Camping with a tent isn’t always quick

We purchased an Oztent several years ago, and absolutely love it. You may know them as the ’30 second tent’, which is pretty well true, once you have the bag on the floor.

However, what I’ve come to realize when camping is that the moment you choose to use a tent, you are not going to win any races. Even if your tent only takes a minute to set up, there are plenty of other things that you have to setup in order to complete the camping experience.

Compare that to using a camper trailer (the quicker ones!), rooftop tent or swag, and you are miles behind the game when it comes to speed. You see, all of these store their sleeping gear inside, meaning all you have to do is set them up!

Rooftop tents usually only take a few minutes to pop open, and then you can climb in and go to sleep. Swags take a minute to unroll and then you are done.

Camper trailers might be a bit longer (or a lot longer depending on what you have!), but at least everything is already done; you don’t have to set the kitchen up, or pull the sleeping bags and mattresses out; its all in place.

Camping at Waychinicup
Our Oztent at Waychinicup

Our Oztent setup

You would say the Oztent is one of the quickest tents on the market, and its still not that quick. It would take me a couple of minutes to unstrap the tent from the roof racks, lift it down and get it out of the bag. From there, we’d put a ground sheet down and set the tent up. A few pegs later and then you start on everything else – grabbing pillows, mattresses and clothes bags out of the car.

Mattresses need to be unpacked and allowed to air up, and then you have the kitchen table, and burner to set up. On a really good day, we could set up and pack away in about 20 – 25 minutes, but most often it was around 30 – 40 minutes.

Just unloading the tent, putting the ground sheet down, setting it up and pegging it down would take around 15 minutes and you soon get into the swing of doing it well.

Light weight roof racks
The top of our 80 Series Roof Racks, with the Oztent on the right side

Why the emphasis on time?

You might wonder; your on holidays; who cares how long it takes to set up and pack away? This is true, to a certain extent. However, if you are travelling long term, how many times are you going to set up and pack away before you get sick of it? 

If it takes you 2 hours to set up and 2 hours to pack away, that’s 4 hours you lose at every single destination you stop at. So what? Maybe you don’t care, but If I had to do that for long enough, I’d soon get sick of it. For this reason alone, Camping Setup times matter.

How often you are moving becomes the crux of the issue; if you are going to one destination for 2 weeks, the setup time becomes unimportant. If you are moving regularly, you’ll soon change your mind about setup times!

Our slow camper trailer

EDIT: We’ve upgraded

One of the things we got sick of was setup time on our soft floor camper trailer, and our new one takes seconds to get ready. Seriously, you undo 4 latches, hop inside and push the roof up and you are done! We ended up with a Hypercamper, made by Lifestyle, which you can read about here; Lifestyle Reconn R2.


Ironically, we’ve moved to a Soft floor camper trailer that is not fast to set up. It’s a soft floor, and its fairly hard work to setup and pack down. That said, it has a lot of other benefits that we were looking for, and we will live with it, for now.

We’ve got 3 months in it starting very shortly, so I’ll report back as to how it goes! If you want to know more, check out Moving from an Oztent to a camper trailer.

With a toddler in tow, we now carry a fair bit of extra camping gear, and there’s no way we could do it without a trailer.

Having a big tent for him to play in is important, and an in built kitchen/water storage/lighting arrangement is fantastic, plus we have more battery storage and panels for running a freezer and anything else we might need.

Soft floor camper trailer
Our ‘slow’ camper trailer

Some tents are very slow!

It’s always entertaining to watch other people set their tents up. I’ve seen people spend over an hour and a half setting tents up, and that is a bit of a kick in the guts!

Have a good think about what you are buying based on how often you will move, how much camping you do and of course, how much you want to spend.

What do you camp in? Is it slow to setup? Do you care about setup time?

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  1. Hey Neil,

    Interesting concept; we were very pleased with our Oztent RV 5 for many years. Any fast setup is a good one

    All the best

  2. It was a very interesting read, and it is always good to hear the positive and negative on products. I’m currently in the process of designing and developing a platform that mounts to a 7×4, 7×5 and 8×5 box trailer where an Oztent RV3 is half set up with mattress inside. Pull up to camp, take off cover and pull up the tent and it’s done. This is only a brief description, but if the prototype works out, I hope to market this product.