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Coleman is one of the most popular brands in the camping world, with Coleman tents being used widely by campers of all ages and experience levels.
If you’re here buying your first Coleman tent, one of the most important factors you might want to consider is the materials that your tent is made of. So, what are Coleman tents made of, and how does it stack up against the competition?
Coleman tents are made mainly from cost-effective yet durable materials, such as polyester for the tent body and rainfly, polyethylene for the flooring, and fiberglass for the tent poles. These materials are not top-of-the-line materials, which helps to keep the cost of Coleman tents down.
- Are Coleman Tents Made from Nylon or Polyester?
- What Flooring Material Do Coleman Tents Have?
- Do Coleman Tents Have Bathtub Flooring?
- What Are Coleman Tent Poles Made Of?
- What Type of Mesh Do Coleman Tents Have?
- What Brand of Zippers Do Coleman Tents Have?
- Do Coleman Tents Have Flame Retardants?
Are Coleman Tents Made from Nylon or Polyester?
Coleman tents are usually made from polyester, not nylon. As a general rule, most Coleman tents have tent bodies made from 68D polyester, while the rainfly is usually made of a slightly thicker polyester, which is 75D polyester.
The rainfly is usually made to be thicker, as it is exposed to the most UV rays under the hot sun, and tend to degrade more quickly.
Also, polyester is usually used in the construction of Coleman tents, because it is one of the most budget-friendly materials. Of the 14 Coleman tents that I have, all of them have tent bodies made of polyester, not nylon, as nylon tends to be a more expensive material.
However, I’ve noticed that the Coleman Instant Tents are made of a material that is twice as thick, which is 150D polyester. Coleman calls this their “double-thick fabric”. I suspect that the fabric of Coleman’s Instant Tents need to be twice as thick to support the weight and tension from the pre-attached poles.
Above, I gave you 2 pictures of 2 different Coleman tents. The first is a close-up shot of the 68D tent fabric used to make the Coleman Skydome 4. Notice there’s a slightly translucency, and you can make out my fingers behind the fabric.
The second is the picture right above, which is a close-up shot of the 150D tent fabric used to make the Coleman Instant Tent 4. Notice there isn’t the same translucency, and the fabric feels thicker to the touch.
In contrast, higher end tents might be made of nylon, or even canvas, the latter being one of the most durable tent fabrics available. However, these higher-end tents will be much more expensive.
What Flooring Material Do Coleman Tents Have?
The flooring of most Coleman tents are made of 1000D polyethylene. While the high Denier rating might sound impressive, polyethylene itself is actually a very inexpensive low-cost material. This is what it looks like:
You might find this material familiar if you have tarps at home, because it’s the same material.
One exception I’ve found are the Coleman Pop Up Tents. While Coleman did not mention the material used, I’ve realized that it doesn’t resemble polyethylene, and seems to be more like 75D polyester. It’s smooth, yet not very thick, and I could see the grass through the translucent fabric. Here’s what it looks like:
In contrast, higher end tents tend to have floorings made of 150D polyester, which is sometimes crunch-free and definitely higher quality than polyethylene.
Do Coleman Tents Have Bathtub Flooring?
A tent’s bathtub flooring is a feature where the flooring extends up the sides of the tent, creating a shallow bathtub effect. This gives you a continuous fabric all around the flooring, instead of having seams that are parallel to the ground, which may leak even in minor flooding.
Most Coleman tents have bathtub flooring ranging from about 4 inches to about 10 inches.
I’m not sure what’s the rationale behind the differing bathtub features, but I just wrote it off as minor manufacturing differences.
Here’s what the bathtub flooring looks like from the inside of the tent, notice how the top of the flooring is extended off the ground by a few inches:
And here’s what the bathtub flooring looks like from the outside of the tent:
This is a 4-inch bathtub flooring of the Coleman Instant Tent 4. Notice that even if there’s like an inch or two of water flooring your tent, the seam is elevated above the water line, and wouldn’t let water into the tent. That’s how this bathtub flooring functions.
The Coleman Pop Up Tents, however, do not have this bathtub feature. I’m not entirely sure why, but I suspect it has something to do with how the tent is folded, and this bathtub feature might get in the way of the folding.
What Are Coleman Tent Poles Made Of?
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, and are thus higher quality.
In contrast, higher-end tents tend to have tent poles made of aluminum. And the really high-end tents are not just made of aluminum, but DAC aluminum, which is an extremely high quality and rugged aluminum pole that snaps together easily. These are the DAC aluminum tent poles that I received with my The North Face Wawona 6 tent, which also cost me a pretty penny:
What Type of Mesh Do Coleman Tents Have?
Coleman tents are usually summer tents, and tend to be made with a fair amount of mesh walls and window mesh. When running my hand over the mesh, I noticed that it didn’t feel very smooth and soft, and the holes of the mesh aren’t particularly small, so it’s definitely not no-see-um mesh.
Here’s what the mesh in all my Coleman tents look like:
While camping in my Coleman tents, I don’t think I was ever ravaged by mosquitoes, and I didn’t find too many bugs in my tent (apart from the ones that I accidentally let in through my door), so I think this mesh works well to keep out most bugs, like mosquitoes.
In contrast, I’ve noticed that higher-end tents tend to use no-see-um mesh or micro mesh instead of just regular mosquito netting.
Do you need to buy a tent that has no-see-um netting? Well, that depends on whether you have no-see-ums where you plan to camp. I don’t, so it doesn’t matter to me. But they can leave nasty bites, so I recommend getting no-see-um netting if you expect them.
There’s actually a benefit to not having no-see-um netting – more ventilation. The larger holes of mosquito netting actually let in more air and give you more ventilation. In contrast, no-see-um netting actually blocks more air and lessens ventilation.
What Brand of Zippers Do Coleman Tents Have?
From my inspection and scouring of my Coleman tents while using them, I don’t think I came across any branded zippers. Usually, branded zippers, like YKK or even SBS zippers, tend to have their name branded across the side of the zippers. Sadly, the ones on my Coleman tents don’t have any branding.
So, I think Coleman uses their own manufactured zippers. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it can keep costs down as well. While the zippers in my Coleman tents didn’t feel the smoothest and softest, they did the trick and I found them perfectly functional.
Do Coleman Tents Have Flame Retardants?
Most Coleman tents are applied with flame retardants, specifically Tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TDCPP). As such, most retailers such as Walmart and REI Co-Op display the California Proposition 65 Warning on the sales page to alert potential consumers.
What are Flame Retardants?
Flame retardants are sometimes applied to tents to slow the spread of fire that might occur in a tent, especially because the materials of the tent can be potentially flammable.
In fact, I noticed all these Coleman warnings in every Coleman tent (ignore the red box and look at the words above the red box); they seem to be cautious when it comes to fire and flames:
Evidence of Flame Retardants
Coleman is usually quiet about these flame retardants on their website, as these flame retardants contain chemicals have been found to potentially cause cancer. However, if you go to retailers like REI Co-Op and Walmart (not Amazon), you’ll find a warning that says something like “Warning – California Proposition 65” (Walmart) / “Important WARNING for California residents” (REI Co-Op). You can just give it a check.
If you’re sold on buying a Coleman tent, for its cost-effectiveness yet decent durability, you can check out this blog post here: I Tested the 14 BEST Coleman Tents! I guarantee you’ll love it.