If you are someone who enjoys camping and do it often then you are probably familiar with the Coleman name. The company makes outdoor equipment from tents and sleeping bags to stoves/barbecues and 100’s of other items. We recently had an opportunity to use the Coleman 8 Person Instant Tent on one of our camping trips in British Columbia. Coleman claims that the tent can be set up in one minute, hence the ‘Instant Tent’ name. I was a bit skeptical but there was only one way to find out.
But before we get to the part about setting it up, the first thing that caught our attention was the size of the tent while in its carrying case. The carry case for the tent is 3’ 10” in length and the height is 11-inches. Unless you have a pickup truck, it will take up a lot of room in your vehicle. The entire thing weighs in at just over 37 pounds. This tent would be ideal for extended stays at a campsite and definitely a bad idea for a backpacking trip into the woods (and probably not even possible).
Setting Up The Coleman Instant Tent
Unlike traditional tents, the Coleman Instant Tents come with pre-attached poles which extend and snap into place, making the entire setup process a lot quicker compared to your standard tent. Of course, this is also the reason why it weighs a lot more. The pre-attached poles are thicker and heavier than the poles used on a regular tent. And the fabric used on the tent is 150D, making it twice as thick as standard tent fabric.
On our first attempt and of course, without reading the instructions, we were able to setup the Coleman Instant Tent in about two minutes and 20 seconds. Is it possible to setup the tent in one minute or less? The answer is yes, it can easily be setup in the time Coleman claims but most likely on the third or fourth attempt (in our experience). But if you take into account the time it takes to setup all the ground stakes provided, you are looking at close to six minutes of total setup time in which you have a fully erected and stable tent. During our camping trip, we used the ground stakes for the base of the poles, and did not bother with the attached ropes.
Once the tent was fully setup, it stood 76” high in the center of the tent. This 8 person Coleman Instant Tent takes up 14’x8’ of space and I would consider this the Cadillac of instant tents. Because it doesn’t have that dome shape, people can walk around the tent from one end to the other without having to hunch over….very cool! The tent can also be transformed into two rooms with a sheet of nylon that is provided. We were not able to test the “8 Person” claim on this particular trip but you can fit two Queen Airbeds which would allow for 8 tiny people or 5-6 adults.
The tent has plenty of windows for air circulation and did an excellent job in keeping the bugs out while allowing the cool evening breeze to flow through. The tent also features two interior pockets perfect for keeping your phone, flashlight, or mp3 players. For an 8 Person tent, perhaps two additional pockets would be a nice touch.
We were fortunate enough to have amazing, dry weather so we didn’t get to test it out in the rain. This tent features WeatherTec System which is supposed to keep you dry and there is no need for a rain fly. I would definitely recommend that people bring along two tarps. One in case it starts to rain since this tent does not come with a rain fly and the other tarp should be used underneath the tent before setting up the Coleman Instant Tent. The tarp beneath the tent will spare you the dusty and dirty mess we had to deal with when taking the tent down. In my opinion, the tent was definitely easier to setup than it was to put away.
Taking it down wasn’t really the issue here but dealing with the bulky mess was a pain in the butt. We just did our best to crumple it up and use the two straps provided to tie everything together and stuff the tent back into the bag.
Although bulky, this is definitely a tent I would recommend to my family and friends. Setting the tent up without even reading the instructions was easy and the 60 second claim can be easily achieved with a couple of practice runs. There was lots of interior space and the structure appeared to be very solid. The only downside for me was putting the tent back into the bag. I found that part to be a bit annoying but the “cool” factor far outweighs my disassembly complaint.