Best Coleman Tents – Are They Still Worth It?

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If you’re in a rush and want to find out what the best Coleman tent is, we recommend the Coleman Elite Sundome 6 person tent.

When you think of camping gear, “Coleman” is probably the first brand that comes to mind. And it makes sense, considering they’ve been around for over a century, creating high quality gear that millions have enjoyed – myself included.

Coleman has made it a point over the years to be one of the most accessible outfitters for people interested in camping. With affordable products, the goal has been to get more people out in nature, despite being less specialized than some of the higher end brands. Even so, you’ll find that they haven’t been cutting back on quality, especially as we go through some of the best Coleman tents below.

In this article, we’ll be reviewing the following best Coleman tents:

Why Coleman?

blue and white tent with chairs in a forest

Coleman is one of the oldest outdoor gear brands still in existence. If you spent any time outside when you were growing up, it’s pretty likely that you made use of a Coleman product at one point or another.

Founded in 1900, when W.C. Coleman developed a gas-powered lantern, this brand has a long history of creating high quality gear. However, it wasn’t until 1960 that Coleman launched their line of tents, sleeping bags, and chairs. Since then, millions of people have made use of their affordably priced, family friendly camping gear all over the world.

Weight

When it comes to camping, the weight of your tent is always going to be a major consideration. How far do you need to lug your shelter? Will you be backpacking with it or not? Can you manage by yourself, or do you need to split the weight between you and a friend?

Even if your campsite is a small hop and a skip away from your car, it’s never fun to drag around a 40 pound tent. However, some inconvenience is unavoidable if you need a shelter that’s large enough to accommodate a greater number of people. Just make sure you have enough helping hands to assist you in getting the tent to the campsite, and see if you can keep them around long enough to help you set it up too!

Materials

white and blue tent next to a green hammock

There are few things more important to consider than the material of your tent. After all, this is what’s going to keep you safe and protected from the elements – you don’t want something cheap, flimsy, and uncomfortable.

From my experience, Coleman seems to favor the use of polyester and fiberglass for the tarp and pole construction. Larger shelters, like cabin tents, need a bit more support, so you’ll often find that steel is used for the poles instead of fiberglass (which is considered weak).

In general, the materials that Coleman uses are not ideal for weight reduction. And by extension, that means that Coleman doesn’t make tents that are very suitable for backpacking. I have done it before, but it wasn’t very comfortable, and I had to split the weight with my partner. All that being said, I would only recommend these tents for fair weather car camping, where weight and durability aren’t going to be as big of a concern.

Size

A tent does you no good if there’s not enough room to house everyone! It’s worth noting that tents run small, in an effort to reduce weight as much as possible. So, that 3 person tent you were looking at? Yeah, it’s only big enough to house two people and a dog. And if you’ve got any plus size individuals joining you, it’s going to feel even more cramped than before.

I always recommend going bigger than you think you’ll need to, especially if weight isn’t as much of a concern. A 6 person tent is perfect for 4 or 5 people, especially when you factor in the gear that you’ll need to store as well. Most larger tents don’t come with outdoor vestibules, so you’ll likely need to keep your belongings inside the tent with you.

Price

There are plenty of high end camping brands out there, such as Marmot, Nemo, and Big Agnes. When looking at tents from those companies, you can typically expect to pay an arm and a leg for anything from their catalog. At the same time, you do get what you pay for, whether you want something small and ultralightweight for backpacking, or something that will last you for decades.

Coleman, on the other hand, has been well loved for decades because of the affordability of their products. The quality might not be the same as a brand like Marmot, but that’s because they’re targeting a different demographic. Coleman users probably aren’t hoping to backpack through the Himalayas – instead, they want an affordable tent option that’s good enough to get them through a little summer car camping.

Best Coleman Tent Reviews

Coleman Elite Sundome 6 Person Tent

  • Best For: Car Camping
  • Pole Material: Fiberglass
  • Tent Material: Polyester
  • Weight: 20 Pounds
  • Peak Height: 72 Inches
  • Number of Doors: 2
  • Comes with Footprint: No

Coleman is the king of hinged door tents, a style of tent that imitates the doors you have back home. Having a stiff door that bends where it connects to the tent makes it much easier to get in and out of your shelter – not to mention, it’s a lot less hassle than zipping and unzipping the door every time you want to get in or out. The Sundome offers this convenience, while providing enough space for a family to comfortably spread out inside.

For optimal comfort, I would suggest keeping your maximum occupancy to 4 people. Despite being marketed as a 6 person tent, I just don’t see any way for you to make that work without being seriously cramped. Two queen sized air mattresses will fit perfectly, but you’ll also need to store your gear inside, since there aren’t any outdoor vestibules.

For a smaller party, though, there’s little to complain about. The room divider is always a neat addition, but my favorite part has to be the built-in lighting. Whether you want to read, get changed, or do something else, there are three different brightness settings to suit your needs. And since it’s battery operated, you won’t need to plug into an electrical outlet, though there is an e-port that would allow you to bring electricity into the tent if you need it.

In general, I find that luxury tents like the Sundome don’t do quite as well in rough weather. However, this shelter is something of an exception, with a bathtub floor and a solid waterproof coating. Just remember to stake out the rainfly properly, or you might have a problem with water leakage.

Pros:

– Easy setup
– Room divider
– Waterproof
– E-port
– Built-in LED lighting
– 6 foot center height

Cons:

– A little lacking in durability

Coleman Octagon 6 Person Festival tent

  • Best For: Car Camping
  • Pole Material: Steel
  • Tent Material: Polyester
  • Weight: 46 Pounds
  • Peak Height: 84 Inches
  • Number of Doors: 2
  • Comes with Footprint: No

The Coleman Octagon might be called a festival tent, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it isn’t durable. Even in more rugged environments, this shelter holds up beautifully, able to withstand both heavy wind and rain. Though the rainfly is somewhat difficult to put on, the waterproofing is solid, and will do a great job of keeping you dry.

What I love most about this tent is how spacious it feels inside. With a 7 foot peak height, you can comfortably stand tall anywhere you go, as long as you’re shorter than a pro basketball player. The vertical walls and octagonal shape also serve to open up the interior, allowing you to stack items close to the edge of the tent. And like the Sundome tent mentioned above, the Octagon was designed with a hinged door, making it easy to come and go as you please.

Tents with vertical walls like this one do tend to have a common problem – they make great wind catchers. Especially if you don’t stake it out properly, you’ll turn your shelter into a sail on a boat, and you run the risk of being blown away. Or, your poles might snap if they can’t withstand the force.

While the Octagon isn’t completely immune to these problems, the rounded design and steel poles do make it stronger and more aerodynamic. Unfortunately, the hinged door does like to rattle in the wind if you’re only using the velcro, but won’t have any problems if you use the zipper instead.

Pros:

– Spacious
– 7 foot peak height
– Structurally sound
– Waterproof
– Room divider
– 6 windows and mesh roof make for excellent ventilation

Cons:

– The velcro on the hinged door doesn’t like to stay secure in high winds

Coleman Elite Montana 8 Person Tent

  • Best For: Car Camping
  • Pole Material: Fiberglass
  • Tent Material: Polyester
  • Weight: 24.5 Pounds
  • Peak Height: 74 Inches
  • Number of Doors: 1
  • Comes with Footprint: No

Big and spacious, the Coleman Montana is perfect for large groups of people, or for those of you who want more of a glamping experience. Shove in a few queen sized mattresses, some cots, sleeping bags, or a combination of all of those, and I guarantee you still won’t feel claustrophobic.

I also really appreciate the extended awning that Coleman designed to cover the entrance. It doesn’t provide as much coverage as a traditional vestibule, but it’s still better than nothing, if you want to store some of your gear outside. At the very least, it’s better than bringing your muddy boots and dirty backpack inside. And for a tent this large, it’s a lot more outdoor protection than you would normally find.

Once again, we’ve got a hinged door on this tent, which is a feature that Coleman seemed intent to put on as many shelters as possible. At 25 pounds, it’s also surprisingly light for a tent this size. The carry bag is pretty disappointing, but even so, most of you shouldn’t have any trouble carrying it a reasonable distance.

Pros:

– Extended door awning
– Lots of interior space
– Easy to set up
– Sturdy design
– Great ventilation

Cons:

– Subpar carry case
– May leak a little

Coleman Skylodge 12 Person Tent

  • Best For: Car Camping
  • Pole Material: N/A
  • Tent Material: Nylon
  • Weight: 44 Pounds
  • Peak Height: 90 Inches
  • Number of Doors: 1
  • Comes with Footprint: No

The Skylodge 12 person tent was just too impressive to pass up. With 190 square feet of interior space, you won’t really find a bigger camping tent than this one. The peak height comes in at 7 feet, and there’s even a screened in room for extra storage space, if you need it. I also like the screen room because it’s a great place to stay sheltered from the elements, while being able to lounge around and enjoy the view.

Needless to say, this tent is barely smaller than a modern day tiny home. You could easily squeeze in 4 queen sized air mattresses, and have room to spare for a couple camping chairs as well. The weight of the shelter is going to be your biggest compromise, but that’s to be expected when it comes to something this massive. Even so, I believe 44 pounds is still pretty reasonable, though you’ll need some help setting it up.

The tub floor and waterproof coating work well to prevent leaks from happening. There are also plenty of windows and a ground vent to keep air movement circulating – something you definitely want to have when so many people are occupying a small space!

Pros:

– Spacious interior
– Tall peak height
– Good waterproofing
– Lots of windows
– Giant door

Cons:

– A little tricky to put together
– Somewhat flimsy

Coleman Dome Tent with Screen Room

  • Best For: Car Camping
  • Pole Material: Fiberglass
  • Tent Material: Nylon
  • Weight: 9 Pounds
  • Peak Height: 68 Inches
  • Number of Doors: 1
  • Comes with Footprint: No

This Coleman tent is technically a 6 person shelter, but what if I told you it could sleep up to 8, if you needed it to? That’s the beauty of the additional screen room, which creates a cozy lounge space with the best of both worlds. You’ll experience the breeze coming through the mesh, and get the full force of all the natural scents, while still being protected from bugs and many of the elements.

But mostly, I like the screen room because it provides a convenient escape from the confines of the main part of the tent. You could easily toss a sleeping bag out there to sleep for the night, if you wanted a little more space. Unfortunately, the screen does very little to block out rain, so you will get wet if a storm decides to roll through. That’s only if you’re outside in the screen room, though – the main part of the tent is still completely sealed off and waterproof, so you’ll be safe as long as you’re inside.

Because this shelter isn’t very well insulated and is prized for ventilation, I’d suggest keeping it summer exclusive. Chilly spring and fall nights will get pretty nippy, especially if you don’t have the proper sleeping gear to compensate. However, you’ll definitely be glad to have all that air movement on hot, muggy nights!

Pros:

– Well ventilated
– The screen room makes for a fun, unique experience
– Waterproof
– Can easily be pitched by one person
– Tearing it all down again is just as simple

Cons:

– The porch will get wet in storms
– Doesn’t do well on chilly nights

Coleman Instant Cabin Tent

  • Best For: Car Camping
  • Pole Material: Aluminum
  • Tent Material: Polyester
  • Weight: 25 Pounds
  • Peak Height: 72 Inches
  • Number of Doors: 1
  • Comes with Footprint: No

One of the biggest reasons why I’m not a fan of large tents is because they take so much effort to setup! After unrolling 20 pounds of fabric, figuring out where all the poles go, and exerting the energy to lift it off the ground, you’ve just burned through about half an hour of daylight. If you actually know what you’re doing, that is.

That’s why I’m a big fan of instant tents, even though they can be a bit clunky. In particular, Coleman’s instant tent goes up in about 2 minutes, and most of that time will just be spent unrolling the fabric. One person could easily put it up, though it is handy to have an extra pair of hands to help put it back in the carry case.

The design is pretty solid, and I like the 6 foot peak height, even though I still can’t quite stand up completely straight. Despite the vertical walls, it’s a tank when you put it in a high wind area, so I wouldn’t worry about it blowing away or breaking. I do wish the waterproofing was done better, but that can easily be solved by adding your own waterproof spray.

Pros:

– Spacious
– Good peak height
– Instant setup
– Decent weight
– Holds up well in wind

Cons:

– Waterproofing isn’t what I’d like to see

Coleman Red Canyon Camping Tent

  • Best For: Car Camping
  • Pole Material: Fiberglass
  • Tent Material: Polyester
  • Weight: 21.5 Pounds
  • Peak Height: 72 Inches
  • Number of Doors: 1
  • Comes with Footprint: No

I feel like “giant” is one of the best words to describe the Coleman Red Canyon tent. The center height might be a little low for a tent this size, but in terms of actual sleeping area, it’s actually quite large. Three queen sized air mattresses wouldn’t be a problem at all, and you could even put them each in their own rooms, thanks to the dividers. You should be able to fit 8 people in here without too much issue at all.

The attachable gear loft and mesh pockets are useful for storing personal belongings, especially when you’re trying to house so many people. You could even bring your pets along without too much issue, since there’s a doggy door located at the back of the tent, allowing them to easily get in and out. It’s a feature that you don’t see too often on tents, and I think it was a nice touch.

The welcome mat outside the front door is detachable, and it makes a perfect place to store your shoes when you aren’t wearing them. I would also suggest getting a tarp to use as a footprint, so you can reduce overall wear and tear, but it certainly isn’t necessary. As long as you take good care of the tent, it will take care of you for many years.

Pros:

– Large
– Good storage options
– Detachable welcome mat
– Holds up well over time
– Built in doggy door

Cons:

– Can’t zip the windows shut

Coleman WeatherMaster 6 Person Tent

  • Best For: Car Camping
  • Pole Material: Steel
  • Tent Material: Polyester
  • Weight: 32 Pounds
  • Peak Height: 80 Inches
  • Number of Doors: 2
  • Comes with Footprint: No

The WeatherMaster might not have as much interior space as the Red Canyon, but it could still house just as many people…sort of. Remember the Coleman dome tent with a screen room that we talked about earlier? Well, this tent has a similar design, making use of an attached screen room to expand the total amount of space you get with the shelter. So if you wanted to, you could easily sleep two people outside like that, assuming the weather wasn’t bad.

The vertical walls also work to open up the interior, providing more space than you’d find in a dome tent. Cots and mattresses can be pushed all the way to the corner, since there aren’t any sloped walls that cut off headspace. On top of that, the 80 inch peak height makes it easy to walk around comfortably, change clothes, and relax without the need to hunch over.

With strong, steel poles, durability won’t be an issue, even in powerful straight-line winds. It’s definitely not the most aerodynamic tent out there, but it will take care of you, as long as you stake it out properly.

Pros:

– Very roomy
– Tall center height makes it easy to stand straight
– Welded seams
– Steel poles
– Separate floorless screen room

Cons:

– Doesn’t protect against heavy rain very well

Final Thoughts

A tent is one of the most important pieces of gear in any camper’s arsenal. Unfortunately, many of them run in the mid to high three figure price range – they may even break four figures, depending on what tent you’re looking at.

Most of us don’t have that kind of money to spend on a hobby, which is why I really appreciate how affordable Coleman products tend to be. In particular, I believe that the Coleman Elite Sundome 6 person tent is going to give you the best bang for your buck. It’s got all the bells an whistles, including an e-port and LED lighting, without compromising on durability and waterproofing.


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Spencer Yeomans

Spencer Yeomans

A lover of the outdoors, and especially the mountains, Spencer has always enjoyed pushing people to step outside their comfort zones. His mission is to help others get out of their homes to have fun and stay active in nature.

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