Coleman Instant Tent: Camping Fun or a Big Nightmare?

If there is anything worse than setting up a tent in the dark, it would be setting a tent up in the wind, rain, and dark. For many adventurers, getting to the destination in time to ensure that you don't have to do any of those things is critical. There could be a different way, though, to go about this whole setup thing. With a product like a Coleman Instant Tent, worries about a dark setup could be a thing of the past. According to Coleman, you can set one of these bad boys up in a matter of minutes and, boom, you are ready to move onto other essential things — like relaxing with friends.

relaxing tent

Image Source: Unsplash

​Of course, for those of us who are serious about camping and about the gear we use, it's important to know how well a Coleman Instant Tent works. We would love to save some time and have those extra minutes to spend on the beach or over a drink before rushing back to set up gear. The last thing we want, though, is to try out new equipment and end up in a crappy tent for the weekend. Will a Coleman Instant tent work for you? How do they work for the people who tried them out? Let's find out below.

​​The Coleman Instant Tent

​Coleman has several different types of instant tents on its site that come in a variety of sizes. There are many different kinds of tents, cabins, and accessories available, as well. You can purchase a rainfly designed for a specific Coleman Instant Tent as well as Instant beach shades and canopies. According to the company, the instant tents are incredibly simple to set up, and they take no more than 60 seconds.

The poles are sewn right into the fabric of each Coleman instant tent. So you show up on site, unfold the tent, extend the poles, and snap everything in place — it's as simple as that. Keep in mind, some of these tents come with a rainfly, and some of them do not.

Features available on every Coleman Instant Tent

Even though the lineup of Coleman instant tents is extensive, there are many things each of the items have in common. First, These tents all come with individual pockets for storage, pre-attached poles, a WeatherTec™ system, and reflective guy-lines so you can see them easily at night. Other than the pop-up tents, Coleman uses a unique welding technique on the floor seams designed to stop leaks.

coffee in a camp

Image Source: Pixabay

​On top of that, these tents have double thick fabric with Polyguard 2X™, a carry bag, door awnings, a one-year limited warranty, and storage pockets. All the instant tents, aside from the dome tents, have vents near the floor for natural circulation.

Coleman Instant Tent Options

​Below are some of the tents available to you.

Instant dome tents and pop-ups

Pop-up tents

Signal Mountain™ instant tents

Other Coleman Instant Tents

Instant cabins and darkroom tents

Customer Reviews of Coleman Instant Tents

​We aren't going to tell you what customers have to say about every single Coleman Instant Tent on the list because that would take all day. However, this is the section where we will bring you the truth about a selection of these tents. Today, we will talk about what customers have to say about the 10-person Dark Room tent, the Juniper Lake 4-Person Dome, and the 6-Person Instant Tent.

Coleman Cabin Tent with Instant Setup - 10-Person Dark Room Tent

[amazon box=”B07GX54QFL”]

The Good

First, let's talk about the good stuff. One user said he and his girlfriend used this tent in the Grand Canyon during a thunderstorm, and it “held up all weekend.” Another reviewer said there is a ton of space in the tent, that it is large and heavy and certainly not meant for backpacking — but, it worked perfectly for their family. And the users talked about how easy the tent is to set up and tear down as well as how lovely it is to sleep past 9 a.m. thanks to the darkroom technology.

The Bad

Next, we move onto the bad things about the 10-Person Dark Room Tent. There are quite a few negative reviews about this tent leaking. One reviewer stated that the tent is designed very poorly, almost as if it's designed to “leak on purpose.” Other customers said the tent showed up with defects, and everything inside got wet. Many users report that it is essential that you purchase a rainfly. While there seem to be occasional issues, customer service is reportedly pretty good.

Juniper Lake™ 4-Person Instant Dome Tent with Annex

[amazon box= “B00S57OXRG”]

The Juniper Lake™ 4-Person dome tent is the example we chose for those of you looking for something a bit smaller. 

The Good

Some customers report having a successful trip in this Coleman Instant Tent. One reviewer said she and her boyfriend had a great weekend with their dog, even when a storm passed through. Another user noted that it's perfect for a weekend away, and that setup is a breeze. A few users reported that this tent is the ideal size for a queen mattress and a dog bed.

The Bad

There seem to be a few bad reviews of this instant dome tent. Many customers reported structural issues and things breaking on this item. Reportedly, this item either arrives in ill-repair or breaks very quickly in many cases. There are also reports that the extendable poles don't like to stay in the extended position, causing the tent to collapse on the inhabitants.

Coleman 6-Person Instant Tent

[amazon box= “B00I4XDUO8”]

Finally, we reviewed the Coleman 6-Person Instant Tent for those of you who want to stand up, but don't need enough room for 10 people. This tent rates the highest out of all three on our list. 

The Good

Many users report that they have used this item for many years, and it has held up incredibly well. A lot of customers state that their tent is incredibly roomy — plenty of room for a husband that stands well over six feet tall, for example. This Coleman tent is reportedly very easy to set up, as well as incredibly sturdy even in challenging weather. Review after review talks about how roomy and easy to use this tent is.

The Bad

We found that even in the excellent reviews of Coleman products, many people did not like the company's tent stakes. So, keep that in mind if you make one of these selections; you may need stakes. There are a few negative reviews about the quality of the product — broken hubs, stakes breaking, and holes in the fabric. However, as we said, there are far more good reviews than bad for this particular product.

How We Reviewed the Coleman Instant Tents on Our List

​First, we found out what Coleman has available on the company's website. Then, we found out which of those have the most reviews. After that, we scoured the reviews on every site, making sure that they match up and then report to you precisely what they said. Sometimes products live up to the hype, and sometimes, sadly, they don't.

How Each Coleman Tent Compares to the Competition

In this section, we do a bit of comparison shopping. We use the same products we used in the review and compare them to products from other manufacturers in the same price range.

CORE 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent

[amazon box= “B00VFH1RQS”]

First up, we compare the Coleman 10-person Dark Room Cabin to the CORE 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent. The CORE is less expensive. However, the CORE does not have darkroom technology like the Coleman instant tent does. The CORE does have a room divider, though, as well as electrical cord outlet ports, which the Coleman does not have. The two tents are almost identical in size; the CORE is only a foot shorter on width.

Ozark Trail 6-Person Dark Rest Instant Cabin Tent

[amazon box= “B01N039X8B”]

Next for comparison to Coleman's 6-Person Instant Tent is the Ozark Trail 6-Person Dark Rest Instant Cabin Tent. Right away we can tell you that the Ozark Trail tent has the same darkroom feature as Coleman's 10-Person Cabin. However, Coleman doesn't have another available in a smaller size like this Ozark Trail. Both of these tents are the same size — 10-feet by 9 feet.

The Ozark Trail doesn't have pockets for storage, but has an overhead “gear loft.” 

Toogh 3-4 Person Camping Tent

[amazon box= “B07FD5YKYD”]

Finally, we compared the Coleman Juniper Lake™ Instant Dome to the Toogh 3-4 Person Camping Tent. The Toogh stands out right away. You see, Toogh says its tent is entirely waterproof — and we know that leaking seems to be an issue for several of the Coleman products. Unlike Coleman's limited warranty, the Toogh comes with a full 12-month satisfaction guarantee.

Additionally, the Toogh comes with a mosquito net, and the Coleman does not. Remember, though, the Coleman has that little annex for a dog bed, and the Toogh is only a single dome. 

Pros and Cons of Coleman Instant Tents

​Now that we learned all these things about Coleman's Instant Tents, it's time for a final tally. Here's where we break down everything we learned into an easy-to-read pros and cons list.


  • Coleman instant tents set up quickly and easily
  • Many users report that their Coleman products held up fine in different weather
  • Plenty of room inside tents
  • Can sleep in with tents that use darkroom technology


  • Coleman tent stakes are flimsy
  • Some Coleman instant tents have structural issues
  • Some of the tents leak terribly
  • You need to purchase an additional rainfly, even when it says that it comes with a rainfly

Consider Carefully Before You Buy a Coleman Instant Tent

Well, here we are at the end of this review, and here's what we seem to have figured out. While these tents definitely work during set up as the Coleman company claims, a few of the models have some issues. We never like to see many negative reviews about the same things, and a few of these items raised a couple of red flags.

night camp

​Image Source: Unsplash

​So, if you are in the market for a Coleman instant tent, make sure you do your homework if you don't choose a tent from this list. If you find a lot of negative reviews about the same thing, it's probably best to pick something else. Because we know if there's something that sucks more than setting up a tent in the dark, it's having to spend your vacation in a puddle.


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