The Coleman Sundome 4-Person tent is a classic tent and one of the best tents on the market for campers who are new to the hobby and need a solid tent made to last.
- Where to buy: Amazon
- Best for: Car campers, Beginning campers, weekend trips
- Pros: This tent is fast to set up and tear down with pretty good waterproofing to keep you dry in surprise showers and against the morning dew.
- Cons: Almost exclusively a warm-weather camping tent, the Coleman Sundome won’t withstand high winds or heavy storms.
- Alternatives: Core 4-Person straight wall cabin tent, Alps Mountaineering Taurus 4-Person Tent, Coleman Cabin Tent with instant set-up
The best part of the Coleman Sundome 4-Person tent is its well-built simplicity. It is a great tent for those just getting into camping because it has exactly what you need and little else to get in the way or add complications to your camping trip. This tent is affordable but created with the needs of summer-campers in mind. Many great camping excursions will begin in this tent and with care, it will last for many years.
The tent footprint measures 9×7 feet and stands at just under 5’ in the middle, allowing children to stand and adults a little more headroom when getting dressed etc. Weighing in at a little over 9 pounds, it’s not a good candidate for backpackers. But it will be a great choice for packing into your car or on a motorcycle. In a trunk, the Sundome 4-Person tent is light and packs up quite small so it won’t take up too much space.
When you factor in the fact that everyone will also have gear with them, this is going to also take up space in the tent. At four adults inside, you’ll all be snuggly cuddled together with one person generally laying across the bottom horizontally and three vertically. For maximum comfort, I would recommend no more than 3 people. For two, this is an excellent investment in a roomy tent that can even fit a queen size air-mattress (albeit without much additional room to spare).
This tent does come equipped with the Coleman Weathertec system. You can expect welded corners and internally stitched seams to help keep water out so you, and your stuff, stays dry. The frame is rated to withstand winds with gusts up to 35 mph+, however in practical use, many find that high winds and big storms do pose a bit of a challenge to this small and mighty tent.
For a surprise downpour, expect to stay pretty dry, but it’s not the tent to bring if you’re expecting an entire weekend of terrible weather. The floors are waterproof and the zippers are also enclosed in a cuff made of weatherproof fabric to add additional protection around the door.
There’s an included rainfly that you’ll need to attach for inclement weather, but also for privacy due to the giant mesh windows. Because of the included ground vents, you’ll stay cool and comfortable throughout the night for summer camping.
For a basic tent, the Coleman Sundome 4-person tent is extremely well built and loaded with just the right features for the weekend car-camper. There are two storage pockets sewn into the tent walls to help you store small essentials such as your phone and glasses within easy reach while you sleep. A hook on the ceiling of the tent lets you suspend a lantern to see after dark.
If you need power and are at a campsite that allows it, the E-Port is a safe way to run an extension cord for easy access inside of the tent. The setup is a conventional tent set-up and takes between 10-20 minutes, though potentially a little longer if you’re setting it up by yourself. Made of polyester taffeta, this tent is light, resistant to tears, and comes in green and navy.
Price and Value
The Coleman Sundome 4-person tent is a great value at a low price point. For the price, it is wonderful that you don’t have to choose between space, water resistance, ventilation, or stability and can get all of these key features in one package. For someone not looking to spend a lot of money on a fancier tent with more features, I would highly recommend the Sundome 4-person tent as a wise investment that will last for years. It is a quality, respected, brand-name tent for sometimes less than its imitators.
What I like
This is a perfect starter tent for 1-3 people to get into the world of camping. It is straightforward to set-up, even if you’ve never put up a tent before. I love the lightweight construction of this tent. The breeze through the giant mesh windows is a perfect respite in the summertime compared to heavier tents or full-sided tents. I also love the welded corners that keep water out and bring the seams off of the ground—details you wouldn’t find in many of the more generic dome tents out there. With room to move around and an almost 5’ center, the Sundome 4-person tent is roomy for fewer than four adults. I find it’s just as easy to fold back into the included carrying case as it is to get it up.
What I dislike
There is not much to dislike about this tent. While many other Coleman tents offer a faster set-up or perhaps Dark Room technology to keep the light of the sun out, all of those bells and whistles may not be necessary for someone just starting out on their camping journey and looking for a reliable and inexpensive entry. The large mesh windows of this tent do not offer much privacy if you are not attaching the rainfly and also make this tent suitable for warmer weather camping only. Lastly, while I have never had any issues with the tent poles snapping, some users have experienced tent failure in high wind, heavy rain situations.
Here are three great alternatives to the Coleman Sundome that all offer a few different features and most notably different shapes to fit your needs.
- Core 4-person straight wall cabin tent – It is a great alternative tent choice due to the whopping 74” standing height inside. Dome tents offer a lot of roominess compared to your standard style backpacking tent, however this one will give you all of that room and more while still offering excellent protection from the elements.
- Alps Mountaineering Taurus 4-Person Tent – This tent is a little pricier than the Coleman Sundome, it does offer a full coverage rainfly for better protection against the rain. The full coverage rainfly also acts as a vestibule for your gear and boots on non-rainy days, allowing you to fit closer to four whole adults in this tent with all of the stuff out of the way.
- Coleman Cabin Tent with instant setup – This sturdy tent is a little squarer than the Sundome but offers an impressive setup time of as little as one minute. Unfortunately, this pole system will take up a bit more room put away than the Sundome if space is a premium.
What’s in the bag?
The 4-person Sundome tent comes with everything you need to go straight from the box to the campground. The tent, stakes, and the rainfly are all included. It is suggested to add an additional tarp (sold separately) underneath the tent for extra wetness protection.
Can 1 person set it up alone?
Absolutely! Once you’ve learned how the tent goes up, it can definitely be set up by only one person. Allow yourself extra time to set up if you are doing it alone.
Is it rain, wind, and mosquito proof?
Yes and no. In up to moderate wind and rain, the Coleman Sundome 4-Person Tent with rainfly secured does a great job of offering protection. It is not designed, however, to handle strong storms and you may notice that some rain or wetness can blow in. Though it comes with the seams sealed at purchase, it may be advisable to add another layer of seam sealer to best combat the elements. The mesh holes in the windows and door are small enough to keep out all but the tiniest insects when it is fully zipped up.
The Coleman Sundome 4-Person Tent is a perfect choice for a newer camper, a car camper, or someone hoping to just escape for a few weekends during the best parts of camping season. It’s uncomplicated and affordable, a high quality basic tent to keep the bugs out and your heat in overnight. There are no frills, no extra pieces to potentially break down, but that also makes this tent compact when folded and easy to throw in the trunk of your car or behind your motorcycle.
When treated well, this tent should last a very long time. The Sundome has been known to make people fall in love with camping—a love that may eventually dictate a need for new gear with more bells and whistles. Even then, this tent is worth adding to and staying in your collection.