Coleman SunDome 4 Tent 9' x 7'
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $60
This is a great three-season tent. Perfect for Boy Scouts. I have used this tent in the wind, rain, snow, and sun without any problems. The bathtub floor is very durable.
- Bathtub floor
This tent is a breeze to set-up. Even in the breeze. Stayed warm in ice rain and snow. Great tent for the price.
Design: cheapie car-camping dome tent
Ease of Setup: OK, not great, poles must be fed thru sleeves
Weight: est. 11 lbs
Price Paid: $34 on sale
Sports Authority has rebranded this same tent as the Coleman Rangeview - 9' X 7’ and we got it on sale $45 plus that week the store had the 25% off coupon, which brought price to $34. KEY POINT: often best deals on the 9' X 7’ Sundome (Rangeview) can be had at sales like that.
We recommend this tent when you can get it for similar pricing, as it is a good cheapie car camping tent (too heavy & bulky for backpacking). This model also has essentially a waterproof tarp forming the bottom 6" like a bathtub, keeping groundwater out.
This is also a good tent for a family/couple who only does light camping once or twice a year, or less. NOTE: we consider this size tent appropriate for max TWO ADULTS with gear, plus maybe one child.
The reason you only buy a sale-priced Rangeview/Sundome as a backup tent (say for tent-less friends who wanna join you camping) is that its quality and reliability is much lower than say a quality dome such as a Eureka (we also own a Tetragon 9, which is 9' X 9' dome)
But when you pick up the Sundome for ONE THIRD the price of the slightly larger Tetragon 9, you can put up with a lot of little bothers.
Stuff that mostly didn't bother us due to low price of this Rangeview:
1) Cheapie front door zipper had to be waxed by just to get it working without binding, allow single stroke opening of zipper door
2) Stakes are junk, so immediately replaced with the $4/set Coleman metal stakes
3) Very thin fiberglass dome poles, seem fragile
4) Rain tarp will not stay centered unless you also reach under and individually wrap the many Velcro ties around the dome poles
5) This style dome does have the sleeves (2) which you must walk back and slowly feed the dome poles through during set up. That's always a pain, especially in the dark.
6) First time put up rain tarp, all the knots popped out of the four elastic ties, so we had to re-tie the factory knots back in them. I guess the Chinese factory workers hands were too tired to tie good knots!
KEY POINTS: worth buying for ~$40 on sale as a backup tent. Don't buy this tent as a mainstay dome you plan to use for life; it won't hold out that long. Don’t ever pay full price ($50 or more) for this tent.
Design: More like a 2-season, freestanding dome tent
Ease of Setup: Easy
Price Paid: $45
Our Experience: We purchased it at Sports Authority when it was on sale, and took it, for the first time, camping in April 2010 near Big Sur, CA. Unfortunately, a storm blew in on Saturday night/Sunday morning that brought high-velocity winds and gusts (25-40 mph?), lots of rain and downright chilly temperatures. We knew there was a chance of showers so we already had the rainfly on, tent staked down tightly, and all fabric was nice and taught. Everything inside the tent stayed dry; however, the tent was bending and folding over on itself in the wind (see pic below), which made it really hard to sleep, since the tent kept folding down on top of our faces!
Also, the design of the rainfly allows wind (and even breezes) to blow right under the rainfly and through the mesh. This caused the fly to flap incessantly in the wind (very noisy) and brought that cold wind stright into the tent. While we were eating breakfast Sunday morning, the winds were picking up, and it eventually fractured one of the poles.
We bought a replacement pole for the tent when we got home, but have since turned this into the backup/extra tent for when we take friends. For ourselves, we did what we should have done all along - Spent the money on a quality tent that will last us many years of camping (We bought the REI Base Camp 6).
OVERALL: This is really only a 2-season tent, late Spring thru early fall will be suited for this tent when little-to-no adverse weather is to be expected. In those conditions, it should be just fine. But, I would still recommend replacing the fiberglass tent poles with aluminum poles, or bringing the tools to make a repair if needed. All in all, this tent is not a total waste of money, but if you camp often or camp where unexpected (or expected) storms may be experienced, then this is not likely the tent for you.
SETUP: Quick, easy, no problems. One person may have a little bit of difficulty, but could still manage it.
SPACE: It easily slept my husband (he is 6'4") and I (I am 5'6") on an air mattress plus our two large dogs and our duffel bags. I think it could easily sleep 3 adults with a little bit of gear. We did decide to buy a 6-person tent as this one's replacement, mostly because of the headroom for my husband, he can stand fully-upright in the REI Base Camp 6)
FABRIC: I think the fabric is decent quality, can resist tears and sangs. The dogs did sratch at the doorways at night when they needed to go outside, and we had no snags or tears in the fabric or the mesh as a result.
TENT POLES: Not the strongest (See pictures) We replaced these and will be bringing a repair kit anytime we use this with friends.
WATERPROOF: We had no problems with rain getting into the tent, even though we were dealing with wind-blown rain. The rainfly did a good job of shedding the water (no puddles on top of the tent) and the bathtub floor design did not let any water in from below.
WINDPROOF: Not really. Anything more than a breeze will have this tent moving around quite a bit, causing quite a bit of noise from the flapping of the fabric and discomfort if the tent walls happen to lean in on top of you at night.
Where to Buy
We found the Coleman SunDome 4 Tent 9' x 7' at 1 outdoor retailer: