Thursday, 6 October 2016

Gear Review: Coleman Instant Dome 3 Tent

I was lucky enough to win this 3-man Coleman Instant Dome 3 tent in a photography competition ran through Camping magazine, so for myself it was in fact free (woop!), however, the original RRP is approximately £99.99.

Easy, fairly compact carry bag

I tested the tent on a family holiday to the Isle of Mull, where the weather was fairly varied, with a mix of sunshine, rain and wind, meaning I could give it a decent all-round review.

We actually arrived to our campsite in the dark, and even with this added obstacle of pitching a tent for the first time with only head torches (yup, we never did a practice round at home), we honestly had the tent up in a maximum 5 minutes. Having re-erected the tent once home to dry it out, I have to say, it only takes around 1-2 minutes to open now. As an instant tent, I guess I should have expected it to be incredibly fast, but I really didn't think it would honestly be so simple.

We had two-nights stay in the tent. The first night there was rain overnight, while we slept. We did wake up to quite a bit of condensation in the tent, which concerned us a little that a) there was not enough waterproofing (we worried it was a leak) or b) this would happen every night. Well the second morning we woke to no condensation at all. I am thinking it was a one-off issue which can happen in any tent really, and that I have had occasionally before.

There was heavy rainfall both nights we stayed in the tent, and we had no issues with leaks, nor warmth, since it is a fairly small tent. Equally, the first morning there was beautiful sunshine, and the tent didn't overheat either. There are decent vents at the top of the tent, which I felt helped with making sure the tent didn't get overheated. I have had tents previously, ones which were larger too, that have had little ventilation and felt extremely hot and uncomfortable waking up in once the sunrise had heated up the tent. We also never once batted an eye lid at the wind - the tent always felt sturdy and secure.

As for sleeping arrangements, we comfortably had two adults and a fair bit of equipment with us. At first, I found it difficult to figure out how best to lie down in the tent, as we normally like to lie down with our feet facing the door (so as to wake up to the beautiful view, and for ease of taking of shoes etc). I personally think the best way to lie, particularly if there were 3 people, would be with the door to the side. I believe this tent would still be comfortable with 3 people, but would leave less room for gear.

Packing away the tent wasn't quite as fast as setting it up, but again, was over and done with in a matter of minutes, and this was in incredibly heavy rainfall too! I have watched others in the past struggle with packing up instant tents, as they have struggled to fold it correctly to fit it into the bag. This tent is extremely simple, and folds back right into the bag. The tent poles bend in both directions: one way when setting up the tent, then they fold back on themselves to fold down the tent to fit into the bag. Again, the speed of doing this was improved even further when I collapsed the tent at home after drying it.


Great tent. Very happy with the ease of setting up and taking down. Definitely would suit 3 people, and is warm, waterproof and windproof. The only shortfall I would say is that there is not a lot of room for gear, particularly if you had three people in the tent. So I would recommend bringing a tarp to put out the front of the tent, so you could leave gear outside. Otherwise, this tent is fantastic, highly recommended, and I would happily pay the full price for it.

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