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

When comparing a pop-up tent vs suspended 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!

Pop-Up Tent vs Suspended 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.

Suspended

pop-up tent vs suspended tent

Suspended tents are essentially hammock tents. While there are multiple designs between hammocks and suspended tents, they are defined by the hanging design that secures against trees, poles, or other objects.

Major Differences

The biggest difference between a pop-up vs suspended tent is their setup. Pop-up tents can hold up to 4 people and have all of their structural poles integrated within the fabric of the tent. These usually just need a quick shake-out or push of some expandable sections to go from bag to tent quickly.

Pop-Up tents also typically have an oval footprint where the frame sits on the ground.

In contrast, suspended tents hang from trees or beams to create an enclosed hammock that will protect you from the elements anywhere you can find 2-3 trees. Since they are effectively hammocks with roofs, suspended tents typically max out their capacity at 2 people. Larger tent types can be found in different structural designs.

Both types of tents usually use a two-layer design to repel rain but a pop-up tent may be slightly more comfortable to spend a longer period of time inside during a storm as you can sit inside with more room easily compared to suspended tents.

Suspended tent’s largest advantage comes from their size and weight. Built specifically for backpacking, manufacturers can use minimal poles and fabric to get incredible low weights. If you have experience with hammocks or are comfortable setting up suspended tents, they can be perfect for your next backpacking trip. Pop-up tents usually fold into bulky packages that aren’t good uses of space within a backpack (if it fits at all).

Best Uses For Pop-Up & Suspended Tents

Pop-up tents can be used in most family or car camping situations while suspended tents are absolutely the way to go for backpacking (or specialized backpacking tents) to keep the weight low and pack size small. You can camp almost anywhere with a suspended tent, as long as you have trees nearby to hold your weight!

Pop-Up

Suspended


Family Camping


Car Camping


Backpacking

Feature Comparison | Pop-Up Tent vs Suspended Tent

Suspended tents and pop-up tents are very different from their general structure to their intended purpose and capacity.

Given their differences, you’ll want to pick the one best suited for your next couple of years of camping plans!

Product

Pop-Up

Suspended

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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