If you’re in a rush and want to find out what the best 12 person tent is, we recommend the CORE 12 Person Instant Cabin Tent.
Camping is a hobby that’s loved by many, offering a chance to disconnect from technology, and reconnect with people and nature. Many families enjoy setting up at a campsite, sometimes sharing the space with extended relatives or friends, while cooking up some barbeque on the grill or making s’mores around the campfire.
With such a large group, though, it can be difficult to find a shelter big enough to house everyone comfortably. That’s why we’ve taken a look at some of the best 12 person tents that will let everyone spread out with room to spare.
In this article, we’ll be reviewing the following best 12 person tents:
- Teton Sports Sierra Canvas Tent – Best Canvas 12 Person Tent
- Eureka Northern Breeze 12 Screenhouse – Best Screenhouse
- CORE 12 Person Instant Cabin Tent – Best Overall
- Bushnell Shield Series 12 Person Tent – Best Bang for Your Buck
- CAMPROS 12 Person Camping Tent – Most Durable 12 Person Tent
- Coleman Skylodge 12 Person Tent – Best Family Camping Tent
- Eureka! Copper Canyon Camping Tent – Editor’s Choice
- Ozark Trail 12 Person Tent – Best Ventilated 12 Person Tent
Weight is mostly a concern for backpackers who don’t like the thought of lugging 30 pounds on their back all day. And when it comes to 12 person tents, you most certainly won’t be backpacking with one…I hope. Even so, who wants to go through the effort of transporting something that weighs as much as you from the car to the campsite? Not me, no sir.
Which is why it’s important to know what your tent is made from. For example, what type of fabric are the walls? Nylon is a crowd favorite because it’s light and durable, so it’s one of the more common materials found in tents of all sizes. Canvas, on the other hand, is thick and heavy. Incredibly durable and homey, it’s a popular option for larger tents, though it’s a big pain to transport.
Pole material will also be influential here. In reality, you have three different styles to choose from: fiberglass poles, aluminum poles, and steel poles.
Fiberglass poles are most often found in cheaper, off-brand tents. As you might expect, they’re inexpensive and sufficient for summer camping when the temperatures are warmer. However, they are a little heavy, and they have a tendency to splinter and break, especially in cold weather. Considering their lack of durability, you often find them in smaller dome tents, though we do have a cabin style tent or two listed below that makes use of this material.
Aluminum tent poles are my favorite, simply because they do everything so well. Lightweight, durable, and reasonably priced, they’re what I consider to be the gold standard among tent poles. However, despite my glowing review of them, it’s true that aluminum is often too weak to be used in something as big as a 12 person tent. That’s not to say it isn’t possible, though, as we do have a few products with aluminum poles in our review.
And finally, steel is likely what you’ll see the most of in camping tents this size. That’s because it’s strong and supportive enough to shoulder the extra weight of the shelter, in addition to the strain created by wind hitting the walls. Of course, the biggest downside to steel is how heavy it is, but that’s not a huge problem when you’re car camping.
This is what it all comes down to, really. I can only imagine that you’re looking for the best 12 person tent because you plan on sheltering a lot of people. And let’s face it – just because a tent says that it was made for 12 people doesn’t actually mean that it was! That is, unless you enjoy being squished together without a shred of personal space.
Before you make your final decision, it’s always worth looking at the square footage of a tent when determining if it will work for you. In general, I find that 18-20 square feet per person is enough to get comfortable with room to spare for you and your gear. You can certainly get away with 15 square feet per person as well, though it will feel much tighter. Cabin style tents work best for you to get the most out of your space as well, since it’s easier to get closer to the vertical walls.
Tents are meant to keep us protected from the elements, right? In which case, finding a weatherproof shelter should be high on our priority list. At the end of the day, you might be able to fit all the members of your party under one roof, but that doesn’t mean much if you get wet the moment the rain starts falling. If that were the case, just save yourself a couple hundred bucks and forgo the shelter!
Of course I’m exaggerating a little bit, but there’s no denying that some tents just don’t cut it when it comes to keeping the elements where they belong. So when you’re choosing your shelter, remember the difference between waterproof and water resistant.
Water resistant materials will deflect moisture up to a point – but in heavy downpours, or deluges that seem to go on forever, water will eventually get through. However, something that’s waterproof completely block out all moisture, no matter how bad it gets. Ultimately, this is what you want, and what every high quality tent should have.
If your tent is water resistant, instead of waterproof, there are methods for waterproofing a tent. But at the end of the day, I’d still suggest going with a waterproof tent for weather protection. It’ll save you time spent on waterproofing it yourself, and a lot of headache later on when you find yourself in a rainstorm.
The wilderness isn’t the gentlest place to be. Jagged edges, branches, and unfortunate accidents that can leave tears and holes where you don’t want them to be. Sometimes these factors are unavoidable, no matter how cautious you are, which is why your tent’s durability is so important.
With that in mind, let me introduce you to denier – a term that you may have never heard before unless you spend a lot of time around fabric. Essentially, denier is a way to describe the thickness of a fiber or thread. The higher the denier, the thicker and tougher the material will be, making it more durable than something with a low denier. As you might expect, it’s always better to find a 12 person tent that has a higher denier when possible.
Ventilation is one of those features that I can’t stress the importance of enough. Especially when you’re planning on housing so many people inside of a 12 person tent, having a sufficient network of windows and mesh openings is crucial. Without it, not only will it become unbearably stuff inside, but you’ll also suffer from extreme condensation buildup.
When there’s little or no airflow to whisk it away, the moisture in your breath (or the humidity in the air) will build up on your tent walls and ceiling in the form of condensation. Without a way to minimize this effect, you run the risk of having walls that become oversaturated. They’ll start to sag, and if you’re lucky, you’ll only have a few drops of water fall on you from time to time. However, if you get caught in a rainstorm, it’s possible that you’ll start to leak like crazy.
Open windows and doors are ideal for airflow, but if it’s chilly outside, you probably don’t want to open up your tent that much. That’s why it’s always good to find a shelter that has a few ground or roof vents built in, for those days when you don’t feel like letting heat escape.
Whether or not you actually plan on stuffing 12 people inside one of these tents, it’s likely that there will be a lot of random camping gear and personal belongings spread around. Adequate storage space is essential for keeping everything organized, maintaining a sense of privacy, and preventing the tent floor from becoming too cluttered.
A gear loft is a great place to start, but not all tents come with one. However, it is pretty standard for most shelters to have various pockets on the walls of the tent. Gear loops are also nice to have, since they provide a place for you to hang a lantern or fan to a create a homier atmosphere.
Best 12 Person Tent Reviews
Best Canvas 12 Person Tent
Though it’s very heavy, the canvas of the Teton Sports Sierra is extremely durable and weatherproof, making it an ideal shelter for glamping with the family.
We’ll start this list off with a unique canvas tent that will easily transform your campsite into a glampsite. A yurt style tent, Tetons Sport’s Sierra is a canvas powerhouse that can easily accommodate up to 12 people. Looking to have an open-air style family get together? Just remove the floor and the walls to convert it into a canopy that’s help up by the center pole and some guy lines. You can even keep the floor attached and remove the walls, if you don’t want to get your feet dirty.
For those of you who had a canvas tent many years ago, you may remember that they had a tendency to leak a little if you bumped into them. Thankfully the technology has come a long way since then, as the Sierra will keep you dry, regardless of how heavy the rain is coming down. With a heavy duty welded floor and reinforced seams, you won’t have leaks anywhere inside of this 12 person tent.
Despite the large size, and substantial weight of the shelter, it’s got a surprisingly easy setup. By yourself, you could probably get the job done in about 15 minutes with some practice, but who wants to do it alone? After all, it is about 100 pounds!
– 2 in 1 canopy or tent
– Access ports for power
– Holds up in extreme weather
– One person can set it up easily
– The actual size of the tent is a little smaller than advertised
Living up to its name, the Eureka Northern Breeze is a shelter big enough for the whole family to enjoy the beauty of nature, both while checking out the local campground or while hosting friends for a barbeque.
You’ll find that there are a lot of unique options available when you’re trying to shelter so many people under the same roof. The Eureka Northern Breeze may not be what you initially had in mind for a 12 person tent, but I think you’ll find that it’s a screen room more than suitable for the job.
As you can tell from the picture, this tent provides one massive room that’s completely enclosed by mesh walls. I love how it really opens things up, making you feel like there’s more space than there actually is – which is exactly how you want to feel when you’ve got a lot of people packed in there! The front awning can also be propped up to create additional space that’s sheltered from the sun and the rain.
If you don’t like feeling so exposed to the world when you sleep, or if weather starts to take a turn for the worse, there are “real walls” that you can unroll to cover the entire tent. You’ll find that they’re very effective at protecting you from the rain, and they’re easy to put in place or roll back up again.
The peak height of this shelter is a little over 9 feet, providing plenty of headroom no matter how tall you are. With 144 square feet of space inside, it could get a little tight when you’re trying to sleep 12 people, but it’s certainly doable.
– Fairly lightweight, considering the size (31 pounds)
– Highly ventilated
– Large awning
– Holds up well in bad weather
– Pretty easy to set up despite the size
– Somewhat of a tight squeeze for 12 people
Durable in bad weather and a breeze to setup, the CORE 12 person instant cabin tent is the best overall due to its feature rich design, reasonable price, and spaciousness.
Large tents can be bulky and cumbersome, especially when it’s time to unroll them and put them together. Oftentimes, you may need the help of another person just to finish the job in under half an hour! But what if I told you that the CORE 12 person tent could be pitched in 2 minutes or less, and you could do it all by yourself?
That’s the beauty of an instant tent, and it’s a welcome feature on a cabin style tent like this one, which boasts 180 square feet. On the inside, you’ll find two different room dividers, so you have the option to split the interior into three separate rooms. This is great for a little extra privacy while sleeping (if you had three families, they could each have their own living space), or if you want a way to quickly create a changing room on your next camping trip.
The interior height is 80 inches, which should be high enough to accommodate anyone short of a professional basketball player. Ground vents draw in cool air, while the ceiling mesh allows hot air to escape, keeping a good cycle of airflow moving through the tent. It’s a great tent, perfect for warm days when the body heat of 12 people is starting to get a bit suffocating!
– Instant setup
– 80 inch height
– Two room dividers
– Well ventilated
– The mesh is a little flimsy
Best Bang for Your Buck
Another convenient instant tent, this one from Bushnell has a lot of floorspace and a tall peak height, giving you the best bang for your buck.
Like the CORE 12 person tent, the Bushnell Shield is another really convenient instant tent. It may take you a little longer to figure it out in the beginning, but after a few trials runs, it shouldn’t take any longer than 5 minutes to set it all up. Just unfold everything and extend the leg poles until they click into place – doesn’t get any easier than that!
With 198 square feet of room, it’s an incredibly spacious cabin style tent, especially when compared with the other products in our review. You’ll definitely feel the extra breathing space when it’s time to pile in at the end of the day. Each person will have 16.5 square feet for them and their gear, when filled to max capacity.
The rainfly is completely waterproof, but aside from that, you could also say that it’s sunproof. With heat shield technology, the silver lining in the rainfly prevents UV radiation from entering the tent, and it works to keep the space cooler and darker. When paired with the ground vents, you shouldn’t have any trouble keeping the inside of your shelter at a reasonable temperature with good airflow.
– Instant setup
– Spacious interior
– Two dividing walls to create separate rooms
– Heat shield technology in the rainfly
– Ground vents for airflow
– The seams may leak a bit
Most Durable 12 Person Tent
Made with high denier fabric and a streamline design, the CAMPROS 12 person tent is one of the more weather resistant options on the list, maintaining a standard of durability that we expect from large shelters.
While I doubt the claims that the CAMPROS 12 person tent can be used all year (even in winter), I can’t deny that it is a durable tent. High winds or heavy rain? You’ll be as snug as a bug in a rug through it all. The tent fabric itself is also made with a higher denier that you’ll find in a lot of other products this size, letting it withstand a lot more abuse before you’d see any rips or tears.
Unfortunately, it’s not an instant tent, so it does take some effort to put it together. The process is simple though, and if you have a couple extra hands helping you out, it can still be done in under 15 minutes. And unlike the Sierra canvas tent that we talked about earlier, which weighs about 100 pounds, this camping tent somehow managed to stay under 25 pounds.
On the inside, you’ll find that there’s an interior height of 6 feet, which is a little lower than other options. As someone who’s 6 feet myself, I can say that you’ll need to hunch over a little bit on your camping trip if you’re a tall person. I haven’t found it to be too big of a problem, though, as it’s still possible to move around freely without the need to crawl or squat. It’s not a huge tent, like the Bushnell Shield, but it still gets the job done nicely.
– Lightweight, considering the size
– Large mesh doors and windows
– Wall dividers
– A slightly low ceiling height
Best Family Camping Tent
With enough space for the entire gang (and all their gear) the Coleman Skylodge is one of the best 12 person tents for housing larger families that want to escape into the wild.
A popular camping brand, especially for those just starting out, it was inevitable that Coleman would make this list. I’m not always a huge fan of their work, but the Skylodge 12 person tent was too good to pass up.
With ample space on the inside, you’ll be able to a queen size mattress (or two) with plenty of room to spare. The peak height is also just over 7 feet, making it possible to walk around or change clothes without needing to hunch over. On top of that, you’ll even find a screened in room that provides extra space to store your gear, or allow you to lounge around and enjoy the view. You could even throw your sleeping bag out there to enjoy the breeze while you sleep.
One of my biggest complaints about 12 person tents in general is that they don’t seem to be as good at keeping water out. While it’s not perfect, the Skylodge does do a phenomenal job at keeping moisture away, utilizing a tub style floor and waterproof walls. And with plenty of windows and a ground vent, you won’t have to worry about it raining inside either (aka, condensation buildup).
– Spacious interior
– Tall peak height
– Good waterproofing
– Lots of windows
– Giant door
– A little tricky to put together
– Somewhat flimsy
A somewhat small and cozy tent, the Eureka! Copper Canyon is one of my favorites because it can almost be used yearround, and it sports a handy cutout to run power into the tent.
The Eureka! Copper Canyon tent is a cozy 12 person tent that’s perfect for 3 season campers. In truth, this shelter is durable enough for use in the early or late winter months as well, though some cold air will seep between the rainfly and the roof. At the very least, you would probably stay warm with how tightly packed the 12 of you would need to be in order to fit.
Which brings me to one of my biggest complaints – the size. At 168 square feet, it’s one of the smaller 12 person tents in this review, barely able to squeeze in the marketed capacity. I’d much rather use this with half as many people, splitting everyone up with the built in room dividers. Ultimately, I know that’s what many people do with a tent this size anyway, so if that was your original plan, you’ll probably love it!
The frame is a sturdy mix of steel and fiberglass, maintaining durability without making it ridiculously heavy. There are also plenty of windows for ventilation, and a waterproof rainfly and tub floor to keep rain from entering no matter how bad it gets. On the inside, you’ll also find plenty of storage space, and a place to hang your lantern on the ceiling. There are even two cutouts that allow you to bring some electricity into your shelter. They’re good for the occasional camping trip when you want power, or for completing your “glamping” experience, if that’s what you’re looking to do.
– Power cutouts
– Strong and durable
– Room dividers
– Well ventilated
– On the smaller side
Best Ventilated 12 Person Tent
With seven windows and plenty of other openings for ventilation, the Ozark Trail tent has no problem circulating air, making it an ideal option for warm weather camping.
The Ozark Trail tent is one of those shelters that’s best for summer camping – or warm weather camping in general. Why, you ask? Well, because of the sheer amount of ventilation that you get between the numerous windows and ground vents! There are seven windows, to be exact, and all of them are fully closeable. The sheer amount of air circulation is unmatched out of all the tents in our review, making it the perfect option for sweltering days and nights on your summer camping trip.
I’d also like to point out that the Ozark Trail is the only tent with an “L” shape design. It’s a fun style that comes with an awning in the inside corner of the shelter, creating a protected outdoor seating area for you to enjoy. The downside is that this design turns the tent into quite the windcatcher, so you may have some problems if you’re in an area with strong wind gusts. At the same time, it’s a waterproof tent that will hold up well in more “normal” weather conditions that don’t involve high winds.
As an instant cabin tent, the Ozark Trail can be set up in roughly 2 minutes, once you’ve had a little practice with it. Tearing it back down again is also a breeze, though it will take longer than it does to pitch it.
The three rooms give you plenty of space to spread out, and there’s a room divider for each living space so you can keep some semblance of privacy. Two doors give you the ability to come and go as you please without disturbing the other members of your party as well.
Overall, it’s not the most affordable tent out there, but there’s always an aspect of “you get what you pay for” in situations like these. In addition to being a 12 person instant cabin tent, the large mesh windows and multiple rooms are really what sell this particular product.
– Very large
– Unique outdoor awning
– Instant cabin tent
– Big doors
– Easy to take apart again
– Pre-attached poles
– Non-removeable room dividers
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What Size Tent Do I Need for 12 People?
In general, it’s nice to give each person about 20 square feet of room at a bare minimum. That way, they still have a little space to stretch out into, and perhaps even have some left over for their gear.
However, it’s always nice to be more generous with the interior space, so I believe 300-350 square feet is a good place to fall. That way everyone can have a bit more privacy, all while leaving plenty of extra room for their belongings.
How Heavy is a 12 Person Tent?
There’s a varied weight range when it comes to 12 person tents. However, most seem to fall between 30-50 pounds, with a few outliers landing on either side of that.
How to Choose the Best Family Camping Tent?
Every tent that you purchase should be durable and weatherproof – even more so if you’re going to be housing your family inside of it. Make sure your tent is fully waterproof, and that the structure won’t collapse in stronger winds. It’s also important to have enough space inside to comfortably fit all of your family members, along with any extra toys or items that your kids might want to bring along.
Camping with a large group of friends and family can be fun, but not if you’re all piled on top of each other at bedtime! Finding a large tent that can fit everyone can be hard, especially when you don’t want to compromise on durability or weather resistance.
That’s why we thought the CORE 12 person instant cabin tent did it the best. Not only is it an instant tent, so setup is ridiculously easy, but it’s also got a tall peak height and plenty of square footage. The room dividers let you split up the inside into three different rooms, if that’s what you want, otherwise you can keep it open as one giant living space. And with ground vents that create good airflow, it won’t be suffocating inside, even when you’re camping in the summer heat.