Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent Review (Bought & Tested!)
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Rating and Summary
The Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent has a super quick, fuss-free set up, and even though I’m just 5’3″, I could set the entire tent up on my own in just over 10 minutes, which includes staking and guying out the tent. This is easily the biggest pro of this tent.
On the other hand, the cons are fairly minor (like requiring a little seam sealant), so this is a solid case where the pros outweigh the cons. Do read on to find out more about the pros and cons!
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Check out the Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent:
- Rating and Summary
- Product Details
- Testing and Performance
- Pros and Cons
- Bonus Reading
In this section, we’ll briefly go over the following:
- In the Box
I bought this Core 9-Person Instant Tent from Amazon, and here’s what the outer packaging looked like, before unboxing it.
And here’s what it looks like out of the box:
In the Box
After unboxing, inside the box, I got these items:
- A gray carry bag (pictured above);
- A white rainfly;
- A room divider;
- Some repair patches;
- The main tent body with pre-attached poles; and
- 18 stakes in a separate carry case.
Here’s all the data (including my personal measurements) that I gathered on this Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent:
- Peak height: 75.5 inches
- Lowest height: 64 inches
- Length: 13 feet 6 inches
- Width: 8 feet 9 inches
- Base Area: 118.1 square feet
- Floor material: Polyethylene
- Bathtub flooring: No
- Tent body material: 68D Polyester
- Rainfly material: 68D Polyester
- Hydrostatic head rating: 600mm
- Poles material: Steel
- Number of poles: N.A. (All pre-attached)
- Mesh: Regular
- Packed size: 46 by 13 by 12 inches
- Weight: 30.0 lbs
- Number of guylines: 6
- Number of stakes: 18
- Number of doors: 2
- Number of windows: 7 (including 2 door mesh panels)
- Number of vents: 2
- Number of pockets: 2
- Number of lantern loops: 1
- Room divider: Yes, 1
- E-port: Yes, 1
- Ceiling mesh: Yes
- Black-out: No
I also did some testing on my own, and came up with this data:
- Set up timing (1 person): 12 minutes
- Set up timing (2 people): 6 minutes
- Pack away timing (1 person): 9 minutes
- Pack away timing (2 people): 4.5 minutes
- Number of single sleeping pads: 9
- Number of queen-sized mattresses: 2
Testing and Performance
I put my Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent through these 7 tests:
- Ease of use: Set up, take down, pack away
- Spaciousness: Height, livable space, base area, mattress sizing
- Comfort and features: Door, windows, storage, room divider
- Ventilation: Hot day ventilation, rainy day ventilation
- Weather protection: Light rain test, heavy rain test
- Quality: Material, mesh, seams, stitching, zippers, poles
- Portability: Weight and packed size
How to Set Up the Core Instant 9
To set up this Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent, first unfold the tent until it lays flat on the ground, and the only thing that isn’t flat is the center hub that’s sticking out.
After that, step onto the tent body, and pull the tent upward using the 2 other hubs to the left and right of the center hub, like so:
If you’re wondering, here’s a close up of what the hubs look like:
The 3 hubs are these hubs at the top of the tent, where multiple poles are connected together. So, by pulling on the hubs, the rest of the poles will be pulled upward as well.
You might also have to prop some of the other poles up yourself, in case the hubs don’t pull them up, and you can do so by pulling on these elbow joints. (I’ll show you a close up of these elbow joints in a bit.)
When you’re done, your tent should be set up about halfway, and should be able to stand on its own.
Then, extend all the telescoping wall poles by pulling them apart until you hear the button clicking into place.
When you hear the click, this green button should pop out, like this, and that’s when you know the pole is fully extended.
I usually start with one end of the tent, and then make my way to the other end of the tent.
Next, drape the rainfly over the tent, and secure the extended portions of the rainfly to the tent.
To do so, there are 6 of these hooks on the rainfly that you attach to these notches in the middle of each steel pole of the tent. Each of these notches actually has the word “Rainfly” written on it.
Tip: One tip I have for you here, if you’re not tall like me (I’m about 5’3″ or 160cm tall), is to attach the rainfly before extending the wall poles, like so:
To tighten and adjust the rainfly into position, just pull on the strap in the front.
After that, pull the entire Core tent out tight, and use 10 stakes to stake down the tent base. Then, use 6 more stakes for the 6 pre-attached guylines around the tent.
Finally, use the last 2 stakes to stake down the 2 vents, 1 at each length of this Core tent. (I’ll show you pictures of this down at the ‘Ventilation’ section.)
How Long Does it Take to Set Up the Core Instant 9?
Altogether, it took my bro and I (so 2 people) about 6 minutes to set up the entire Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent. When I set up the entire tent on my own (so 1 person), it took me about 12 minutes, so about double the time.
Take Down & Pack Away
How to Take Down the Core Instant 9
To take down this Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent, first remove all the guylines, stakes, as well as the rainfly, by undoing the rainfly clips.
To take down the tent body, just press on this green button on each of the 6 telescoping wall poles.
Pressing on the green button allows you to then push down on all the poles, to retract them.
After that, push all the elbow joints inwards, and these elbow joints are covered with this small gray cushiony thing.
Then, push in the 2 right and left hubs, until only the center hub is left standing.
How to Pack Away the Core Instant 9
To pack up this Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent, fold the tent body up first starting with the 4 corners, like this.
Then, stand the center hub upright, and fold the rest of the poles towards the center hub.
When all the poles have been aligned together in a bunch, you should be able to place them on the ground horizontally.
After that, pack the tent fabric together as tightly as possible.
I found that the carry bag is pretty big, and everything goes back in no problem at all.
How Long Does it Take to Pack Away the Core Instant 9?
When my bro and I packed up this Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent, it took us just 4.5 minutes or so (2-people timing). On my own, it took me about 9 minutes (1-person timing), so about double the time.
For more info on how to set up and pack away this Core Instant 9, check out this video that I published on my YouTube channel:
Peak Height of the Core Instant 9
The peak height in this Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent is about 75.5 inches, and I can stand upright under the peak height no problem at all. (I’m 5’3” or 160 cm tall.) I can also reach the top of the tent very easily by just stretching my arm out.
Lowest Height in the Core Instant 9
The lowest height in the tent, which is at the four corners, is about 64 inches, which is still taller than my height, so I could stand up there too. (Please excuse the mask I was using, I was just camera-shy and didn’t want my face to be in the videos/photos!)
The side walls of this Core 9-Person Tent are pretty much vertical, so there’s a lot of livable space inside the tent, and I can walk around the tent easily.
Overall, I felt that it’s really spacious for someone with my height.
The length of this Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent is about 13 feet and 6 inches, while the width is about 8 feet and 9 inches, so quite a few inches smaller than the marketed dimensions of 14 by 9 feet.
Single Pads in the Core Instant 9
But despite the slightly smaller than marketed size, I could still fit 9 regular sleeping pads inside the Core Instant 9, and here’s what having 9 pads looks like. You do have to sleep shoulder to shoulder though, and there’ll be practically no space leftover for any camping gear.
Queen Beds in the Core Instant 9
Instead of 9 pads, I found that I could fit just 2 queen-sized camping mattresses, and here’s what these 2 queen beds look like inside the tent.
There’s plenty of room for 2 queen beds or 4 people to sleep inside this tent, plus lots of leftover space for camping gear as well. Surprisingly, there was not enough space to fit a third queen bed, even when I pushed both queen beds closely together (pictured above).
I also tried fitting them in different positions, and I found that the width of the tent is too short for 2 queen beds side by side.
The length fits 2 queen beds perfectly though.
When you buy this Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent, you’ll get this removable room divider, so you can split the tent into 2 rooms.
The divider comes with 1 loop to be hooked to the top of the tent, and 4 more latches to be attached to the sides of the tent.
When using the divider, each “room” can fit 4 sleeping pads or sleeping bags with not much leftover space for gear, like so:
Alternatively, you can fit just 1 queen bed with plenty of leftover space for gear.
The divider has a zip in the middle so that you can access either room, and you can also pull back the sides of the divider for easier access using the 2 extra latches by the sides.
There are 2 things I didn’t quite like about this divider.
First, one room, on the left side of the tent, will have only 3 windows, and no door, while the other room has 1 window, and 2 doors. And second, it’s sooo see-through! You can almost see the entire room through the divider.
This Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent comes with a whopping 7 windows, if you include the mesh panels of the 2 doors as well. (More on these doors later!)
Window Size of the Core Instant 9
Each of these smaller windows measures about 43 inches in length, by 21 inches in width, and there are 3 of these windows on the left side of the tent.
On the right side of the tent, there are 4 windows with a lot more ventilation. The largest window on the left measures a whopping 68 inches in length, and 36 inches in width.
The mesh panels of the doors are smaller, the 2 middle panels measure 38 by 36 inches each, and the last one on the right measures 33 by 36 inches.
Other Window Features
Each window comes with 2 green zippers, and a bug net to stop larger bugs (like mosquitoes) from getting in.
Some windows also have a window latch to hold the fabric when the window is open. For those that do not have this latch, you can just tuck the window fabric against the mesh of the window, like the picture below, so there’s less fumbling when opening and shutting the windows.
This Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent comes with 2 doors, both at the right side of the tent.
T-Door of the Core Instant 9
One is this humongous T-door, which measures about 96 inches in length, by about 51 inches in width.
It also measures about 55 inches from the ground to the top of the door, but it’s still shorter than my height, I do need to duck a little when entering.
Side Door of the Core Instant 9
The other door is right next to this T-door, it’s this smaller side door, which measures about 52 inches in length, 36 inches in width, and about 53 inches from the ground to the top of the door, and I also had to duck when entering and leaving the tent.
The T-door comes with 3 green zippers, so you can unzip it, roll back the 2 sides of the door, and clip both to the sides, 1 clip on each side, like this.
The smaller side door comes with just 2 green zippers, and 2 latches by the side to tie the door fabric up to keep it open.
Pockets in the Core Instant 9
For storage, there are 2 pockets inside this Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent. The bigger pocket measures about 21 by 10 inches, while the smaller pocket measures about 14 by 8 inches.
Lantern Loops in the Core Instant 9
There’s also 1 loop at the top of the center of the tent, where you can hang a lantern for lighting at night. This is the same loop that I hung the divider from.
Also, there’s 1 e-port in the middle of the tent with a Velcro closure.
Light Rain Test
When I put this Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent through some light rain, there were no leaks inside the tent after 1 entire hour.
Heavy Rain Test
I also managed to put it through 1 hour of heavy rain, which looked like this.
After the hour was up, and the rain stopped, I found some leaking through the seam between the flooring and the green tent fabric.
There was leaking in 2 places from this seam, one with less leaking (pictured above), and another with quite a bit of leaking through the corner (pictured below).
Also, I found that the window latch was soaked through, and the water dripped into the tent from this latch. This is because this window latch is connected to the outside, so to stop the leaking, you’ve probably got to seal the seam from the outside too. (It’s already taped from the inside.)
Foot Mat of the Core Instant 9
Oh, and this Core 9-Person Tent also comes with a pre-attached foot mat, which will get super soaked in heavy rain, because there’s no vestibule or shading outside the tent.
For more info on this Core 9-Person Tent’s rain test, you can check out this video here:
Hot Day Ventilation
On a hot day without the rainfly, this Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent has quite a bit of ventilation. There are 7 windows, and some of them are pretty huge.
On top of that, the rainfly is removable from the outside, and you’ll get a lot of mesh on the roof of the tent. This is great for tons of hot day ventilation.
Rainy Day Ventilation
On a rainy day though, you have to put the rainfly back on, to cover up and protect the ceiling mesh from any leaks.
Also, because the rainfly is quite tiny, it doesn’t offer that much rain protection. The rainfly’s there to only protect water from seeping in through the ceiling mesh, and that’s about it.
So, during the heavy rain, all of my windows and doors were pretty soaked from top to bottom, and you’d definitely have to shut them.
Even in light rain, a lot of the rainfall will get onto the mesh of all the windows and doors. This reduces rainy day ventilation by quite a bit.
However, I highly recommend staking these 2 ground vents out from the outside, so that you’d get some ventilation on rainy days.
These 2 vents are quite big, each measuring about 74 inches in length and 18 inches in width from the inside. They can also be opened and shut from the inside of the tent, which is super cool.
To do so, just press down on this black latch here at the bottom of each vent, and push the fabric along this cord. This makes the vents shut. Even when opened, no water got into my tent through these vents.
Materials of the Core Instant 9
The flooring of this Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent is made of polyethylene, which looks like this:
The rest of the tent is made of 68D Polyester, both the rainfly and the tent body.
Waterproofing of the Core Instant 9
All the fabrics of the Core Instant 9 have a hydrostatic head rating of 600 millimeters, and after 1 hour of heavy rain, I found that the top gray fabric was still dry, though the green/yellow fabric at the bottom was slightly damp after an hour of heavy rain, because it was exposed to a lot more rainfall.
Seams of the Core Instant 9
Most of the important seams inside the tent have been seam taped, like this middle seam between the gray and green fabric.
However, this green fabric to flooring seam isn’t taped, and is inverted instead, which is why there was leaking.
The seams are generally good quality, double-stitched, and consistent, and I found only a couple of loose threads.
Mesh of the Core Instant 9
The mesh is just regular mesh, not no-see-um mesh, and it’s decent quality.
Zippers of the Core Instant 9
The zippers are also decent quality, and all the window zippers are catch-free. The door zippers are also decent quality too, and I had no snagging issues on the T-door.
I did find that the zippers of the side door sometimes catches on the rain cover, but other than that, they’re pretty snag free too.
Also, the huge T-door has a small little rain collar/cover thing, which trapped the water that seeped in through the door zip, so that the water doesn’t actually drip into the tent instead.
Packed Size of the Core Instant 9
This Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent has a packed size of 46 by 13 by 12 inches, and here’s what it looks like beside a Coleman 2-Person Sundome Tent and a 32-ounce Nalgene bottle for a size comparison.
Weight of the Core Instant 9
It weighs about 30.0 lbs for everything.
Pros and Cons
For pros, the biggest one is easily the super quick set up. Since the poles, the pole clips, and the guylines are all pre-attached, I didn’t have to fuss over any pole sleeves, and it took me just 12 minutes on my own for such a big tent.
Also, the pack up is equally simple. It’s pretty easy to squeeze all the air out, the carry bag is pretty big, and getting everything back into the bag was no problem at all.
On top of that, I liked that the carry bag has a little more cushioning at one of the widths to protect the tent.
I also really liked that all the poles of this Core 9-Person Instant Tent are made of steel, which is more durable than fiberglass.
Another fantastic pro is this huge T-door, which is really quite big, and makes getting in and out of the tent super easy.
There’s also plenty of livable space inside the tent due to the cabin shape, and hot day ventilation is also fantastic, with great air flow.
As for cons, I think the biggest one is that there’s no bathtub flooring, the green fabric extends all the way to the ground, and I had to keep my tent away from the light flooding in my yard.
Also, Core didn’t seal this flooring seam. Instead, they made it inverted, which let in a little bit of leaking in 2 places during 1 hour of heavy rain. But I guess it’s a pretty easy fix, so it’s not as big a con.
The rest of the cons are pretty minor, like the see-through divider, which I don’t see the point in using. Also, the base area is a bit of a weird configuration that doesn’t fit more than 2 queens.
So, if you expect to fit 6 people inside this tent on 3 queen beds, you’d have to buy a 10-person Core tent instead of this 9-person tent, and here’s what my 10-Person Core tent looked like with 4 queen beds.
There’s also not enough storage, with only 2 pockets and 1 lantern loop.
And lastly, the packed size is humongous. Surprisingly, this Core 9-Person Tent has a bigger packed size than my Outdoor Products 10-Person Instant Tent, and is also more than twice as big as my regular 8-person and 10-person tents. It’s one of my bulkiest tents to store.
But, this makes the pack up super easy, so it’s a trade off I guess.
Overall, I feel that the cons are fairly minor, and some are easily fixable, like the leaking seam.
I think the pros clearly outweigh the cons here, because there’s a lot of pros, like it’s super easy to set up and pack up, the quality is decent, and it’s feature-rich, making it super comfy to camp in.
Overall, I can definitely recommend this Core Instant 9 for warmer weather.
But wait, before you buy this, would you like to know how this Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent compares to other similar tents, like other instant tents? If so, you can click on this blog post right here (I’ll put it up when it’s ready!)
Or, check out the Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent: