Coleman Sundome Dome 4 Review
Cons: Too simple, cheaply made, not durable
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Coleman Sundome Dome 4
|Price||$69.99 at Amazon||$642.95 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Simple, very cheap, lightweight||Massive interior, great construction, easy to pitch||Spacious, great layout, durable, very family friendly, high value||Huge doors and large vestibule, lots of pockets, highly weather resistant||Large vestibule, simple, excellent weather resistance, classic design|
|Cons||Too simple, cheaply made, not durable||Expensive, odd ceiling pockets||Not the easiest to pitch, only one door, odd bag||Runs warm, views are a bit more restricted||Low ceiling height, could use more interior storage|
|Bottom Line||A starter tent that works for those looking to get into camping on the cheap||The best balance of size, quality, style, and ease of use we've found||This tent has one of the best uses of space we have ever seen, a great choice for families or campers with lots of gear||An excellent mountaineering-inspired tent that is ready for both inclement weather and summer fun||This is a high-quality tent with a simple design that will be familiar to experienced campers|
|Rating Categories||Coleman Sundome Dome 4||Marmot Halo 6||The North Face Wawo...||REI Co-op Base Camp 6||Marmot Limestone 4|
|Space And Comfort (35%)|
|Weather Resistance (25%)|
|Ease Of Use (15%)|
|Family Friendliness (10%)|
|Specs||Coleman Sundome Dome 4||Marmot Halo 6||The North Face Wawo...||REI Co-op Base Camp 6||Marmot Limestone 4|
|Weight||9.8 lbs||21.0 lbs||21.9 lbs||20.625 lbs||11.3 lbs|
|Max Inside Height||4' 11"||6' 4"||6' 6"||6' 2"||5' 3"|
|Floor Dimensions||9' x 7'||9'10" x 9'10"||10' x 8'6"||9'2" x 9'2"||8'4"x7'2"|
|Floor Area||63 sq ft||96.7 sq ft||85 sq ft||84 sq ft||59.7 sq ft|
|Windows||2||Mesh top||2||Mesh top||1|
|Number of Doors||2||2||3||2||2|
|Vestibule Area||N/A||32 sq ft||44.7 sq ft; 21 sq ft||40 sq ft||21 sq ft|
|Packed Size||6.75" x 6.75" x 23.75"||25" x 14"||9.5" x 16.5" x 25.5"||11" x 24"||27.5" x 10"|
|Floor Materials||Polyethylene 1000D-140g/sqm||70D nylon||75D polyester||Polyester||150D Polyester|
|Main Tent Materials||Polyester mesh 68D||40D polyester No-See-Um mesh, 68D polyester ripstop||150D polyester taffeta||Polyester||40D Polyester/mesh|
|Rainfly Materials||Polyester taffeta 75D||68D polyester ripstop||68D polyester||Polyester||68D Polyester taffeta|
|Number of Poles||3||4||4||5||4|
|Pole Material||Fiberglass||Aluminum||14 mm aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum|
|Extras||E-Port||Vented fly and color-coded poles||Internal dry lines, hang loops, Velcro lantern loop||4-Season||Hidden key/phone pouch on fly|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Sundome Dome is all about simplicity and economy. A classic dome structure, single door, and vented roof make pitching this tent relatively easy, though we had issues with the rainfly. The floor is also cheap polyethylene material — you will basically be sleeping on a tarp — and we had some pole malfunction right out of the gate. However, coming in at 9.8 lbs with 63 sq ft of tent space, a family of four can certainly make due.
Space and Comfort
This tent is basic. It's a 4-person dome structure with minimal height, no vestibules, and thick, warm materials used throughout. It wasn't built with high comfort in mind. A few features save the Sundome from totally bonking in this category, though: the addition of a floor vent and the open ceiling help counteract the heat-prone materials. The essentials are also covered: two pockets on the floor, a minimal rainfly that works surprisingly well, and enough floor space to fit two twin beds with ease.
The Sundome is pretty good in this department. The low wide profile and included guylines hold up well in the wind, and the tent floor has a tub design. As long as you can avoid a tear or puncture, you should stay dry. However, it isn't the design that is at risk — it is the construction. The use of weaker materials like cheap plastic clips, elastic connection points, fiberglass poles, and the tarp floor is where the Sundome could fail after harsh use.
Ease of Use
Because of the no-frills approach to this tent build, pitching the Sundome only took 5 minutes and 43 seconds. The fly is the kicker, as is getting the poles set. Coleman chose not to use grommets like the rest of the tent world and instead attached a pin on every corner that slides inside the pole. Though not ideal, it is fairly easy to get used to doing. Packing the tent back up into the bag isn't very hard either. There is a removable extension on the bottom that we assume helps keep the bag small for shipping but, once removed, allows a little more breathing room.
From the netting to the poles to the rainfly, many of the main components of this tent are not built to last. For example, the string that connects the pole sections together broke on our first pitch. Long story short, if you do decide to go with the Sundome, just be sure to have a pole patch kit available. Or, better yet, upgrade to a set of aluminum poles.
A family of four will fit in this tent, but it is going to be tight with only 63 sq ft of floor space and no vestibule. We fit a full and twin air mattress with a little room to spare, but that didn't leave us much extra space for bags and storage. And with only one interior pocket, be prepared for someone to lose their keys or phone.
You get exactly what you pay for here. This tent is right on par with its cost; however, because the poles broke on us right away, the actual value may depend on whether you get a good batch or not.
First-timers. Budget shoppers. Festival/show-goers. This is a bargain snag that will get the job done, and you won't cry if you have to toss it when it inevitably breaks down. Easy setup, good ventilation, privacy, and price are the high notes for those looking at the Coleman Sundome 4.
— Rob Gaedtke