CORE 6 person instant cabin tent review: quick and easy or immediate letdown?

Updated

Our Verdict

The CORE 6 person instant cabin tent is a great summer camping tent that works well for couples, small families and friend groups. It’s well-ventilated, has excellent additional features and it’s well worth the money.


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  • Large vents for great ventilation
  • Instant setup leaves you plenty of time to chill
  • Strong steel poles keep the tent sturdy
  • Great performance in the heat
  • Awning keeps the rain out of your face as you leave the tent
  • Mesh can let the cold in
  • No privacy with the windows open and rain fly off
  • Minor leaks in heavier rain

Last Updated: April 15, 2021

Welcome to our CORE 6 Person Instant Cabin Tent review!

We’ve looked at HUNDREDS of tents and contemplated what makes a cabin tent perfect.

The CORE is quick to pitch and has plenty of mesh for an open and fresh design. But does all this mesh cause a problem in the rain?

Is this tent everything we had hoped it would be? Let’s fund out!

Is the tent a good buy?

Don’t have time to go through all the ins and outs? No worries! Here’s our quick recommendation.

It’s a great cabin design tent for casual summer camping trips. Although it lacks a vestibule and doesn’t have space for storing larger items, it’s great for car camping. The ease of setup is fantastic for leaving you more time to relax and enjoy your time.

The big bones of this tent is that it can be pitched in 60 seconds according to CORE. That’s remarkable and we were hesitant to believe them at first. But we’ve seen so many first time campers say they managed to do it in about 60 seconds, we’ve got to hand it to them.

This tent can be ready in under a minute, rather than the usual five to ten minutes. That’s basically like time travelling to give you the most time possible in your tent.

Is the CORE tent good value for money?

If you’re on a tight budget and you need a low-cost bargain to help with costs for your trip, then this probably isn’t the tent for you. It isn’t the cheapest tent available. Those campers might want to take a look at the Coleman Instant Cabin tents.

But it is not an expensive tent. It’s available at a reasonable price and comes with a bunch of features to justify the price. Check out the cost to see if this tent is in your price range.

The instant setup is the key feature of this tent but smaller bonuses like the wall organizer are great finds in this tent.

Fitting in: does the CORE come with enough space?

The CORE instant cabin tent is 11 x 9 feet with a peak height of 6 feet—so how well will it go for your group?

What size of group does this tent suit best?

This 6 person tent is best for a group of four. As it fits two queen air mattresses, you could have parents on one and two kids on the other. You could bring a small to medium-sized dog without issues, too. 

Is It comfortable for 6 people?

Unfortunately, this tent is not comfortable for six people unless you’re children, or just very small. Six people will be shoulder to shoulder, and though it’s doable, it’s not wonderful.

Is It a good tent for a family?

The CORE 6 person tent is good for small families. That is, families with one or two young children who won’t care that there’s no privacy within it.

The electricity port is great for bringing a power cord into your tent. The electricity connection port is great for juicing up devices before the long car journey home.

An electrical hook-up power point at a campsite
Stay juiced with the electrical cord access port in the tent

Save yourself from the drama of tears of boredom on the drive home after a successful camping trip by getting everyone’s devices ready the night before. 

Is It good for backpacking and hiking?

The CORE 6 is slightly too big for backpacking and hiking. The pack weight is too much for you to carry and pass between you.

When you stop for a rest, the tent sets up quickly, so it’s good for backpacking and hiking in that regard.

A pair of backpackers walking into a beautiful hilly landscape to camp for the night
It’d be nice to take a big tent backpacking, but they’re often just too large

Is It a good tent for tall people?

The CORE 6 person instant cabin tent isn’t great for tall people. Its center height is only 6 feet, so anyone 6 feet tall and above will struggle to stand tall in the tent.

This is disappointing because it’s usually a feature of good cabin tents that they offer a tall enough peak height for comfortable headroom.

Is there storage space for gear/equipment?

There’s not much space for gear storage if you set up air mattresses or cots in the CORE. If you’re using sleeping bags you roll up by day; then there’s more.

There is, however, a wall organizer for personal items like phones, water bottles, books and so on, in mesh pockets on one of the walls. The internal storage pockets might be our favorite feature for family camping because it is great for keeping the tidy organized. 

How is the weather resistance?

Waterproofing and rain protection

The CORE doesn’t have the best hydrostatic head rating at 600mm. 1000mm considered the minimum for an effective waterproof rating for a tent. Above 1000mm is better—so here, the CORE isn’t doing so well.

Luckily customers feel the removable rain fly does an excellent job of keeping water out in light rains, despite the tent not being fully waterproof. The Core H20 block technology seams are also heat-sealed to keep water out. Finally, there’s an awning that keeps the rain off the door.

The tent floor is also welded to the tent walls, so you won’t find any leaks there, either—not even when you open the large adjustable ground vent, which lets air but not moisture in.

Many tents claim similar features and still have a considerable problem with leaks, though—but not this one. When customers complain about this tent, it’s rarely about rain, more about how they dislike the zippers or it’s too well-ventilated.

Some customers do say there were some minor leaks in heavy rain. It’d be worth investing in a tarp to help your rainfly. Plus, waterproofing spray never hurt any tent!

Is condensation a problem in cold or rainy weather?

Condensation is absolutely not a problem you’ll have in this tent. The mesh ceiling works well to let cool air in even under the rainfly. There are two large floor vents you can open, too.

The ground vents will bring cold air up through the tent and push the warm, damp air out of the mesh roof to provide proper ventilation.

The only moisture entering your tents will (hopefully not) be potential leaks—which, as we said, are preventable via tarp and waterproofing spray.

There are mesh windows that work well when the rainfly is off, too. You’ll never have to worry about condensation in this tent.

Is there wind protection?

This tent’s guylines are strong, so long as you stake them well. The materials are also strong, but that’s a story for another section.

Combining sturdy poles and tough guylines makes this tent well able to withstand winds. Customers note that it sways quite badly in the wind, but it doesn’t collapse.

A handful of users experienced the tent folding in during windy conditions, but they’re in the extreme minority. Given everyone else’s lack of issues, we theorize that those customers didn’t stake their tent correctly.

Be warned—although the tent can withstand wind, can you? The mesh ceiling works far too well, and some customers found themselves shivering in their sleeping bags on windy nights.

Performance in summer and winter

Holding up in the heat

In the heat, this 6 person tent can keep you cool. There’s a ton of excellent ventilation, plus there’s a power cord vent in the corner, so you don’t have to venture out into the hot sun. Bring electricity to you, kick back and relax in the tent until it gets cooler in the evening.

The mesh material used in the roof and windows is ideal for keeping your tent cool in during the summer.

Although, even then, it might get too hot for you, so consider the darkroom version of this tent. It keeps the heat out slightly better and blocks the sun’s light, which is excellent for sleeping in.

Withstanding the cold

The cold is where this tent fails. It’s dubbed a three-season tent, so it should work in all seasons except winter—but we can’t recommend it for anything but summer based on customer feedback. They say it’s too well-ventilated for sealing heat in unless the outside is also very warm.

How durable is it and will it last long?

As far as durability goes, this is a tough tent. It’s strong, tough and able to withstand a lot. It’s not made of anything special—it’s just your typical polyester tent with telescoping steel poles. It’s the craftsmanship that makes the CORE stand out.

Customers enjoy the steel poles as they feel they’re superior to fiberglass—which is true much of the time. Fiberglass poles are bendier and snap more easily, and don’t even get us started on aluminum.

Users found no trouble with the stitching or any of the areas where the poles and material attach. Pre-attached frames can be vulnerable to damage in winds but there was no evidence of this being an issue that we could find for the CORE. All around, a wonderfully durable tent for the price.

The only downfall is the tent stakes. They’re small and not very tough—customers suggest you buy larger ones.

Is it easy to carry?

This tent weighs 24.5 pounds when packed, so it’s not the lightest thing in the world, but it has handles and you can easily swap arms, or carry it on your back vertically.

It folds down to reasonable packed dimensions of 8.25 by 8.25 by 48 inches long. That 48 might give you some trouble unless you carry it vertically or give yourself a wide berth in front and behind you.

How easy is it to set up and take down?

The CORE 6 person instant cabin tent may be instant, but it’s not freestanding. It still needs to be staked out to hold its shape and will collapse in the wind if the tent stakes aren’t in. Since it’s not freestanding, is it still easy to wrangle?

How to set up the CORE

Setup is simple. There are no instructions, but it’s self-explanatory. 

  • Unfold the tent into a rectangle.
  • Extend the legs until they click.
  • Stake the tent, including the guylines attached to the adjustable air intake vent.
  • Place the rainfly and attach it to the poles—it clicks into place, then you tie it on, too.

How to take down the tent

  • Remove the rainfly.
  • Unstake the tent.
  • Push the buttons on the poles so you can pull the legs back down—the tent should collapse in on itself.
  • Flatten the tent, then bend the legs into the center.
  • Fold the tent into the center, between each leg.
  • Hold the corners together, tucking excess material into the center between them.
  • Stuff the tent back into the carry bag.

Can you set it up on your own?

You can set the tent up on your own, though the piece of paper that comes with it says it’ll take two. Experienced campers will find that it is easy and takes less than five minutes.

The takedown is more difficult. Sometimes it takes two people to stuff it into the bag.  The tent holds lots of air, so try to get as much of it out as possible when folding the four corners vertical and stuffing the tent fabric into the center.

The process is difficult to describe—but once you get the tent, you’ll get the gist when doing it.

There are easier options for a tent that you can pitch alone.

A view of a person out of tent doors, sitting by a lake

Alternatives to the CORE

Don’t think the CORE is for you? No problem. Here are three more tents to consider.

Coleman WeatherMaster 6 person tent with screen room 

Do you like the fact that the CORE has an awning but wish it were bigger? The Coleman WeatherMaster has a screen room that is great for liveability. Keep in mind, this tent’s sleeping space is smaller than the CORE’s, and users say it’s a leakier tent.

ALPS Mountaineering Meramac 6 person tent 

Do you need a tent fit for winter camping? This tall dome tent is great at sealing in heat and has a wonderfully durable rainfly. It’s a little pricer than the CORE, but worth it in our opinion.

Eureka! Copper Canyon LX 4 / 8 / 12 person tent

Tall family? No problem. This cabin tent has a tall center height of 7 feet and is well over 6 feet tall everywhere else. Perfect for the 6-feet and above family members. Although it’s pricier than the CORE and not instant, it does fit 6 people comfortably.

The core of it all

The CORE 6 person instant cabin tent is a great summer camping tent that works well for couples, small families and friend groups. It’s well-ventilated, has excellent additional features and it’s well worth the money. It gets 5 stars from us!

Author at Wilderness Redefined camping website
James Black

James has been escaping to the outdoors for as long as he can remember. This first started in family camping trips but soon turned into adventure camps and hiking through the Scottish Hebrides. Now he has turned towards trying to make camping more comfortable and accessible.