The Fast Pitch Tent Vs The Instant Tent: How Fast Is Too Fast?


Fast Pitch Tent Vs Instant Tent

Fast pitch tent vs Instant tent – which will emerge as your winning pick? It’s a great question to consider since the line of difference between the two is a little unclear.

Camping in the great out-doors is increasingly becoming one of the most popular outdoor activities today. Deviations from traditionally pitched tents like the fast-pitch tent and the instant tent are the result of companies finding ways to meet a growing demand for easier camping activities: less time-consuming, and more enjoyable.

Putting up a tent is one of the most time-consuming activities on a camping expedition. Unless you were at a scouts camp, where precision, survival, and hard work were being instilled into you, tent-pitching need no longer be the time-consuming process it once used to be. Tent manufacturers have revolutionized ‘tenting’ through such offerings as the ‘fast-pitch’ tent and the ‘instant-tent’.

It is obvious from the names of the products that these tents are meant to save time. Campers don’t have to go through the hassle of erecting unco-operative poles, wrestling with cumbersome guy-lines or stretching yards of protective fabric into a tent.

But, is there a difference between the fast-pitch tent and the instant tent?

Fast pitch Tent vs Instant Tent: What’s the difference?

Contrary to the popular belief that these terms are interchangeably used, there is a minor difference between the fast-pitch tent and the instant tent which could become a deciding factor when you are out tent-shopping.

In a nutshell, quick-erect/fast-to-pitch/instant-up tents usually come with pre-attached poles that either lock or hinge into place, usually mirroring an umbrella mechanism. Depending on the tent-dimensions and accessories these can be put up with relative ease and speed compared to the traditional tent. Set-up time usually takes between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on the size of the tent.

The instant tent, on the other hand, is a true testament to the current generation’s need to minimize sweating the small stuff. The instant tent, also called the pop-up tent is self-explanatory: you unwrap it and throw it into the air and it springs into a full-blown tent. It really doesn’t get any easier than this!

As a camper who knows he/she is not going the traditional route, your next step is to zero in on the kind of tent that would suit your needs – will you go the fast-pitch route, or the instant set-up way? What should you look for in a tent? What should your major deciding factor be?

Buying a tent will have you looking at more than just a few factors. In fact, if your research is faulty, your camping experience may well be ruined by a bad tent purchase.

Here are the major factors you need to consider when buying a tent:

  1. Tent size or capacity

Whether you decide on the fast-pitch tent or the instant tent, the number of people you have with you, and, therefore the size of the tent needs to be one of the first things you consider when zeroing in on the perfect fit. Will you be traveling alone or with your family, or friends? Will children be involved in the camping expedition? All these factors will require a different tent-size to ensure that space is adequate for all your camping activities.

  • Tent height

This might sound similar to the size of the tent, but the height of the tent may vary, depending on manufacturer, and so two different tents that may be able to comfortably accommodate a certain number of people may vary in tent height significantly. If you will be looking for enough room to stand and move around inside your tent, this will be an important deciding factor for you.

The above two features depend on you as the camper. The following points will have to be considered in the light of where you are going to camp and what weather you will be expecting.

  • Ventilation

Ventilation inside your temporary home is a very big consideration when you’re camping in the great put-doors. Poor ventilation could have you sweating profusely in an oven-hot tent or freezing uncontrollably in a droughty, flimsy one. So consider the kind of ventilation you will need, depending on the kind of place you will be camping at.

  • Ease of set-up/Use

This may really be one of the first factors you consider when you’re buying a tent. It’ll help you choose between the traditional tent vs fast pitch tent vs instant tent. Each of these come with their own set of pros and cons.

  • Shape of the tent

Interestingly, this is related to the previous point. But did you know that even the shape of a tent lends to its purpose. This will give you an idea about how important even the smallest considerations are when buying a tent.

The traditional tent can be described as an A shape. The number of shapes and sizes available on the market is mind-boggling! There are cabin tents, tube tents, tunnel tents, domes, canopies, teepee tents, hammock tents, and a host of other varieties to choose from.

Each of these serve their own purpose. For example, most fast-pitch tents are cabin tents that house families with kids or groups of friends in fair weather conditions. Dome-shaped tents on the other hand, are usually pop-up tents that can be carried into places where there may not be much floor space. They could also serve as a kid’s play area in the backyard, or a festival tent, where space and ease of set-up are important.

  • Durability

Will you be camping on rough terrain or in bad weather? Campsites that might face strong winds or sudden rains will require shelter that is durable and dependable, especially if you are travelling with kids.

  • Portability

Now here’s a factor that many people will consider very important. Regular tents, fast-pitch tents as well as instant pop-up tents will give very different points in the ease of portability category. Each of these fold up and zip into carriers in very different ways and may factor highly in your final decision.

  • Other features to consider

Interestingly, tents also feature accessories and features that will amplify the bang you get on every buck you spend. Going back to considerations of size, ventilation, and strength, you can choose tents that come with double or single doors, those that have mesh openings or windows at various positions in the tent, extra protection from the rain, extra space for storage, extra rooms for privacy, power outlets and even floor protection, or ventilation.

Fast pitch tents vs Instant tents: A comparison

On a head-to-head comparison, the instant tent definitely scores over the fast-pitch tent in terms of ease of assembly. While one ‘pops up’ into action, the other needs minor assembly and may need practice before the camper gets used to handling and putting into place. There is one point for the instant tent!

While assembly may be easy in an instant tent, dismantling may be another story, depending on the kind of tent you purchase. Fast-pitch tents usually require nothing more than reversing the set-up process.

Here’s another big factor to consider: stability. The instant tent can only be considered an easy-to-set-up option for frequent trips to the beach, for a short weekend getaway, or as a children’s play area. It may not be suitable for extended trips, or rough weather.

Further, the instant tent springs into place on its own, minimizing its dependence on the camper’s skill. But the need for the camper to follow a mechanism to put up a fast-pitch tent depends a lot on the skills he/she possesses. Wrong assembly could potentially damage a fast-pitch tent.

The instant tent loses another point to the fast-pitch tent in terms of cost. There is a difference in the price of both, with the instant tent being more costly than its counterpart.

Finally, the fast-pitch tent may be more durable than the instant tent, again depending on the brand you are looking at.

At the end of this consideration, you may be tempted to think that you need to steer clear of instant pop-up tents. But do remember that needs vary depending a lot of factors and that you need to make a decision based on your specific needs.

Fast-pitch vs Instant tents: The best brands

In the following section, we are going to look at some of the best fast-pitch and instant tents in the market.

It is important to note, once again, that the ‘best’ is a very subjective term. Every camping trip comes with its own set of needs, depending on a number of factors. It may be that even the best tents may not tick every single box, but the majority of the following will give you a great experience, nonetheless.

With the way camping has developed into an ‘every-man’s’ activity, manufacturers have succeeded in coming up with numerous variations and concepts in the ‘portable home’ industry. There is such a variety of sizes, shapes, functions and details to choose from that it is almost impossible not to come away with something that will answer to your needs. Let’s look at some of the biggest names in the industry and examine a few of their best offerings:



The Coleman Group

seems to be the biggest (or best known) name in the portable home making industry, and they are certainly one of the oldest. The size and range of their products demand a mention in this article. We will be looking at some of their best instant tents, as well as their fast-pitch varieties.


 1. Coleman 2-person/4-person Pop Up Tent Galiano

As with most pop-up or instant tents, this little guy is great for the time it saves on assembly and removal. It has received great customer reviews about the functionality of the product, the great packaging, quick delivery and timely response from the company. It also scores plus points on affordability.

The Coleman 4-person pop-up will comfortably accommodate two adults, with enough extra space to move about. Yes, it does overstate the capacity by a bit, and you would be wise to go slightly bigger than what the manufacturers recommend as the capacity of this product.

Both products are lightweight, yet sturdy enough to withstand the elements. Its clever design performs well in windy weather and the 100% water-proof system will keep you dry in wet weather. The sturdy flooring enhances the water-proof feature. Great ventilation will minimize condensation and keep everyone warm and dry throughout the night. What’s more the meshed skylight feature will give you a wonderful star-gazing experience.


Customers did mention that it is to be set up with the doors zipped shut, so that the zippers don’t catch in the fabric. Also, the dismantling process will have to be researched and practiced at least once before-hand. But once you get the hang of that, it’ll be a cinch.   




  • 2. Coleman 2/4 person Sundome Tent

This product has been voted best by a number of customers. It is a fast-pitch tent that requires minimal assembly, and can be up and working with just a few tweaks. If you’re a beginner, it may be wise to carefully read instructions and watch a few video tutorials before you pitch-up and dismantle the tent.

            The 4-person Sundome will perform extremely well as a family tent, as well as for couples or individuals, if you like the extra space. Many experts have given it extra points for the surprisingly good quality and make of the product for the price you are paying.

Though not a great option for winter, or extreme-weather camping, the Sundome is rated a great 3-season tent and is more water-resistant than similar products. It is also oriented to be wind-resistant, and has received great reviews for its resistance power.

Ventilation is another plus-point on this product. It comes with large windows and comes with an optional additional ground vent. Most Coleman tents come with a secure rainfly that has been successfully tested against the rain.


The roomy interior and added accessories like the E-port mean that you are getting the best bang for your buck with the Coleman Sundome.


Fast Pitch Tent Vs Instant Tent - Coleman 2/4 person Sundome Tent



  • 3. Coleman Octagon 98 8-Person Outdoor Tent

Our final Coleman entry is the biggest in this list. If you and your family, or group like a lot of space, the Coleman Octagon 8-person tent may be just the thing for you. Do keep in mind, though, that 8 is stretching capacity to the max. This fast-pitch tent goes up in just a few minutes, which, considering its size and weight is pretty amazing. The color-coded system makes the set-up “idiot-proof”, as one customer put it.


As with other offerings, the Octagon is weather-proof, to an extent, though it may be worth the extra few bucks to invest in a full-fly version, rather than the half-fly version. The full-fly version covers the tent fully, providing better weather-insulation, has a handy hinged door, and also better ventilation because of the bigger size and number of windows. 

Fast Pitch Tent Vs Instant Tent - Coleman Octagon 98 8-Person Outdoor Tent

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