Coleman Phad X3 tent

The very first time Muz and I went camping on our motorbikes, everything we took with us was an experiment – including our 3-man Eurohike Avon tent.
While the Avon isn’t that big packed away, it’s not that small either. The other people we met up with were mostly in a similar position, with a couple of exceptions. One of those exceptions was a friend with a Coleman Phad X3, and we were so impressed with it that we bought our own for next time.

The Phad X3 is classed as a ‘backpacker tent’ and designed to be uber-light, with slim aluminium poles and tiny but surprisingly sturdy aluminium pegs meaning that it weighs in at an impressively tiny 3.95kg. It also packs down very small – to a stated 56cm x 23cm.
With headroom of 104cm, it’s not the roomiest of tents, but it does manage to include a porch, so it’s plenty big enough for two people plus gear providing you don’t want to play frequent games of Twister.

Each pole slides into channels with closed pocket-style ends, which makes erecting the tent a doddle, easily managed by one person while the other goes in search of Pot Noodles. The inner tent fastens to the outer with a fairly standard toggle system and is easily left in permanently to allow for fast, simple pitching/packing.

Coleman Phad X3
Coleman Phad X3. Tidy.

The top quarter or so of the inner tent door can be unzipped to reveal a no-see-um mesh panel, so you can have some ventilation, but perhaps not as much as that found on most tents these days. However, the porch has a door on either side of the tent, and a further semi-circular zippered opening on the very front, should you want to encourage extra airflow, so it’s not a major drawback.

The flysheet has a decent 4000mm hydrostatic head, and is made from polyester ripstop with PU coated, taped seams and UV detailing so you can find your tent in the dark with minimal effort. The groundsheet is my only real gripe – it’s nylon with a 5000mm hydrostatic head and PU coated, taped seams, but on a recent trip I found that after a couple of days of solid rain the material itself is so fine that it’s started to allow some water ingress – in as much as the groundsheet itself seems to be sucking up water. I’m going to take a secondary groundsheet with us next time we use it.

Summary: Small and light, big enough for two plus luggage and bike gear. This is a brilliant tent for travelling, be it by motorbike, pushbike or on foot. I’d rate it five hammers if it weren’t for that groundsheet.

  • Jonathan

    I’ve got the same tent and bought it on the basis of the reviews of other friends. As you say, it is a doddle to erect and dismantle. I’ve not noticed the wicking through the ground sheet but I will look out for it on future camping trips.

  • After many trips and much heavy use, ours has started wicking water up through the groundsheet. I’m hoping it’s just a case of re-spraying it with waterproofer.. It’s lasted us three years so far, it’d be a shame to relegate it to dry use only..

  • Fern Hume

    PHAD 2

    I have used this tent for over two years.

    I’ve used it on the road- 4 months, 20 countries, and and it was over a year old and well used when I started the trip.

    It has survived exceptionally well.

    I reproofed it twice in its life, paying particular attention to the groundsheet.

    I use a thicker plastic groundsheet underneath it when camping on stony ground i.e deserts in Iran etc.

    The best thing about it is…my motorbike was clipped my a VW Golf in Tajikistan at speed. Managed to stay upright on the bike. My washbag contents exploded in my pannier. Didn’t realise until 2 hours later when I arrived at a hostel where I would be camping in the garden. I unfurled the tent, it was sopping in 50% deet Mozzie Repellent- ‘do not allow contact with synthetic fabrics’. Other waterproof items in my pannier were disintegrating. I chucked the tent in a big bucket. Rinsed it as thoroughly as possible, hoped for the best. After several rainy nights, it is apparent that it survived its ordeal!!! No damage to the waterproofing.

    I wish the tent when packed was a little smaller. But I can ‘erect’ [snigger] it without pegging, a godsend on stony ground, or ferry decks, concrete yards etc. The porch is big enough to cook or sit in, and house my wet luggage. Inner is big enough for one, and a load of gear. Vents work well if deployed.

    My biggest bug bear however is that it is covered in reflective piping. This is no use when trying to stealth or wild camp. I have taken the tent to the sewing machine and removed most of the piping, but you cannot remove all of it as some is stitched in where the seam seals are. I’ve also changed the guy ropes for none reflective ones. The only use of these is for festivals to reduce the amount of drunk people running into them.

    My Phad is starting to look a little ropey, but i’ll run it into the ground. Literally!

    Happy Camping

    Fern x