In a rush? We found that Tahoe Gear Gateway Deluxe Cabin Family Tent is the best 12 person tent on the market today.
Camping isn’t always meant to be a solitary experience.
Sometimes you want to take the entire family along for the trip – and sometimes the kids want to bring their friends, too! For this, you’re going to need a bigger tent, and choosing a 12-person tent that’s both easy to set up and has enough room on the inside can be pretty hard.
My family and I are avid campers, and we do our thing at least a few times per year. We’ve learned what makes a good tent through trial & error.
Here’s a look at the best 12-person tents available today – and more about why each of these is great for your next camping trip.
Table of Contents
Best 12 Person Tent: Our Top 5 Choices
- Tahoe Gear Gateway Family Tent (Best Overall 12 Person Tent)
- NTK Super Arizona GT Sport Tent (Best Waterproof 12 Person Tent)
- CORE 12-Person Instant Cabin Tent (Best Budget 12 Person Tent)
- Ozark Trail 3-Room Instant Cabin Tent (Best 12 Person Tent With Multiple Rooms)
- Tahoe Gear Prescott 12-Person Tent (Best 4 Season 12 Person Tent)
NTK Super Arizona GT Sport-Family Camping Tent
The NTK Super Arizona GT 12-person tent is made for the outdoors – and of course, you can take three people camping in a twelve-person tent. The only difference is that you have a little more room on the inside.
This tent weighs just under 40 lbs, which isn’t heavy considering the sheer size of the tent when you’re done setting it up. It’s center height measures 6’11”, which is more than enough if you’re on the tall side, pushing six feet.
It even contains a mosquito net if you’re taking your camping trip into the woods and want to stay bug-free.
- It’s a tent that you can set up in under twenty minutes without any back-breaking effort, and the poles are marked so you know where they’re meant to go
- The NTK-series of tents are completely waterproof, protecting you from rain for the entire camping trip
- It’s one of the larger 12-person tents on the inside, with more than enough room to fit several single beds, chairs and whatever else you could need
- Galvanized steel frame connections cement this tent as one that’ll last for years
- Two D-style doors make it so nighttime bathroom breaks won’t wake the family
- Some users had issues with the door and window zippers when regularly opened and closed.
- It’s a good idea to purchase a separate (and more durable) floor tarp if the tent is going to see a lot of foot traffic for the trip.
Best for: families that want a tent with tons of legroom and top of the line rain protection.
Ozark Trail 3-Room Instant Cabin Tent
This tent is great if you aren’t a veteran camper and only want to have the occasional camping trip. With pre-attached poles in place, all you have to do is assemble – and it can be done a lot quicker than most tents out there. Plus, you can add an air conditioner to the tent, too!
The Ozark Trail 3-Room Instant Cabin Tent measures 16’ x 16’ and weighs in at just under 40lbs when it’s not set up. This one promises an instant setup, and it can be put up a lot quicker than a lot of other tents out there on the market.
Just be careful when setting up, because the poles have to “click” into place. If they aren’t installed properly, you’ll notice when the tent collapses in on itself – which is, I’ll admit, more of a user error than a design problem.
Overall, this was great and contains room dividers if you’d like to split it into three rooms or less.
- Measures 16’ x 16’ on the inside and comes with a porch – massive footprint!
- Seven windows, three rooms, and two doors make this less of a tent and more of a castle
- The oversized ground vent allows you to hook up an air-conditioner directly to your tent
- Pre-attached poles make setup and teardown easy (necessary for a large tent)
- Ozark Trail tents are generally very affordable, and this is no exception
- Large windows and multiple rooms allow ample ventilation and personal space, which means you’ll keep cool all night
- Design is not strong against the wind (lots of surface area), so make sure you anchor it to the ground correctly
Best for: families or groups that want to use three rooms for better privacy or alone time.
CORE 12-Person Instant Cabin Tent
This tent sets up in under five minutes, making it an excellent choice for a quick camping trip – or a beginner one.
It measures 18’ x 10’ on the inside and comes with all of the poles pre-attached so there’s no need to fumble with mechanics to get it set up. Oh, and it’s also prime for taller people, which is great if you’ve ever had to spend a camping trip in a tent where you keep hitting your head.
If you’re looking for a quick-camping tent that fits as many as twelve people (or gives smaller groups a ton of space) but isn’t a nightmare to set up, then go for CORE.
- Comes with room dividers so you can split it up into at least three separate rooms for privacy
- It stands up well in winter conditions, thanks to superior design and anchoring
- This tent promises a quick and instant setup and definitely delivers
- High center height (80 inches) and fits three queen-size airbeds
- Electrical ports and ground ventilation make this a tent that suits everyone
- Be careful with the poles. Pre-installed poles mean that you don’t want to drop it on your toes.
Best for: families that want a quick-pitch tent at an affordable price that fit a ton of people.
Tahoe Gear Prescott 12-Person 3-Season Tent
We used this tent for the first time when we took our two kids to Michigan for a week. It was so easy to set up that the kids did it themselves – and it had more than enough room that they could do their own thing and we could do ours.
The Tahoe Gear Prescott 12-Person tent measures 20’ x 10’ and fits into a small-enough bag that you can throw it over your shoulder. It has several handy room splitters if you’re going camping and the kids want some privacy, and it has the option of added storage space on the inside. It’s also great for winter, and we’ve taken this along when we go camping in colder areas or seasons.
- This tent is great for all seasons. Good for camping in winter, summer – or full-on rainy season.
- It’s easy to set up and you can get the job done in about ten minutes, five if you’ve set up a tent before and know what you’re doing already
- It’s warmer on the inside than it looks, and happens to be one of the bigger tents out there
- Extremely affordable, especially when you consider how much size and weather protection you get
- The open design and large windows mean you’ll be able to take in all of nature through a panoramic view
- Only available in one not so great color. The only option is electric blue, which is great if the environment around you matches, but can be an eyesore anywhere else.
- The fiberglass poles included could’ve been much stronger. It might be worthwhile to invest in newer poles.
Best for: People looking for an affordable 4-season tent that can easily fit in your shoulder bag.
Tahoe Gear Gateway Deluxe Cabin Family Tent
Tahoe makes pretty good tents, and we thought that it would be a great idea to own more than one. We weren’t disappointed with the Tahoe Gear Gateway Deluxe, the slightly more luxurious camping version of the regular Tahoe 3-Season option. This is the tent we take along when we want to go camping in style – and it hasn’t disappointed over more than two year’s worth of regular outdoors-ing.
We love how roomy this tent is (large enough for four beds) as well as all the storage pockets. This is a great option for families looking to spend more quality time together.
- It’s particularly roomy on the inside and has more than enough room for four beds and space left over.
- This tent is perfect for strong winds or heavy torrential downpours. Its thick rainfly and aerodynamic design will keep you safe at night no matter what.
- This one anchors to the ground particularly well, with poles, straps and more included to make sure that it’s sturdy regardless of the environment you’re setting it up in.
- Rainfly is equipped with a reflective solar shield to help you stay cool during the hot summer months
- Generous seven feet of center height means you can do jumping jacks inside, or maybe fit a bunk bed!
- It only comes in blue, which can be a drawback if you’re trying to blend in during your camping trip
- Zippers aren’t as durable as you would expect if you have a bunch of people going in and out of the tent throughout the trip
Best for: Overall the best 12 person tent.
Choosing The Best 12 Person Tent: A Thorough Guide
We’ve had a few camping disasters in our beginning days: poles that snap, tents that collapse, and even that one time our tent caught fire when a marshmallow flew off a stick and landed right on the roof of the tent.
If you’re new to camping (or into “glamping”), here’s how to choose the tent that’s right for your needs:
How To Choose The Best Tent
The best tents (at least 12-person ones) have more than enough room – and they’re light to carry. It’s a fine line to walk between tent size and tent weight. Make sure you buy one that’s big enough for the gang, but not so large you need a forklift to unpack it.
Other factors that you should look for when buying your first tent includes doors and windows (some have more than two and as much as six), the quality of the poles, and how sturdy it is when finally set up.
Lastly, note the quality of the floor tarp, which tends to wear first due to constant foot traffic. For frequent campers, it might be worthwhile to bring a tarp to place on the floor to prevent ripping your tent.
What Are The Advantages Of A 12-Person Tent?
Why choose a 12-person tent rather than a regular one? Many reasons – and taking twelve people along on a camping trip isn’t the only good reason.
A huge tent is also great if you’re someone who loves the added space, or if you’re planning on setting up a little kitchen, living room or eatery in your tent for the duration of your camping trip.
Good Tents Or Bad Tents: Which Are Which?
How can you tell the difference between a good tent and a bad one if you’ve never set one up before?
Good tents are ones that offer:
- Easy Setup
- Plenty of Space
- Weather Protection
Everything else can be considered secondary. If it matches these criteria points, it’s likely that you’re looking at a good tent model.
Learning To Set Up Your Tent
If you’ve never set up a 12-person tent before, it can be a little different to setting up a smaller tent, but this is only because you have more poles to work with.
Thankfully, YouTube has some excellent guides for how to set up your tent, including the one below that serves as a great step-by-step method for beginners.
I recommend setting up your tent at least once before you hit the road so that you can get used to the process. Go through the steps in your garage or backyard to make sure you know what you’re doing. Not only will you sharpen your skills, but it can also be a fun time for the kids to go “camping.”
Because of the size, there are a few things to keep in mind when setting up your 12-person tent.
First, it’s best to anchor your tent as deeply into the ground as possible. If you haven’t done this before, you also want to make sure that the surface is as level as you can get it. It’s a great idea to sweep the area to get any loose rocks, sticks or sometimes thorns out of the way of the foundation of your tent.
Next, always keep safety in mind first when setting up a tent. Consider factors such as how far away your tent is from your camping fire (note: far enough!), and the surrounding plants. Nobody has ever won a happy camper award by setting up their tent next to poison ivy. Trust me on this…
All the tents on the list have been tried and tested – and I loved all of them almost equally. But the Tahoe Gear Gateway Deluxe Cabin Family Tent stood out as one of the best and most durable tents of the bunch.
If you’re looking for a tent that’s bigger on the inside than it looks when standing a few feet away – and one that isn’t a nightmare to set up – opt for Tahoe.
It’s great for any season, completely waterproof, really easy to set up, and can stand up to really harsh weather, too.
Whether you’re a novice or not, the Tahoe won’t disappoint!