Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Fastest to set up, tall, inexpensive, lightweight, durable floor.
Cons: No rainfly, door opens to ground, hard to keep doors taut, only one door, vents on top don't seal very well in rain, bad in wind, small stakes.
Best Uses: Car camping, family camping.
We chose the Instant Tent 6 for our Best Buy award because it gives you the most bang for your buck. It's very comfortable and has amazing ventilation for those hot summer days, but it also allows you to bundle up to stay warm and dry in a storm. The Coleman Instant Tent series makes setting up a tent exceptionally easy. You don't have to worry about finding the right grommet for the right pole because they are already attached for you, and you don't even need to worry about a rain fly because this tent's fabric is totally waterproof.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Instant Tent 6 is a very comfortable tent. It is not as roomy and spacious as our Editors' Choice award tent, the REI Kingdom 8, but it is less than half the cost. One of our favorite parts of this tent is the big windows that allow you to sit inside on a hot day to escape the sun and not overheat. In fact, I'm sitting in this tent writing this review right now in the heat of the noon and were out of the sun, with a nice breeze coming through, too. This tent comes without a rain fly, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. You can purchase a rain fly separately through Coleman, but it still does not include a vestibule, which when you have it can be a nice way to keep your gear out of sight and out of mind.
This tent did not score highly for wind and rain resistance. This is a single wall tent with no rain fly. This wouldn't be a problem if the material breathed, but it doesn't. The only vents are on the top of the tent, and you want those closed if it's raining very hard. For those reasons we don't recommend this tent if you anticipate big and burly storms. If you're looking for a more stormproof tent, then check out the Big Agnes Flying Diamond 8 and the Kodiak Canvas 6-Person Flex-Bow Canvas Tent. All that said, the Instant Tent does just fine in the average summer, spring, and early fall storms most campers encounter.
We absolutely love the floor material. It's basically a built-in tarp and is very durable, although we still recommend a tarp. As with all of the tents we tested, the floor gets really dirty and it isn't a good ida to store it like that. So having a tarp keeps your tent cleaner.
In the past couple months we've been testing this tent, we have only had one problem: since there is no roof or vestibule, its impossible to keep water out of the tent when you open the door to leave in the rain. Other than that we had no issues, only concerns that the top pole hub and the side pole hubs might get sticky over time from being exposed to the elements. Coleman does sell replacement parts though, so if the hubs break you can replace them.
This tent is also totally seam sealed, except for the unexposed areas under the roof vents. This tent is also made with 150D polyester coated fabric and is six feet tall in the middle, making it a great value for the price.
The tent stakes are flimsy and easily bend. They are so thin they hurt the palm of your hand when putting them into firm earth. But when we then tried to use the sole of our shoes, we bent the stakes in half. If you are going to use this tent in high winds, we recommend buying some burly tent stakes like these
Ease of Setup
The name says it all when it comes down to ease of setup of this tent. We were amazed by how quickly we could get the job done. With two people it took us two minutes to set up, and five minutes to take down.
Most people underestimate the luxury of a quick and easy tent. Throughout our testing we had to set up and take down these tents multiple times, and we always looked forward to the ease of setting up the Instant Tent. It really makes a difference when you are camping, allowing you more time with your friends and family and less time wrestling with a monster tent setup, which can leave you in a bad mood.
The instant tent is quite easy to pack away and is a good packed shape, so it can easily fit into the trunk of your car.
Since all the poles are attached, all you need to do is roll the tent up and jam it into the bag. It took us five minutes to take down this tent and stuff it away, but you can probably do better.
This also comes in an 8 person size: Coleman Instant Tent 8.
— Devin Chance
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: September 12, 2012
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