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Coleman tent shelter: Not so instant, but worth it
May 22, 2012
by Alan Lake
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Durability is good, provides a good amount of shade.
Cons:Not “instant”, requires more than one person.
The Bottom Line: An easy shelter to set up that does a good job of shielding a few people from the elements.
This is a large camping shade by Coleman. Ideal for getting away from the sun, but not the heat. And for a coleman product, it’s pretty well made. I am pleasantly surprised.
Recommend this product?
Instant? Ha, that’s funny. It requires 2 people minimum to set up and tear down in my opinion. One person can theoretically do it, but it will take much much longer. It also takes several minutes to set up and tear down. 5-10 minutes. Once it is up, it does a good job of shading people.
The tent like fabric is probably the weakest part of the structure. After several trips I am beginning to see little pin holes in the top fabric. We didn’t have any rain during out last trip so I don’t know if it could handle rain. Probably not. Plus if it did rain, there are not any walls (other than the 1 foot lip) to protect you from angled rain.
I have seen walls on other shelters but not on this one. So I don’t know how the walls set up.
The metal is well made, I found that the hard way. When it was set up at an angle, (two poles at normal height and other two 2 feet lower) this makes it a hard hat zone. While I didn’t bruise my head, it sure did hurt. While this metal also makes it heavier to transport but also makes it more durable. A fair compromise.
“Instant shelter” (if you consider 2 minutes with several people instant.
10 x 10 feet
100 square feet
4 corner guy lines but usually not needed.
There is a top vent that is around 1 square foot
Velcro attaches the top cover to the metal frame. 2 per side, 1 per corner, 1 for the top middle.
4 tent stake holes.
While the top is not a perfect 10 feet wide cover, the legs can slope a couple of inches out making the floor 10 square feet. If you are not diligent, then it will be less than 10x10.
The dimensions I measured were 9’9” x 9’11” (the feet were not perfectly positioned. But guess what, this is reality.
The sides are about 5’10” tall. I have to duck.
The middle is 11’9” high.
Rocks very slightly in a good breeze. No problems in mild wind.
It did stay outside in the backyard for a month this past summer with very little ill effects.
It is easy to pack. Once you fold it up, you slip it into the supplied bag. Then throw it on your roof rack.
While the pole legs are moderately strong. If someone runs at full steam into them they may bend or break. But it was not damaged with I hit it with my head or when a kid ran into it.
The metal legs wiggle a little bit. Not a problem as long as you aren't trying to paint. But they do have a hole on the foot pad for a stake. A very nice feature if you have strong wind gusts. It will accept the Coleman metal tent stakes or another smaller diameter tent stake. It will not accept the larger plastic tent stakes.
To lower the legs you push a button on each leg and the legs go down. You also have to push it in twice for storage (legs are either slid in, locked halfway out, or locked all the way out). In the storage position it is around a square foot wide and about 3 feet long. When you are extending the legs you need to put your foot on the foot of the leg. It is too tight to do it without stepping on it (unless you have some real muscles).
If you want you can lower the shade 2 foot lower. For my last camping trip the side facing the sun was lowered and the other side was normal height. It worked better that way since we didn't have a hanging tarp wall. I have also seen a lot of soccer parents do this.
The durability of the cloth is in question. It has some very small holes in it that could potentially let water leak in. It has not been exposed to rain yet so I don’t know for sure. The poles and the pole length buttons are in good shape and still a mild pain to press in. While only 2 years old, I feel the durability is good. Just take care of it and don’t leave it set up in your backyard when not in use. The metal structure will definitely last longer than the cloth top.
Made in china.
I am actually pleased with this shelter. It is relatively stable without stakes or guy wires, but it does have those two options for the rare occasion of severe wind. It collapses into a relatively small bag. 1/3 the size of my REI family tent (when packed away). While not good for camping in a small car (because of its size), it is not an issue with a SUV or a car rack. It doesn’t set up by itself easily and I recommend 2-3 people to set up and tear down. But once you know what you’re doing, it sets up within minutes. Also having the cloth Velcro-ed to the horizontal poles makes a very securely attached cloth roof.
My biggest complaint is it does not have a wall. I would have liked a cloth wall that faced the sun.
© Alan Lake's Kitchen 2012
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