Coleman Instant Cabin Review Facts
If there is one thing about camping that most outdoor fans simply can’t stand its when it’s time to set up the tent for the evening. Unfolding the tent, putting the poles together, tying down the guy lines and making sure the tent won’t collapse on you while you sleep is often the bane of many a hiker or camper.
In answer to these complaints, there have been quite a few companies that have started to offer, “instant” or “pop-up” style tents with varying degrees of success. Today, our review will take a look at one of the more popular versions, the Coleman 6 Person Instant Cabin. As the name suggests, this particular tent boasts a quick and easy “instant” style of the assembly that, according to claims can be completed in under a minute. While it certainly does offer a good amount of convenience, will it stand up to the rigors of outdoor use? We hope to answer that question with this review.
The interior space of this cabin style tent
is fairly large, measuring approximately 90 feet in total square footage. The peak vertical measurement is roughly 6 feet 2 inches, so the taller individuals in your group won’t have too much trouble moving around. It is advertised as being able to fit two queen-sized mattresses, and though this is technically correct, doing so wouldn’t leave much room for anything else.
Although the interior space is large enough to comfortably fit four or five people plus equipment, there are a few drawbacks. First, there is no vestibule area, which would be a nice touch, since it allows you to keep muddy or wet equipment separate from your sleeping area. Second, there isn’t a whole lot of designated storage space; just two main compartments that aren’t really big enough to fit much more than a person’s sunglasses or wallet. While there are a few hanging loops, they are not nearly enough to hang the normal equipment or clothing used by the number of people that the tent is rated for.
This tent is designed to be used as a three season tent, and during warmer or clear whether it performs quite well overall. It should be cautioned, however, like many three-season tents
, it is not designed for use during the colder months or during heavy storms. If you’re looking for a tent to keep the sun off your back, and an easy breeze coming through while you sleep, this is a good overall choice.
Sadly, in the arena of protection from the elements, the Coleman 6 Person Instant Cabin leaves quite a bit to be desired. Simply put, anything more than a small sprinkling of precipitation will cause trouble with this tent. First, the rain-fly, by design only shields the top portion of the tent from rain and snow, which leaves the sides of the tent
exposed to the elements. In addition, the material used to make the sides of the tent is made from a relatively thick, but only water resistant polyester material
. While this offers decent protection from rips and tears, it’s quite easy for rain, snow, and sleet to seep into the tent via the walls.
Another aspect where the Coleman 6-Person Instant Cabin fails to deliver is in the overall durability of the tent itself. If you’re using it in an environment that is hospitable and always sunny, you shouldn’t have too much of an issue. However, we have yet to find a camping location that is consistent without rain, wind, animals, sharp rocks, or other adventurous items that make the trip so worthwhile. In many cases, reviewers and users alike complained that this tent only lasted for a season, or only a few camping
trips before seams started to fray, materials started to wear through, and zippers decided to break during use. In essence, if you’re planning on using this tent for more than a few trips in the season, you may want to consider other options
Thankfully, when it comes to overall comfort
, this tent has a lot going for it. There are windows on all sides, and with a ground vent and door, the ventilation through the tent is really quite amazing. This tent, based on this fact alone would be a great overall choice to use in an environment that is sunny and hot, with a mild consistent breeze.
The tent wall's thickness does provide a bit of heat retention when needed, and the interior temperature can be easily adjusted by changing how much the windows are open or closed. While the flooring is nothing to write home about, it does offer a moderate (although incomplete) protection from the coldness of the ground, even without a footprint. We certainly would recommend using a bit of padding when you bed down for the night, depending on your preferences, this tent should serve you well.
Overall, we don’t have too many complaints on the portability of the Coleman 6-Person Instant Cabin. It folds up fairly quickly after the initial takedown and fits remarkably well into the rip-stop carrying bag, poles and all. At a little over twenty pounds, it is a bit heavy for a person carry, so using it as a car camping
tent is probably the best choice for most people.
Ease of Use
Of course, an “instant” tent
should be set up almost magically and instantaneous, right? While the set up is neither instant nor magical, it is one of the easier ones to use on the market today. Simply pull the tent out of the carrying sack, unroll it into a roughly circular shape, pull at the poles, snap them into position, and sit there and wonder about what you’re going to do with the rest of the time you slated for tent assembly. Seriously. With the exception of tying down a few guy lines, or attaching a meager rain-fly, this tent can be set up by one person in about 45 seconds.
Take down, thankfully is just as simple and straightforward. Just do what you did to set up, only in reverse. Since the hinged joints on the poles are only designed to bend or flex in one particular way, there is little chance of the tent becoming a tangled mess of poles, guy lines, tent spikes, and tarp.
As you might imagine, this tent does have a bit of heft to it overall. While it isn’t the heaviest on the market today when it comes to multiple occupancies, at just over twenty pounds, it’s certainly more suited for transportation via car than a foot.
Considering what you get in regards to the overall protection, the price range of this tent between $200 and $300 dollars does seem a bit steep. However, if you consider the speed at which it can be set up, and the relative ease of use during the camping trip, the overall cost doesn’t seem too unreasonable. It’s a case of choosing the tent that meets your priorities. If you only want a tent to protect you from the sun and keep you and your friends cool on a hot day, this is certainly a viable option. If you are expecting inclement weather, though, you might want to consider spending a bit more for a truly competent tent.
Surprisingly, given the overall size of the Coleman 6-Person Instant Cabin, the only way to access it is through the front door. There is no secondary door, and the windows are designed only for ventilation and not much else.
While this is certainly not a deal breaker, for some families it might give them a reason to pause when buying this tent. Having an extra door is certainly an added advantage when it comes to having to make a mad dash for a bathroom break.
Truthfully, beyond the ability to get up and running in under a minute, this tent really doesn’t offer much beyond what someone would normally expect in a tent for multiple occupants. The tent can be easily secured with tent stakes and guy lines, features a small rain fly, and weather resistant walls and flooring. It also has a few small storage compartments that can be used to store things such as sunglasses, wallets, or keys. Other than that, this tent offers very few bells and whistles for the average camper.
While the overall longevity and durability of the tent do leave a bit to be desired, it does offer a respectable amount of protection from moderate to moderately high winds. Most users found that even winds of 20 miles per hour were no match for the overall design, although winds approaching 35 miles per hour did cause a bit of instability, especially since the tent is a bit taller than it is wide.
Considering the budget-friendly price, it’s really no surprise that the quality of the material being used, and the type of material does leave a bit to be desired. The floor itself is made of tarpaulin material, which does provide a moderate amount of protection from the cold and wetness of the ground, but since it really isn’t sealed all that well, and doesn’t extend beyond the walls of the tent, water is liable to seep in through the seams. The walls and rain-fly are made from a Polyguard material that is twice as thick as most other tents, which does provide a bit of protection from rips and tears. However, the anti-wicking polyester material only offers a moderate amount of water repelling, leaving a person somewhat damp or even wet more times than not.
While we certainly would have liked to see a more rugged construction overall, given the price point of this particular tent, having a less than stellar construction overall isn’t too unexpected. There were a lot of sacrifices made in the overall design of this tent for the sake of easy assembly, and not all of them were entirely necessary for our opinion. A true waterproof treatment or material would have probably been a better choice, as well as a larger, more encompassing rain fly. Of course, the strong poles with easy to use hinge points and rugged carrying case should be considered an advantage overall.
Comparison to Other brands
Comparing the Coleman 6-Person Instant Cabin to other tent brands is a bit difficult, and can depend greatly on where your priorities lie. If you want more room, storage space and protection from the elements, you’re probably going to have to look at spending a bit more and consider getting something such as the Big Agnes Flying Diamond Tent or the REI Base Camp 6 tent. In addition, there are quite a few tents out there that provide what the Coleman 6-Person Instant Cabin is lacking in regards to spacing, storage, vestibule and overall protection.
However, if you’re looking for a tent that is simple to set up and take down, and you need one that sleeps about four people comfortably in nice weather, there are few on the market that can match this tent.
The Bottom Line
The Coleman 6-Person Instant Cabin is extremely easy to set up and take down and offers a great way to spend a sunny afternoon lounging in the shade it provides. It has more than enough room to fit four adults and their equipment without much problem, it utterly fails when it comes to the idea of overall protection from the inclement weather. The materials used in the construction offer only minimal protection from rain and moisture infiltration, there is no discernible vestibule area, and the amount of available storage is far from adequate. This is a relatively low priced tent that really isn’t budget friendly at all.