all seasons and are strong enough to withstand snow loads. Most four-season instant tents have a dome design and are made from heavier fabrics that protect against strong winds and precipitations. Most four-season tents have removable rainflies designed to fight condensation and regulate the temperature regardless of the weather.

6. Instant tent materials

When sleeping in an instant shelter, you can only rely on the tent’s fabric to keep you protected from the elements. Instant tents are typically made of nylon, canvas, or a combination of the two.

  • Nylon: Is perhaps the most popular material used in the production of camping gear due to its resistance to wear and tear. Polyester is the most common type of nylon employed in the construction of the instant tents due to its low maintenance, affordable cost, and durability. However, this material is not the most breathable and is not the best insulator.
  • Canvas: Made either of cotton or other natural fibers, is a great insulator and has good breathability, preventing moisture build-up. However, the canvas is typically bulkier, heavier, and has a lower resistance to rain than nylon.
  • Poly-canvas: Is a blend of polyester and cotton which brings the best of both worlds. This material is resistant to wear and tear, waterproof, and breathable. However, it is heavy and more expensive than polyester.

Which material to choose?

The best instant tents tend to be those made from thick polyester with a good waterproof rating. Manufacturers typically express both the thickness of the material and its waterproof capabilities in a formula consisting of numbers and letters. Here is an example:

  • 68D 600mm fabric

The first number and letter (68D) represent the thickness of the material expressed in Deniers, a unit that measures the material’s density based on the weight and length of the fiber. The higher the Denier number, the thicker and stronger the fabric.

The second number shows the pressure needed by a column of water to pass through the fabric. For instance, a 600mm fabric can sustain up to 600 millimeters of water on top of it before it leaks.

What waterproof rating do you need?

The best waterproof rating of a tent largely depends on how you intend to use the tent. Waterproof coating tends to reduce breathability, promoting the build-up of condensation. Some tents have a waterproof rating of or above 1,000mm, but you won’t necessarily need this much.

To compare the waterproof rating of a tent with an object we all use when it rains, an umbrella typically has a waterproof rating of only 420mm. Regarding your tent, a 600mm rating is sufficient in most instances.

7. What other features to consider?

  • Doors: The doors of your tent must provide easy access and close securely during the night. Zipper doors are preferred to those closing with Velcro.
  • Peak height: If you are tall or claustrophobic, consider investing in a tent with a generous peak height which creates the illusion of space. Cabin tents tend to have a more generous headroom than the dome style tents.
  • UV protection: Ultraviolet rays can pass through most fabrics and get you sunburns even when resting in the tent. If you mostly camp in areas exposed to the sun, pick a tent with UV shielding.
  • Power cord access port: Whether you want to power a small light bulb or recharge your mobile device, a power cord access port allows you to access a portable solar generator’s receptacles without hassle.
  • Stakes and anchors: These accessories can fix the tent to the ground and increase its resistance to winds.
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