Sometimes Gear Reviewing Can Be Tricky
Campfire Guy here. If there’s one thing I love more than spending time in the outdoors, it’s trying out new camping gear. Our friends over at Majestic Expressions asked for my thoughts on the Coleman Sundome 2. My initial plan was to use the tent while I was at Boy Scout summer camp in Talihina, OK. However, when we arrived, I discovered that our camp site was situated on steeply sloped, rocky terrain.
Plan B was to set the tent up on the BSA summer camp standard issue wood platforms covered by an old canvas tent. That plan was ultimately thwarted by all the missing slats in the most level platform I could find.
Plan C was to venture out beyond the bounds of our campsite for a little stealth camping and maybe some smoother ground. The same day I planned to find a place to pitch the tent, a norovirus hit 13 of our 53 scouts, so the remainder of the day was spent making rounds checking on the kids. I’ll spare you the glorious details, but picture the pie eating contest scene from Stand By Me and that’ll give you a pretty good idea. Due to the outbreak, the camp closed and we went home the next day.
While I have yet to sleep in this tent, I was able to pitch it several times and get a feel for the overall quality and functionality.
Sundome 2 has a good sized carry bag and it holds the tent with room to spare. In the bag, you’ll find the tent body, two long poles for the tent body, one short pole for the rain fly, a small “welcome mat” and (9) stakes. Setup instructions are sewn inside the carry bag, though I was able to figure out how to set it up without reading them.
Setting up the Sundome 2 by myself was easy. There were three folks in the neighborhood park that could see me setting up the tent. Want to guess how many of them gave me strange looks? Yep, all three. The carry bag boasts a ten-minute setup, but it only took me a little over eight.
A combination of clips and nylon sleeves connect the tent body to the poles. For ease of setup, I prefer all clips and no nylon sleeves. Nylon sleeves have a nasty habit of snagging the pole joints and separating the sections as you try to set up or take down the tent.
You can push the poles through the sleeves when doing both, it just adds time. The metal tips clipped to each corner were easy to insert into the base of the tent poles.
Kicking The Tires
Once the tent was pitched, I did a walk around and noted any prior damage from the previous user. Wait, that’s what I did the last time I rented a car. Tent poles are constructed of fiberglass, which is heavier than their lightweight aluminum counterparts. The Coleman Sundome 2’s tent body and fly material seemed fairly durable. The bathtub floor is thicker and more rigid than floors of other tents I own. While I didn’t take a sharp stick and try to recreate a Houston mosquito trying to get inside, the bug mesh felt pretty sturdy.
What I Liked
First off, the price on the Coleman Sundome 2 is hard to beat. For $69 this is an affordable entry level tent for a someone new to camping in mild conditions (more on that in a sec). Interior headroom is outstanding for a two person tent. At 49 1/2″, there is plenty of room to maneuver. I’m 5’11” with a 29” inseam. I’m all torso. Like…a hot dog with legs. The power port is pretty convenient and the vent window located near the ground allows for air circulation.
What I Did Not Like
Specifications from Coleman state the Sundome 2 is 5’x7’. Usable interior dimensions were actually closer to 4’9″ x 6’9″.
The Coleman Sundome 2 only has one door, which isn’t a big deal If you are camping solo. However, for two occupants, getting out will require some gymnastics to avoid stepping on your tent mate. The two gear pockets are placed awkwardly along the ends of the tent, where the bug mesh starts. You run the risk of hitting your head if there’s anything heavy in the pocket. Pockets near the corner are always more convenient.
The biggest drawback was that it leaked in the corners when we water tested. The inside corner seams are taped with what looks to be really flimsy version of duct tape that was already peeling up at the corners.
After spraying each corner for about five minutes, two of the four corners leaked. For me, this would get the tent immediately sent back, as I’m not sure if gobs of seam sealer would remedy the issue.
I really wanted to recommend this as an affordable entry level tent. I was about to, right up until the water test. Sometimes you get what you pay for. Outside of dry weather campouts in the backyard, there are better alternatives to be found.
- Excellent headroom
- Convenient power port
- Gear loop at the tent peak
- It leaked
- Only one door
- Interior size isn’t truly 5’x7’
- It leaked
Specifications (as provided by Coleman)
- Doors: 1
- Rainfly: Polyguard
- Tent: Polyguard, Polyester mesh 68D
- Floor: Polyethylene 1000D
- Size: 5′ x 7′
- Height: 4′
- Poles: Fiberglass
- Weight: 7.2 lbs
A sample tent was provided by Majestic Expressions for the purpose of this review, however, all opinions are my own.
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