Ozark Trail 12-Person 3 Room Instant Cabin Tent, 16×16

Last updated date: August 28, 2019

DWYM Score
8.2


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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

In our analysis of 146 expert reviews, the Ozark Trail Ozark Trail 12-Person 3 Room Instant Cabin Tent, 16x16 placed 8th when we looked at the top 8 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note March 25, 2020:
Checkout The Best Family Tent for a detailed review of all the top family tents.

Expert Summarized Score
8.6
13 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
7.5
1,009 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Windows are closable for extra protection against critters and the elements.
- Rainy Adventures
Each room can be completely zipped off, allowing for a private bedroom area or changing space, which is definitely a nice bonus if you’re by a lake area with a beach for swimming, have a lot of kids running around, or just need to take a nap one of those days to recharge a little bit during an exhausting and fun week of enjoy the great outdoors.
- Amazing Outdoor Adventures
The tent is crafted with a durable, strong and a quick dry fabric that ensures you get an extensive comfort and relaxation. Consequently, this is a perfect on-the-go product that can be used anywhere anytime.
- 5 Product Reviews
The pre-attached poles mean this tent has an incredibly easy set-up: it pops up with minimal effort.
- TenBestProduct
The camping tent is very stable and durable, and water-resistant. You can use this tent in windy areas without worrying about tumbling as it has a very stable base and it is shaped exactly to resist falling when hit by wind.
- Mike's Gear Reviews
Because there are up to 3 separate rooms this could be a good choice for multiple couples, groups, friends, or families.
- Outside Pursuits
The instant design of this tent means that you can easily and effortlessly assemble it in minutes. You could even, possibly, manage to set up this large tent on your own. I suggest having at least one other person help you, however. All you have to do is pull the tent out of its carrying case, unfold it, pull the collapsed, shock-corded poles into alignment, attach the fabric with clips, stand it up, and peg it down. Just like that. You can have an entire large tent in minutes.
- Tents & Camp Gear
Air Conditioning Ports – This tent incorporates 2 ground vent flaps (AC Ports) to accomodate air conditioning units.
- All Camping Stuff
Pockets in the sides of the room separator provide storage for keys, flashlights, and other miscellaneous items.
- Family Tent Info
Two ground vent flaps are available to accommodate air conditioning unit.
- Tents Review
This tent is relatively easy to set up because the poles are pre-attached to the tent. So in theory you just unfold the tent and extend the poles.
- Effortless Outdoors
No assembly required.
- Outfit Boss
Despite its size, setting up is easy and can be done within two minutes.
- Dream Guides
What experts didn't like
Cannot withstand environments with strong wind pressure.
- Rainy Adventures
Less stable than tents with detached poles.
- TenBestProduct
One single door.
- Mike's Gear Reviews
With the sheer size of this tent, however, you’ll need to be sure that you set it up well. Some users complain about strength issues in the wind. With a surface area this massive it’s hard to avoid wind damage so choose your location carefully.
- Outside Pursuits
Gaps In Netting – Some small gaps in the mosquito netting near ventilation peaks.
- All Camping Stuff
The doors to the rooms don't unzip all the way to the ground. This design leaves around six inches of material on the floor, which can potentially cause you and other individuals to trip on it.
- Family Tent Info
The luggage space is not enough considering 12 person. However, space is good if the number of campers is less than twelve.
- Tents Review
High price.
- Outfit Boss
There are some little gaps in the mosquito netting.
- Dream Guides

From The Manufacturer

The Ozark Trail 12 Person Instant Cabin Tent sets up in under two minutes! This 12-person tent requires no assembly because the poles are pre-attached to the tent; just unfold and extend. This three-room, cabin-style tent has large windows on all sides and room to stand up. It features a large front awning for relaxing under the shade. In addition, it comfortably fits three queen airbeds or up to 12 campers in sleeping bags on the floor. Two internal room dividers allow you to create separate sleeping and living spaces. Keep cool with the oversized ground vent that also fits an air conditioner.

Overall Product Rankings

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

DYWM 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.