Coleman SunDome 3 Tent 7' x 7'
Design: 7'x7' Sundome freestanding.
Ease of Setup: Easy
Weight: 6 pounds or so
Price Paid: $45
This is the first tent I ever bought about 7 years ago. It's a great tent for car camping for one or two people or two people plus a dog. My favorite feature of this tent is the floor. The bathtub style floor is made out of vinyl tarp material which is very strong and does not seep water like expensive lightweight tents. After seven years of abuse and abrasion, this floor has not a hint of water seepage. Out of all four tents I have owned, I would rather be in this one during a rainstorm.
The obvious downside is that it is very heavy and large. Definitely not a backpacking tent. Use this only if space and weight are not an issue. Another downside is I don't like fabric sleeves for the tent poles. I prefer the hook-and-grommet style that are much faster to set up and take down.
I have never staked this tent. It is freestanding and shock-corded poles keep it taut enough for casual, easy use.
I recommend this tent if you are a car camper who wants a durable rain-proof tent with room for 2+ people and gear for less than $50.
Design: Three-season free standing dome
Ease of Setup: 15-minute set-up
Weight: Six pounds
Price Paid: $60
The Coleman SunDome 7' x 7' Three-Man tent is the perfect car-camping tent for two persons. It sets up easily in less than 20 minutes and DOES fit back into it's bag WITH a 7 x 8 tarp that I bought to use as a ground cloth under the tent. Some prefer to place the tarp inside the tent, but this is not necessary with the Sundome as it has a bathtub floor enclosure that is waterproof even in heavy rain storms that blow the entire tent down on top of itself. Yes, the tent stakes are rather cheap and two did come out of the ground on that particular night, but we survived and came out of it fine the next morning completely dry.
The pockets are now on the sides of the tent and are handy places for your flashlight, water bottle and eyeglasses as you sleep. Three could squeeze in there, but for car camping I prefer to have the extra space for pillows, a comforter, extra clothes, backpack, guitar, food, etc. You can almost stand up in this tent if you are fairly short, but overall, it's very comfortable to spend a few nights in. In case of leaks, which I haven't experienced yet, you could easily spend $5 on seam sealer and treat all of the seams, which is recommended by the experts prior to using any tent anyway.
As has been mentioned, this tent is bit heavy to do any backpacking with, but it's perfect for car camping and you could easily lug it a mile or so if you had to.
Price Paid: $90
I have had two of these tents and love them. I will stick with the Coleman brand on my next purchase. I think it is perfect for two people and gear for five days. It fits a queen sized air matress and has useful pockets in tent corners. Easy to put up alone in the high winds.
My only problem was the cheap stakes they include. I would recommend buying better ones. Also be careful with the stakeholes as they are small plastic clips.
Design: Three Season Freestanding Dome Tent
Ease of Setup: The only difficulty in setup is the pole sleeves, they take a little bit of persuasion.
Weight: 6-1/2 pounds (I'm guessing)
Price Paid: Was a gift, unknown
My son and I have been using a SunDome for tent camping with the Boy Scouts for ages. For the money, I don't think there is a more useful tent for kids. It is easy to set up and roomy enough for three kids or two adults. I waterproof it every spring and seal the seams, we never have leak problems. The worst thing about this tent was the stuff sack it came with, which didn't last out the first year. We bought a small duffel bag to put the tent, poles and stakes in for storage and transport which works nicely.
The large windows and mesh at the roof provide adequate ventilation to prevent condensation if you leave the windows partially unzipped, which should not be a problem unless there is lots of windy rain. If the wind is blowing that hard, the ventilation at the top is fair. Fully closing the tent when it is cold outside makes for damp conditions inside, so layer up in the bag if it is cold outside. We have camped down to below zero temperatures in this tent without major problems.
Be careful with the shock cords in the poles, don't stretch them more than necessary when they are really cold or they won't come back to hold the poles together. They seem to recover nicely when they warm back up though, so it isn't a permanent condition.
Toss the stakes that it comes with and buy some V-stakes, you will be frustrated the first time you try to drive them into icy or rocky ground and they look like a pretzel.
I have had to replace the poles once, but that was due to some children (not my son) who decided to rough house around the tent, fell into it, and shattered the fiberglass poles.
This is a great tent for car camping or can be split up between two for backpacking. Every Boy Scout troop should buy a couple to provide tents for boys without the funds to buy their own on troop campouts. I think I have seen the going price at $49 in stores, much less online.
This is a classic tent that will be supported by Coleman for a long time for parts. Great beginner camper tent.
Design: 7x7 Sundome
Ease of Setup: relatively easy
Price Paid: $39.99
I have had the SunDome for about 8 years. My 16-year-old son and I have used it camping and it has held up well. We are not small people and the extra room comes in handy and the ventilation is wonderful.
I did not get the oportunity to sleep in the tent when my son went on a cub scouting excursion. Out of four tents used that weekend it was one of the two remaining tents standing that didn't bomb out during the night from heck. The only water that got in the tent was from his wet friends seeking shelter. All we had to do was hose it out and let it dry when he got home.
I've only had to replace one pole so far, and yes the stakes are a little lightweight but they have held the tent in place. My 4-year-old daughter has already mastered getting in and out of the tent and is quickly learning how to set it up. More fun times to come.
Ease of Setup: Two person job
Price Paid: $129
Not a bad tent for the price...as long as it doesn't rain. Mine leaked through a seam in the fly and dripped down the pole holding the fly up, then into one of the windows.
I was so concerned watching that leak I had not noticed the four leaks in each corner of the tent, in the seam just above the bathtub floor.
That bathtub floor holds water like a swimming pool.