Best Coleman Tent For Every Kind Of Camper

Written by

There’s a reason Coleman tents are one of the most well-known and widely respected brands out there. Their combination of quality and affordability just can’t be beaten and makes them the perfect choice for first-time campers and veteran outdoorsmen alike.
Best Coleman Tent - Introduction
Our best choice overall: The Coleman Skydome

This is The Wise Adventurer’s roundup of the best Coleman tents on the market. Coleman tents are great because they’re both affordable and accessible, yet come from a reputable brand that’s been around longer than any of us have been alive.

After testing and analyzing a multitude of Coleman tents (there are SO MANY), we finally decided that the Coleman Skydome 6 is the best option currently available. The Skydome delivers the essential Coleman experience of value for the money, but also adds in the benefit of elevated rain protection from a full-length fly and a sizeable front vestibule for storing bulky gear.

The Skydome won’t be everyone’s first pick though, which is why we’ve also listed the best models out there for every sort of camper in the outdoors from large family gatherings to solo backpackers.

And, because there are so many different Coleman models to choose from, we’ve also included a handy buyer’s guide down at the bottom to help explain what these tents are all about and help you find the right model for your next trip.

Right! Let’s get into it!

TentIn short…
Coleman Skydome 6: Best Coleman Tent OverallThe essential Coleman tent: Affordable, roomy, and easy to use. Full length fly with spacious vestibule adds fantastic value. See Review
Coleman Weathermaster 10 Person Tent: Best Overall QualityA huge floor plan, high ceilings, and the best weatherproofing in the Coleman lineup. The convenient room divider and a sweet swinging screen door are just icing on the cake. See Review
Coleman Instant Cabin: Best On A BudgetThe convenience of an instant tent setup on a budget that’s tough to beat. Integrated rainfly system makes pitching the Coleman Cabin that much easier. See Review
Coleman Hooligan 2: Best Coleman Tent For BackpackingA surprisingly high-quality backpacking tent from Coleman with a roomy vestibule. Dirt cheap and easy to upgrade for serious trail duty. See Review
Coleman 8 Person Instant Family Tent: Best With A ScreenroomAll the features we love about the Coleman Cabin, plus an expanded floor plan with an integrated screen room. Easy to own and incredibly versatile. See Review
Coleman 4 Person Pop-Up Tent: Fastest SetupA tent that literally pitches itself right before your eyes. Impossibly easy to set up and take down and packs down flat for easy storage. See Review

The Best Coleman Tents

Coleman Skydome 6 Person: Best Coleman Tent Overall 

Best Coleman Tent - Coleman Skydome

– Weight: 19 lbs. 5.4 oz. (8.7 kg)
– Packed size: 27” x 10” x 10” (68cm x 25cm x 25cm)
– Floor size: 120” x 102” (302cm x 159)
– Peak height: 72” (182cm)
– Rooms: 1
– Shape: Dome
– Occupancy: 6 (4 & 2 person also available)
– Instant tent: No
– Best for: Three season car camping
– Price: $$

Taking our top honors as the best Coleman tent overall is the Coleman Skydome 6. We love the Skydome because it delivers all the budget-friendliness you expect from a Coleman shelter, but adds in extra space, storage, and weather protection without any added expense.

As far as space goes, the Skydome delivers in two ways. On the interior the Skydome boasts above average head/elbow room thanks to it’s near-vertical walls and tall peak height. Outside the tent you’ll find extra storage space as well beneath the Skydome’s sizeable front vestibule which also converts into a sun awning as needed with help of a few trekking poles. 

In terms of weather protection, our favorite feature of the Skydome is it’s full length/full coverage rainfly. While many of the more budget-minded Coleman tents often stick to a simple roof-only fly and/or hybrid singlewall design, the Skydome is covered from top to bottom, and even features six guyline attachments for improved stability and ventilation.

Drawbacks here are few and far between, but our biggest gripe with the Skydome is that it doesn’t deliver the level of wind resistance advertised. Coleman claims the Skydome is tested to withstand 35 mph winds, but several owners have reported poles snapping under milder conditions. We’ll also point out that although the Skydome is available in 2, 4, and even 6-person sizes, all models of the tent stick to a single door/single vestibule construction. We’d love to see a back door added (especialy if it comes with a second vestibule in the future), but for now we’re more than happy to live with a single door at this price.

– Excellent value
– Full length rainfly with vestibule
– Near vertical walls for extra interior space
– Not built for heavy winds
– Only 1 door on all sizes

Coleman WeatherMaster 10 Person Tent: Best Overall Quality

Best Coleman Tent - Coleman Weathermaster

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
Price: $$$

If you’re gonna give your tent a name like “WeatherMaster” it better deliver on the goods. Luckily for us, the folks at Coleman hit the WeatherMaster with the full gamut of their current weatherproofing technologies, and this big ol’ 10 person shelter lives up to its name pretty darn well.

By combining a fully seam-taped rainfly with fabric shielded zippers, welded bathtub style floors, and inverted seams, the WeatherMaster is genuinely well protected from the rain. We also love that Coleman included their nifty “pop-out” style windows on the WeatherMaster (10 person model only) to allow campers to maintain both the view and good ventilation when caught in a proper downpour.

We’d also be remiss if we didn’t point out the sweet “swinging screen door” feature Coleman included on the WeatherMaster. It’s a small detail, but one you’ll really appreciate throughout the day. No more fumbling with a zipper every time you want to come and go: The semi-rigid door hangs on with velcro, and shuts itself automatically as you come and go. On a tent this size, it’s a really nice touch.

And as for the cons? Well, this is a Coleman tent: WeatherMaster or not, we still recommend setting it up and treating it with extra DWR and seam sealer before you take it in the woods. Nikwax products are by far our favorite so start there if you don’t have a favorite of your own. . Both products are inexpensive and proven to work, and at a price this low, you’ll have plenty left over for both. Aside from that, we’ll note that because the WeatherMaster is (a) large and (b) not an instant tent, it takes some extra time to set up, typically about 15 minutes. We’ve found it’s well worth the time spent to have a fortress like this to call your own in the woods, but you’ll definitely spend more time getting it standing and guyed out than an instant or pop-up model.

– Built for livability in wet weather
– Large floor plan
– Swinging screen door is pretty sweet
– One of the longest setups in the Coleman lineup
– Still benefits from added weatherproofing

Coleman Cabin With Instant Setup: Best On A Budget

Best Coleman Tent - Coleman Instant Cabin

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
Price: $$

The fly-free instant tent that started it all: The Coleman Cabin has been a boon for years to campers who want a spacious shelter but don’t care for fumbling with traditional set-ups.

So how do they do it? Well, for starters, the pre-attached pole design means all you need to do is take the Coleman Cabin out of the bag, unfold it at each of the hinges, then extend the auto-locking steel poles into place: Boom, you’re done.

No poles to clip together and thread through sleeves. No rainfly to unfold, align, and stretch over the top. The Coleman Cabin goes up easily in under two minutes with a single camper. That’s tough to beat. Add to that the convenience of a nice roomy floor plan, plenty of elbow room thanks to the cabin-style walls, and a 6-foot peak height, and you’ve got an easy to own and live with shelter that the rest of the group will envy.

We’ve got some concerns around the rainly-free construction, most notably the fact that this design puts a lot of faith in the zip-up windows to keep water at bay, but there’s no shortage of customers who have sat through all-day downpours in the Coleman Cabin and stayed perfectly dry. It’s a bit of a bummer that Coleman didn’t add a second door to the Cabin, but considering its “one big room” interior and the fact that a second door would mean more opportunity for water to find a way in, we really can’t blame them there.

– Instant tent and rainfly-free design make for super-fast pitching
– Vertical walls and high ceilings make for tons of interior space
– Spacious enough for two queen mattresses
– Many will prefer the peace of mind of a full-coverage rainfly
– Instant tent construction means more weight and added bulk when packed

Coleman Hooligan Backpacking Tent: Best For Backpacking

Best Coleman Tent - Coleman Hooligan

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
Price: $

That’s right, Coleman makes their own “fast and light” backpacking tent. If you’re shopping for a compact shelter that doesn’t require a payment plan, check out the Coleman Hooligan.

We use the term “light” here relatively of course, because the Hooligan is still a Coleman at heart, and therefore isn’t exactly featherlight. Yes, at seven pounds it’s considerably heavier than your average backpacking tent, but there’s actually a surprisingly easy fix for this: Bring your own stakes. Because the Hooligan uses a single-pole design, virtually all of its strength comes from proper (and extensive) guying and staking. Unfortunately, Coleman ships the Hooligan with 21 tent stakes, all of which are simple, heavy, and prone to bending.

Replace these stakes with a good high quality set like the MSR Groundhog, take only as many as you need (about 11) and you’ll easily have shaved roughly a full pound off its heft. Of course if you really want to get serious about the weight, Coleman uses a thick fiberglass pole to keep the Hooligan upright, so you can also order an aluminum tent pole from a reputable brand like DAC to shave it down even further. The pole itself weighs well over two pounds so, once again, there’s a lot to be gained here if you feel so inclined.

As for drawbacks, the size and weight are the main contributors, but we’ll note a few other things here. For one, because this is essentially a “wedge” shaped tent, the walls are fairly steep, so there’s not much extra shoulder room inside the shelter. It’s also worth mentioning that while the single-pole design stands on its own with just the corners of the canopy staked out, you have to use the rainfly to guy it out properly, so its stargazing potential is limited to clear and calm nights only. Still, the Hooligan is one of the best-made tents in the Coleman lineup, and also one of the least expensive. Try it out, and if you love it, consider building it up with better components.

– …did you see that price???
– 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
– Wedge shape = limited interior space

Coleman 8-Person Instant Family Tent: Best Tent With A Screen Room

Best Coleman Tent - Coleman instant Family Cabin

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
Price: $$

The Coleman Instant Family Tent is a fast-pitching shelter of epic proportions. Its 14’x10’ floor plan packs enough space for a family of four to split two queen air mattresses, while its nearly 7-foot center height and vertical walls provide stand-up height for even the tallest dads in the campground.

We love the simplicity of the instant tent design with its pre-attached poles, which allow you to get this tent set up in well under five minutes with or without a helping hand. Add to that the fact that the Coleman Instant Family Tent uses the same integrated rainfly technology as the classic Coleman Instant Cabin above, and you’ve got one of the easiest pitching large tents on the market.

The added bonus included in the family model is the integrated screen room, which uses four full-zip windows to convert the second room into an open porch (that still keeps the bugs at bay) when the weather is at its best.

A combination of value and convenience at this level comes with a few compromises, so keep the following in mind if you’re considering the Instant Family Tent: For one, it’s only got a single entrance via the large double doors at the front of the tent. Not a big deal if you’re camping with children, but if you’re splitting the Instant Family Tent’s two rooms with another couple, you’ll be wishing you had a back door escape route should nature call late at night. It’s also worth mentioning that the convenient single wall design is designed to be rain-proof, but needs a little help if you’re planning on camping in serious downpours. We recommend adding an extra seam sealing treatment and hitting it with a quality DWR coating like Nikwax (which is by far our favorite) for added peace of mind.

– Convertible screen room adds versatility and livability
– Uses integrated rainfly for simplified setup and weather protection
– Large floorplan with divider
– Would love a second door in a tent this size
– Full coverage rainfly would add peace of mind in serious rain
– Instant tent design is bulky

Coleman 4-Person Pop Up Tent: Fastest Set-up

Best Coleman Tent - Coleman Popup 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
Price: $

Tent manufacturers make lofty claims about how quickly a tent can be set up. You’ll see a lot of “60 second” tents out there, but most folks find any tent takes about 5-10 minutes to set up properly. Not the case with the Coleman Pop Up Tent.

Literally anyone can have this tent out of the bag and fully pitched in about 10 seconds. That’s because Coleman uses a flexible fiberglass frame that packs down flat for storage, but then “pops” up instantly into its fully pitched form the second you unfold it. You can literally just toss it into the air and watch it expand before your eyes (you won’t be the first or last camper to do so).

Packing it up is beyond simple as well: Simply gather the ribs of the tent together, then fold them back down onto themselves and slide the compression strap over the whole thing. Voilà. Just slide it down into its flat-pack carrying case and you’re ready to hit the road.

Of course the pop-up frame design limits overall interior space and peak height, and the simplified single-wall design isn’t the sort of thing you’d want to wait out a raging storm inside of, but the simplicity, lightweight, and portability of the pack-flat design is just too convenient to pass up for fair weather camping, some extra shade on the beach, or as a fun bonus tent for the kids to hang out in. We don’t expect the springy fiberglass poles to last more than a few seasons, but considering this tent costs about as much as taking the family out to dinner, it’s just a great buy overall.

– 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

A few words on Coleman tents…

The Coleman Company is one of the most well-known and widely recognized names in the outdoors industry. They invented the modern gas lantern, set the standard for portable camping stoves, and revolutionized the modern portable cooler, all of which happened before they ever sold their first tent in 1960.

Coleman Ad in the 50s – Photo from Coleman

Nowadays, Coleman’s tents are known for two things: Being (a) recognizable and (b) affordable. There’s no shortage of cheap tents on today’s internet marketplace, but when you buy a Coleman tent, you’re buying a brand name you know with over 100 years in the business: There is no to doubt that a Coleman tent is well worth being on your camping checklist.

Coleman doesn’t make the flashiest, most sophisticated, or highest performance tents on the market, but few (if any) brands can beat their combination of value, quality, and customer support at this price point.

Durability And Materials

With that being said, the first thing to know about even the best Coleman tents is that while their durability is arguably the best for the money, you shouldn’t expect a Coleman tent to be as durable or long-lasting as the premium shelters coming from folks like Big Agnes, The North Face, or MSR.

Now that doesn’t mean that Coleman tents aren’t durable, or that there aren’t thousands upon thousands of satisfied customers that have been using a Coleman tent for years. The last Coleman tent we had made it through five years of regular use and abuse before it started leaking, and we probably could have gotten even more life out of it with a proper refresh of its waterproofing.

The main thing to keep in mind here is that most Coleman tents share two weak points that you’ll want to allow for: The first is their tent pole systems, which require a little more finesse to keep in one piece, whether they’re made from fiberglass or thin-walled steel. If you want your Coleman to last, don’t put the poles under undo stress by forcing them into place, stacking heavy objects on them, sitting on them, etc.

Best Coleman Tent - Durability
Correct set-up is essential to keep your tent for long! – Photo from Rukawajung

The second weak point of Coleman tents is typically the stitching. The same rules apply here in that you don’t want to put any more pressure or stress on the seams of your tent than is necessary. Forcing your poles through their sleeves, hanging heavy objects from your tent ceiling, or failing to properly stake and guy out a Coleman tent is a great way to pop a seam. Take care of them, and they’ll take care of you.

Shape And Floor Size

Most Coleman tents are camping tents. While they do make a backpacking model or two, most folks buy them because they’re both inexpensive and roomy.

The spacious interior of the Coleman WeatherMaster – Photo from manufacturer

If you’re buying a Coleman tent for typical car camping use, we recommend buying the largest tent you can afford and transport. You should always look for features like large floor plans and stand-up height ceilings if you want to get the maximum enjoyment out of your tent.

As far as shapes go, most stand-up 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 though, so if you’re planning on camping in areas with high winds, you may want to consider an alternative like a tunnel, dome, or wedge-shaped shelter.

Weight And Packed Size

Again, assuming you’re shopping for a car camping tent here, weight and packed size aren’t a major concern when buying a Coleman tent. It’s well known that Coleman’s shelters aren’t the lightest or most compact by any stretch, so we recommend just leaning into it and getting the largest tent you can transport and carry.

Best Coleman Tent - Weight and Packed Size
Packing the Coleman WeatherMaster – Photo from manufacturer

With that being said, we do recommend you take note of your Coleman tent’s longest measurement when packed, especially if you’ll be transporting it in a compact car rather than a truck or SUV.

Instant-tent designs with pre-attached poles tend to be both the longest and bulkiest when packed due to the nature of their construction, so make sure you’ve got room for shelters like the Instant Family Cabin along with all your other gear before making a decision.

Ease Of Set-up

Coleman has been manufacturing tents for decades, and generally speaking they’ve got the whole “quick and easy set-up” thing down to a science. Instant-tent models are particularly easy to pitch, especially those with integrated rainfly designs that don’t require any additional preparation for weatherproofing.

You can definitely save a little money and space by going with a traditional setup, but just be aware that classic collapsing pole tents typically take an extra 5-10 minutes to get pitched and secured than instant models.

Weather Protection

Coleman’s flagship weather protection system is called “Weathertec” and tents with this system are the best suited for three-season camping rain-or-shine.

The Weathertec system combines five specific features for the most reliable weather protection in the Coleman range. The first is Coleman’s weather-resistant polyester fabric, which uses anti-wicking fibers and webbing as a first line of defense. In addition to this, Weathertec tents use Coleman’s “inverted seam” technology, which puts the stitching (and therefore the needle holes) of their seams inside the tent rather than exposing them to rain or runoff.

Best Coleman Tent - Weather Protection
Photo by M. Osno – Photo from manufacturer

The next part of the Weathertec system uses Coleman’s “wind-strong frame” tech, which is a fancy way of saying that the geometry of the poles and guy-out angles are engineered to provide the most wind-resistant characteristics possible for a given design.

Lastly, all Weathertec tents share seamless welded corners in the floor of the shelter as well as zippers protected with a cuff of water-resistant fabric to minimize seepage.

With all that being said, we still highly recommend treating any Coleman tent with a proper DWR treatment as well as beefing up the seams with a brush-on seam sealer. Honestly any tent on the market will benefit from these measures, but because Coleman tents are still budget tents first and foremost, it’s an especially important step before taking your Coleman out in the wilderness.


Taking all the above features into account, we found that the Coleman Skydome 6 was the best Coleman tent overall. Its combination of all the things we love in a family camping tent (affordable, roomy, and reliable) with the added bonus of a sizable front vestibule just can’t be beaten.

If you’re looking for something even bigger and sturdier, check out the Coleman Weathermaster. Its extra-large floor plan and top-notch weather resistance make for an excellent family shelter that’s sure to last for years to come.

Our Best Choice On A Budget: The Coleman Instant Cabin – Photo from manufacturer

And, if you’re looking for a large Coleman tent but want to keep the spend to a minimum, the Coleman Instant Cabin fits just about any budget while providing an impressive amount of interior space and the added convenience of an instant tent design.

1 thought on “Best Coleman Tent For Every Kind Of Camper”

  1. My $40 Coleman tent has served me perfectly for 10+ years. Doesn’t get simpler than this! Camping doesn’t mean you need the best or latest gear.


Leave a Comment