Finding a suitable Instant Tent for your next camping trip is a demanding task, especially when we are overwhelmed by choice.
We are often given the ultimatum to decide between an Ozark Trail or Coleman, maybe even a CORE instant tent.
We’ve taken weeks and weeks to create an extensive list of the fast pitch tents available on today’s market, which we are also continuously updating, with new models from Outdoor Products, Timber Ridge and Columbia making their way onto the scene.
Some are slightly older and still going strong and we also have some new up and coming models that are definitely worth a peep. We’ve also included best picks for all sizes of instant tents from 4 person up to 12 person instant tents.
We have mainly focused on comparing the top brands who manufacture tents with pre-attached poles, also known as instant pitch tents. However since the pandemic has caused a global shortage of production, new brands have popped up with some very good alternatives, which we have included.
We’ve also included some lesser-known quick pitch tents, that are performing well on the market and with campers alike. Let’s find out which models are worth our money.
What is an Instant Tent?
They are generally lightweight, waterproof tents that can set up within 1-3 minutes. They do this by utilizing a pre-attached frame which requires no assembly. The frame extends outwards in unison until you hear the click of the locking mechanism, this means the tent is now fixed. After this, you simply need to fasten and secure the tent with tent stakes and guy lines.
Attach the rain-fly to protect from rainfall and your tent is pitched. You then simply unfold this bundle and the pre-attached frame in the form of interlinked poles, will rise up in one to form its shape. Then simply attach guy lines and stakes for security, job done. Easy right?
18 Best Instant Pitch Camping Tents
For a more in-depth review of each individual tent and what more they offer, check our reviews below. We cover every feature and function that is worth taking note of, and any key information that is important to any potential buyer.
1. CORE 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent
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A reigning champion, the CORE 9, a best seller for them and a great instant cabin tent for family camping.
Standing at 14 x 9 foot in measurements, its bigger than the previous Ozark Trail 8 person. The center height stays competitive standing tall at 6.6 foot at the hub. Being a cabin tent, it has straight walls and a box-like room design. As opposed to instant dome tents which have a lower head height generally and rounded walls. It also has a divider like the others, so we can create 2 sections inside the tent.
Manufactured with Core H20 block technology, what this focuses on is providing water repellent material that can withstand the elements. This technology includes an active bead technology, what this does is force the water droplets to run off at a faster speed than usual. This allows less time for the droplets to soak into the fabric.
Rainfly is removable and reveals a panoramic mesh window and mesh ceiling alike. The rain fly is fully taped to add to durability. The door is a large double door, which assists in the air circulation, also allowing easy access in and out. The venting system is clever, designed to pull in the cool air from the ground level, via the adjustable air intake vent on the bottom of the tent. Meanwhile, the hot air is able to escape through the roof of the tent via the meshed ceiling and windows.
Firstly it has the AC port access installed to make use of those important electrical items. The divider to separate out the tent to allow for better organization and space utilization. There are also zippered privacy panels integrated into the doors and windows. Lastly, all-important storage pockets are included. There are hanging pockets that are installed in the interior.
Note: Check out our CORE 9 Person Instant Tent Full Review right here for more info.
- Adjustable ground vent
- Well Priced
- AC Access Port
- Room Divider
- Storage Pockets
2. Coleman 10-Person Instant Dark Room Tent
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With a very unique color scheme, Dark Room technology, WeatherTec System and Tub shaped floor, it sets itself apart somewhat from its traditional counterpart. With larger dimensions, stronger frame and heavy-duty tent fabric, it outdid the traditional tent hands down. Standing stronger in the battle versus CORE and Ozark in this category.
It blocks up to 90% sunlight, perfect if you are camping with animals, children or perhaps you are slightly sensitive to the sun. Darkroom technology drastically reduces the heat from the sun’s rays. Reducing the buildup temperature by around 10%, which is substantial if you are dealing with high temperatures. It also has a sleep-inducing effect in the evenings, as you sleep in total darkness.
A very unique color scheme, this instant tent has a Green, Black and Teal pattern combination. The light color rooftop helps in reflecting somewhat of the suns rays, while the dark room interior gets to work on reducing the inside temperature. The Teal is integrated into the windows and doors area of the tent, and the black laces the bottom and the corners.
A very sturdy steel frame that has been engineered to withstand wind speeds of up to 35mph. It stands at 14 x 10 foot by measurements and has a center height of 6.7 foot. Its also still bigger than the CORE 9 Person and the Ozark Trail 8 person, in dimensions and center height.
Given the size of the tent it becomes challenging to pitch alone, but it’s still possible. However, with an extra pair of hands-on board, this will still pitch easily in 1-2 minutes. Folds away nicely into the elongated, rectangular carry bag. It’s not too difficult to fold alone, you will need a bit of practice first though. I would suggest trying in your garden first, before your trip.
Waterproof and Ventilation
Due to the WeatherTec System integrated into this tent, it can stay dry under moderate rainfall. It has patented corner welds that stops encroaching condensation at a ground level. It has a tub style floor and also protected seams on the zippers and doorways to keep it dry in weak areas.
Note: We have a full review of the Coleman 10 person darkroom right here, if you require a bit more detail.
- Blocks 90% of Sunlight
- Unique Color System
- Wind Resistant up to 35mph
- WeatherTec System
3. CORE 12 Person Instant Cabin Tent
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Keeping in line with its smaller models, it maintains a lot of the properties as seen in the other models. We will talk about what’s new and what’s not here.
Its measurements now stand at 18 x 10 foot. This may seem smaller than the 11 person model, which has a 17 x 12-foot footprint, but remember, that is because of the attached screen room. The 18 x 10-foot measurement you see here is the tent’s dimensions in its entirety. With fewer attachments to be made to the frame, it’s a more compact tent. Thus, more resistant to strong winds given the aerodynamic nature of the design. The center height stands at 6.6 feet making it a tent for tall people, which is surprisingly lower than the 11 person model.
One nice feature of this instant tent is that they have fitted 2 doors instead of one. This is really important when we are dealing with the larger tents. It keeps things organized and cleaner if you fix one as the entrance and the other as the exit. All the windows and doors have been fitted with privacy flaps, which is practical when changing inside the tent. The double doors allow for great ventilation also.
Generous storage in the form of 4 pockets on the interior wall. They have the usual gear loft, which is essentially a larger, elongated pocket along the other wall. There is also a feature for you to hang an LED or battery-powered camping lantern from the hook attachment inside.
It is possible to turn this tent into a 3 room tent. This is a really nice customization feature for a larger tent. With the abundance of space, it is a good idea to use it as a multiple room tent, rather than 1 big open plan. 2 removable dividers allow you to separate the tent into a sleeping area, changing space and even gear storage area.
All in all, it’s a great option if you want something just a bit bigger than the 10 and 11 person models. Another reason is the ability to divide up the tents space accordingly, providing security and privacy within the large spacious rooms.
Note: Check our CORE 12 Person Full Review here.
- Very Spacious Rooms
- Multiple Dividers – 3 Rooms
- H20 Block Technology
- Gear Loft and Wall Storage
4. Coleman 8 Person Instant Tent
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This model comes in 3 color options. Blue, Black and Brown. This is probably the best selling instant tent out there, reliable, durable and when used with the rainfly and tarp floor, can withstand heavy rain. Let’s look further into why this one is a winner.
Colors and Dimensions
Coleman has made Black, Blue and Brown Instant Tent models for this design. They do all have the same floor size, at 14 x 10 feet. However, there is some difference in the center heights. The Black and Brown models have a center height of 6.5 foot. However, the Blue instant tent is apparently taller, at 6.7 foot high. We would suggest you double-check this with Coleman before buying.
It is a waterproof tent due to the polyester material and weatherproof membrane in the fabric. However, you always must make sure you have checked whether or not he rainfly is included. If not you will definitely need to use one on this tent or you will not last the night in rainfall.
It has a removable divider, you can use this to create separate space inside, great to keep the kids busy in the corner, or privacy when in a group. Designed with 2 large doors, this helps to keep the tent organized, using one as a fixed exit and the other as the entrance. As well as 2 doors, this instant tent has 7 windows, providing excellent ventilation throughout the whole tent, and 360 views.
Easily assembled and secured in 1-2 minutes depending on the number of people setting it up. These tents can be set up alone smoothly, usually in around 2 minutes. Take from the package, unfold, extend poles until they click into position. Rotate for position as they are freestanding in design, then secure with tent pegs and guy lines.
Note: Check out our Coleman 8 Person Instant Tent Review for a full overview of the specifics.
- 1 Minute Set Up
- Storage Pockets
- Various Color Options
- Weathertec System
5. CORE 10-Person Instant Cabin Tent with Screen Room
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This is the best 10 person instant tent around in our opinion. Vastly out-sizing the Coleman and Ozark Trail models. It has great dimensions, superb design and a host of features that are missing in some other models.
Its dimensions are 14.5 x 14 foot, this towers over Coleman’s 14 x 10 dimensions. The center height stands tall at 7 foot so as you can imagine the inside is spacious and there is plenty of room for a large group.
The front screen room is attachable and it’s 14 x 5 foot in diameter. It rigs to the top and connects over the front of the framework. The area inside the screen room does not come with a floor or ground sheet, so I suggest laying an extra sheet or tarp down beneath. It’s meshed and has a large zipper in the center, separating the large double doors.
Spacious rooms due to the size and also the cabin tent style, having tall straight walls rather than the curved dome style. It also comes with a divider so you can separate it into 2 rooms. Because of its size, this works well and can separate the tent into 2 handsomely sized spaces, one for sleeping, one for changing. Then use the front screen room as storage. They also have storage inside in the form of a long pocket attached to the side wall.
Features and Freebies
Includes thermally taped seams to ensure water resistance. Additionally complete with ground vents to circulate the cooler air beneath, and hot air is able to escape through the center via the meshed ceiling. Lastly, it includes a compression wrap and free carry bag to add to the package.
Note: We have a full review of the CORE 10 Person Instant Tent here for a more visual view of all the features.
- Attachable Screen Room
- Wall Storage
- Lantern Hooks
- Room Divider – 2 Room
6. Coleman 6 person Instant Tent with Rainfly
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This is a great improvement of the 6 person from Coleman, but extra features come with a higher price tag. The dimensions are also a little larger than its predecessor.
Center Height and Weight
The highlight of this fast pitch Coleman has to be its superior center height. Standing tall over the other similar sized tents with a center height of 6.2 foot tall. The measurements of the tent when pitched are the norm at 10 x 9 foot floor plan. It’s a portable fast pitch tent that weighs in at around 22 lbs for trail weight. When packed up its a little on the large side and won’t fit into a standard backpack, so you would need to carry it separately over your shoulder or strapped to our back.
Pitch and Coating
No assembly of a frame is needed, the poles are pre-attached by design. It actually sets up smoother than its predecessor, probably due to the dual bubs in the center of the framework, it makes a smoother and faster assembly point. A little more sturdy also, feels less fragile. Up and pitched within 1 minute. The framework is very resistant and durable as it has been coated with protective powder. The frame is also made of steel. While being slightly heavier than the aluminum or fiberglass frames, its much stronger and will last longer in retrospect.
Unlike the cheaper Coleman instant tent, this one does come with a rain fly, and not a tacky one either. Its made of 150D polyester material which is considered heavy-duty, the rain fly itself is also factor sealed for extra protection and durability. Also, Storm Flaps have been integrated into the design of this instant cabin and an adjustable roof. Aiding in ventilation and dealing with precarious weather conditions. Lantern loops are fixed in the interior, at the ceiling position, so you an attached some camping lights.
Note: Check our Coleman 6 Person Instant Tent Review here for a full guide.
- Quality Rain Fly
- Meshed Storage Pockets
- Interior Lantern Hoops
- WeatherTec System
7. Ozark Trail 11 Person Instant Cabin with Private Room
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This instant cabin from Ozark Trail is quite unique, for the fact it has an integrated private room on the rear, as you can see in the picture above. You can see the front image on its product page but it is very familiar to the 8 person model if you want to keep reading.
It has an awning, which we love and it’s pretty high too. At 76 inches it creates a large shaded area for entry/exit and ample headroom internally and for moving around. The tent itself is 14 x 14 which is generous for an 11 person instant tent and may have slightly more desirable measurements when compared with the Coleman 10 and CORE 12, depending on if you want more square typed footprint or rectangular.
A room divider can be used to separate the space within, suitable for larger families wanting to create a child-friendly zone or for storing camping gear. You can also just use the private room as a dedicated storage area and make huge sleeping bag areas or fit a queen size mattress in, or 2.
Set up friendly and can be itched immediately with its pre-attached frame. Storage pockets line the interior so you can keep any expensive tech off the ground and an AC access port exists on the side wall. 6 large meshed windows will ensure ventilation and air circulation throughout the camping trip and making it easy to air out prior to packing up.
Note: For a full review of the Ozark Trail 11 Person Tent check out here for more details and info.
- Well Priced
- Bonus Private Room
- Front Awning
- AC Port
8. Coleman 4 Person Instant Tent
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First up the Coleman Instant Cabin, boasting the most sales in this category, with a huge percentage of happy users. With a fast pitch and lightweight feature it makes this a viable option for a 4 man tent.
The material is 150D polyester which is a decent material and does the job. Secondly, the seams are also taped to increase protection against water penetration. Surprisingly, even being a Cabin shape, which has reasonably high and straight walls, it stands strong in the face of wind. Coleman has its WeatherTec System installed. So that includes their patented floors that are welded and inverted seams that offer consistent protection against the wet.
Size and Shape
With a footprint of around 8 x 7 foot, it’s generous and quite wide for a 4 man when compared to other models. The center height is 4.10ft, which is pretty standard for a cabin design. When packed up its dimensions are 38 x 18 x 9.5 in which can probably fit into an average-sized car or tied to the roof-rack. It still remains a fairly lightweight instant tent with an 8.5-9 lbs weight.
A single large door takes precedence at the front of the tent and as you can see from the pictures this model is surrounded by mesh windows, the air circulation is superb. They also do a great job of keeping out all the bugs too, the holes are too small for them to fit through.
Firstly it has a great fast pitch system. Making it one of the easiest tents to set up in the 4 person range. Its quick and easy set up system with pre-attached poles allows it to erect quickly up unpacking. In less than 60 seconds. It also has a rain fly that is integrated with vents to aid air flow.
- Economical Price
- 60 Second Pitch
- WeatherTec System
9. CORE 4 Person Instant Dome Tent
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A modestly-sized tent from CORE that also has a pre-assembled frame and can be pitched in as fast as 30 seconds. The 4 person dome tent is ideal for small families or duo campers looking for a bit of extra space.
It doesn’t have the largest interior space compared to the CORE cabin models though, Dome tents are naturally sloped, with a low profile design, this shortens the living space and lowers the head height.
However, on the bright side, they are a million times better against the wind than the cabin models. Due to the low profile and sloped walls, this creates an aerodynamic shape, allowing wind to glide right over. Because of this, they have popularly become fast pitch tents for backpackers and hikers alike.
Giving them less hassle on the trail when its time to pitch. A 4.5 ft head-height, AC port access, storage pockets, and a lightweight carry are just a few of the attractive features in this tent.
Note: If you want to dive deeper into the features of this tent, check out our Core 4 person instant dome tent review, to discover every detail and spec.
- Storage Pockets
- Lightweight Carry
- 30 Second Setup
10. Outdoor Products Instant Cabin Tent
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An affordable option here from Outdoor Products which has a familiar design but with a unique feature. Definitely reminds us of the CORE and Columbia designs, sticking to the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ routine, however they have a more protective rainfly which not only covers the top, but runs down each leg and attaches to the corners.
This creates a more full and enclosed feel for us, which goes hand in hand with a cabin tents premise. Designed to be our home away from home, with tall straight walls and huge internal space, the overhanging rainfly ties in nicely with the protective feel. One color only but a traditional camping green is something not easily found in today’s market of instant tents, as you can see straight away from our list.
Capacity and Pitch
4 tent sizes have been manufactured, 4, 6, 8 and 10 person instant tents are all available and share the same design and color theme throughout, keeping the quality consistent. Of course, the setup is as simple as they come, just lay it out flat out of the carry bag, and extend the poles upwards and outwards until the locks and poles click into place. Then simply attach the rainfly at half mast and extend fully to 100%, and voila, the tent is pitched. It’s the same system for all 4 models.
The head height is above average, even in the 4 person model its at 5.5 ft and scales up to 6.5ft in the 10 person, this combined with the cabin style walls makes for huge sleeping and storage space. The no-see-um mesh is also present in all models of tents, providing full protection from bugs and mosquitoes, another example why this tent makes a great instant family tent.
- 4 Sizes Available
- Large Head Height
- No-See-Um Mesh Protection
11. Columbia Mammoth Creek Instant Cabin Tent
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The Mammoth Creek tent from Columbia is also a fairly new addition to the camping world, and albeit our list today. We’ve had our eye on this line since release and have been waiting for the public’s reaction to its performance out in the field. So far so good it seems and for us personally, we especially like the 6 person tent model.
Not as much variety as CORE or Coleman, but they do have 3 sizes of tents that do the job very well. A 6 person, 8 and 10 person tents are available, all with the same cabin design and pre-assembled framework which provides an instant pitch.
The first unique feature we liked and that is apparently immediately when you look at it, is the pull out windows. Not only does this add an aesthetic touch to the tent but it also has a clever benefit. When it’s raining, the windows can still be opened. This is due to the distance between the window lip and the frame, and also the funnel shape, that deflects rainfall away from entering the tent.
With various protective qualities, we like this as a family tent or a tent for large groups alike. The tent material has been coated with their own ‘Omni-Shield’ coating, which is essentially a protective coating that repels water and prevents material stains. This allows the tent to remain lightweight even during downpours, no pools of water will be allowed to form.
- Omni Shield Protective Coating
- Unique Pull Out Windows
- Integrated Storage Pocket
12. Ozark Trail 8 Person Instant Cabin Tent
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A great family camping tent with a fast pitch design and easy set up. Lightweight and portable, it can be used for any casual camping trip and resist light rainfall. This model stands at 13 x 9 foot compared to the 14 x 10 of Coleman. However, the 6.6 foot center height is an inch taller than the competitors in the list.
Windows, Doors, Rooms
Only 1 door, but it’s huge, 2 adults could walk in and out at the same time easily. It has 4 windows, 1 for each side of the tent, which keeps air circulating fairly well. 4 meshed windows keep it mosquito-free and cooler in the day. A removable divider helps to ‘create’ the presence of 2 rooms. So, you could attach the divider in the center, and use the other side as gear storage or changing area etc.
Easy Pitch and Waterproof
Like the other models you simply need to unfold it, extend the framework outwards until it clicks into position and job done. Attach the rain fly after this, then secure with tent stakes in the desired position. It is a waterproof tent, but we suggest you use some seam sealer or waterproofing spray if you can.
Weight and Features
This particular model weighs around 24 lbs and can be carried inside its carry bag. It’s a freestanding tent, so it can be positioned and rotated freely, prior to securing. With free rain fly, tent stakes and carry bag, it is also fitted with an AC port for electrical access, which is a welcomed feature for the bigger family tents. For a more durable carrying method, you can check out the folding wagon by Ozark Trail, or other brands.
- Steel Frame
- AC Access Port
- Free Carry Bag
- 2 Large Gear Organizers
13. Ozark Trail 10-Person Dark Rest Tent
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Designed as a Dark Room tent, it is very similar to the Coleman, but there is a considerable price difference between the two. Albeit reputation and quality are factors that can separate these 2 brands, however it does make for a decent family camping tent that pitches instantly.
An easy and fast pitch tent, perfect for family camping when you just want to get it done, and fast. We set this up in around 2 minutes with 2 people. It was easy as the whole framework is connected already and the poles are pre-attached.
Windows and Doors
With a huge amount of windows, 8 in total, it is well ventilated like a Gazebo. The door is a large double D shape in design. These are all meshed as well which prevents any bugs from getting in. Additionally, they provide some great views and you can really take in the surroundings with a 360-degree experience. Ceiling panels are movable so you can adjust your view of the night sky in the evenings, just roll them back when you want to stargaze, then fold back and secure when its bedtime.
Dimensions and Dark Room
Here is where the similarities kick in with Coleman’s 10 person dark room instant cabin tent. The dimensions are identical both at 14 x 10 foot. Although the Ozark Trails head height is slightly lower than the Coleman’s at 6.5 inches, it’s around 2 inches shorter. It also has the Dark Room technology, so this offers another cool space to rest in and also a better night’s sleep.
Note: We have a full review on the Ozark 10 Dark Rest Cabin here.
- Dark Room Technology
- Stargazing Ceiling Panel
- 8 Seam Sealed Windows
- AC Cord Access
14. Timber Ridge 6-Person Instant Cabin Tent
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No assembly required with this instant open system. They offer a full years warranty on this tent model and has a great design, suitable for casual camping.
It measures up at 120 x 120 x 78 in inches and has a surprisingly tall center height at 198 cm, quite rare for a 6 man. It’s a fair weight at 26lbs, this is a borderline lightweight tent, roughly 10kg for the full pack. Additionally, a 3 season tent, so can be used most of the year-round, removing heavy snowfall on the hub to avoid damage.
It includes an electrical cord access port in the rear side, which can be covered while not being used, keeping the interior secured. Fitted with a large O-Shaped entry door, it’s pretty easy to get in and out of without too much hassle. There are also 3 windows surrounding the tent, which has zippered mesh providing a cool environment inside. The bathtub style floor also helps to keep you dry during heavy rainfall and a medium-sized storage pocket exists on the corner roof seam.
Weatherproof and Ventilation
Due to the numerous meshed windows, it’s very well ventilated and will additionally completely block insect invasion. Mosquitoes and the likes can’t enter via the fine mesh. There is also a cloth loop in the center where you can hang a light or fan, for additional air circulation.
With pre-attached poles, it’s a fast set up tent and very easy to pitch. It has a ‘smart’ locking mechanism at the top/center of the tent, its nothing we haven’t seen before, but functional, which is important. Overall a quick set up and can be done by 1 person.
- Easy and Fast Set Up
- Well Ventilated
- Storage Pockets and Lantern Hooks
15. Ozark Trail 6 Person Instant Cabin Tent
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Its an easy set up tent with similar dimensions to the Coleman Instant Tent, however it is smaller in some areas. It does have some additional features though, that the others don’t. So let’s look at this model in more depth.
It’s definitely an easy pitch tent, for us it went up in around 45-50 seconds, and can be set up alone without difficulty. With no assembly preparation needed, all pre-attached, this tent is an instant pitch. Just unpack the tent from the carry bag and then unfold it into shape, extend until you hear the click. Job done.
Frame, Doors, Windows
Surrounding the tent are 3 large windows which provide great circulation and visibility, on the 4th side is a large-sized door. The windows and doors are all meshed, providing protection from insects and improving ventilation inside the tent. The framework itself is made of steel, which is better than fiberglass frames. Fiberglass is indeed lightweight, but steel is stronger and less prone to breakages. Fabric is made up of polyester, fairly breathable material and moderately resistant to rain and manufactured with a waterproof membrane.
The dimensions stand at 10 x 9 feet, which is indeed identical to the Coleman Instant Cabin. However, the center height falls short at 5.5 feet, whereas the Coleman stands at 6 feet. This is something to bear in mind if you are a taller camper. 10 x 9 is indeed spacious for a 6 person tent and has plenty of room to store a queen airbed, a few sleeping bags and or camping gear.
In a modern world, Ozark has taken the initiative and put something practical in to suit modern campers’ needs, electrical cord access!. Additionally, the rain fly is included in this model, along with a portable carry bag and enough tent stakes to get it set up properly.
Note: For a full in-depth review with more images of specific features, check out our Ozark Trail 6 Person Dark Rest Tent guide.
- Electrical Cord Access
- Rainfly Included
- Sturdy Steel Framework
- Free Carry Bag, Tent Stakes
16. CORE 6 Person Instant Cabin Tent
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CORE enters the fray with their take on the 6 person Instant Cabin Tent. They actually did a very good job with this creating a reliable option for casual family camping. Boasting bigger dimensions than both the Ozark Trail and Coleman 6 person models, its worth a peep. It also has an integrated wall organizer to really pip the lead. So here we go.
Coleman 10 x 9, Ozark 10 x 9, CORE 11 x 9! The CORE instant tent takes position with a slightly larger than average 11 x9 floor plan. Slightly extra space to fit in an extra bed and gear. Center height however, is a different story. Taller than the Ozark, although, it stands side by side with the Coleman 6 man.
Using CORE’s H20 Block Technology which has a few features worth mentioning. The fabric is waterproofed with a repellent membrane to keep it dry. Additionally, manufactured with sealed seams and the rain fly is fully taped up offering additional resistance.
Certified fast pitch tent, sets up instantly within 60 seconds like the other models, so it doesn’t fall short here. As usual, unfold the structure and extend the framework outwards until it clicks. The frame will now be automatically fixed and ready, you can then secure it further with the tent stakes and guy lines, after rotating to the correct position. As all the models are free-standing, you can position at will.
All the windows are fully meshed for bug protection and ventilation. The ground ventilation feature like the Easthills model, is great for ground floor circulation. Like the Ozark, they also have an electrical cord access port that can be closed when you’re not using it. One great thing is the storage, they have a ‘wall organizer’ which is a whole wall dedicated to storage. Perfect for keeping things up off the floor. It also has a gear loft and lantern hook so you can connect some LED lights.
Note: If you’re looking for a more in-depth guide going over all the features of the CORE 6 person instant tent, then check out our full review guide. We delve a bit deeper into the specifics and details there.
- Fast 60 Second Set Up
- AC Port Access
- Wall Organizer
- Spacious Interior
17. Ozark Trail 12 Person Instant Tent Review (3 rooms)
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The last in our line up, the largest instant tent in our list is the 12 person from Ozark Trail. With massive space and 3 rooms it’s a beast and suitable for family camping trips in large groups. It also comes with a large shaded area on the front which could be used for a camping table and chairs.
The rooms are 8 x 8 foot in size making an accumulated size of 16 x 16 foot in total. It’s a monster. Big windows on all sides to aid in the ventilation of such a large tent. Fitted with 2 internal room dividers allowing you to divide up the space accordingly and keep the interior organized. A large front awning attachment covers the entrance, great for relaxing in the shade on a hot day. In addition, a large ground vent allows cool air to flow inside freely.
With a shipping weight of around 61 lbs, we would say the carry weight is around 55-57 lbs. A large attachable rain fly covers the entirety of the rooftop and also comes free with the purchase. A power outlet exists as a feature, function of the power outlet is to electrify the outside of the tent, this is to prevent any larger animals approaching in the night. Bears, mountain lions, cougars etc can be common in certain areas and potentially attracted if food is left out.
Pros and Cons
It’s a good tent, but it’s definitely not without its faults. They have integrated a triangular covered screen over the front awning. We feel this could have been designed a little bit better as it can cause some annoyances during heavy rainfall, due to the angle of the drain-off. The tent material is also thinner than the CORE and Coleman large instant tents, I would definitely suggest reinforcing this one with proofing spray before taking it outside. The head height is quite low too, standing at only 6 foot, its lower than most of the 8-11 person models.
All in all, for the biggest instant tent around it’s bound to be a little awkward. I mean come on, it’s insanely hard to find a tent that can house 12 people and pitch in under 2 minutes. They have done a damn good job of making it secure as possible while utilizing an instant pitch, like the CORE 12 person model too.
Note: Check out our full review on the Ozark Trail 16 x 16 Instant Tent to learn more about the specifics and see more images.
- Large Dimensions
- 2 Free Room Dividers (3 Rooms)
- 7 Windows
- Large Front Awning
18. Ozark Trail 9 Person Instant Cabin
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This may look very familiar, almost a clone of CORE’s 10 man model, but with slightly smaller dimensions at 14. 13.5 as opposed to 14.5 x 14 with CORE. Well, they say imitation is the highest form of flattery, and at around 40lbs in weight its definitely one of the more sturdier models from Ozark Trail.
No assembly required with this pre-assembled framework that can be pitched in just under 2 minutes, alone. The steel poles with plastic hinges for flexibility all come pre-attached from the manufacturer, so you don’t have to worry about any tricky manual.
The main feature is clearly the additional screen room which makes it a fantastic family tent, due to the additional shaded are. perfect during hot weather for shade, and equally as an area to chill when the rain is on. There is a divider included which is removable, so you can create 2 rooms inside. Again great for families, you can create a kid’s and parents’ sleeping area.
Air circulation is evident, with the large windows you can see on either side, which are meshed and the screen room area is also fully meshed. A simple task to air out the odors in the morning.
Numerous storage pockets and gear organizers are sewn into the tent walls at mid-height, so you can reach while standing or sitting. There is also an AC port at the rear, so you can feed power inside, keeping you online or allowing the use of electronics.
Note: We have a full Ozark Trail 9 Person Instant Tent Review where we should in detail all the features and more specifics, feel free to take a look for more info.
- Room Divider
- 7 Foot Center Height
- Meshed Screen Room
How to Choose an Instant Tent
When considering buying an instant tent there are a few things you should focus on primarily, to best maximize your experience in camping with an instant tent. Lets look at our top factors, followed up with our graph overviews of what we have in our top list today.
Weight plays a big part as much as size does. If we are thinking about transportation, weight limits on roof racks or small vehicles are important to adhere to. Also depending on if you are camping far from your vehicle and plan to hike deep into an area to find the perfect spot, the pack weight will play an important role in this. For the bigger families who are doing campsite camping/car camping, weight is less of an issue as you usually set up shop right next to your vehicle.
For those vertically challenged, like myself, center height isn’t one of my first priorities when choosing an instant tent. However a few of my friends who are over 6ft, it is often their first point of call. Having a tent with sufficient head height not only improves the entry/exit access movement, but also better caters to things like tents fans and lanterns. Not only this, but a taller head height, especially in straight walled and cabin tents, accentuates the size on the interior, giving a bigger feel inside.
Obviously the size is important for all of us, this is probably our first point of interest. What you’ll be happy to know is, and what you can clearly see, is that the majority of instant tents are a cabin shape tent. This gives you much more bang for your buck, size wise, than dome or teepee style tents. Which pop up tents tend to be. Instant tents are a little bit more robust and deemed as better family tents, generally speaking. With tall head heights and straight walls, you’ll have large internal space and big sleeping areas. With every pro comes a con, and it can be true for cabin shape tents that they are more vulnerable to strong winds than a dome, but if you position correctly and use your car or natural surroundings to stop the wind, you’ll be fine.
Ease of Setup
You might assume that all instant tents just kinda ‘pop’ but its not the case. Pop up tents do, but instant tents are a bit more robust for the fact they have a pre-built frame which is not flimsy by any means. For this you will have some heavier weights and a slightly more demanding setup compared to a pop up tent, however still pitching within a couple of minutes. Generally ranging up to 2-3 minutes, the bigger models taking slightly longer due to the size. A couple of models in our list are a cross between a standard tent and an instant tent, but they are so easy and great tents to use, we had to include them in our list.
Instant tents sit around mid table when it comes to water ratings and Hydrostatic Head ratings. Most of the CORE line up have a respectable 600-900 water rating for the most part, and also come with a pretty decent rain fly. The Coleman models do have the WeatherTec system integrated, unfortunately, for some annoying reason, the rain fly’s are all a separate purchase with the Coleman fast pitch tent models. We would not use them without the rain fly either, so you really need to invest in one if you like the Coleman, or you WILL get wet no question. With the rain fly, very respectable level of waterproofing too. The Ozark Trails, Timber Ridges, Columbia and Mammoth Creek are all around the same, coming in around 400-700, the Coleman and CORE models definitely pipping it here.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I Fold an Instant Tent?
They mostly operate on a ‘hinged pole’ system that stems from their pre-attached frame that comes ready made and integrated inside the tent. This style of tent is incredibly easy to pitch and can be done so generally in 1-2 minutes tops.
- Remove the contents from the carry bag and lay the tent flat on the ground
- Set any loose tent poles to the side, these will be generally to attach the rainfly or awning at the end
- Start on 1 side, and lift the leg poles up until the elbow joints flex into a standing position
- Do the same on the opposite side of the tent, then work your way around the sides (if a larger tent)
- Once all elbow joins are flexed, extend the telescoping poles until they click into place at the top
- Stabilize the tent by attaching tent pegs at a 45 degree angle through the foot clamps
- Drape the rain fly over the tent roof and attach to the tent poles
- Draw out the guylines, make a loop and fix to the ground with pegs
- Now you can attach any extras like storage pockets or camping lanterns
- Starting at one side of the tent, push the locking button in to lower the leg poles
- Work your way around doing the same to all poles until it is fully lowered
- Push down on the elbow joints to lay the tent flat again
- Fold the corners inwards towards the center hub
- Gather it together into a roll and drop it to the floor
- Roll it up slowly to expel the trapper air properly
- Tuck one end into the carry bag then slip the bag over and zip up
Folding is generally way more tricky for people to get the hang of, so we have included a great video so you can watch it be done visually, and practice alongside it.
Instant Cabin Tent vs Instant Dome Tent: Which is better?
A Cabin tent would be longer to assemble and a bit more demanding. This is due to the larger frame and size.
Dome tents tend to be smaller, more compact, therefore easier to set up.
A Dome tent would be lighter, generally speaking.
A Cabin tent is often bigger with much larger rooms and interior, this brings additional weight.
It would also be the case when both are collapsed, a Cabin would weigh more and have a larger storage area, a Dome would be lightweight and easily carried.
Cabin Tents have straight, taller walls that resemble a home. They often come with curtains or drapes to attach to the interior door lining, to create a nice feel of comfort. Also equipped with windows and doors to ventilate the bigger size rooms.
Dome Tents tend to create more 4 season tents compared with Cabin Tents.
This is because of the nature of the camping locations it is used in, you can get access to more remote locations with its lower head height and compact shape. They will be exposed to more extreme weather conditions than a Cabin.
While a Cabin sits with a bigger family at a casual camping area.
The difference in shape also impacts the interior size.
Cabins have straight walls, which creates more space inside the tent.
The Dome is rounded in shape, so the walls curve into the middle, creating less space inside.
This isn’t a negative or con, on the flip side it means you can pitch it in more discreet locations, under trees, canopies etc. You can start to see now that there is a clear reason for each design and they shouldn’t be used for the same purpose.
Are Instant Tents Waterproof?
Yes, for the most part. Some of the cheaper models will need some extra protection in the form of proofing spray and seam sealing. Also, some other economical choices are just not built to handle strong weather. The CORE and Coleman instant tents are generally well waterproofed and with a rainfly can survive easily during rainfall.
We should always bear in mind to check the Hydro Static Head Rating of a tent to make sure it’s high enough for the environment you will be camping in. 1000mm-2000mm will be enough for the casual and family campers out there.
If your question was not included in our FAQ, please comment below or email us on our contact page.
Instant Tents are a great addition to your camping trip and they offer suitable shelters that can be used for various group sizes. They are slower to set up than the Pop Up Tents and a bit more hefty to carry around, however, they are far more robust and provide larger size models.
A reliable and economical option to consider for your next adventure, that will also save you time and potentially a headache when you arrive at the campsite.
I hope this was insightful and helped you to make the right choice for your trip.
Until next time campers, cheers!