How Long Do Coleman Tents Really Last? (REAL Pictures!)
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Over the past 4 years that I’ve started to get back into camping, I’ve bought 14 different Coleman tents, and used all of them. In this post, I’ll show you everything I’ve learned over the years.
Coleman tents can last at least 5 years if they are well taken care of, and are used lightly. This includes but is not limited to using a footprint while camping, cleaning and drying the Coleman tent after use, and storing it properly when not in use.
What Affects the Lifespan of a Coleman Tent?
There are many factors that affect the lifespan of a Coleman tent, such as the:
- Material of the poles;
- Material of the tent flooring; and
- Material of the tent body and rainfly.
Let’s go through each one in more detail.
Material of Poles
Of the 14 Coleman tents that I have, I’ve found that Coleman tent poles tend to be made out of just 2 materials. They are either made of fiberglass, or made of steel.
The majority of my Coleman tents have tent poles made of fiberglass, especially the smaller Coleman tents, like the Coleman Sundome and Skydome Tents. Here’s what one of my Coleman tent fiberglass poles look like:
A minority of the Coleman tents are made of alloy steel poles, and these tend to be the larger tents, like the Coleman WeatherMaster 10 and the Coleman Instant Cabin 10. I’ve found also that all the Coleman Instant Tents have poles made from alloy steel as well, as these poles need to be strong enough to support the instant mechanism and frame.
Notice that the steel poles are much, much thicker than the fiberglass poles.
Steel is also much stronger than fiberglass poles, and can take more wear and tear. Fiberglass, on the other hand, tends to be more prone to snapping (especially the thinner poles). For example, my Coleman Red Canyon 8 came with really thin rainfly fiberglass poles, and these snapped on me on my first use of the tent.
Of the 14 Coleman tents that I have, 12 of them have flooring made of polyethylene. This is a tarp-like material, and looks something like this:
The last 2 tents, which are my Coleman Pop Up 2 and Coleman Pop Up 4, have flooring made of polyester.
Tent Body Material
The majority of my 14 Coleman tents have tent body and rainfly materials of either 68D polyester or 75D polyester. But I’ve found that my 2 instant tents (which are the Instant Cabin 10 and the Instant Cabin 4) have double-thick fabric, which is 150D polyester.
How Durable are Coleman Tents?
Essentially, Coleman tents are not made of top-of-the-line kind of materials. To keep costs down, less expensive materials like polyethylene, polyester and fiberglass are used in the tent construction. Compared to higher end tents, Coleman tents are less durable.
In contrast, higher end tents (like REI Co-Op tents and The North Face tents) are made of higher quality materials.
Instead of fiberglass poles, aluminum poles are used in the tent construction. Sometimes, these poles are also made of DAC aluminum, which is an extremely high quality and rugged aluminum pole. Compared to fiberglass poles, these aluminum poles are much less prone to snapping.
In addition, instead of polyethylene flooring, the flooring of these higher end tents tends to be made of polyester that is at least 150-denier. This is a thicker (at least twice as thick as Coleman tents!) and higher quality material that tends to be less abrasion-prone.
How Long Have My Coleman Tents Lasted? (REAL Proof!)
Of my 14 Coleman tents, I’ve had my Coleman WeatherMaster 10 and the Coleman Carlsbad 4 the longest, for about 4 years each. I’ve used them both lightly on numerous occasions over the years, and I’ve done my best to dry them and store them properly while not in use.
Here’s the damage that 4 years has done to my tents. For the WeatherMaster 10, while the steel tent body poles are still holding up well, the hinged D-door pole is made of fiberglass and is much thinner, so it started splitting a bit.
But it’s not a serious defect, so I just duct taped it back up and continued to use it fine. But this shows the durability between thicker steel poles and thinner fiberglass poles, with the latter being much less durable.
As for my Coleman Carlsbad 4 Tent, the fiberglass poles aren’t too thin (thankfully), and I don’t camp in really strong winds, so the poles are still holding up well despite being fiberglass. However, the dark room feature will eventually scrape off over time, like so:
Notice that there are long streaks along the tent, and also the fabric isn’t as dark as it originally was. That’s what happens when there’s UV exposure.
Also, the waterproof coating will wear out, so you would have to replenish and spray additional coats every 1 year or so.
But when used lightly in gentle camping conditions, Coleman tents can last for at least 5 years or so. Mine’s 4 years, and counting.
How Much Wind Can a Coleman Tent Take?
Coleman tents are designed to withstand wind speeds of about 35 miles per hour (mph), when they are fully staked out as well as guyed out with all provided guylines.
This is Coleman’s official claim, and you can check this out in this short video here:
Sadly, I wasn’t able to test this myself as I don’t usually camp in strong winds. However, as a general rule, fiberglass poles don’t take as well to strong winds as steel or aluminum poles, and are usually the most vulnerable part of a tent in strong winds. Fiberglass poles can eventually snap in strong winds when bent at an angle.
I was able to test most of my Coleman tents through light wind and breezes (I’m estimating at most 10mph), and they all held up fine. Note that I do use all the stakes to stake down not just the tent body, but also guy out all the guylines too.
If you’re expecting prolonged strong winds and/or inclement weather, I recommend buying a higher end tent rather than a Coleman tent. Using your Coleman tent through prolonged bad weather is one way to shorten the lifespan of your Coleman tent.
Do Coleman Tents Have a Lifetime Warranty?
When assessing the durability of any tent, another factor to look to is the length of the tent’s warranty. Generally, the longer the length of a brand’s warranty, the more durable you can expect it to be.
Unfortunately, Coleman tents do not have a lifetime warranty. Instead, Coleman provides a 1-year limited warranty for all of their products, including their tents.
This information can usually be found on a sheet of white paper that comes with your tent when you purchase it. For all my 14 Coleman tents, I found this 1-year warranty info when unboxing each tent.
In contrast, other brands like Teton Sports and Alps Mountaineering, which are also cost-effective brands like Coleman, provide lifetime warranties. I have the Teton Sports Mountain Ultra Tents, the Teton Sports Vista Quick Tents, and the Alps Mountaineering Lynx tents, and they all provide warranties for the life of the product instead.
How Much do Coleman Tents Cost?
Despite the limited warranty and the limited durability of Coleman tents, their low price is where they truly shine. When it comes to budget friendliness, Coleman tents are one of my best picks.
In fact, I could buy a whopping 14 Coleman tents for around $2,000 (yes, I actually do save up and buy all my tents on my own), for an average price of only about $140 for each Coleman tent. That’s not a lot of money. Here’s how much I roughly paid for each of my Coleman tents (this is an estimate, as I bought these tents a few years ago):
|Coleman Tent||Price I Paid|
|Coleman Instant Cabin 10||~$300|
|Coleman WeatherMaster 10||~$250|
|Coleman Red Canyon 8||~$140|
|Coleman Montana 8||~$150|
|Coleman Elite Sundome 6||~$250|
|Coleman Sundome 6||~$100|
|Coleman Sundome Dark Room 6||~$100|
|Coleman Evanston 6||~$120|
|Coleman Carlsbad 4||~$120|
|Coleman Instant Cabin 4||~$160|
|Coleman Skydome 4||~$80|
|Coleman Pop Up 4||~$80|
|Coleman Pop Up 2||~$60|
|Coleman Sundome 2||~$50|
Notice a few things. Naturally, the larger the capacity of the Coleman tent, the higher the price. Also, the more feature-rich the tent, the higher the price as well. For example, the Elite Sundome 6 costs twice as much as a regular Sundome 6 because of all the added features.
Also, the higher quality the materials used, the higher the price of the tent. Note that the Instant Cabin tents tend to be higher priced than similar capacity Coleman tents because of their higher quality materials (steel poles and double thick fabric).
Overall, I feel that you do get what you pay for, sometimes more. Despite the slightly lower quality materials used in the tent construction, the price of each Coleman tent is certainly attractive. Where else would you be able to get a decent quality 2-person tent for $50? Or a decent quality 8-person tent for just $150? That’s value for money, if you ask me.
How do I Maintain my Coleman Tent?
Maintaining your Coleman tent is the same as all other tents on the market. The general principles are about the same, and I recommend taking note of a few key things.
First, use a footprint to protect the bottom of your Coleman tent. Being made of polyethylene, it certainly isn’t the most abrasion proof, and can puncture fairly easily. In fact, because I didn’t use a footprint for the base of my Coleman Instant Tent 4, and the poles are pre-attached, making clean up more difficult, I actually punctured and made holes at the base of the tent.
Second, wash and dry your tent base after use. Washing the tent base gets rid of all the dirt and moisture, and drying it is especially important. If you keep a tent up while it’s still wet, that could result in the growth of mold, and eventually your tent might become a health hazard.
Third, store your Coleman tent in a place with plenty of ventilation, especially if you’re storing your tent for extended periods of time. This reduces the possibility of mold forming on your tent.
For more info on Coleman tent cleanliness and best maintenance practices, you can check out this blog post here.
Alternatively, to find out which is the best Coleman tent for yourself, you can check out this other post here.