Are you sick of showing up at campsite and messing around with frustrating tent poles and instructions?…

Do you want to be that person that rocks up to a campsite and looks like they know exactly what they’re doing?…

Do you want less set up and pack time and more time to relax and have fun?…

Then read on campers, you’ve come to the right place

Today I’ll be going over the three types of easy set up tents and showcasing some of the best in their range and I’ve provided a bonus section at the end giving you a run down on an increasingly popular shelter you may have come across before; the “Swag” (Bedrolls on ‘roids) and I’ll show you four of my favourites ranging from a single, entry level type swag through to the increasingly in demand Double Swag

 

FAST PITCH TENTS

Fast Pitch tents or Instant tents are designed with ease of set up in mind and appropriately have minimal detached poles. They do have poles but they’re mostly all connected and simply fold out and lock into place when setting up (think umbrella frames or a soft top on a car)

There are several unique designs presented below and I’ve chosen three different great quality ones for you to get an idea of what is available

 

COLEMAN CABIN TENT INSTANT SET UP

The Coleman Cabin tent erects in only a minute however you still have to peg it out and fasten the guy ropes but even still, you’ll have this baby set up in under five and ready to enjoy the great outdoors

Developed using Coleman’s patented WeatherTec System™ which prides itself on its patented covered seams, corner welds and a ‘wind-strong frame’ that will take a beating from 56 km/h (35 mph) winds (and then some), this thing will keep you as dry as a snake in the desert… Well the nice folk at Coleman don’t state that but you get the ideaWith internal dimensions of 244cm (8ft)L x 213cm (6’11.5″)W x 150cm (4’11”)H*, you can even throw a double layer queen air mattress in there to sleep on with a bit of room to spare (not much though so don’t be planning any parties)

The only thing I would suggest is to get yourself the optional tent fly just as an extra precaution for if the heavens do open up on you

All-in-all this is a well-designed, well constructed, durable, quick set up tent, weighing only just over 8.5kg (18.7 lbs)* will provide years of outdoor bliss


 

KODIAK CANVAS FLEX-BOW 4 PERSON DELUXE TENT

The Kodiak Canvas Flex-bow 4 person deluxe has to be one of my favourite fast pitch tents. It’s made from a marine grade, super durable (yet breathable) Hydra-shield™ cotton duck canvas incorporating a puncture resistant vinyl floor

Easy for one person to set up in just a couple of minutes, its frame is made from quality one inch tube steel and high tensile steel (bow) rods. Nothing’s knocking this thing down once erected…unless your a s#*t driver and reverse your car into it 🙁

This little beauty’s dimensions are 274cm L(9ft) x 244cm W(8ft)* and combined with steep sides and a maximum internal height of 186cm (6’1″)* it provides heaps of room for sleeping and standing. Plus it has an external awning covering 178cm W(5’10”) x 145cm L(4’9″)* for outdoor storage and protection from the elements

It has 1 x large ‘D’ shape door plus 1 x HUGE window next to it on both the front and back of the tent plus a closable air vent at the top of either end. That’s a whopping 6 points of variable ventilation and natural lightAll screens are made with no see-um mesh meaning it will keep even the smallest creepy crawlies outside and all window covers zip up from inside the tent so you don’t have to leave the tent open and close them

Added features include a gear loft, organizer pockets for added storage and a nifty ‘strap and cinch’ storage bag that you don’t have to squeeze your tent into when you’re packing up. You just wrap the bag around the tent and cinch it closed. TOO EASY!

This sensational home-away-from-home weighs in at around 24.7kg (54.5 lbs)* so you don’t want to be straying to far from your transport with this over your shoulder

ONE OF THE BEST! 

 

POP UP TENTS

The remarkable thing with the three tents reviewed below is that they literally do just what their name suggests, ‘POP UP!’

All you do is take the tent out of its bag, simply throw it into the air and as if by some strange mystical force, what was once a mishmash of interlocking hoops and fabric has now materialized into a free-standing tent right before your eyes and only in around 3 seconds

Sounds too good to be true right? Well it isn’t. Even when you extract all the wizardry s#*t I just rambled on about, you still have an awesome style of tent (the Pop Up in a few seconds part is entirely true). Take a look at what is the best tent for camping? for more on the Pop Up tent

 

THE ZENPH AUTOMATIC 2-3 PERSONS POP UP TENT

Weighing in at around 3 kg (6.6 lbs)* with a set up length of 258cm (8’6″), a width of 157cm (5’1.8″) and 110cm (3’7″) High*, The Zenph Automatic 2-3 person pop up tent has been designed with spacious comfort for two adults in mind but you could fit 3-4 kids under 4’6″ in there vertically, no worries

This tent basically has two layers of protection. It is a mesh tent (to keep bugs out and provide air flow) attached to a 150D Oxford cloth floor that has a waterproof rating of 3000mm and all of that is surrounded by a 2000mm waterproof rated polyester tent which has a PU (waterproof coating) which all adds up to GREAT ventilation and dryness if it rainsSee What does denier mean? for more on waterproof ratings for tents and other specs. It’s handy to know

This tent has a large entry door with an internal screen door for easy access and a large window at the back to provide natural light and airflow. It also has two nifty storage pockets (one at either end of the tent) and ventilation ports on either side of the tent to provide airflow and prevent condensation

Handy for campers on the go, Festival goers and even for ‘crashing’ at friends or families houses (lets face it, they don’t want ‘intruders’ sprawled out all over the couch and lounge room floor). This super POP UP’s got you covered


 

QUECHUA WATERPROOF POP UP CAMPING TENT

The Quechua Waterproof pop up tent has all you people who like to ‘sleep in’ covered, with its ‘Fresh and Black’ patented concept. It is ‘blacked out’ on the under side of the fly and white on the outside to help reflect the sun so you can be snoring ’til noon and beyond if you want to

Boy, where do I start with this one?… Firstly the makers of this high quality tent boast a ‘2 second set up’ (not three as I mentioned above) so that’s a whopping 1 second more that you get to enjoy the great outdoors. Ok, jokes aside…This compact polyester tent will keep you seriously dry. It has a 2000mm waterproof rating, tested and proven to handle a downpour of 200mm of water per hour coming down on a one square metre area of fabric for 4 hrs straight without leaking and for those of you who can’t get a ‘visual’ how much rain that is, check out the scene in “The Shawshank Redemption” when Andy Dufresne crawls out of the sewer pipe. That’s some serious rain!

This range comes in 2 and 3 person versions and are stacked with unique features such as adjustable windows on each side, an air vent at the top rear of the tent, a front mini vestibule & awning, colour coded pack up straps and a clever system that allows you to lift the rear of the tent fly from inside the tent allowing for more air, sun & scenery

This baby has it all!

2 PERSON DIMENSIONS – 230cm (7’6.5″)L x 140cm (4’7″)W x 99cm (3’3″)H and weighs 3.0kg (6.6 lbs)*

3 PERSON DIMENSIONS 230cm (7’6.5″)L x 185.5cm (6’1″)W x 104cm (3’5″)H and weighs 3.6kg (7.9lbs)*


 

SPEEDY BLACKHOLE 3 PERSON POP UP TENT

Speedy Blackhole 3 person pop up tent

Speedy Blackhole 3 person pop up tent from Wild Earth

The Speedy Blackhole 3 person pop up tent is made by a mob called “Explore Planet Earth” and I reckon you could just about do that in this beauty. It has what they call a “Blackhole treatment” that blocks the sun out letting you sleep in all day and also has reflective guy ropes to remind you not to trip over them in the middle of the night, fully taped seams to stop leakages, a unique ventilation system to minimize condensation and allow great air flow, a huge interior to spread out in and an outer 185T 68D polyester fly with 3000mm PU coating that will ensure you stay dry in even extremely wet conditions (see What does Denier mean? for more info). But this tents strong suit would have to be its cool built in “INTENTS” LED lighting System that’s integrated into the inner roof of the tent providing hassle free lighting. You can run it on batteries or your own power bank. A Blackhole with light….who would have thought?

I could go on and on about this tent but at the end of the day quality and features ‘speak volumes’ and this thing has to be seen to be fully appreciated

 

* All units of measurement are approximates

 

 

INFLATABLE TENTS

“Oh yeah right!” I hear you say

“A novelty tent!”…

“How can I take this guy serious, talking about a BLOW UP tent?”…

I get it people, I thought that too at first but just chill out, grab a drink and have a seat. I’ve got something impressive I want to share with you right now…

Whilst inflatable tents are relatively new to the recreational tent market, ‘inflatable pole’ systems that were originally developed back in the 1930s and are now more commonly known as “Air beam” technology has come a long way in recent times. Proof that they are more than just a novelty is the fact that this technology has been embraced by the U.S military and is used for structures such as Medical shelters, Barrack tents, Airplane hangars and Helicopter storage facilities with even more applications in the pipeline

NASA has been experimenting with lightweight inflatable structures for space applications since 1996 and uses Airbeam technology for making inflatable antennas and extension booms to enable astronauts to do orbital repairs and inspections and again, research is being done to find even more uses

Modern architects are even getting in on the act now making contemporary “Dome buildings” and huge “Festive tents” designed to fit hundreds of people for events

So, back to the recreational tent; The Airbeam system in Inflatable tents is a series of rubber tubes that are encased in heavy-duty, puncture resistant fabric sleeves which are stitched into the tent in various locations to serve as the frame for the tent when they are inflated (with a pump usually provided by the supplier)

They range in size from a 2 person tent up to a 6+ person tent and are typically a 3 season tent (see what is a 3 season tent?) So without further delay, let’s inspect some of the best inflatable tents currently available on the market…

 

DARCHE AIR-VOLUTION™ AT4

With products made to withstand harsh Australian conditions, Darche has established a reputation for providing tough, high quality outdoor gear including their new range of Air-Volution™ inflatable tents

The internal dimensions of this amazing four person outdoor retreat are 240cm L(7’10.5″) x 280cm W(9’2″) x 205cm H(6’9″)*

DARCHE AIR-VOLUTION™ AT4

DARCHE AIR-VOLUTION™ AT4 from Wild Earth

The tent and awning are made from 210 Denier Polyester Oxford Ripstop PU 1500mm (see What does Denier mean? for more info) and comes with a high capacity, low pressure hand pump with a pressure release valve so you’ll know when its fully inflated

The ‘air poles’ are constructed from puncture resistant Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU), and are encased in heavy-duty 300D Polyester Oxford sleeves… Translation: no losing or breaking tent poles ever again and this tent is not coming down until YOU want it to

It has smart little guy rope pockets so you’ll know where they are every time, a zippered mesh sky roof panel for more light and ventilation, a large entry door, 3 x large gusset windows, three extendable strong yet lightweight poles for the 240cm (7’10.5″)W x 280cm (9’2″)L* (detachable) awning that you can even add (optional) side walls on & create even more sheltered outdoor living space

It all packs down into a nifty carry bag and measures 38cm (15″) x 38cm (15″) x 79cm (2’7″)* and weighs 23.6kg (52lbs)*

Excellent for a couple or a small family and with its easy set up and pack up you’ll have this little stunner up in no time and ready for fun


 

ZEMPIRE AERO TL LITE INFLATABLE 5 PERSON FAMILY TENT

It would be quicker for me to tell you what features the ZEMPIRE AERO TL LITE INFLATABLE 5 PERSON FAMILY TENT doesn’t have rather than what it does have so I think I’ll do this review in bullet point for you to take it all in

  • INTERNAL SIZES*
  • Sleeping area (with internal rooms set up) is 335cm (11ft)W x 225cm (7’4.5″)L
  • Living area is 355cm (11’8″)W x 285cm (9’4″)L
  • Vestibule/awning area is 355cm (11’8″)W x 170cm (5’7″)L
  • OVERALL SIZE* – 690cm (22’7.5″)L x 355cm (11’8″)W Max. internal height is a whopping 205cm (6’8.5″)
  • SLEEPING CAPACITY – 5 People (My tip: 4 people for maximum comfort)
  • SHAPE – Tunnel tent design
  • ROOMS – 1 x large indoor living area, 1 x large bedroom which can be divided into 2 rooms plus 1 x HUGE vestibule with awning providing a large, semi-enclosed outdoor living area
  • TENT FABRIC – Fully seam sealed, 75Dx185T Polyester 5000mm fly and a durable 130 gsm Polyethylene 10,000mm waterproof rated floor
  • DOORS – 1 x Massive fully zippered front door (fabric) and 1 x side door with integrated mesh providing added ventilation
  • WINDOWS – 2 x Huge side windows
  • VENTILATION FEATURES – There are seven points of ventilation on this tent such as high and low vents, an integrated mesh window on the side door, 2 x huge side windows. Something worth mentioning to you though, this tent does not come with a mesh screen on the front door (fully zippered fabric door only)

    Zempire Aero

    ZEMPIRE AERO TL LITE INFLATABLE 5 PERSON FAMILY TENT from Wild Earth

  • PACKED DIMENSIONS* – 74cm (29″) L x 44cm (17″) x 44cm (17″) and weighs in at around 20kg (44 lbs)

OTHER FEATURES

  • Darkened attachable sleeping area with divider wall
  • Centre Roll Back Door Toggles for the sleeping area
  • Internal storage ‘ladder’
  • Carpet Clip Rings
  • The front of the tent fully opens
  • Lantern Rigging
  • Pump with pressure relief valve
  • Pressure gauge
  • 2 year warranty

… I could go on but you seriously have to check this thing out to get a grasp of what it offers

BUYER BEWARE: You may find yourself not wanting to return from holidays once you’ve camped (or should I say “Glamped”) in this SENSATIONAL INFLATABLE TENT

 

* All units of measurement are approximates

 

 

BONUS SECTION

SWAGS

Whilst we are on the subject of easy set up tents, it would be remiss of me not to give the increasingly popular “Swag” a mention

Swag… – “A bundle containing the personal belongings of a swagman”

For well over 150 years the ‘Bedding roll’ or ‘Bedroll’ has been a necessary peice of kit for overland travellers and although its origins can’t be exactly pinpointed as there is evidence of them being used on many continents throughout the world they are most famously recognized as being used by American ‘Cowboys’ post American Civil War

Whilst I’m sure more there was probably a primitive version of the ‘Bedroll’ (probably made from animal hide) the modern historical version characterizes a rectangular peice of canvas that one would use for sleeping on and would roll up their blanket and belongings in and use as a ‘pack’ for travelling

Whilst known in America as the ‘Bedroll’ they are commonly known by Aussies and New Zealanders as the ‘Swag’ which is derived from the Australian name “Swagman”, a phrase coined back in the 19th which described…”a transient labourer who travelled by foot from farm to farm carrying his belongings in swag”. This “character” has been immortalised in the famous Australian poem “Waltzing Matilda” by Banjo Patterson

The Swag has certainly come a long with advanced technology in both design and construction and there are many options available ranging from the most basic of bedroll models right through to deluxe swags with all the “bells & whistles”… Hell, you can even get a swag for two these days

There are so many Swags available to choose from but I’d like to show you my top four

 

 

SAHARA TRAVELLER DELUXE KING SINGLE TRADITIONAL SWAG

This traditional style box wall type swag is perfect for minimalist camping as it packs down to a mere 90cm (35″) x 30cm (11.8″) and weighs only 6 kg. Pretty darn good for a swag

Sahara King single swag

SAHARA TRAVELLER DELUXE KING SINGLE TRADITIONAL SWAG from Wild Earth

Its dimensions are: 210cm (6’10.5″)L x 90cm (2’11”)W x 30cm (11.8″)H* and it comes in assorted colours (Camo, Brown, Green, Pink and Purple) and boy, is this thing packed with features:

  • Raised, 500gsm PVC raised tub floor to prevent water coming in from the ground and splashing
  • Waterproof 14oz Ripstop polycotton canvas which has superb breathability and is rot proof, UV resistant and mould resistant
  • Zippered full length top flap
  • High quality zippered “Sand fly proof” mesh screen
  • Fully double stitched and bound – Super tough
  • Extended top flap (mini awning) for extra shelter that converts to a roll down window
  • A steel extendable pole for the top flap mini awning
  • 3 Eyelets in the top flap enabling different positioning for adjustable light and air flow
  • Super comfortable 55mm high density “egg-crate” foam mattress with removable, washable cover
  • No.#10 heavy-duty zips
  • Robust reinforced peg down points
  • Internal storage pocket
  • PVC shoe mat
  • High quality quick release buckles and nylon straps for quick set up and pack up
  • Comes with pegs and canvas peg bag
  • Comes with a durable canvas carry bag with tough webbing handles and heavy-duty zip

You can’t go past this uncomplicated swag if keeping it light and simple is your preferred method of experiencing the great outdoors


 

BURKE AND WILLS COOLABAH X-WIDE DOME CANVAS SWAG

BURKE AND WILLS COOLABAH X-WIDE DOME CANVAS SWAG

BURKE AND WILLS COOLABAH X-WIDE DOME CANVAS SWAG from Wildearth

I’m excited to give you the lowdown on this fine bit of kit respectfully named after two legendary Australian explorers, Robert Burke & William Wills but first a word from the makers of this quality product:

“The Burke & Wills range is Australian owned, our swags, coats & hats are designed to withstand the harshest climatic conditions our country can offer. All Burke & Wills oilskin and canvas gear is finished with the highest quality trimmings available, you can rest assured your swag, jacket or hat will last the distance. With a minimum of care, Burke & Wills products will keep you warm, dry, comfortable and protected when the harsh weather sets in.”

And without further ado I present to you the features of the BURKE AND WILLS COOLABAH X-WIDE DOME CANVAS SWAG:

  • Outer dimension are 215cm (7′)L x 115cm (3’9″)W x 80cm (2’7.5″)H*
  • Made from 19 oz Ripstop, waterproofed and rot proofed Stormguard™ canvas and a PVC base
  • Black aircraft strength alloy poles
  • New & improved top entry with zip up “Sand fly proof” mesh screen
  • Also accessible from the large front door which doubles as a window
  • Internal pockets for your smaller belongings
  • Super comfortable 60mm high density foam mattress with removable cover
  • Waterproof boot bag on the side of the swag
  • #10 coil heavy-duty zips
  • Eyelets on top flap to tie up for control of light and ventilation
  • Comes in “Forest Green” colour and has a Burke & Wills LIFETIME Workmanship Guarantee (T&Cs; apply)

This mid-range extra wide swag has all the features you would expect from a premium range without blowing the budget. You’ll be hard-pressed to beat this little Pearler


 

DARCHE RIDGEDOME KING XL FREESTANDING CANVAS DOME SWAG

DARCHE RIDGEDOME KING XL

DARCHE RIDGEDOME KING XL FREESTANDING CANVAS DOME SWAG from Wild Earth

This swag has a ton of features but one of the things I like most about it is that its a ‘freestanding swag’, meaning you use a top spreader pole (or ridgepole) to push out the flexible poles at either end and it eliminates the need to peg the swag down if you so choose. Good for setting up quickly in wet weather and just jumping straight inside

Now I could bang on all day about the features but instead I’m going to give you a bit of data and leave you with a video of this swag that says it all. This swag is truly an impressive bit of gear for any adventurer on the move

  • Dimensions – 215cm (7′)L x 110cm (3’7″)W x 81cm (2’7.8″)H*
  • Packed dimensions – 100cm (3’3″) x 35cm (13.7″) x 35cm (13.7″)*
  • Weighs under 13.5kgs (29.7lbs)
  • 16oz Wax coated Max-Treme® ripstop polycotton canvas
  • Heavy duty laminated 600gsm PVC bucket floor
  • Incredibly comfy 70mm high-density covered foam mattress
  • 3 x Anodized hi-tensile 8mm diameter 7001 alloy poles and 1 repair sleeve (just in case)
  • Sturdy, over sized 12mm diameter alloy centre ridgepole
  • Heavy duty #10 easy action zips
  • Super-fine 125gsm mesh
  • Duraflex highly break resistant buckles 38mm (wide)
  • Lifetime warranty (exclusions apply)

Disclaimer: Upon my last inspection, the manufacturer of this swag does not supply a transportation bag. It’s completely ‘good to go’ on your travels with the straps provided however they do sell a heavy-duty bag to suit if required… Or even better, check out the AOS PVC Double Swag Bag Protection System (more useful than just a carry bag)


 

DARCHE DIRTY DEE CANVAS SWAG 1400

Here it is Ladies and Gentleman… designed to keep your ‘other half’ cozy, snug & safe AND RIGHT NEXT TO YOU on your next adventure, I present to you the last swag you’ll ever need… THE DIRTY DEE 1400

Well we finally got there folks; “The Double Swag”. Actually more and more people are buying double swags just for themselves these days so they can have all that extra space to stretch out and to have that extra storage space but whether it’s for one or two people Dirty Dee is sure to please

DARCHE DIRTY DEE CANVAS SWAG 1400

DARCHE DIRTY DEE CANVAS SWAG 1400 from Wild Earth

The Dirty Dee is a freestanding (my personal favourite design) swag with near vertical walls and it comes with two large doors (one on each side) for easy access, a window next to each door and a window at either end providing in total a whopping 6 cross flow ventilation points for those hot nights and all the doors  and windows have all weather awnings (NB: Poles for awnings are optional and therefore sold separately)

OTHER FEATURES:

  • Set up Dimensions – 215cm (7′)L x 140cm (4’7″)W x 85cm (2’9″)H*
  • Packed Dimensions – 120cm (3’11”) x 36cm (14″) x 34cm (13″)H*
  • Weighs 15kgs (33 lbs)
  • 420gsm 16mm grid ripstop polycotton canvas with 800mm PU waterproofing (see “What is Denier? for more info)
  • Heavy duty, HF welded, laminated 600gsm PVC bucket floor
  • All seams sealed internally
  • Anodized Hi-tensile 8.5mm diameter 7001 alloy poles
  • Fitted 50mm covered hi-density polycotton foam mattress
  • Heavy duty #10 easy action zips
  • Super-fine 125gsm mesh
  • 4 internal storage pockets
  • The ridgepoles come with a nifty trigger locking system for even quicker set up and pack up

Creme de la creme, The Bee’s knees, Top shelf, The Cat’s pyjamas… Whatever terminology you use for ‘FREAKING AWESOME!’ is how I would sum up this durable, high quality double swag that will last you for years and years…and years

* All units of measurement are approximates

 

    SWAG TIPS

    1. All the tarps presented above are made from quality cotton or polycotton blends and therefore it is advisable that they be “Seasoned” (no, not salt and pepper, something different) before their first use. This waterproofing process ensures your swag (or tent made from these fabrics) will keep you nice and dry on your adventures. See How to season a tent which will show you how this is done in 3 easy steps

      2. Whilst you have your tent set up to season it, it is a good idea to unroll your mattress and let the foam fully expand for about 24 hours. It will be a bit tighter to pack back into the bag but will be more comfortable on its first use

      3. Another good idea is to source a camping stretcher to put your swag on. This has a few benefits such as providing another level of comfort as the stretcher has some flex in it; keeping you off uneven, cold, rocky or wet ground; keeping distance between you and any creepy crawlies that might be present and it also enables you to get in and out of your swag without all the bending

      4. Throw a ‘egg-crate’ foam mattress topper or a self inflating mattress on top of your existing mattress for extra comfort. There’s nothing like a good nights sleep

      5. Whilst swags are designed cop a hammering from the elements but I like to give mine (and me) a bit of extra protection when I’m camping by sheltering it with a good quality, lightweight tarp when possible. A simple ‘lean to’ configuration over your swag often does the trick

      For storage and for underside protection when setting up I ‘killed two birds with one stone’ so to speak by using the AOS PVC Swag Bag Protection System. If that’s not ‘your go’ then at least protect the bottom with some kind of groundsheet if setting up on rough or uneven ground

      Look after your swag, it’ll look after you well into the future

       

      Well there it is folks, the lowdown on easy set up tents (& Swags). They’re a very worthwhile investment for adventurers on the go and for those of us who just want more fun & time to relax & LESS WORK

      I hope you got some useful info from the above and feel free to leave any comments below

       

      HAPPY ADVENTURES!

       

       


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