Do you hate setting up and packing down your tent? Trying to simultaneously connect both ends of your tent poles, clipping the fly onto the poles, and banging pegs into rocky ground isn’t much fun. In this article, I compare the best instant up tents in Australia, to let you know which one is right for you.
Instant tents (also known as instant up tents, fast pitching tents or quick erect tents) make setup fast and easy by having the tent poles already pre-attached to the tent itself.
As each instant tent range comes in a variety of sizes, I have based my comparison and reviews on the 4P variety to keep things consistent where possible. Unfortunately, the OZtrail Lumos Fast Frame range does not come in a 4P variety.
I list the varieties available for each range at the end of each of the product reviews.
Coleman Instant Up 4P Silver Series Evo
OZtrail 4 Person Fast Frame Tent
Coleman Northstar Lighted Dark Room
OZtrail Lumos 6 Person Fast Frame
4.75 ★ (see 34 reviews at Snowys)
5 ★ (see 2 reviews at Snowys)
Best Instant Tents Australia
Coleman Instant Up 4P Silver Series Evo Tent
This is one of the most popular quick erect tents in Australia. Many, many people have been commenting on just how simple it is to set up and pack away this tent.
It comes with all of the standard features that you would expect, such as mesh windows for ventilation, internal storage pockets and the like. An awning is a pretty standard feature of instant tents, and the Coleman Instant Up range is no exception. I really appreciate the extra shade and room to store your gear.
It is a remarkably sturdy, solid tent that will hold up well in a variety of weather conditions.
As is common with instant tents, it is quite heavy at 12.7kg.
It comes in 4P and 6P varieties and has a 1 year warranty.
OZtrail 4 Person Fast Frame Tent
The 4 Person Fast Frame Tent is OZtrail’s recent response to the Coleman Instant Up range. These two are remarkably similar, both coming in at $249. The main difference is that the OZtrail tent is 1.7kg lighter and comes with a 2 year rather than a 1 year warranty.
However, while the Coleman Instant Up range has been around for a long time and is highly trusted, the OZtrail Fast Frame range is relatively new. It’s difficult to know if some issues will emerge down the track.
On the surface though, it seems like an excellent option and the fact that it comes with a 2 year warranty rather than the Coleman’s 1 year warranty is a positive sign. The other OZtrail tent ranges are highly regarded in Australia, and there is no reason to suggest that this range will be any different.
It comes in 4P, 6P and 10P varieties.
Coleman Northstar Instant Up 4 Lighted DarkRoom Tent
Best Blackout Instant Tent
The Coleman Instant Up DarkRoom Tent comes with all of the features of the regular Coleman fast pitching range, plus a number of extras that really allow you to camp in comfort.
The sun-blocking technology is a favourite of mine. We all know how bright (and hot) most tents get once the sun comes up. With this unit, however, 95% of the sunlight is blocked out, meaning that you can sleep in as late as you like. The kids also won’t be waking you up as soon as the sun comes up.
Strip lighting inside the tent means that you won’t be operating in darkness during the day or night.
The exterior is high quality and fit for a wide variety of conditions. It has a 3,000mm waterproof rating, so you can sleep peacefully without worrying about leakage.
Like other quick erect tents, it sets up in just a few minutes.
The main drawbacks of this unit are the hefty 16.8kg weight, and the $400 price tag.
It comes in 4P, 6P, 8P and 10P varieties.
OZtrail Lumos 6 Person Fast Frame Tent
Best Alternative to the Coleman DarkRoom
As you might have expected, OZtrail have recently come up with their own answer to Coleman’s DarkRoom tent.
It is very similar to the Coleman product, with sunlight blocking technology on the tent fly and interior lighting. The interior LED lighting can be completely controlled via one of two touch panels, located inside and outside the tent. The lighting runs off either D cell batteries or a USB battery pack.
As with the Coleman product, it has fantastic 3,000mm waterproofing which will keep you dry no matter what.
The OZtrail product is considerably larger, being a 6 person rather than a 4 person tent. However, it costs more, so you’ll have to weigh up whether the additional warranty is worth the price increase.
Also remember that it is still a relatively new product, so it is difficult to know how it will hold up to continuous long term usage.
Instant Tents vs. Pop Up Tents - What’s the Difference?
Instant tents speed up the tent erection process by pre-attaching the tent poles to the tent. The tent poles are initially collapsed, but you can simply lift the frame into place, fully extend the poles and they will then automatically lock into place. This gives the tent a sturdy, rigid structure.
Pop up tents, on the other hand, do not have any tent poles whatsoever, and can be set up by simply pulling the tent out of its bag. The tent has already been carefully folded in such a way that it will ‘spring’ into shape once it is free from the bag.
This makes them lighter and even faster to set up than instant tents, but they can be difficult to pack away, as they need to be folded up in a specific way to fit back into their bag.
Pop up tents are typically smaller, as they don’t have the structural integrity afforded by an actual pole-supported frame.
If you think that a pop up tent would suit you better than an instant tent, check out my article on the best pop up tents Australia.
What To Consider When Buying An Instant Tent?
Before you go rushing out to buy your camping tent, consider the following important factors.
What Size Tent Do You Need?
Remember that the number in the tent name refers to the sleeping capacity of that tent. Most 4 person tents can’t actually comfortably sleep 4 adults. They can either sleep 2 adults and 2 children, or 3 adults comfortably.
If you have a lot of gear or bags that need storing in the tent, take this into consideration too. Consider upgrading to a larger tent if you think that you will need the space.
Having a decent ceiling height on your tent is important too. A high ceiling will let you stand up while in your tent (useful for getting changed), and will also make it feel much roomier and spacious.
Weight is especially important for instant up tents. Because they come with a stronger frame with pre-attached poles, they weigh much more than conventional tents. For this reason, they aren’t suitable if you need to carry them long distances from your vehicle.
Some tents are more suitable for certain weather conditions than others. This is typically expressed with the ‘season rating’. 2 and 3 season tents tend to be for mild to moderate weather, whereas 4 season tents are suitable for use even in cold conditions.
Storms are unpredictable in Australia, with sudden, unexpected downpours very common. You don’t want to be woken up at night with water dripping on your face, so make sure that you choose a tent with a decent waterproof rating.
Ratings range from 1,000mm (the lowest rating that is considered waterproof), all the way up to 10,000mm. Camping tents with sunlight blocking technology naturally have thicker outer flies, so they are also more waterproof.
We all know how brutal and unforgiving the Australian sun can be. Tents can act as greenhouses, trapping in hot air. Make sure that your unit has some vents and windows to let the hot air escape, otherwise you’ll be in for a hot and sweaty evening.
As we all know, tent setup and pack down is not the most enjoyable aspect of camping. Thankfully, all of the ones in this article can be set up in literally a few minutes.
A warranty lets you sleep easy knowing that your purchase is covered if it is defective in any way. It is also a good sign that the manufacturer has faith in the quality of their product, and that they stand behind this quality.
Poor build quality means a painful tent setup experience, higher risk of accidental damage, as well as frustrating and flimsy pegs, poles or zippers.
Cheaper camping tents naturally have poorer build quality, as the manufacturers save on material to keep costs low. You can rest assured that the ones I have recommended in this article are those with decent build quality only.
Depending on what you plan on doing, extra features such as those below may be entirely unnecessary, or absolutely essential:
- Sunlight blocking can keep your tent nice and dark beyond the crack of dawn. This lets you and the kids sleep in as much as you like.
- Awnings add shade around your tent, keeping it cool and giving you a place to store gear out of the sun. Awnings usually don’t hold up well in strong winds, so don’t leave them up if you will be away from your tent for a while. All of the tents in this article come with awnings.
- Rather than trying to attach lanterns or torches to your tent, built in lighting can make it easy to find whatever you are looking for. It is also great for playing games inside at night or if there's poor weather.
The Coleman Instant Up Silver Series range and the OZtrail Fast Frame range are my picks for the best instant tents Australia. They are both outstanding options with good value for money and great build quality.
They are both very similarly priced, although the OZtrail range is lighter and comes with a 2 year warranty rather than a 1 year warranty. However, this range from OZtrail is quite new and has not yet stood the test of time. On the other hand, OZtrail generally produces excellent tents and there is no indication that these ones will be any different.
The Coleman Instant Up range however, has been tried and tested by thousands of Aussies and found to be superb.
If you have a bigger budget and would like some extra features like more waterproofing, sunlight blocking, and interior lighting, check out the Coleman Lighted DarkRoom range or the OZtrail Lumos Fast Frame range.
If all of these options are a little too expensive for you, feel free to check out my list of the best cheap tents!
I hope that you have enjoyed this list! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.
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Note that while every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this page, there may sometimes be errors. Check all specifications with the manufacturer before purchasing any product.