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

When comparing a pop-up tent vs cabin tent, there are some important aspects to cabin tents that should be considered before you make your decision! Extra space from cabin tents comes with some tradeoffs that may change your plans.

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!

Pop-Up Tent vs Cabin Tent

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

Pop-Up

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.

Cabin

pop-up tent vs cabin tent

Featuring multiple rooms and more space than any dome tent could off, cabin tents ensure there is privacy and room available for everyone.

Major Differences

The biggest differences between a pop-up tent vs cabin tent are capacity and portability. Cabin tents are built to be able to stand in with many people. They are available in sizes of up to 12 people for large families or groups that want multiple rooms available for increased privacy. Cabin tent rooms are usually made with a piece of tent fabric between portions of the tent that are able to be opened and closed. In comparison, pop-up tents cap out around 4 people but are much easier to set up.

Both pop-up and cabin tents typically employ a two-layer design to repel rain but each tent type’s second layer only covers the very top of the tent, as opposed to longer rain flys present in A-frame or Dome tents. As seen in the photos above, Cabin/pop-up tents use a single layer of rain protection for up to 75% of each side.

While they should both offer fine rain protection, other tent types may be more reliable in harsher storms since pop-ups are built for convenience as opposed to protection and other structures may be stronger with more rain coverage.

Cabin tents can be slightly more challenging to set up but if you have the labor to help out (and fill the large capacity tent), it is significantly easier. Pop-ups are the easiest type of tent to set up and can go from bag to tent in under a minute!

Best Uses For Pop-Up & Cabin Tents

Each of these types of tents is great for both small-family and car camping! Smaller families may prefer the simplicity offered by pop-ups or enjoy the larger amount of space offered by cabin tents. Neither tent is appropriate for backpacking (there are better options) as they almost always have too large of a package to reasonably pack and walk miles with.

Pop-Up

Cabin


Family Camping


Car Camping


Backpacking

Feature Comparison | Pop-Up Tent vs Cabin Tent

Cabin tents have the advantage of high capacity while pop-up tents are significantly easier to set up. Each have similar rain protection and offers a relatively similar price range by capacity but your selection of pop-up tents is going to be fairly limited as they are a newer entry to the category. Not sold on either type? We’d recommend a dome tent for any type of camper from beginner to expert!

Product

Pop-Up

Cabin

Sturdiness

Capacity

Cost

Portability

Lifespan

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

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.

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