Thoughts on pop up tents?

Winters coming.

OK, I’ve read a few of the old threads on summit shelters. Pop ups sound good to me and I agree with many of the reservations people have… My biggest reservations is their rather ‘difficult’ circular shape when packed. Has anyone got a method they use to carry it in, or on, their rucksack?

The problems begin when you try to get it back into the carry bag…Easier to count the number of planets in the universe…


They are wonderful to pitch, and believe me that is their only virtue. They are an awkward size and shape when packed, and even more awkward when you try and repack them, particularly so if there is a substantial wind blowing. They aren’t expensive and at this time of the year they might be on sale, so if you are seriously considering one, buy it and practice with it in your garden before chancing it on a summit.

I might be prejudiced, I have been a keen camper for just under sixty years!

I have 2. One was $10 USD second hand. Too big to get that one on a back pack, needs to be carried by your Sherpa. The other one is a little smaller and was $100 USD. If can be strapped to a back pack but I wouldn’t want to be pushing through any sort of scrub (= Ozzie for vegetation) with it. Fine for walking along good tracks (= Ozzie for trails or paths).

The larger one uses no pegs so is easy to use. Chuck your gear in it and it generally wont blow away. It can be pegged if needed. The smaller one needs pegs to stay up. I hate things that have to use pegs, to much work!

Contrary to other opinions once you learn how to pack them up they are dead easy. Just practice a few times till you can do it easily. Plenty of diagrams and You Tube videos to help you.

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I believe Peter, ON4UP, once sent me a link to this one

At the bottom of the page is a video on how to fold it up

Not sure if this holds up on a windy summit … you might be “parasailing” before you know it !


Kyhams do good tents, Not quite pop up but snap up.

You snap the supports into place and within in minutes its up and packs away into smallish bags abut 6kg in weight and come in various sizes BUT not cheap i still use an old one when go up Kitt hill but must remember the ground sheet next time. A ground sheet is a must for sure



I’d recommend these, have used them in the hills for years, especially during winter


Well if they only 6kg why not take a kitchen sink along as well?


or this site…excellent products and service

Bothy bag for me every time…the above company now supply a REALLY light weight 2 man bag (235 gms) which can also be left in the rucksack as part of your safety gear.

73 Allan GW4VPX

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Thanks much for posting this! I’d missed this company somehow. Their shipping to the US is very reasonable (I just ordered one of the super lightweight ones you mention).

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Not with the kyham.

Always got back into bag no problem plus its ground sheet, that’s extra by way.
Kyham leave enough not to be vac sacked back into bag. If not find a bag slightly bigger.

Mine Biker kyham is night on 10 years old still going strong with gaffer tape LOL


sherpa :slight_smile:


I do have a small bothy bag but I find the fabric so light that sat inside it when its windy, it is noisy with all the fabric flapping about makes it difficult for me to use.

I have used a 2 man Bothy Bag when the WX has been ORID. It can be very noisy in the wind but nice and sweaty as well on one of Andy’s Dreach, rainy days.

Mostly, for speed, simplicity and easier band changing etc, I honker down just over the hill in the lee (on the side sheltered from the wind where recirculation often drops the windspeed significantly), grit my teeth and get on with the job in hand:

Weight 0 gram.
Deployment / recovery time 0 seconds.
Cost £0



Andy, you forgot to mention taking a lucky anvil as well. Essential equipment for a guaranteed successful activation. :wink:

Personally I would not consider a tent for anything other than an overnight stay. I use a plastic tarp which is easy to unpack, deploy as a temporary shelter (often untidily, but who cares) and pack away at the end of the activation. I have carried a two man bothy bag since starting SOTA in 2006, but have never used it - time for a check methinks, just in case it is needed!

I didn’t have my anvil in OK recently, may explain the relatively low contact count!

I have a bothy bag that is not carried on every activation. It may be carried if the WX is dodgy and an activation is a must due to the rarity of the summit. Most of the time I take the view that I do SOTA for fun and it’s not fun activating in b-awful WX.

Much better purchases have been a down jacket and belay jacket for prolonged cold weather operation. If it starts raining then I pack up and go home!

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Make one then: How to make a Blacksmith Anvil From a Railroad Track - YouTube

Well, this is a hell of a lot more expensive than a pop up tent, but the Wikiup 3 is very highly regarded in ultralight backpacking circles:

They are very stable in strong winds. It is also a lot lighter and a lot easier to take down compared to a pop up tent. Good materials as well. However, there is a lot to be said for a simple tarp:

This one was made by myself with silnylon from Extremtextil:

There are plenty of instructions on how to sew a tarp on the internet; the xyl may be able to help you get to grips with a sewing machine. If that fails, you can buy one ready-made on the internet cheap as chips. I used one today on the Braunhuberkogel in moderate rain and it worked fine. With strong winds you’ll need to get in the lee of the hill, but you can lower them to ground on one side to keep the wind out. They weigh about 300g, which is a considerable improvement on 6kg. An extra piece of silnylon serves as a groundsheet, but if you use a groundchair (something that I find invaluable as an activator), you won’t really need a full groundsheet:

Whatever you choose, it shouldn’t really weigh more than 2kg in this day and age, and it needn’t cost the earth either. Having been in stout 4 season tents that have been blown flat, I think you’ll be in trouble if someone so much as sneezes near a pop up tent! Not my first choice for mountain top wind protection. Believe it or not, when I was in the scouts a cow actually pulled our tent down after getting it’s foot caught in the guyline; hopefully you won’t have to face anything like that at 4 in the morning. Be prepared…
73 de OE6FEG / M0FEU
Matthew Pullan

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This beach tent has been all over the place with me, from memory it was under $20 at Kmart in Aussie. If you are exposed to wind just pitch it with its back to the wind and its fine. Very light.


I recognise your trusty tent Wynne! Our two tents (one person or two person) are not pop up tents. We decided to invest in very light but conventional kind as it’s often very exposed where we go. I think you are often in more bush settings which could give more shelter.
Jacky, ZL1WA

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