A recent planned camping trip that started out as me, solo, with my backpack and a small 2 person tent turned into a 2-person trip with a small 4 person tent and then, suddenly a third person so it was going to be 2 small tents. Then a 2 year old toddler and a baby was thrown into the mix and suddenly my 'small' impromptu camping trip turned into a family affair.
And with all that baby and toddler paraphernalia as well as the need to give the little ones a bit of privacy so they would sleep better (apart) I opted to use a 2 room tent. Except the two 2-room tents we already own were missing in action with my son, who is 1000 miles away right now so I ventured off to the store to see what tent would do best for us.
After a LOT of debating and sending a few snapchats to family members to get their input, I ended up choosing an Ozark Trail 2 room tent. It's officially listed as a 12 person (but if you know anything about tents or camping you know those numbers are greatly exaggerated.) I did worry this one would be too big, but in the end I was thrilled with it.
I bought ours at the local Walmart but I found it listed on Amazon through my affiliate link; this is the one I chose, bought and we used:
12-Person Cabin Tent with Screen Porch (Blue)
- 86" cathedral ceiling Straight wall design creates a roomy interior Multiple storage pockets for organization
- 54 sq foot screen room Floor size: 14' x 12' Center height: 86" Sleeps up to 12 people
- Sewn-in room divider provides stability and creates 2 rooms Fits up to 4 queen air mattresses E-port provides easy access for an extension cord
- Set up time: 20 minutes Taped fly seams prevent leakage 2-3 season tent
Before I get to the bazillion photos, I want to cut to the chase for those wondering what the bottom line is.
I ended up loving this tent.
Initially I sent it up all by myself at home in the backyard. This was to make sure all the parts were there, to familiarize myself with the set up and to treat with a waterproofing spray (as I do all our tents).
I am barely 5'5" on a good day, female, have set up 2 room tents a few times previously; and I had NO problems setting this tent up by myself. The first time setting it up - not at all familiar with it - I took about 30 minutes. It gets tricky putting it up solo when you are standing the poles up but it's not difficult. Later, when we were actually camping and there were 2 of us putting it up, it went up in about 25 minutes the first time and about 15 the second time.
Hint: My husband takes forever to figure out how to put up tents so for his benefit, I used a Sharpie marker to mark "A" on the ends of the 'A' poles. The B pole has white stripes on the ends already. The poles for the screen porch do not have D rings so they are easy to see at a glance. I also use the same marker to put a small "A" and "B" on the fabric at the front of the slots where they go into. (I also color coded our Christmas tree branches with nail polish to make it easier for him to help put it up!)
At home we had no wind and no issues. While camping at the first site we were protected somewhat by trees in the area and did not have any gusts. The second site however was in the open and the wind was a bit gusty. I had read reviews about people complaining the tent would collapse in the wind. However many reviewers stated if it was windy, be sure to use the guy lines for extra support.
Our tent started to cave in on one side (the side where the wind was coming from and hitting it full force). I told my husband we needed to utilize the guy lines on the sides of the tent for extra support. We quickly unraveled them, staked them down and.... the problem was solved! This was a pretty strong wind coming off the ocean - and after the lines were in place we had no more issues.
As I mentioned previously, if you have done any kind of camping in your life, you know the 'person' count on a tent is what the company tells you will fit... if you all lay down side by side like a bunch of sardines. So don't be intimidated by the 12-person name of this tent. It is more like an 8 person tent. It can actually fit 2 queen air mattresses on each side - with a total of 4 mattresses.
Our trip was 3 adults, a 2 year old toddler and a baby. And it was just about perfect. We could have had 1 or 2 more people, or our 2 large dogs with us without a problem but we all agreed that although we thought the tent was going to be 'too' big, it was not at all once we had the air mattresses, our things, a pack-n-play for the baby to sleep in, diaper bag, cooler, etc.
If you have 8 people - this is a great tent for that. If you have 12... you better like each other a lot and hope that the people next to you don't snore too loud.
So fast, simple and easy! The top poles are on collapsible bungee cords and the steel poles are attached with a cord as well so take down is as easy as pulling the side supports out, letting the tent collapse and then pulling the top supports out of their fabric sleeves. As long as you take the time to fold over the tent and kind of lay on it to press all the air out, it easily goes back into the original bag for storage.
Now for the photos and more comments...........
The first thing I do for all our tents is to treat them with a fabric protector. I spray along the seams first and then the bottom portion of the fabric where I have found rain will run down from the rain fly in heavy rains and can soak and saturate the lower half of the tent. With fabric protector we've never had issues with this.
The tent has a fabric divider that can be pulled back in an open position or zipped down to form a light fabric wall for privacy. It ends a few inches up off the floor.
The windows offer a great cross breeze! There are screened half wall windows all the way around the tent.
The roof of the tent is very tall and offers fabric strings and hard plastic loops so you can hang a small light or lantern, etc.
The screen porch area is not wide at all. It can fit your folding camp chair (probably 3 of them across) but it's not 'wide'. We never use it for sitting there anyway. Usually we put down a tarp and we store our things there - the coolers, etc.
This is the back of the tent. Note the two large windows, the great screened roof to let in lots of breezes to keep the tent from getting too hot and especially take note of the guy lines - use these if you are in windy conditions! They are awesome and we literally went from one side of the tent collapsing with the wind off the ocean, to being perfectly stable and secure.
The side support poles are steel.
It has a great and easy to use rain fly but it does take 2 people to put it on easy as you simply grab the corners, put it over the front of the tent and each of you walk to the back, sliding it into place. If it seems too short... rotate the rain fly 90 degrees and try again. *wink*
The front of the tent - showing the two different rooms as well as the zipper area of the screened in porch.
The side of the screen porch.
A shot of the whole tent - put up and ready (except I didn't bother putting a tarp down or securing the bottom of the porch as this was the initial test - not actually camping yet.
A photo showing the windows all zipped open and the doors as well. D shaped doors.
LOVE the built in net storage on the walls. This is where we kept our car keys, cell phones and chargers so we always knew were they were.
A view from the inside of the tent.
Yes it has an opening for electrical cords....
These are a couple pictures I took when we were camping that show the tent in them.
Here you can see the tent when it is first laid out on the ground and we are just starting to put in the support poles.
This photo shows the baby's portable crib in the tent. We added our queen air mattress to that side and on the other side we had 2 twin air mattresses for a 3rd person and the 2 year old toddler. We also had our luggage, a diaper bag, a bag of toys, a box of diapers, a cooler, a case of beer, shoes.... and room to spare.
This tent along with some other similar options are available at retail stores but also through my Amazon links
12-Person Cabin Tent with Screen Porch (Blue)
Ozark trail instant 20' x 10' cabin tent sleeps 12 orange WMT-201080
Ozark Trail 12-Person Instant Cabin Tent with Screen Room
Ozark Trail 12-Person Cabin Tent with Screen Porch (Green)