Instant Tents–Family (8-person)

By R. Maxine Lundquist

Instant tents are designed to set up in a matter of minutes, and I do mean minutes–one person can set it up in two to five minutes without a problem. Handy if it’s raining, getting dark soon, or there is just one person to deal with it. They have a pole system that comes pre-attached to the tent, so there is no confusion as to what pole fits where. You just unfold the tent, spread it out, and extend the poles, or stuff leg poles into pre-attached roof poles. Either way it is relatively pain-free to set up and very quick. Below is a comparison review of three popular 8-person instant tents:

The Coleman 8-person Instant Tent:

A simple, quick set-up in less than a minute with two people, this particular Coleman stands 14′ x 10′ with an interior center height of 6’5″. It is weatherproof, not weather resistant, and important distinction when you are stuck inside with the kids and it’s pouring rain. It doesn’t need the rainfly to be waterproof but it has one, and the seams on the rainfly are fully taped.

The tent’s exterior is twice as thick as Coleman’s standard tent fabric, making it durable, and it has a drop-down room divider, two doors and seven windows, increasing ventilation for hot nights and days. It also has an interior gear pocket. This tent is my bang-for-your-buck choice, running around 290 dollars and worth every penny.

The Ozark Trail 8-person 2-room Instant Cabin Tent:


The Ozark Trail is a steal for about one hundred seventy dollars for the 10′ X 13′ tent, which is about the size you want for two adults and two kids; even so it can feel a little cramped. The floor is heavy canvas so it’s long-lasting and the windows zipper up, a major plus if the weather is rough. Drawbacks? It is water-resistant, not water-proof, so it needs to be well tarped if rain should threaten. There is also some concern about the reliability of the pins that hold the poles together, and the stakes aren’t the greatest. An extended warranty is recommended. Holds up nicely in high winds, however, and at a hundred and seventy bucks for a two-room cabin tent, one really can’t complain.

Arctic Monsoon 8 Person 2 Room Instant Tent

Reasonably priced at two hundred ten dollars, the Arctic Monsoon has an optional divider which can make it into a two-room tent. It’s fairly durable, but the top is mesh. Fortunately it comes with a flysheet to go over the top, making it water resistant.  It’s fire-retardant, good if you’re near the campfire, and UV protected. The zippers haven’t really been a problem but there are a few comments about maybe warning the kids to be careful, so that tells me they may have a tendency to catch. Made of breathable polyester fiber, the tent weighs under 32 pounds, pretty good for a tent this size. This isn’t our favorite, but it’s got value for price, and the optional divider might be a real selling point for some.

Live in Canada? So do I. This is the tent I bought.

For more information about 8 man instant tents, click here.


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19 thoughts on “Instant Tents–Family (8-person)”

  1. Nice! I’ve had more than my fair share of frustration from dealing with setting up tents. These all look so nice and spacious too.

    1. They are spacious–just make sure you get the larger size (10′ x 14′ or 13′) as opposed to the smaller version, which many come in. Thanks for the input, Chip!

  2. This is a great review! Very detailed and informative.

    My family is taking a trip to the Ozarks in the spring and I would have LOVED to have shared this on Facebook with them, but alas I couldn’t find a button to share it with them 🙁

  3. Thanks for the great advice. I live in Puerto Rico, and here it can start raining at any minute, so having the right protection is a must.

  4. I learnt how to build tents during my army day. But, those tents are much difficult to build where you need other materials like iron pickles, lasso, etc. It is only good for 1 to 2 person. Here I get to know some of the family tents that are easy to build. Thanks for the info.

  5. What a great and helpful post – I love camping, too and I sometimes make camping trips with 5-8 people. I guess the The Campvalley tent you’re mentioning in your post would fit my needs just perfectly.

  6. I went camping one time several years ago. It was definitely a learning experience. I put up a Coleman tent and it took almost forty five minutes! Recently there is a growing trend called “Glamping” which means glamorous camping or camping in style. I saw a documentary about it on the Travel Channel.

    1. Yes–actually, my family’s camping style is a cross between standard camping and glamping. We don’t bring the china and crystal, but we do eat very, very well and have a toilet and shower set-up that is often times cleaner and better-smelling than campsite facilities. I’ll be blogging about glamping in a later post. By the way–your tent time is about what mine is, and I’ve been camping for years. I’m definitely getting the Coleman instant tent for spring.

  7. Thank you! This is very helpful!
    I particularly like the way you wrote the reviews as they are easy to read and understand…

  8. Our family finaly purchased our first instatent. Ozark 8 instatent. We were not able to get the roof horizontal poles to telescope out at all thus we cant use the tent at all. The fitting in the middle of the pole seemed faulty. The coleman does not have this extra telescoping feture thust less likely to fail.We will still try and get the ozark working but in our back yard first. Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much for mentioning this problem with the Ozark 8, Matt. How frustrating that must have been for you! I hope you get it working. I just bought a ten-person tent–the Outbound Instant Tent. I’ll be documenting the set-up and everything during our May long weekend camp-out and will put the results here. Let us know how the Ozark 8 set-up in your back yard turns out!

  9. I purchased an Ozark AKA camp valley instant tent 2 years ago. Used it several times and the last time it rained for 3 days. The bag for the tent got wet and when I attempted to put the tent away the bag fell apart. I can not find anything to put the tent in. I had nothing but praise for the tent before the carrying bag fell apart. Buyer beware.

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