The Coleman Evanston is a beautiful-looking 6-person tent with a large following. But that is about where the compliments end. The quality of the material, rainfly coverage, and general design of this tent leave much to be desired. Add to that an extremely frustrating setup and a cheap bag, and about the only other positive for this tent is the price. As one of the cheapest options in ourcamping tent lineup for this size tent, the age-old adage applies here: you get what you pay for. Still, this could suffice if you just need something affordable for occasional use.Editor's Note: We updated this review on April 19, 2022 to take a closer look at overall value for the Evanston and add suggestions for other comparable products that may better suit your needs or budget.
Coleman Evanston Screened 6 Review
Cons: Hard to setup, doesn't do well in rain, poor quality
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|Pros||Great fair weather vestibule, spacious interior, neat concept||Super light, very quick to pitch, amazing views with and without the fly, multi-use capabilities||Spacious, easy to pitch, great views, inexpensive||Simple, quick to set up, lightweight||Super easy set up, good views, very nice price|
|Cons||Hard to setup, doesn't do well in rain, poor quality||Small square footage, guyline stakes not included, very low ceiling||Fiberglass poles, small pockets, lack of ventilation with the rainfly on||Cheap poles, bad door zippers, small footprint||Low headroom, poor overall construction|
|Bottom Line||While this tent looks good in photos, it performs poorly in weather resistance and general use||A simple tent just big enough for car camping but arguably light enough for the occasional backpacking trip too||Wherever this tent falls short in quality, it makes up for it in size, features, and overall value||A classic lightweight 4-person dome tent that gives a little extra headroom and has a few nice features||This tent is fast, easy, and inexpensive, though it falls short in some key areas|
|Rating Categories||Coleman Evanston Sc...||Mountain Hardwear M...||Kelty Wireless 6||Kelty Tallboy 4||Coleman 4-Person Ca...|
|Space and Comfort (35%)|
|Weather Resistance (25%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Family Friendliness (15%)|
|Specs||Coleman Evanston Sc...||Mountain Hardwear M...||Kelty Wireless 6||Kelty Tallboy 4||Coleman 4-Person Ca...|
|Weight||20.9 lbs||7.1 lbs||17.2 lbs||11.0 lbs||18.2 lbs|
|Max Inside Height||5' 8"||4' 0"||6' 4"||5' 10"||4' 11"|
|Floor Dimensions||10' x 9'||7' 6" x 5' 8"||9' 10" x 8' 10"||7' 1" x 8'||8' x 7'|
|Floor Area||90 sq ft||42.5 sq ft||86.9 sq ft||57 sq ft||56 sq ft|
|Windows||2||Mesh top||Mesh top||Mesh top||3|
|Number of Doors||1||2||2||1||1|
|Vestibule Area (total)||40 sq ft||37.5 sq ft||28 sq ft||N/A||N/A|
|Packed Size||27.4" x 14.8" x 10.31"||7" x 25"||27" x 8" x 8"||24" x 7" x 10"||39.5" x 8" x 8"|
|Floor Materials||WeatherTec||68D ripstop polyester||68D poly 1800mm||68D Poly 1200mm||150D polyester|
|Main Tent Materials||Polyguard||40D polyester mesh, 75D ripstop polyester||68D poly 1200mm, 40D No-see-um mesh||68D Poly 1200mm, 40D No-see-um mesh||150D polyester|
|Rainfly Materials||Polyguard||68D ripstop polyester||68D poly 1200mm||68D Poly 1200mm||Polyguard 2X|
|Number of Poles||4||2||3||3||4|
|Pole Material||Fiberglass||DAC Pressfit||Fiberglass||Fiberglass||Aluminum|
|Extras||Covered vestibule with floor||Fly rolls back and secures halfway for stargazing, footprint included||Pole pockets for easy setup||Lightweight||Integrated rainfly protection|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Coleman Evanston has features that fail miserably in all but very specific situations. The fully netted and sealed floor performs quite well on warm days and bug-filled nights, but outside of that, it just doesn't stack up.
Space and Comfort
With 90 sq ft of interior space and an additional 40 sq ft of vestibule space, you will have plenty of square footage. The main tent will easily fit a full and a twin air mattress, while the vestibule will hold two chairs, a table, and then some. However, both areas are short, with a max height of 5' 8" — which is only at the top dead center. The vestibule area is a little shorter than that at 5' 4", forcing most campers to duck and change sitting down.
There are only two pockets in this 6-person tent, and in our version, the manufacturer sewed on one of the pockets backward. Getting in and out of the Evanston is also oddly difficult, as the doors only open halfway. Not only does this make things awkward, it is impossible to inflate or deflate your beds anywhere but inside the tent. The door also has a very strange window. They added windows on each side because the door only opens halfway, which places a large seam right down the middle. We should also point out that there are no clips or ties to tuck them away when the windows are open, so they just dangle in the wind.
The tent does have great ventilation, with most of the back and about half of the top being full mesh. When the rainfly is on and the side windows unzipped, you can still see outside, a nice feature and added reason to keep the fly on at all times.
The Evanston is a solid dome design with a fairly low profile and heavily slanted walls. It also comes pre-installed with guylines and a full set of totally adequate stakes, so this tent passed our wind tests quite well. Thanks to all of the open mesh and optional window covers, it is extremely well-ventilated with or without the rainfly.
However, when it comes to rain, this tent prefers to collect it rather than shed it. An open vestibule with an attached floor means while you may be dry inside your tent, all your gear will be taking a bath. Not a great design feature, to say the least.
Ease of Use
The tent took our team 14 minutes and 20 seconds to pitch fully — much longer than the majority of our other tents and with much more frustration. First, the cheap fiberglass poles get snagged when pushing them into the sleeves. The poles also use a pin setup instead of the grommet setup seen on all the other tents in our lineup. Once the poles are on, it's time to move on to the fly. However, you can't put the fly on without fully staking the entire tent first. But because Coleman uses cheap elastic straps that clip to rings attached next to the poles, it is very hard to clip everything when under tension. The rainfly also must be velcroed to the vestibule area in four locations.
As mentioned before, the door on the Evanston only opens halfway. This means getting your gear in and out of the tent is much harder than it should be. Add only two pockets and a weight of 20.9 lbs, and you get a tent that scores very low in the ease of use category.
The size of this tent and the mesh-covered vestibule are great for a family. Four people and furry friends will easily fit with some extra room leftover. Storage is a problem with this tent, however, because it only comes with two pockets but because the vestibule isn't properly protected from the rain. A pile of wet gear does not make for happy campers. Likewise, should your family be stuck in the tent during a storm, there is no way to cook unless you do so completely inside the tent, which is never a good idea.
When it comes to quality, the Evanston falls short again. Fiberglass poles, cheap mesh, and tarp-like flooring are connected by mid-grade zippers and inverted seams (instead of the superior seam-seal). The bag is also poor quality and will inevitably require ducktape after the first or second season. The stakes and guylines seem adequate for the tent, and the rainfly, though frustrating to set up, is made of polyester taffeta 75D.
Should You Buy the Coleman Evanston Screened 6?
While the price of this tent is low, so is the quality and overall design. It fell short in every category and scored among the worst in our entire lineup. This could perhaps provide good value if you are looking for a fair-weather tent for a bug-heavy area. But for most normal camping conditions, the value just isn't there. If you are looking for a budget 6-person tent, we are sorry, but this isn't the one we would recommend.
What Other Camping Tents Should You Consider?
The Coleman Evanston Screened 6 is a budget tent with a couple of good aspects, but don't let the low price point fool you. It is more worthwhile to spend more money on a truly quality tent, like the Kelty Wireless 6. Or, if you commonly find yourself caught out in the rain, consider investing in a tent like the REI Co-op Base Camp 6.
— Rob Gaedtke
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