An Expert Guide to Coleman Tents

Published on 11/16/2023 · 15 min readDelve into the variety of models, features, and durability aspects that make Coleman a go-to choice for all types of campers from backpackers to car campers!
Hunter Reed, Camping Expert
By Camping Expert Hunter Reed

Photo by Ground Picture

TL;DR: Whether you're a first-time camper or a seasoned outdoors person, understanding the different features available in Coleman tents ensures you find a tent that best fits your camping style and needs. There’s a lot to think about from tent size, weather resistance, ease of setup, and special features like Dark Room Technology and E-Port connectivity. Narrowing down your exact needs is the first step in finding a tent that lasts you a long time and makes your camping trips all that much better.

My name is Hunter, and I’ve been working in the outdoor industry for about 8 years, and camping for nearly 25! Growing up, I was lucky to have a dad who made sure to share his enthusiasm of camping with his kids, and took us on all sorts of fun camping trips. His enthusiasm and effort really paid off, because now as an adult I love camping, and will try to get outside and sleep under the stars any chance I get. Growing up camping and now working in the outdoor industry has given me a lot of opportunities to test different gear, and stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest in camping technology. I’ve used quite a few Coleman tents over the years, and while I was at first skeptical of their quality given their affordable pricing, my mind was changed once I saw firsthand how durable and long-lasting their tents are.

In this article, I will break down all the things you need to know when shopping for a Coleman tent, so that you can choose the best tent for your camping needs!

Who is Coleman?

Photo by Coleman

Coleman is a long-time trusted brand in the outdoor gear world. Though they make an array of outdoor gear, they are best known for their reliable and easy-to-use tents. Coleman is a particularly loved brand among campers who want tents with a sturdy build quality, but that don’t break the bank. They make a wide variety of affordable tents that cater to every kind of camper, from the first time car campers to the hardcore backpackers, and everything in between. Coleman is a go-to brand for campers seeking a a blend of durability, functionality, and value in their outdoor shelter!

What to Consider When Buying A Coleman Tent

Before we jump into the specifics, let’s look at a few things to ask yourself prior to narrowing down which tent is right for you. These questions are pretty general, but are a huge help in narrowing down exactly the type of tent you’ll want to look for to fit your camping needs.

What kind of camping will you be doing?

First and foremost, you’ll need to narrow down the kind of camping trips you plan on using your Coleman tent for. Are you planning on doing long treks into a remote backpacking area? Or are you pitching your tent next to your car for some casual car camping? If you’re planning on primarily backpacking, you’ll want a backpacking-specific tent that packs down small and is lightweight so it can help shave off some ounces of your overall pack weight. If you’re car camping, weight and size isn’t as much of a concern, so you’ll likely want to opt for something that prioritizes comfort and space.

How many people will generally be sharing your tent?

Next, try to figure out the number of people you plan on having in your tent. Is it generally just you, a partner, and your dog? If so, a two- or three-person tent is likely the right move. Do you have kids as well, or are you planning on bringing a few friends along? Then you’ll want to grab something bigger, like a 4-person or maybe even a 6-person! Narrowing down the size of the tent is going to be really helpful in determining the exact right tent for your needs.

What kind of weather do you expect?

This can be a tough one to know right off the bat, since you can sometimes get surprise storms or heat waves on camping trips, but it’s still helpful to narrow down the weather conditions you generally plan to be in. If you are a summer-only camper, you’ll want to prioritize a Coleman tent that has good ventilation properties in order to avoid getting too hot at night. If you primarily camp in the Pacific Northwest, where there’s a good amount of rainy days, you should prioritize a tent that can handle rain well. If you’re a camper who likes camping in early spring and late fall, when there are some colder nights and more intense storms, you’ll need a Coleman tent that’s a bit burlier, has a rainfly, and can withstand harsher storms.

How much would you like to spend?

Coleman is one of the most budget-friendly tent brands out there, but it’s still helpful to have an idea of a price range you’re comfortable spending on your new tent. Coleman makes tents at an array of price points, starting at around $100 for more basic models, and ranging to about $400 for heavy duty, larger tents with more features. Here’s a really basic and brief rundown of what you’ll likely get at the different price points:

  • $100-$150: Basic tents for car camping, generally around 2-6 person capacity. Pretty sturdy and can handle some weather, but not built to withstand really harsh storms. Stable and comfortable, but not lightweight enough to be a good option for backpacking.
  • $180-$250: Heavier-duty car camping tents that are more stable in weather, or backpacking tents that are a bit lighter and burlier. Ranging between 2-6 person capacities, with more features than you’ll find at the basic level.
  • $300-$400: Larger tents with 8-10 person options that are intended for car camping in harsh weather, and some smaller 2-4 person lightweight options for the best backpacking tent options Coleman has to offer. This is the highest price point you’ll find on Coleman tents, so they generally have all the fancier features not found in the lower or middle price point tents.

What Are the Different Types of Coleman Tents?

Coleman makes a few different types of tents intended for different styles of camping. Each style has some pros and cons, and caters to a different type of camper. Understanding the different styles can ensure you are getting the correct tent for your camping needs, so let’s take a look!

Dome Tents

Photo by Krivosheev Vitaly

Dome tents are the classic-style tents with the rounded top, and lower internal height. Dome tents are what most people think of when they hear the word “tent,” and they are pretty versatile for a wide array of campers and camping styles. They have good stability in weather and offer good protection from the elements.

Benefits:

  • Easiest to setup
  • Come in an array of styles, from more car camping oriented to more backpacking oriented
  • Can handle wind and rain well due to their shorter height and more stable construction

Be Aware:

  • Not as spacious as cabin tents due to their sloping walls

Cabin Tents

Photo by Krivosheev Vitaly

Cabin tents have almost vertical tent walls in order to maximize interior space. They are more comfortable to be in as they have more room, and most of them have a peak height of around 6 feet, so you can comfortably stand up inside. They’re great family tents, and a great option for campers looking for a more “glamping-style” experience, as opposed to feeling cramped in a smaller tent with a lower ceiling.

Benefits:

  • Most comfortable and spacious option
  • Many include room dividers inside the tent, which are great for campers who want some privacy
  • Can double as a cozy place to hang out if there’s bad weather

Be Aware:

  • Generally more difficult to setup
  • Bulkier when packed down
  • Not as sturdy in weather due to their larger size and taller height

Backpacking Tents

Photo by Zamrznuti Tonovi

Coleman’s line of backpacking tents are designed to be lightweight and compact, making it easy to toss in a backpacking pack and hit the trail. They are generally not very spacious inside, but they are great for campers who like to sleep in more remote areas and want a tent that can withstand harsh weather without weighing down their pack.

Benefits:

  • Lightweight and easy to setup
  • Great in harsher weather
  • Versatile for campers who want a tent that won't limit them to exclusively car camping

Be Aware:

  • Not as roomy or spacious
  • Can be pricier due to the lower weight and durability

Screened Tents/Canopy Style Tents

The tent on the left is a screen/canopy style tent. Not meant for sleeping, but a great place to escape the sun and bugs when you’re hanging out during the day! Photo by Amelia Martin

Coleman also makes tents that are more intended for day use, and provide shelter from rain or sun during the day. Though you could sleep in them overnight, these tents are more designed to be a hangout spot at camp. Most of them don’t have classic walls or floors, but rather just screens on 3-4 sides. They are tall enough that you can stand under them, or set up your camping chair and sit under them. They are versatile for camping, sporting events, or even backyard barbeques. Generally, they are pretty easy to set up, but also pretty bulky. If you’re camping in areas that have a lot of harsh sun or rain, these are a great option to bring along as they can provide you with a sheltered place to hang out during, the day no matter the weather.

Benefits:

  • Versatile for different types of outdoor activities
  • Great comfort option for campers who want to have a sheltered place to be during the day
  • Can make your campsite seem more homey since it provides a gathering place to get out of the elements

Be Aware:

  • Bulky
  • Not intended for sleeping

Features to Look for When Buying a Coleman Tent

Now that you hopefully have an idea of what type of tent would be the best fit for you, let’s look at some of the features specific to Coleman tents. Depending on your camping style, not all of these may be applicable or useful to your situation, but regardless, it’s helpful to know what these different features are so you can ensure you are getting a Coleman tent that’s best suited to your needs.

Dark Room Technology

Coleman’s Dark Room technology is great for blocking out sunlight so you can sleep longer in the mornings. This is an especially great feature for parents who expect to put their children down for an afternoon nap.

Here’s a short visual explanation from Coleman about their Dark Room Technology!

WeatherTec System

Coleman's patented WeatherTec system is designed to keep you dry, with features like welded floors and inverted seams that prevent water from seeping in. The WeatherTec Plus system is a more high-tech version of this feature that is seen in heavier duty, more backpacking-oriented Coleman tents. If you really expect to see some nasty weather and heavy winds, or just want to be as prepared as you can be, WeatherTec Plus is a good thing to look for! The WeatherTec can withstand winds up to 35 MPH, while the WeatherTec Plus can handle winds of 45 MPH.

Fast Pitch System

Especially helpful for campers who spend the drive to their campsite dreading the setup process. With pre-attached, color-coded poles, fast-fit feet, and snag-free Insta-Clip suspension, the Fast Pitch system is a game-changer. This is a well-loved feature among backpackers who don’t want to spend extra energy figuring out how to set their tent up after a long day of hiking, but it’s also great for new campers, parents, or anyone who prioritizes a fast and seamless setup when they arrive at camp.

Want to know more about Coleman’s Fast Pitch system? Check out this video to see how it works!

Star View Window

Some Coleman tents have a star view window on the ceiling, door, or side of the tent. It’s a mesh-covered window that you can unzip from the inside to get some extra airflow, or to get a better view of the stars as you’re falling asleep!

Room Dividers

Some of Coleman’s larger tents have internal room dividers, which allow for some privacy inside the tent. Great for families who have kids going to bed before adults, or friends who want somewhere private to change clothes after a long hike!

Awning or Canopy

Another feature some large Coleman tents have is an expanded canopy or awning. It sets up outside your tent, and offers some shelter from the elements. It’s a great place to pitch a chair and get out of the sun, or give you some extra storage space outside the tent, ensuring you have enough room to be comfortable inside the tent.

E-Port

If you’re car camping and expect to want power inside your tent, this is a great feature to look for. The e-Port allows you to run a cord inside your tent, without the need to leave a window or door cracked. Keeps the bugs outside while letting you have power inside!

Coleman Connectable Tent System

This feature is super fun for group camping, when you might want your own space for sleeping, but also want to be connected to the rest of your group. The connectable tent system allows you to connect your tent to other Coleman tents. Here’s a video on how it works!

Here’s a brief video introduction to setting up a Coleman connectable tent system.

How to Choose the Right Coleman Tent for You

Even with everything we’ve covered in this article so far, it can still be hard to narrow down exactly which tent from Coleman’s lineup is the right one for you. Below, I’ve listed three Curated customers I’ve helped as a Camping and Hiking Expert. They each have different tent needs, and features that would be useful to them. I’ve included some information about their camping style, as well as some things they should look for and some specific Coleman tents that would be a good option for them, to help you narrow down your own decision!

Henry, The Family Camper

Henry goes on a lot of family camping trips, geared towards making good memories with his wife and two kids. They go camping a few times a year in the warmer months, and they stick to established campgrounds with nearby amenities. He wants to ensure his tent is comfortable for his family and has enough space for all their gear, which includes an air mattress for each of them! Since they just car camp, having a larger tent is not a problem and is preferred over trying to fit everyone in something too small.

Needs in a Coleman tent:

  • Spacious interior to fit the whole family and everyone’s gear
  • Durable to withstand the enthusiasm of children
  • Easy to set up to keep the trip stress-free

Features to look for:

  • Room dividers for privacy
  • WeatherTec System for weather protection
  • An E-Port for family movie nights

Tent Recommendations for Henry:

Ellen, The Backpacker

Ellen is an experienced backpacker, and she typically hits the trails in the spring, summer and fall, which leads to her camping in a variety of weather. She doesn’t mind spending some extra money for a Coleman tent that meets her needs of low weight and durability.

Needs in a Coleman tent:

  • Lightweight and compact for long treks
  • Weather-resistant for diverse climates
  • Easy to pitch in remote areas

Features to look for:

  • WeatherTec plus
  • Easy Setup
  • A sturdy frame to combat winds

Tent Recommendations for Ellen:

Leann, First Time Camper

Leann just moved to Oregon, and is excited to explore landscapes in her new home with her golden retriever and husband. As a newbie, she's looking for a tent that's budget-friendly, straightforward, and comfortable for weekend adventures. Since she’s new to the camping scene, finding a tent that prioritizes convenience during setup is important to her. She mostly expects to car camp, so weight isn’t a huge concern for her, but with the dog going in and out of the tent she knows she needs something with durable fabric, specifically on the tent floor so his nails don’t put any holes in the tent!

Needs in a Coleman tent:

  • Affordable pricing for a beginner’s budget
  • Simple design for ease of use
  • Durable enough to handle dog paws walking around

Features to look for:

  • Fast Pitch System for simple setup
  • Dome design for stability and headroom
  • WeatherTec for rainy PNW trips

Tent Recommendations for Leann:

Find the Best Coleman Tent for You

Photo by Shutter O.

Still not quite sure which option is the best Coleman tent for you? Don’t fret! Here at Curated, we have a dedicated team of Camping and Hiking Experts that can help you with any gear questions you might have—whether it’s picking the right tent, finding the right size backpack, or just general information as to what gear you should bring on your next camping trip! Chat with me or another Camping and Hiking Expert for free, personalized advice on picking the best Coleman tent for you. We’d be more than happy to walk you through all your gear questions! Happy camping!

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

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