CORE Lighted 12 Person Instant Cabin Tent

Last updated date: October 30, 2019

DWYM Score
8.9

CORE Lighted 12 Person Instant Cabin Tent

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We looked at the top Family Tents and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Family Tent you should buy.

Overall Take

If you like your privacy, the CORE Lighted 12 Person Instant Cabin Tent is the tent for you. You'll get two room dividers to create three separate rooms within the tent. Two large doors and windows help bring outside air into the tent, along with adjustable vents and an all-mesh ceiling. In our analysis of 138 expert reviews, the CORE CORE Lighted 12 Person Instant Cabin Tent placed 2nd when we looked at the top 8 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note May 21, 2020:
Checkout The Best Family Tent for a detailed review of all the top family tents.

Expert Summarized Score
9.0
5 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.8
11 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Fits 12 people. Gear loft. Power port. “Instant” set-up with pre-attached poles.
- TenBestProduct
There is nothing one could object to ventilation here. There are two large doors with mesh, and windows with mesh are everywhere around, plus the ceiling which is all mesh. But even if you have to close the panels on the doors and windows, you still have adjustable vents on both narrow sides.
- Family Camp Tents
January 10, 2019 | Full review
Lots of space, enough for 12 people. 2 wall separators make 3 separate rooms. 80 inches of head space. Instant, pre-built frame. Included Rain Fly.
- Adventure Sacks
June 25, 2018 | Full review
Very spacious room. Mutiple-dividers. H2O block technology. Greater loft and wall storage. Easy pitch tent.
- The Tent Hub
May 21, 2018 | Full review
Very large inside and has enough room to house 12 people. If you use the room dividers, you can have 3 rooms total. It is surprisingly quick to set up, especially for a tent of this size (2 minutes to pitch!). This is due to the pre-attached poles. The wall storage pockets and gear loft keep all your equipment off the floor and out of the way, maximizing convenience and keeping your tent looking tidy. It stands up stong in heavy winds and has no problems keeping the rain out when an unexpected thunderstorm hits you during the night. It has an open ceiling design (mesh roof). This allows you to take the rain fly off and stargaze the beautiful night sky with your friends and family.
- Camping Mastery
December 23, 2016 | Full review
What experts didn't like
Pre-attached poles are less stable than detached poles.
- TenBestProduct
Not enough storage pockets.
- Family Camp Tents
January 10, 2019 | Full review
Zippers can break easily.
- Adventure Sacks
June 25, 2018 | Full review
Tall straight cabin sidewalls can be vulnerable to strong winds.
- The Tent Hub
May 21, 2018 | Full review
You will have to be lying down like sardines if you want to have exactly 12 people inside (not including gear). A couple of complaints about the poles rubbing up against the fabric when it’s been in storage, resulting in damaged material.
- Camping Mastery
December 23, 2016 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

LED lights are built into the roof poles of the tent and Core’s unique diffusing fabric disperses light for homey overhead lighting. Wall Mounted Light Switch. An interior and exterior light switch are mounted to the tent wall so they are as easy to use as your lights at home. The switches also illuminate so they can be seen easily after dark. 3 Brightness Settings High: 950 Lumens, 50h Run Time Medium: 300 Lumens, 110h Run Time Nightlight: 35 Lumens, 250h Run Time

Overall Product Rankings

CORE 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent
1. CORE 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent
Overall Score: 9.1
Expert Reviews: 21
CORE Lighted 12 Person Instant Cabin Tent
2. CORE Lighted 12 Person Instant Cabin Tent
Overall Score: 8.9
Expert Reviews: 5
Coleman Cabin Tent with Instant Setup
3. Coleman Cabin Tent with Instant Setup
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 13
Coleman Montana 8-Person Tent
4. Coleman Montana 8-Person Tent
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 25
Wenzel 8 Person Klondike Tent
5. Wenzel 8 Person Klondike Tent
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 27
Coleman 17X9 Weathermaster Tent 10
6. Coleman 17X9 Weathermaster Tent 10
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 13
Coleman Carlsbad Tent with Screen Room
7. Coleman Carlsbad Tent with Screen Room
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 16
Ozark Trail 12-Person 3 Room Instant Cabin Tent, 16×16
8. Ozark Trail 12-Person 3 Room Instant Cabin Tent, 16×16
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 13

An Overview On Family Tents

Camping is far more fun when you have someone sharing the experience with you. But with a family-size tent, you can camp in groups, whether you’re traveling with your in-laws, your spouse and kids, your favorite friends or a combination of all of the above. With tents readily available to sleep two or more families, you can turn your camping excursion into an outing to remember.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Chances are, though, you won’t want to spend half your trip setting up your tent. Manufacturers have found clever ways to make tent setup easier, including attaching the poles to the material so there are no pieces to assemble. Some family tents can be erected as quickly as 60 seconds, especially once you’ve gotten the hang of it.

Capacity can be tricky. Although some tents promise to hold up to 12 people, things can get a little cramped when you have all the sleeping bags fully rolled out. Measurements will matter more than how the tent is advertised, so use a measuring tape to map it out and decide on the size that will accommodate sleeping arrangements.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

“It’s important to get a tent that’s big enough for everyone who will be in it,” says outdoor and camping expert Shawna Newman, editor-in-chief of Active Weekender. “Luckily, tents are rated by how many people should fit inside, i.e. a 3-person tent. However, I suggest that you get a tent that’s supposed to fit 1-2 more people than you’re camping with so that everyone is comfortable.”

Also consider how many doors you will need, which will depend on the makeup of your party.

“Camping with small children? Then you probably only want one door so they can’t easily leave the tent without a parent,” Newman suggests. “Camping with teens or other adults? Look for a two-door tent so you don’t have to step over too many people to exit the tent.”

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Your tent won’t be air conditioned, and things can get stuffy once you pack it full of people. Newer tents build in vents and roofs that you can open up to promote airflow, along with the mesh windows that will let in air when you choose. Some tents are also built to keep out the sun’s rays, making them great for those who like midday naps on vacation.

The heat isn’t the only thing that can make camping challenging. You’ll need to be prepared for stormy weather, including rain and strong winds. Many tents are built using material that resists water, but you’ll also need to pay close attention to how sturdy the tent is. Your tent poles should be able to remain standing in reasonably strong winds. You’ll also find air vents become especially important when it’s raining outside.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

“It’s also important to have a tent that is appropriate for the type of weather you’ll be camping in with the family,” Newman says. “I recommend a three-season tent because it is the most versatile option on the market.”

She points out that, when shopping for tents, you will absolutely get what you pay for. Higher-quality tents will have seams already sealed to protect from rain. They will also have a rainfly, which helps when you experience unexpected bouts of rain. She also suggests looking for a family tent that offers good internal storage, like pockets and ceiling loops for water bottles, lanterns and the like.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

“Getting a quality tent for taking the family camping means that you’ll have something that should last you for many years to come,” Newman says. “And if you buy a good three-season tent with plenty of room for everyone, then you should be able to take it almost anywhere during most of the year and be able to enjoy a cheap family vacation.”

Just remember to do a trial run for setting the tent up at home first: “The last thing you want is to be struggling with it at the campsite,” Newman says.

DWYM Fun Fact

Tent camping may be recreational today, but there was a time when it was a matter of survival. The earliest known tents date back to 40,000 B.C., when they were made from mammoth hides. But over the years, it became increasingly important to come up with a more portable solution. By 450 B.C., early yurts and teepees were used to allow travelers to carry shelter along with them wherever they went. Tents were later adopted by various military forces as a way to keep soldiers on the move during wartime. The waterproofing materials used on tents today are a much better alternative to the smelly animal oils and fats used to keep occupants of early tents dry.

The Family Tent Buying Guide

  • At one time, setting up a campsite was a chore. Tent setup required multiple people following a confusing instruction manual. But today’s tents are far easier, with poles attached to keep you from having to deal with fitting multiple parts together. The CORE 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent can be in place in as little as 60 seconds, while the CORE Lighted 12 Person Instant Cabin Tent takes a little longer, at a minimum of two minutes. The Coleman Cabin Tent with Instant Setup just requires unfolding the nylon and interlinked poles, then guiding it to its natural shape. It’s important to note that these instant tents are convenient, but you still have the somewhat arduous task of taking them down and folding them up to transport home once your camping trip is over.
  • For larger tents, it’s important to give occupants a way to find some privacy. The CORE Lighted 12 Person Instant Cabin Tent excels in this area, providing two wall separators that give you three separate rooms, allowing you to set up one area for living space and two for bedrooms, or however else you’d prefer to configure things. The CORE 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent and Coleman Cabin Tent with Instant Setup have one room divider that gives you a separate walled-off area.
  • Whether you’re camping in the dead of summer or taking advantage of perfect weather in the fall or spring, ventilation is extremely important in any tent. You’ll need one that not only has windows built in, but also vents to promote airflow and take advantage of any breezes. The CORE 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent has both ground and ceiling vents in addition to multiple windows. The CORE Lighted 12 Person Instant Cabin Tent has two large doors and windows that all have mesh, as well as an all-mesh ceiling and adjustable vents on both sides. The Coleman Cabin Tent with Instant Setup has roof vents, but it also uses darkroom technology to keep 90% of the sunlight out to give you a dark, cool place to nap or just relax during the day.