Coleman Skydome Tent V.S. Carlsbad Tent (I Have Both Tents!)
This page contains affiliate links, and that means that I may earn a commission if you buy something, at no extra cost to you. You can find my full disclosure policy here.
I have both the Coleman 4-Person Skydome Tent and the 4-Person Carlsbad Tent, and in this blog post, I’ll go through all the differences between these 2 tents.
While the Carlsbad Tent has a much bigger base area than the Skydome Tent, thanks to the added screen room, this results in a heavier weight, a larger packed size, and a longer set up timing. In contrast, while the Skydome Tent is a little smaller, it has a better door, more storage and better ventilation.
|Characteristics||Skydome Tent (4P)||Carlsbad Tent (4P)|
|Set Up Timing||9.5 minutes||11 minutes|
|Peak Height||59 inches||60 inches|
|Base Area (Tent)||54.2 square feet||58.5 square feet|
|Base Area (Screen Room)||0||27.6 square feet|
|Total Base Area||54.2 square feet||86.1 square feet|
|Door Dimensions||48 by 39 inches||47 by 35 inches|
|Heavy Rain Test||~15 minutes||~30 minutes|
|Weight||10.4 lbs||14.4 lbs|
|Packed Size||25 x 9 x 9 inches||26 x 11.5 x 8 inches|
If you enjoyed this video, do consider subscribing to my YouTube channel:
Check out the Skydome and Carlsbad Tents:
Set Up Timing
For the set-up timing, the Skydome 4-Person Tent took 9.5 minutes to set up, including staking and guying out the entire tent, while the Carlsbad 4-Person Tent took slightly longer, at around 11 minutes.
This is mainly because the Carlsbad Tent comes with one extra pole for setting up the screen room at the front of the tent, and 2 extra stake loops to stake the screen room down.
While the peak height of both tents is about the same, the 4-Person Skydome with a 59-inch peak height and the 4-Person Carlsbad with a 60-inch peak height, one of the selling points of the Skydome Tent is actually the 20% more headroom.
I would say that the Skydome definitely feels a little bit roomier, because these pole clips at the top of the tent pull the tent body upward and outward, but whether it’s actually 20% more headroom, I’m not really sure.
Surprisingly, the length of the Skydome is actually 1 foot less than the Carlsbad. A 4-Person Carlsbad has marketed dimensions of 9 by 7 feet, while a 4-Person Skydome has 8 by 7 feet.
I calculated the base area of the 4-Person Skydome to be 54.2 square feet, while the base area of the Carlsbad Dome tent was slightly bigger, at about 58.5 square feet.
But I could still easily fit 4 regular sleeping pads, or 2 double pads, inside both tents. Notice that because the Carlsbad is slightly bigger, there’s a little bit of space between the 4 sleeping pads, so you could fit slightly wider pads too.
Alternatively, instead of 4 pads, you can fit 1 queen bed in each tent.
The Skydome doesn’t have a screen room, but the 4-Person Carlsbad has 27.6 square feet of screen room space, for a total base area of 86.1 square feet.
The screen room has a width of about 3 feet and 10 inches, the longest length is about 8 feet and 8 inches, and the shortest length at the front is about 5 feet and 9 inches. And the peak height in the screen room is just 54 inches.
The door of the Skydome is slightly bigger, measuring 4 feet in length, and 39 inches in width. It also comes with a door pocket by the side, so that you can stuff the fabric in there when the door is opened.
On the other hand, the door of the Carlsbad tent is slightly smaller, measuring about 47 inches in length, and about 35 inches in width. Instead of a door pocket, the Carlsbad door comes with 2 door latches by the side to tie the door fabric up, which takes more time to do.
And also, the Carlsbad screen room comes with another door, which spans almost the entire length of the screen room, and there are also 2 door latches, 1 on either side of the door.
I bought the Skydome Tent in a non-dark room version, though you can buy it with the dark room feature, while the Carlsbad comes only in a dark room version. Just take note that sometimes, the dark room feature can be defective.
In my Carlsbad tent, the dark room isn’t as dark as I expected it to be, because Coleman used a different fabric for the bottom of the tent. It should be as dark as these windows, but they’re not.
Both my Carlsbad and Skydome Tents come with 2 pockets each. But, the Skydome comes with an additional gear loft, which my Carlsbad doesn’t have.
On the other hand, my Carlsbad has 2 lantern loops, 1 inside the tent and the other outside the tent, while my Skydome Tent has only 1 lantern loop inside the tent.
And the Carlsbad Tent has an e-port, while the Skydome Tent doesn’t.
Mesh Walls and Windows
My Skydome tent comes with 3 mesh walls and 1 window, which look like this when the rainfly is off.
On the other hand, my Carlsbad tent comes with 1 mesh wall and 3 windows instead.
There are pros and cons to having either mesh walls or windows.
The pros of the mesh walls is that they provide more ventilation than windows when the rainfly is off, and when the rainfly is on, you get these awesome mesh wall vents.
But the cons of these mesh walls is that you can’t look out when the rainfly is on, and there’s no way to zip up or close up these mesh walls except to slacken the guyline from the outside.
And for the windows, while the window mesh is much smaller than the mesh of the mesh wall, so less overall ventilation, I like that I can look out through the windows when the rainfly is on, and that I have the option of zipping it open and close too.
For my heavy rain test, the rainfly of my Carlsbad Tent covers about one-third of the entire tent body, which is a pretty decent length.
As such, the leaking started only after 30 minutes through this inverted but un-taped bathtub flooring seam.
As for my Skydome Tent, while it has a really long rainfly length at 3 sides of the tent, the front of the Skydome Tent has a really short rainfly length.
So naturally, this wall was the first to leak after 15 minutes, again through the un-taped bathtub flooring seam.
With a little seam sealant though, both the Skydome and Carlsbad Tents should be able to last at least a couple hours of heavy rain.
My 4-Person Skydome Tent weighs 10.4 pounds, while the 4-Person Carlsbad weighs 14.4 pounds, or exactly 4 pounds more, because of the extra screen room.
Unsurprisingly, the 4-Person Carlsbad (26 x 11.5 x 8 inches) also has a 20% bigger packed size than the 4-Person Skydome (25 x 9 x 9 inches), because of this screen room as well. In fact, the 4-Person Carlsbad is almost the same size as a 6-Person Sundome Tent.
I think both the Carlsbad and the Skydome Tents have a ton of pros, and of course, some cons.
Let’s start with the Carlsbad. This tent has a slightly bigger base area in the dome tent itself, not including the screen room. When you include the square footage of the screen room, the base area of the Carlsbad is actually 60% bigger than the Skydome, which is super generous.
I also really like that the Carlsbad could withstand more heavy rain than the Skydome before leaking.
But just bear in mind that the screen room has no rain protection at all. There’s no rainfly over the screen room, so you’d need to get an extra tarp if you expect rain. And the cleanup is a bit of a pain, even though it comes with a mesh drainage for draining water.
And of course, because of the extra screen room, it’ll take you slightly longer to set up the Carlsbad than the Skydome, it’ll weigh more than the Skydome, and the packed size is also bigger.
As for the Skydome, there’s definitely a little more headroom inside the tent, I really love the super user-friendly door pocket, the storage options are better than your average Coleman tent, and ventilation is also much better than your average Coleman tent.
But of course, the base area is slightly smaller, it doesn’t have a screen room, it doesn’t have an e-port, and I do highly recommend seam sealing the bathtub flooring seam.
Bonus: Must Read!
Before you buy anything, I highly recommend that you read this blog post where I compare not just the Skydome Tent, but also the Carlsbad Tent, against more than 10 other Coleman tents.
Or, check out the Skydome and Carlsbad Tents: