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Coleman Sundome Dome 4 Review

A starter tent that works for those looking to get into camping on the cheap
Coleman Sundome Dome 4
Photo: Coleman
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Price:  $70 List | $69.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Simple, very cheap, lightweight
Cons:  Too simple, cheaply made, not durable
Manufacturer:   Coleman
By Rob Gaedtke ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 5, 2021
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51
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 13
  • Space and Comfort - 35% 5
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 5
  • Ease of Use - 15% 8
  • Durability - 15% 3
  • Family Friendliness - 10% 4

Our Verdict

The Coleman Sundome 4 is one of the most reviewed tents on the market. When you look at the simple design, small package, and price point, it is easy to see why. However, this is a no-frills dome tent, so when it comes to performance, there are some major flaws, such as fiberglass poles, plastic hooks for the fly, and questionable netting material. You will find adequate ventilation, two storage pockets, and a rainfly that isn't the worst we have seen. So if you are looking to dip your toe into the camping world and see how you fare, this isn't a bad option.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $69.99 at Amazon$643 List$449.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$270 List$159.99 at Amazon
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Pros Simple, very cheap, lightweightMassive interior, great construction, easy to pitchSpacious, great layout, durable, very family friendly, high valueSpacious, easy to pitch, great views, inexpensiveSuper easy set up, good views, very nice price
Cons Too simple, cheaply made, not durableExpensive, odd ceiling pocketsNot the easiest to pitch, only one door, odd bagFiberglass poles, small pockets, lack of ventilation with the rainfly onLow headroom, poor overall construction
Bottom Line A starter tent that works for those looking to get into camping on the cheapThe best balance of size, quality, style, and ease of use we've foundThis tent has one of the best uses of space we have ever seen, a great choice for families or campers with lots of gearWherever this tent falls short in quality, it makes up for it in size, features, and overall valueThis tent is fast, easy, and inexpensive, though it falls short in some key areas
Rating Categories Coleman Sundome Dome 4 Marmot Halo 6 The North Face Wawo... Kelty Wireless 6 4-Person Cabin with...
Space And Comfort (35%)
5.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
Weather Resistance (25%)
5.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
Durability (15%)
3.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
Family Friendliness (10%)
4.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
3.0
Specs Coleman Sundome Dome 4 Marmot Halo 6 The North Face Wawo... Kelty Wireless 6 4-Person Cabin with...
Weight 9.8 lbs 21.0 lbs 21.9 lbs 17.2 lbs 18.2 lbs
Max Inside Height 4' 11" 6' 4" 6' 6" 6' 4" 4' 11"
Floor Dimensions 9' x 7' 9'10" x 9'10" 10' x 8'6" 9'10" x 8'10" 8' x 7'
Floor Area 63 sq ft 96.7 sq ft 85 sq ft 86.9 sq ft 56 sq ft
Seasons 3-season 3-season 3-season 3-season 3-season
Windows 2 Mesh top 2 Mesh top 3
Pockets 1 8 6 6 2
Number of Doors 2 2 3 2 1
Room Divider No No Yes No No
Vestibules 0 2 2 2 0
Vestibule Area N/A 32 sq ft 44.7 sq ft; 21 sq ft 28 sq ft N/A
Packed Size 6.75" x 6.75" x 23.75" 25" x 14" 9.5" x 16.5" x 25.5" 27" x 8" x 8" 39.5" x 8" x 8"
Floor Materials Polyethylene 1000D-140g/sqm 70D nylon 75D polyester 68D poly 1800mm 150D polyester
Main Tent Materials Polyester mesh 68D 40D polyester No-See-Um mesh, 68D polyester ripstop 150D polyester taffeta 68D poly 1200mm, 40D No-see-um mesh 150D polyester
Rainfly Materials Polyester taffeta 75D 68D polyester ripstop 68D polyester 68D poly 1200mm Polyguard 2X
Number of Poles 3 4 4 3 4
Pole Material Fiberglass Aluminum 14 mm aluminum Fiberglass Aluminum
Extras E-Port Vented fly and color-coded poles Internal dry lines, hang loops, Velcro lantern loop Pole pockets for easy setup Integrated rainfly protection

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.

Performance Comparison


The little but mighty Sundome is a great choice for getting into...
The little but mighty Sundome is a great choice for getting into camping.
Photo: Rob Gaedtke

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.

A 4-person tent is a dog's best friend. They will get lots of pets...
A 4-person tent is a dog's best friend. They will get lots of pets being this close to everyone.
Photo: Rob Gaedtke

Weather Resistance


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.

The string connecting the poles together snapped on our first setup...
The string connecting the poles together snapped on our first setup of the Coleman Sundome 4.
Photo: Rob Gaedtke

Durability


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.

While fine for light and occasional use, the plastic clips...
While fine for light and occasional use, the plastic clips, fiberglass poles, and tarp-like floor of the Coleman Sundome 4 are budget components that may not last you as long.
Photo: Rob Gaedtke

Family Friendliness


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.

With good weather, the Sundome can be an ok choice for families...
With good weather, the Sundome can be an ok choice for families looking to try camping.
Photo: Rob Gaedtke

Value


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.

Conclusion


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