The Truth About Pop Up Tents Exposed (What, How and Why Explained!)

If you’ve seen the current fad toward pop up tents and are considering buying one, there are some very solid reasons why you should reconsider.

Are pop up tents any good? 

While pop up tents may seem very convenient, in reality, they are flimsy and are not meant for many types of elements. They are also cumbersome, heavy, and are prone to springing leaks.

I am a big fan of camping, as many of you know. There are few things better than pitching a tent and spending a night (or hopefully more!) in the great outdoors, with little shelter between myself and the elements.

But even I draw the line at certain things, and a pop up tent is one of them. Honestly, I’d rather sleep outdoors with no shelter than deal with a pop up tent. And – if you’re looking for one of the little ones to use on the beach, I’m even less impressed. Let me explain my reasons why.

Here is the Truth (Exposed!) About Pop Up Tents

Tents have come a long way.

Gone are the days of being a cumbersome, canvas military shelter that was only used for times of great need, and by people who had no other choice than to sleep inside them for a small bit of warmth, shelter, and safety.

Tents today are purchased as much for want than they are for need. Recreational camping has become one of America’s favorite past times, and for good reason.

Tent camping is a fun and inexpensive hobby that is easy to do with the whole family, or a good group of pals. It can also be a way of life for some, as tent living has also been increasing in the last few years. 

And whether you camp 200 miles away from home up the side of a mountain, or pitch a tent 200  feet from your refrigerator in your own backyard, camping in a tent has become increasingly easy in recent years. 

Tent designers and manufacturers have continued to think of their customers and create products that meet all of our needs…from tents that have their own porticos on the outside to tents that have pockets on the inside, it seems as though there is nothing that tent manufacturers haven’t thought of.

That said, sometimes a good thing becomes more than a good thing. Sometimes it can be taken too far.

In my opinion, this is the case of the pop up tent.

The idea is great – let’s make a tent that is so lightweight, so inexpensive, so durable, and so easy to set up that people everywhere will be clamoring for it.

Whether they want to use it on the beach as a sun shade, or take it on a cross-country backpacking trip as their main source of shelter, the pop up tent will be able to serve a diverse group of people’s needs.

The problem is this.

Being able to be the most lightweight, most inexpensive, most durable, and most easy to set up is probably not possible. 

In fact, it’s pretty much impossible. 

There are some terrific tents on the market today. Many of them are lightweight, reasonably priced, durable, and don’t take too much effort to set up.

But none of them claim to be perfect at all these things. They will all end up sacrificing a bit in one area to make up for it in the next.

Let’s explore some of the reasons that a pop up tent is probably not going to be your best purchase, regardless of what you are planning to use it for.

1. Pop Up Tents are Too Flimsy

Probably the biggest downside to pop up tents is why the designers and manufacturers thought they were such a good idea in the first place. 

Pop up tents were created to be assembled quickly and easily. With no other equipment needed to get them up (like poles or ropes) they seem to be the perfect type of tent for an effortless day at the beach, or a night in a campground.

But to be honest, the opposite is true. Most pop up tents are not designed to deal with much of anything that Mother Nature might throw at them.

Yes, they are lightweight, but their materials often mean that they will not stay put when the weather gets a bit extreme, or when a full-on storm blows in.

Truth is, they often don’t last for more than a season, especially if they are used in areas where the weather tends to be more problematic and you are more than likely going to get caught in a storm or two.

2. Pop Up Tents are Too Hard to Carry

Another definite downside to a pop up tent is the fact that these types of tents are not exactly easy to carry.

The basic construction of a pop up tent is usually in the form of a cylindrical stored shape.

This means that – when you go to assemble a pop up tent, they literally pop up! when you remove them from the storage container they are being held in. 

The quick pop up is great…but that style of storage is not exactly easy to carry. 

The diameter of the cylindrical shape tends to be pretty thin, but wide, making it ideal for storing flat but not so easy to cart around when you have limited space.

Not only that, but a typical pop up tent is also a challenge to disassemble.

It seems like it would be easy, right? The entire tent is only one piece, and there are no polls, tent pegs, or ropes to have to contend with.

But where the problem lies is that a pop up tent is meant to be so compactible, it’s not always easy to get it back into its original packaging.

3. Pop Up Tents Are Not Waterproof

Finally, one of the biggest reasons that pop up tents are not an ideal alternative to regular tents – especially when you may be out in the elements for awhile – is that most of them are not waterproof.

Some may claim that they are water-resistant. 

But, even then, you may want to think twice about taking a pop up tent out into any sort of extreme elements.

If you are planning a day at the beach, and just want to use your pop up tent for some sun protection and shade…it may be a perfectly reasonable option for you at that moment.

But – if you are hoping to use your pop up tent as your source of shelter and/or protection while out on a three-day backcountry backpacking trip, it’s not going to provide you with the level of comfort or shelter that a regular pup tent would.

Pop up tents may have their place in the great outdoors…but they will not make for the best option when considering what sort of tent to invest in for quality, durability, and long-term use.

Key Takeaways

  • Tent camping is a fun and inexpensive hobby for many Americans, and the options for various types of tents just continue to grow as more people become interested.
  • Pop up tents have grown in popularity, but there are many critics that believe they are not nearly as good as other types of tents…and may even be a waste of your hard-earned money.
  • Here is the truth about pop up tents exposed – pop up tents are flimsy and are not meant for many types of elements, pop up tents are cumbersome for people to carry, pop up tents don’t provide people much space, and should only be used in certain circumstances.

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