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Discussion Starter #1
Alright. I am a pretty big gear head. I've been anti Coleman because of the quality for a long time. HOWEVER, I am in the market for a new tent for rafting.

I am looking at the Carlsbad 4 person.

It's a bit gimicky with the "dark room," but here is why i am interested...

  • I've been on enough floats now to know that mosquitos seem to be an annoying part of many campsites. The thought of an extra screened in porch is appealing for hanging out, escaping the bugs, and not feeling like you are just locked in a tent.
  • I am not too concerned about size/weight because I am floating.

  • It claims to have a waterproof bathtub bottom and improved performance in wind

  • It's hard to ignore the reasonable price compared to more of the REI type brands.

Let me know if I am crazy and if there is better option out there.

Thanks!
 

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Because if you get a Colemen tent, it's a the start of a slippery slope until you get Coleman sleeping bags and the next thing will be a crappy stereo for your home, followed by, God forbid, a beige mini-van?

And before you realize it, your only escape will be to do what Frank had to do:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU-vNpmjfsI
 

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The first thing I look at when buying a tent is does the rainfly go all the way to the ground. If it doesn't I keep on looking. I had some bad experiences when i was younger and continue to see people have bad experiences with tents that dont have a good rain fly.
 

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Because if you get a Colemen tent, it's a the start of a slippery slope until you get Coleman sleeping bags and the next thing will be a crappy stereo for your home, followed by, God forbid, a beige mini-van
Haha. I know! I swear I have better judgement in gear, but I can't find anything with a screen room like that in a 4 person tent...
 

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Coleman definitely makes some marginal quality gear, but I have found a few Coleman products that I have to give them some credit for. Note, this is coming from some one who is super picky about gear.

For example, while the sheet metal bodies on some of their stoves can feel a bit flimsy, their burners are super efficient and the controls are top notch. They are also safer than most, if not all, other stoves out there. I had a Partner Steel stove burst into a ball of flames. I have at least two Coleman stoves that have taken many years of abuse and still work great.

I also have an old Coleman folding camp kitchen table that has taken an absolute beating over the last 15 years and is still going strong. Its light and very packable. It blows the doors off other more expensive tables like the roll-a-table. I also have a couple of Coleman propane lanterns that I really like.

I have no experience with their tents, but I'd avoid any that have fiberglass poles. Apart from that, I'd be willing to take a look at any of their equipment. If it works, and the price is right, why not.
 

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Buy nice or buy twice....

That said, my biggest tent issues seem to always be zipper related. Those sandy beaches seem to always take a toll on the zipper. I had a walmart special that I used, up until the zipper broke on a week long trip in Moab. We made do with some safety pins and good attitudes (was not spider proof- at all)- but it was a stressful night when a wind storm and rain storm came and and it seemed like it was going to blow us away.

Maybe you should buy the Coleman tent and come back and let us know why you shouldn't have bought it. Or why it was adequate enough to suit your needs!
 

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I have no problem using my Coleman sundome for river trips and car camping. The floor is waterproof and robust, add a cheap blue tarp underneath if you want and it will be bomber. I think the key with Coleman tents is that all positive reviews have to come with the caveat *for the price*. I think they are an awesome value and will get the job done. I’ve had a 3-man for over a decade and it’s still going strong. Bought a 6-man to fit cots 2 years ago and it’s performing well. Importantly for me, if either of these hit the crapper tomorrow I would feel like I got more than my money’s worth and wouldn’t cry about having to buy another tent. I like not feeling like I have to baby it all the time. I’m a gear head about some stuff, but I’ve been sleeping in a Coleman most of my life and don’t feel the need to spend more on a tent (except for backpacking of course). One recommendation- spend extra money on a model that has a hinged door. It seems cheesy, but my sister has one and the convenience is awesome, well worth the price.
 

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I've had good luck with Coleman tents at Festivals, Car camping, since the 80's.

Understand the following:
1. it won't ever fit back into the original bag....at least they never used to
2. not a tent for an April storm in CO where there's potential for big snow/rain.
3. You will more than likely get your $$$ worth out of it. Just understand you aren't going to be passing it down to your kids like I am with my Northface VE-25 or my Cabela's Alaskan Guide.
4. the tent will die in the following order: zipper, poles, floor

I just got the REI Grand Hut 4 for the wife and I and our cots and it's super easy for us to put up, while I let my kids sleep/set up my 20 yr old Kelty backpacking tent. https://youtu.be/8UEizPqx6Xc
 

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I've had a few over the years and they're okay, but the fiberglass poles always fail and the sleeve tips get packed with mud. I've settled on smaller mountain hardwear tents for boating. And they usually have that stiff flooring that stuffs really badly.
 

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If you want a tent, buy a better tent. If you want a screened porch, buy that separately. If the bugs are too much for you then you probably want something bigger so you can cook, socialize, whatever. Not sure I could tie my shoe in that "porch".
 

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Because if you get a Colemen tent, it's a the start of a slippery slope until you get Coleman sleeping bags and the next thing will be a crappy stereo for your home, followed by, God forbid, a beige mini-van?

And before you realize it, your only escape will be to do what Frank had to do:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU-vNpmjfsI
Haha. The consequences can be dire.

Actually, I’ll second all of the sentiments expressed thus far. My experience with tents Has been hit or miss. Dollars spent seem to be way less of an indicator of quality than random luck. I hate pouring money into an expensive tent when I feel like the odds of survival are only slightly better than a tent costing 1/4 the price (btw...the odds are poor in my experience for all tents unless you baby them).

A question of ethics.... buy a cheap tent (or other gear) and treat it as a disposable item (filling the landfills, un-ethical production processes, etc) vs buying a more expensive piece in the hopes that a portion of the extra money went to a quality piece of gear that you will use for many years and another portion went to ethical production processes. No guarantees though. Your extra money might have only gone to company profits. I want to be a responsible citizen of the world, yet I sometimes get skeptical that the extra $$ I pay just goes straight to clever marketing and corporate profits.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
If you want a tent, buy a better tent. If you want a screened porch, buy that separately. If the bugs are too much for you then you probably want something bigger so you can cook, socialize, whatever. Not sure I could tie my shoe in that "porch".
This is a fair point.
 

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My experience with these coleman sundome and related style tents is that I have the 8x7 that my 11 year old uses for him and his friends that he got for his 8th birthday and a behemoth 12x12 that I use for car camping and have used on the river once. I personally like them and find that for a desert trip, they can't be beat, especially as seems to be the theme here, for the price. One thing to note is that in strong wind, their defense mechanism is to lay down, but not blow away. Sort of the "bend but don't break" idea. The smaller 8x7 is more resistant to this feature when guyed properly. The floor on these tents is pretty hard-core, it's basically blue tarp material. I have been out in a San Juan wind and rain storm where a small creek formed under the tent, but it stayed dry inside. I personally would not opt for that screen porch feature, as you will likely not be hanging out in the vestibule of a 4 person tent and it's just more "sail" if you encounter wind. The tents do make a good screen structure if you need skeeter protection on dry nights. They are easy to set up and at $45 (if you forgo the porch feature) they make a great tent for river/car camping purposes, especially if you're in the desert where every tent is just slowly being worn away.
 

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I've spent a fair amount of time in tents, mostly backpacking but of course river trips as well. All of the concerns expressed above are good ones, but the biggest issue I see with the proposed Coleman is the fly. Limited coverage, in a sustained pour you could become really miserable.

Check out www.sierratradingpost.com. Great site for new-but-discounted/discontinued gear. I glanced at it just now, here's a possible candidate:

https://www.sierra.com/kelty-acadia...n-3-season~p~242hc/?filterString=tents~d~228/

Lots of other large tents there, many at or below your price point. Good luck!

-Tom
 

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Just my opinion, actually, not just my opinion, but I'd never buy a tent that did not have the rain fly go completely to the ground with a drip line some distance away from the tent tub. But then if this tent is intended for the desert, they say it never rains and the wind never blows in the desert(HA).

Nor would I buy a tent of this size with fiberglass poles that long.

Also previously stated, there are better bug houses.

But since you asked, what will it take to talk you out of it? Visualize me on knees, hands clasped, begging you not to do it. Is that enough?
 

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Wow, this seems like a newbie floating the marsh creek thread. First thought was OP was trolling. because who packs a 4 pole tent 4 person? Really, you better not go to the owyhee with that tent! Or a number of other rivers with wind. Next a water proof floor wont help if the fly don't go to the ground. If you are in that tent in 20 mph winds and rain. You are wet and miserable!

IMHO I'd find a 3 season tent at the very least..
 

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