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Coleman tents are one of the most well-known and respected brands. Their combination of quality and affordable price simply cannot be beaten, making them the perfect choice for beginner campers and outdoor veterans alike.
This is a review of the best Coleman tents on the market from The Wise Adventurer. Coleman tents are good because they are inexpensive and affordable, yet owned by a reputable brand that has been around longer than any of us.
After testing and analyzing a lot of Coleman tents (there are a lot of them), we finally decided that the Coleman Coastline 3 is the best option out there today. Its unique design, versatile layout, and excellent gear garage meet all of our requirements for a decent camping tent, but without the shock that is usually associated with such innovative tents.
However, the Coastline won’t appeal to everyone, so we’ve also listed the best models for all kinds of outdoor campers, from large family gatherings to solo trips.
And because there are so many different Coleman models to choose from, we’ve also included a handy buyer’s guide below to explain what these tents are about and help you find the right model for your next trip.
Coleman Coastline 3 Plus
– Weight: 15.4 lbs (7 kg)
– Packed size: 26” x 7” x 7” (66cm x 18cm x 18cm)
– Floor size: 87” x 79” (220cm x 200cm)
– Peak height: 55” (140 cm)
– Rooms: 2
– Shape: Tunnel
– Occupancy: 3 (4 person also available)
– Instant tent: No
– Best for: Couples with extra/bulky gear, bikers
Perhaps the most interesting and unique design in the Coleman lineup is the Coleman Coastline 3 Plus. Frankly, this tent is stunningly innovative, especially when you consider its outstanding price.
That’s because instead of using standard single or double wall construction, Coleman did something unique: They created a large freestanding rain roof, provided it with outstanding features, and then simply secured the entire sleeping area with buckles underneath.
The result is one of the most versatile and modular tents on the market: For example, there’s a full-size gear garage in front of the front door that can also be turned into a waterproof living room (or even a second sleeping area in a pinch). The garage floor is fully removable, so it’s up to you whether you want grass underfoot or a more polyester tent floor. The garage also has two side doors and a large front door that can be tilted to serve as a sunshade in clear weather.
Truth be told, it’s hard to find flaws in this tent. It has the usual fiberglass poles that can be found in almost any Coleman tent, and while its simple three-pole design is easy to set up, it takes a little more time to install the extra features than a regular shelter. It’s worth noting that while fiberglass poles are less durable than aluminum or carbon composites, Coleman fiberglass poles are some of the highest quality on the market, and they’re even thicker than regular poles. The side doors of the garage are also prone to a few drips during heavy rain, but it’s not designed to be a sleeping space, so it’s still a great place to store your gear with or without a floor installed. Overall, this is a well made and totally unique tent at a great price that is perfect for mountain bikers, hikers with pets, or anyone who has extra gear they want to keep safe and protected from the weather.
|– It has a truly fantastic gear garage that adds a ton of convenience and storage options.|
– Above-average rain protection
– Unique free-standing fly/clip design in the sleeping bag
|– Not quite the right ceiling height|
– Additional features take longer to install
– Garage doors are not fully waterproof
Coleman WeatherMaster 10 Person Tent
– Weight: 31 lbs (14 kg)
– Packed size: 30” x 10” x 10” (76cm x 25cm x 25cm)
– Floor size: 204” x 108” (518cm x 274cm)
– Peak height: 80” (203cm)
– Rooms: 2
– Shape: Extended dome
– Occupancy: 10 (6 person also available)
– Instant tent: No
– Best for: Family camping in any weather
If you’re going to give your tent a name like WeatherMaster, it has to meet all the requirements. Fortunately for us, Coleman has equipped the WeatherMaster with the full range of its modern weather protection technology, and this large 10-person shelter lives up to its name.
By combining a fully seam-sealed raincoat with fabric-covered zippers, welded tub-style floors and inverted seams, the WeatherMaster is really well protected from the rain. We also like that Coleman has included in the WeatherMaster (10-person model only) its comfortable pop-out style windows to allow campers to maintain both visibility and good ventilation when they get caught in a heavy downpour.
We also wouldn’t be remiss if we didn’t mention the nice “swing-out door” feature that Coleman has included in the WeatherMaster. It’s a small detail, but you’ll appreciate it during the day. No more fiddling with the zipper every time you want to go out or in: The semi-rigid door is held by Velcro and automatically closes when you come and go. For a tent of this size, that’s a really nice touch.
As for the cons? Well, it’s a Coleman: WeatherMaster tent or not, we still recommend setting it up and treating it with extra DWR and seam sealer before taking it into the woods. Nikwax products are our favorite, so if you don’t have your favorite, start there. . Both products are inexpensive and well-proven, and with such a low price, you’ll have plenty of money left over for both. Also, note that because the WeatherMaster is (a) large and (b) not an instant tent, it takes extra time to set up, usually about 15 minutes. We have seen that the time spent is worth it to have such a fortress in the woods, but you will spend more time setting it up and securing it than an instant or collapsible model.
|– Built for wet weather living|
– Large floor.
– Swing door is pretty sweet
|– One of the longest setups in the Coleman lineup|
Coleman Cabin With Instant Setup
– Weight: 27.6 lbs (12.5 kg)
– Packed size: 48” x 10” x 10” (122cm x 25cm x 25cm)
– Floor size: 120” x 108” (305cm x 274cm)
– Peak height: 72” (183cm)
– Rooms: 1
– Shape: Cabin
– Occupancy: 6 (also available in 4 and 10 person models)
– Instant tent: Yes
– Best for: Small families who want an easy setup
The waterproof tent that started it all: the Coleman Cabin has been a godsend for those who want a spacious shelter but don’t want to mess around with a traditional setup for years.
So how do they do it? For starters, the pre-attached pole design means all you have to do is take the Coleman Cabin out of the bag, unfold it on each of the hinges, then slide the automatically locking steel poles into place: Boom, done.
No poles to staple and sleeve through. No need to unfold, level and pull the raincoat over the top. The Coleman Cabin is easily lifted in less than two minutes by one camper. It’s hard to beat that. Add to that the convenience of a spacious layout, plenty of elbow room thanks to the cabin-style walls, and a 6-foot height, and you have an easy-to-use and operate shelter that the rest of the group would envy.
We have some concerns about the no-rain design, primarily the fact that this design places high expectations on zippered windows to hold water, but there is no shortage of customers who have sat in the Coleman Cabin all day in a downpour and stayed completely dry. It’s a bit unfortunate that Coleman didn’t add a second door to the Cabin, but given its “one big room” interior and the fact that a second door would have meant more opportunity for water to find its way in, we can’t blame them for that.
|– Instant tent and rain roofless design provide super-fast setup|
– Vertical walls and high ceilings provide plenty of interior space
– Roomy enough for two queen mattresses
|– Instant tent design means more weight and extra bulkiness when packing|
Coleman Hooligan Backpacking Tent
– Weight: 7 lbs (3.2 kg)
– Packed size: 28” x 6” x 6” (71cm x 15cm x 15cm)
– Floor size: 96” x 84” (244cm x 213cm)
– Peak height: 48” (122cm)
– Rooms: 1
– Shape: Wedge
– Occupancy: 2 (three and four-person sizes also available)
– Instant tent: No
– Best for: Camping and backpacking for two
That’s right, Coleman makes its own “quick and easy” backpacking tent. If you’re looking for a compact shelter that doesn’t have to pay, check out the Coleman Hooligan.
We use the term “lightweight” relatively, of course, because the Hooligan is still a Coleman in its essence, so it’s not exactly lightweight. Yes, at seven pounds, it’s considerably heavier than your average backpacking tent, but that can be easily remedied: Bring your own stakes. Because the Hooligan uses a single-post construction, almost all of its strength comes from proper (and extensive) anchoring and stakes. Unfortunately, Coleman ships the Hooligan with 21 tent stakes, all of which are simple, heavy, and prone to bending.
Replace those stakes with a good quality set like the MSR Groundhog, take only as many as you need (about 11), and you’ll easily save about a pound of weight. Of course, if you really want to get serious about weight, Coleman uses thick fiberglass poles to keep the Hooligan upright, so you can also order an aluminum tent pole from a reputable brand like DAC to reduce the weight even further. The pole itself weighs over two pounds, so, again, you can gain a lot if you want to.
As for the disadvantages, size and weight are the main ones, but we’ll note a few more points. First, because the tent is shaped like a “wedge,” the walls are quite steep, so there’s not much shoulder room inside the shelter. It’s also worth noting that while the single-post structure stands on its own with only the corners of the canopy, you’ll have to use a rain roof to set it up properly, so its potential for stargazing is limited to clear and calm nights. Nevertheless, the Hooligan is one of the best tents in the Coleman line, and also one of the most inexpensive. Try it, and if you like it, consider stacking it with the best components.
– Works as a proper backpacking tent
– Weathertec waterproofing system
|– 7 pound weight is manageable, but heavy for a backpacking tent|
– Single pole system requires proper guying to work
Coleman 8-Person Instant Family Tent
– Weight: 43 lbs (19.5 kg)
– Packed size: 52” x 13” x 12” (132cm x 33cm x 30cm)
– Floor size: 168” x 120” (427cm x 305cm)
– Peak height: 79” (201cm)
– Rooms: 2
– Shape: Cabin
– Occupancy: 8
– Instant tent: Yes
– Best for: Family car camping
The Coleman Instant Family Tent is a quick-fit shelter of epic proportions. Its 14’x10′ floor has enough room for a family of four to spread out two queen air mattresses, and its center height and vertical walls provide nearly 7 feet of standing height for even the tallest camping dads.
We love the ease of construction of the instant tent with pre-attached poles that allow the tent to be set up in less than five minutes with or without help. Add to that the fact that the Coleman Instant Family Tent uses the same integrated rain roof technology as the classic Coleman Instant Cabin, and you have one of the easiest large tents on the market to set up.
An added bonus included in the family model is the built-in screen room, which uses four full-zip windows to convert the second room into an outdoor veranda (which still keeps the bugs at bay) when the weather is at its best.
The combination of value and convenience at this level comes with some trade-offs, so keep the following in mind if you’re considering the Instant Family tent: First, it only has one entrance through the large double doors at the front of the tent. That’s okay if you’re camping with kids, but if you’re sharing two rooms of the Instant Family Tent with another couple, you’ll wish you had an emergency exit if nature calls for you late at night. It’s also worth mentioning that the comfortable single-wall design is rated for rain protection, but if you’re planning to go camping in a serious downpour, you’ll need a little help. We recommend additional seams and a quality DWR coating, such as Nikwax (which is by far our favorite option), for extra peace of mind.
|– Convertible screen room adds versatility and livability|
– Utilizes built-in rain cover for easy installation and weather protection
– Large layout with partition
|– I wish there was a second door in a tent this size.|
– A full-fledged rain cover would have added peace of mind in the serious rain
– The design of the tent is cumbersome
Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent
– Weight: 7.4 lbs (3.4kg)
– Packed size: 34” x 2” (86cm x 5cm)
– Floor size: 110” x 78” (279cm x 198cm)
– Peak height: 40” (102cm)
– Rooms: 1
– Shape: Dome
– Occupancy: 4 (2 person also available)
– Instant tent: Yes
– Best for: Outright convenience for 1-2 people
Tent manufacturers make loud claims about how fast a tent can be set up. You’ll see many tents “in 60 seconds,” but most people think it takes about 5-10 minutes to set up any tent properly. This is not the case with the Coleman Pop Up Tent.
Literally anyone can take this tent out of the bag and fully set it up in about 10 seconds. That’s because Coleman uses a flexible fiberglass frame that folds flat for storage, but then instantly “pops up” fully unfolded as soon as you unfold it. You can just toss it in the air and watch it expand before your eyes (you won’t be the first or last camper to do this).
Packing it is also very easy: Simply gather the ribs of the tent together, then fold them back on themselves and secure with a compression strap. Voila. Just fold it into a flat carrying case, and you’re ready to hit the road.
Sure, the pop-up frame design limits the overall interior space and height of the top, and the simplistic single-wall design is not something you’ll want to wait out a raging storm in, but the simplicity, lightness and portability of the pack-flat design are too convenient to pass up for camping in good weather, extra shade at the beach, or as a fun bonus tent for the kids. We don’t expect the springy fiberglass poles to last more than a few seasons, but considering this tent costs about as much as dinner for the whole family, overall it’s just a great buy.
|– Fastest & easiest pitching tent money can buy|
– Packs down flat, stores anywhere
|– Limited peak height|
– Pop-up design not built for rough weather
– Flexible fiberglass poles aren’t the toughest
Buyer’s Guide For Coleman Tents
Coleman is one of the best known and most recognized names in the outdoor recreation industry. They invented the modern gas lantern, set the standard for portable camping stoves and revolutionized the modern portable cooler, all before they sold their first tent in 1960.
Coleman doesn’t make the brightest, most sophisticated or highest performing tents on the market, but few (if any) brands can surpass their combination of cost, quality and customer support in this price range.
Coleman Tents Durability And Materials
That being said, the first thing to know about even the best Coleman tents is that while their durability may be the best for the money, you shouldn’t expect a Coleman tent to be as strong or durable as a premium shelter like Big Agnes, The North Face or MSR.
But that doesn’t mean that Coleman tents aren’t durable, or that there aren’t thousands and thousands of satisfied customers who have been using Coleman tents for years. The last Coleman tent we had lasted five years of regular use and operation before it started to leak, and we probably could have gotten even more life out of it if we had properly updated its waterproofing.
The main thing to keep in mind is that most Coleman tents have two weaknesses to consider: The first is their pole systems, which require a little more skill to stay intact, whether they are made of fiberglass or thin-walled steel. If you want your Coleman to last a long time, don’t put undue stress on the poles by forcing them into place, stacking heavy objects on them, sitting on them, etc.
Coleman Tents Shape And Floor Size
If you are buying a Coleman tent for typical camping use, we recommend getting the largest tent you can afford and transport. If you want to get the most out of your tent, you should always look for features such as large floor area and ceiling height.
In terms of shape, most standing height tents use a cabin style shape, with nearly vertical walls and relatively flat ceilings to maximize interior space. Cabin-style tents are also the least aerodynamic, so if you plan to camp in areas with high winds, you should consider alternatives such as tunnel, dome, or wedge-shaped tents.
Coleman Tents Weight And Packed Size
Again, if you are buying a car camping tent here, weight and pack size are not a major concern when buying a Coleman tent. It’s well known that Coleman tents are not the lightest or most compact, so we recommend just heeding that and buying the largest tent you can transport and carry.
With this in mind, we recommend that you look at the longest length of your Coleman tent when packed, especially if you will be transporting it in a compact car rather than in a truck or SUV.
Instant tents with pre-attached poles tend to be the longest and most cumbersome in packaged form due to their design features, so make sure you have room for tents like the Instant Family Cabin along with all your other gear before making a decision.
Coleman has been making tents for decades, and they generally know a thing or two about quick and easy setup. Instant tent models are especially easy to set up, especially those that have a built-in raincoat design that requires no extra preparation for weather protection.
You can save some money and space by opting for a traditional setup, but keep in mind that classic collapsible pole tents usually require an extra 5-10 minutes to set up and secure than instant models.
Coleman’s flagship weather protection system is called Weathertec, and tents with this system are best suited for three-season camping in rain or sun.
The Weathertec system combines five specific features that provide the most weather protection in the Coleman range. The first is Coleman’s weather-resistant polyester fabric, which uses anti-water fibers and webbing as the first line of protection. In addition, Weathertec tents use Coleman’s “inverted seam” technology, which keeps the seams (and therefore the needle holes) inside the tent rather than exposed to rain or runoff.
The next part of the Weathertec system uses Coleman’s “wind-strong frame” technology, which means that the geometry of the poles and the angles of the luffs are designed to provide the maximum wind resistance possible for this design.
Finally, all Weathertec tents have seamless welded corners in the shelter floor, as well as zippers protected by a cuff of waterproof fabric to minimize seepage.
That said, we still highly recommend treating any Coleman tent with the appropriate DWR product, as well as treating the seams with brush sealant. Virtually any tent on the market would benefit from these measures, but since Coleman tents remain primarily budget tents, this is an especially important step before going out into the wilderness.
Taking all of the above features into consideration, we have come to the conclusion that the Coleman Coastline 3 is the best Coleman tent overall. It combines everything we love about Coleman tents (affordability, capacity and reliability) with the added bonus of a really impressive gear garage that simply can’t be beat.
If you’re looking for something even bigger and more rugged, check out the Coleman Weathermaster tent. Its extra-large layout and top-notch weather resistance make it a great family shelter that will last for years to come.
And if you’re looking for a large Coleman tent but want to keep costs to a minimum, the Coleman Instant Cabin will fit almost any budget, while providing impressive interior space and the added convenience of instant tent construction.