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Rating and Summary
The Coleman Dark Room Sundome Tent is one of my favorite Coleman tents. Not only is it incredibly inexpensive, it also performed very well in all the 7 tests that I threw at it (ease of use, spaciousness, comfort & features, ventilation, rain protection, quality and portability).
And that’s not all. I felt like my Dark Room Sundome Tent had hardly any flaws at all. Do read on to find out loads more about this tent!
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In this section, we’ll cover the following:
- In the Box
I bought this Coleman Dark Room Sundome Tent from Amazon. Here’s what the packaging looks like when it first arrived:
And here’s what it looks like when I’m unboxing it:
In the Box
Out of the box, I got a carry bag, 3 poles in a carry case, 13 stakes in another carry case, a foot mat, and of course, the green rainfly and tent body.
Here’s all the data (including my personal measurements) that I gathered on this Coleman Sundome Dark Room Tent. Bear in mind that this is a 6-Person tent:
- Peak height: 73 inches
- Length: 9 feet 9 inches
- Width: 9 feet 9 inches
- Base Area: 95.1 square feet
- Floor material: Polyethylene
- Bathtub flooring: Yes, ~7.5 inches
- Tent body material: Polyester
- Rainfly material: Polyester
- Poles material: Fiberglass
- Number of poles: 3
- Mesh: Regular
- Packed size: 26 by 12 by 9 inches
- Weight: 16.4 lbs
- Number of guylines: 6
- Number of stakes: 13
- Number of doors: 1
- Hinged door: No
- Number of windows: 2
- Number of vents: 2
- Number of pockets: 2
- Number of lantern loops: 1
- E-port: Yes, 1
- Black-out: Yes
I also did some testing on my own, and came up with this data:
- Set up timing (1 person): 11.5 minutes
- Take down timing (1 person): 10 minutes
- Number of single sleeping pads: 6
- Number of queen-sized mattresses: 2
7 Tests and Performance
I put my Coleman Sundome Dark Room Tent through these 7 different tests:
- Ease of use: Set up, take down
- Spaciousness: Height, base area, mattress sizing
- Comfort and features: Door, windows, storage, blackout/dark room feature
- Ventilation: Hot day ventilation, rainy day ventilation
- Weather protection: Light rain test, heavy rain test
- Quality: Material, mesh, seams, stitching, zippers, poles
- Portability: Weight and packed size
Set Up (Test 1A)
To set up this Coleman Sundome Dark Room Tent, first grab the 2 longest fiberglass poles, which are the 2 poles to the left in this picture below:
Altogether, there are only 3 poles for the entire Sundome Dark Room Tent. The last pole on the right is for the rainfly.
Then, insert these 2 poles into the 2 green pole sleeves at the center of the tent.
This will form an X shape across the tent, which looks like this.
Then, prop one of the poles up first, by securing both ends of the pole into the pins, 1 at each corner of the tent. When you’re done with the first pole, your tent should look something like this:
Do the exact same thing with the other pole, like so:
Then, adjust the pole sleeves until the tent looks more centered, like so:
After that, attach all the 8 pole clips around the tent body, 2 pole clips on each side of each pole. In the picture below, you can see 2 pole clips:
Next, grab the last fiberglass pole, which has black tips at both ends of the pole.
This is to be inserted right down the center of the rainfly, like so:
This rainfly pole is to be secured with not just Velcro attachments, but also these small pockets at each end of the pole:
Then, drape the rainfly over the tent, and I find that it’s easiest to do so by grabbing the rainfly pole. Position the rainfly pole with one end over the door at the front of the tent, like so:
Secure the rainfly to the tent using these 4 S-hooks of the rainfly to the 4 rings at the corners of the tent.
There are also Velcro attachments along each pole to better align the rainfly, and I usually use only 1 for each corner, even though there are 8 attachments altogether around the entire tent:
After that, stake the tent down with 4 stakes at the 4 corners, and also 1 more stake under the door, so 5 stakes in total.
Also, guy out the entire Coleman Sundome Dark Room tent with the 6 pre-attached guylines, 3 at each end of the tent.
When I set up this Coleman Sundome 6-Person Dark Room Tent on my own, it took me about 11.5 minutes for the entire set up.
Take Down (Test 1B)
Taking down the Sundome 6-Person Dark Room Tent is just the opposite of the set-up, and it took me about 10 minutes for the entire take down and pack up.
For more details on the set up, take down, and pack up, as well as tips on how I set this up on my own (I’m 5’3”), I’ve uploaded this video to my YouTube channel, and you can watch it right here:
Height (Test 2A)
The peak height in this Coleman Sundome 6-Person Dark Room Tent is about 73 inches, and I can stand upright here no problem:
In fact, even when standing upright, I still had plenty of headroom left. But just bear in mind I’m not very tall, just 5’3″/160cm.
I’m also able to stand upright on thick air mattresses, still with headroom leftover.
But this is a dome-shaped tent, so the peak height is only at the center. When I take 3 tiny steps back, my head would touch the top of the tent, right here.
The rest of the tent slopes downwards too. So basically, you don’t get the peak height throughout the tent.
Base Area (Test 2B)
The length inside this Coleman Sundome 6-Person Dark Room Tent is about 9 feet and 9 inches, and the width is also 9 feet and 9 inches, so each about 3 inches smaller than the marketed dimensions of 10 by 10 feet.
Mattress Sizing (Test 2C)
But despite the smaller than marketed dimensions, I could still easily fit 6 regular sleeping pads inside the tent, and here’s what having 6 pads looks like.
You do have to sleep shoulder to shoulder, but there’s still a small space leftover to fit a little bit of camping gear.
I think having 4 people on 2 queen-sized camping mattresses would be a much more comfortable fit than 6 people on 6 pads, and here’s what the Coleman Dark Room Sundome 6-Person Tent looks like with these 2 queen beds.
There’s also quite a bit of leftover room for storing gear, at the head of each queen bed, which is always very nice to have.
One of my mattresses is actually slightly smaller than a Queen, which is why it fit nicely into the Sundome 6-Person tent. Otherwise, the length of the tent is actually a few inches shy of being able to fit 2 Queen beds.
With these 2 almost-queen beds, the fitting is already quite tight.
Windows (Test 3A)
There are 2 windows in this Coleman Sundome 6-Person Dark Room Tent, 1 on each length of the tent.
Each window has 2 white zippers, a bug net to prevent larger bugs from getting in, and also a window latch to hold the fabric when the window is open.
The window at the back of the tent measures about 43 inches in length, 24 inches in width, and it also has 3 more latches at the top of the window.
I’m not super sure what it’s for, but I think it’s for having more ventilation while keeping your privacy at the same time.
The window at the front measures about 41 inches in length, 26 inches in width, and it’s part of the single door at the front length of this Dark Room Sundome tent.
Door (Test 3B)
The door measures about 54 inches in length, and 41 inches in width, so it’s about twice my size.
It also measures about 56 inches from the ground to the top of the door, and I’m about 5’3″, so I had to duck when getting in and out of the tent through this door.
This door comes with 2 latches by the side to tie door fabric up to keep it open, and it also comes with 2 black zippers to zip it open and shut.
Storage (Test 3C)
For storage, this Sundome 6-Person Dark Room Tent has 2 pockets inside the tent, each measuring about 9 by 7 inches.
Apart from the 1 lantern loop at the very top of the tent for some lighting in the day and also at night, there are no other loops for other storage (like gear lofts).
There’s also 1 e-port at the bottom of the tent with a zippered closure.
Blackout Feature (Test 3D)
This Sundome 6-Person Tent comes with Coleman’s dark room technology, which is one of my favorite features. Let me show you why.
First Dark Room Test
First, this is what the Dark Room Sundome Tent looks like when the windows and door are open:
And this is what the tent looks like with the windows and door closed. It’s a lot darker.
Maybe it’s not as dark as you think it should be, because I have the rainfly fully guyed out, and there are 2 large vents here by the sides, which lets in a lot of light.
But compare this Dark Room Tent to a regular Coleman Sundome Tent without the dark room technology. There’s no comparison.
Second Dark Room Test
Second, I switched on a 250-lumen lantern inside the Dark Room Sundome Tent, and opened the door and the windows.
From this picture below, you can see that the only light seeping out is from the window, the door, and the vents. In fact, the dark room fabric itself doesn’t let any light seep out.
Compare this again to a regular Sundome Tent (with no blackout feature). It’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?
Third Dark Room Test
Third, let me show you the inside of the Dark Room Sundome Tent at night without the lantern. It is practically pitch black, and amazing for sleeping.
Light Rain Test (Test 4A)
I put this Coleman Sundome 6-Person Dark Room Tent through some light rain, and it held up really well, with no leaks at all after the rain stopped 30 minutes later.
The bathtub flooring seam was dry, the flooring was dry, and all the fabric inside the tent were dry.
Heavy Rain Test (Test 4B)
I also rain tested this Coleman Sundome Dark Room Tent using this water hose for heavy rain, and this is what my heavy rain test looked like.
At the 30-minute mark, when I stopped to check in on the tent, I noticed that the bathtub flooring seam was starting to feel very slightly damp.
If you look carefully, you can see leakage through the seam right here. Also, my fingers were slightly damp from touching the seam. But, there were no leaks into the tent yet.
So, I continued the rain test for an additional 5 minutes, and this was when I noticed the first few drops of water into the tent, which looked like this.
So, essentially, the Coleman Sundome Dark Room Tent can last 35 minutes under heavy rain, without any additional waterproofing on my part.
All the flooring and fabric inside the tent were still completely dry though, even though they were put through quite a bit of heavy rain, especially the bottommost fabric as well as the flooring.
For more details on this rain test, check out my very own rain test video here:
Ventilation (Test 5)
I also wanted to test for ventilation, and here’s what I found.
Light Rain Ventilation
During my light rain test, I was able to leave my windows completely open, and no water got inside the tent at all.
Heavy Rain Ventilation
And during my heavy rain test, the rainfly and the little window awning protected my window quite well. Most of the heavy rain was dripping to the sides, and not only the mesh of the window. After my 35-minute heavy rain test, I found that the window mesh was still completely dry.
But, this test happened in my yard, and there’s not a whole lot of wind. So, if there’s lots of wind, it might blow the rain into the window, and you’d have to close the mesh.
Mesh Wall Vents
Also, apart from the windows, there are also 2 vents in this Coleman Sundome Dark Room Tent, spanning the entire length of the tent.
These 2 vents are fully protected by the rainfly, and didn’t let any water in during the light rain or heavy rain test. So, rainy day ventilation is pretty good.
Hot Day Ventilation
On a hot day, you can take the rainfly off from the outside for even more ventilation, because instead of 2 vents, you now get 2 mesh walls.
However, bear in mind these 2 things:
- These mesh walls can’t be zipped up. As such, in colder weather, it may become quite cold and drafty.
- There won’t be as much privacy when the rainfly is off, and others can see right into your tent from the mesh walls.
Quality (Test 6)
The flooring of this Coleman Sundome 6-Person Dark Room Tent is made of polyethylene, and the bathtub features extends up to about 7.5 inches, which is useful in light flooding.
Even after 35 minutes of pouring rain, no water seeped through the flooring itself.
Tent Body Material
Both the tent body and rainfly are made of polyester, and they both stayed completely dry after 35 minutes of pouring rain as well.
All the seams inside the tent have not been factory taped, but those with less rainfly protection have been inverted, like this tent body to bathtub flooring seam:
Other seams inside the Coleman Sundome Dark Room Tent that have been inverted are:
- The vertical seams, and
- Some of the middle seams.
Seams with more rainfly protection (like those under the rainfly) have not been inverted, like the window seams:
All the seams on the rainfly have been taped though.
The seams are pretty good quality, double-stitched, and consistent. There weren’t any loose threads, but I did notice that some holes in the seams are a little larger than others.
But I think it’s more obvious in this Dark Room Sundome Tent, because you can actually see more light coming through the holes of the stitching.
The mesh is just regular mesh, not no-see-um mesh, and it’s decent quality.
The zippers are also decent quality, and all of them are catch-free. I didn’t have snagging issues on the windows, and the doors didn’t snag as well.
However, just bear in mind that the design of the door’s rain cover sometimes gets in the way, whether I’m zipping the door up from the inside or the outside. So, I just try to hold the rain cover away when zipping it up, and it won’t snag at all.
All the poles are made of fiberglass and are green in color, the pole sleeves are short and snag free, and I had no issues putting up this entire tent on my own.
Portability (Test 7)
For the portability test, I looked at:
- Packed size;
- Weight; and
- Ease of carry.
This Coleman Sundome 6-Person Dark Room Tent has a packed size of 26 by 12 by 9 inches, and here’s what it looks like beside a Coleman 2-Person Sundome Tent and a 32-ounce Nalgene bottle.
The Coleman Sundome 6-Person Dark Room Tent weighs about 16.4 lbs for everything, including all stakes, guylines and instructions.
Ease of Carry
The carry bag of the Coleman Sundome Dark Room Tent comes with a small red handle at the top of the carry bag, but I found that it’s too small to sling over my shoulder.
Pros and Cons
There are so many pros to this Coleman Sundome Dark Room Tent, but I think the biggest one is, of course, the dark room or blackout feature.
Not only is this Dark Room Tent a lot darker at night and in the day, as I showed you just now, it’s also a lot cooler inside the tent, especially during the day. I was burning up in my other Coleman tents, but not in this Dark Room Sundome Tent.
Another pro is that this Sundome Dark Room Tent is really inexpensive. I paid barely over a hundred bucks for mine.
Tip: Sometimes, this Dark Room Sundome Tent is even less expensive than the Sundome Tent without the Dark Room tech! Check them both out here:
I also really liked the 6-foot peak height, with plenty of headroom. I’m able to stretch my arms out, walk around the tent freely, stand up on my pads and mattresses, and basically just got a lot of livable space.
Setting up this 6-Person Sundome Dark Room Tent was also really easy even though I’m not tall. The take down and pack up was easy as well, and I didn’t even have to rip this strip at the bottom of the bag off to expand the bag.
On top of that, this Dark Room Tent also has a decent amount of ventilation and rain protection.
As for cons, I was struggling to come up with them, but I guess I do wish that they taped this seam instead of making it inverted, so it’ll last longer under heavy rain, but it’s a pretty easy fix with some sealant.
Also, for a 6-person tent, there aren’t a lot of storage options, with just 2 pockets and 1 lantern loop.
But overall, the pros clearly outweigh the cons, and honestly this is one of my favorite Coleman tents. Even though I didn’t pay much for this tent, it’s still going strong after quite a few campouts.
In my opinion, this Coleman Sundome Dark Room Tent is one of the best budget tents out there, and it’s also great for camping on hot summer days.
Bonus: Must Read!
But wait, before you buy anything, I compared this Coleman Sundome Dark Room Tent against 13 other Coleman tents in this blog post, so I recommend that you check it out: I Tested the 14 Best Coleman Tents!
Or, check out the Coleman Sundome Dark Room Tent: