A-Frame Tent vs Pop-Up Tent | Which is the Best for Camping?

When comparing an A-Frame tent vs pop-up tents, they each offer beginner tent options but is the convenience of a pop-up tent worth the price difference?

We’ve broken down the major similarities and differences of common tent types to help you make the right decision for your next outdoor adventure!

A-Frame Tent vs Pop-Up Tent

First, let’s break down each type of tent:


a-frame vs backpacking tent
The A-Frame tent is distinguished by its triangular prism design which uses a rectangular floor, two A-frames on the ends, and a cross pole in order to form the tent frame.


a-frame tent vs pop-up tent
A newer tent category with fewer offerings than most other types of tents, pop-up tents are specifically designed for the easiest set-up possible. The poles are integrated directly within the tent frame and fabric.

Major Differences

The biggest difference between an a-frame tent vs pop-up tents is their setup. A-frame tents have two or more poles that intersect with a single cross-pole that creates the structure and classic ‘A’ shape. They are frequently large enough to stand in at the very peak and can come in large sizes up to about 4 people. Pop-up tents also can hold up to 4 people but have all of their poles integrated within the fabric of the tent and usually just need a quick shake out or quick push of some expandable sections to go from bag to tent quickly.

Pop-Up tents also typically have an oval footprint that allows the frame to hold up better than a rectangle a-frame tent has. This does limit their overall space but no worse than the limitations that the a-frame design offers. Pop-ups do not have the same type of vestibule option that an a-frame tent may allow for a bit more gear space or a dry location for shoes outside the tent.

A-frame tents have a two-layer design to repel rain while most pop-up tents have a limited two-layer or single-layer rain protection that may not offer the same level of protection.

Given their entire mission is easy set-up, pop-ups are significantly easier to put up than any a-frame tent. A-frame tents aren’t difficult to assemble but a pop-up can take literally seconds.

Best Uses For A-Frame & Pop-Up Tents

Each of these types of tents is good for most car-camping situations or small family camping! Pop-Up and A-frame tent lower capacities mean most can’t hold more than 3 to 4 people so dome tents may be the better choice if you need a larger tent. For backpacking, pop-up tents may fold up into a large or bulky design that is harder to carry than the bundles A-frame tents break down into.



Family Camping

Car Camping


Feature Comparison | A-Frame Tent vs Pop-Up Tent

Pop-Up tents and A-frame tents are very similar outside of weight and cost. If you can afford it, a pop-up tent will probably be the better choice for most campers looking for a smaller tent. If a high peak height is important to you – a dome tent may be the better option than either of these!








Ease of Setup

Want more?

Check out our infographic and larger article covering the ten most common tent types or use our tent finding tool to quickly find the tents that suit your needs!

About the Author

Photo of author


Robbie is a Co-Founder and editor at Midwest Camping. Robbie has backpacked over three hundred miles of the Appalachian trail, visited seventeen national parks, and camped regularly for the last two decades.

Related Posts | Tents

Follow us on social media!