Camping with a big gang of friends and family is one of the easiest and possibly most enjoyable times you can spend together. You get to pick your own little spot in nature and make a home away from home for everyone to enjoy. From your camping haven, you can hike in the woods, fish on the rivers, and enjoy nature in the most immersive way possible.
Camping in a big group requires a big tent, especially if you want to be comfortable and feel at home. 12 person tents are some of the largest tents available and thanks to their spaciousness, really do feel like your own little house in the wilderness. But, not all 12 person tents are made equal. Some are larger than others, the layout can differ, as can the storage options and style.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the best 12 person tents on the market and compare them against each other, doing the hard work so you don’t have to. We review each one in detail so you can find the perfect tent for your next camping adventure.
Best On A Budget
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Best Of The Best
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The Browning Camping Big Horn Tent provides a home away from home for any group or family. Spacious enough for comfortable living, it also provides some much-needed privacy that can be hard to find while camping.
This 12 person cabin tent is free-standing, so once it’s up you can move it around to your chosen camping spot. This is very handy, especially when the family is having a hard time deciding where to pitch.
The combination of steel uprights and fiberglass poles gives this tent a strong structure that can handle so heavy wind while the polyester rainfly keeps you dry. However, the rainfly doesn’t offer full coverage and leaks can come through the seams beneath it.
The set-up is pretty standard for a 12 person tent, you won’t find it too difficult or time-consuming. Once up, the inside can be left as one big room or split into two rooms with the room divider to give you some privacy when you need it. Each room has its own entrance and comes with three zippered storage areas.
One thing that really catches my eye is the lifetime warranty. This means the tent is made to last and will be with you forever, even if it does have a few defects on the way.
Overall a great 12 person tent that’s affordable, well made, durable, spacious, and private. If you go on camping holidays often, this is an excellent choice for your adventures.
The NTK Super Arizona GT 12 person tent is one of the most spacious tents in the review. Inside you have a colossal 200 square feet of floor space with 7ft of headroom to play with, truly a portable cabin in the woods.
Both the floor and rainfly are made of excellent materials that handle the wear and tear exceptionally well. The rainfly provides full coverage too, meaning you won’t find any sneaky leaks coming through the seams.
The set-up is so easy that even one person can do it on their own. Once up the 12 person cabin tent has two entrances and a detachable room divider so you can create 2 rooms, one for the kids and one for you. Privacy like this is so important when camping in large groups, especially when each room has its own entrance.
Another great thing about this tent is how it handles different temperatures. It is very well ventilated to keep you cool in summer and avoid any condensation. And in colder times, you can seal everything up to keep the heat inside. It truly is a 3 season tent.
The only flaws to this cabin-style tent are that the carry bag isn’t super durable and the stakes can bend easily, so you might need to do some minor upgrades after a while. Overall, a spacious and private 12 person tent that’s great for family camping.
The Core 12 Person Instant Cabin Tent really is one for the books. With an adjustable layout, you could have a 3 room cabin in the woods, a 2 room cabin in the woods, or a huge room for a large bunch of people to sleep in.
One of the main selling points of this 12 people instant cabin tent is an easy setup. You can set it up in 2 minutes according to Core but setting up in less than 5 minutes with practice is more realistic. It’s still pretty incredible to be able to pitch a tent of this size in such little time.
Once the family tent is up you can split it into three rooms that can each fit a queen size bed, how luxurious is that! And you can add power to the tent too. Just imagine walking into your own private tent room with a queen-size bed and a bedside lamp.
The best setup is probably two rooms leaving a large hallway down the middle for gear, chilling out, and having space for the dog to sleep in too.
The family camping tent does pretty well in the rain but it’s not so good in the wind. Anything over 20mph could affect the structure and end up snapping a pole or two, not ideal as finding a new pole in the woods isn’t so easy. Some have also experienced the floor being a little thin and getting holes in it rather quickly.
Overall this is an awesome tent but it is best for fair weather family camping or pitching in sheltered areas away from any serious winds.
The Tahoe Gear Prescott 12 Person is ideal for those on a budget looking for a spacious tent for a festival or the occasional camping trip. It’s a solid tent for the price but may not last very long or handle adverse weather too well.
The setup is quite simple and like most dome tents, so you’ll probably have a good idea of how to it already. Once up, the tent has two doors for easy access and the huge space can be split into two rooms using the room dividers, giving you and your friends some privacy when you need it.
The windows are excellent and provide great light during the day and ventilation to keep you cool. The inner ceiling is full mesh, only adding to the already excellent ventilation, so you can be sure to sleep comfortably on warm evenings.
Being a budget 12 person tent, it does lose some features. The rainfly doesn’t offer full coverage and thus water can leak into the tent through the seams that aren’t covered. You can solve this by adding some seam sealer but it is an extra hassle. Also, the structure isn’t great in high winds, and you’re missing storage compartments on the inside too.
Overall, a solid budget 12 person tent, ideal for festivals, or the occasional good weather camping vacation.
The Ozark Trail 12-Person Tent really is a home away from home. With a great L design, this tent gives you three separate rooms plus a large porch area for relaxing, storing things, eating, and hanging out. With this tent, you really do get the feel of privacy and space.
You might think setting up such a large family tent would be a hassle, but it’s actually been made very easy. The tent comes already attached to the poles, and to pitch it you simply unfold the poles into the structure and peg it down. You will, however, need to be quite careful when transporting the tent, as if you bend the poles, the setup will become very tricky. It’s marketed as a 12 person instant cabin tent but in reality, it does take around five minutes.
Once up, you have three rooms each using the room dividers, each with its own windows and accessed via two doors. You’ll be very happy with the headroom and that each room can fit a queen size mattress inside it.
The Ozark Trail 12 person cabin tent isn’t as durable as some others, and you may want to do add some things to keep it going. A tarp under the floor would do wanders and some sealant here and there will also help you have a more comfortable experience.
The main issue with the Ozark Tent is that it’s not great in the wind. The structure is designed for space more than anything and will take a beating in high winds.
Overall a great family tent that is pretty affordable. It’ll give you the comfort and space to have a relaxing holiday in the wilderness.
The Tahoe Gear Gateway 12 Person Deluxe uses a similar design to the Ozark Trail above, utilizing an L shape to give both space and privacy. This one doesn’t come with a porch area though which is a little sad.
The set-up is relatively quick and easy, you can even do it alone, but it’s much easier with two people. The instructions are pretty terrible, so you might have to just learn your own way. Once you get the hang of it though, it does become very easy.
Once set up, this tent has one large room and one small room, both of which have their own doors for easy access and privacy. Each room comes with large windows, giving you a lot of light and ventilation when you need it. The inner ceiling is made of mesh and also very good and keeping the rooms ventilated and cool.
The rainfly is good at handling the rain but the seams not covered by it can leak. The rainfly also includes a solar shield that is built to reflect heat, keeping you cool on hot summer days.
The major negative of this 12 person tent is that it’s not the most durable and we’d advise handling it with care. You could also add some extra’s to make it a bit sturdier, like a footprint under the floor.
The Bushnell Shield Series 12 person tent is one of the best around. It has a similar design to some of the others but it’s the additional touches and features that really make it worth every penny. If you’re a serious camper looking for a tent that you can rely on as a home away from home, this is one to take a serious look at.
It comes with instant pitch technology. It’s not instant and takes around five minutes but is quick and easy for a tent of this size. The tent comes attached to the poles, so all you have to do is unfold and extend them to pitch your home away from home.
This does mean you have to be very careful not to bend them while transporting your tent, as a bent pole can affect the set-up quite dramatically.
Once set up you can split the camping tent into three rooms, the ideal configuration being two for sleeping and one for storage and socializing. Inside you have an internal wall hanging organizer and pockets for storage. On the outside, you have a special flashlight storage area, so anyone can see their way to the bathrooms at night.
This camping tent comes with a set up to have 2 AC mains points, so you can run electricity into it. There is also an AC vent, so you can plug in your air-con and keep the tent as cool as a cucumber in a greek salad. This is great for hot summer camping and gives you shelter from the heat to have a lunchtime snooze in.
The tent is a bit more expensive than the others, but you can see why considering the extra features. Overall it’s one of the best in the review and a clear choice for anyone who wants a 12 person tent for some serious camping.
Not all 12 person tents are made to have the same specifications and it’s worth thinking about what you want to use the space for. As with all tents, cramming 12 people in there isn’t going to work in a 12 person tent and the max to go for is probably 10. That being said, large tents are best with 6-8 people who want to live in some luxury.
All the tents in the review split into 2 or three rooms, and ideally, you’d use two rooms for sleeping and have some extra socializing or storage space too. Every tent in the review is roomy, but not all have the room dividers to split into 3 rooms, and we advised going for one with 3 rooms. It makes sense in terms of space and privacy with 12 people, plus it will add a lot of valuer to your overall experience.
A 12 person tent is not that portable, and they certainly aren’t made for backpacking. Their weights range from 35 to 60 lbs, making them for car camping use only. It’s worth considering the weight as a 60lb bag is very heavy and is likely to take up a lot of space in the car. The better feature-rich tents do seem to be the heavier ones, so play the balancing game between space and weight to meet your needs.
All the tents in the review are rated for 3 season camping. This means they’re good for coldish weather and warm summer weather too. They are not made for icy winter camping and if you plan on it, you may need to add a footprint and other accessories to keep you warm.
Not all the tents are great in the rain or the wind though, some leak through the seams and some aren’t made to handle windy days. These points are all discussed beneath the review, so be sure to pick a tent that will match your intended camping conditions. We can’t predict the weather but ensuring your tent can handle the season you’re interested in camping in is pretty important to enjoying your experiences.
There is always a balancing act between the thickness and durability of materials and their weight. The thicker the material the longer it will last and the heavier it will be. All the tents in the review use a polyester rain fly, which is durable, but the lighter tents use a thinner version and are therefore a little more delicate. If you’re looking for a light tent, then you’ll have to succumb to thinner materials and be careful not to rip them by mistake.
The poles can be made from either fiberglass, steel, or aluminum. Both light materials, fiberglass gives more flex in windy conditions while aluminum and steel have more strength to it. Both are great pole materials.
The tents in the review all have different access and storage designs. The best of them have two doors, an extra storage room, and some internal storage too. We highly recommend picking a tent with these features as it will make your camping experience far more comfortable.
The extra storage areas are ideal for keeping bags out of the tent, while the two doors make everyone’s life easier when getting in and out of the tent. They are also ideal for ventilation when you want a nap on a hot day.
The best 12 person option, for those on a budget is the Browning Camping Big Horn Tent. This tent is spacious, private, has great access options, durable, and affordable. In fact, it’s pretty hard to beat the quality to price ratio with this one, and it comes with a lifetime warranty.
The all-around best 12 person option is the Ozark Trail 12-Person Tent. Affordable, incredibly spacious, and private with a great hanging out area, this tent is ideal for families and friends to spend time camping in nature comfortably. The three rooms, two doors, and the porch area give everyone their own space and place to socialize too.
The best 12 person choice in this review is the Bushnell Shield Series. It might be a little more expensive than the others but it comes will a lot more features too. The space over the three rooms is ideal, the set-up easy and the internal storage is excellent. You can even add an air-con unit for ultimate comfort. If you’re serious about luxurious camping, then this is certainly the tent to go for.