Updated June 2022
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Buying guide for best coleman tents

It’s rare to find a camper at any skill level who did not start out using a Coleman tent. As one of the biggest manufacturers of camping tents in the U.S., its products can be found in many retail outlets.

Coleman tents stay competitive by offering lots of features, relatively sturdy construction techniques, and thoughtful touches that fall in line with the most common uses for a tent based on its size. In fact, the choice of tents available can be a bit dizzying: for example, a camper looking for a two- to four-person tent has about 14 options to choose from, while a small family looking for a six-person tent has up to 12 options.

Which Coleman tent is the best for your needs? Read our buying guide to learn the different sizes and types available and which perform best in specific conditions. We also go in depth on our top choices, so you get a look at Coleman tents from every angle.

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For greater comfort, opt for a tent sized for more people than you’ll be camping with. Choose a two-person tent if camping solo, a three-person if camping as a couple, and so on.

Key considerations

Tent type

Coleman tents come in two main types: dome and cabin. Dome tents are tallest in the center and have sloping sides that are good for windy conditions. Cabin tents have nearly vertical sides to maximize livable space. A subtype within cabin tents is the pop-up tent, which sets up almost instantly.

Tent size

Listed most often as “capacity,” tent sizes are based on the number of people who can sleep side-by-side in the tent, from one person to 10 people or more.

Floor length

As important as the tent’s capacity are its floor dimensions. A tall camper will be much more comfortable in a tent with a floor length of at least 90 inches, and backpackers appreciate additional floor space so they can store their gear inside with them.


Tents are labeled as either three-season (spring, summer, fall) or four-season (including winter). A three-season tent is an economical choice for recreational campers which will likely meet their needs.

Fabric type

The nylon fabrics used in Coleman tents have different denier ratings. A fabric with a higher denier is more rugged but also costs more.


The freedom to sit or stand comfortably in a tent can make a big difference in how a camping weekend goes.


Tent poles

Made of fiberglass or aluminum, tent poles support the overall structure of the tent. Dome tent poles are especially flexible, while larger cabin tents may use inflexible, sturdy poles.


While Coleman tents are all freestanding, they should be anchored to the ground using the metal stakes included, which are placed through grommet-reinforced holes on each corner of the tent.

Guy lines

Guy lines are pre-attached to the tent fly in most Coleman models. When extended out taut and staked to the ground, guy lines create space between the rainfly and tent to permit better airflow.


Tents have one, two, and sometimes more doors leading in and out. Big cabin tents may even have room dividers that have doors in them.

"Sweep out your tent frequently while in camp. This will reduce wear and tear on the tent floor."


With a mesh screen and a water-resistant closure, windows are a feature of many Coleman tents and can be opened or closed to increase comfort.


How much protection from the elements do you need? A small tent-top fly keeps drizzle and dew out of the tent while allowing plenty of airflow. A full-coverage fly offers maximum protection from the elements while maintaining airflow across the tent wall.


A vestibule is an extension of the tent that provides an extra area to store gear or lounge. This may be built into certain tents or may simply be an extension of the rainfly.


Vents are openings in the tent fabric — usually with a mesh screen to keep out bugs — that promote airflow through the tent.


Coleman tents are noted for extra elements included, such as “tub”-style floors, window flap tie-backs, lantern loops, gear pockets, and gear lofts. These can be useful or may add weight to a backpacker’s load-out.

Coleman tent prices

Coleman’s two-, three-, and four-person tents are popular and priced for casual campers, retailing for $39 to $109. Cabin tents and tents with special features like porches and vestibules show up in its mid-range selection, with products priced from $129 to $209. Larger families can find tents for six to 10 people priced from $229 to $349.


  • Set up a new tent before your camping trip to get familiar with it, check for damage, and make sure it’s the right size for your needs.
  • At the campsite, clear away loose debris, rocks, and limbs from the spot where you’ll set up your tent.
  • Choose flat, even ground to set up the tent, ideally at a spot slightly higher than the surrounding area so that water doesn’t pool around the tent in a rainstorm.
  • On arriving at a campsite, set up the tent first. It provides shelter from sun and rain, as well as a place for kids to play while you prepare the rest of the camp.
  • Shake off dew and rainwater from your tent before packing it up and sweep away dirt from the bottom as you roll it up.
  • As soon as you get home, dry your tent by laying it flat in a part of the yard or garage out of direct sunlight. Once it’s completely dry, check for damage, then re-roll and store it.
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Proper airflow is key to staying comfortable inside your tent and preventing mildew. Keep the windows and doors open (with the screens zipped up to prevent bugs) during the day.


Q. I rolled up my tent and stored it without drying it completely, and now it smells like mildew. Can I get rid of that smell?
Don’t feel bad: mildew happens to the best of us, especially after a multi-day camping trip when you have to go straight back to work after getting home. Tackle it as soon as you can. On a dry day, set up the tent outside and spread the rain fly out on the grass. Fill a bucket with warm (not hot) water and mild dish soap. (You can also use a pricier “tech wash” detergent that is formulated for camping gear.) Use a soft sponge to wash the tent inside and out. Wash the fly on both sides as well. Rinse with cold water and let the tent and fly dry completely before storing.


Q. How do I get my Coleman tent to fit neatly in its storage bag? I can’t even zip it up now.
Ah, the old “cram and scram,” which happens when you’re trying to clear a campsite in a hurry. The trick with breaking down and rolling Coleman dome tents is to remove the tent poles and spread out the flattened tent. Fold up the collapsible tent poles and set them at the bottom of the spread-out tent near the middle. Next, fold in each side of the tent until its width matches the length of the folded-up tent poles. Place the poles (in their storage bag) atop the folded tent and roll up the tent so the poles are in the center. If it’s neatly rolled, the tent should fit the bag just right.


Q. On a recent camping trip it rained, so I put the tent’s rain fly against the tent to keep it extra dry. Water dripped down the tent interior all night. Should I return the tent?
The tent is probably fine, you just set up the rain fly incorrectly. Airflow is key to keeping a tent dry, even in driving rain and snow. When you set up a rain fly, use the guy lines to pull the fly away from the tent walls. This creates an air space between the fly and the tent, and that space stops condensation from forming on the tent walls. During heavy rain, you may have a little condensation even in a perfectly set up tent, but the tent floor shouldn’t be soaked. Setting up an extra tarp above your tent can help keep things dry by preventing rain from hitting the fly directly and giving you the option of opening more air vents or windows (away from the wind).

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