You’re all about hitting the hiking trail, maybe camping out under the stars for a night or two, but who has the time to actually set up shop properly? You’re creative, so you know there’s another way. Luckily, you stumbled upon the blow-up tent super list here on Gear Hungry. Your passion and hobby shouldn’t have to wait; halve the time it takes to set everything up, all without inflating your budget. We’ve got a killer lineup, so without further ado, let’s just hop into the tent you’ll be using next weekend on that weekend retreat.
The Best Blow Up Tent
First off, we have our massive eight person tent by Wenzel. You’re given the ultimate view of nature through your mesh windows, while also getting a front awning to rest under, and watch the birds fly by. If you’re packing for a big group trip, or you’re finally bringing the big family along for the hiking and camping experience, you’ve just found your next purchase. We put this one at the top of our list for the killer value, quick setup time, and large floor area of ninety feet. That little exterior room has been known to get a bit of rain through the material; nothing that’s going to ruin your sleeping bag, but enough to be bothersome. All in all, it’s a stellar buy, and adds a center to your campsite without putting a hole in your wallet.
Designed to fit eight people comfortably
Mesh window covers prevent bugs from getting in
90 square foot floor area
- Weight27.3 pounds
Large front awning
Fifteen minute setup, tops
Exterior “room” allows light rainfall to penetrate
Even the legendary kings of the outdoors, Coleman, have taken to the inflatable tent craze. You get superior protection against the elements (not that we’d expect anything less from them), right on down to the wind-strong external frame, and the zipper protection sleeve that keeps rainwater where it belongs: outside of your tent. We’re sad to say that you’re not going to get any windows or an awning with this one, but you do get a sturdy domed roof that allows you to listen to the calming effects of the rain just roll off, and head downhill. Those who are sick of the egregious process of setup will be in heaven; it only took us eight minutes to go from flat to fantastic, and slip inside for a well-deserved nap. Coleman reminds us why they’re always on top with their domed tent, available in multiple sizes, depending on your usual party size.
Available in larger sizes (influences cost)
External frame is built to last against wind
Zipper protection prevents rainwater from sneaking in
Domed roof lets rain roll right off it
Eight minute setup time
No windows or awning
We don’t really know how to properly pronounce their brand name, but we do know how well this held up against Mother Nature during our test. Wnnideo Automatic Instant Blow-Up Tent won’t move for a windstorm; due to the domed construction and sturdy external skeleton, you’re able to withstand everything that comes your way. Advanced UV protection keeps the negative effects of the sun off you, while still allowing enough light to permeate to keep a joyous atmosphere. Automatic isn’t just a title; this is the fastest tent assembly on our list, with the least personal involvement required. We dare to say that you’ll actually have a good time setting this up. From the construction right on down to the price, this was a truly pleasant experience all around.
Built to handle some serious winds
Double doors on each side
Six mesh windows
- Weight8.8 pounds
Quickest setup on our list, hands down
Includes UV protection, while still allowing enough sunlight in to not be depressing
Marketed for 4-6; houses three comfortably, four squished
Three people, one tent; can you survive? The answer is yes, because this thing isn’t going anywhere. Heimplanet made this to withstand punctures, or enact a safety system if anything is to happen. You’ll be able to keep this pitched throughout the night, and endure the elements, from strong winds to heavy rainfall. There’s five run-offs to alleviate the rainwater from your roof. We were surprised at the quality, and shocked at the non-existent customer service. We’re sorry to say that if you go through this one, it’ll take some diligence to get a warranty fulfilled or get a response, something that they’re apparently working on. This is built for all-season, and weighs just under 11.0lbs, making it ideal for backpacking and hitting the side of the trail for the night.
Five run-offs so rainwater doesn’t collect
Built for three adults, no more
Lightweight at just under 11.0lbs
- Weight10.9 pounds
When they say all-season, they mean it
Integrated safety system that defends against punctures, and keeps the tent up regardless
If you do encounter issues, customer service is nowhere to be seen
We’ve heard of them before, but now, we put those rumors to the test. First and foremost, we’re going to tell you that waterproofing is fairly poor on this, so you’ll need to bring and additional rainfly or tarp to go over the top of it (it’s always good to have one packed just incase). You get a fast automatic setup time, averaging under five minutes, allowing you to set and forget while you unload the rest of the campsite. If you’re looking for a lightweight hiking tent, you’ve also met your match; HuiLingYang Instant Four-Person Tent comes in barely over eight pounds, and folds up nice and small. We’re big fans of finding the perfect medium between letting light in, and keeping the bugs out; they hit the mark with a good-sized mesh window to let you watch the stars at night, and laugh at the mosquitos trying to get in.
Designed to fit four people
Lightweight at 8.1lbs
Includes mesh windows for insect protection and star viewing at night
- Weight10.78 pounds
Fast automatic setup
Excellent price for this level of craftsmanship and quality
Waterproofing isn’t the best; bring additional measures
Kelty gave us an indoor feeling while out in the wilderness, providing us with a vestibule area. Epic nighttime viewing, while still feeling the protection and comfort of the tent. There’s some serious waterproofing capabilities here, from the covered zippers, right on down to the angled mesh windows along the side of the main sleeping chamber. We’re not thrilled about the price, or the fact that it’s another tent that markets for a higher occupancy number than it can comfortably fit, but for the right trio, this could be your new go-to tent for every camping and hiking trip. Kelty isn’t an automatic process, but doesn’t take more than two to three minutes with a hand-pump or foot pump.
Sturdy construction build to last against wind and rain
Vestibule for nighttime viewing before ducking into the internal chamber
- Weight25.9 pounds
Quick pop-up process
Waterproof zippers and mesh windows on sides
Marketed to fit four; only fits three
Vango nearly peaked the list, but due to a known shipping error where they send out the wrong tent (even though they’re happy to replace it), we couldn’t put them near the top. However, we also couldn’t not mention this killer tent, especially since we got the right one on the first try. This is said to fit six people, and miraculously, it actually does. Thanks to the angled air pole construction, you’re able to enjoy the roomy height, and sprawl out without kicking each other. One little feature that people don’t think about, is cleaning the tent afterwards before stowing it away again. They made this easy with the quick-clean groundsheet, allowing you to feel comfortable at every point of your outdoor excursion.
Simple-to-clean groundsheet before packing up at the end of your trip
Angled poles give you more internal height
Contours to the land exceptionally well
- Weight36.2 pounds
Actually fits six people, as marketing suggests
High waterproofing from the 70D polyester flysheet
Known shipping error where they ship the conventional tent; be wary
Coleman doesn’t mess around, not even a little. This massive tent is your new home in the outdoors. Winner of the 2016 Camping Magazine Editor’s Choice Awards, the pioneered Blackout Bedrooms feature allows you to enjoy your rest, even at high noon when the sun’s shining. It blocks out 99% of all sunlight, allowing you to sleep, but leaving you fumbling when you reach for the door. It’s a heavy bastard, weighing nearly 41.0lbs, making it frustrating to roll-out and set up. Once you get it positioned, you’ll have a fairly quick setup time. If the sticker doesn’t shock you to bits and pieces, you’ll be able to enjoy countless summers for decades to come. Coleman doesn’t compromise on quality or customer service. Make sure you also check our guide to the best beach tents for more great tents like this.
Comes with everything you need to set up
Blackout Bedrooms to sleep and beat the heat, even after sunrise
Fits up to six adults
This is going to stand up to rain, wind, and hellfire
Quick setup considering the massive size
Weighs nearly 41.0lbs in total
Vango wants to be your only tent, and they built this in direct response to Coleman’s tent right above this one. Family camping doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you get a darker fabric to cancel out morning light, letting you get that much-deserved beauty rest on a Sunday morning. You’re going to want to evacuate by noon, because it’s going to heat up on the inside. You get a fire retardant fabric construction, so no worries there, but you’re not going to be happy waking up in your own sweat if you decide to take a nap in the middle of the day. Minutes to set up, excellent floor space, and a haven for the kids to crawl around in and have the time of their life. What more could you ask for?
Fire retardant fabric construction
Excellent floor space
Actually houses up to six people, as the marketing suggests
- Weight31.8 g
Only takes about ten minutes to set up
Darker fabric minimizes annoying first light
Main chamber gets very hot during the day
Last but not least, we have a different kind of pop-up tent. Toss this down, and the collapsible aluminum rod skeleton builds this tent from the ground up. The only issue is, when it’s time to put it away, it’s a hassle to get it back down to a compact size. We’re big advocates for proper UV protection, so when your tent comes with an added layer for preventing skin damage from the sun, we get pretty hyped-up about it. G4Free Large Pop-Up Tent still made the list, bit hit the bottom because the waterproofing isn’t all too spectacular. Light rain is okay, and after that, not so much. If you’re looking for a lightweight tent that cuts down on your assembly time (to virtually nothing), G4Free is your budget-friendly go-to.
K-Oxford fabric construction
PE floor material; easy to clean, no sleeping in the dirt
Only weighs 4.4lbs
- Weight1.78 Kg
Just toss it down, and it assembles on its own
Comes with an anti-UV coating
Takes a while to collapse properly
Water resistance only applies to light rainfall at best
Blow-Up Tent Buying Guide and FAQs
If you’re still a bit uncertain about what to pick, we’ve answered some hot-button questions below, and expanded on our process of how we selected this top list of the perfect pop-up tents. From single use to having family in mind, you’re making an investment in your outdoor activity, and the last thing you want is to have a lapse in enjoying Mother Nature. Read on, inform yourself, and double-back to grab one of the best picks in the world off our list.
How we Chose Our Selection of Blow-Up Tents
This was probably the most fun testing phase we’ve ever had. We set up at noon on a big campsite, and can personally attest to how easy it is to set these up, and knock ‘em down. We used the following criteria to make our decisions, and had a blast while doing it.
- How much we felt the ground through the bottom layer
- Total inflation time
- Total deflation time
- Sun penetration through exterior materials
- Weight when deflated
- Ability to withstand winds (we used a huge fan to test this)
- Ventilation with rainfly open
- Quality of awning
- Total occupants
- Cost versus value
In case you didn’t know, we’re outdoor folks, and these tents became staples in our outdoor excursions from this point onward. In our final decision, we also took warranty policies into consideration, understanding full well that these are subjective reviews based on our experiences, but may not be the same for you. If you’re not feeling it, be sure to check out your warranty and money-back guarantee information, and cash in on that.
Features to Look For in Blow-Up Tents
Size - How many can it hold? How much does it take up when deflated? Each of these tents are available on Amazon, displaying specific dimensions in both states, allowing you to plan ahead.
Material - In general, you’re going to see blends of polyester and PU waterproofing materials, giving you some breathability, while still keeping the rain and bugs out. You’ll also see mesh for rainflies and windows.
Stability - How are they going to hold up in the wind, or just from rough-housing? We talk about these versus conventional tents in a few moments, but wanted to stress that these are built to withstand the elements the same way that your normal tents have been doing.
Weight - Air tubes mean there’s more material to go around. Depending on the size and add-ons (awning, secondary room, etc.), you’re going to hit higher weights. Our #5 pick only weights 8.1lbs, but our top pick weighs a lot more at 27.3lbs. Occupants, add-ons, and materials used all play into the weight. Just be certain you have the storage space on your way to the trail.
Quality - Heavily reliant on the materials and air tube construction, the quality is going to display itself every time you open your inflatable tent. You’ll be able to hear it, meaning there’s nothing for it to hide behind. If there’s an issue, you’re going to know on the first few uses, allowing you to utilize that warranty policy.
Durability - If it’s not durable, then what’s the point in buying it? Blow-up tents received some bad press in their pioneering days, which is precisely why we took a backseat until the bugs were all worked out. The durability heavily relies on the materials used, and common sense when using in a big group. The right blow-up tent should last you for years.
Blow-Up Tent FAQ
Q: What is a Blow-Up Tent?
A: Thanks to modern air inflating technology, you’re able to just pop-up a tent anywhere. You get air-based internal poles, making it far easier to set up shop than ever before. You’ll still have to drive the stakes into the ground, so we believe, in our experience, that the work time and frustration of setting up a tent is cut directly in half. These are also much easier to deflate and simply stow away than a regular tent. No more searching for that one collapsible pole that got away, out of fear that packing up the tent without finding it is going to tear a hole in the fabric. These are built to last, and designed for convenience.
Q: Which is Better: Blow-Up Tent, or Conventional Tent?
A: We all grew up on conventional tents, but it’s not too late to make the switch. This is a quick comparison between the two types, focusing on a few major points that your tent should be able to hold up against
Extreme weather is going to tear into an inflatable tent easier than a traditional, but you’re smart enough to check the weather forecast before hitting the campsite, right? Inflatable tents still hold up well in windy weather, but if strong gusts are flying by, you’ll notice the roof start to slope a bit from the inside, and give a general uncomfortable feeling. On this note, we feel like conventional won.
If you’re not crazy about setup time, you’re about to convert to a blow-up tent kind of guy. Ever notice that all sitcom cliches end with the one guy getting to set up the tent, while everyone else does everything else and finishes before them? Yeah; nobody likes setting up the tent, but with a blow-up model, it’s a lot easier. We also find it easier to stake it into the ground.
Blow-up tents also allow you to bring the whole family, because they generally house a lot more folk. For instance, our top pick, the Wenzel Klondike tent, gives you the ability to comfortably house eight people. Try setting up a traditional tent to house that many, and you’ll quickly find yourself in a heated debate with the “expert” friend of yours who says you’re doing it wrong, and refuses to help properly. Take the hassle out of family or general group camping trips.
Most of these come with awnings to beat the heat, which comes in handy if you have a less-than-enthusiastic tag along, like your nephew’s obscure friend who says he’s allergic to the sun or something. It gives you a place to store the cooler, as well, so the ice from the hotel doesn’t all melt as the exterior heats up. (Although, if you wanted to check out the best coolers ever, we’ve covered those as well.)
Q: Will My Tent Just Deflate on its Own?
A: Most of these brands are going to stress the durability of their stitching, but know that it’s not just stitching that’s keeping the air inside the tubes. For most of these models, there’s a skeleton model of air tubes, and then the exterior layer. The tight stitching is to amplify and double-down on the build quality, so you won’t have to worry about the elements getting in, and potentially popping the skeleton air tube frame.
Q: Can I Get an Automatic Pump?
A: It’s going to be cheaper to grab a normal bicycle pump, because you’re not filling up an aero mattress or anything. These use very little amounts of air, because they’re not filling each individual rod, they’re just acting as aluminum supports do in conventional tents. You can get an automatic pump, but unless you have other items you’re going to use it on, we think it’d be a waste of money. One small bike pump, or a foot pedal pump, and you’ll be good to go when it comes time to setting up.
Q: Are Inflatable Tents Family-Friendly?
A: Absolutely. If you’re worried about deflation and the kiddos getting hurt, don’t worry; it’s not like a deflating bouncy castle. Even in the worst-case scenario, there are mesh windows and multiple doors (on most models), not to mention the nylon or polyester build that doesn’t suffocate or suck all the oxygen out of a deflating tent. These are perfectly safe and family-friendly, even to the point that we’d say you could leave junior in charge of setting up and packing away the tent at the end of your stay.