If you’re shopping for a new tent, particularly a large tent for family trips, you might have come across Core tents.
Core Tents come in all shapes and sizes, including dome tents, wall tents, 4-person tents, 11-person tents, and various options in between. The question is, do Core tents stand up to the elements and provide you with a weather-tight space to enjoy your trip?
Well, this Core tents review seeks to answer that very question – and educate you on the features, pros and cons, pricing, and more, too!
Table of Contents
- What are Core Tents?
- Core Tent Sizing Options
- Core Tent Features
- Core Tents: How Easy are They to Set Up?
- Core Tents: What are the Pros and Cons?
- Recommended Camping Gear
What are Core Tents?
Core tents come from Core Equipment, a company that was founded with the belief that your outdoor gear should enhance your adventures no matter where those adventures take you.
Core Equipment was founded by folks that left their corporate jobs to start a company that creates well-made gear that’s beautifully designed, functions well, and is affordable at the same time.
As noted earlier, Core tents come in all sorts of packages. You can opt for a small 4-person tent for you, your significant other, and your dog or you can go big with one of the Core cabin tents if you’re bringing a big group with you.
No matter which tent you choose, though, you’ll get something that has high-quality engineering, is easy to set up, and is durably built for years of service.
Core Tent Sizing Options
Sometimes, tents offer everything you want and need except enough room. That’s not the case with Core tents…
In fact, there are so many Core tent options that, for the sake of time and space, I’ll focus on the Core dome tent lineup as a prime example of the sizing options available to you.
The smallest Core dome tent is a 4-person tent (shown above). This tent – which is 9 feet long and 7 feet wide – has a center height of 54 inches, so there’s great headroom, and it fits one queen air mattress. Now, this is obviously not a tent for four adults, but if there’s two of you and a dog or a small child, you’ll have plenty of space.
The next tent in the lineup is a 6-person dome tent. With a 72-inch center height and a footprint that’s 11 feet long and 9 feet wide, this tent is tall enough to stand up straight for most people while also giving you plenty of floor space to stretch out.
And since it accommodates two queen-sized air mattresses, you can sleep comfortably with your significant other in one bed and have the kiddos sleep comfortably in the other.
Core also offers a 9-person option with the same 72-inch center height as the 6-person tent. However, the 9-person tent is 16 feet by 9 feet and accommodates three queen-sized air mattresses, which makes this a true family camping tent. I would argue that three queen-sized air mattresses are suitable for six adults or perhaps a combination of adults and children that MIGHT get you to nine people.
But, while I don’t think this is a true 9-person tent, you can’t argue with the sheer floor space inside. Three queen-sized mattresses offer a lot of horizontal space for sleeping, no matter which way you cut it!
The big kahuna among Core tents is the 11-person dome tent. At 18 feet long and 9 feet wide, this is like having your own apartment while camping! This tent offers the most headroom – 74 inches at the center point – while also offering amenities like the ability to divide the tent with included room dividers.
Again, it’s hard to imagine 11 adults fitting in this tent despite its enormous size, but if you’ve got a trip planned that includes a bunch of kids, this bad boy might be just the ticket for giving the kids a place to sleep and play.
Core Tent Features
Regardless of the size of the tent you get, Core offers a bevy of features and amenities that will make your stay more comfortable and functional.
For example, each of the Core tents outlined above has an H20 block technology, a fully taped rainfly, and sealed seams to keep you dry inside. Each model also has an adjustable ground vent that brings cool air into the tent, while the mesh ceiling gives hot air a method to escape. The result is a much more comfortable interior environment.
Speaking of the interior, Core tents come with gear lofts with pockets for small items like your phone and glasses. There’s also a lantern hook, so you get hands-free lighting when it’s time to hit the sack.
Some of the Core tents have a handy E-port electrical cord access point (as shown below). This allows you to have power via an extension cord for gadgets inside the tent. When the port isn’t in use, it tucks away and is fully closable.
The 11-person tent has a further option – divided rooms. As I noted earlier, you can section off this tent to provide more privacy. Put the divider up to create two rooms – one for you and one for the kids!
All Core tents come with a rain fly, tent stakes, and a carry bag, too. A one-year limited warranty is included as well.
Core Tents: How Easy are They to Set Up?
The ease of setup of Core tents depends on the tent size you get. For example, the 4-person dome tent I discussed earlier is a breeze because of its smaller size and weight compared to the other Core tents (it weighs just 10 pounds). In just a few minutes, you can set up this Core tent and be ready to get your bedding inside for an afternoon nap!
Obviously, the 11-person dome tent outlined above is a different story. This tent is twice as long as the 4-person tent and quadruple the weight at 40 pounds. Now, this doesn’t mean the 11-person tent is unwieldy by any means – 40 pounds for an 18 x 9 foot tent isn’t bad at all! But since it’s so much bigger, it simply takes more time to unpack and set up.
I like the corner design of these Core tents, which helps keep the pole attached during setup. This makes getting your Core tent set up much easier when you’re by yourself.
Core Tents: What are the Pros and Cons?
As with anything, these tents have both good features and things that aren’t quite as impressive. Let’s start with the good…
I love the enormous variety of tent sizing. Truly, there’s a tent to meet your needs whether there are two of you or you’re having a family reunion and need a “bunkhouse” for everyone. I also appreciate that Core offers different types of tents (e.g., dome tents, cabin tents, instant tents) to give you additional flexibility in accommodating your needs.
The ease of setup with Core tents is definitely another bonus. Again, as I discussed earlier, the setup time varies depending on which tent you purchase. However, across the board, these tents offer easy setup and takedown, that way, you spend less time fidgeting with your tent and more time enjoying the great outdoors.
Another pro of Core tents is the air circulation they provide. The ground-level air intake is a great way to get cooler air into the tent and help evacuate the warmer air out of the mesh panels on the roof. This isn’t a system that will keep you cool in July in the desert, but it’ll help regulate the tent’s temperature to be a little more comfortable for most camping applications.
Of course, the price of these tents is a huge bonus. The 4-person model is about $40, while the 11-person model is about $200. If you need a budget-friendly tent, Core tents have you covered!
And now for the things I don’t like as much…
All tent companies market their tents as accommodating more people than is practical. Core is no different. There is simply no way you can fit four adults in the Core 4-person tent – not if you want to have any space whatsoever. The same is true of the other tents I’ve discussed here. Sure, you can cram everyone in, but you’ll have no room for moving around, let alone room for your gear.
From a design standpoint, these tents have very high thresholds that can cause you to trip as you’re coming in or out of the tent (you can see how high it is in the image above). I understand the need for a threshold to keep critters and dirt out, but these thresholds are unnecessarily high.
Another con about these Core tents is that the included tent stakes are nothing to write home about. They’re light-duty stakes that might come loose if you’re camping in a windy location. I recommend upgrading the stakes to something more robust and longer.
Testing also revealed that the tent zipper consistently gets caught in the rain flaps. I love the idea of having rain flaps to protect the zipper from water ingress, but the flap material is extremely thin and easily becomes lodged in the zipper.
At the end of the day, Core tents offer plenty of features, sizing options, and a budget price that’s tough to beat. And while there are a few problems with these tents, for the most part, they are minor issues that don’t negate the tents’ positive features. In other words, Core tents have managed to balance quality and price – which isn’t easy to do!
Recommended Camping Gear