With determination and the right products you can easily make all your summers go with more of a swing. We love a good party, whether it’s a family meal on a spacious campsite, a rally event, picnic meet or party full of good friends and neighbours. Outdoor shelters can be just what you need for all these events. Browse through our accessory reviews and you’ll see that we’ve tested eight day tents and event shelters recently. We list the pros and cons, materials, specifications and main purpose of each one.

At £170 the Quest Elite Instant Spring Up Screen House 4 is more expensive than the other shelters we’ve tested for Practical Caravan. As the name suggests, it’s simple to put up and in fact we managed it in about a minute. It’s a four-sided gazebo large enough to put a patio table and four chairs inside. If your outside space is limited, this little shelter could be worth considering.

We’ve tried out a larger version of this one, the Quest Elite Instant Spring Up Screen House 6, costing £200, as well as the Coleman Event Shelter 12 x 12 at £130, the Kampa Cabana at £150 and the Easy Camp Pavilion at £130 and the impressive Khyam Day Shelter 300 at £145.

Thinking mainly of those who need to buy a versatile tent that can be used both as an event shelter and as an outdoor dining room – or even as a substitute for caravan awnings – we tested the Khyam Screenhouse at £280 and the Khyam Megatop at £800. Some day tents can double your caravan accommodation space and provide sleeping berths. They certainly bridge the gap between awnings that take time to put up correctly and gazebos that give only light weather protection. 

Quest’s Elite Instant Spring Up Screen House concept worked beautifully in its six-sided guise, but it doesn’t quite cut it in this square, compact version – Screen House 4. Maybe it’s the use of sombre dark blue fabric and gloomy black netting, or the boring shape. We could add bunting and fairylights to it, perhaps, but on its own it just doesn’t quite get us in the mood for a party!

At 2.44m x 2.44m, it’s the smallest of all the day shelter models here, but unlike others, the vertical, outwardly protruding sides don’t encroach on the internal area one iota. This means that there’s probably as much usable space inside the Quest’s Elite Instant Spring Up Screen House 4 as in the 3m x 3m shelters from others.

Much as we love the fast pitch-collapse system, that alone can’t stave off the product’s drawbacks, such as the awkwardly long 167cm x 16cm x 16cm pack-down size (hardly smaller than its bigger sibling’s).

As with the Screen House 6, Velcro-on covers – at an extra £24.99 a pair – add privacy and some protection from the elements. It has a waterproof roof and a high UV rating of 50, which could be handy if you have red-heads, or young children or babies to protect from the sun. Storm straps are included. It’s 210cm high and the frame is made of Fibreglass, which should flex rather than snap in the wind.