Reviewed: Coleman Sundome Tent
Last year my Walmart special Ozark Trail tent ripped when my foot got caught in the door as I was entering it after dark. With a trip to Utah’s outdoor mecca, Moab, next month I decided to buy a new tent to review and decide if I like it before sending a few early spring days in. I ordered the Coleman Sundome 4 from Amazon this week, mostly because the price + reviews. I set it up in my front yard to test out the setup process and look for anything that I should worry about when I’m camping in the Coleman Sundome for real. Coleman makes a few different sizes in this tent series, they are basically all identical with different footprints, so this review really should hold true for the whole Sundome line.
TL;DR Quick Review of the Coleman Sundome 4
This isn’t a high-end tent, but at the price, it doesn’t try to be. This tent is well suited for couples or families of three camping in pleasant conditions (think KOA lawns).
- Relatively easy to set up
- Easy storage
- 1-year warranty
- Not that sturdy
- Basic storage and convenience features
- Wimpy zippers
- Not suited for cold weather
Coleman Sundome Specs
- Polyester Material
- Sleeps 4 people (3 comfortably or 2 on a queen mattress)
- 5 mm fiberglass poles
- Floor 1000D Polyethylene
- WeatherTec™ system’s patented welded floors and inverted seams help keep water out
- 9 ft. x 7 ft. footprint fits 4 people or one queen airbed
- 4 ft. 11 in. center height, room to move
- 1-year limited warranty
First impressions for the Coleman Sundome – pre-setup
I really liked the size and quality of the tent bag this came in, it’s really a great form-factor, this won’t take up much room in your vehicle, which is great for those camping out of the back of their Subis’. The bag is square with two handles, which makes it easier to store since it’s less likely to roll around and round things don’t stack well. Coleman did us all a favor by stitching the instructions to the inside of the bag and putting them on tent material instead of a piece of paper that would get lost on the first trip.
Unboxing – What comes with the Sundome Tent?
The Tent bag came with basically what you would expect to find:
- Tent poles-2 main, 1 for the rainfly in their own bag
- Rainfly – has 4 hooks, Velcro to attach to the main poles and a couple guylines (the strings that you can stake down)
- Tent body
- 8 stakes in a bag
Setup and takedown of the Coleman Sundome
The structure of this tent is pretty basic to what you would find in most tents this size, two long fiberglass spring bars that go from corner to corn and cross in the middle. I set this up by myself, on a super windy day without too many issues. Since it was my first time and with the wind it probably took me about 15 minutes, with pausing for photos throughout the process. Next time I set it up, with help and knowledge from the first go-round, I could probably set this up in 5 minutes without rushing.
My favorite feature is the “Snag-Free Continuous Pole Sleeves” this is in reference to the area on top of the tent where the spring bars cross. Most tents have 4 sleeves two for each pole that meets at the X spot in the middle. Having 2 sleeves per pole means you have to guide the pole from the first sleeve over the middle then into the next, which is typically a giant pain in the ass. The Coleman solved that problem with sleeves that go from one end to the other and they do it quite gracefully. Bravo to the designers of this feature!
Takedown was really easy, it took me about 10 minutes by myself to get the tent down and in the bag, I didn’t really have any grips here. The bag was the right size, it’s didn’t feel like I was trying to stuff a mummy sleeping bag into a coke can, you’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever used a backpacking sleeping bag.
I give it a 9/10 in the setup department.
Strength/ Quality for the Sundome
This is the area I was most disappointed in, it was windy but I found that the deck was trying to collapse when it was hit with gusts from the side. I think the strength of the poles is the biggest issue here. My advice is to make sure you stake the hell out of this tent when you set it up, including the guylines on the rainfly. The fabric its self is not very thick and feels like a tree branch might poke a hole in it.
The second area I was disappointed in when it comes to quality was the zippers, they were pretty thin, and that tends to be the area that breaks the most on tents, I will be babying them when we go camping for sure. You know how sometimes you zip up your tent door and the zipper flap fabric gets caught in the zipper? Then you have to cross your fingers that you can get the fabric out of the zipper without destroying the fabric or the zipper itself? LUCKILY, the Sundome doesn’t seem prone to this. The zipper flaps are designed so they don’t naturally fold over in the door opening and hopefully with stay out of your way. I’m hoping this will make up for the quality of the zippers themselves.
I give the quality and durability a 6/10 – Only time will tell on this part, so I will update this after the first trip, then again after the first season.
The features are pretty standard for this price point You get two windows, one in the door and one on the opposite side. There is a storage pouch on each side that is a proper size. A unique feature of the tent is the power port for cables, that luckily has a zipper to keep critters out. I don’t think I’ll ever use that port but if you needed it one time it would be handy. The feature I was most disappointed in was the center of the tent, there was only a tiny little plastic loop to hang a lantern, I would have liked to see a gear loft like what can be found in the Wenzel Pine Ridge. The floor vent was a little strange to me to, it seemed like an easy way to get water in the tent? Maybe it helps reduce condensation by promoting airflow? I’m not really sure.
I give the tent features a 7/10
This is a pretty good entry to mid-level tent, there are definitely cheaper tents out there but I would avoid going any cheaper than this tent. If your looking for something that will last for ever, and be a bit more comfortable I would recommend the NTK Cherokee GT 3/4 for $28 dollars more than the Coleman Sundome, If I were to do it again, that’s what I would have bought.Check out the Sundome