Best 12 Person Tent To Get The Whole Gang Under One Roof

Love the idea of camping with friends and family but hate the thought of crawling in and out of a cramped tent every night? Your three-bedroom backcountry mansion awaits in our roundup of the best 12 person tents out there.
best 12 person tent

This is our detailed buyer’s guide for the best 12 person tents money can buy. Camping in a 12 person tent is an experience like no other: You’ve got multiple rooms with space for multiple queen beds, room to stand up, stretch out, and brave the elements in style.

After extensive testing and review of 10 models, we found the Ozark Trail Three Room Cabin to be the best 12 person tent for your average camper’s ideal adventure. We like the Ozark Trail for its generous floor space, unique layout, easy assembly, and reasonable price point.

That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best for everyone though, as you’ll read below.

Different campers need different things out of their tents. Some want outright space and privacy. Others value extreme weather performance above all else. Some folks want to sleep in a bell tent because (let’s be honest here) it’s just got that added cool factor. To know more about how we evaluated the tents, don’t forget to check out our buying guide.

Whatever your reasons, needs, or camping style, the perfect tent for you is waiting below. Let’s dive in.

Here are our best 12 person tents:

Tent Make/ModelBenefits
Ozark Trail Three Room CabinBest OverallTons of floor space, unique layout, quick setup. See review
Bushnell Shield 12 Person CabinHighest QualityOutstanding weatherproofing, quality materials. See Review
CORE Instant Cabin 12 Person TentBest BudgetAffordable, quick setup, tons of features. See Review
Eureka! Copper Canyon LX12Compact, durable, well-designed. See Review
TETON Sports 16’ Bell TentUnique yurt styling, super durable materials. See Review
Coleman Skylodge 12Weatherproof porch, easy setup and pack down. See Review
Coleman Skydome XL TentGreat gear storage space, high-quality waterproofing. See Review

Best 12 Person Tents

Ozark Trail Three Room Instant Cabin Tent – Best 12 Person Tent Overall

Specs:
Weight: 55 pounds (25 kg)
Packed size: 52” x 14” x 13” (132cm x 36cm x 33cm)
Floor size: 16’ x 16’ (488cm x 488cm)
Peak height: 82” (208 cm)
Number of rooms: 3
Shape: Cabin+
Best for: Three season camping for large groups
Price: $$

Topping our list is the Ozark Trail Three Room Instant Cabin, which takes our pick for “best tent overall” due to its quick setup, durable three-season construction, massive floor plan, and reasonable price point.

The Ozark Trail Three Room Instant Cabin has a unique L-shaped layout, which utilizes an extended rainfly to create a sheltered area in front of both doors of the tent. Of course you wouldn’t be sleeping out there, but it makes a nice space to keep gear, shoes, and supplies out of the rain.

Setup is super easy as the Ozark Trail also uses a pre-attached telescoping pole system. They advertise a “2 minute setup time” (that seems to be the magic number doesn’t it?) but in reality you’re probably looking at closer to 10 minutes by the time the rainfly is on, the guy-lines are staked out, and the awning is set up. If you’ve got some help of course that number goes down, but we give the Ozark Trail kudos for being one-person setup-friendly regardless.

Weatherproofing is well-designed throughout with a welded 6” tall tub floor, fully taped/sealed seams, and a generously sized rainfly. Numerous customers have reported weathering torrential downpours overnight in the Ozark Trail without a single drop of rain making its way into the tent.

Pros:Cons:
– Pre-attached poles for quick setup
– Shared awning adds shade and rain protection
– Impressive floorspace and layout.
– Setup is a little more involved
– Not as many storage/organization features as we’d like in a tent this size



Bushnell Shield Series Instant Cabin – Highest Overall Quality

Specs:
Weight: 62 pounds  (28 kg)
Packed size: 11.5” x 49” x 11.5” (29cm x 125cm x 29cm)
Floor size: 18’ x 11’ / (549cm x 335cm)
Peak height: 80” (203cm)
Number of rooms: 3
Shape: Cabin/square
Best for: Three season all-weather group adventures.
Price: $$

While it couldn’t quite compete with the outright floor space of the Ozark Trail Instant Cabin, Bushnell’s Shield Series 12 person tent gets our vote for highest overall quality.

The quality construction and attention to detail of the Bushnell tent is hard to miss.

Their HeatShield system utilizes a proprietary reflective coating to keep the interior of the tent cooler in direct sunlight. When the weather isn’t so great, the WeatherShield system combines water-repellent fabrics with fully-taped and sealed seams throughout to make a tent that’s ready for anything short of a hurricane.

There’s tons of storage for gear, room dividers throughout, and to top it all off Bushnell specs a pre-attached pole setup made from all steel poles for a quick assembly system that will last for years.

Pros:Cons:
– High quality weather protection
– 150D fabric = above average durability
– Pre-attached poles for quick setup
– Pre-attached poles make for bulky packed size
– One door for all three rooms isn’t ideal



CORE Instant Cabin – Best On A Budget

Specs:
Weight: 48 lbs (22kg)
Packed size: 49” x 16” x 11.5” (125cm x 41cm x 29cm)
Floor size: 18’ x 10’ (549cm x 305cm)
Peak height: 80” (203cm)
Number of rooms: 3
Shape: Cabin/square
Best for: Light use group camping
Price: $

There’s a lot to love about the CORE Instant Cabin, especially considering the asking price.

It’s got good floor space, three rooms with dividers, two doors, a pre-attached pole system for quick assembly, and a surprisingly low weight and packed size as well.

Weatherproofing duties are handled by CORE’s “H2O Block Fabric” which is a polyurethane-coated polyester that retains its waterproofness for several seasons before needing a refresh.

Our only real gripe with the CORE Instant Cabin is in the durability department. Its 68D polyester fabric isn’t the burliest in our list, especially considering tents like the Bushnell above use a full 150D construction.

Still, it’s a lot of tent for the money and if you’re only going camping a couple times a year, it’s tough to beat the value of the CORE Cabin.

Pros:Cons:
– Ventilation system works well even with windows closed
– Pre-assembled design makes for super quick setup and disassembly
– Front and back doors help with in/out traffic for several sleepers  
– 68D materials not as strong as some
– Not our first pick in a serious rainstorm  



Eureka! Copper Canyon LX 12

Specs:
Weight: 40 lbs (18 kg)
Packed size: 11” x 29”  (28cm x 74cm)
Floor size: 14’ x 12’ (427cm x 366cm)
Peak height: 7’ (213cm)
Number of rooms: 2
Shape: Cabin/Square
Best for: Car camping with smaller groups
Price: $$

12 person tents are kind of a niche item in the camping world, so it’s nice to see companies like Eureka (who are better known for their backpacking and expedition tents) try their hand at building the best 12 person tents on the market.

The Copper Canyon LX is their flagship car camping tent, and we’re happy to report customers are saying it has the same quality and attention to detail we’ve seen from Eureka’s two and four person tents.

It’ll take you a little longer to set up than the pre-attached/fixed-hub pole tents on this list, but setup is by no means complicated thanks to Eureka’s color-coded pole system. We suspect that the use of traditional poles and hubs will yield a longer lasting tent as well, but only time will tell. The plastic hinges of pre-attached designs are convenient, but they’re also a common failure point on large tents.

If you’re considering the Eureka, just know that it’s got two main pain points aside from set up. First, it has the smallest floor space of the bunch with 168 total square feet. Second, it uses a mixture of steel and fiberglass poles rather than an all-alloy construction. Granted, the fiberglass poles are nice and thick at 16mm, but we’d definitely prefer name-brand aluminum at this price.

Pros:Cons:
Front and rear doors for easy egressWell built, time tested design.Compact packed size due to pole designWould prefer aluminum roof poles over fiberglassLeast floor space in our roundupPole design makes for longer setup time



TETON Sports Sierra 16 Canvas Bell Tent

Specs:
Weight: 80 lbs (36kg)
Packed size: 36” x 9” x 16” (91cm x 23cm x 41cm)
Floor size: 192” x 192” (488cm x 488cm)
Peak height: 113” (287cm)
Number of rooms: 1
Shape: Bell
Best for: Base camp/ family fun
Price: $$$

How cool is this old-school bell-shaped tent from TETON sports? It’s like a cross between a camping tent and a circus tent. Sound like a good time to you?

We’ve been fans of TETON’s budget-friendly adventure gear for awhile, and this 12 person tent certainly delivers on the quality we expect with the TETON Sports 16’ Bell Tent .

For starters it’s the only tent on this list made with super-rugged waterproof treated canvas. It’s also got the thickest, most durable floor we’ve seen to date. You could literally live in this thing for months with zero durability concerns.

Of course a tent like this isn’t for everyone. It’s classic “one big room” design lacks any privacy whatsoever from your camp mates, and it’s unapologetic size and weight make it a chore to lug around from A to B.

Still, if you’re interested in trying the whole “yurt” thing out and don’t mind spending the big bucks to make it happen, there’s really nothing quite like the TETON Sierra tent.

Pros:Cons:
– Super durable treated canvas construction
– Removable walls and floor
– Bell tents are just plain cool.
– HEAVY
– One large room/no dividers
– Expensive  



Coleman Skylodge Tent

Specs:
Weight: 45 lbs (21kg)
Packed size: 26.5” x 12.5” x 12.5” (67cm x 32cm x 32cm)
Floor size: 19’ x 10’ (579cm x 305cm)
Peak height: 7.4’ (225cm)
Number of rooms: 2
Shape: Cabin/square
Best for: Smaller groups/families
Price: $$

The additional weatherproof screen room is what really sets the Coleman Skylodge Tent apart. If you’re not actually going to try to cram 12 bodies into this tent, the screen room makes for a great hangout spot. It’s super well ventilated, protected from the sun, fully netted for bug protection, and has plenty of room for sitting and storing gear outside of the main living area.

The 5’ x 10’ room is counted as part of the Skylodge’s sleeping quarters however, so if you want any privacy from your tent mates you’ll have to utilize it as a bedroom rather than a hangout.

Coleman has been in the outdoor game for longer than most of us have been alive, so their Weathertec system checks all the boxes we want for waterproofing including a tub-style floor with welded corners, taped and inverted seams, and a generous rainfly with plenty of guy-line attachments.

Pros:Cons:
– Weatherproof screen room is a nice touch.
– Simplified construction promises longevity.
– Massive door for easy in/out with gear.
– Two person assembly required
– Campers must sleep in screen room to reach capacity
– Unattached poles take longer to set up.



Coleman Skydome XL Tent

Specs:
Weight: 34 lbs (15kg)
Packed size: 28” x 13” x 13” (71cm x 33cm x 33cm)
Floor size: 20’ x 9’ (609cm x 275cm)
Peak height: 7’ (213cm)
Number of rooms: 1
Shape: Dome
Best for: Three season family camping
Price: $

The Coleman Skydome XL was a close runner up for our best 12 person tent on a budget.

Ultimately the CORE instant cabin above won us over with its three room construction and convenient setup, but the Coleman Skydome has a few design differences some campers will prefer.

As a classic dome-style tent, the Coleman Skydome uses a traditional interlocking pole set rather than the one-piece permanent-hub design you’ll find in the CORE and other similar “instant cabins” on this list.

You’ll still get nearly vertical walls thanks to the angled hub design on the Coleman, but setup will take you a little longer because the poles must be assembled and then attached to the tent with a series of clips. Still, like the Eureka above, we suspect this simplified design may have a longer lifespan, increasing the overall value of simpler tents like the Skydome XL. 

Of course the Skydome may be a little too simple for some campers. The classic dome design features two doors, but inside there’s only one large room with no privacy dividers. And, while we’re on the topic of privacy, the large mesh windows that give the Skydome its excellent ventilation can’t be closed. That means that without the rainfly, you won’t have much privacy above waist level when standing.

Pros:Cons:
– Coleman Weathertec waterproofing
– Great gear storage built in
– Budget friendly price tag
– “One big room” construction
– Longer setup time
– Lacks privacy without rainfly



12 Person Tent Buying Guide

12 person tents are some of the biggest, coziest, feature-rich camping tents out there.

Unconstrained by size or weight concerns, the best 12 person tents are unabashedly made for car camping in style for large groups or families. We’ve seen air conditioners, generators, and even propane stoves used inside these monsters (although we can’t recommend trying that last one at home).

All glamping jokes aside, there are still some technical considerations you should take into account when buying one of these backcountry chateaus. Consider the following when picking out your next 12 person tent.

Floor Size

The floor size of a 12 person tent is often the single largest deciding factor on how well it will actually sleep a large group.

Consider this: Some of the tents in our roundup above have less than 170 square feet of floor space while others have over 250 feet. Both “sleep” 12 people. Which would you rather share with a group?

In reality most 12 person tents are made to comfortably house about six people. If you’re going any higher than that, pay particularly close attention to floor space.

Rooms And Dividers

Best 12 person tent - Room dividers

Having multiple rooms and dividers inside a 12 person tent adds a degree of organization and privacy to the sleeping arrangements of large groups.

The standard for many of the best 12 person tents is a three room setup, with each room large enough to fit a queen size mattress.

Some tents, like the yurt-style TETON above, obviously won’t offer that option, but they’re built to offer a unique experience so you’ll know that going into it.

And while every tent floor should be built with waterproof materials, tent walls made from waterproof or water resistant materials add rain-worthiness to areas that the rainfly may not cover completely.

Finally, get a look at the seam taping of a tent. Fully taped or welded seams are waterproof seams. It’s always a good idea to apply seam sealer and a waterproofer like Nikwax to your tent, but you shouldn’t have to depend on it if the tent is good quality.

Weight And Packed Size

If you’re buying a tent this spacious, odds are you’re not planning on carrying it long distances or fitting it inside a backpack.

Still, there’s a notable difference in living with an 80-pound tent in two separate bags and a 40-pound one in a single sack that you can throw over your shoulder.

This one really just comes down to intended use and storage space. If you can accommodate the extra weight/bulk of the tent you’d prefer, go for it. Just know what you’re getting into before you pull the trigger.

Waterproofing

Best 12 person tent - Waterproofing

Want to ruin twelve people’s camping experiences simultaneously? It’s easy: Just add water.

A tent is a shelter from the elements. Rainy days on a camping trip are a bummer, but if your tent can’t keep you dry your day turns from bad to worse.

There are three important factors to consider when evaluating the waterproofing of tents like these: Rainfly design, tent materials, and seams.

Larger rainflys that provide better coverage of tent walls and windows are the first line of defense against the wet.

Durability

You know the difference between a great tent on a budget and a cheap tent? No one wants a cheap tent.

While your average backpacking tent requires a compromise between durability and weight savings, there’s really no reason to want a “superlight” group tent. With that in mind, we recommend focusing on more durable materials over lighter-weight ones.

As a general rule of thumb, higher denier fabrics (like 150D) are preferable to lower denier ones (like 65D) as they’re more ruggedly built and will take more abuse.

Tent poles should also be considered. The best 12 person tents use metal/alloy poles for maximum strength and durability. Again, weight isn’t a major concern, so don’t let a tent with steel poles scare you off. Fiberglass, on the other hand, should give you pause.

While the use of fiberglass poles doesn’t make a tent cheap outright, we always prefer a quality metal tentpole, preferably from a reliable name like DAC.

Some tents, like the Eureka! Copper Canyon above use a mix of metal poles in higher stress areas and fiberglass ones in less crucial areas like vestibules. This helps keep the cost down without raising any serious red flags about durability.

Ease Of Setup

Chances are if you’re looking for the best 12 person tents, you’ll be camping with a few able-bodied friends and family members who will help you set up your tent.

Still, it’s nice to know that if for some reason you’re on your own for setup and teardown, it can be done easily with one person.

This is where the pre-assembled and attached pole setups above come in handy, and tents with color-coded pole and body systems come in a close second.

Conclusion

For all the reasons above, we selected the Ozark Trail Instant Cabin as our top tent overall. Its combination of outright size, livability, durability, and convenience make it a clear winner for most folks, and all at a price that’s tough to beat. You can check out the Ozark, or explore any of the other tents that made our list by clicking on the links above.

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