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My first tent review so fingers crossed I include everything I should! We first went camping in 2008 with my 18 month old and 5 year old nephew and our tent did nothing but leak the entire time. This was our second tent and we hoped it would handle the weather a bit better!
~~ The Tent ~~
The Coleman Coastline Deluxe 6 is a 6 man tunnel tent with a sewn in ground sheet and the option of 3 seperate bedrooms so it's great for families or people camping with their dogs. It's a flysheet first pitch which is great if it's raining as you can do the rest from the inside where it's nice and dry. Pitching it is simple - 4 poles threaded through from one side of the tent to the other, the bottom pegged down and the guy ropes pegged and you're done. The bedrooms inside simply hook onto the inner of the tent and hey presto you're done. Campers like us (once a year kinda people) can pitch it in around 30 minutes but I think when we bought it the recommended time was around 20.
There are a few funky little features in this Coleman such as the handy access holes if you've gone for electric hook up (these access points are also great for letting some air in when it's hot though watch the beasties coming in!), the bedrooms are flexible in that you can have 2 bedrooms with 4 in one and two in the other, or 3 bedrooms with 2 in each simply by unzipping one of the dividers. They claim to have self rolling windows too but either ours were broken or we were doing something wrong as ours didn't work.
The best feature? The funky little canopy over the side door (main door if you're using all bedrooms) that stops the rain from falling on your head when you unzip the door.
~~ Good bits ~~
The tent was very easy to pitch with just the 4 main poles and the tent pegs to contend with. We did struggle on one occasion with the amount of wind blowing at us whilst trying to do it but we simply pegged one end down early on and it certainly took some of the strain away. The instructions are sewn into the tent bag so there is no chance of losing them but to be perfectly honest it was so simple to pitch we didn't use them.
The sewn in groundsheet is now a must for us after this experience as it kept the tent nice and dry and mostly bug free (our previous tent had a seperate groundsheet and the beetles were awful!!) It kept the bottom of the tent draft free too and relatively warm which was a blessing on those colder nights.
The tent was incredibly stable in the wind at the double bedroom end but we did have slight problems with the smaller bedroom at the front of the tent because of the 45' angle.
The tent can be changed from 3 bedrooms into 2, 2 bedrooms and a larger living area or just 1 bedroom with the capacity for 4 people. This flexibility was one of the most appealing features as we had our daughter with us and I was pregnant with number 2 so it gives us more options for our next trip. There are slight problems with the bedrooms though - see niggles below.
We camped in the Lake District for a few nights and were unfortunate enough to stumble on some of the most torrential rain I've ever witnessed (I live in North east Scotland so that's saying something!) and this tent stayed waterproof throughout minus the one night I didn't close the door properly(see below). This was very impressive given the people with the "posh" tent and accessories had to abandon theirs in the middle of the night due to flooding!
The living area was huge compared to our previous tent and you could easily stand in any part of the tent without having to duck - my partner is 6ft and still had room above his head if that gives a fair idea. Our cooker fitted in here along with 3 camping seats and a table and there was still room for my little girl to lie down doing jigsaws and playing games.
Coleman supplied a fabulous bag with this tent too so fitting in back in was no problem. We've done it both with leaving the bedrooms in and taking them out and it's always fitted back in with room to spare.
~~ Niggles ~~
As with everything there were a few things wrong with this tent which was kind of reflected in the cheaper price tag. The bedrooms were an issue for us as the main bedrooms which can be 2 x 2 people or 1 x 4 person weren't all as described. There is a dividing curtain between the 2 and this has a bit in the middle that you need to step over so it's not truly a 4 person part if you know what I mean. We had it as 2 seperate rooms so it wasn't an issue for us as such but our little girl was constantly falling over this part. The other bedroom at the front of the tent would be a huge problem for people that expected 2 people to sleep in it. The front of the tent slopes at a 45' angle so someone would find themselves sleeping with the tent flapping on top of them all night. This was unavoidable no matter what you did with the pegs or guy lines. In my opinion, this would be a better tent for 4 or 5 people.
The doors also caused a few dramas for us although I gather they've been fixed in the 2011 model. The zips around the doors don't fasten all the way around the door and are actually open at the bottom. The sewn in groundsheet of the tent is raised away from the floor so you have to make sure the bottom of the tent is outside of this or you'll do what I did and flood the tent! The torrential rain dripped down the side of the tent and as I'd left (or the wind blew) the bottom of the door inside the groundsheet then the rain came staight in and soaked everything within reach. This was disappointing after the tent had held up to the rain on every other part. There was also no mesh protection on the door which allowed flies and wasps in at their delight.
~~ Improvements ~~
So what would I change about the tent? The windows were on the small side and whilst it kept our privacy, it would have been nicer to see a little bit more out of them. The self rolling windows would have been better had they worked.
I've already mentioned about the door and the lack of seal at the bottom so a zip all around would have been ideal. I think this has been corrected in the newer model but we added a velco strip in the end and now have it closed that way. It's not ideal but it saves any more little accidents and lots of arguing about how it happened!
Mesh protection being added to the windows/doors would have worked wonders too as we had a wasp problem when we were in Northampton which led to lots of angry swatting and the eventual trip to the shop for wasp spray.
The front of the tent could have sloped a little less to make the final bedroom a bit more manageable for 2 to sleep in there. We used this room for storage and I certainly wouldn't like to sleep in it how it is.
~~ Accessories ~~
You can buy a few accessories for the tent including the front porch, side porch, footprint and carpet with costs varying. We were tempted by the front porch for a while until we heard it was a poor fit so do your research first!
~~ Price ~~
Ours cost £189 at the time which was one of the cheaper 6 man tents available but within our budget. We did have the 2010 model though so prices may vary now that the 2011 model has been released.
~~ Final Verdict ~~
The tent did it's job given the lower price and it was certainly better than our first tent that was invaded by a black and white rabbit in the middle of the night (even if my other half did scream badger!) The sewn in groundsheet was great although the bedroom arrangements aren't quite as good as they were advertised. If Coleman were to fix the niggles above then this would be our perfect tent and we would continue to go on holiday with it. As it is, we're looking to upgrade again now that we're a family of 4 and we need to fit a travel cot into it.
Sleeping area - 9.2m2
Living area - 6.72m2
Pitching surface - 38m2
Head height - 200cm
Pack size - 70x31x31
Weight - 20kg